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.
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.
Low cost carrier Wizz Air is aiming to raise €200 million ($273 million) through an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange next month. The 10-year-old company is seeking to expand its network, which currently consists of around 315 routes between 96 destinations in 35 countries, in order to challenge the continent’s leading budget carriers Ryanair and EasyJet. U.S. private equity group Indigo Partners, which is currently Wizz Air’s leading shareholder, is expected to reduce its equity holding through the share offering.
Ryanair’s legal team is to challenge an April 17 ruling by an Amsterdam court against an earlier lawsuit filed by the Irish carrier against Dutch TV station KRO. The court found that the KRO documentary “Mayday Mayday” did have sufficient evidence to support its report into alleged low fuel reserves during three different emergency landings by Ryanair aircraft in Valencia, Spain back in July 2012.
The debt crisis in Italy has certainly taken its toll on a wide cross section of the country’s economy, and Verona-based regional airline Air Dolomiti hasn’t enjoyed special immunity from the effects. What CEO Michael Kraus called a brilliant period of expansion from 2005 to 2010 has not only ended, but passenger counts have actually fallen over the past two years in the Italian air transport market.
Africa’s airlines need to wake up to competition from outside the continent, form alliances that allow players both big and small to interact for the greater good, and realize that governments are often no longer interested in protecting domestic carriers (as they see economy-boosting tourist arrivals as a more important priority), according to Nick Fadugba, CEO of African Aviation Services.
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.
The VivaAerobus Group has signed a purchase agreement for 52 Airbus A320 family jets, marking the biggest Airbus aircraft order by a single airline in Latin American history. The deal covers 40 A320neo and 12 current-generation A320, the first of which the airline plans to take next April. VivaAerobus, a Mexican low-cost carrier, has opted to announce the engine selection later.
Ryanair said it will appeal Wednesday’s ruling by a provincial court in France that imposed fines and damages totaling €8 million ($10.8 million), the majority of which relate to alleged non-payment of French social insurance and state pension contributions for Ryanair crews flying to and from Marseille from 2007 to 2010.
Low-cost carrier Ryanair has said it will appeal the UK Competition Commission’s August 28 ruling that it must reduce its holding in Ireland’s Aer Lingus from 29.8 percent to 5 percent.
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