ANA to begin Tokyo Narita-Chennai service on 27 October

ANA will launch a new Tokyo Narita-Chennai route from 27 October. The thrice-weekly flights will be operated by a Boeing 787-8s with 169 seats. ANA is the first carrier to operate on the route, which is its third destination in India after Mumbai and Delhi. “It is always exciting to add a new destination, but it is even more significant to be the only carrier offering connecting this growing region with Japan,” says Seiichi Takahashi, ANA’s senior vice-president. International passenger service is the group’s main revenue source, he adds, and thus hopes to improve its market share. As previously announced, ANA will also commence Tokyo Narita-Perth flights on 1 September.
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Airbus closes in on Air France deal: Sources

Airbus is close to a deal worth billions of dollars to sell dozens of A320neo-family and smaller A220 aircraft to Air France as the French network carries out a keenly awaited renewal of its medium-haul fleet, industry sources said. The deal could include as many as 50-70 Canadian-designed A220 jets, formerly known as CSeries, to replace Air France's aging fleet of roughly 50 A318 and A319 aircraft, they said. Air France is also expected to pick the A320neo family to replace approximately 40 earlier versions of the Airbus A320 that are up to 18 years old. A spokeswoman for Franco-Dutch parent Air France-KLM said: "Air France is pursuing work on its medium-haul fleet renewal. No decision has been taken at this stage." Airbus declined to comment on the deal, which is expected to be formally discussed at an end-month Air France-KLM board meeting. The expected deal marks a rebound for Airbus after rival Boeing poached part of the fleet of British Airways owner IAG at last month's Paris Airshow. That deal caught Airbus off guard, though in the longer term sources say it may also have eased the European planemaker's anxieties over the grounding of Boeing's 737 MAX following the Ethiopian Airlines crash in March.
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Cathay Pacific sees pressure on yields due to intense competition

Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways said Thursday it expected yields, a proxy for airfares, to be under pressure in the coming months as performance in North America and Europe lags expectations due to intense competition. Long-haul destinations have performed below expectations, especially on the yield front, the airline said. Cathay said last month that its yields had come under "tremendous pressure" due to declining travel demand, especially to and from long-haul destinations. Meanwhile, geopolitical tensions continued to be a bane for the airline's cargo business, with freight volumes declining 9.1% in June from a year earlier and nearly 6% in the first six months of the year. The cargo business is unlikely to see a rebound in volumes in the coming months, Cathay Pacific Director Commercial and Cargo Ronald Lam said.
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Tanzania to buy new Airbus, Bombardier planes for national carrier

Tanzania’s government will buy two new Airbus jets and one plane from Bombardier Inc as part of a fleet expansion plan for the national flag carrier, the president said on Thursday. President John Magufuli has personally taken charge of the revival of Tanzania’s loss-making state carrier Air Tanzania Company Limited, spending hundreds of millions of dollars purchasing eight new planes since 2016. President Magufuli “has already issued instructions for the purchase of three additional planes (two Airbus jets and one Bombardier) to expand air services and improve tourism,” the president’s office said. The presidency did not say how much the new planes will cost. The airline’s existing fleet includes one Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, two Airbus A220-300 jets and three Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft. ATCL launched maiden flights to India’s financial capital Mumbai on Wednesday as it expands its routes with the acquisition of new planes. Tanzania hopes the revival of the national airline will boost the tourism sector, the country’s biggest foreign exchange earner.
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US airline group says it had a 'productive meeting' with Trump on Qatar

A US airline industry group said it had a "productive" meeting on Thursday with President Donald Trump, who "shares our concerns" about accusations that subsidies by Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are costing jobs in the United States. "We had a productive meeting with President Trump today to talk about the importance of American jobs and not letting foreign governments break their agreements with the United States," Scott Reed of the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies said in a statement. "The president shares our concerns and instructed us to keep working with the US Department of Transportation, which we plan to do," he said.
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Air NZ to amend booking engine after lawyer complains

Air New Zealand will make changes after a lawyer complained to the Commerce Commission over scarcity pricing tactics. Barrister Michael Wigley - whose criticism over opt-out insurance led to a formal warning for the airline in 2015 - has gone to the regulator over the Air NZ's use of the phrase 'Flight Selling Out'. He made the complaint after seeing the phrase when booking flights on his mobile. He said he got to the fine print after scrolling through 13 flights which showed: "Selling out means be quick - there are fewer than 5 seats at these prices." The reference is to the seats at a certain price being low, not the flight being close to full. The airline responded, "in hindsight we believe 'fewer than five seats available at these prices' would better reflect the message we are trying to convey to customers." "We are progressively amending both our mobile and desktop booking flows," a statement from the airline said. The airline didn't address the question of how long it had used the tactic. Air NZ, which was recently crowned New Zealand's most trusted brand by research firm Colmar Brunton, said it had not yet received any notification from regulators about the complaint that was made earlier this month. The Commerce Commission said it was still reviewing the most recent complaint. It received two others about scarcity tactics in the past 12 months, but has taken no action.
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Southwest schedules without Boeing 737 MAX until Nov. 2, freezes pilot hiring

