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.
Alpha Star Aviation Services, the newest player in the Saudi private aviation market, provides flight operations, technical support, VIP flight-support services and administration, with a focus on air ambulance flights after being set up in 2010.
Johan Bank has been appointed vice president of engineering at KLM Engineering and Maintenance. With a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the HTS engineering school in Haarlem and a master’s degree in energy production, Bank began his professional career at KLM Flight Operations as a flight engineer on DC-10s. Most recently Banks was director of MRO at KLM Engineering & Maintenance’s engines division, where he oversaw all production processes and implementation of Six Sigma methodology.
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.
Norwich-based KLM UK Engineering has opened a facility dedicated to dismantling and recycling aircraft. The center is one of only a few in Europe.
The MRO is already licensed to service aircraft from the day they enter service, and this new dismantling operation positions the MRO to offer “cradle-to-grave” service over an aircraft’s potential life of 20 years or 18 million air miles.
The company works mostly with Boeing 737s, Airbus A320s and BAe 146/Avro RJs.
AFI KLM E&M has been awarded CCAR 145 approval by the Civil Aviation Administration of China for its Shanghai components maintenance shop. After a final audit carried out last month, during which the Chinese authorities inspected management systems, processes, technical manuals and technician qualifications, the workshop was granted approval as a maintenance organization on Chinese soil.
Charter operator Gainjet (Stand 2306) recently expanded its fleet with the addition of a 68-seat VIP-configured Boeing 737-400. The Greece-based group has made a specialty of operating former Boeing airliners, with two other 737s already in service (one with 48 seats and the other with 60 seats). The fleet also includes a very spacious 62-seat 757-200.
When representatives from Europe’s regional airlines met in Salzburg last month at the annual general assembly of the European Regions Airline Association (ERA), they did so against a backdrop of red tape, high fuel prices, inefficient ATC and the ever growing threat from low-cost carriers and airports biased toward large aircraft. Nevertheless, the ERA was able to report that its members had managed capacity well to remain profitable, reacting to demand and becoming more efficient as signs of a return to growth become more evident.
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.
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