Aviation News – Aviation Voice https://aviationvoice.com Wed, 17 Jan 2018 08:56:18 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.2 Ryanair Renews Interest in NIKI Takeover https://aviationvoice.com/ryanair-renews-interest-in-niki-takeover-201801171056/ Wed, 17 Jan 2018 08:56:18 +0000 https://aviationvoice.com/?p=19627 Ryanair has confirmed the Irish LCC has contacted the Austrian administrators of bankrupt airberlin subsidiary NIKI, expressing interest in participating in the insolvency process and potential purchase of remaining NIKI assets, head of communications Robin Kiely told ATW.

Ryanair was one of the earlier bidders for NIKI, which filed for bankruptcy Dec. 13, 2017, immediately ceasing operations. However, the LCC later stepped back from the bidding process Airberlin declared insolvency in August and ceased operations at the end of October.

Ryanair renewed interest in NIKI following the Jan. 12 ruling by a Korneuburg Austrian court that the NIKI insolvency proceedings and asset sale should restart from scratch, casting further doubt on the International Airlines Group (IAG) acquisition of NIKI, which was based on insolvency proceedings taking place in Germany.

A Berlin regional court ruled last week that bankruptcy proceedings should be conducted in Austria rather than in Germany.

The Austrian court ruled this meant the IAG deal should be voided and proceedings should begin anew, which could open the door for German leisure carriers TUIfly, Thomas Cook (Condor) and NIKI founder, Niki Lauda to offer new bids for NIKI assets. Lauda founded NIKI in 2003.

On Dec. 29, 2017, IAG announced plans for a subsidiary of its Spanish LCC Vueling to buy NIKI assets for €20 million ($24.5 million) and provide liquidity of up to €16.5 million.

According to a Jan. 16 IAG statement, following the opening of NIKI insolvency procedures in Austria, IAG and Vueling have been in discussions with Austrian and German administrators and continue to follow developments closely. They believe all parties want the process to be resolved quickly.

IAG said it remains interested in NIKI assets and looks forward to completing the new process promptly. The group remains hopeful that Vueling can continue with its acquisition and safeguard up to 740 former NIKI jobs in Austria and Germany.

“The interest of IAG in NIKI is mainly about the carrier’s slots at Palma de Mallorca (Spain), because growth at Palma can only be done by taking over slots from another airline. And Vueling is in tough competition against Ryanair in Palma,” a former NIKI manager told ATW.

According to the Austrian TV channel ORF, Vueling plans to base up to eight Airbus A320 family aircraft in Vienna.

Ethiopian Airlines to Take 45% Stake in Zambia Airways https://aviationvoice.com/ethiopian-airlines-to-take-45-stake-in-zambia-airways-2-201801171049/ Wed, 17 Jan 2018 08:49:58 +0000 https://aviationvoice.com/?p=19626 Star Alliance carrier Ethiopian Airlines has finalized a strategic partnership with the Zambian government on the re-launch of Zambia Airways, taking a 45% stake in the airline.

On Jan. 16, Ethiopian announced it had finalized a shareholders’ agreement with the Zambian government, which will retain a controlling 55% shareholding.

Lusaka-based Zambia Airways will become Ethiopian’s strategic partner for Southern Africa, building on its existing regional partnerships with ASKY Airlines in Lomé (Togo) and Malawian Airlines in Lilongwe (Malawi).

Ethiopian Airlines group CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said the move fits with the airline’s multiple hub approach, which forms part of Ethiopian’s 15-year Vision 2025 strategic plan.

He added that the partnership will improve Zambian connectivity, boosting investment, trade, tourism and socioeconomic growth.

Zambia Airways will initially serve national and regional routes, before expanding to international flights.

“As an indigenous and truly pan-African airline, we firmly believe that it is only through partnerships among African carriers that the aviation industry of the continent will be able to get its fair share of the African market, currently heavily skewed in favor of non-African airlines, and play its rightful role in availing efficient air connectivity within Africa as well as with the rest of the world,” Gebremariam said.

