Thailand recovers from devastating floods
Thailand’s recovery from the floods has seen a historic reversal of inbound and outbound traffic. Thailand’s gateway airport, Suvarnabhumi, usually has been export led by a margin of fractionally over two to one as major industrial estates near Ayutthaya, just north of the capital Bangkok, turned out a large part of the world’s hard drives and other high tech products, as well as automotive. However flooding at five of these seven estates punched a hole in exports as water up to two metres deep forced factories to close. “In November this (ratio) changed to exports at 54 per cent and imports at 47 per cent and the trend is continuing so far this month,” said Stewart Sinclair, managing director of Bangkok Flight Services. It also has a punched a major hole in the fortunes of a number of airfreight companies with business lost estimated at between a fifth and nearly all, according to a number of sources Payload Asia spoke to. “Outbound is very low for us. We are doing 10 per cent of what we normally do as we are linked to the hard drive business,” said one executive with an international freight company who asked not to be named. What has staved off disaster has been the willingness of companies, especially in the automotive sector, another big player in Thailand’s industrial base, to import in order to keep production lines humming. These had previously been supplied by in-country suppliers. “What we are seeing now are large volumes of parts being imported to serve these assembly plants hence the increase in imports,” said Sinclair. This has helped sustain Suvarnabhumi although its management company, Airports of Thailand, admits it has taken a hit. October volumes were down 4.55 per cent year on year and those for November down by the higher margin of 8.25 per cent an AOT official told Payload Asia. Statistics gleaned from AOT’s website show in November 2010, Suvarnabhumi moved 62,911 tonnes of cargo an increase of 11.1 per cent on 2009’s total of 56,638 tonnes. What is now emerging in the Thai capital is a two fold consensus. Few see any real or long-term damage to the air cargo sector, but expect there to be several months of fretting as factories are restored to full working order and the traditional balances at Suvarnabhumi return. “The industrial estates to the north are now dry and limited manufacturing has already started but it is likely to be several months before they are able to reach full production because of the damage to machinery and IT,” said Sinclair. “We expect the current trend to continue for the next two to three months until the factories are fully operational again and then the mix of exports and imports should revert back to historical levels.”
Massive B737 order for Indonesia’s Lion Air
Indonesian carrier Lion Air has announced an order for 201 B737 MAXs and 29 Next-Generation B737-900 ERs. The agreement also includes purchase rights for an additional 150 airplanes. “The 737 MAX will be the future of Lion Air,” said Rusdi Kirana, Lion Air founder and president director. “The highly efficient, technologically advanced airplane will help Lion Air continue to bring low fares and allow us to open new destinations because of the longer range of the airplane.” Lion Air, Indonesia’s largest private airline, currently operates, or has on order, a total of 178 Next-Generation B737s. With 230 airplanes at a list price of US$21.7 billion this deal, when finalised will be the largest commercial airplane order in Boeing’s history by both dollar volume and total number of aircraft. Lion Air will also acquire purchase rights for an additional 150 airplanes valued at more than $14 billion if exercised at list prices. Boeing and Lion Air are working to finalise details of the agreement, at which time it will be a firm order posted on the Boeing Orders and Deliveries website, the two said in a statement.
