Asia accounts for 25 percent of the world’s air traffic, a figure expected to grow to more than 30 percent in three years, largely thanks to the proliferation of low-cost carriers. With cheap fares, easy online bookings and direct connections to previously sleepy backwaters, budget carriers are bringing air travel to the masses in this part of the world.
Universal Weather & Aviation has opened an executive aircraft handling operation at Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport. It represents the company’s first permanent presence in Australia and will supplement more than a dozen UVglobal Network handling operations around the Pacific Rim.
Emirates Airline is on track by year-end to be the first carrier in the world to allow its passengers to make calls using their own mobile phones with the AeroMobile system. Earlier this year, AeroMobile, a joint venture between U.S.-based Arinc and Norway’s Telenor, completed a successful trial of the system with Australian carrier Qantas, and it is now ready for full revenue-service use.
Introduction of A380 flights is being seen by Airbus as a precursor to “a new wave of orders” for the airliner. The European airframer’s Asia Pacific executive sales vice president, Edouard Ullmo, said earlier this year there likely would be a hiatus as prospective A380 operators considered the aircraft’s initial operations with Singapore Airways (SIA) before choosing between it and the Boeing 747-8I (or the smaller 777).
Two and a half years after its first flight, the Airbus A380 airliner entered service late in October with Singapore Airlines (SIA). While SIA has received the only example of the super large airliner slated for 2007 delivery, next August Emirates Airline is slated to get the first of the 55 A380s it has ordered to date.
The Federal Communications Commission has said it won’t continue exploring the feasibility of allowing passengers to use their personal cellphones to make calls in flight, basing its decision on concerns raised by cellular providers over possible airborne interference with ground networks.
The bankruptcy administrators in charge of the operations of Ansett Airlines subsidiary Kendall Airlines and independent Ansett affiliate Hazelton Airlines have accepted a A$500,000 ($275,000) deposit from Australiawide Airlines as part of a tentative purchase agreement for both carriers.
Following approval several months ago of RVSM equipment in the JetStar II, Duncan Aviation reported that it has received group approval for RVSM operations for the four-engine business jet. Last February, the Lincoln, Neb.-based company completed the installation and certification of dual IS&S altimeter/air data units in a JetStar 731, the first step in adding these aircraft to group RVSM approval.
The long-running dispute between JetStar operators and Lockheed Martin continues, as the two dozen or so owners of the remaining 36 U.S.-registered Lockheed L-329 JetStars say they are just about out of patience with the defense contractor. Lockheed Martin inherited JetStar support under the same agreement through which it supports the L-1011 TriStar airliner. It has not produced either aircraft in decades.
Having promised so much and letting its A380 launch customers down so dismally with the news of serious program delays, Airbus is understandably cautious in its prognosis for the super-large airliner’s immediate future. All the talk in press briefings before the Paris Air Show concentrated on achieving “maturity” and “sustainability” for the program.