Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic Airways took the first step toward confronting the formidable threat of the recent British Airways-American Airlines pairing as regulators approved Delta’s acquisition of Singapore Airlines’ 49-percent stake in the UK carrier last week. The acquisition means that Virgin Atlantic and Delta have cleared a major hurdle in their effort toward forming a full joint venture, an antitrust review of which the U.S. Department of Transportation expects to complete during this year’s third quarter.
Open Travel Alliance
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker is upbeat on the market, having ordered nine Boeing 777-300ERs, valued at $2.8 billion (at list prices), of which seven are options. “When we say options, we always make them firm orders,” he said. “Options [simply] give us the flexibility of moving up delivery dates.”
Al Baker said the new aircraft would allow the airline to open new long-haul routes to the U.S. Two of the new jets will be delivered in early 2014.
Boeing fired the starting pistol on the much-anticipated launch of the 787-10 here yesterday, in the process collecting order commitments for 102 airplanes from five customers across Europe, Asia and North America. Air Lease, United Airlines, GE Capital Aviation Services, British Airways and Singapore Airlines form the group of launch customers.
Aviation Partners Boeing has launched the split-scimitar winglet program for the Boeing 737-900ER with an order from United Airlines. The carrier had already launched a similar program in January for its 737-800s, with FAA approval for a supplemental type certificate (STC) expected in October. The 900ER STC should be approved next February. The split-scimitar winglet modifies the existing blended winglet with a new cap section, and adds a ventral strake.
Associated Air Center (AAC) has taken delivery of a Boeing 757-200ER for an undisclosed Latin American head of state. The scope of work includes scheduled maintenance, cabin/cabin systems enhancements and communication upgrades, along with incorporating Service Bulletins and Airworthiness Directives. AAC initially completed this aircraft back in 1989. AAC’s Dallas Love Field hangar facility is capable of accommodating either two Boeing 757s (with winglets) or three 737-based BBJs.
Boeing says it has finished installing a battery system modification on the first 50 delivered 787 Dreamliners that were grounded pending the retrofit. Randy Tinseth, Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of marketing, made the announcement in a blog post on May 29, reporting that all eight current 787 operators expect to return their Dreamliners to service within days and “we can’t thank all of them enough for their patience, partnership and support” during the grounding of more than three months.
Arinc Direct (Booth 1200) is showcasing the preproduction version of Xplore, a communications service that offers, on an iPad, Acars messaging, voice and a messaging platform for SMS and instant messaging and BlackBerry email services. The new product is “in the final stages of testing before certification and full production,” according to Arinc Direct, which is taking pre-orders at the EBACE show.
Boeing’s recent assertion that the appetite of capital markets to fund airliner orders has increased comes as especially welcome news to manufacturers and their customers at a time when other sources of funding seem under pressure. Export credit, in particular, now comes generally at higher interest rates and with tougher equity requirements. At the same time, such government-backed capital has become a hostage to global politics, according to Kostya Zolotusky, managing director for capital markets development and leasing at Boeing Capital.
U.S. airlines have managed to stay profitable during a period of recession and spiking fuel prices, but small- and medium-sized airports have paid the price in reduced domestic air service, according to a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) study.
World Fuel Services (Booth 359) has announced the availability of a modular online learning program for employees of its partner FBOs worldwide. World Fuel oversees the Air Elite and World Fuel Network member FBOs, and makes the e-learning program available to member companies’ employees free of charge.