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    Authority criticises crew after An-24 lands short

    Investigation into the Pskovavia runway excursion at Moscow Domodedovo comes just three weeks after an Polar AirlinesAntonov An-24 was damaged as it landed short at Yakutsk.

    The aircraft (RA-46834) had touched down on runway 23R at night in fog – which reduced visibility to 400m (1,300ft) – following a regional flight from Batagay on 3 January.

    Federal aviation authority Rosaviatsia states that the landing took place at 18:59 but a subsequent airport inspection, at 20:35, found damage to approach lights some 170m before the threshold.

    The inspection also turned up evidence from the aircraft’s main landing-gear in the same area. Rosaviatsia says the crew failed to report the incident, against regulations, pointing out that debris from the damaged aircraft and lighting could have posed a threat to other air traffic.

    Nineteen passengers and four crew members were on board the aircraft. Rosaviatsia says the An-24’s captain had logged 14,400h including 12,800h on the twin-engined type.

  • Savoia
    Repatriation and Medical Flights During COVID-19

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  • Savoia
    Airline Update

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  • Savoia
    How the Virus is Affecting the Airlines

    BAe 146 RJ85's of Braathens Regional Airlines parked at Norwich Horsham St. Faith on 18th March 2020 (Photo by Graham Reeve)

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  • Aviafora Newsdesk
    Boeing 777X First Flight

    Boeing 777X at Paine Field, Everett, Washington State on 25th January 2020

    Boeing performed the maiden flight of its 777X on 25th January at Paine Field, Everett in Washington State. The take-off occurred at 10:09 local time.

    The 777X is the first airliner to be fitted with folding winglets.

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  • Aviafora Newsdesk
    Government Documents Warn Only "A Matter of Time" Until Airliner is Hacked

    US government documents warn that it is only “a matter of time” until a commercial airliner is hacked.

    The documents, obtained by Motherboard’s Joseph Cox, detail the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) research into aircraft vulnerabilities.

    A 2017 risk summary and report prepared for the Aviation Cyber Initiative Research and Development (ACI R&D) program concludes “early testing indicates that viable attack vectors exist that could impact flight operations.”

    The summary also raises concern over the possibility that the airline industry could choose to ignore any findings over fears of negative impact.

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  • Aviafora Newsdesk
    Airbus A350 Max Performance Take-Off

    Taken during Farnborough Airshow

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  • Aviafora Newsdesk
    Virgin Signs Up to Boom Jet

    Sir Richard Branson is set to order 10 supersonic jets, which the manufacturer claims will herald a new era of 'affordable' supersonic travel.

    The airline tycoon has confirmed that Virgin has options to buy 10 of the recently revealed supersonic Boom jets, which will be capable of flying at 1,451mph - about 100mph faster than Concorde - and reaching New York from London in three and a half hours.

    Boom Technologies proposed supersonic miniliner

    The Boom jet is being built by former Amazon executive Blake Scholl, who is putting a prototype of Boom together in a Colorado aircraft hangar.

    "Richard has long expressed interest in developing high speed flight and building high-speed flight R&D through Virgin Galactic and our manufacturing organization, The Spaceship Company. We can confirm that The Spaceship Company will provide engineering, design and manufacturing services, flight tests and operations and that we have an option on the first 10 airframes. It is still early days and just the start of what you'll hear about our shared ambitions and efforts. We're thrilled to be working with Virgin. It's hard to imagine a better partner for bringing supersonics to market." said Scholl.

    When created Boom will have 40 seats - with a ticket costing $5,000 (£3,540).

    According to the simulations, Boom's design is quieter and 30 percent more efficient than the Concorde. It will be split into two single-seat rows, so everybody has a window and an aisle. To reduce weight, the seats are of the standard domestic first-class variety, so no lay-down beds. To cut flight time, Boom's plane will cruise at 60,000 feet, where passengers will be able to see the curvature of the earth, while going 2.6 times faster than other passenger planes.

    Scholl said about 500 routes fit the craft's market, including a five-hour trip from San Francisco to Tokyo and a six-hour flight from Los Angeles to Sydney.

    "Boom was founded on the philosophy that we need to overcome the challenges to supersonic passenger flight, not surrender to them," the firm says.

