Sunday, 15 June 2014

UP, UP and away

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Last year’s signing of a controversial Open Skies treaty between Israel and Europe may have been good news for passengers, but among local operators it immediately raised fears of a rapid influx of foreign low-cost competitors.

Mindful of the potential for losing market share, Israeli flag carrier El Al in March began operations under a new low-cost brand, UP. The offshoot launched with a fleet of five re-painted Boeing 737-800s, taking over from the mainline unit on flights to Berlin, Budapest, Prague, Kiev and Larnaca...

Interview: Dimitrios Gerogiannis, Aegean Airlines Managing Director

Full article in JPG format: page 18/19, page 20, page 22/23 & cover

With economic confidence growing across Europe, it is easy to forget that just two years ago the continent was mired in a full-blown financial crisis. Unemployment and long-term government bond rates had surged to historic highs, raising the spectre of an imminent Eurozone break-up.

No country was worse affected than Greece, whose bankrupt economy needed a €110 billion ($146 billion) bail-out to stay afloat. As a condition for its support, Brussels forced Athens to implement severe austerity measures that sent Greeks spilling onto the streets in protest. Five people died and hundreds were injured in the ensuing riots – broadcast around the world on 24-hour news channels.

The impact on the country’s aviation sector was devastating. International visitor numbers slumped 5.5% in 2012 to 15.5 million. Those who did come expected heavily discounted airfares, pushing down passenger yields for Greece’s struggling carriers...

Do not disturb

Full article in JPG format:
page 56/57 & page 58

For an industry forecasting average compound annual growth rates of 5.4% until 2017, balancing the benefits of enhanced global connectivity with the needs of people living under flightpaths has never been more urgent.

Supporters of airport expansion often point out that modern aircraft are 75% quieter today than their forbearers were 50 years ago.

But reducing noise at its manufacturing source is just one of four ways ICAO seeks to mitigate noise pollution for local residents. And according to Thomas Roetger, IATA’s Assistant Director, Aviation Environment Technology, the scope for OEM-led improvements is declining each year...

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Interview: Marlene Manave, LAM Mozambique CEO

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.

Interview: Cornwell Muleya, Air Uganda CEO

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, 3 June 2014

Aegean stable

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Holidaymakers will have been forgiven for steering clear of Athens at the height of the euro-zone crisis, when anti-austerity protests turned violent across the Greek capital. Footfall at Athens International Airport fell from 16.2m in 2009 to 12.9m in 2012. The foreign exodus was compounded by weak domestic demand, which slumped 26% as Greeks tightened their belts. The September 2009 launch of Olympic Air, a re-privatised version of Greece’s flag carrier, could not have been timed worse. Within months the carrier, which flies mostly domestic routes, tried to merge with Aegean Airlines, the country’s main international operator, as its only means of survival. European competition regulators threw out its proposal...

Boeing to benefit if US sanctions lifted on Iran

Iran Air would place orders for either the Boeing 777 or the 787 Dreamliner if US sanctions were lifted permanently, chairman Farhad Parvaresh has told Arabian Aerospace.

"If the doors are opened and we can order, we should decide between 777 and Dreamliner," he said on the sidelines of the IATA AGM in Doha. "The 777 would be a good aircraft for us, as it is for some of our neighbours [in the Persian Gulf]."

The 747-8 will also be evaluated, although fuel consumption by the four-engine aircraft raises questions about its commercial suitability.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Interview: Abdulhakim Fares, Afriqiyah Airways Chairman

Afriqiyah shelves Libyan merger amid upsurge in violence

Afriqiyah Airways and Libyan Airlines have suspended plans for a merger as the two flag carriers' home market struggles to contain a simmering civil war.

"We are not working on this [merger] right now," Afriqiyah chairman Abdulhakim Fares said on the sidelines of the IATA AGM in Doha. "We are working together as friends, not competing. They [Afriqiyah and Libyan] may stay separate for some time."

Asked if the two companies – both subsidiaries of Libyan Afriqiyah Aviation Holding Company – will be merged by the end of the decade, Fares responded: "It's impossible to say."

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Composite repair challenge

Full article in JPG format:
page 23, page 24/25 & page 26

When footage of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787 on fire at London Heathrow Airport was broadcast around the world in July 2013, the industry braced itself for another potential setback to the Dreamliner programme.

The global 787 fleet had already been grounded for three months following a series of electrical fires caused by on-board lithium-ion batteries.

With the Ethiopian blaze breaking out in the upper aft fuselage of the stationary aircraft – well away from the main and APU batteries – it was clear that Boeing had a new problem on its hands. Britain’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch quickly placed the blame on an incorrectly installed battery within the aircraft’s Emergency Locator Transmitter, allowing the industry to breathe a collective sigh of relief...

Trouble Down Under for Emirates?

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page 24/25 & page 26

Holding your cards close to your chest is a wise strategy when negotiating commercial partnerships. So it should come as no surprise that Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Emirates Airline, appears to have rebuffed Andrew Robb, Australia’s Minister for Trade and Investment, during his recent visit to Dubai.

Robb had met with Shaikh Ahmed, begging bowl in hand, after declaring to Al Arabiya News that he “will explicitly mention” the subject of an equity investment in Qantas. The Australian flag carrier has had an entrenched commercial partnership with Emirates, Dubai’s flag carrier, since last year. The statement was a bold move by the minister, especially given the repeated asseverations by Emirates’ senior management team – also including president Tim Clark – that Dubai has absolutely no intention of pumping cash into its Australian affiliate...