September’s JetExpo show at Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport once again provided a fascinating snapshot of how Russia’s business aviation market is continuing to develop. The overall impression from this eighth annual event is that, after a powerful growth surge, the market may be leveling off somewhat, but with every prospect of further expansion.
International Air Transport Association director general and CEO Tony Tyler has said that over the past decade the aggregate safety results for airlines adhering to the association’s Operational Safety Audit standard are superior to those of carriers that do not use the system. His remarks came at last week’s annual African Airlines Association general assembly in Mombasa, Kenya. Tyler also said in 2012 there was not a single hull loss of a Western-built airplane by any of IATA’s 25 African member airlines.
Patrick Cau, a German citizen and former United Airlines flight attendant, has been sentenced to 18 months in a U.S. federal prison for making eight false bomb threats against United Airlines flights. Cau was fired by the airline about a year before the first threats began surfacing from a variety of U.S. cities in late 2012. Cau must also pay nearly $314,000 in restitution to both his former employer and the Los Angeles Police Department for expenses related to the threats.
Like those in the U.S., European airlines are rolling out guidelines to allow passengers to use portable electronic devices (PED) during all phases of flight. The European Aviation Safety Agency is also looking for a long-term solution that will allow passengers to make telephone calls from their mobile devices as well. If approved, the ability to make cellphone calls would be allowed only on European carriers.
A day after the highly anticipated launch of the 777X, Boeing found itself attempting to debunk assertions that the big three Persian Gulf carriers that now account for the majority of the order backlog unduly influenced the technical characteristics of the airplane.
Ethiopian Airlines signed a 10-year “OnPoint” maintenance agreement with GE Aviation for its GE90 engines. Under the agreement, GE (Pavilion A9) will maintain GE90 engines on 16 Ethiopian Boeing 777s. OnPoint agreements are customized service agreements tailored to the operational and financial needs of airline customers, GE said. The agreements are designed to help lower customers’ cost of ownership and maximize their use of assets.
With 36 A380 aircraft in the fleet as of late September and a further 104 now on order, the aviation community is trying to calculate what will happen to Emirates’ superjumbo fleet when the time comes to retire the type, at around halfway through its lifetime. Some analysts believe that, given a lifespan of 25 years, a proxy for the useful life of a modern widebody aircraft, the A380 will face problems in the secondary market when major leases come to an end after the standard 12-year term.
Last week’s decision by the U.S. Justice Department to drop its lawsuit to block the merger of AMR and US Airways Group didn’t come without conditions, but antitrust experts and analysts for the most part agree that it came as a resounding victory for the airlines. Largely left intact by the deal reached between Justice and the airlines, the merger would close in December, creating the largest carrier in the world.
Economic growth, aviation deregulation, a growing middle class and aggressive tourism marketing continue to drive business in the regional markets of Asia-Pacific, where well entrenched budget carriers such as Malaysia’s AirAsia and Indonesia’s Lion Air face increasing competition from new low-cost startups. In neighboring India, three of every four airline seats now belong to budget carriers.
Lack of infrastructure and regulatory cohesion challenge the growth of the Asia-Pacific region’s airlines, said Andrew Herdman, president and director general of the 15-airline Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA). Herdman and other industry officials warned of rising air traffic congestion at AAPA’s 57th Assembly of Presidents, held November 14 and 15 in Hong Kong.