    The firm hopes London to New York could be one of its most popular routes, with a 3.6 hour saving on a normal flight.

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  • Aviafora Newsdesk

    Qantas slashes 5,000 jobs after posting losses

    Qantas has announced that it will slash 5,000 jobs, defer aircraft deliveries and slow the growth of its Jetstar businesses in Asia after revealing a A$252 million ($226 million) underlying loss before tax for the first half of the 2014 financial year.

    The loss came as revenue slipped 4% to A$7.9 billion, while expenses increased by 2% to A$8 billion.

    Qantas blamed the fall in revenue on massive capacity growth in both its international and domestic markets, as well as lower demand caused by the slowing of the Australian economy.

    “It’s clear that the market Qantas operates in has changed, with structural economic shifts exacerbated by an uneven playing field in Australian aviation policy,” said chief executive Alan Joyce.

    By segment, Qantas Domestic saw its underlying earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) fall from A$218 million for the first half of 2013 to A$57 million, which it largely blamed on competitor Virgin Australia’s capacity growth in the market.

    The airline’s international business saw its underlying EBIT loss jump from from A$91 million in the previous corresponding period to A$262 million.

    For the first time, the Jetstar group reported an underlying EBIT loss of A$16 million, compared to a A$128 million profit over the same last year. Qantas says that competitive pressures, particularly in Southeast Asia, and a A$29 million share of losses from its Asian associates dragged down the result, although Jetstar’s domestic business remained profitable.

    Qantas Loyalty continued its underlying EBIT growth trajectory, increasing earnings by A$9 million to A$146 million.

    The airline’s freight operations saw underlying EBIT halve to A$11 million as global weakness in air cargo markets took its toll.

    In response to the losses, Qantas will undertake a A$2 billion cost cutting programme, which will result in the loss of 5,000 jobs at the carrier by the 2017 financial year. The airline will also retire and defer deliveries of 50 aircraft, which will affect deliveries of Boeing 787-8s for Jetstar and its final eight Airbus A380s.

    Qantas says that it will also suspend the growth of Singapore based Jetstar Asia, but will continue to support its investments in Jetstar Japan and Jetstar Hong Kong.

    The carrier has also agreed to sell the lease on its Brisbane terminal to Brisbane Airport Corporation for A$114 million, and will also look to sell its Melbourne and Sydney terminals.

    Qantas also left the door open for further asset sales as it continues to review its portfolio, and says it will “update the market as and when required.”

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  • Aviafora Newsdesk

    Scandinavian Airlines improves its inflight food service with two new levels

    Scandinavian Airlines-SAS (Stockholm) is improving its inflight food service and has issued this translated statement today.

    As a part of the continuous development of SAS’ service concept, SAS has developed the onboard food and beverage offering to improve the customer experience. The adjustments follow a broad customer survey and are introduced from beginning of March.

    The first changes to the onboard concept come into effect on March 1 and again on March 20. The improvements of meals are ongoing.

    Facts about improvements and adjustments:

    - SAS has determined to improve onboard food experience

    - SAS customers have indicated they prefer proper meals on longer flights and snacks and beverages on shorter flights

    - SAS will reduce the number of menu variants and introduce a clearer variety of options

    - SAS Plus will include a new evening meal and drinks

    - Warm bread will be served with meals

    The dining experience will be enhanced on intercontinental flights for SAS Go & Plus and Business.

    All meals will be subject to enhanced presentation with improved and new design and packaging.

    Along with other treats, pre-departure champagne will be re-introduced in Business. SAS Go includes pre-departure water and one non-alcoholic drink together with meals. Alcoholic beverages are included in SAS Business and Plus, and are for sale in SAS Go.

    SAS clarifies the difference between SAS Go and Plus:

    SAS Plus includes everything, also food and drinks onboard, and with SAS Go food and drinks are for purchase.

    Breakfast included in SAS Plus and available for purchase in SAS Go. It is possible to buy breakfast with EuroBonus points.

    Coffee, tea and newspaper are as always included for all SAS passengers.
    Last edited by Aviafora Newsdesk; 1st March 2014, 11:53.

