Air France pilots on September 15 launched a week-long strike, forcing the airline to cancel 52 percent of its flights. The point of contention centers on Air France’s stated plans to shift more capacity to its low-fare Transavia subsidiary, whose pilots work for significantly less pay than those of the main airline.
Malaysian Airlines has confirmed that one of its Boeing 777s has crashed in eastern Ukraine, about 31 miles from the border with Russia. Flight MH17 was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 280 passengers and 15 crew on board. According to Ukrainian air traffic controllers, they lost contact with the aircraft at around 14.15 UTC almost 20 miles from the waypoint at Tamak.
It might seem only a year or two since Airbus launched the A380 and just months since the mighty, double-deck behemoth entered service, but the European manufacturer has delivered more than 130 since operations began, almost six years ago, in October 2007. The aircraft, which typically accommodate about 500 passengers (depending upon customers’ cabin configurations), have an average daily use of more than 13 hours, says Airbus. Of the 324 examples that had been ordered by late June, the backlog of 192 includes 20 booked this year.
Air France unveiled the details of its partnership with executive charter operator Wijet for first-class connections. Starting today, passengers of the “La Première” cabin on long-haul flights from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport can buy an optional connecting flight to and from their final destination aboard one of Wijet’s Cessna Citation Mustangs.
Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance (AFI KLM E&M) and Sabena Technics have reached an agreement under which the Franco-Dutch group will take control of Barfield, the North American subsidiary of Sabena Technics. The transaction is scheduled to close in the first half, subject to regulatory approval.
UK regional airline Flybe has raised almost $260 million in fresh capital through a share flotation launched February 20 in London. The company, which has been battling to rebuild its business model with an aggressive program of cost cutting, is issuing a total of up to 141.5 million new shares to raise £155.6 million. The offer price on February 20 was 110p per share, representing a 7.2-percent discount on the stock’s 118.5p mid-market price on February 19.
A December 15 Air France flight was held on the ground in Venezuela after French intelligence officials received a credible tip that a bomb would be detonated when the flight was over the Atlantic between Caracas and Paris. An extensive search of the Airbus A340 found no explosive devices and the flight was allowed to proceed.
Facing high costs and increased competition, Air France-KLM’s management must pick its battles. Having announced plans for up to 2,800 job cuts on September 18, the European airline this week deferred a decision on whether or not it will provide further investment to plug holes in the sieve-like balance sheet of Alitalia. It holds a 25-percent stake in the Italian carrier, and Italy’s government has indicated it would be willing to see the Franco-Dutch group increase that share to 50 percent.
Encouraged by a bounty of sales commitments during the Paris Air Show, Airbus parent company EADS now predicts that the civil airframer will receive orders for 300 more aircraft than it previously projected for this year. While releasing its half-year financial results on July 31, EADS said it expects Airbus will receive orders for at least 1,000 airplanes and deliver between 600 and 610, up from last year’s 588.
Online air charter broker PrivateFly is expanding its French operation. It hired two operations assistants–Julien Molinet, who previously worked in communications at Air France, and Davide Paladino, who has a private banking and aviation background–to help PrivateFly operations controller Mehdi Dialmy, who heads the company’s French division. The company also appointed Astrid Arminjon as digital marketing executive, a role that includes reaching out to new customers in France and boosting content development for PrivateFly’s French website.
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