A strong sales year in 2011 on the part of the world’s two major airliner manufacturers might portend a positive outlook for the air transport sector over the long term, but confidence in the profitability of the airline industry for this year continues to sag, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). In fact, the group expects profitability to decline by some $2 billion in 2012, and margins to settle at just 0.8 percent.
As part of its planned expansion in Europe, Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways intends to increase its ownership stake in Air Berlin to 29 percent, a move that would make it the largest single shareholder in Germany’s second largest airline.
Lufthansa Technik and NAS-Holding of Saudi Arabia are expanding their relationship. Since the two companies signed a 10-year cooperation agreement in September 2010 Lufthansa Technik has supported NAS’s technical business, NAS-Tech, in developing capacity for maintenance and smaller overhauls. Lufthansa Technik has also taken over maintenance services for the engines and components of the entire NAS fleet.
The scramble for precious slots at London Heathrow Airport has spurred a bidding war for struggling UK carrier BMI. Virgin Atlantic Airways has told Lufthansa, BMI’s owner, that it will be able to close the deal more quickly than the International Airlines Group (IAG), which launched a bid for BMI in November.
American Airlines pilots said the airline received approval from the FAA last week to use Apple iPad tablet computers for digital charts and manuals in all phases of flight, including takeoff and landing, making American the first carrier to use iPads in the cockpit for expanded capability.
Oh, Alec! You’ve gone and done it now. When you got kicked off that American Airlines flight on December 6 because you didn’t want to turn off your phone and stop playing Words With Friends and got mad at the flight attendant and slammed the bathroom door, well, you exposed the airlines’ dirty little secret, didn’t you?
The holiday season seemed to start early last week for Boeing, as it secured no fewer than three major firm orders, including the biggest in its history.
Evergreen Maintenance Center (EMC) has announced the appointment of Hal Heule as chief executive officer; he will oversee all EMC operations. Heule brings more than 40 years of aircraft maintenance experience to EMC.
The Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing major U.S. airlines, formerly known as the Air Transport Association of America, has changed its name to Airlines for America (A4A) to emphasize the industry’s role in connecting the U.S. to the global economy.
Pinnacle Airlines said in late October that it would close the headquarters of its Eagan, Minn.-based Mesaba Airlines subsidiary toward the end of next year’s first quarter as it moves to reduce the number of its operating certificates from three to two. Pinnacle also owns Manassas, Va.-based Colgan Air.