Asian financiers wellplaced for air industry
Aircraft maker Boeing told Asia bankers in Hong Kong that the region, led by China, is best poised to capture opportunities created by the anticipated pullback of European banks from commercial aircraft investment as the Eurozone works to resolve its sovereign debt crisis. Europe’s commercial banks have long been a significant source for commercial aircraft delivery financing, but banks there are expected to curtail their aircraft investments and face what likely will be longer-term lending challenges, Boeing said. This creates attractive options for those seeking to invest in proven and mobile assets with high rates of returns, which commercial airplanes represent, it added. “Asia continues to be the world’s leading growth region, and it has the most likely opportunity to prosper from stepping into the breach created by Europe’s debt crisis. That’s especially true when the investment involves new, fuel-efficient airplanes like those from Boeing, with their high market demand,” said Foster Arata, vice president for Asia and Greater China at Boeing Capital Corporation (BCC), the manufacturer’s aircraft financing and leasing unit. BCC manages a $4.3 billion portfolio of approximately 275 aircraft. Arata was host to over 225 of the region’s bankers and financiers at the company’s annual regional financiers and investors conference held in Hong Kong in November. He joined company presenters who highlighted current global aircraft financing market conditions, as well as programme updates on its new B787 Dreamliner, which began revenue service recently with Japan’s ANA, and its new B747-8, now operating in its freighter configuration. The aircraft maker updated its view that, despite some current economic challenges within China and the rest of Asia, the aviation industry is looking to the region to be both a leader in aviation industry growth and a greater participant in global aircraft financing. “Similar to the last economic crisis, Asia should continue to be the opportunity market, as it is likely to be the first to come out of the existing economic downturn,” Arata said. “Recently China’s banks have been less active in the aviation space as a result of the country’s focus on cooling down its economy, addressing inflation and other challenges on the Mainland. But as inflation there is brought under control, there’s nothing to suggest the government won’t encourage their return to the aviation sector and the significant role the PRC banks played over the last five years,” Arata added. Boeing noted that the growth of Asia’s aircraft leasing industry, particularly in China, has been a bright spot. “The leasing industry there continues to grow, with the leasing firms having an appetite for aircraft sale-leaseback deals and many pursuing growth of their leasing portfolios. Their challenge is not interest, but rather finding new sources for investment capital outside of their traditional partners to help them realise their aggressive growth plans,” Arata said. According to Boeing’s latest update to its 20-year commercial aircraft market outlook, approximately half of the world’s air traffic growth will be driven by travel to, from or within the Asia Pacific region, fueling am air-traffic growth rate of 6.7 per cent per year for the period. China, as the world’s secondlargest market alone, is projected by 2030 to need 5,000 new aircraft valued at US$600 billion.
Cathay’s October cargo drops 17.5%
Combined Cathay Pacific and Dragonair traffic figures for October 2011 show a continuation of declining cargo and mail tonnage, year-on-year. The two carriers uplifted 135,998 tonnes of cargo and mail in October, a year-on-year drop of 17.5 per cent. The cargo and mail load factor was down by 8.9 percentage points to 66.2 per cent while capacity, measured in available cargo/mail tonne kilometres, fell by 4.7 per cent and cargo and mail tonne kilometres flown were down by 15.9 per cent. For the year to date, tonnage has dropped by 7.7 per cent while capacity is up by 8.1 per cent. “The airfreight industry remained weak overall in October, with our key Hong Kong and China markets continuing to be soft,” Cathay Pacific general manager Cargo Sales & Marketing James Woodrow said. “It looks unlikely that we will see the usual year-end peak. We continue to look for opportunities in new markets. The recently launched freighter services to Bengaluru, Chongqing and Chengdu have been well received and on 15 November we are launching a twice-weekly service to Zaragoza – our first time to fly to Spain.” The carriers did however report a rise in passenger numbers, up 3.8 per cent year-on-year to 2.38 million passengers.
MAS undergoes major restructuring
Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has embarked on its second restructuring effort since 2005, aimed at making the airline’s operations leaner, cutting unprofitable services, spinning off some of its noncore businesses, exploring joint ventures with other airlines and launching a regional carrier. The moves have been necessitated by MAS’ cumulative losses up to the third quarter of this year amounting to RM1.25 billion (US$390 million), with estimates for MAS’s net loss for 2011 at around RM1.32 billion. MAS officials said nearly 40 per cent of the carrier’s overall network is unprofitable. The new regional carrier is to be operational by the second half of next year in a bid to help the carrier return to profitability by 2013. Focusing initially on short-haul premium travel on profitable routes such as those to Southeast Asian destinations and China, the new carrier will eventually take over all domestic and regional routes currently flown by MAS, the group’s chief executive officer, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said recently. The move to separate the carrier’s regional operations into a separate unit from international has come in part because of the earlier announced plan to enter into a share-swap deal with Kuala Lumpurbased budget carrier AirAsia. Tune Air, which manages AirAsia, will acquire a 20.5 per cent stake in MAS, while the flag carrier will acquire 10 per cent of the budget airline. Among the other cost cutting measures undertaken include downgrading one of the carrier’s two daily B747-400 flights to London to smaller B777-200 aircraft, while the twice-daily B777-200 service to Melbourne has been downgraded to A330-300s. Flights to Surabaya, Bandung and Jogjakarta in Indonesia were dropped in October, while Perth, Seoul and Haneda services operated from Kota Kinabalu using single-aisle B737-800 aircraft will be among flights cut from 31 December. MAS’s low-cost Firefly unit has ceased operating jet services from Johor Bahru to Kuching and Kota Kinabalu, and ceased services from Kuala Lumpur to Sandakan, Sibu and Kota Kinabalu in East Malaysia. The company’s six daily Kuching flights from the Malaysian capital were also cut in December. Firefly and MAS’s regional unit MASWings will continue operating their turboprop fleets from their respective hubs at Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport, outside Kuala Lumpur, and Penang International Airport in the case of Firefly. MASWings, which has a fleet of ten ATR72-500s, is based in Miri, Sarawak operating domestic flights in the two East Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah. As part of the restructuring MAS – which has a widebody fleet comprising eight B747- 400s, 17 B777-200ERs and 22 A330-200/- 300s – will focus on medium to long-haul international flights from January 2012, while domestic and regional operations using narrowbody B737-400/-800 aircraft currently operated by the carrier will be delegated to the new subsidiary. The 747- 400s will gradually be phased out from the third quarter of 2012, a year earlier than previously planned.
