Six months after promising a thorough overhaul of its business and having suffered the “most challenging” period in the 10 years since its re-branding from the former British European Airlines, UK regional Flybe reports a “re-energized commercial performance.” In the 12 months leading to March 31, the airline saw losses grow more than five-fold, to £40.7 million ($62 million), driven by increased fuel charges, passenger taxes–which accounted for around 18 percent of its UK-generated ticket revenue–and the costs of restructuring, including the elimination of 490 jobs.
UK airline easyJet placed conditional orders with Airbus on Tuesday for 100 new A320neos and 35 Sharklet-equipped A320s worth $12 billion at list prices. The A320s are scheduled for delivery between 2015 and 2017, while the A320neos will be delivered from 2017 to 2022, according to the announcement at the Paris Air Show.
EasyJet said 85 of the aircraft will be used to replace aging aircraft as they leave the fleet over the next nine years; the remaining aircraft deliveries will support the carrier’s strategy of increasing its seat capacity by 3 to 5 percent annually.
UK-based low-cost carrier EasyJet, Airbus and Nicarnica Aviation plan a final test in August of the Nicarnica-developed airborne-volcanic-object imaging detector in a bid to prevent major air traffic disruption like the one the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull caused in 2010.
Styling itself as “Africa’s first pan-African low-cost carrier,” Fastjet certainly looks like an airline in a hurry. Having opened its base in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, only late last November, it now plans to launch operations in Kenya, Angola and Ghana this year, starting with five Airbus A319s it aims to acquire during the first six months of its expansion and 15 within a year. It also hopes to benefit from the wreckage of South Africa’s low-cost sector with its pending acquisition of defunct 1Time Airline.
Airbus and its air traffic management subsidiaries, together with systems integration company EADS Cassidian, said they will participate as industry partners in seven European flight trials set to begin early next year through 2014 under the direction of the Single European Sky ATM Joint Undertaking (Sesar JU).
Ancillary revenue collected by airlines for products and services ranging from checked bags and extra legroom to co-branded credit cards continues to grow in size and importance to the industry. Fifty world airlines that disclose proceeds from such activities reported $22 billion in ancillary revenue last year, marking a 66-percent increase over 2009 results, according to a new report.
Goodrich has been awarded a contract extension to continue to maintain and overhaul the wheels and brakes of easyJet’s Airbus A320-family fleet. Meanwhile, the U.S. equipment manufacturer also revealed that it has demonstrated the performance of its carbon brakes on U.S. Air Force’s C-130s, for which retrofits have already started.
European low-cost carrier Easyjet announced on the eve of the show that it will be the first airline to test the electric taxiing system that Safran and Honeywell are developing to save fuel (see page 58). With the first operational trials due to take place in 2013, Easyjet’s role will be to help establish whether the estimated savings can be realized. The system enables an aircraft to taxi without its engines, by using the auxiliary power unit to power electric motors in the main wheels.
Stelios Haji-Ioannou, who established and whose family retains almost 40 percent of British low-cost carrier (LCC) EasyJet, has partnered with UK entrepreneurs wanting to buy aviation companies.
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