Southwest joined US rivals Thursday in cancelling more flights until early November due to the continued grounding of Boeing’s 737 MAX, which has also prompted the low-cost carrier to freeze new pilot hiring. Southwest said Thursday it would schedule without the 737 MAX until Nov. 2, a decision that proactively removes about 180 daily flights from its schedule, more than the 150 daily flights it was removing through early October. With deliveries also on hold, Southwest has had to defer two new-hire pilot classes and two captain upgrade classes for existing pilots until it has more clarity, Southwest said. As of March 31, Southwest was expecting to take delivery of 34 additional MAX 8s and seven MAX 7s in 2019. It received three MAX 8 jets before the March 13 grounding by the US FAA, which must approve updated software and training by Boeing meant to ensure that the plane is safe to fly again.
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Pakistan lost $50m from airspace restrictions: minister

Pakistan’s aviation minister Thursday said that his country suffered loses of over eight billion rupees ($50m) from airspace restrictions imposed since February which affected hundreds of commercial and cargo flights. Pakistan closed its airspace after an attack by a Pakistan-based militant group in Indian-controlled Kashmir led to clashes between the nuclear-armed powers, adding flight time for passengers and fuel costs for airlines. “Over eight billion rupees worth of losses have been suffered by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority,” Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Pakistan’s aviation minister told a press conference in Karachi. “We don’t have exact figures of losses of their (Indian) civil aviation authorities but its more than ours,” Khan added. Pakistan reopened its airspace to international civil aviation on Tuesday.
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EgyptAir makes 1st flight to carry 2019 Hajj pilgrims to Mecca

EgyptAir’s air-bridge to carry the Egyptian pilgrims to Saudi Arabia’s Mecca for the 2019 Hajj season kicked off on Thursday, July 18. The first flight took off from the Cairo International Airport early Thursday to Saudi Arabia. The State-owned company organized a total of 315 flights this year; 206 flights to Jeddah and 145 flights to carry 41,000 Egyptian Pilgrims. The last Hajj flight to Saudi Arabia will be on August 5, while the first return flight was scheduled for August 14. Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam. Hajj season will start this year on August 9 and end on August 18, 2019.
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UK airline bills unruly passenger $106,000 for ‘dangerous behaviour’

Jet2, a British budget airline and tour operator, said it had demanded a passenger pay about $106,000 after her behaviour aboard a flight to Turkey last month prompted military jets to escort the plane back to an airport near London. The evening flight from Stansted Airport, north of London, to Dalaman, a coastal town in southwestern Turkey, was cut short on June 22 after a 25-year-old passenger, Chloe Haines of Maidenhead, England, “displayed a catalog of aggressive, abusive, and dangerous behavior,” the airline said Tuesday. Her erratic conduct, which included attempting to open the plane doors during the flight, “was one of the most serious cases of disruptive passenger behavior that we have experienced,” Steve Heapy, the airline’s CE, said in the statement. Two Typhoon fighter jets from the Royal Air Force were called to escort the aircraft back to Stansted Airport, Jet2 said. “She must now face up to the consequences of her actions, and we will vigorously pursue to recover the costs that we incurred,” Heapy said. In addition to the fine, Haines has also been banned for life from the airline. Sarah Stewart, an aviation lawyer in London, said that there had been a sharp increase in disruptive behavior on planes. From 2007 to 2015, there were over 49,000 reported cases of “unruly passenger incidents onboard aircraft in flight,” she said Thursday.
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Airlines clash over CO2 as industry vilified in climate debate

