Thursday, 19 November 2015
ASKY mulls Nigerian subsidiary in lieu of cabotage rights
West Africa's ASKY Airlines will consider setting up subsidiaries in large markets such as Nigeria if progress is not made in securing cabotage rights.
"The ideal is to have countries understand [the benefits of liberalisation] and create a single African market," chief executive Henok Teferra tells Flightglobal.
"But if that does not materialise, then there are other routes we would look at ... If we are not able to overcome these restrictions we have with traffic rights, we could establish for example an ASKY Nigeria so as to tap into the domestic market."
Tuesday, 16 June 2015
El Al nearing widebody fleet renewal: CEO
Israeli flag carrier El Al is evaluating the Boeing 787-9 and the Airbus A350-900 for its upcoming widebody renewal, chief executive David Maimon tells Flightglobal.
The all-Boeing operator issued an RFP in April and has now “started the negotiations” with both manufacturers. It expects to place firm orders for at least 13 units, replacing all of the ageing 747-400s and 767-300ERs.
“We are talking about the 787-9 or 350-900,” Maimon confirms. “The first step will be only to replace the 747s. The next step will be to replace the 767s … four or five years after.”
He does not rule out breaking Boeing’s longstanding monopoly, insisting “both of them are good aircraft” and “anything is possible”.
Thursday, 26 February 2015
SAA secures R1bn savings under 90-day plan
South African Airways has secured savings of more than R1 billion ($85 million) under its 90-day action plan, acting chief executive Nico Bezuidenhout tells Flightglobal, putting the flag carrier on track for a targeted cost reduction of R1.25 billion by the end of March.
Bezuidenhout has been managing a broader turnaround strategy at the airline since November 2014, when incumbent boss Monwabisi Kalawe was suspended.
Outlining the progress made to date under the 90-day plan, the acting chief says the “biggest bulk” of the savings has come from grounding SAA’s heavily loss-making routes to Beijing and Mumbai.
Sunday, 22 February 2015
Polar sees opportunities as it adds sixth 747-8F
Polar Air Cargo Worldwide will deploy a sixth Boeing 747-8F in March ahead of plans to add one or two new scheduled destinations in 2015.
The upcoming 747-8F will be operated under an ACMI agreement with parent company Atlas Air. Its capacity will primarily be used by Polar’s minority shareholder DHL Express, although space will also be marketed to general cargo forwarders.
Polar’s pre-existing fleet of five 747-8Fs, seven 747-400Fs and two 767-300ERFs will remain in service, bringing the overall fleet size to 15.
Thursday, 10 July 2014
UIA willing to resume Crimea flights under Russian control
Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) wants to return to Crimea even if the peninsula’s airspace remains under Russian control, president Yuri Miroshnikov tells Flightglobal.
“We would resume flights as soon as this is operationally possible and legally permitted,” he confirms. “Russian control, Ukrainian control … As soon as the situation is legalised.”
UIA and most international carriers stopped flying to Crimea after Russia moved to annex the territory in February.
Moscow seized control of Simferopol's airspace during the military intervention, but ICAO later said Ukraine remains the sole legal provider of air navigation services in the peninsula. Airlines have therefore been unable to resume flights without breaching international law.
Wednesday, 11 June 2014
LAM Mozambique plans intercontinental joint venture
LAM Mozambique is looking to establish a joint venture with an unnamed widebody operator in 2015, chief executive Marlene Manave tells Flightglobal.
The collaborative effort would utilise the foreign partner’s aircraft and flight crew, along with mixed cabin crew and a co-branded livery. Its planned route network would include destinations in Europe, China and South America.
Air Uganda network expansion to focus on DRC
Air Uganda is targeting the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for a new wave of expansion over the coming five years, says chief executive Cornwell Muleya.
The airline currently deploys a fleet of three Bombardier CRJ900s to five East African countries: Burundi, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Tanzania.
Expansion into central and southern Africa will come alongside a planned order for “one or two” 50-90-seater regional jets, with frequencies on all existing routes also gradually rising to twice daily.
