A particularly productive month of December for both Airbus and Boeing helped the world’s dominant airframe makers surpass commercial targets for 2013, leaving each with unfilled order totals of well over 5,000 airplanes.
Air Transport and Cargo
News and issues relating to international air transport and cargo carriers, national airlines and regional airlines, including aircraft, engines, personnel, acquisitions, accidents, safety, security and training.
Photos have appeared on Chinese websites of an Ilyushin Il-76 testbed fitted with a large high-bypass ratio turbofan under the port inner pylon.
The January 9 decision by Moody’s Investor Service to downgrade the credit rating of Qantas Airways to Ba2 (from Baa3) has prompted fresh calls for the Australian government to provide emergency debt guarantees for the country’s flag carrier.
The Star Alliance has set a new target of 2015 for Air India to join its ranks following a unanimous vote by member airlines to restart the process of integrating the Indian flag carrier. The alliance suspended integration in 2011 on grounds that Air India had “not met minimum joining conditions agreed in December 2007.” With signs of stability and fleet rationalization, however, Star has agreed to give Air India a second chance.
Signaling another round of consolidation in the Philippine domestic air transport market, Cebu Pacific and Singapore-based Tigerair have entered into a strategic alliance calling for the Filipino budget carrier to acquire Tigerair Philippines (TAP).
The so-called polar vortex that descended into the U.S. this week has wreaked havoc with airline schedules, according to statistics from industry data tracking service FlightAware. Airlines on Monday canceled 4,590 flights within, into or out of the U.S., while delays totaled 8,064. Chicago O’Hare registered the most cancellations of all the nation’s airports, both for incoming and outbound flights.
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) last month opened the first of 300 planned application centers for its “Pre-Check” expedited screening program, which allows members to pass through airport security checkpoints without removing their shoes, laptop computers and other personal items. The agency expects the centers to boost enrollment in Pre-Check; previously the program covered mainly airline frequent fliers and travelers enrolled in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency’s Global Entry program.
Resolved on tapping the booming Central Asian market, global alliances SkyTeam, OneWorld and Star Alliance have approached Kazakhstan national carrier Air Astana with offers to join their ranks. In response, the airline recently commissioned U.S.-based Seabury Group to prepare a report on whether it should enter an alliance “and which one, because all alliances want us to join them,” Air Astana president Peter Foster told AIN in Astana recently.
Commercial aviation has entered its second century, New Year’s Day having marked the 100th anniversary of the first flight with a fare-paying passenger. To celebrate, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has established 2014 as a year to reflect on the “contribution of aviation to modern life.” St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line flew the 23-minute first service across Florida’s Tampa Bay, using a Benoist Model XIV airboat with St. Petersburg mayor Abram Pheil in the only passenger seat. To mark the centennial, a Hoffman X-4 Mullet Skiff airboat retraced the route on January 1.
The Obama administration and the U.S. Congress appear headed to a confrontation over the administration’s plan to open a customs pre-clearance facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport that many lawmakers and airline industry groups oppose. An opponent said the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency plans to begin operating the facility on January 5.