The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is taking steps to address the looming pilot and mechanic shortage facing airlines globally. IATA’s training and qualification initiative looked at manufacturers’ market outlook studies, which predict that 17,650 new passenger aircraft will be delivered by 2018, requiring more than 200,000 new pilots, or nearly 19,000 pilots a year.
Feeder carriers in Europe saw record passenger loads last year as increased passenger numbers outstripped the growth in seats, according to the European Regions Airline Association (ERA). Member operators carried 7.5 percent more passengers in 2007 than in the preceding year, compared with a 5.2-percent increase in seat numbers.
A trip from the site of last year’s RAA annual convention in Memphis to the venue chosen for this year’s edition, held in Indianapolis last month, covers barely 450 miles, but the psychological distance the industry has traveled over the past 12 months seems more like light years.
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), acting chairman of the House aviation subcommittee, accused John Bruton, the European Union’s Ambassador to the U.S., of “looking for a trade war” during a hearing on aviation emissions May 7. The spat began when DeFazio questioned an EU proposal that would force airlines flying from Los Angeles to London to pay carbon allowances to the EU for the entire 6,000 miles.
According to FBO KaiserAir, business jet traffic at Oakland International Airport has increased at least 25 percent since September 11. KaiserAir’s charter service has jumped a like amount, with inquiries up by at least 50 percent, said company v-p Sandy Waters.
Boeing’s planned Connexion airborne broadband data service was dealt a damaging blow last month when its three largest customers–American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines–abruptly withdrew from the project in the face of their own fiscal difficulties. As a result, Boeing is left with no equity partners in the venture and only one customer, Lufthansa, for the fledgling in-flight Internet and e-mail service.
Belgian regional airline Delta Air Transport (DAT) moved closer to its goal of becoming the successor to the defunct Sabena Airlines late last month, after a commercial court in Brussels decided to postpone a bankruptcy ruling on DAT creditor Sabena Interservice Center (SIC). A former wholly owned subsidiary of Sabena, SIC must issue a recovery plan sufficient to warrant a definitive suspension of debt payments.
Last year was not friendly to startup companies dreaming of producing airplanes, but there are glimmerings of hope for some. Financial issues, however, continue to dominate the agendas of companies like AASI, American Utilicraft, Phoenix Fanjet (Alberta Aerospace), VisionAire and others, while development of their respective aircraft takes a backseat.
JetLimited, the new fractional aircraft ownership program from Rifton Aviation, believes it sets itself apart from other regional and national frax programs in several ways, all intended to result in more personalized service to its target Northeast U.S. customers than other frax operations.
London Heathrow Airport is becoming more accessible to business aircraft operators thanks to the downturn in airline traffic. Following the controversial abolition of opportunity slots in 1998, the UK gateway had become almost unusable for ad hoc corporate flights.