Abu Dhabi carrier Etihad Airways and Alitalia signed an investment agreement on Friday that will see Etihad acquire a 49-percent stake in the troubled Italian flagship airline. The overall “transaction implementation agreement,” which the airlines valued at €1,758 billion ($2.35 billion), will recapitalize Alitalia with the aim of restoring it to profitability by 2017.
The apparent lack of a cohesive international system for assessing threats in airspace over conflict zones has revealed itself again in differing conclusions reached by major Persian Gulf airlines about the dangers of flying over Iraq.
India’s loss-making Jet Airways and its new 24-percent owner Etihad Airways are formulating plans for restructuring debt and fleet rationalization for enhancing a full-service branding. Jet, reporting $689 million in declared losses last year, expects to show profits by 2017, founder and chairman Naresh Goyal said at a July 23 press conference in New Delhi.
Aircraft support specialist AJW Aviation (Outdoor Exhibit 10) has been chosen by Air Serbia to provide a five-year, hourly cost maintenance service to supply spares for its Airbus narrow-body fleet. The contract covers seven Airbus A319s and two A320s.
AJW Aviation is building a network of support hubs in Eastern Europe to provide greater support and minimize AOG situations, although a 24/7 AOG service is also provided.
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.
Airbus has begun airline crew training for its A350XWB customers about six months ahead of the new twin-aisle twinjet’s entry into service, scheduled for late this year, according to chief test pilot Peter Chandler, who flew the aircraft on its maiden flight in June 2013. He reports that the training syllabus has been developed and that the first A350 pilot course was under way last month, with access to a full flight simulator. Launch customer Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines have received demonstration flights.
The U.S. Congress would have a say in White House plans to open customs pre-clearance facilities in foreign countries under legislation a House committee passed on June 11. Airline industry groups, which last year opposed but failed to prevent the opening of such a facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport, appear to have accepted the legislation even as news surfaced of U.S. plans to open a pre-clearance facility in Dubai.
At face value, the recent acquisition of Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies (ADAT) from Mubadala Development Co. by Etihad Airways is straightforward portfolio realignment between two state-owned entities in the United Arab Emirates.
SriLankan Airlines appears poised to expand its reach into the neighboring Indian air transport market after becoming the 14th member of One World alliance late last month. The move is a boost to a country trying to bounce back after a 25-year civil war and also makes SriLankan the first carrier from the Indian subcontinent to gain admission into a global airline alliance—ahead of rival operators in the far larger Indian market.
On April 1 Switzerland’s Etihad Regional took delivery of the first of four 68-seat ATR 72-500s recently acquired under a new lease agreement with Nordic Aviation Capital. The deal, which calls for final delivery next month, will see Etihad Regional boost its fleet to 12 airplanes, including eight 50-seat Saab 2000s operated by Darwin Airline before Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways took a 33-percent stake in the Lugano-based carrier in January.
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