Tuesday, 27 August 2013
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It should come as no surprise that Transaero's new base at Moscow Vnukovo Airport – which opened just last year – has already given rise to a strategic partnership with the gateway's other home carrier, UTair Aviation. The second and third largest airlines in Russia make a good strategic fit. Transaero's predominantly widebody fleet focusses on long-haul destinations overseas and in the Russian Far East, while UTair's majority narrowbody metal is mainly put to work in the country's vast territories and eastern Europe.
But for Transaero chief executive Olga Pleshakova, who has been at the helm since 2001, there is much work to be done before the true potential of Russia's aviation market can be unlocked...
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Few airlines around the world can claim to have as diverse a fleet and range of operations as UTair Aviation. Even setting aside its numerous rotorcraft divisions – which deploy more than 350 helicopters from bases as far afield as Siberia, South Africa and India – the carrier's fixed-wing businesses encompass a dizzying array of aircraft, comprising Boeing, Airbus, ATR, Bombardier, Tupolev, Antonov, Yakovlev, LET and Gulfstream types.
Alongside the mainline UTair Aviation fleet, the group's operations centre on regional divisions UTair Express and Katekavia; freight specialist UTair Cargo; and UTair Ukraine. Fleet homogeneity will never be a goal for the airline – its subsidiaries contend with a multitude of different airports, climates and operating environments – but chief financial officer Igor Petrov insists that work is under way to streamline the fleet...
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The opening of Mocow Vnukovo Airport's Terminal A in December 2012 was the latest, and perhaps most significant milestone in the gateway's 2015 Master Plan. The new domestic and international terminal has total floor space of 270,000 sq m, comprising 52 boarding gates and 31 contact stands. Three of the jetways are configured for the Boeing 747 – favoured by home carrier Transaero – including one which can also handle the Airbus A380.
Together with Terminal B, which caters for international charter and low-cost flights, the Vnukovo-1 mainline terminal cluster has a total capacity of 15 million passengers per year. That is comfortably above the 9.7 million customers it served in 2012, but Vnukovo chairman Vitaly Vantsev says further expansion is on the horizon. "Over the next five to ten years, we expect to have throughput capacity of about 20 million passengers per year," he predicts....
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The largest airline in Russia by every metric, Aeroflot has the most to gain or lose from changing fortunes in the country's aviation industry. The flag carrier has consciously put itself at the forefront of all sectors – acquiring regional subsidiaries, planning a low-cost offshoot, and championing Russian-made aircraft. It is a strategy that could pay off handsomely, but also exposes the state-owned airline to heavy downside risk.
The decision to acquire controlling stakes in six regional operators in 2010 – Rossiya, Orenair, Kavminvodyavia, Saravia, Vladivostok Avia and SAT Airlines – brought Aeroflot's domestic market share above 33%. Kavminvodyavia has since been closed, while Saravia was re-sold in 2011. Vladivostok Avia and SAT Airlines are now being merged under a new brand for the Russian Far East. Aeroflot also owns Donavia, which serves southern Russia from its base in Rostov-on-Don...
Wednesday, 3 July 2013
Comair to switch 737 options to Max
Comair is likely to renegotiate at least some of its eight Boeing 737-800 options into Max commitments, says chief executive Erik Venter says, as the airline begins planning for its next tranche of deliveries.
The carrier - which operates the British Airways and Kulula brands in South Africa - has a fleet of nine -800s, 10 -400s and seven -300s.
Thursday, 30 May 2013
FlyGeorgia targets London route launch this year
FlyGeorgia is hopeful of launching flights to London as soon as this autumn, with either Luton or Stansted airport seen as the optimal UK gateway for the Georgian start-up carrier.
"We were planning for this summer, which didn't happen, so we have to postpone it until September onwards," chief executive Bijan Mougouee tells Flightglobal.
Friday, 24 May 2013
Budapest's new role in the shadow of Malev
Budapest Ferenc Liszt International airport lost almost 40% of its traffic overnight on 3 February 2012, when flag carrier Malev Hungarian Airlines succumbed to its growing debt pile and ceased operations. One year later, despite a high-profile spat with second-largest customer Ryanair, the Hungarian capital's airport has stemmed the decline in annual footfall to a mere 5%.