Asia-Pac carriers see continuing cargo drop
Traffic figures for the month of October released by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) showed a continuation of established trends this year, with weak international air freight markets contrasted by further growth in international air passenger travel. International air cargo markets showed further weakness in October, with Asia Pacific carriers reporting a 7.7 per cent decline in freight tonne kilometre (FTK) terms, compared to the same month last year. The average international air cargo load factor for Asia Pacific carriers fell by 3.9 percentage points, to 66.8 per cent, after a 2.4 per cent reduction in offered freight capacity. For the first 10 months of 2011 Asia Pacific-based carriers saw international air cargo demand declining by 4.5 per cent compared to the same period last year. “Asian exports have been negatively impacted by the pattern of slower economic growth seen in Europe and North America, particularly in the second half of the year,” said AAPA director general, Andrew Herdman. “Despite these challenges, optimism about the long-term outlook is reflected in ambitious fleet expansion plans and innovative new business ventures,” he added.
Qantas mum on hub for new Asian carrier
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has said the airline was determined to have an Asian hub up and running within five years but that it was too soon to decide on a location. Joyce said he was still talking to “the Singaporeans and Malaysians” about the initiative but analysts believe that an agreement with Malaysian authorities is far more likely than that of Singaporean authorities. It’s unclear how the surprise announcement that Malaysia will start its own premium airline will impact Qantas’ ambition to start up its Asianbased carrier, but analysts said if Qantas struck a deal with Malaysia Airlines, the new airline could be running out of Kuala Lumpur by late next year. Qantas is also set to take delivery of 15 new twin-aisle Airbus A330s in 2012. Joyce said talks are continuing over the concept, which involves Malaysia Airlines and its 20 per cent owner Tony Fernandes, founder and chief of Jetstar’s competitor AirAsiaX. Qantas’ aim is to gain a foothold in the Southeast Asian marketplace in advance of planned aviation liberalisation. “We want to capture those premium customers who have been frustrated with our lack of frequencies and limited flight-time options into Asia, and do this through leveraging our aviation skill base without huge capital risk,” he said. “In five years we plan to have a hub in the world’s fastest growing aviation region, feeding traffic into both our Qantas and Jetstar networks. This is how we will end the disadvantage of being an end-of-theline carrier.”
Oz competition body OKs Virgin, Singapore pact
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has granted authorisation for Australian airline Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines to enter into an integrated network aviation alliance. Under the alliance, the airlines will cooperate on all aspects of their Australia – Singapore services and any international and domestic connecting routes, including joint pricing and scheduling and joint marketing and sales.
EVA Airways awarded AEO certification
Taiwan’s EVA Airways has obtained certification under the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) system from the Directorate General of Customs of the Ministry of Finance. EVA said it is the first carrier in Taiwan to get the AEO certification after the government in 2009 applied the supply chain security standards of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) to facilitate and speed up the movement of goods in the global market. The WCO drafted the WCO Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade (SAFE) in June 2005 to lay a foundation, aiming to assist customs administrations in the world to meet new challenges, such as terrorism, to develop the AEO system. The SAFE framework focuses on cooperation between customs administrations as well as cooperation between customs administrations and the private sector to boost international goods flows.
ANA boosts Tokyo-Okinawa flights
All Nippon Airways (ANA) is to double flights between Tokyo’s Narita Airport and Okinawa to tap growing trade in the region. Weekly cargo runs between the two destinations will be increased to 12 from the current six next week ANA said. Services between Narita and Taipei will also increase, from six flights a week to nine. ANA said it expected the first annual profit at its cargo unit in the year, commencing 1 April, as its Okinawa hub has helped it win business connecting China, Japan and Southeast Asia.
