Qantas was criticized by an Australian senator and some airline employees last week for its plan to remove life rafts from more than half of its Boeing 737-800 fleet to save fuel. ICAO regulations do not require aircraft flying within 400 nm of land to carry rafts. The airline said it is also pulling the equipment to simplify flight operations.
Air France pilots on Saturday voted to continue striking until at least Friday, extending by another five days a walkout that has forced the airline to cancel more than half its flights over the past week. 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.
A series of new order announcements involving no fewer than three major civil airframe makers signaled the end of a late-summer sales lull on Wednesday, as airlines went on a new buying spree reminiscent of July’s Farnborough airshow. The value of the week'sday’s orderss totaled some $11.37.45 billion at list prices and involved 11886 airplanes ranging in size from the Embraer E175 regional jet to the Boeing 787-9 widebody.
Boeing finally answered Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary’s call for a higher-capacity 737 Max 8 with last Monday morning’s official launch of the 737 Max 200 and, in the process, won a commitment for as many as 200 airplanes. The commitment calls for a firm order for 100 airplanes and options for another 100, together worth as much as $22 billion.
Calgary-based WestJet Encore signed a firm order for five Bombardier Q400s in late July, raising its order total for the type to 30. The latest deal, valued at $167 million, involved the conversion of five options booked by parent company WestJet with its original order for the type in July 2012. Plans call for the airplanes to help support WestJet’s expansion into the eastern part of Canada, where it currently operates a base out of Toronto.
Announcing a record statutory after-tax loss of A$2.8 billion ($2.6 billion) on August 28, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said that the Australian flag carrier has “come through the worst” as it navigates an aggressive cost-cutting program announced in February 2014.
Major U.S. airlines reported $3.8 billion in net profit for the first half of the year, up from the $1.6 billion they reported during the same period last year, according to Airlines for America (A4A). A 6-percent increase in operating revenues drove the year-over-year improvement, the trade group said.
Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders told investment analysts on Wednesday that he doesn’t see an impending end to the upward cycle in demand for airliners despite the spate of order cancellations Airbus’s civil division suffered during the first half of the year.
GE Aviation’s Flight Efficiency Services division is using big data techniques to help airlines to improve their profit margins with a particular focus on reducing fuel burn. “Fuel accounts for 40 percent of airline costs with around $215 billion spent on this each year,” said general manager Giovanni Spitale. “GE thinks that if machines can talk to each other using the industrial internet [a term coined by GE] we can make better sense of that [fuel consumption].”
Boeing plans to offer a “minor model” of the 737 Max 8 that would increase seating capacity from 189 to 200 seats and cut seat-mile costs by 5 percent.
Revealing the plans during a “roundtable” discussion on Sunday in London, Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Ray Conner told reporters that Ryanair “would be a candidate” for the new version and that the Max 8 would follow to market the second Max model, the 737-9, now scheduled for certification in the third quarter of 2018.
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