Abu Dhabi state-owned carrier Etihad Airways announced a code-share agreement with JetBlue Airways on January 22 that would extend its reach into the U.S. market if the Department of Transportation (DOT) approves. A week earlier, Etihad said that it will double its flights between Abu Dhabi and New York City by introducing a second daily service.
Airline industry groups complained that the omnibus appropriations bill that observers expect the U.S. Congress will pass this week does not prevent the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency from opening a controversial customs pre-clearance facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport.
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.
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.
Keen to show his airline can operate as a profitable carrier amid assertions that it survives on the largesse of its government benefactors, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker offered revealing insights at last month’s Dubai Airshow into some of the internal machinations and brinkmanship that shape aircraft purchase negotiations. The colorful and sometimes controversial Al Baker played coy about his interest in the 777X while fully intending to engage Boeing in serious negotiations that eventually led to a blockbuster sale.
Expectations of a late-2013 surge in new airliner deals were handsomely surpassed at last month’s Dubai Airshow (November 17-21), with aircraft orders (including the engines that will power them) exceeding a record-breaking $200 billion mark, as of press time. But business aviation also put on a strong showing, accounting for roughly a third of the 150 or so aircraft occupying a packed static display at the biennial event’s new Dubai World Central (DWC) site. The impressive purpose-built show venue closely replicates the appearance of the long-standing site at Dubai International Airport.
Serbian national carrier Air Serbia will overhaul its fleet with 10 Airbus A320neos in a transaction valued at $1 billion at list price. The new narrowbodies are among the firm orders Etihad Airways placed with Airbus for 87 aircraft during the Dubai Airshow. Etihad, the Abu Dhabi government-owned airline, will acquire 49 percent of Air Serbia as of January.
Christopher Emerson, senior vice president of Airbus and head of product strategy and market forecast said that the number of aviation mega-cities will more than double in the next 20 years. This will require as much configurability in aircraft as possible, particularly between major city pairs, and he said that Airbus’s widebody family–the A380, the A350XWB and the A330–are the ideal match for long-haul trunk routes, long-haul developing routes and regional routes, respectively. “For us, our family completely matches the market,” Emerson said. “There is no gap.”
Airbus awards more work packages to Mubadala’s Strata
Engine manufacturers reaped the rewards of the airline order bonanza at this year’s Dubai Airshow, led by GE Aviation (Pavilion A9), which logged $26 billion in engine orders and service agreements from Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways.
Collectively, the three Gulf carriers placed orders for 450 new GE9X engines now under development for the new Boeing 777X widebody. GE also received orders for Boeing 787 GEnx engines and 777 GE90 engines.