An uneasy alliance between airlines as they face down criticism over carbon emissions has collapsed into a high-profile dispute involving Europe’s biggest network carrier and largest discounter. Lufthansa CE Officer Carsten Spohr lashed out at low-cost carriers including Ryanair Holdings in a Swiss newspaper last weekend, saying their loss-leading fares are stoking demand for needless flights that raise pollution and make the industry an easy target for climate campaigners. Ryanair CMO Kenny Jacobs hit back by pointing to Lufthansa’s inferior record on carbon dioxide output and emailing 15m clients in Germany and Central Europe drawing attention to Spohr’s remarks, which he said highlighted his company’s lower fares and emissions. “I give our thanks to Lufthansa for making our marketing costs less,” Jacobs said Wednesday in Frankfurt, where the German carrier has its biggest base. “We’re very happy with the comparison.” Spohr’s interview came amid mounting pressure over the close to 1b tons of CO2 airlines spew into the atmosphere each year at a time when high-profile polluters such as carmakers and power stations are starting to clean up their acts. The European Aviation Safety Agency said in June it will grade jets by emissions to help people choose between airlines, while France has unveiled a flight tax it says is partly a response to the sector’s role in global warming. Speaking with Zurich-based NZZ, Spohr labeled fares as low as 10 euros ($11) “economically, ecologically and politically irresponsible” and partly to blame for making aviation “a target for criticism” in the climate debate. The spat underscores fault lines between network and low-cost carriers, despite efforts to find common ground via lobby groups such as Airlines for Europe, which Spohr helped found with Ryanair counterpart Michael O’Leary.
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EasyJet hires Ryanair executive as chief operating officer

EasyJet has hired rival Ryanair’s operations chief Peter Bellew, a 30-year industry veteran, as it navigates intense competition in the European short-haul market. The airline announced Bellew’s appointment as COO alongside a trading update that revealed an 11 per cent rise in revenue for the latest quarter. EasyJet said a strong Easter and a reduction in long delays and cancellations had helped boost total revenue to GBP1.76b in the three months to June. Passenger revenue rose 10.7% to GBP1.39b. The British low-cost carrier said it expected to deliver a profit before tax of between GBP400m and 440m in H2, in line with market expectations. Bellew spent nine years at Ryanair, where he held a number of roles, including director of flight operations, before he left for Malaysia Airlines, where he was eventually named chief executive. He rejoined Ryanair in December 2017, following a pilot rostering crisis at the Irish carrier that led to the cancellation of 2,000 flights. Johan Lundgren, CE of easyJet, said Bellow had an “exceptional level of experience” in low-cost and full-service airlines and was “a great leader with a proven track record in delivering results”.
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FAA has no timeline for lifting grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max

US aviation regulators have no timeline for returning Boeing’s grounded 737 Max to service and won’t act until they are sure it is safe, the nation’s top transportation official said Thursday. The FAA has to be assured that a fix being developed by Boeing in the wake of two fatal crashes will prevent any future accidents, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in a speech in Washington. “The FAA will lift the aircraft’s prohibition order when it is deemed safe to do so,” Chao said. “That is the bottom line: There is no timeline.” Chao was speaking before the Air Line Pilots Association’s Air Safety Forum. ALPA is the largest pilot’s union in North America. FAA is also developing new training requirements for pilots on the 737 Max, Chao said. A technical advisory board including experts from NASA and the Air Force is also weighing in on the decision, Chao said. Her comments mirror what FAA acting Administrator Daniel Elwell has been saying in recent months. The attempt to adapt the software on the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, which has been identified as a factor in crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia, has been slower than was initially predicted.
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China’s Spring Airlines opens Shenzhen hub

China's Spring Airlines has opened a hub at Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport to capitalize on the growth of the China Greater Bay Area, which comprises Hong Kong, Macau and the Guangdong province. Spring Airlines has committed to the hub seven Airbus A320s to fly 15 domestic routes, such as Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, Xi’an and Shenyang, as well as two international routes to Nagoya, Japan and Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Spring Airlines started flying to Shenzhen from Shanghai in 2010, and soon added another service from Shijiazhuang, but was only given the nod from Civil Aviation Administration of China to establish the hub in November 2018. Spring Airlines chairman Wang Qi told Chinese media that establishing the Shenzhen branch will further promote the convergence of people, logistics and capital flows into the GBA, and provide support for the region’s aviation development. In 2018, the airline recorded around 1.6m passengers from Shenzhen alone, with average load factors of 94.5%. For the first six months of 2019, it has served 850,000 passengers. Spring Airlines said it would increase its investment and provide more services for the residents in the GBA, and make Shenzhen a hub between its North Asia and Southeast Asia markets.
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Cellphones a flight danger? Could be on some Boeing jets

