The European Regions Airline Association is preparing for a winter of intense lobbying as politicians in Brussels return to their desks this month. The ERA’s new director general, Simon McNamara, has identified new passenger rights rules, airport capacity shortages and constraints on state aid for airlines and airports as the main battleground issues the association hopes to resolve before the European Parliament elections in May next year and the subsequent appointment of new leadership at the European Commission (EC).
Plans to expand the main runway at Chicago’s third commercial airport have hit another delay. The latest estimate now places completion in September next year.
Canada’s WestJet has signed a letter of intent to buy 40 Boeing 737 Max 8s and 25 Max 7s, the Calgary-based low-fare carrier announced Thursday. The airline said it expects close a definitive purchase agreement with Boeing before September 30 and start taking deliveries in September 2017. Boeing values the order at $6.3 billion based on list prices.
The FAA has reported that a JetBlue Airbus A320 conducted its first flight using ADS-B technology on June 9 between Fort Lauderdale and San Francisco and also became the first U.S. airliner to reach its destination using a predominantly ADS-B-created route. The aircraft flew the route over the Gulf of Mexico as it steered around weather along its regular company-filed flight-plan route. The reroute also shaved 100 nm from the aircraft’s trip, saving fuel.
Philippine carrier Zest Air’s 11 Airbus aircraft returned to normal operations August 21, after the carrier’s flight schedule was suspended by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines on August 16 for numerous safety violations. The reinstatement of the airline’s operating certificate came after an inspection by the country’s Flight Standards Inspectorate Service.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) reinstated low-far carrier Zest Air’s operating certificate last Tuesday following a four-day suspension triggered by a series of alleged safety oversights. Zest Air, whose ownership structure includes a 49-percent stake held by Malaysia’s Air Asia, returned to service four of its 11 Airbus A320-series narrowbodies as of August 22 and hoped to resume a full schedule by the end of the week, following clearance by CAAP inspectors.
The U.S. Justice Department pointed to what most in the airline industry would consider fairly innocuous comments by US Airways executives as evidence of how consolidation has harmed the flying public by resulting in higher airfares and reduced service.
It specifically cited US Airways president Scott Kirby’s remarks that consolidation has allowed for “three successful fare increases.”
The death knell for India’s Kingfisher Airlines sounded as lender banks took possession of the airline’s 25,850-sq-ft headquarters property in Mumbai on August 10. Carrying some $1 billion in outstanding debt, liquor tsar Vijay Mallya and his United Breweries Group have seen wholly owned Kingfisher accumulate $2.6 billion in losses since its launch in 2005. Most recently, it registered a loss of $188 million for the quarter running from April to June.
Next year’s soccer World Cup in Brazil will result in around 3,000 business aircraft flying into and within Brazil, according to trip-support group United Aviation Services. The company says private aircraft could carry as many as 11 percent of all fans traveling to games for the tournament, in part due to somewhat limited commercial airline service.
Lion Air, Indonesia’s largest domestic carrier, is expanding its routes and training facilities, having ordered 20 Cessna 172s and one Boeing 737-900ER simulator, its third, to shore up an impending need for pilots. The budget carrier has placed orders for more than 500 narrowbodies with Boeing and Airbus; it currently has a fleet of 96 aircraft.