Ethiopian serves more than 100 international passenger and cargo destinations using a fleet of Airbus A350s, Boeing 787-8s and -9s, 777-300ER, -200LRs and -200Fs, with Bombardier Q400s on its regional routes.

Technology to Drive 2018’s Airport Security Landscape https://aviationvoice.com/technology-to-drive-2018s-airport-security-landscape-2-201801171007/ Wed, 17 Jan 2018 08:07:35 +0000 https://aviationvoice.com/?p=19618 At this year’s edition of The Airport Show, set to run 7 – 9 May 2018, airport security is expected to be one of the key topics discussed by industry players and analyst attending the annual event.

With the number of passengers travelling each year expected to rise, the latest figures from IATA projecting 7.8 billion passengers travelling in 2036, security has become an increasing concern for both airlines and airport operators.

Not only is an effective security posture important in ensuring the safety of passengers, but efficient systems and procedures will be needed to minimise disruption and ensure a better customer experience.

According to findings from Global Market Insights, the global airport security market is projected to grow 7% a year CAGR until 2024, at which point the market will be valued at $16bn.

“Technology plays a key role in enhancing our ability to grow, innovate and sustainably improve the experience of airport travellers,” said Major General Pilot Ahmed Bin Thani, Deputy Commander-in-Chief for Ports Affairs, Dubai Police.

“A raft of new technologies like biometrics, robotics, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT) are redefining the airport experience and security. Biometric verification of passports and contactless entryway checkpoints are two examples that have enhanced the security,” he added.

At the upcoming B2B event, the latest in biometrics, scanning, face recognition, border control, access control, and CCTV are expected to be showcased by participating exhibitors.

Daniyal Qureshi, Group Exhibitions Director, Reed Exhibitions Middle East commented: “The aviation industry’s growth brings its own set of threats which airports need to effectively handle. Smart Technology plays a major role in helping airports stay ahead of the constantly evolving threats.

“We are entering a challenging period as machines become better at threat detection and so it is important to understand where human interaction is still needed and how we maintain their vigilance and engagement in systems that require less intervention.”

Embraer Reaches 2017 Delivery Outlook https://aviationvoice.com/embraer-reaches-2017-delivery-outlook-2-201801170953/ Wed, 17 Jan 2018 07:53:24 +0000 https://aviationvoice.com/?p=19615 Embraer delivered a total of 210 jets in 2017, of which 101 were commercial aircraft and 109 were executive jets (72 light and 37 large).

The deliveries were within the outlook ranges for the year of 97 to 102 commercial jets, 70 to 80 light business jets and 35 to 45 large business jets. In the last quarter of 2017, Embraer delivered 23 commercial jets and 50 executive jets (32 light and 18 large). As of December 31, the firm order backlog totaled USD 18.3 billion.

Embraer Commercial Aviation reached the mark of 1,400 E-Jets delivered.

The commemorative aircraft was received by American Airlines, which in the quarter also signed a firm order for 10 additional E175 jets. During the last quarter, Embraer also received firm orders for more 15 E175 from an undisclosed customer and an order from Belavia, Belarusian Airlines, the national carrier of Belarus, for one additional current generation E195.

Embraer Executive Jets unveiled the Phenom 300E at the NBAA-BACE (National Business Aviation Association’s Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition) held in Las Vegas, United States. The Company’s new version of the best-selling executive jet brings a new interior and entertainment system as well as cabin management novelties. Embraer also presented innovations for the Legacy 450 and Legacy 500 jets, including preparation for the Future Air Navigation System (FANS) and new connectivity and seating options.

Embraer Defense & Security announced that the new Embraer KC-390 military transport and aerial refueling jet completed a major milestone with the attainment of the Initial Operational Capability (IOC) demonstrated to the Brazilian Air Force (FAB). The aircraft also conducted a series of flight tests in the United States as part of its certification campaign. During this period, the Defense & Security division signed contracts for the sale of 18 A-29 Super Tucano aircraft, six of them for the United States Air Force (to be used in the A-29 program in Afghanistan), six aircraft for the Philippine Air Force and another six for an undisclosed customer.