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  • Aviafora Newsdesk
    India's Air Costa Places a Firm Order for 50 E-Jets E2s

    Singapore, February 13, 2014Embraer S.A. has signed a definitive agreement with India’s Air Costa for a firm order for 50 E-Jets E2s with an additional 50 purchase rights. The acquisition is a mix of 25 E190-E2s and 25 E195-E2s and has an estimated value of USD 2.94 billion based on 2014 list prices.

    The purchase rights are for an additional 25 E190-E2s and 25 E195-E2s, bringing the total potential order to up to 100 aircraft and can reach USD 5.88 billion if all are exercised. This transaction raises the total E-Jets E2 orders to 200 firm and 200 options/purchase rights since the launch of the E2 program, in June 2013.
    More ..

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  • Aviafora Newsdesk
    Norwegian acquires four new 787-9 Dreamliners

    Norwegian has signed an agreement to acquire four new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.

    This means that the company has ordered 14 wide-body aircraft in total; three of which are already in service. The 787-9 is larger than the 787-8 that Norwegian currently operates on its long-haul routes.

    Norwegian continues to expand its international operations by entering into an agreement with International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) to lease four Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. The new Dreamliners are expected to enter service in 2017 and 2018.

    Norwegian currently has three 787-8 Dreamliners in its fleet, with an additional five on order. The company also has two 787-9 Dreamliners on order for delivery in the first quarter of 2016. In total, Norwegian has ordered a fleet of 14 long-haul aircraft, where of four will enter service in 2014; one in 2015; two in 2016; two in 2017 and two in 2018.

    “In order to run a competitive long-haul operation, we are dependent on brand new, cost-efficient aircraft. I´m very satisfied to have secured an additional four 787-9 Dreamliners. This is a great airplane with high passenger comfort, long range and low fuel burn,” said Norwegian’s CEO Bjørn Kjos.

    The 787-9 Dreamliner accommodates more passengers, is even more fuel efficient and more environmentally friendly than the 787-8. Boeing has performed several successful test flights with this aircraft type, which is scheduled to enter commercial service this year.

    Norwegian and ILFC already have an extended partnership as the latter owns several of the aircraft in Norwegian’s fleet, both Boeing 737-800s and 787-8 Dreamliners.

    Facts about Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner:
    • Accommodates up to 20 % more passengers than the 787-8 Dreamliner
    • 6 meters (20 feet) longer than the 787-8
    • Relatively lighter than the 787-8, making it even more efficient
    • Significantly increased cargo capacity compared to the 787-8
    • 8 % lower fuel consumption per seat than today’s model, which also means lower emissions
    • Can fly longer than the 787-8 (depending on cabin configuration)

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  • Aviafora Newsdesk
    February Winds in Britain

    A FlyBe Dash 8 trying to land at the UK's Manchester Airport during gale-force winds on 11th February 2014

    An Aer Lingus ATR72 commuter is crippled at Shannon Airport after being lifted off the ground by 93 mph winds on 11th February 2014

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  • Aviafora Newsdesk
    BA to commence A380 flights to South Africa

    British Airways will begin operating A380's between London and Johannesburg from next week starting Wednesday 12 February

    This is only the third A380 route to be confirmed after Los Angeles and Hong Kong. Initially the aircraft will operate three times a week, with the other 11 Boeing 747-400 weekly frequencies. The A380 service will increase to six weekly services by 6 March, resulting in a net capacity increase on the route.

    Modern, fuel-efficient aircraft are the mainstay of British Airways’ five-year investment programme in products and the A380 is the third of 12, all of which will be in daily service by 2017. It has also ordered 24 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and is the first airline in Europe to operate both aircraft types.

    During the past fortnight the A380 aircraft has visited three major cities in South Africa. Since 27 January it has been based at King Shaka International Airport for flight crew training. Then the superjumbo paid a fleeting visit to Cape Town for a world first fly past over Table Mountain, before arriving in Johannesburg for a launch event.

    On the launch event British Airways brought together the best of Britain and South Africa at 30,000 feet over Johannesburg to showcase how its £5 billion investment is benefitting customers.

    Some 200 guests including top Springbok try scorer Bryan Habana, lock Flip van der Merwe, Freshlyground singer Zolani Mahola and a host of others were treated to two hours of non-stop entertainment and extravagance on board British Airways’ new A380.

