Economic growth, aviation deregulation, a growing middle class and aggressive tourism marketing continue to drive business in the regional markets of Asia-Pacific, where well entrenched budget carriers such as Malaysia’s AirAsia and Indonesia’s Lion Air face increasing competition from new low-cost startups. In neighboring India, three of every four airline seats now belong to budget carriers.
The rulers in the Arabian Gulf region strive for bigger and better in practically every pursuit they undertake, and that includes air transport. So when Boeing drew its plans for its proposed new 777X, its considerations no doubt included the needs of those in the Middle East, who are some of the biggest customers for the current 777.
Students of human psychology need look no further than the fable of the tortoise and the hare to understand the situation today in the region’s leasing sector. In the waning years of the boom, a number of new entrants made valiant plays, but some appear to have had to pause to reconsider. Despite the aviation boom in the Middle East, few new major regional entrants into this esoteric business have come into existence and, of those that have, the 2008 bust clearly had a major negative impact.
The Middle East and northern Africa have become fertile areas for marketers at Brazil’s Embraer, now the undisputed leader in terms of fleet presence in the region among the world’s regional airliner manufacturers. Of course, the nearly decade-long effort to gain a foothold in a region long considered the virtually exclusive domain of widebodies didn’t yield immediate results, but Embraer’s persistence has undoubtedly paid handsome dividends.
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.
The Middle East is sitting at the end of the air transport rainbow, if Airbus forecasts are to be believed: its share of global traffic will expand faster than that of any other geographical area, increasing by one half in the next 20 years.
Lufthansa Technik (LHT), in conjunction with the Fiber Force research project, has developed methods for load transmission into carbon fiber composite (CFC) aircraft fuselage structures.
Airbus cited sleep-study results in calling on airlines to set an 18-inch minimum seat width standard for long-haul flights. Organizations representing the airline industry said seating options should be left to individual carriers.
Williams International (Booth No. C8118) is offering an expanded version of its Total Assurance Program (TAP) for engine maintenance called “TAP Blue.” Under the new program, Williams will cover “virtually every natural and unnatural event” that might befall its FJ33 and FJ44 engines including damage from lightning, hail or ingestion of birds or foreign object debris. Another new coverage item is all service bulletins, not just those that are mandatory.