Airlines appear headed for another bumpy ride in 2012, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which last week slashed $1.4 billion from its forecast profits for member carriers.
Stung by development delays and now intent on shifting its emphasis from long-haul to regional and domestic services, China Eastern Airlines on October 17 announced a decision to cancel orders for 24 Boeing 787s in favor of a new order for 45 Boeing 737NGs.
Cargolux took delivery of the first Boeing 747-8 Freighter today following the resolution of contractual “issues” that led to the cancellation of handover ceremonies originally planned for September 19 and 21 in Everett, Wash.
Atlas Air has cancelled delivery of three “early build” Boeing 747-8 Freighters, lowering the total number of the airplanes covered under its firm order to nine. The company placed the original order for 12 airplanes in September 2006, but chose to exercise its termination rights on the first three, apparently due to Boeing’s failure to meet performance guarantees.
Developments planned by Australia’s Qantas Airways and American Airlines demonstrate membership benefits for global alliance partners seeking to rationalize operations while improving competitiveness. The operators belong to Oneworld, whose members include British Airways (BA), Chile’s LAN, Iberia, and Japan Airlines (JAL), with Malaysia Airlines waiting in the wings.
A five-year Qantas Airways plan to reduce dependence on domestic flights and business services and establish two Asian joint-venture partnerships aims to help the Australian carrier to stimulate overseas business. It will lay off 1,000 employees, defer deliveries of six Airbus A380s (and possibly some Boeing 787s), retire four Boeing 747-400s and replace two London services with British Airways code-shares beyond Bangkok and Hong Kong.
In a bid to resuscitate “steadily fading” overseas operations, Australia’s Qantas Airways plans to make 1,000 domestic jobs redundant, defer Airbus A380 (and possibly some Boeing 787) deliveries, retire some Boeing 747-400s, and replace some long-haul services with code-sharing flights.
British airline group bmi has signed two new agreements with Lufthansa Technik. Under the terms of the first agreement Lufthansa Technik will continue to supply base maintenance services for 41 aircraft of the complete bmi and bmibaby fleets, which include 25 Airbus A320s, two A330s and 14 Boeing 737s. The contract calls for more than 200 C checks to be performed over the next seven years.
The tie-up between Spanish flag carrier Iberia and the UK’s British Airways to create International Airlines Group (IAG) will pave the way for an overhaul of the way the pair buy aircraft, according to the new company’s finance chief. The two airlines plan to combine buying in a new fleet renewal strategy led by IAG with its stronger buying power, although they will continue to run and maintain their fleets separately, Enrique Dupuy said.
US Airways yesterday announced it would add first-class seating and service on 110 US Airways Express regional jets operated by Republic Airways, Mesa Air Group and PSA. Plans call for the airline to install first-class seating on Embraer 170s and 175s, along with Bombardier CRJ700s and CRJ900s, beginning in October with the E175 fleet. It expects to finish outfitting the three remaining fleet types by the end of next January.