October airline traffic statistics published by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) last week showed substantial growth in virtually every region of the world, as global revenue passenger kilometers rose 6.6 percent compared with the same month a year earlier and 5.2 percent over September’s results. Even the cargo market resumed its fragile recovery in October, generating a 4-percent increase in freight ton kilometers.
Talks between Cambodian telecommunications, banking and property tycoon Kith Meng and Philippine Airlines (PAL) over a new Cambodian flag carrier called Cambodia Air have intensified following their failure to realize plans to close on a deal on October 15.
On April 25, PAL’s board agreed to acquire a 49-percent stake in Cambodia Air, now solely owned by Meng’s company, Inter Logistics (ILC).
Keen to show his airline can operate as a profitable carrier amid assertions that it survives on the largesse of its government benefactors, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker offered revealing insights at last month’s Dubai Airshow into some of the internal machinations and brinkmanship that shape aircraft purchase negotiations. The colorful and sometimes controversial Al Baker played coy about his interest in the 777X while fully intending to engage Boeing in serious negotiations that eventually led to a blockbuster sale.
Facing the prospect of increasing competition from European carriers, El Al Israel Airlines plans to launch a new low-fare brand named Up next March. Up will start by offering one-way introductory fares of $69 for departures from Israel to Prague and Budapest; and $99 to Berlin, Kiev and Larnaca, Cyprus.
India’s twice-bid reconnaissance and surveillance helicopter (RSH) competition has been delayed again. An oversight committee is now scrutinizing the latest bids to inquire into allegations of improper conduct by an army officer during flight trials of the finalists. The Kamov Ka-226T and Eurocopter AS550C3 Fennec are competing for an Army and Air Force requirement for 197 helicopters.
The U.S. Transportation Command (USTranscom) has awarded hundreds of millions of dollars worth of new contracts for companies providing helicopter support in Afghanistan. Recipients include AAR Airlift, $151 million; Columbia Helicopters, $87 million; Construction Helicopters, $33 million; and HNZ Group, $6 million.
Heli USA, the third largest helicopter tour operator in Las Vegas, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month in a move the company asserts was triggered by a commercial dispute with AgustaWestland over leased helicopters. Heli USA had stopped making lease payments after it claimed the Italian airframer failed to deliver a trio of helicopters with ordered equipment, including sightseeing windows and in-flight entertainment systems. Heli USA filed for Chapter 11 in a bid to stop AgustaWestland from repossessing the aircraft.
Honda Aircraft celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the HondaJet prototype’s first flight on Tuesday. “The proof-of-concept HondaJet first flight was a pinnacle moment,” Honda Aircraft president and CEO Michimasa Fujino told AIN. “Our team had spent years researching and testing the advanced theories and concepts incorporated into the aircraft’s innovative design,” which includes its over-the-wing engine mounting.
The Middle East Business Aviation Association’s founding chairman, Ali Al Naqbi, is calling on UAE-based business aircraft operators to support the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority’s push to move business aviation operations from Dubai International Airport (DXB) to Al Maktoum Airport/Dubai World Central (DWC). He cited slot shortages and timing restrictions that make life increasingly untenable at DXB, a situation that will be exacerbated in May when the airfield partially closes for a three-month-long runway rehabilitation project.
Prospects for private aircraft charter in the month leading up to the Christmas and New Year holidays appear markedly stronger in North America than in Europe, according to the latest data from online charter portal Avinode.