China Southern Cargo races to Amsterdam
China Southern Cargo recently uplifted 22 racing cars following the conclusion of the 2011 Intercontinental Le Mans Cup in Zhuhai, China, last month. The cars, uplifted from Guangzhou and destined for Amsterdam, included an Audi, Aston Martin, BMW, Ferrari, Peugeot, Lotus, Porsche, and Corvette, including the champion Peugeot No.7. The cars and accessories weighting 150 tonnes where shipped on two freighter flights – the first flight CZ471 operated using a B747-400F left from China Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport on 18 November and the second one using a B777-200F left on 19 November. China Southern Cargo set up a specialist team to provide professional and dedicated service. After advance communication with the customer, this specialist team followed and took charge of each process, provided customised transportation solution, prepared flight schedule, offered dangerous goods transportation support, conducted security check, built up special pallets, completed weight and balance and loaded the cars onto the freighter. “Given the fact that each pallet weights differently after the cars are loaded, we develop the load plan carefully to strictly comply with the weight and balance of the aircraft, so as to guarantee flight safety”, said Liu Jinchang, director of Freighter Operation, China Southern Cargo. “The PGA pallets, which have a length of 6.06m and a width of 2.44m, are used during this transportation, thus we maximised the use of Boeing 747F compartment space,” he added.
Vietnamese private carriers lose licenses
Trai Thien Air Cargo, licensed in 2008, has had its license cancelled because it has since failed to show any business activity, newswire Dan Tri reported. Under Vietnamese aviation regulations, a carrier will have its license revoked if it fails to launch services within 12 months of getting the license. Despite a number of incentives from CAAV, the carrier could not offer any flights for the domestic cargo market and is now entangled in legal issues over money allegedly owed to staff. The Ministry of Transport also canceled the license of Indochina Airlines (ICA), three years after its first flight in November 2008. The carrier lost its license due to the “inability to offer services and other financial problems.” At present, five carriers are offering commercial flights in Vietnam, including Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific, Air Mekong, VASCO and VietJetAir. A sixth carrier, VietJet Air, is scheduled to begin operations from 25 December, serving the Ho Chi Minh City-Hanoi route.
ASEAN-India air agreement pushed
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plans to conclude an air services agreement with India by the end of next year to boost regional movement of both passengers and cargo, a senior ASEAN official said according to a Dow Jones report. “Initial discussions at the technical level have already taken place and there is a commitment at the highest level to sign this agreement in 2012,” ASEAN Deputy Secretary-General S. Pushpanathan said on the sidelines of a conference organised by Singapore’s Institute of South Asian Studies. He said the agreement will facilitate opening up of more point-to-point routes for air services between India and ASEAN countries. Pushpanathan noted that the bulk of the flights between India and the Asean region are currently to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. He said a free trade agreement between ASEAN and India on investment and services is being finalised and is likely to be inked in the first quarter of 2012.
Singapore Airlines’ 2Q profit plummets
Singapore Airlines (SIA), the world’s second largest carrier by market value, posted a 49 per cent drop in second quarter net profit to SGP$194 million (US$152.7 million), due to high jet fuel prices and depressed yields. “The prevailing economic uncertainty and weak consumer confidence are impacting demand for air transportation. Advance passenger bookings are showing signs of weakness, particularly in Europe and the United States,” SIA said in a statement. “Global purchasing manager indices (PMIs) have also fallen, pointing to weaker demand for air freight. Both passenger and cargo yields are therefore expected to remain under pressure.” Analysts have also pointed to the rise of Middle Eastern rivals such as Emirates and aggressive expansion of budget carriers like AirAsia and Qantas Airways Ltd’s JetStar for eroding SIA’s market position on both long and short haul routes.
BOC Aviation delivers A330-300 to Aeroflot
BOC Aviation has announced the delivery of a new A330-300 aircraft, powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 772B engines, on long-term lease to Russian national carrier Aeroflot. “Aeroflot has grown by leaps and bounds in the two years since the delivery of our first aircraft in early 2009,” said Steven Townend, deputy managing director and chief commercial officer of BOC Aviation. “We are delighted to work with the leading carrier in Russia and strongly believe that our relationship will continue to thrive.” Following this transaction, BOC Aviation has a total of 14 aircraft on lease to Aeroflot and a total portfolio of 179 aircraft. Additionally, the company has 58 aircraft on firm order.
