Despite the beginning of the Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day (a popular holiday in Hong Kong), the fast-approaching Singapore Airshow and temperatures low enough to break a 40-year-record, the third Asian Business Aviation Conference &
Association of Asia Pacific Airlines
Lufthansa Technik’s Asia Pacific joint ventures are expanding in line with the region’s air transport growth. Ameco Beijing (Stand No. D78) is due to inaugurate the biggest maintenance hangar in Asia next month, Lufthansa Technik Philippines (Stand No. H65) has opened a second widebody hangar in Manila and Lufthansa Technik Shenzhen has added new capabilities.
The world’s airlines may have made $5.6 billion profit last year and achieved record load factors of 77 percent but Lufthansa Technik CEO August Wilhelm Hennigsen said here yesterday, “With fuel at $100 a barrel and the smell of recession coming from the U.S. the question is whether the industry will continue to grow.”
Boeing has acknowledged its embarrassment over the effect of delays on customers in the Asia Pacific region and despite a characteristic refusal by some executives here to discuss compensation payments, one manager freely offered a gesture of contrition.
Boeing announced new firm orders from two Indonesian airlines–ambitious low-fare 737 operator Lion Air and Garuda Indonesia–for a total of 60 airplanes. An order for 56 B737-900ERs from Lion Air raises the airline’s order total for the type to 178. Garuda’s commitment for four 777-300ERs accompanies a conversion of an order for six deferred 777-200ERs to the larger type, bringing its total -300ER commitment to 10.
Many Singapore Air Show visitors are seeing the Airbus A380 paying for itself in commercial service for the first time as it lands and takes off here at Changi Airport. For at least another six months, Singapore will remain the only operating base for the world’s largest airliner and local carrier Singapore Airlines (SIA) its only operator.
A number of airliner sales campaigns could reach their conclusion with signatures here at the show. In fact, reports suggest the possibility of a healthy level of new business, whether in the form of genuine inked contracts, letters of intent or good old-fashioned “penciled-in” line slots. Airlines named by analysts and industry sources for possible order announcements include:
Airbus continues to consider stretched, longer-range and cargo versions of its A380 very large airliner, but is no longer studying shortbody or combination passenger/cargo variants, according to Richard Carcaillet, head of A380 marketing.
Airlines in the Asia Pacific region have become key global players and should have a greater say in industry issues, according to Andrew Herdman, director general of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA). “The growing influence of Asia Pacific needs to be matched by stronger engagement in key international policy issues,” he told AIN.
Singapore concluded bilateral “Open Skies” agreements (OSAs) with Denmark, Sweden and Norway late last month. The new deals will allow Singaporean air carriers to fly between Singapore and any destination in Scandinavia, via and beyond to any third country without any restrictions in terms of passenger capacity, service frequency or aircraft type. In return, Scandinavian airlines now enjoy the same rights into and through Singapore.