UAE national carrier Etihad Airways unveiled its first branded regional airline operation–Etihad Regional–at the Dubai Airshow yesterday. Etihad is launching the regional operation after acquiring a 33.3-percent stake in Swiss carrier Darwin Airline.
Air Transport and Cargo
News and issues relating to international air transport and cargo carriers, national airlines and regional airlines, including aircraft, engines, personnel, acquisitions, accidents, safety, security and training.
Atlantic FuelEx has been appointed as a member of the steering committee of the Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO). The Dubai-based company is the first fuel reseller to be appointed to the group, which is focused on improving the reliability and quality of fuel supplies to carriers in the region.
Two UK airports announced earlier this year the creation of a National Aeronautical Centre (NAC) for the testing of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), the first such nongovernment venture in Europe. West Wales Airport at Aberporth and Newquay Airport in Cornwall, southwest England, have linked up to jointly offer to UAS developers (Unmanned Vehicles area, Stand 645) their facilities and runways, along with access to large offshore testing areas.
Thirty students from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have gone to Canada to train to become air traffic controllers as part of an agreement between Nav Canada and Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation. The students expect to complete all their required training at the Nav Centre, described by Nav Canada as its world-class training and conferencing facility in Cornwall, Ontario.
The Middle East needs to prepare to handle increased air traffic congestion over the next few years, especially in the Gulf region; however, forming a central body to coordinate the necessary changes and harmonization is proving difficult.
Nick Fadugba’s prognosis is all the more telling given the scathing assessment of Africa’s airport infrastructure and management made by Dr. Titus Naikuni, group managing director and chief executive officer, Kenya Airways, at the Routes Africa 2013 Summit in Uganda in July. He told them to pull their socks up.
Africa’s airlines need to wake up to competition from outside the continent, form alliances that allow players both big and small to interact for the greater good, and realize that governments are often no longer interested in protecting domestic carriers (as they see economy-boosting tourist arrivals as a more important priority), according to Nick Fadugba, CEO of African Aviation Services.
Ghaith Al Ghaith, the CEO of Flydubai, Dubai’s low-cost carrier, has a reputation for being tight-lipped. Observers would be unwise to mistake this reticence for a lack of activity: Flydubai has been diligent in adding aircraft and routes ever since its first flight to Beirut in 2009 and, as of September, Dubai’s second airline, operated to 66 destinations, from Yekaterinburg in the north to the Maldives in the south, Belgrade in the west and Colombo in the east.
Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis at the Teal Group of Fairfax, Virginia, wonders whether Emirates has bitten off more than it can chew with the A380. The lack of operating lessors is an indication of a weak-to-nonexistent secondary market. And Emirates’ insistence on low average fleet age–a year ago, its strategy officials were aiming for under six years–means that the airline could have to start offloading its earliest A380 components in the fleet as soon as next year.