NZ court denies airline’s price fixing appeal
The New Zealand High Court has turned down a bid by the eight airlines accused of fixing air cargo rates to appeal the first part of the antitrust regulator’s case, saying they must honour their pledge to wait until the second part of the trial before petitioning the Court of Appeal. The airlines had sought to be released from their pledge but the request was turned down according to a written decision published on the Justice Department’s website. Air New Zealand, Japan Airlines, Emirates, Malaysian Airlines, Korean Airlines, Thai Airways, Singapore Airlines & Singapore Airlines Cargo and Cathay Pacific had previously agreed to wait until judgement from the second stage of the trial before making an appeal to ensure all appeal issues were dealt with at once.
Cargo crash leaves 13 dead and 600 homeless
At least 13 people were killed in early December when a small cargo aircraft crashed into a residential area near the Philippines capital of Manila, destroying dozens of homes. The tragedy happened when the Beechcraft Queen Air plane crashed in a poor residential area in Parañaque after taking off from Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Emergency officials said the aircraft struck several shanties and an empty school building as it went down. The resulting fire spread rapidly leaving at least 600 people homeless. Ramon Gutierrez, head of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, said the plane would have been carrying a full tank of fuel when it crashed. He said the pilot had requested an emergency re-landing in Manila shortly after take-off. Aviation officials said the aircraft, owned by Aviation Technology Innovations (ATI), was scheduled to pick up cargo in the municipality of San Jose on Mindoro Island. Investigations are ongoing.
India invites US investment in aviation sector
India has invited American business to invest in the burgeoning aviation sector, saying there is a huge potential for investment of up to US$130 billion in the coming years. Forecasting India’s air passenger traffic to rise to 260 million passengers per year by 2020, India’s Civil Aviation Secretary Nasim Zaidi said private investment so far in the sector has been about $6 billion and the country would require $130 billion worth of further investment over the next 10-15 years, according to a PTI report. He urged US companies to explore opportunities in the aviation market including airport modernisation, MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) and cargo-related areas. Zaidi made the comments while inaugurating the third US-India Aviation Summit in New Delhi.
Tough now, but future bright for Indian market
Acknowledging it’s a “tough situation” for the Indian aviation sector currently, long it will be a “very strong business” according to Airbus (India) president Kiran Rao. Airbus, which has a 70 per cent market share in the rapidly developing Indian aviation market, is forecasting demand for more than 1,000 new aircraft including by 2028 to meet passenger and cargo demand. “At the moment it’s a tough situation in India, but in the long run it will be very solid business,” Rao added. “Profitability gets hit hard when there is an economic crisis. The first thing people stop spending money on is air travel…You can’t stop eating and drinking… We will go through ups and downs. We will see more airplanes come in. What’s not going to happen is all of them shut down and there is no airline (left) in India.”
Kolkata added to Qatar’s Indian network
Kolkata has joined Qatar Airways’ burgeoning set of Indian routes with the recent launch of daily non-stop services from Doha, becoming its 12th passenger gateway in the country. The airline also operates twice-weekly cargo flights to Kolkata and a total of 15 freighter services each week. Qatar is India’s largest supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG) while exports from India to Qatar centre on food, machinery, chemicals, jewellery and textiles. The Indian network covers daily flights to Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Goa, Hyderabad, Kozhikode, Trivandrum, Chennai, Bengaluru, with 11-flights-aweek to Cochin and double daily to the capital, Delhi. Addressing a press conference in Kolkata, Al Baker said: “This is a market that is strong and full of confidence. We are eyeing more opportunities here in India and look forward to developing our footprint further to give the traveling public a wider choice of services they deserve, and the cargo community more flights to ease the flow of goods, produce
and other shipments to and from India.” Air India gets Indian gov’t loan extension Loss-making Indian national carrier Air India says the country’s central bank has approved a move to extend loans by another five years, with repayment now due after 15 years, saving the company an estimated US$192 million a year in interest costs. The airline also plans to sell and lease ‘excess aircraft’ including two B747-400 aircraft and some B777- 200 LR aircraft after it takes delivery of new Dreamliners from Boeing.
Etihad orders B777 Freighters, Dreamliners
Etihad Airways has announced an order for 10 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and two Boeing 777 Freighters. Valued at a combined US$2.8 billion at current list prices, this order will make Etihad the world’s largest airline customer of the B787-9 with a total of 41 B787s on order. The order also increases Etihad’s current B777 backlog to 12 aircraft, which includes 10 previously ordered B777-300ERs (extended range). The Abu Dhabi-based airline’s fleet currently includes eight B777-300ERs and one B777 Freighter.