In Services & Support, Embraer extended its Flight Hour Pool Program agreement with Russia’s Saratov Airlines and with Austral Líneas Aéreas, the domestic airline of Aerolíneas Argentinas, to continue providing repairable component support for their E-Jets fleet. Another announcement was the establishment of a training center in Johannesburg, South Africa, the first facility of its kind in Africa to provide this range of training at a single location for qualified pilots, maintenance technicians, and cabin crew. December was also marked by the launch of the TechCare platform, designed to encompass a portfolio of innovative and competitive solutions, focused on improving operational efficiency, extending aircraft life and maximising fleet potential

Delta Under Fire for Listing Taiwan, Tibet as Countries https://aviationvoice.com/delta-under-fire-for-listing-taiwan-tibet-as-countries-201801170933/ Wed, 17 Jan 2018 07:33:33 +0000 https://aviationvoice.com/?p=19613 Delta Air Lines came under fire from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) late last week for listing Tibet and Taiwan as countries on its website.

The American carrier immediately offered apologies and underlined the mistake was unintentional.

“Delta recognizes the seriousness of this issue and we took immediate steps to resolve it. It was an inadvertent error with no business or political intention,” the carrier said in a statement for Reuters.

Delta bought a 3.55% stake in China Eastern Airlines in 2015 and considers China one of its most important foreign markets. According to the ch-aviation capacity module, it currently operates a total of 38 weekly flights to Shanghai Pudong and Beijing Capital. It does not operate to Taiwan but used to in the past.

Passenger Traffic at Munich Airport Rises to New All-Time Record https://aviationvoice.com/passenger-traffic-at-munich-airport-rises-to-new-all-time-record-201801161310/ Tue, 16 Jan 2018 11:10:27 +0000 https://aviationvoice.com/?p=19609 Munich Airport’s dynamic growth continued in 2017 with new traffic records in several categories: Passenger traffic increased by an impressive 2.3 million to a new all-time high of 44.6 million.

This was a 5.5 percent gain over the 2016 figure. The airport also saw a strong surge in take-offs and landings, with an increase of more than 10,000 to approximately 405,000 – a gain of 2.6 percent. Without the reduction in services by Air Berlin in the summer period, followed by that airline’s bankruptcy, the increase would have been even bigger. Another record is reported by the airfreight segment, which achieved a total turnover of around 379,000 tons in 2017 – a 7 percent gain over the previous year.

“These are outstanding traffic figures, especially when we consider the turbulence the aviation industry is currently experiencing. The massive increases once again underscore our airport’s importance as one of the leading air transportation hubs in Europe,” said Dr. Michael Kerkloh, the President and CEO of Munich Airport.

As in previous years, passenger growth in Munich benefited in particular from above-average gains in international traffic: The strongest growth was seen in the intercontinental segment, where traffic increased by 7 percent to 7.3 million passengers. Demand was strong especially for connections from Munich to destinations in the USA. Continental services remained the largest traffic segment with a total of 27.4 million passengers – 6.5 percent more than in 2016.

Within Europe, the strongest growth was seen on routes to and from Greece and Spain. On domestic routes within Germany, traffic increased by more than 2 percent to over 9.8 million passengers. The percentage of seats occupied was up again in 2017, increasing to a new record level of 76.5 percent.

Munich also expanded its global route network yet again: With 266 destinations – nine more than in the previous year – passengers at Bavaria’s international hub had more routes to choose from than ever before. The number of airlines offering scheduled services in Munich increased by two to 102.

Leahy Confirms A380 Future Hinges on Emirates Order https://aviationvoice.com/leahy-confirms-a380-future-hinges-on-emirates-order-201801161126/ Tue, 16 Jan 2018 09:26:47 +0000 https://aviationvoice.com/?p=19606 Airbus COO-customers John Leahy has confirmed the Airbus A380 program will have to be shut down if Dubai-based Emirates does not order more aircraft.

