A firm order for three 100-seat Embraer E190s from Finnair capped a brisk run of sales activity in the second half of February for the Brazilian airframe builder. The deal raises to 23 the number of E-Jets ordered by the Finnish flag carrier, which took delivery of its seventh E190 last month. It also flies ten 72-seat Embraer E170s.
After conducting an internal investigation, last month Southwest Airlines leaders switched from defending the airline’s maintenance practices to suspending three maintenance employees and grounding a significant number of airplanes to re-inspect them for possible cracks. The FAA issued a statement on March 6 proposing that Southwest Airlines pay a $10.2 million civil penalty for its error.
David Neeleman’s new Brazilian airline venture appeared to have taken a giant leap toward fruition today, as Embraer announced that the JetBlue founder signed a contract to buy 36 of the 108- to 122-seat E195 jets and take options on another 20. The deal also secured purchase rights on another 20 airplanes, which, if exercised, would raise the total value of the orders to $3 billion.
The FAA today said it planned to levy a $10.2 million civil penalty against Southwest Airlines for operating 46 airplanes that hadn’t undergone mandatory inspections for fuselage fatigue cracking. Subsequently, the airline found that six of the 46 airplanes had developed fatigue cracks.
Brazil’s Embraer announced an order here yesterday from U.S. aircraft leasing company Jetscape for 10 E190 jets, along with options for another 10 aircraft and “purchase rights” for 10 more.
The value of the transaction totals $375 million at list prices, and could reach $1.125 billion if all options and purchase rights are exercised. Deliveries are scheduled to start in 2009.
AirAsia has selected a suite of Rockwell Collins avionics for 60 new Airbus A320s, with options for 40 more. AirAsia X, its low-cost affiliate, selected the same avionics for 15 Airbus A330 aircraft.
Under terms of the agreement, Rockwell Collins will provide maintenance support at a set price per flight hour for 15 years. Previously, the avionics firm announced a service-and-support contract with AirAsia for 100 A320 aircraft.
India appears to have ruled out any early prospect of increased international competition among its airlines. The move will disappoint recent start-up operators looking for a relaxation of current policy that bars Indian carriers with less than five years’ experience from international routes.
Indonesia’s Lion Air and India’s SpiceJet have started operating some of the first 737-900ERs to roll off Boeing’s Renton, Washington assembly line. The Asian carriers could well serve as barometers of the type’s value within the low-fare markets expected to account for so much of the region’s airline growth. Early accounts suggest the new twinjet has met expectations and more.
Asia accounts for 25 percent of the world’s air traffic, a figure expected to grow to more than 30 percent in three years, largely thanks to the proliferation of low-cost carriers. With cheap fares, easy online bookings and direct connections to previously sleepy backwaters, budget carriers are bringing air travel to the masses in this part of the world.
The Air Transport Association (ATA) expects U.S. airlines to post a $3.5 to $4.5 billion net profit this year, following back-to-back net profits in 2006 and 2007. The past two years were the first consecutive profitable years since 1999-2000. According to ATA, whose members transport more than 90 percent of all U.S.