Australia’s Virgin Blue has reached an agreement “in principle” with Boeing to order up to 50 new 737s, Virgin Airlines Group CEO Brett Godfrey said in a statement released today. “We do not intend to shy away from remaining competitive, and we plan to vigorously defend our core domestic markets,” said Godfrey, who also noted that Virgin Blue plans to secure “additional short-term domestic capacity.”
Association of Asia Pacific Airlines
Koito Industries, a Japanese supplier of seats to carriers such as Continental Airlines, falsified test results and made unauthorized design changes on 150,000 seats supplied to 32 international airlines, Japan’s Transport Ministry said.
Garuda Indonesia Airlines is in Singapore with one of its new Boeing 737-800s to promote plans to expand its capacity threefold by 2014. Dubbed Quantum Leap, the five-year plan begins in earnest this year, as Garuda takes delivery of 23 new B737-800s and a single A330-200.
Singapore Airlines (SIA) returned to profitability in the third quarter of the current financial year–hopefully turning its back on two straight quarters of losses. The flagcarrier’s operating profit of the quarter ending on Dec. 31, 2009, was S$323 million, marking a major turnaround after the S$159 million loss suffered in the second quarter.
Jet Aviation has a long pedigree here in the Asian business aviation community, having established its handling and aircraft support operation at Singapore’s Seletar Airport 15 years ago. Last year, its aircraft management business in the region grew by 20 percent to a fleet of 24 aircraft, nine of which are based in Hong Kong. The Swiss-based group also manages aircraft for clients in Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and India.
South Korea’s Jeju Air has placed an order with Honeywell to replace the wheels and brakes on its Boeing 737s. The terms of the contract have not been disclosed, but as part of the agreement the U.S. manufacturer also will provide spares for up to 15 of Jeju’s 737s.
Maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) service providers are here at the Singapore Airshow chasing more market share in a still-promising Asia-Pacific region.
This year will likely be an improvement on 2009 for airlines in this part of the world but it won’t mean a quick return to profitability, according to Andrew Herdman, director general of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA). But the substantial losses the group’s members have suffered in the last two years should at least be reduced, he told AIN in an interview ahead of this week’s Singapore Airshow.
Given Asia’s affinity for big airplanes and the fact that the region is emerging from the global recession as one of the few in the world that has experienced growth in airline traffic, it should come as little surprise that some of Boeing’s brightest prospects for the 747-8 reside there.
Japan Airlines (JAL) filed for bankruptcy on January 19, hammering home a sobering lesson for air carriers worldwide that the industry’s latest crisis is far from over–despite tentative recovery in traffic volumes.