“If we can’t work out a deal with Emirates, it is clear we will have to shut down the program,” Leahy said, speaking on Airbus’ 2017 orders and deliveries webinar.

During the call, Airbus Commercial Aircraft president Fabrice Brégier described A380 production as a commercial challenge. In 2017, the program secured a net order total of two cancellations.

“My job in 2017 was to prepare for a wind down in production,” Brégier said. He later added that he is “not pleased” with the planned ramp down, which he attributed to a “very difficult period” for large aircraft.

In 2017, Airbus delivered 15 A380s. This will drop to 12 in 2018, eight in 2019 and could fall to as few as six aircraft beyond that.

“We went through the process internally and we came to the conclusion that we can go down to six aircraft per year and maintain an industrially efficient production line. This will be challenging, but I believe it can be met,” Bregier said.

Airbus is in talks with other potential A380 customers beyond Emirates, but Bregier said Airbus will never produce white tails and added: “It is clear that Emirates is key to the future of the program.”

Likewise, Leahy confirmed Emirates is the only airline capable of taking six to eight A380s per year over the next six to eight years. However, he refuses to relent on his convictions about the A380 program, which currently has a 95-aircraft backlog.

“This is an airplane, I assure you, whose time will come,” Leahy said, reiterating comments that traffic growth into major hubs will force demand for larger aircraft. “We will sell six to eight a year until the market level gets to 25 a year, but it will take a few more years to get there.”

Airbus confirmed that it has spoken with China about an industrial partnership on the A380 program, but these talks are premature for the moment.

“They know we are open to an industrial partnership cooperation, for example on the A380, but the challenge is more commercial,” Bregier said. “We need to convince [Chinese] airlines that the A380 would increase their market share and image operating out of the big Chinese hubs. This will be the biggest market in the world and we believe the biggest market deserves the biggest aircraft.”

Responding to a question, Bregier said that a further A350 stretch beyond the -1000 would be possible, although the timing is not right for the time being because of the market challenge seen on the A380 program.

“We have studied a stretch, the A350-2000, but we have to be conscious that we can’t say market for very large aircraft is very difficult and then launch the A350-2000. When a new generation engine comes out, we will question again whether to do a stretched A350. The good news is we have studied it and it is possible,” Bregier said.

SSJ100 Production Rate up in 2017 https://aviationvoice.com/ssj100-production-rate-up-in-2017-201801161112/ Tue, 16 Jan 2018 09:12:55 +0000 https://aviationvoice.com/?p=19603 Russia’s Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company (SCAC) built 34 Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ100) regional jets in 2017, or nearly 55% up on 2016. The previous peak in production dates back to 2014 at 37 airframes.

SCAC delivered 30 SSJ100s in 2017. The aircraft mostly went to VEB Leasing, which has a lease contract with Aeroflot for 20 of the type, and also to State Transport Leasing Company (GTLK), which leases SSJ100s to various carriers, including Yamal Airlines, Azimuth Airlines, and IrAero.

Azimuth, which launched in the second half of 2017, has an all-Superjet fleet. Brussels Airlines, a new foreign operator for the Russian-built aircraft, wet-leases them from Irish-based CityJet. Last year, the SSJ100B-100 version with short-runway performance entered commercial operation in Europe. These aircraft are equipped with higher thrust engines.

SCAC delivered six aircraft to end users in H1 2017. The manufacturer explained at the time that a portion of the ordered airframes were expected to be delivered in the second half of the year. The company did not disclose the customers’ names, but open source data suggest that at least 13 new SCAC-built aircraft were put into operation during the half-year period: four by IrAero (RA-89075, RA-89076, RA-89077, and RA-89078), six by Yamal Airlines (RA-89068, RA-89069, RA-89070, RA-89071, RA-89072, and RA-89073), and three by CityJet (EI-FWF, EI-FWE, and EI-FWD). In the second half of the year, five SSJ100s were delivered to Aeroflot and one each to Azimuth Airlines and Yamal.

