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.
Atlantic FuelEx has been appointed as a member of the steering committee of the Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO). The Dubai-based company is the first fuel reseller to be appointed to the group, which is focused on improving the reliability and quality of fuel supplies to carriers in the region.
The dynamism of today’s airliner leasing business was illustrated earlier this year by the creation by German investment company Doric GmbH of a separate entity, Doric Lease Corp. (DLC), to manage the assets.
Egypt’s Nesma Airlines, which operates two leased Airbus A320-200s, has announced a change of lubricant manufacturer as it seeks to combat the hot desert conditions involved in flying in the Middle East.
Three years ago, Nesma started using Air BP Lubricants’s High Performance Capable Turbine Oil 2197. According to Air BP Lubricants, “The recommendation to switch oils came from the aircraft’s former operator, who had previously experienced the added benefits of using BPTO 2197 in other aircraft.”
Airline industry organizations have welcomed new legislation introduced in the U.S. Congress that would prevent the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency from opening a customs preclearance facility in the UAE.
Fast-growing Russian leasing group Ilyushin Finance Co. (ILC) is targeting the Middle East market with a portfolio of five airliners that could exploit the increasingly blurred lines between traditional regional air transport fleets and new-generation narrowbodies.
“The African continent has great potential to become a business aviation hub, which led to us opening our facility in Lagos in October 2012,” said Ettore Poggi, ExecuJet Africa’s managing director. “Traditionally, Africa has mainly been a turboprop market, popular with mining companies and the tourist industry.
Nick Fadugba’s prognosis is all the more telling given the scathing assessment of Africa’s airport infrastructure and management made by Dr. Titus Naikuni, group managing director and chief executive officer, Kenya Airways, at the Routes Africa 2013 Summit in Uganda in July. He told them to pull their socks up.