Philippine carrier Zest Air’s 11 Airbus aircraft returned to normal operations August 21, after the carrier’s flight schedule was suspended by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines on August 16 for numerous safety violations. The reinstatement of the airline’s operating certificate came after an inspection by the country’s Flight Standards Inspectorate Service.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) reinstated low-far carrier Zest Air’s operating certificate last Tuesday following a four-day suspension triggered by a series of alleged safety oversights. Zest Air, whose ownership structure includes a 49-percent stake held by Malaysia’s Air Asia, returned to service four of its 11 Airbus A320-series narrowbodies as of August 22 and hoped to resume a full schedule by the end of the week, following clearance by CAAP inspectors.
The U.S. Justice Department pointed to what most in the airline industry would consider fairly innocuous comments by US Airways executives as evidence of how consolidation has harmed the flying public by resulting in higher airfares and reduced service.
It specifically cited US Airways president Scott Kirby’s remarks that consolidation has allowed for “three successful fare increases.”
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.
Next year’s soccer World Cup in Brazil will result in around 3,000 business aircraft flying into and within Brazil, according to trip-support group United Aviation Services. The company says private aircraft could carry as many as 11 percent of all fans traveling to games for the tournament, in part due to somewhat limited commercial airline service.
Lion Air, Indonesia’s largest domestic carrier, is expanding its routes and training facilities, having ordered 20 Cessna 172s and one Boeing 737-900ER simulator, its third, to shore up an impending need for pilots. The budget carrier has placed orders for more than 500 narrowbodies with Boeing and Airbus; it currently has a fleet of 96 aircraft.
Three of the four shareholders of the defunct Spirit of Manila Airlines (SMA) plan to relaunch and rebrand the Filipino carrier next year. According to Aldo Lance Lopez, an original stakeholder in SMA who expects to hold a 20-percent stake in the new low-cost carrier (LCC), the existing investors hope to add a foreign partner.
This marks the second attempt to relaunch the carrier. The first effort, launched last year, fizzled when a potential foreign investor pulled out after negotiations ended in a stalemate.
Etihad Airways will take a 49-percent stake in Serbian national airline JatAirways under the terms of a deal with the government of Serbia announced Thursday that includes the award of a five-year management contract to Etihad. The deal also calls for Abu Dhabi-based Etihad to match a $40 million capital injection in the airline by the Serbian government with a loan facility that would convert into equity on January 1 of next year.
Malaysia-based low-fare carrier AirAsia plans to phase out its foreign pilots as part of the carrier’s goal to employ an all-Malaysian workforce and to cut costs. The exercise would happen gradually with the expiration of the pilots’ respective contracts.
The European Commission (EC) wants to impose tighter guidelines restricting state aid for airports and airlines in the European Union (EU). In a consultation document launched on July 3, the EC proposed that all publicly funded aid for airports must end after a 10-year transitional period and that it restrict funding in the meantime to only smaller, regional airports. The same guidelines subject to industry consultation through September 25 would also limit start-up aid for airlines.