In the beginning of the previous year, the former SCAC management announced the plan to deliver up to 40 airliners annually in 2017-19, of which about 35 would be factory-new and the rest would come from the secondary market. As per the 2018 sales plan, Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov in December last year revised the figure down, from 38 to 30 aircraft.

Since the rollout of the first SSJ100 prototype 10 years ago, SCAC has built more than 150 aircraft. As of December 2017, Russian and foreign airlines and also government agencies were operating a total of over 100 Superjets. The fleet had performed in excess of 240,000 commercial flights, accumulating more than 370,000 flight hours in total.

“Overall demand in the 100-seat segment may exceed 2,300 aircraft in 2017 through 2036,” reads the manufacturer’s statement. “We expect to deliver between 170 and 180 airliners in the next five years, including in the business variant, at a rate of 35 to 40 per year.”

UAE Says Qatari Fighter Jets ‘Intercept’ Passenger Plane https://aviationvoice.com/uae-says-qatari-fighter-jets-intercept-passenger-plane-2-201801161058/ Tue, 16 Jan 2018 08:58:04 +0000 https://aviationvoice.com/?p=19599 The United Arab Emirates accused Qatari fighter jets of “intercepting” a passenger plane en route to Bahrain on Monday, in an ongoing row over alleged airspace violations.

“Qatari fighter jets intercept an Emirati civilian aircraft during a routine flight to Manama in a flagrant threat to civil aviation safety and in a clear violation of international law,” the UAE General Authority of Civil Aviation said.

“This is a routine flight that has all the required paperwork,” it said in a statement published by the state news agency. Four UAE-based airlines — Emirates, Etihad, flydubai and Air Arabia — operate flights to Bahrain.

The United Arab Emirates is one of four Arab states that cut all relations with Qatar in June, accusing it of supporting Islamist extremists and of being close to Shiite Iran. Qatar has denied as “completely false” claims by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that its fighter jets intercepted two Emirati passenger planes.

The GCAA condemned the alleged Qatari action as “a flagrant and serious threat to the safety of civil aviation and a clear violation of international law“, the WAM report said.

Trans States Airlines Rolls Out $44,000 Signing Bonus for Pilots https://aviationvoice.com/trans-states-airlines-rolls-out-44000-signing-bonus-for-pilots-2-201801151254/ Mon, 15 Jan 2018 10:54:09 +0000 https://aviationvoice.com/?p=19595 Trans States Airlines has once again demonstrated its ongoing commitment to providing industry-leading pilot compensation by rolling out a $44,000 signing bonus for new hire First Officers.

The new bonus, which includes an additional $6,000 bonus for pilots with a type rating, solidifies Trans States’ position among the top paying regional airlines in terms of first year compensation.

Total first year compensation for new hire First Officers will now approach $86,000.

Pilots with airline experience who are hired as Captain Qualified First Officers (CQFOs) can fly as a First Officer or a Captain, and can expect a minimum year one compensation package of up to $90,000, with the opportunity to earn even more when flying as a Captain. Once on property, Trans States pilots can also earn referral and mentor bonuses.

“Trans States has consistently been a leader in regional airline pilot pay, and is proud to offer one of the most competitive pilot compensation packages in the industry,” remarked Trans States Airlines Chief Operating Officer Fred Oxley.

“With competitive compensation and a training program that’s second-to-none, Trans States is the smart choice for pilots with aspirations to fly for a major carrier. Additionally, our promote-from-within philosophy makes Trans States the perfect fit for pilots looking for a place to build a long-term career.”

In addition to having one of the fastest Captain upgrades in the regional airline industry, Trans States provides a number of unique opportunities, including a Seniority Reservation Program that greatly reduces the likelihood of sitting reserve as a First Officer, and an Express Hire Program that allows current and qualified 121 pilots to forego the interview process. Additionally, Trans States is one of the only airlines in the industry with immediate access to the left seat for qualified pilots.

The aforementioned programs are effective immediately.