    British Airways operated by Comair, which operates domestic and regional flights in southern Africa, is also currently enhancing its fleet and recently took delivery of its first 737-800, next generation Boeing. Comair is investing R3.5 billion to replace its current fleet of 737-300 and -400 aircraft, with the more modern, fuel-efficient aircraft. A second 737-800 is due to be delivered in the half of 2014.

    British Airways - operated by Comair - lounges, known as the SLOW Lounges, have proved popular with travellers and have set new standards for South African airport lounges, winning numerous local and international awards. Owing to high demand, the Cape Town facility will be expanded later this month, providing more space and comfort.

    A new British Airways credit card, launched this week in partnership with Barclays, offers priority check in and other benefits, and the best Avios earn rate in South Africa.

    Erik Venter, Comair chief executive, said: "Over the past 18 years many South Africans first experience of British Airways had been on a flight operated by Comair. Its new aircraft, improved on-board catering, more opportunities to earn frequent flyer benefits and privileges and seamless connections with international flights gives customers even more reason to fly British Airways."

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  • Aviafora Newsdesk
    New International Airport for Kerala in Southern India

    Indian Defense Minister AK Antony has flagged off the construction work of the new international airport in the northern Kerala district of Kannur, raising hopes of thousands of expatriates from the region.

    This will be the fourth international airport in the southern Indian state, home to a large number of expatriates living in the Gulf region.

    “After two years, you all will be able to fly directly into this airport and proceed to your homes,” Antony said after the switch on to the applause of a large gathering at the airport site near Mattanur in the district.

    A helicopter landed in the temporary helipad of Kannur airport Sunday, raising hopes of thousands of expatriates from Kerala's Malabar region

    The Larsen & Toubro, the infrastructure major which received the Rs15.9 billion construction contract for the runway and allied facilities, started work immediately after signing the deal and the airport authorities awaiting Antony’s availability for the formal launch.

    The Kannur International Airport Limited (KIAL), in which the state holds 35 percent stake, is expected to finalize the contract for construction of the passenger terminals and allied works soon.

    “The board of directors of KIAL is meeting in Trivandrum to decide on the second phase of construction, which we hope to begin in April or May,” said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who presided over the groundbreaking ceremony.

    The first flight will take off from here on December 31, 2015, he said.

    Federal Ministers KC Venugopal and Mullapally Ramachandran, the southern state’s diaspora minister K. C. Joseph and aviation minister K. Babu and deputy leader of the opposition in Kerala Assembly, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, were also present.

    Venugopal, the junior minister for aviation, officially announced the decision of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to take 26 percent equity participation in the company.

    Energy major Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) and other public sector companies together hold 23 percent while the public is offered 16 percent, of which six percent is already subscribed.

    Five percent of the shares is offered to the Federal Bank and NRI businessman Yusuffali MA.

    The remaining five percent is offered to the small expatriate investors.

    The authorized equity capital is Rs10 billion.

    The cost of land, converted into equity, was fixed at Rs2.94 billion. The remaining part will be raised through debt.

    The airport, coming up in 2,000 acres, will cater to a large number of people from the region staying in the Gulf countries and open up immense potential of tourism and Kannur’s cotton wears.

    Besides the existing Calicut, Cochin and Trivandrum airports, surviving mainly on the Gulf-bound migrants, the state is also planning another international airport in the Central Kerala heritage town of Aranmula, which will be India’s first private airport in which the state government was offered a 10 percent “sweat equity”.

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  • Aviafora Newsdesk
    FAA downgrades Air India & Jet Airways

    NEW DELHI, Feb 1 (Reuters) - U.S. authorities have downgraded India's aviation safety rating, citing a lack of safety oversight, meaning the country's carriers cannot increase flights to the world's biggest aviation market and face extra checks for existing ones.

    India said it expected to resolve by March all concerns raised by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, including appointing an adequate number of flight operation inspectors, and would ask the U.S. regulator to review its decision.

    "The FAA has determined that India at this time is not in compliance with the international standards for aviation safety oversight," the U.S. regulator said in extracts from a communication released by the Indian government on Friday.

