Europe’s regional airlines need to achieve further consolidation and move to a U.S.-style business model of cooperating directly with mainline carriers if they are ever to expect to return consistent profits. That was the assessment delivered to this week’s European Regions Airline Association general assembly in Barcelona by Braathens Aviation Group chairman Per Braathen. But he didn’t seem too confident that this change will come.
Qantas was criticized by an Australian senator and some airline employees last week for its plan to remove life rafts from more than half of its Boeing 737-800 fleet to save fuel. ICAO regulations do not require aircraft flying within 400 nm of land to carry rafts. The airline said it is also pulling the equipment to simplify flight operations.
The British Business and General Aviation Association (BBGA) is opposing further increases to the UK’s air passenger duty (APD) tax that would steeply raise fees for business aircraft passengers. Though the proposed changes would simplify and reduce charges for scheduled airline passengers, the association charges that business aviation was “specifically targeted” to pay more.
Airbus predicted that the airline industry will need to spend $4.6 trillion on some 31,000 new aircraft over the next 20 years in its latest market forecast, released Wednesday.
Controversy continues to swirl in India over whether excessive spending by Air India on a fleet acquisition order in 2006 has led to its present financial difficulties. The clamor follows a book by former Comptroller Auditor General (CAG) Vinod Rai titled The Diary of the Nation’s Conscience Keeper-Not Just an Accountant. The CAG acts as an independent authority established by the constitution of India to audit the expenditures of the government of India and its corporations.
Air France pilots on Saturday voted to continue striking until at least Friday, extending by another five days a walkout that has forced the airline to cancel more than half its flights over the past week. The point of contention centers on Air France’s stated plans to shift more capacity to its low-fare Transavia subsidiary, whose pilots work for significantly less pay than those of the main airline.
Indian domestic airlines have voiced opposition to a Ministry of Civil Aviation (MOCA) draft policy on regional and remote connectivity that permits nonscheduled (charter) companies to fly regular service to remote destinations under code-share arrangements with scheduled carriers. Under India’s Route Dispersal Guidelines, domestic airlines must to fly 10 percent of their capacity to identified underserved areas.
The U.S. Congress moved closer to voting on “stopgap” funding legislation that includes a controversial provision to temporarily extend the charter of the Export-Import Bank, which helps finance exports of American-made products, including airplanes and helicopters.
Maine-based MRO provider C&L Aerospace recently opened a new aircraft paint shop. The $3 million facility, a conversion of a 17,000-sq-ft hangar at Bangor International Airport, can accommodate an Lineage 1000, or it can be partitioned to hold a pair of aircraft the size of a Global simultaneously. The five-month, $6 million project refurbished two hangars and mated them with a newly built structure for an overall 120,000 sq ft of maintenance space capable of handling up to six jobs at once depending on the size of aircraft.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) dismissed an exemption Norwegian Air Shuttle sought for its Ireland subsidiary to operate to the United States, saying it needs more time to consider the airline’s application for a foreign air carrier permit.