After an eventful 2011 that saw double-digit growth in passenger and aircraft numbers, Singapore is working to improve Changi Airport’s customer experience and global connections. “Despite continuing economic uncertainty and environmental factors, we continue to develop the hub,” according to Changi Airport Group (CAG) chief executive Lee Seow Hiang.
IndiGo, India’s largest budget carrier with a fleet of 48 Airbus A320 airliners, has awarded SriLankan Engineering its largest contract for maintenance of 26 C-checks through 2012. This is the fourth consecutive year IndiGo has outsourced to SriLankan and it is the largest overseas outsourcing of maintenance, repair and overhaul work by an Indian carrier. The contact has been awarded at a time when onerous taxes appear to be making Indian MRO providers uncompetitive.
AirAsia X, the Malaysian budget long-haul affiliate of Air Asia, is consolidating business in its core markets of China, Australia, Japan and Korea, according to CEO Azran Osman-Rani, who was speaking to AIN at the Low Cost Airlines World conference in Singapore last week.
European low-cost carrier Easyjet announced on the eve of the show that it will be the first airline to test the electric taxiing system that Safran and Honeywell are developing to save fuel (see page 58). With the first operational trials due to take place in 2013, Easyjet’s role will be to help establish whether the estimated savings can be realized. The system enables an aircraft to taxi without its engines, by using the auxiliary power unit to power electric motors in the main wheels.
The Asia Pacific market will lead strong passenger growth around the world over the next 20 years, giving Boeing and its rivals with a market for 11,450 airplanes valued at $1.5 trillion. This was the latest assessment of Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of marketing Randy Tinseth during a media briefing on eve of this year’s Singapore Airshow
“Asia Pacific is such a strong and dynamic market [and] in 2012 we’ll continue to see resilient passenger traffic growth levels above the forecasted world average,” he predicted.
Even as Asia Pacific airlines survived a testing 2011, overcapacity as a result of increased fleet orders is still concerning investors, who are already less willing to finance procurements in the current debt-laden environment. This was the message from Sydney-based thinktank the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) at the Low Cost Airlines Asia summit in Singapore last week.
A growing appetite among Indian carriers to serve regional routes makes the country a potentially big market for 250 regional jets with a capacity of up to 120 seats, according to Brazilian airframer Embraer. Twin-turboprop manufacturer ATR estimates in the next five years India will requirearound 100 aircraft,and 200 in the longer term.
Even though the year ended with doom and gloom, the Indian air transport sector couldn’t have asked for a better beginning to 2012 with its largest budget carrier, IndiGo, signing a memorandum of understanding for the biggest commercial aviation deal in history valued at approximately $15.6 billion. The deal, which was subsequently firmed up, called for 180 of Airbus’ A320 family narrowbodies. This topped an earlier order by the carrier for 100 aircraft and seemed a clear indication that the Indian market is back on track after suffering severe losses during 2008- 2009.
Even as Asia Pacific airlines survived a testing 2011, overcapacity as a result of increased fleet orders is still concerning investors, who are already less willing to finance procurements in the current debt-laden environment. This was the message from Sydney-based thinktank, the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) at the Low Cost Airlines Asia summit here in Singapore last week.
Low-fare carrier Spirit Airlines continued its public criticism of new U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) passenger-protection rules, drawing a rebuke from a U.S. senator. The airline also faced a new fine from the DOT over its handling of complaints lodged by passengers with disabilities.