    Jet Airways and state-run Air India, the only two carriers that fly from India to the United States, will be hit by the downgrade. Air India has 21 weekly flights between India and the United States, while Jet has seven.

    Hours after the FAA downgrade, United Airlines said it would suspend a marketing pact with Jet, with effect from Saturday. FAA rules bar US carriers from code-sharing arrangements with airlines from countries that have been downgraded.

    Shares of Jet Airways shares closed Friday down 3.7 percent in Mumbai, the Indian financial capital.

    "It's very disappointing and also surprising," Indian Aviation Minister Ajit Singh told a news briefing on Friday after the FAA said it was downgrading the country to Category 2 from Category 1.

    "In our view, 95 percent of all the issues raised have been solved," Singh said, adding Indian would address all of the FAA's concerns by March.

    India joins countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines and Bangladesh that have a Category 2 rating. As of Nov. 22, the FAA kept 81 of the 96 countries reviewed in Category 1. India had been in Category 1 since 1997, the FAA said in a statement.

    Amber Dubey, head of aerospace and defence at consultancy KPMG's Indian unit, said safety regulators in some other countries may follow suit after the FAA downgrade, which would then affect carriers such as IndiGo and SpiceJet that fly to Asian and Middle Eastern countries.

    "FAA's downgrade typically has a domino effect," Dubey said.

    The European Aviation Safety Agency said on Friday it was closely monitoring operations by non-European Union airlines but so far had "no major concerns" with regard to India.

    Transport Canada said Air India and Jet Airways continue to hold certificates to fly to Canada. The Canadian regulator verifies airlines comply with its own and world standards, and can suspend permission for violations.

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  • Aviafora Newsdesk
    New airlines to enter Saudi market in 2014

    Change within Saudi Arabia’s market has been looming for some time and is set to come in 2014. Over the next one to two years, Saudi Arabia will see the launch of not one but two new airlines, to operate both international and domestic flights.

    The two new carriers will join Saudia and flynas, creating a new competitive environment in the market and more options for both Saudi Arabian travellers and the Saudi Government to realise its aviation policy goals and development requirements.

    Qatar Airways’ much-anticipated Saudi Arabian carrier, Al Maha Airways, is due to start operations during 3Q2014. Joining it will be SaudiGulf Airlines, a brand new Saudi-owned carrier under the control of the Al Qahtani Aviation Company, which plans to start operations by the start of the 2014 winter schedule period. Gulf Air, widely reported as having won one of the two new air operator's certificates, is involved, but the airline has clarified that this is only in an advisory role.

    The two new carriers will bring significant capacity into the Saudi domestic and short-haul regional markets. Al Maha Airways plans to have 10 A320s flying within its first 12 months of operations, and plans to concentrate its network on domestic and regional destinations. It will add another 10 to 15 narrowbody aircraft, before moving to add widebody aircraft and build its fleet to around 50 aircraft.

    SaudiGulf Airlines has ordered 16 CS300s from
    Bombardier. The aircraft will not be delivered until 2016, or possibly later if the CSeries test programme continues to be delayed, so in the interim the carrier has plans to acquire six aircraft, via either lease agreements or purchases. SaudiGulf Airlines intends to base itself at Damman, initially operating a limited schedule of three to four flights daily to Jeddah andRiyadh. Beyond that, it will broaden its domestic flying, opening new routes to Madinah, Qassim, Abha and Tabuk in 2015. A planned international expansion will cover routes in the Middle East, as well as Africa and South Asia, both significant markets for foreign worker and pilgrimage traffic.

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  • Aviafora Newsdesk
    Lufthansa to begin Airbus A380 flights to India in 2014

    (Reuters) - The head of Lufthansa said the German airline plans to begin flying Airbus (AIR.PA) A380 superjumbo jets on routes to India later this year.

    On Monday, India lifted a ban on landing the aircraft in the country, enabling carriers such as Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa and Emirates airline to fly the jets into the world's second-most populous nation.

    Lufthansa had earlier said it had no immediate plans to use the jet on those routes.

    "We are interested to use the A380 also for the major Indian markets," Christoph Franz, CEO of Deutsche Lufthansa AG (LHAG.DE), said on Wednesday in an interview in the Reuters Global Markets Forum, an online community for financial professionals.