Qatar Airways continues route expansion binge
Qatar Airways today announced its 2012 passenger route expansion programme focusing on Australia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East with a raft of new destinations set to join the airline’s rapidly-growing global network over the next few months. Among the new destinations are; Perth in Western Australia, the Finnish capital Helsinki, Croatia’s capital city of Zagreb, Gassim in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and three East African cities – Zanzibar, Kigali and Mombasa, in Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya, respectively. The new routes will join previously announced Baku and Tbilisi, the capital cities of Azerbaijan and Georgia, respectively, which are will become part of Qatar Airways’ family of routes from 1 February. The carrier also announced a new fifth daily flight between Doha and London Heathrow from the start of the Northern Summer schedules on 25 March next year taking capacity up from 28 to 35 flights each week. Qatar Airways chief executive officer Akbar Al Baker said the additional capacity reflected the growing importance of London to the airline’s international operations and would also help meet demand for the Olympics taking place in the British capital next summer. Meanwhile, Qatar has launched scheduled flights to the Libyan port city of Benghazi in North Africa. Operating fourtimes- a-week from Doha, Libya’s second largest city is a leading economic centre, ideally located on the Mediterranean for trade and export. Benghazi, together with the Ugandan city of Entebbe, are the airline’s latest African destinations launched taking the number of new routes started by the Doha-based carrier this year to 14. Benghazi is home to numerous industries, including oil refining, food processing, cement production and fishing, which would benefit from the new flights to and from Doha and Qatar Airways’ connecting points across the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. And in China Qatar also launched new three times weekly flights to the Chinese city of Chongqing using A330 aircraft and an additional frequency to both Beijing and Hong Kong, taking the carrier’s overall frequency across China up from 25 to 35 flights each week. Qatar Airways also operates daily non-stop scheduled passenger flights to both Shanghai and Guangzhou, with dedicated freighter services to Hong Kong six-times-a-week. Speaking at a press conference in Chongqing, Al Baker said China’s economic growth was clearly a catalyst for the carrier to do more business in the country, already a strong economic partner with Qatar. “Qatar Airways is demonstrating confidence of doing business with partners in China and the opening of Chongqing, particularly being an up-andcoming city, shows our commitment to a vibrant economy,” said Al Baker. “We have been closely looking at the opportunities that exist in this vast market to provide greater passenger choice and to give both business and leisure travelers more travel options to and from China, where many cities are largely underserved by international airlines,” he said. “With Chongqing’s strategic location on the important shipping waterway of the Yangtze River and being a production hub for motor cars, motorcycles, iron, steel, textiles, machinery and electronics, the city has huge market potential for new flights,” added Al Baker.
ME requires 1,920 aircraft by 2030: Airbus
According to Airbus’ latest Global Market forecast (GMF) carriers in the Middle East will require 1,921 new passenger (above 100 seats) and freighter aircraft between 2011 and 2030 valued at US$347.4 billion. Of these, 1,882 are passenger aircraft ($336.3 billion) and 39 are freighter aircraft ($11.1billion). The main drivers of the continued strong demand for new aircraft include fleet expansion and replacement, greater urbanisation, an increasing number of mega cities and the overall ongoing expansion of the region as a geographical hub and tourist destination, said Airbus. “The Middle East remains one of the world’s most robust aviation regions and this is confirmed by a 200 per cent increase in inter-regional passenger traffic over the last 10 years,” said John Leahy, Airbus COO, customers. This above average growth rate will result in the almost trebling of the regions fleet from over 800 aircraft today to some 2,260 by 2030.
Record setting 50 B777ER order for Emirates
Emirates Airline has once again demonstrated its clear intent to be a major force in commercial aviation with an announcement that it has placed a US$18 billion order for 50 B777-300ERs plus options for an additional 20 – making it Boeing’s largest ever commercial aircraft order by value. The options for 20 additional airplanes is valued at US$8 billion. With the Emirates order, Boeing’s 2011 net order book for the B777 currently stands at 182 aircraft. Emirates is the world’s largest B777 operator with a fleet of 94 B777s through direct purchase and lease, plus additional unfilled orders on backlog for 41 B777- 300ERs previously on order. It is also the only airline in the world to operate every model in the B777 family, including the B777 Freighter.
