The 15-member Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA), which addresses a wide range of issues of common interest to the region’s aviation industry, is focusing its efforts on extending its membership base to South Asia–to include the time zones between GMT+5 to GMT+12, extended from the previous GM
Delivery of SilkAir’s first Boeing 737 a little over a week ago in Washington state marked the fulfillment of what Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of sales Dinesh Keskar characterized as a “major win” for the company in the Asian market. In fact, while Boeing would no doubt relish the chance to convert any Airbus operator, the contract with the Singapore Airlines subsidiary came as particularly satisfying given the impressive market share its rival from Europe has established in the region over the past decade or so.
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.
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.
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.
“Etihad Airways is the fastest-growing airline in the history of commercial aviation,” said James Hogan, president and CEO, upon the announcement that Etihad will begin nonstop flights to Los Angeles from Abu Dhabi beginning June 1, 2014.
Billing itself as the fastest-growing airline in the history of commercial aviation, Etihad Airways keeps doing everything in its power to maintain momentum. Last week it announced the June 1 launch of nonstop flights to Los Angeles from Abu Dhabi, supported by the purchase of five Boeing 777-200LRs from Air India. By the end of the year, Etihad plans to expand its fleet to 87 airplanes, including the five Air India jets and 14 new widebodies delivered by Boeing and Airbus this year.
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.
The death knell for India’s Kingfisher Airlines sounded as lender banks took possession of the airline’s 25,850-sq-ft headquarters property in Mumbai on August 10. Carrying some $1 billion in outstanding debt, liquor tsar Vijay Mallya and his United Breweries Group have seen wholly owned Kingfisher accumulate $2.6 billion in losses since its launch in 2005. Most recently, it registered a loss of $188 million for the quarter running from April to June.
Clearance of Etihad Airways’s $380 million investment in Jet Airways by India’s Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) last week has paved the way for completion of the deal. The airlines now await approval from the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), which oversees foreign investment proposals of more than $200 million, and security clearances of foreign nationals.
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