    Franz said Lufthansa definitely planned to use the jet in India but noted the launch would be later in the year, since its fleet of 10 A380s is already committed by current schedules.

    He said it was possible for the summer schedule, but added, "We will likely make it for the winter flight schedule of 2014-2015".
    Under India's rules, A380s will be allowed to land at the country's four main airports - New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad - which are equipped to handle the planes.

    India's decision was welcomed by foreign carriers aiming to tap India's fast-growing air travel sector.

    The A380 can carry more than 800 passengers in a single-class configuration, and the government had banned their use because of concern that foreign airlines would dominate the market for international travel.

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  • Aviafora Newsdesk
    Alitalia holds board meeting to examine finances

    (Reuters) - Italian airline Alitalia will hold a board meeting on Tuesday to examine its strained finances as it risks running out of cash before striking a deal with a possible partner.

    The airline raised 300 million euros ($410 million) in an emergency share issue last month and was pledged 200 million in fresh bank financing, which analysts said would keep it flying for the next six months. But it may again run out of cash if it fails to attract a cash-rich partner soon.

    Alitalia CEO Gabriele Del Torchio said earlier this month the group could be forced to launch another share issue if it did not reach the goals outlined in a new business plan.

    "Among other things on the agenda are the company's funding strategy to implement its new industrial plan," an Alitalia spokeswoman said. The meeting is scheduled for 1300 GMT.

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  • Aviafora Newsdesk
    Japan 787 Battery Investigators Look At Latest Incident

    Japanese investigators probing a lithium-ion battery meltdown on a Boeing 787 a year ago are looking at a battery that overheated on a Dreamliner in Tokyo this month to help unlock the cause of the earlier fire, an official from the Japan Transport Safety Board said.

    The incident on board an ANA 787 a year ago left the battery charred and deformed, destroying evidence that could have pointed to a cause. The latest event on a parked Japan Airlines in a redesigned battery packed with insulation destroyed only one of eight cells.

    "The remaining seven cells are untouched, and I think that is where the investigation will focus," Masahiro Kudo, the lead investigator on the ANA battery said during a press briefing.

    That overheating and one a few days earlier on a 787 parked at Boston's Logan airport prompted aviation regulators in the US, Japan and elsewhere to ground the global fleet of Dreamliners for more than three months.

    Authorities, without discovering the root cause of the meltdown, allowed Boeing to get the 787 back into the air after it redesigned the battery with insulation, a vent to eject any hot gases out of the aircraft, and encased it in a steel box to contain any fire. Finding the reason for the overheating could spur further design changes.

    The US National Transportation Safety Board, which is looking at the incident in Boston, has sent accident investigator Mike Bauer to join the latest probe. The JAL 787's battery emitted smoke at Tokyo's Narita Airport just before take off. Japan's Civil Aviation Bureau is in charge of that investigation.

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  • Aviafora Newsdesk
    Republic Airways Holdings Inc. Could Benefit From Bombardier's Woes

    Last week, Bombardier (TSX: BBD.B ) announced that the launch of its long-awaited CSeries jets will be delayed by about 1 year. The CSeries jets were originally supposed to enter service in 2013, but that had already been pushed back to late 2014. Now, Bombardier does not expect to make its first CSeries delivery until the second half of 2015.

    Republic Airways Holdings (NASDAQ: RJET ) is Bombardier's largest customer to date for the CSeries jets, with 40 firm orders and 40 options. Typically, that would make it the biggest loser from a delayed delivery schedule. Yet paradoxically, Republic Airways will probably be better off now that Bombardier has been forced to delay the delivery schedule again.

    More trouble getting off the ground
    In recent years, Bombardier has been one of the two main players in the regional aircraft market. The CSeries is its first attempt to break into the mainline market, which is dominated by Boeing and Airbus. Yet it has not been especially successful so far; Bombardier currently has fewer than 200 firm CSeries orders.

    As a "clean-sheet" design, Bombardier's CSeries jets are expected to be more fuel efficient than direct competitors. However, airlines increasingly prefer larger aircraft like Boeing's 737-800 and 737-900ER and Airbus' A320 and A321 over aircraft in the 100-149 seat size range like the CSeries. Additionally, airlines that already operate the larger 737 and A320 family aircraft have an incentive to stick with Boeing and Airbus for smaller narrowbodies as well, in order to simplify maintenance and pilot training.

