Friday, 8 July 2016

Royal Brunei downplays Sharia label in bid to attract westerners

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Royal Brunei Airlines is not marketing itself as a “halal airline,” its chief executive tells Al Arabiya, as the flag-carrier wants to appeal to a mixture of both Muslim and non-Muslim customers.

“We would not describe ourselves as a Sharia-compliant airline or otherwise,” Karam Chand insists. “We don’t see it that way. Royal Brunei just reflects the Muslim ethos of Brunei. The food is in the halal tradition, and in the whole country that’s the way it is done. In our ASEAN network a lot of our customers are Muslim, so it’s a natural fit...

Friday, 1 July 2016

Interview: Arif Wibowo, Garuda Indonesia CEO

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page 40/41 & page 42

Garuda Indonesia opened a new chapter in its history in December 2014, when Arif Wibowo took over the reins from Emirsyah Satar following the completion of his five-year Quantum Leap programme.

To say that Satar had big shoes to fill does little justice to the scale of his legacy – transforming Garuda from a little-know flag-carrier with a patchy safety reputation into one of only eight SkyTrax 5-star airlines on the planet.

As well as overhauling Garuda’s on-board product and brand, Satar led a successful IPO in 2011 that de-fanged government interference and boosted transparency at the flag-carrier. The strong commercial foundation he built soon became a springboard for international growth, narrowing the gap between Garuda and its larger rivals in Southeast Asia.

Yet for Wibowo, who formerly headed up low-cost subsidiary Citilink, Quantum Leap has created challenges as well as opportunities – exposing Garuda to the same supply-side risks that are decimating fortunes elsewhere in Asia...

Interview: Peter Hill, TAAG Angola CEO

Full article in PDF format: page 24/25 & cover

In December 2011, shortly before he stepped down as chief executive of Oman Air, I asked Peter Hill if he was hanging up his coat for the last time in the aviation business.

“I think so,” sighed the industry veteran, who started his career at British Overseas Airways Corporation before spearheading the Gulf aviation boom as a founding member of Dubai’s Emirates Airline, and latterly steering the flag-carriers of Sri Lanka and Oman. “Fifty years in the business is long enough for anybody.”

So he thought at the time.

Within six months of retiring, Hill began receiving phone calls about “small projects” here and there in the travel industry. His willingness to take the commissions soon caught the attention of friend and former colleague Tim Clark, the president of Emirates...

Interview: Jean Paul Nana Sandjo, Camair-Co CEO

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Camair-Co launched operations in 2011 as a successor to Cameroon Airlines, the central African country's historic flag-carrier, which was dogged by financial losses and safety shortcomings during its 37-year history.

Following a pattern that has been repeated by governments across the continent, Cameroon liquidated its old flag-carrier in 2008 before starting again with a clean slate and a new brand. President Paul Biya, who has been in office since 1982, resurrected the parastatal with start-up capital of 100 million CFA francs ($170,000).

Whereas Air France had helped launch the first flag-carrier, Germany's Lufthansa stepped in to provide technical and consultancy assistance to Camair-Co.

To date, however, there is little to suggest that the new company is facing any less turbulence than its forbearer...

Interview: Joao Pereira da Silva, TACV CEO

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On paper, Cape Verde would seem to be the ideal place to invest a national carrier.

The volcanic archipelago consists of ten islands located 570km off the west African coast, making air travel the only viable means of getting from one part of the country to another.

Cape Verde's picturesque beaches also serve as a magnet for foreign tourists – half a million of whom visit the island nation each year, typically taking a short flight from western Europe. Travel and tourism currently accounts for 15% of GDP and should grow its share to nearly 19% by 2025, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.

Throw in the fact that most Cape Verdeans live abroad – guaranteeing a steady flow of VFR (Visiting Friends and Relatives) traffic – and it is hard to imagine TACV Cabo Verde Airlines, the country's flag-carrier, performing badly...

Interview: Nathalie Stubler, Transavia France CEO

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Even by the standards of France's pugnacious trade unions, the mobbing of senior Air France executives near Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport in October 2015 was an appalling incident.

News channels around the globe broadcast images of two senior managers scrambling over fences – their shirts literally torn off their backs by enraged workers who had come to protest against plans for 2,900 redundancies at the flag-carrier. Five Air France employees and two police officers were wounded in the clashes.

Though unprecedented for their violence, the ugly scenes were just the latest in a string of tense face-offs at the French flag-carrier...

Ryanair all grown up

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Ryanair is now in the third year of its 'Always Getting Better' programme – a corporate makeover designed to rehabilitate its toxic reputation for customer service.

It was back in September 2013 that chief executive Michael O'Leary finally acknowledged the need for change at Europe's most uncompromising low-cost carrier (LCC). His commitment to no longer "unnecessarily piss people off" came after Ryanair suffered its first profit warning in a decade, prompting angry shareholders to revolt against the airline's harsh treatment of passengers.

"I have seen people crying at boarding gates," one shareholder complained at the time. "There is simply something wrong there that needs to be addressed...