This month’s Singapore Airshow (February 14 to 19) is on track to surpass the previous 2010 event, with more than 900 exhibitors booked to participate from some 50 countries. What many observers will be keen to gauge is the extent to which the Asia-Pacific’s air transport and defense markets are holding up in the face of continued Western decline.
The antagonists in the long-running trade dispute over government subsidies to Boeing and Airbus are awaiting World Trade Organization (WTO) comment on the latest U.S. call for sanctions against the European Union.
Three weeks of fruitless negotiations between Qantas and three of its employee unions have forced the government’s workplace labor tribunal to arbitrate new labor agreements. The Australian flag carrier has warned that the dispute could result in a dip in its profits for the last six months of 2011 of up to 66 percent.
With engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce, Airbus is developing an enhanced A350-1000 variant with “outstanding [increased] payload and long[er] range, the best economics and 25-percent lower fuel burn and carbon dioxide emissions than [the Boeing 777-300ER].”
A five-year Qantas Airways plan to reduce dependence on domestic flights and business services and establish two Asian joint-venture partnerships aims to help the Australian carrier to stimulate overseas business. It will lay off 1,000 employees, defer deliveries of six Airbus A380s (and possibly some Boeing 787s), retire four Boeing 747-400s and replace two London services with British Airways code-shares beyond Bangkok and Hong Kong.
Low-cost carrier Tiger Airways Australia has accepted that it could stay grounded throughout July as Australian safety inspectors continue to probe its operations. The grounding, which is costing the Singapore-based airline $1.6 million a week, claimed its first casualty with the announced departure of CEO Crawford Rix.
Aeroconseil (Stand 126, Hall B2), a provider of aeronautical engineering and air transport services, is making its second appearance at Le Bourget. This year it is demonstrating a system for the rapid prototyping of avionics suites, another for optimizing aircraft fuel consumption and its solution for integrating onboard mobile telephones and the Internet.
Budget long-haul airline AirAsia X is eyeing a stock market listing and fleet expansion to spread its wings across the globe. The Malaysia-based carrier’s chief executive, Azran Osman Rani, has been in talks with institutional investors about a flotation in the next year or two to fund growth.
Korean Air celebrated the delivery of its first Engine Alliance GP7200-powered Airbus A380 at a ceremony at Airbus’s headquarters in Toulouse, France. Korean Air has ordered a total of 10 A380s and expects to start scheduled operations next month.
The African Airlines Association (AFRAA) has launched a three-year plan to realign activities with member carriers’ business imperatives. Developed by new AFRAA secretary-general Elijah Chingosho, the plan aims to transform the association into “a pulsating airline association” for Africa.