Describing that modest drop as a "fantastic outcome", Kam Jandu, Budapest airport's executive director of aviation, now expects flat passenger numbers of 8.5 million for 2013. He then forecasts an annual compound growth rate of 4% from next year onwards, targeting 10 million passengers by 2017.
Without a national carrier to provide feeder traffic, however, the airport has been forced to shift away from its former hub-and-spoke model. Instead, it is experimenting with what Wizz Air chief executive József Váradi describes as a "new paradigm" for the beleaguered European aviation market.
Thursday, 16 May 2013
Wizz Air to double operations outside Europe by 2015
Wizz Air expects to double its operational presence outside of Europe over the next 12 to 18 months, chief executive József Váradi said in a media briefing at the Routes Europe conference in Budapest this week.
The Hungarian low-cost carrier (LCC) has spread its reach beyond European borders during the past year, announcing new services to Kutaisi in Georgia, Baku in Azerbaijan, Tel Aviv in Israel and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
It also operates subsidiary Wizz Air Ukraine at Kiev Zhuliany airport, where it has based three Airbus A320s.
Thursday, 2 May 2013
Fastjet to launch in South Africa with wet-leased 737
Fastjet will enter the domestic South African market on 30 May with a Boeing 737-300 wet-leased from Star Air Cargo, division chief executive Kyle Haywood says, though no final decision has been taken about the future fleet.
The 1994-build aircraft (MSN 27346) is subject to a rolling six-month lease. It was formerly operated by defunct South African carrier Velvet Sky, according to Flightglobal's Ascend Online database.
Friday, 19 April 2013
Air Baltic confirms preliminary talks with Japanese carriers
Latvia's government sent a delegation to Japan in April to discuss possible investment in flag carrier Air Baltic, chief executive Martin Gauss tells Flightglobal.
Talks were held between Latvian officials and Japan's two largest carriers - Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA) - though Gauss stresses that they were "preliminary discussions" and no decisions have been taken.
State-owned Air Baltic last year said early-stage talks had also been held with unspecified parties in the Persian Gulf and China.
Thursday, 21 March 2013
Gulf Air's decision to withdraw another six aircraft from service - four Airbus A330s and two A319s - has brought the Bahraini flag carrier to its targeted fleet size of 26 aircraft. Further changes are assured, with management setting out a requirement for up to 16 Boeing 787s and 24 A320s. But continuous board changes and lukewarm political support mean that few concrete details have emerged about the airline's restructuring plan.
One certainty is that both the fleet and the route network will continue to shrink, as Gulf Air cedes market share to its dominant neighbours in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. The airline completed its retirement of two Embraer 190s in January, having previously placed four A340s and two A321s in storage. The fleet now comprises 16 A320s, six A330s and four A321s.
Tuesday, 12 March 2013
Iraqi Airways route expansion to focus on Europe, China
Iraqi Airways director general Saad Al-Khafaji has outlined details of the flag carrier's upcoming network expansion, which has been made possible by its reconciliation with Kuwait Airways.
Flights to Frankfurt will get underway in about a fortnight, he says, while Copenhagen and Amsterdam are being targeted shortly after. In Asia, the airline has its sights set on Kuala Lumpur, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Bangkok.
Washington and New York could also be added soon, says Al-Khafaji. He credits the US embassy in Baghdad with "helping to speed up the process" of launching flights to America.
Tuesday, 5 February 2013
Synergy still front-runner for TAP privatisation: Pinto
TAP Portugal chief executive Fernando Pinto says he is confident that Synergy Group, the parent of Avianca-Taca, will resubmit its bid for the Portuguese flag carrier when the privatisation process resumes. But he adds that British Airways parent IAG "might" also rekindle its interest now the Eurozone crisis has abated.
The Portuguese government rejected Synergy's bid in December 2012, citing concerns about financial guarantees. The Brazilian conglomerate had been the sole bidder, after IAG and Lufthansa withdrew their early expressions of interest.
Pinto says that in principle the government had accepted Synergy's offer - comprising a down payment of €35 million ($47.5 million) plus a €315 million investment - but that "fine details on the actual paperwork" had ultimately scuppered the deal. "It was a matter of timing, and a matter of having the correct paperwork," he explains.