The entire 68-strong Airbus A380 fleet must be inspected for new cracks in wing-rib feet after the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) today extended an earlier requirement limited to 20 airframes.
Regional airline service has been slow to take root in the Middle East, and especially at the entry-level turboprop end of the market. But now, a start-up operator in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is preparing to launch a feeder service to the region’s aspiring hubs in Abu Dhabi and Doha, giving locals the chance to bypass crowded Dubai.
Based in Fujairah, UAE, Eastern Express plans to ferry business passengers into Abu Dhabi and Doha to connect with growing Gulf-based international passenger networks starting during this year’s first quarter.
ExecuJet Aviation has been in the Middle East for the long haul since 1999 and since then it has seen the bizav market fluctuate from boom to flat and now reach a slow climb. It has seen rivals come and go, and ambitious business plans turn to dust.
Business aviation in the Middle East is expected to keep growing at a faster rate than that seen in North America and Europe, but slower than the more dynamic expansion now being seen in the emerging markets of Asia. This is the broad consensus among manufacturers and service providers for a region that is now emerging from a somewhat unsettled two-year period that has seen some fall-out from wider economic problems and the so-called Arab Spring political unrest.
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.
After sending reporters back and forth from canceled press conference to canceled press conference, the organizers of this month’s Dubai Air Show clearly appeared as frustrated as the press corps by the shifting messages sent by OEMs and their customers at the Middle East’s preeminent aerospace event.
Emirates SkyCargo set a company record this past summer when it carried 52.87 metric tons of freight in the belly hold of one of its Boeing 777-300ERs on a flight from Karachi to Dubai. Indeed, the load, consisting mainly of dense perishable meat products and vegetable produce, marked a significant achievement for Emirates during a period of sagging fortunes in the air cargo business.
Calculating the value of business announced during airshows is an inexact science, but as the 2011 Dubai Air Show came to an end last week the combined sales tally for airliners, engines and support contracts looked set to have topped $50 billion. Boeing grabbed the lion’s share of this through a $26 billion deal with Emirates Airline covering 50 of its 777-300ER long-range twinjets and options for 20 more.
Boeing and Airbus are in broad agreement over the impressive growth rate expected in the Middle East airliner fleet between now and 2030, according to new market forecasts released during the Dubai Air Show last week.
GE Aviation will help oversee the design and construction of a new $120 million engine overhaul shop that Emirates Airline plans to build in Dubai. Plans call for construction to begin on the 226,000-sq-ft shop in the first quarter of 2012 and for operations to start in the fourth quarter of 2014.