Emirates SkyCargo sets B777F payload record
Emirates SkyCargo has set a new record for the heaviest recorded single item ever carried by a Boeing 777F. Weighing in at 21.157 tonnes (including packaging), the item – a specialised valve used to seal, control and monitor oil and gas wells – was just short of the aircraft’s 21.624-tonne limit. The blowout preventer which when packed measured 2.25 metres by 1.9 metres by 1.9 metres, which was transported from Iraq’s Erbil International Airport to Dubai – would normally be transported by sea, but the customer required a faster solution. “Carrying cargo of a weight so close to the B777’s limit was very challenging,” said Nihal Wickrema, Emirates’ manager Freighter Operations & Charters. “The highest level of care and precision planning was required by groundhandling operations at both airports. The weight had to be spread along the aircraft’s structure and the shape of the item was such that it could potentially have rolled during the flight so we had to ensure there was sufficient restraint in every direction.” Emirates SkyCargo worked closely with dnata, the ground handling agent in Erbil, the customer – Starlight – and its delivery agent in Erbil.
Emirates SkyCargo upgrades Ghana service
Emirates SkyCargo has launched a new service on the burgeoning Middle East-Africa trade with a B747-400F operating weekly between Dubai and Ghana, in support of the thriving import and export industry generated by one of the world’s fastest growing economies. “Ghana is booming at the moment – exporting items such as oil and gas equipment, pineapples, mangoes, a variety of vegetables, fresh fish and lobsters – so strengthening our commitment to West Africa with the introduction of this weekly freighter makes great business sense,” said Hiran Perera, Emirates’ SVP Cargo Planning & Freighters. Goods from Ghana will be distributed from Dubai to locations across the Middle East, Europe, the Far East and the US. Goods going into Ghana include electrical equipment, clothing and mobile phones from the Far East and pharmaceuticals from Europe. The freight from Frankfurt to Dubai will include car parts, machinery and a diverse range of general merchandise. Emirates has been operating a passenger service to Accra, with a weekly cargo capacity of 120 tonnes each way in the bellyhold of an Airbus A330-200, since 2004. The new service – to Kotoka International Airport – will operate via Lome, Togo, on the outbound journey and return to Dubai through Frankfurt, Germany. “Ghana is rich in natural resources and recognised as one of Africa’s leading economies. This economic strength means it will play a pivotal role in the future development of Africa, making it an important trade route with tremendous scope for growth,” added Perera. Africa is a key market for Emirates SkyCargo with services to 20 locations and a further two – Harare and Lusaka – set to join the Africa trade in February 2012.
Emirates leases 9 B777Fs from DAE
DAE Capital, the aircraft leasing division of Dubai Aerospace Enterprise has reached an agreement to lease nine new B777 Freighters on a long-term basis to Emirates Airline starting from the 2012-2015 timeframe. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, chairman and chief executive, Emirates Airline and Group, said: “This agreement ensures Emirates SkyCargo will receive a pipeline of new, state-of-the-art, freighter aircraft over the next four years. Emirates SkyCargo continues to build on its leadership position in the global cargo market and these aircraft will play an important role in this growth.”
Europe & CIS
Air Cargo Germany enlarges network
German air cargo carrier enlarged its network by commencing services to the South Korean capital Seoul using B747-400 freighter equipment. The twice weekly flights are conducted via Novosibirsk in Russia, where the aircraft land for a short technical stop. “Routing our planes this way saves up to 1.5 hours each flight in comparison to Karaganda, which we used for tank stops earlier,” explained CEO Michael Bock of ACG Air Cargo Germany. New on the carrier’s itinerary is also the Guaraní Int’l Airport in Paraguay. This weekly flight is the result of a client’s request and begins in Hong Kong, via Sharjah and Lagos before crossing the South Atlantic for Paraguay. From there the freighter flies back via Buenos Aires or Santiago de Chile to Hong Kong on the same route. At the end of November Peru’s capital Lima will be integrated in this flight pattern. Since the entire project is based on shuttle services between Hong Kong and South America half a B747-400F is statistically fully absorbed by this service, says Bock. Flights from the carrier’s homebase Frankfurt-Hahn to Johannesburg, South Africa that had started in November 2010 proved to be quite successful the carrier said, adding that the twice weekly service will be continued. On the Fareast trade, however, the carrier said the outlook was “more sombre due to low rates” and the situation is made tougher by the fact there was no peak season this year. “Currently nobody knows for sure if the worst is already over or still waiting around the corner to come,” said Bock. To reduce the financial risks ACG Air Cargo Germany said it has expanded its charter activities substantially. At present roughly one third of the airline’s turnover is contributed by charter activities with line-haul flights accounting for the other 70 per cent, compared to last year when charters totaled only 20 per cent. According to current figures ACG Air Cargo Germany will transport 140,000 tonnes for the year, a growth of 50 per cent year-on-year. The turnover will leap from €153 million in 2010 to approximately €230 million for 2011, up a healthy 52 percentage points. The fleet of four leased B747-400 freighters have an average load factor of 80 per cent.
