SAA chief warns strikes threaten carrier's survival

South African Airways' acting chief has warned that continued strikes will deepen the airline's financial crisis, after flights were disrupted by industrial action. Zuks Ramasia says the carrier's financial position is already "precarious" and that strikes will have "dire ramifications" that will "without doubt place SAA's future in jeopardy". While the action by cabin crew union SACCA and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa is already problematic, Ramasia is concerned about the possibility of the strike broadening to include transport unions SATUWU and NTM. She says such an escalation, into a "full-on aviation strike", could bring all airport operations to a standstill and cause "huge damage" to South Africa's economy.
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AirAsia to sell tickets on other airlines as part of online push

AirAsia Group said Friday it would sell flights on more than 100 other global airlines as part of a push to boost revenues. The carrier said it had signed a strategic partnership with travel technology company Kiwi.com that would give customers access to destinations not served by AirAsia, including London, Dubai, Madrid and Auckland. "We are reinventing ourselves as more than just an airline, bringing to life our vision for airasia.com to be the region's one-stop travel shop," AirAsia Group CE Tony Fernandes said. AirAsia is also looking at other ways to partner directly with airlines and companies that complement the carrier's network and travel services beyond Asia Pacific, said airasia.com. Like EasyJet, AirAsia wants to build a digital business to lift profits and keep passengers loyal beyond flying.
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Boeing says timing of 737 Max return in hands of regulators

Boeing moved Saturday to ease tensions with regulators over the return to service of its 737 MAX, saying it was up to the US FAA and its global counterparts to approve changes to the jet in the wake of two accidents. The FAA told its staff this week to take whatever time was needed to review the grounded plane after Boeing said it expected the FAA to certify the 737 MAX in mid-December. "We put some targets out that still line up to December...type certification," Stan Deal, CE of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said. "The FAA has said they are not going to put a time frame on it and we are going to track behind them on this," he added. US officials privately said this week that Boeing's timetable was aggressive -- if not unrealistic -- and was not cleared in advance by regulators.
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South African Airways faces regulatory scrutiny over sale plan

South African Airways officials will be summoned to a meeting with regulators next month to disclose details about talks with potential equity partners and give assurances that any deal won’t violate foreign-ownership laws. Under the Air Services Licensing Act of 1990, airlines must be at least three-quarters owned by South Africans to operate a domestic service. That would prevent international operators from buying more than a 25% stake from the govt, unless the rules are changed. Finance minister Tito Mboweni said last month the govt is talking with potential investors in SAA, which is technically insolvent and reliant on bailouts and other forms of state support to survive.
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UN-backed Libyan authorities seize eastern Libyan plane

Authorities at Libya's Misrata airport Sunday seized a Libyan Airlines aircraft operating from Benghazi in the east of the country, the airline's Benghazi management said. The aircraft was seized in the western city of Misrata, east of the capital Tripoli, after it flew there for maintenance from Benghazi's Benina airport. The carrier's Benghazi spokesman said the incident was causing serious disruption to the flight schedule. The plane operates 3 flights to international destinations daily. It was stopped by the assistant manager of Misrata airport, the carrier said. A spokesman for the eastern-based Libyan administration said the authorities in eastern Libya have given Misrata airport hours to return the plane or "they must take responsibility for other escalatory measures in their airspace."
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Boeing says it has to ‘re-earn’ public’s trust after crashes

A senior Boeing executive said Saturday the company knows it has to re-earn the public’s trust as it works to win approval from US regulators to get its grounded 737 Max jets flying again. Stan Deal, president and CE of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said the company’s “number one focus remains safely returning the Max.” Deal said the company knows it has “to restore the confidence of our customers and the flying public in Boeing.” Deal spoke ahead of the biennial Dubai Airshow, which starts Sunday and is expected to produce major deals between commercial and military manufacturers and Mideast buyers. Boeing has customers in the region financially impacted by the grounding of the 737 Max, including Flydubai, which has more than a dozen of the jets in its fleet and more on order.
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Ethiopian Airlines undecided whether to take more Boeing 737 MAX jets

Ethiopian Airlines has not decided yet whether to take more deliveries of the 737 MAX, the airline's CE said Sunday, as Boeing completes revisions to the aircraft's design. Asked at the Dubai Airshow whether he supported changes to software and training being finalised by Boeing, Tewolde Gebremariam said, "It is still work in progress... We will have to see it completed and the result of the further tests that are still to come." Asked whether Ethiopian Airlines would take any further deliveries of the aircraft, of which it has more than 20 on order, Tewolde said, "We have not yet decided." He said the airline had no reservations about signing a new deal to enhance the 787 with Boeing, which was "more than 100 years old and a high-quality engineering company."
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FAA chief explores overhaul of plane approvals after 737 Max crashes

US air-safety regulators are considering ways to alter fundamentally how they certify aircraft in the wake of Boeing’s 737 MAX crisis, the head of the FAA said Sunday. FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson has previously said he wants to adopt a more holistic approach to certification. He provided new details about the agency’s thinking, including the possibility of the FAA being involved in the design of a new plane from the outset. There should be more dialogue between the FAA and plane makers over the course of the development of a new jet, Dickson said. He said that “human factors”—such as how rapidly airline pilots realistically are able to react in certain emergency situations—should be more of a priority in the process of designing jets, echoing earlier comments. “That probably needed to happen some time ago,” he said.
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Price-cutting not on agenda as THAI seeks turnaround in fortunes

