Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Ryanair's secret connections

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Three years ago, taking just one flight with Ryanair was enough to send a shiver down the spine of many a European business traveller. The prospect of back-to-back flights with the airline–planning your own connections with no insurance against delays–was positively harrowing. A lot can change in three years.

Michael O'Leary, Ryanair's chief executive, has told The Irish Independent that the low-cost carrier, Europe's largest, will soon begin trialling airside transfers at London Stansted and Barcelona El Prat. The move marks a departure from Ryanair's point-to-point business model, bringing it closer into line with the hub-and-spoke operations of traditional network carriers...

Monday, 18 April 2016

Norwegian Air poses no threat to 'Open And Fair' skies – unlike Etihad and Qatar Airways

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The Partnership for Open and Fair Skies, a lobby group representing three major U.S. airlines and other industry groups, chose its name well when it entered the scene last year.

By incorporating a variant of the term “open-skies” into its brand, the Partnership explicitly affirmed its support for aero-political deregulation – the removal of bilateral traffic rights and the expansion of cross-border competition between airlines.

To do anything less would be foolhardy given the overwhelming body of evidence that open-skies accords – of which America has signed more than 100 – create vast economic benefits.

Yet, interposing this widely-acclaimed term, the lobbyists snuck in the most subjective and malleable of conditions: “fair”...

Friday, 15 April 2016

Somali skies darken

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Anywhere else in the world, the bombing of an international passenger flight would attract round-the-clock media coverage and a global manhunt for the perpetrators.

In Somalia, however, more than two decades of brutal civil war have desensitised both the domestic population and the outside world to mass-casualty atrocities. Amid a seemingly endless cycle of indiscriminate violence in the country, even the deadliest terror attacks fail to hold the attention of the press.

So it was in January, when upwards of 100 Kenyan troops stationed in Somalia were killed in an attack on their army base by Al Shabaab, the Al Qaeda-linked terror group.

And so it was again on 2nd February, when a suicide bomber evaded security screening at Mogadishu Airport and exploded his device aboard Daallo Airlines Flight 159 to Djibouti...

Iran cleared for take-off

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To describe the mood of the Iranian aviation industry as "upbeat" this year would be something of an understatement.

After a decades-long embargo that blocked Iran from forging ties with the rest of the world, the Islamic Republic flung opens its doors on 16 January 2016 – Implementation Day for the lifting of all nuclear-related sanctions. Its reintegration culminated years of diplomatic wrangling between Iran and the P5+1 group of international negotiators.

As the first global conference held in Tehran for nearly 40 years, CAPA's Iran Aviation Summit was considered a litmus test for overseas interest in the Middle East's second largest economy.

It did not disappoint...

Why American Airlines is wrong to predict long-term profits for the industry

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“What passes for optimism is most often the effect of an intellectual error.”

So wrote Raymond Aron, the French philosopher, whose 1955 book The Opium of the Intellectuals criticized the blind optimism displayed by many of his countrymen about Marxism.

In my chirpier moments I might take issue with so bleak an assertion. But experience quickly restores one’s cynicism: bull markets always overshoot; politicians always disappoint; and the airline industry always crashes to the ground after a period of historic outperformance...

Grounded Rayani Air put halal credentials ahead of business basics

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Less than four months after launching operations, Rayani Air, the Malaysian airline that pitches itself as fully Shariah-compliant, has been grounded.

Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation confirmed on Monday that the company’s Air Operator’s Certificate has temporarily been revoked while it is subjected to “a full administration and safety audit.”

Although founder Ravi Alagendrran is vowing to restore operations as soon as possible, few start-up carriers are given a second chance once their brand has been tainted by suspensions. Jitters about further flight cancellations will typically derail any prospect of a re-launch...

Friday, 1 April 2016

Interview: Abderahmane Berthé, Air Burkina CEO

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Recent years have not been kind to Celestair, the grouping of small African flag-carriers established by the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), an international agency based in Geneva.

The alliance, in truth, no longer really exists. Two of its official members have ceased operations since the turn of the decade – Air Mali in 2012 and Air Uganda in 2014 – while AKFED sold its shareholding in a third affiliate, Air Côte d'Ivoire, in 2013.

But the last member of Celestair soldiers on defiantly. Though small in size and almost unknown outside of its Ouagadougou base, Air Burkina, the flag-carrier of Burkina Faso, is holding its own in the notoriously difficult West African market...

Interview: Ben Dahwa, Air Botswana CEO

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The board of directors at Air Botswana was dissolved in November, when Transport Minister Tshenolo Mabeo pledged to reboot the flag-carrier with a "clean slate" after years of losses.

It was not the news that Ben Dahwa, the airline's general manager, had been waiting for. The former engineer was in the final stages of securing funding from the Government for his five-year turnaround plan, drawn up with help from ICF Consultants.

Dahwa had no illusions about the difficulties facing Air Botswana – a minnow in the African aviation market with a history of corrupt management and inefficient operations.

"Please do not write us off. We are intending to greatly improve," he told journalists four months before his dismissal, acknowledging the parastatal's poor reputation but promising change for the better...

Budapest bridgehead

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Emirates Airline is a step closer to launching its second nonstop passenger service from Europe to America, after officials from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Hungary expressed interest in Gulf-operated transatlantic flights out of Budapest. Although Dubai's flag-carrier focuses on sixth-freedom traffic – flights into and out of its home base – it has always been open to fifth-freedom links, which involve onward flights between foreign countries. Dubai-Milan-New York was launched in 2013, and Dubai-Budapest-New York will be the most likely prize from the Hungarian talks...