Europe’s regional airlines continue to struggle against European Commission (EC) bureaucrats who do not appreciate their value or the problems poor legislation and punitive taxation cause, or that they enable European economic prosperity. This was the central message from the “Regions at Risk” conference held by the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) in Porto, Portugal on April 18 and 19.
South Africa’s low-cost carriers have fallen into disarray as rising fuel costs and overcapacity take their toll on a domestic industry now hit by a spate of airline management resignations. Rodney James stepped down as CEO of OneTime airline, along with executive director Michael Kaminski, the company said March 13, without giving reasons for the departures.
In a reversal from an earlier policy, which gave state-owned Air India preference over bilateral aviation agreements for international routes, the Indian government will now open access to private airlines.
Singapore Airlines’ latest low-cost venture–Scoot–is evaluating Boeing 787s and Airbus A350XWBs as it plans to more than triple its fleet to 14 aircraft by 2015. The medium- to long-haul carrier will launch services in June with four Boeing 777-200s acquired from its parent, SIA.
After an eventful 2011 that saw double-digit growth in passenger and aircraft numbers, Singapore is working to improve Changi Airport’s customer experience and global connections. “Despite continuing economic uncertainty and environmental factors, we continue to develop the hub,” according to Changi Airport Group (CAG) chief executive Lee Seow Hiang.
IndiGo, India’s largest budget carrier with a fleet of 48 Airbus A320 airliners, has awarded SriLankan Engineering its largest contract for maintenance of 26 C-checks through 2012. This is the fourth consecutive year IndiGo has outsourced to SriLankan and it is the largest overseas outsourcing of maintenance, repair and overhaul work by an Indian carrier. The contact has been awarded at a time when onerous taxes appear to be making Indian MRO providers uncompetitive.
AirAsia X, the Malaysian budget long-haul affiliate of Air Asia, is consolidating business in its core markets of China, Australia, Japan and Korea, according to CEO Azran Osman-Rani, who was speaking to AIN at the Low Cost Airlines World conference in Singapore last week.
European low-cost carrier Easyjet announced on the eve of the show that it will be the first airline to test the electric taxiing system that Safran and Honeywell are developing to save fuel (see page 58). With the first operational trials due to take place in 2013, Easyjet’s role will be to help establish whether the estimated savings can be realized. The system enables an aircraft to taxi without its engines, by using the auxiliary power unit to power electric motors in the main wheels.
The Asia Pacific market will lead strong passenger growth around the world over the next 20 years, giving Boeing and its rivals with a market for 11,450 airplanes valued at $1.5 trillion. This was the latest assessment of Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of marketing Randy Tinseth during a media briefing on eve of this year’s Singapore Airshow
“Asia Pacific is such a strong and dynamic market [and] in 2012 we’ll continue to see resilient passenger traffic growth levels above the forecasted world average,” he predicted.
Even as Asia Pacific airlines survived a testing 2011, overcapacity as a result of increased fleet orders is still concerning investors, who are already less willing to finance procurements in the current debt-laden environment. This was the message from Sydney-based thinktank the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) at the Low Cost Airlines Asia summit in Singapore last week.