Friday, 22 August 2014

Sleep tight

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Nine Hours, a Japanese hotelier that provides ultra-economical, pod-style accommodation, has opened a new location at Narita Airport in Tokyo. The concept of capsule hotels is nothing new—the first such establishment opened in Osaka in 1979, and they have grown in popularity among frugal travellers, inebriated office workers and even the unemployed—but this is the first time sleeping pods have appeared at airports. Gulliver is surprised it didn’t happen sooner...

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

MH17: No more shoot-downs

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On July 17, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crashed in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 passengers and crew members. Investigations continue, but it is widely assumed that the aircraft was brought down by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile fired by separatist rebels. While the earlier loss of another Malaysia Airlines plane, Flight 370, which disappeared over the Indian Ocean in March, remains a mystery, the menace to flights over conflict zones is all too apparent. Could this disaster have been avoided?

Ukraine’s chief of counterintelligence, Vitaly Nayda, admitted that as early as July 14, three days before Flight 17 was shot down, he knew that rebels had Buk missile systems capable of striking targets up to 70,000 feet (far beyond the usual 33,000 feet cruising altitude of jetliners). It was also common knowledge that at least seven military aircraft had been shot down in the preceding weeks, including a cargo plane traveling at about 21,000 feet — well beyond the range of less sophisticated shoulder-fired missiles...

Friday, 15 August 2014

Interview: Temel Kotil, Turkish Airlines CEO

Full article in PDF format: page 71-74 & cover

When Turkey’s government lowered its stake in Turkish Airlines (THY) to 49% in May 2006, the national carrier had fewer than 100 aircraft in its fleet and was operating an average of 460 flights per day.

Roughly half of those services were domestic flights, with the airline having enjoyed a monopoly on internal sectors for almost all of its seven-decade-long history.

But, following its transition to private hands, THY’s fleet has ballooned to 235 aircraft; its flight count has reached 1,200 per day; and its home market has been transformed into a vibrant, competitive landscape where the flag-carrier provides barely half of all domestic capacity.

This remarkable growth took less than a decade to achieve, and Kotil said a similar timeframe must now pass before THY even considers slowing down...

Interview: Larry Coyne, Coyne Airways CEO

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With the air cargo industry struggling to maintain yields in the face of rampant over-capacity, Coyne Airways presents an intriguing vision of how freighter markets may evolve over time.

The London-headquartered airline does not own or lease any aircraft, and it eschews the hub-to-hub distribution model favoured by most global cargo operators.

Instead, Coyne Airways enlists the services of various partner carriers to build a scheduled network through recurrent Block Space Agreements and interline deals. By reserving part or all of the space on other airlines' freighters, the company has developed specialised hubs in Dubai and Tbilisi that connect Europe, North America and Asia with countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and Kazakhstan...

Interview: Ahmed Aly, Nile Air CEO

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When Nile Air was publicly unveiled at the 2007 Dubai Air Show – at the height of the Gulf aviation buying spree – the Egyptian start-up signed a memorandum of understanding for nine Airbus A321s.

Seven years on, the Saudi-owned company operates a more modest fleet of two smaller A320s. Its launch coincided with the onset of a global financial crisis, followed by two successive political revolutions that decimated tourism to its home market.

But having weathered these storms, Nile Air is now charting a clear path to expansion. The airline continues to be shielded from the downturn by its diverse traffic mix, and it is gradually benefiting from Egypt's improved ties across the region...

Friday, 1 August 2014

Libyan aviation up in flames

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page 29 & page 30/31

Less than three years after its fleet was all but destroyed by the Libyan revolution, Afriqiyah Airways, the North African country’s second flag carrier, suffered another depressing blow to its fortunes last month. A mortar assault on Tripoli International Airport damaged most of its 11 aircraft on 13 July, as well as knocking out the air traffic control tower and hitting planes owned by fellow flag carrier Libyan Airlines and privately-owned Buraq Air.

Even by Libya’s pitiful security standards, the audacity of bombarding the country’s main international gateway left travellers, local residents and officials dumbstruck. One government spokesman epitomised the sense of helplessness by suggesting that “international forces” should provide security in Tripoli. As he spoke, the UN began hastily withdrawing its remaining staffers...

Airport charges: Paying the price

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While investigating profitability in the air transport value chain last year, a joint study by IATA and McKinsey & Company found that the two sectors with the lowest return on invested capital are airlines first and airports second.

Being surrounded by business partners with greater financial stability inevitably means that both industries are proactive in minimizing their costs and maximizing their revenue. Little wonder, then, that divergent narratives arise when evaluating whom certain costs should be ascribed to, and how best to recover these costs through proportional charges...