US government officials in 2014 revealed an alarming safety issue: Passenger cellphones and other types of radio signals could pose a crash threat to some models of Boeing 737 and 777 airplanes. More than 1,300 jets registered in the US were equipped with cockpit screens vulnerable to interference from Wi-Fi, mobile phones and even outside frequencies such as weather radar, according to the FAA, which gave airlines until November 2019 to replace the units made by Honeywell International. Today, potentially hundreds of planes worldwide are still flying with the unsafe systems cited in the FAA report. Flight-critical data including airspeed, altitude and navigation could disappear and “result in loss of airplane control at an altitude insufficient for recovery,” the FAA said in the safety bulletin, known as an airworthiness directive. Honeywell hasn’t heard of any blanking display screens caused by cell phones or other radio frequencies while an airplane was in flight, a spokeswoman said. When airlines and Honeywell argued that radio signals were unlikely to cause safety problems during flight, though, the FAA countered that it had run tests on in-service planes -- and the jets flunked. Boeing found the interference in a laboratory test in 2012 and hasn’t seen similar issues on other aircraft, a company spokesman said. Honeywell is aware of only one case where all six display units in a 737 cockpit went blank, Krauss said. The cause was a software problem that has been fixed and is currently being flight-tested, she said. Story has more details.
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Air Niugini pilots ignored multiple warnings before Chuuk crash

The captain of an Air Niugini Boeing 737-800 that crashed while attempting to land at Chuuk on 28 September 2018 became fixated with trying to land the aircraft, ignoring several automated warnings that the aircraft was below the glidescope and had an excessive sink rate. The final report into the fatal accident of the aircraft, registered P2-PXE, by Papua New Guinea's Accident Investigation Commission (AIC) concluded that the aircraft was unstable in its approach, and the co-pilot should have taken control of the aircraft and initiated a missed approach, in accordance with the operator's standard operating procedure manual. "The pilots’ actions and statements indicated that they had lost situational awareness from 625 ft on the approach and their attention had become channelised and fixated on completing the approach and landing the aircraft." It notes that the pilots failed to respond to 16 aural alerts from the enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS), "pull up" visual warnings at the bottom of the primary flight display, and indications from the PAPI that the aircraft's approach angle was too high, choosing instead to continue the unstable approach. The pilot-in-command also reported that there was no visibility for the last 30 seconds of the flight due to encountering a small storm cell. Nonetheless, the report notes that under Air Niugini's operating procedures, the co-pilot should have intervened earlier. Story has more details.
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Boeing sees $4.9b blow from fallout of 737 Max grounding

Boeing plans to report a $4.9b accounting charge with its Q2 results next week, a sign of the widening financial toll from the company’s beleaguered 737 Max jetliner. The after-tax writedown, equivalent to $8.74 a share, covers potential concessions and considerations for airline customers who have been forced to cancel flights and line up replacement aircraft as the Max’s grounding enters its fifth month, Boeing said in a statement Thursday. The costs will clip $5.6b from revenue and pretax earnings in the quarter. The assumptions behind the accounting charge also provided a glimpse of Boeing’s recovery plan. The company estimated that the Max will be approved to return to service in the US and other countries beginning “early in the fourth quarter,” easing fears that the timetable would slip to 2020. “This is a defining moment for Boeing,” CEO Dennis Muilenburg said. “Nothing is more important to us than the safety of the flight crews and passengers who fly on our airplanes. The Max grounding presents significant headwinds and the financial impact recognized this quarter reflects the current challenges and helps to address future financial risks.” While Boeing warned that the timing of a return to service could change, the estimate of Q4 approval was in line with recent schedule changes by the model’s US operators. The Q4 time frame also rebuts a recent Wall Street Journal report suggesting that initial flights would slip to 2020.
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Malaysian court orders AirAsia to pay airport operator millions in service charges

The Kuala Lumpur High Court has ordered low-cost carrier AirAsia to pay the country's airport operator RM40.73m (US$9.90m) for unpaid passenger service charges (PSC), which the airline refused to collect for six months last year. In a filing to Bursa Malaysia on Thursday, Malaysia Airports Holdings (MAHB) said AirAsia must also pay RM972,381 in late payment charges to Malaysia Airports, a wholly-owned subsidiary of MAHB. “The court granted summary judgement in favour of MA Sepang in all three civil suits filed against AirAsia and AirAsia X," it said. “The summary judgement order further included a declaration for AirAsia to pay MA Sepang the PSC rates that have been gazetted." Air Asia was also reportedly ordered to pay RM24,000 in costs for the three suits. AirAsia has previously refused to implement the PSC increase, which went from RM50 to RM73, citing the lower level of service at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2. “We will be taking necessary actions to preserve our interests, including appealing against said decision and applying for a stay of execution,” the airline said.
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