THAI will avoid a heavy price-cutting strategy to be competitive next year but will instead focus on building a solid customer base and tap specific segments, airline president Sumeth Damrongchaitham said. The carrier will continue to recruit stronger marketing partners, he added. He estimated that the aviation industry would continue to experience intense competition next year. THAI will continue with its transformation plan next year, which includes focusing on earning ancillary revenue, creating satisfactory customer experiences and effective human resource management. THAI will cooperate with the Tourism Authority of Thailand to hold a joint marketing campaign in order to boost in-bound tourism and increase national revenue.
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Airbus says zero-carbon regional jet may arrive as soon as 2030s

Airbus could potentially build an emission-free, 100-seat regional aircraft by the early 2030s, as the aviation industry speeds its response to mounting concern over air travel’s carbon footprint, according to the head of the planemaker’s new-product development arm. The manufacturer is working on multiple methods to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions, Sandra Bour Schaeffer, CE of Airbus ExO Alpha, said Saturday. The company is working with partners including engine manufacturers and start-ups to build more fuel-efficient engines, explore hybrids and alternative fuels, and to improve aerodynamics, Schaeffer said. “Today there is no single solution to meet the commitments in 2050 but there are a number of solutions that if you put together will drive to that path,” Schaeffer said.
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SAS unveils initial transatlantic route for A321LR

SAS has disclosed that its first long-range Airbus A321neo will operate the transatlantic service from Copenhagen to Boston when it enters service next September. The A321LR will be introduced Sept 18, 2020, the carrier states. It will be configured in 3 classes, with 22 lie-flat business-class seats, plus 12 premium-economy and 123 economy seats. SAS says each seat will be fitted with in-flight entertainment screens, power ports, and the aircraft will have high-speed Wi-Fi. It adds that the A321LR will have a service concept "at par" with the rest of its long-haul fleet. "The smaller aircraft gives SAS the opportunity to fill the aircraft on new routes," says the carrier, although it will not unveil additional destinations until next year.
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UK: Airline phone booking charges 'discriminating' against older people, watchdog warns

Airlines are 'discriminating' against older travellers by charging extra to book over the phone, Which? has warned. An investigation by the consumer watchdog found that holidaymakers were being hit with surcharges of up to GBP20 for not booking flights online. Which? called the practice a “subtle form of discrimination” against older people, who are travelling more than previous generations. Rory Boland, Which? Travel, editor said: “The travel industry must urgently address this problem and stop penalising older generations who are more active and more determined than ever before.” The figures come as Which? found that older holidaymakers were being hit with increasing travel insurance costs, even when they had no health issues to declare.
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United extends grounding of 737 Max fleet to early March

United Airlines is following Southwest and American Airlines in delaying the return of the Boeing 737 Max on its flight schedules into early March. United is pulling the jets off its schedule until March 4, the company said Friday. It expects to cancel approximately 5,100 flights in November and December and roughly 3,468 flights in 2020. The airline joins Southwest Airlines and American Airlines, which also pushed back their respective return-to-service dates last week. Southwest announced that it will remove all 737 Max planes from its flight schedule through March 6, while American Airlines said it will delay commercial use of the aircraft until March 5. United had previously grounded its fleet of 14 737 Max planes through Jan 5.
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German parliament approves carbon pricing, air ticket hike

Germany’s parliament has approved a bill to introduce a price for carbon emissions in the transport and heating sectors as part of a broader package of measures designed to tackle climate change. Lawmakers also voted Friday to back a price hike for airline tickets on domestic and European flights. The 3 parties in govt have pushed through the measures at high speed since agreeing them among themselves 2 months ago. Scientists and economists consider carbon pricing to be an effective way of steering companies and consumers away from heavily polluting sources of energy such as coal, oil and natural gas. To balance the increased costs, the bill includes tax breaks for commuters and people who invest in improving their home insulation.
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Avianca returns to profitability in Q3 on cost-cutting measures

Avianca Holdings recorded its first quarterly profit of 2019 despite a slight dip in revenues, as the company continues to cut costs in the face of weak regional economic conditions. Q3 net income was US$34m, up slightly from $32m in the year-ago period. The improved result comes after Avianca posted a $476m net loss through the first half of the year. Total revenue decreased by 1.5%, harmed by weak macroeconomic conditions and a drop-off in passenger levels related to capacity reductions in unprofitable markets. “We continue to see headwinds during Q3 due to a challenging macroeconomic backdrop in the region, coupled with volatile local currencies, which pressured our top line,” Avianca CFO Adrian Neuhauser said.“
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Copa Q3 profit up 80%; accelerates transition to all-Boeing fleet

Copa Holdings posted a net profit of US$104m in Q3 2019, up 80% from $58m in the same period last year. Total operating revenue improved 5% to $708m. Unit revenue, measured in RASM, grew by 9.5%, while non-fuel unit costs, measured in CASM-ex, rose 5.5%. Capacity decreased by 3.7%, mainly because of the 737 MAX grounding. Copa plans to remove its last 15 Embraer E190s over the next 18 months—3 years earlier than planned—as the company accelerates its shift to an all-Boeing 737 fleet. Copa CE Pedro Heilbron said that Copa hopes to realise “significant cost and revenue benefits from operating a single-Boeing fleet.” Prior to the 737 MAX grounding, Copa was set to receive 7 more MAX 9s this year to finish 2019 with 13 of the type in its consolidated fleet.
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