Airbus has landed a firm order for 58 A320neos and 17 A321neos from Turkey’s Pegasus Airlines, the manufacturer announced Tuesday. Pegasus, the second largest airline in Turkey, also reserved options on 25 more of the re-engined narrowbodies. The contract establishes Pegasus as a new Airbus customer and makes it the first Turkish airline to order the A320neo. It now flies more than 40 Boeing 737-800s.
AirAsia, the largest low-cost airline in Asia, has placed a new order with Airbus for 100 more A320-family narrowbodies, Airbus announced Thursday. The contract covers another 64 A320neos and 36 current-generation A320s, raising Air Asia’s single-aisle order count from Airbus to 475.
Policy-making paralysis over much-needed reforms and liquidity concerns raised by the grounding of Kingfisher Airlines has deterred investors, vendors, lessors and suppliers from doing business in India’s air transport sector, according to delegates attending last month’s Asia-Pacific Airlines Association Assembly of Presidents in Kuala Lumpur. Association calculations show that average profits among Indian airlines amount to just $1 per passenger.
Virgin Australia said it has reached an agreement in principle to buy a 100-percent stake in Perth, Australia-based Skywest Airlines. Announced on October 30 and still subject to approvals from regulatory authorities and Skywest shareholders, the deal would see the Western Australian regional assume the Virgin Australia brand and, according to Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti, benefit from further investment by the would-be parent company.
More evidence of capacity constraint among U.S. airlines appeared in a recent quarterly earnings report from one of the fastest-growing carriers in the country. Virgin America, which has seen annual available seat mile (ASM) growth average 28 percent for the past three years, has reconsidered its fleet expansion strategy and said it would move to cut the number of airplanes it plans to add over the rest of the decade.
Tough economic times are resulting in innovations by carriers in the Asia Pacific region looking beyond traditional business models through strategic realignments and new product offerings. Recent ground-breaking deals include Virgin Australia selling a 10-percent stake to Singapore Airlines (SIA) and buying 60 percent of Tiger Airways; the new partnership between Emirates Airline and Qantas; and Etihad Airways purchasing a 10-percent stake in Virgin Australia.
Decelerating growth at Virgin America has led the airline to reconsider its fleet-expansion strategy and move to cut the number of airplanes it plans to add over the rest of the decade. Under a revised agreement reached with Airbus, Virgin America’s order for current-generation A320s will shrink from 30 airplanes to 10, all scheduled for delivery in 2015 and 2016, the airline announced Friday.
The association representing major U.S. airlines expects that carriers will scale back capacity early next year, aligning it more closely with passenger demand to offset record high jet fuel prices. Airlines for America (A4A) projects a 2.4-percent reduction in scheduled domestic flights, a 1.3-percent decrease in domestic seats and a 0.1-percent cut in domestic available seat miles (ASMs) in the new year. This year, domestic ASMs rose a modest 0.1 percent over last year’s total seat capacity.
Hurricane Sandy closed the major New York City metropolitan area airports and forced the cancellation of more than 20,000 flights as it swept the Northeast region of the U.S. last week, leaving widespread flooding in its wake. The Category 1 hurricane, combined with cold fronts from the north and west, also disrupted operations at airports in Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Other airports nationwide and internationally felt the ripple effect of the cancellations.
Striking pilots and engineers of India’s Kingfisher Airlines have accepted a three-month portion of their eight months of unpaid salaries and agreed to return to work, even as management struggles to get its suspended Scheduled Operator’s Permit reinstated. Still, civil aviation minister Ajit Singh warned that paying salaries alone would not guarantee that Kingfisher would fly again. “I think the Kingfisher problem is much bigger; even if they pay the salaries today, are they going to take off and fly? I don`t think so,” he said.