    Lastly, many airlines -- including Republic Airways -- are worried about the risks of committing to an unproven airplane. The recently announced delay in the delivery schedule could give even more potential customers cold feet as they worry about Bombardier's reliability. Furthermore, leasing companies and financing sources may hesitate to commit to a seemingly unpopular jet.

    A potential complication

    Bombardier's latest setback could be a blessing in disguise for Republic Airways. Quite frankly, the CSeries jet does not fit into Republic's current business model, and so the company's large CSeries order entails disproportionate risk compared to the potential reward.

    Republic's core business involves flying regional aircraft for the 3 big U.S. legacy carriers. This business model is attractive for two reasons. First, Republic is paid on a "fixed-fee" basis and is not exposed to cyclical swings in air travel demand. Second, Republic passes through its fuel costs to its major airline partners, and therefore has no exposure to fuel price swings.

    Republic just sold its Frontier Airlines subsidiary late last year in order to refocus on this core regional airline business. Yet the CSeries order could draw Republic back into the competitive mainline business. The legacy carriers all have agreements with their pilot unions preventing them from outsourcing flying on planes with more than 80 seats or so.

    Republic CEO Bryan Bedford has previously suggested that the CSeries jets could be operated as a low-cost carrier within one of the global airline alliances, though the company has not unveiled any firm plans. In any case, flying the CSeries jets will require a risky deviation from Republic's current business model.

    Balance sheet risk

    Republic's big CSeries order also poses a significant risk to the company's balance sheet. The company had previously expected to start taking delivery of the CSeries jet in early 2015. With the smaller CS100 jet now targeted for entry into service in the second half of 2015, the larger CS300 model that Republic ordered is expected to enter service in early 2016.

    This will automatically defer a significant amount of capital spending for Republic. As of November, Republic had $2.7 billion in committed aircraft expenditures for the 2015-2017 period, the vast majority of which related to the CSeries order. Nearly $900 million of that total was due in 2015.

    This is an incredibly high level of capital commitments for a company that is expected to haverevenue of just $1.5 billion and a single-digit profit margin this year. Delaying this spending by a year will help Republic rebuild its balance sheet a bit following planned 2014 aircraft spending of more than $600 million.

    Furthermore, if Republic decides that it doesn't want the CSeries aircraft after all, Bombardier's delivery delays will likely make it easier for the company to cancel its order. (The exact terms of the purchase agreement are not public.) At the very least, Republic is likely to receive some compensation from Bombardier for the delays.

    Foolish bottom line
    Bombardier's recent announcement that its CSeries aircraft will be delayed until the second half of 2015 is a significant setback for the company. It will probably have to provide some compensation to CSeries customers, while development costs will continue to pile up.

    However, for Republic Airways -- the largest CSeries customer to date -- these delays are good news. The company now has an easier escape route if it doesn't want to take the risk of starting a new low-cost carrier operation. Even if it does keep its CSeries order, Republic will have an extra year to rebuild its balance sheet and grow its earnings before having to finance the CSeries planes.
    Last edited by Aviafora Newsdesk; 25th January 2014, 16:45.

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  • Aviafora Newsdesk
    Air France-KLM may reinvest in Alitalia if conditions met

    (Reuters) - Air France-KLM (AIRF.PA) will look at reinvesting in Italian carrier Alitalia CAITLA.UL if the conditions it set for its restructuring are met, the Franco-Dutch airline's chief executive said on Thursday.

    Alitalia, which was privatized in 2008, has been unprofitable for more than a decade and has been stuck in a months-long tussle with Air France-KLM over whether to keep their strategic and financial partnership alive.

    The Italian airline is in exploratory talks on a possible investment by Abu Dhabi-based carrier Etihad Airways, which sources say is
    willing to buy a stake of up to 40 percent, to help keep it flying.

    Alitalia needs money to invest in more lucrative long-haul routes after a focus on domestic and regional flights left it vulnerable to competition from budget carriers and high-speed trains.

