Thursday, 17 November 2016

Turkey losing the power of flight

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Until recently, the worst thing about transiting through Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport was the heaving throng of passengers crammed into its over-stretched terminals and under-staffed security lines. It was also the best thing. Witnessed from the sanctuary of a barstool with time on your side, the endless haze of Nigerians, Swedes and Pakistanis dancing around one another creates the most sublime of spectacles. It is a modernist dream that quickly becomes a nightmare, of course, when you join the scrum yourself. Yet the appeal of the global hub endures for all but the most battle-worn and hardened of business travellers...

Iraqi Airways taps German expertise in bid to overturn EU blacklisting

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The Iraqi Transport Ministry has signed a long-term agreement with Lufthansa Consulting, the consultancy division of Germany’s flag-carrier, in an effort to restructure Iraqi Airways after its ignominious blacklisting from European airspace.

Lufthansa Consulting announced the “long-term strategic advisory and implementation project” last week, pledging to make Iraqi Airways a “leading carrier in the Middle East” while also improving oversight capabilities at the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA), the country’s aviation regulator.

The European Commission banned Iraqi Airways from entering its airspace in December 2015, after Brussels identified “unaddressed safety concerns” about both the airline and its regulator...

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Trump presidency spells bad news for fast-expanding Gulf carriers

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Having pledged to build a wall on the Mexican border, repeal Obamacare, tear up the Iran nuclear deal, and “bomb the hell out of ISIS”, Donald Trump is unlikely to treat civil aviation as an urgent priority when he becomes the 45th US President next year.

However, presuming the Republican’s protectionist rhetoric was not mere bluster, there is little doubt that a Trump administration will soon take aim at the Middle East’s three super-connector airlines.

Dubai’s Emirates Airline, Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways have been in the crosshairs of US aviation groups since January 2015, when lobbyists presented Barack Obama’s administration with evidence of state subsidies totalling $42 billion...

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Green skies ahead?

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Depending on whom you listen to, the carbon offsetting deal struck at the 39th Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in October was either an “historic” act of environmental altruism by the aviation industry, or a shameful attempt to “evade responsibility” for the damage caused by flying.

Dubbed the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), the accord will see countries responsible for the majority of cross-border emissions offsetting their pollution above a predetermined level. States will achieve this by investing in United Nations-approved projects that remove greenhouse gases from the environment, or otherwise mitigate global warming. If fully enacted alongside the Paris Agreement – another UN-brokered deal that covers domestic flying – CORSIA should deliver the industry’s all-important goal of carbon-neutral growth from 2020 onwards.

The need for airlines to play their part in tackling climate change is disputed by almost no-one...

Interview: Abdelhamid Addou, Royal Air Maroc CEO

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When King Mohammed VI appointed Abdelhamid Addou as chairman and chief executive of Royal Air Maroc in February, he fired the starting gun for a new era of growth at the flag-carrier after five tough years of restructuring.

The exact nature of that growth has not yet been finalised – management are promising to unveil a new vision in early 2017 – but, as Casablanca prepares to host the 49th annual meeting of the Arab Air Carriers’ Organisation in November, it is clear that Morocco’s flag-carrier is once again in the ascendance.

“The idea today is based on the new health of the company,” Addou told Arabian Aerospace during an interview at Casablanca’s old Anfa Airport, where the flag-carrier is headquartered...

Somalia's image problem

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News that Somalia’s presidential and legislative elections have been postponed until November came as no surprise to critics of the country’s fledgling government. Twenty five years after the outbreak of civil war, Somalia remains one of the most lawless and unregulated places on the planet. Holding elections in the fractured country was always going to be a messy affair, even with clan elders casting votes on behalf of their communities.

The shaky progress so far made towards normalisation of the political and economic landscape was underscored in a recent article by The Economist, entitled “Most-failed state”, which painted a depressing picture of a nation unable to find its feet and succumbing to an ever-deteriorating security climate.

Yet while the shadow cast by Al Shabaab, the Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group, looms large over daily life in the country, Somalis at home and abroad are beginning to challenge the nihilistic narrative that dominates media coverage of their struggle. Angered by what they saw as one-sided, sensationalist reporting in The Economist, Twitter users jumped on the hashtag #CorrectingTheEconomist to highlight Somalia’s slow but steady progress in recent years...