Thursday, 1 July 2021

Interview: Glenn Orsmond, Comair CEO

Full article in PDF format: page 12-13 & cover

It was only two short years ago that Comair, the privately owned South African airline, chalked up its 73rd year of uninterrupted profitability – an achievement without parallel in the airline industry.

To say that the company fell from grace in 2020 would be a dramatic understatement.

Already on-track for its first ever annual loss, Comair unexpectedly ran out of cash in May and collapsed into bankruptcy protection. Its return to the skies in December was only possible after shareholders agreed to write off 99% of their equity in the insolvent airline.

For chief executive Glenn Orsmond, there must have been a temptation to blame everything on covid-19...

Saturday, 1 May 2021

Interview: József Váradi, Wizz Air CEO

Full article in PDF format: page 19-20 & cover

As Europe’s fastest growing low-cost carrier, it should come as no surprise that Wizz Air jumped on the chance to establish a subsidiary in the United Arab Emirates.

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi launched operations this year as a joint venture between the Hungarian airline group and ADQ, Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund. It is hoping to grab a large slice of the lucrative Gulf market, which has, to date, been relatively inhospitable to low-cost carriers.

Much more surprising was the willingness of Abu Dhabi to partner with Wizz Air in the first place...

Interview: Abdelhadi Mansur, Berniq Airways General Manager

Full article in PDF format

Libya’s Berniq Airways took to the skies in March with an inaugural service from home base Benghazi to capital city Tripoli.

The new airline, which is named after Princess Berenice II of ancient Egypt, launched operations with a nine-year-old Airbus A320.

Its largest shareholder, Benghazi’s Bank of Commerce & Development, has an opaque ownership structure that includes some public-sector entities. But, with 60% of the airline in private hands, general manager Captain Abdelhadi Mansur said he has no concerns about political interference...

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

How dangerous are aircraft-engine failures?

Full article on

There are few things as bone-chilling as the thought of an aircraft engine exploding in mid-flight, particularly if you happen to be in a seat close to the fast-flying debris. Such accidents are exceedingly rare. But two incidents involving engine failures on February 20th—one affecting a passenger plane over Denver, the other a freighter over Meerssen, in the southern Netherlands—have raised worries. What causes an aircraft engine to blow up? And why are these accidents typically not as catastrophic as instinct suggests they should be...

Thursday, 28 January 2021

Why Wizz Air will be a structural winner from the coronavirus pandemic

Full article on

In December, nine months after Covid-19 swept around the world – plunging the air transport industry into its worst ever crisis – shares in European low-cost carrier Wizz Air reached an all-time high on the London Stock Exchange.

That the market shrugged off the grim outlook for airlines was no surprise: global indices have bounced back from their March lows as investors, flush with government stimulus, pile into risk assets and growth stock. Low-cost carriers are a compelling bet given their rapid expansion in recent years – fueled by insatiable passenger demand and the inferior cost structures of legacy rivals.

But Europe’s other budget airlines have not fared as well during the crisis. Shares in market leader Ryanair – more than three times the size of Wizz Air – fell short of their all-time-high by 14% during last month’s peak. Hybrid carrier EasyJet failed to come within even 50% of its highest-ever stock price.

For chief executive József Váradi, Wizz Air’s rising fortune in the midst of a global pandemic is recognition of the company’s obsessive focus on cost reduction, scalability and liquidity...