Finnair is a CFM customer with a very real but little-known success story, which is contributing in a major way to more efficient travel. Over the past few years, the Nordic carrier has found that demand has surged for services from smaller European cities to Asia via Helsinki, as Internet booking engines and computer reservation systems place it at the top of search results for routes to Asia.
Bombardier Aerospace is responding to demand for bigger regional jets with its 100-seat CRJ1000 and continues to mull a 90-seat stretch of its Q400 turboprop. Regional airlines are thriving, but constant pressure on operating costs means their equipment is getting steadily bigger, the company’s top executives agreed at a pre-show briefing in Belfast last month.
Prices for new Boeing jetliners could harden as the manufacturer works to manage production rates and outsourced parts supplies in the face of continuing high demand that Boeing says defies previous market cycles.
Will flying one day be as taboo as smoking is today, at least in most of Europe? Will it become socially unacceptable in the future to travel by air? Experts who see an unprecedented attack on air transport’s environmental footprint are posing these questions, challenging the industry’s growth for the first time in several decades.
Three years after they merged, Air France and KLM say the combination has paid off. At a press conference to announce the 2006-07 result here in Paris last month, chairman Jean-Cyril Spinetta reported strong increases in revenue and income. The joint French/ Dutch operation is profitable, and the share price has risen 70 percent this year. “By every standard, it’s been successful,” added vice chairman Leo Van Wijk.
According to many aviation consultants, aviation is about to enter a period of growth broader than it has experienced in quite a while. Several world events–including the rising cost of fuel–are driving this growth. It seems many operators are replacing their older corporate aircraft with modern, more fuel-efficient aircraft. First-time operators acquiring new aircraft are also driving growth.
To ensure their continued survival in the face of reduced income per passenger, regional operators sometimes seek solace in the arms of major carriers, which then might have to re-learn the realities of the regional game. For Portuguese flag carrier TAP Portugal, consideration of short-haul equipment and service costs has become a new experience as the major prepares to complete its acquisition of regional operator Portugalia Airlines.
Lufthansa Private Jet is here at EBACE 2007 at Booth No. 1240 enjoying the unexpected success of a combined airline-business jet product it launched just two years ago. It is now considering branching out into the U.S.
A new exhibitor here at EBACE, Brussels-based Sabena Flight Academy, is at Booth No. 785 trying to diversify from its usual airline business. The former subsidiary of defunct carrier Sabena is offering pilot training and consulting for business aircraft operators.
Spectrum Aeronautical, the California-based start-up manufacturer, said it is taking orders for its all-composite business jets “faster than we can build them.”