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Air NZ axes Los Angeles to London route, adds New York

Air NZ is axing London flights, marking the end of its flagship international route after 36 years - with the loss of up to 130 jobs. The airline announced Wednesday it was canning its Los Angeles-London flights from next October but it will also add a non-stop flight to New York from New Zealand. Air NZ acting CE Jeff McDowall said the "iconic" London route had been "an important link" connecting New Zealand and Europe since its launch in 1982 - however market dynamics have affected performance in recent years. "Today Kiwis have more than twice the number of ways to fly to London than a decade ago and preferences have changed." McDowell said the company was also "accelerating its ambitions" for North America and will launch a non-stop service between Auckland and New York using its 787-9 Dreamliner in Oct 2020.
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American air’s alliance boss exits after Latam loss to Delta

American Airlines Group’s VP overseeing alliances is stepping down, a month after the carrier lost a pending partnership expansion in Latin America to Delta Air Lines. Joe Mohan will move to an advisory role at the carrier after this week, “offering assistance until early next year,” according to a memo. The change comes 2 weeks after American announced a reshuffling of executive duties in which Mohan was to begin reporting to Vasu Raja, who was promoted to senior VP of network strategy at American. An effort by American and Latam to jointly market and operate flights between the US and 6 South American countries foundered in May when Chile’s Supreme Court hobbled the venture on antitrust grounds.
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Former JetBlue gate agent faces prison over US$1m ticket exchange scheme

A former JetBlue employee is facing up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty in a Boston federal court Friday to scamming the airline of nearly US$1m in flights. Tiffany Jenkins, a former gate agent, used her position to convert low-cost flights to more expensive flights and destinations for friends, family and acquaintances, according to the US Attorney’s Office. Jenkins had access to JetBlue’s computer reservation database and had the ability to use a special code, “INVOL,” which is short for involuntary exchange, to change flights for customers at no additional cost. During a 15-month period, Jenkins used the code approximately 505 times for more than 100 different passengers. The US Attorney’s Office said many of those exchanges occurred after the passenger first booked low-price domestic flights.
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Boeing makes progress on 737 Max, but FAA needs weeks to review

Boeing is making progress toward getting its 737 MAX aircraft in the air again, but the FAA will need at least several more weeks for review, FAA administrator Steve Dickson said Tuesday. Boeing has said it hopes to resume 737 MAX flights later this year, although major US and Canadian airlines have canceled MAX flights into January or February. Dickson said that the agency had received the "final software load" and "complete system description" of revisions to the plane, which was grounded in March. The FAA is currently using "aircraft production software" in the engineering simulator. The next step is to complete pilot workload management testing and have US and international pilots conduct scenarios to determine training requirements before a key certification test flight.
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South African Airlines ground flights after faults found at SAA maintenance unit

South African Airways and other carriers grounded aircraft and canceled domestic flights Tuesday after South Africa's aviation regulator instructed the airline to address problems at its maintenance unit. The instruction is the latest blow for SAA, which has not made an annual profit since 2011 and is dependent on govt bailouts for its survival. It has floundered with an unprofitable route network and a fleet of aging and inefficient airplanes. The South African Civil Aviation Authority said it had inspected a number of aircraft at SAA Technical and had issued a prohibition order until the faults it had found had been fixed. It did not disclose what the faults were or which aircraft type was affected, citing confidentiality agreements.
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Qantas, Virgin dealt massive defeat in battle with airports

Australia's biggest airlines have suffered a resounding defeat in their campaign for tighter regulation of airports with the Productivity Commission finding the airports are not misusing their market power. In a blow to Qantas and Virgin Australia, the federal govt's advisory body said in a final report on airport regulation released Tuesday that a new independent arbitrator was not necessary. The creation of the body was one of the key demands from the airlines who wanted it to rule on disputes between airports and carriers. The long-running inquiry heard airline claims that Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth airports were using their monopoly positions to demand unfair prices to use their runways and terminals, citing access fees that are among some of the highest in the world.
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Oman considers setting up new regional airline — sources

Oman is considering setting up a new regional airline that could take over domestic operations from Oman Air, 2 sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. A request for proposal was issued this month by state entity Oman Aviation Group for a feasibility study into operating the new airline, ‘Oman Link,’ the sources said. Setting up a new airline for domestic flights would allow Oman Air to focus on its international network where it competes with Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Etihad Airways. The new airline could partner with Oman Air with both carriers connecting passengers to each other but would have its own independent management, the sources said. The new airline would use regional jets for domestic flights and potentially later to other cities in the region.
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Boeing texts reveal flawed simulator, not smoking gun: Ex-colleagues

Four days after leaked internal pilot messages set off a media firestorm for Boeing, former colleagues have defended a former pilot who voiced concerns about unreported 737 MAX software problems 2 years before fatal crashes. Chief technical pilot Mark Forkner described in the leaked messages how MCAS cockpit software was "running rampant" during a flight simulator session. The messages fuelled speculation that either Boeing or Forkner or both knew about problems with the plane's flight control software well before the 2 crashes. But former Boeing employees who either worked with Forkner at the time he wrote the messages or had direct knowledge of the simulator he used argued the erratic behavior he described likely referred to the software on the flight simulator he was using.
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LATAM Airlines cancels hundreds of flights amid unrest in Chile

LATAM Airlines was continuing to cancel domestic and international flights from Chile Tuesday as civil unrest affected operations from its main hub in the country. The operator's website lists some 299 services that have been cancelled between Oct 20 and 22. The vast majority are flights that touch Santiago International. At around 07:00 local time Tuesday, FlightStats was categorising Santiago International's delay status as "excessive" – its most severe rating. "Given the current situation of demonstrations in Chile and today's curfew that affects the mobility of both passengers and company officials, LATAM Airlines Group has had to cancel 55 additional flights to and from Santiago during the early morning [of Oct 22]," the airline said.
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UK govt missed 'opportunity' to save part of Thomas Cook, MPs told

The govt failed to follow the advice of its own official report in dealing with the collapse of Thomas Cook, MPs have been told. Diana Holland, assistant general secretary at Unite, said the govt ignored recommendations from the Airline Insolvency Review, published in May, which would have allowed Thomas Cook to take part in the repatriation efforts, prevented such an abrupt end for staff, and may have allowed for a sale of the profitable airline division. The Airline Insolvency Report was commissioned by the govt in the wake of the collapse of Monarch Airlines in 2017. One of its key recommendations was legislation to “ensure an insolvent airline can continue flight operations for a short period after entering administration so that passengers can be repatriated using the airline’s own aircraft, people and systems.”
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