Monday, 21 September 2015

Modi's bumbling aviation boom

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India is the fastest-growing aviation market on the planet, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), an industry trade group. No thanks to government. Having been elected last year on a pro-business reformist ticket, Narendra Modi, the prime minister, is back-pedalling on his administration's pledge to modernise the sector. After 15 months in power, opined one columnist, "reforms have moved at a pace it takes … to travel from Delhi to Hyderabad by foot, rather than by an airplane."...

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Security matters

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Given that nine of the world's 20 fastest growing economies are in Africa, it is hardly surprising that IATA predicts sustained annual growth of 5% for African airlines over the coming two decades.

The industry group's forecast may even be conservative. A separate report by Intervistas, an economic consultant, estimates that intra-African liberalisation in just 12 countries would rapidly unlock latent demand for 5 million new passenger journeys a year, more than doubling traffic in heavily protected markets like Angola and Algeria.

Yet rosy forecasts have been made about the continent before – and have generally been proven wrong...

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Iran plays catch-up in Gulf aviation boom

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The opening of a new air corridor between two neighboring countries rarely captures the attention of the world’s media. But when Emirates Airline launched flights from Dubai to Mashhad on 1 September, everyone knew the UAE flag-carrier was thinking about much more than its own bilateral links with Iran.

Air traffic between the two countries has been rising since long before July’s landmark nuclear agreement – a deal that promises to roll back decades of sanctions isolating the Iranian economy – and it’s not just UAE businesspeople and freight riding the wave...

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Interview: Stein Nilsen, Widerøe CEO

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For an industry as financially perilous as the regional airline business, few operators can ever expect to match the track-record of Norway's Widerøe.

The 81-year-old regional carrier, Scandinavia's largest, has been consistently profitable for more than a decade – staying in the black through the September 11th 2001 attacks on America, the 2007 global financial downturn, and even the 2009 Eurozone debt crisis.

Newly appointed chief executive Stein Nilsen attributes its success to a mixture of timeworn expertise and high barriers to entry in the Norwegian marketplace...

Interview: Maunu Visuri, Nordic Regional Airlines CEO

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Flybe Finland was guaranteed a name-change this year following the departure of founding shareholder Flybe, but beyond rebranding the company as Nordic Regional Airlines – or NORRA for short – few strategic decisions have been taken by the Finnish regional carrier.

Managing director Maunu Visuri makes no bones about the uncertainty surrounding the company's future. Indeed, it is precisely this precarious state of affairs that motivated the new branding.

"We selected it because it actually works whatever we decide to do as an airline," Visuri tells Low Cost & Regional Airline Business. "Obviously we had to get away from the Flybe brand. We're Nordic, and we're regional, and we're an airline – so it works quite well!"...

Interview: Christopher Luxon, Air New Zealand CEO

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page 18/19, page 20 & cover

During his time in the Chicago office of Unilever, Christopher Luxon helped the consumer goods giant burn its way through "easily half a billion dollars" a year on US advertising and promotion.

His subsequent appointment as the chief executive of Air New Zealand in January 2013 came with a rather more modest budget, but what the flag-carrier lacks in spending power it easily makes up for in zany brand initiatives and out-of-the-box guerrilla campaigns.

"Marketing gets us punching above our weight and gets us being talked about. It positions our brand as something different," Luxon tells Asian Aviation...

Iraqi Airways cold shouldered by Europe

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Customers of Iraqi Airways were left stranded across Europe in August after the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) rejected its request for a new operating permit on safety grounds. Despite being notified of the decision on 16 July, the flag-carrier did not inform its passengers and instead waited for national regulators to revoke their licences one-by-one over the following weeks.

With all pre-existing permits now nullified, Iraqi Airways is banned from deploying its own aircraft to the 28 member states of the European Union (EU) plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland...

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Cecil the lion: Airlines lighten their load

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Walter Palmer probably hollered with excitement when he pulled the trigger that killed Cecil, a 13-year-old Zimbabwean lion. A dentist from Minnesota, Dr Palmer is one the estimated 15,000 American tourists who visit Africa on hunting safaris each year. Their numbers may dwindle in 2016. Cecil, it turns out, was an illegal kill. His execution prompted a groundswell of revulsion around the globe, forcing Dr Palmer into hiding and reigniting the debate over trophy hunting. If social media voices are anything to go by, people don't much like the thought of rich whites travelling to Africa to kill things—licence or not. America's airlines, which have facilitated the trade for decades by allowing hunters to ship their trophies home, are taking note...

BA's throwaway runway

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Gulliver had to do a double take on Friday after reading that Willie Walsh, the chief executive of IAG, the group that owns British Airways, now opposes expanding Heathrow Airport in London. "We did not ask for it and we do not want it," he said of the hub's proposed third runway (see map), which was endorsed by the Airports Commission this summer. Funny that, given that Mr Walsh last year told the Independent: "The case was already being made before I joined BA in 2005, but a lot of my time [as chief executive of the airline] was spent arguing for a third runway...

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Clear skies ahead for Iranian aviation

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"This is the end of 'Death to America'," gushed one Tehran-based analyst as he joined the throngs of Iranians celebrating in the streets of their capital city. Following 20 months of negotiations, and 36 years of diplomatic acrimony, Iran and six global powers put their differences behind them on the 14 July with the announcement of a landmark nuclear agreement. Though the talks centred on curtailing Iran's uranium-enrichment programme, their success promised so much more: a geopolitical re-birth for an international pariah state; a social awakening for 77 million Iranians; a commercial revolution for their $420-billion economy.

Jubilation on the Iranian street was tempered by more cautious reactions in the business community...