    Air France-KLM, which owns around 7 percent of Alitalia, wants the airline to restructure its more than 800 million euro ($1.1 billion) debt, cut costs more aggressively and be willing to come under the Franco-Dutch group's full control.

    "These three conditions have not been fulfilled so far, but they're still on the table," Air France-KLM Chief Executive Alexandre de Juniac told reporters on Thursday.

    Air France-KLM wrote off the value of its investment in Alitalia and snubbed the airline's emergency fund-raising in December, allowing its stake to fall from 25 percent.

    Juniac said he would not get involved in the Etihad talks and was confident that Etihad would not make any hostile move that could jeopardize Air France-KLM and Alitalia's partnerships, notably in maintenance and cargo.

    "Our partnership with Alitalia is very important," Juniac said.

    The chief executive of rival German airline Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) said he could imagine that Alitalia would welcome investment from Etihad.

    "Alitalia needs money and nobody else is around," Christoph Franz said at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

    Air France-KLM, which is in the middle of its own restructuring as it seeks to attract higher-paying customers and boost its presence in emerging markets, also said its three-year cost-cutting plan was starting to bear fruit.

    "The company is doing better. There is still a lot of work to do, we're clearly not completely out of the woods, but we're starting to see the light," Juniac said. ($1 = 0.7372 euros)

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  • Aviafora Newsdesk
    New Livery for Hong Kong Express

    Hong Kong Express unveiled its new livery on 21 January, and also said it will add new north Asia services.

    The new livery and logo incorporate elements of Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour and the city’s skyline, with ample use of violet and red. It replaces the existing red and gold colours associated with sister carrier Hong Kong Airlines, and its major shareholder HNA Group. “The new logo and livery design will be rolled out across all of our branding towards the end of March,” says Hong Kong Express’ deputy chief executive Andrew Cowen.

    “We wanted to establish a new brand for HK Express to reflect and support the amazing transition that HK Express has undergone in the past year, and the fresh, youthful and dynamic sense that the new design inspires fits perfectly with our ethos as Hong Kong’s one-and-only low fare airline.”
    On 30 March, Hong Kong Express will start a daily Hong Kong-Seoul Incheon service. By end of 2014, the low-cost carrier plans to add more than 12 new destinations to its network and expand its fleet size from five to 11 aircraft. Flightglobal’s FlightMaps Analytics shows that Hong Kong Express will compete with carriers such asAsiana Airlines, Korean Air, Jeju Air and Jin Air on the Hong Kong-Seoul Incheon route.

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  • Aviafora Newsdesk
    Jet Airways to buy Boeings

    New Delhi: Jet Airways, India's second-largest airline by market share, may place an order for 50 Boeing aircraft worth $2.5 billion, Bloomberg TV India reported, citing people it didn't identify.

    Jet Airways, India's biggest publicly traded carrier, may order 737 single-aisle planes, which will be used for local expansion, Bloomberg TV said in its report.

    Buying new planes will enable Mumbai-based Jet Airways to expand and start more routes ahead of impending competition with Singapore Airlines and AirAsia, which have both sought to start local airlines.

    Indian carriers are buying aircraft from Airbus and Boeing as economic growth in the world's second- most populous nation stokes travel demand.

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  • Aviafora Newsdesk
    Etihad & JetBlue Airways to codeshare

    JetBlue Airways and Etihad Airways have unveiled plans for a wide-ranging codeshare, which will initially cover 40 of JetBlue’s domestic routes.

    Subject to government approval, Etihad will initially place its code on 40 JetBlue-operated services from New York JFK and Washington Dulles.

    Etihad president James Hogan described the US as a “major and growing market” for his carrier, which already serves three US gateways: Chicago, New York and Washington Dulles. In June, it will add a new Abu Dhabi-Los Angeles service, followed by Dallas/Fort Worth in December.

    “Further codeshare services are planned on JetBlue flights once Etihad Airways commences daily flights to Los Angeles from June 2014. Subject to US and foreign government approval, Etihad Airways also plans to codeshare on JetBlue flights between New York and select destinations in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Colombia,” the partners said in a statement.

    JetBlue is Etihad’s third North American codeshare partner after Air Canada and American Airlines.

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