Cargolux execs plead guilty, face jail time
Cargolux Airlines International has confirmed that Ulrich Ogiermann, former CEO and currently special advisor to the company, along with Robert Van de Weg, senior VP sales & marketing, have entered into a plea agreement with the United States Department of Justice (US DoJ). The agreement includes guilty pleas by both executives and follows their personal indictment by a US grand jury for alleged violations of US antitrust laws. Ogiermann and Van de Weg agreed to sentence serving of 13 months. Cargolux itself pleaded guilty in May 2009 in similar US proceedings against the company and agreed to pay a fine of US$119 million. While expressing its regret for the executives personally, Cargolux acknowledges their decision to plead guilty as a way to finally bring this matter to a controlled close both for them and the company. The charges against Ogiermann and Van de Weg relate to conduct they undertook on behalf of the company and do not allege that they derived any personal benefit from the activities in question. Cargolux said it remains fully committed to abiding by all applicable antitrust laws and regulations at all times and has taken thorough steps across the company to ensure that it conducts its business according to the highest ethical standards. To date, a total of 22 airlines and 21 executives have been charged in the DoJ’s air cargo investigation and more than US$ 1.8 billion fines have been imposed.
Dresden-based EADS EFW re-delivers A300 P2Fs
Dresden-based aircraft conversion specialist, EADS EFW has re-delivered one A300-605RP2F to RUS Aviation/Global Jet and another converted A300-622R freighter to European Air Transport/DHL. MSN 643 ‘Darina’ of customer RUS Aviation/Global Jet was officially released to service by EFW in November, now returned from the paint shop in its new livery for its final re-certification before entering revenue service. It is the second Airbus freighter in the fleet of Global Jet. MSN 621 is the 2nd of 18 contracted Airbus A300-600R conversions for European Air Transport and is serving DHL to provide urgently needed capacity during the year end peak season. The aircraft will be pressed immediately into service and will only have its livery painted following the end of the peak season.
New agents for Turkish Cargo in India, Asia-Pac
Turkish Cargo has appointed Ascent Concorde Group as their handling agent in Mumbai, India, effective from 1 December 2011. Meanwhile in Australia & New Zealand the cargo carrier has appointed MCH Holding Australia as its GSA in those markets, also with effect from the same date. The carrier said it has expanded interline and SPA agreements with the region’s carriers, which will see cargo forwarded to and from the Australian and New Zealand region in connection with the Turkish Cargo’s direct flights to Hong Kong, Shanghai, Bangkok, Saigon, Beijing and Singapore. Lufthansa Cargo cuts capacity, may cut further Forecasting a growth of around three per cent for the air freight industry next year, Lufthansa Cargo sales chief Andreas Otto said the cargo carrier had made major cuts to available capacity over the Christmas/New Year’s holiday period and could cut more. “We cut capacity by between 20-25 per cent from mid-December to mid- January because of the holiday season and we could take that up to 30 per cent,” he said. “We might see zero growth in the first quarter or first half, but the second half should be better. We don’t see a recession,” he said, adding that the cargo carrier was prepared to quickly take out capacity should the downturn be sharper than expected.
AF-KLM issues profit warning, reorganisation
Air France-KLM will post a loss this year due in part to fluctuating fuel prices and currency effects, the company said in a statement recently. The Arab Spring disruptions and the Japanese earthquake and tsunami will also impact full year figures the group said. The group booked net profit of €14 million in the third quarter, compared with €290 million in the same period a year earlier, while turnover grew two per cent in the period to €6.8 billion. In a statement, board chairman Jean- Cyril Spinetta said the new management team will focus on three priorities. “The first is the re-establishment of the group’s competitiveness, implying additional cost savings. The second is the restructuring of our short and medium-haul activity. The third is a rapid reduction in our debt,” he said. More detailed plans are to be announced in the first quarter of 2012.
Volga-Dnepr supports NASA’s ‘Curiosity’
Major parts of the launch vehicle for NASA’s most ambitious rover mission to Mars, successfully launched into orbit on 26 November, were delivered to the Cape Canaveral launch site in Florida by Volga-Dnepr Airlines. The Mars Science Laboratory ‘Curiosity’ will take eight and a half months to reach its destination. Onboard is a carsized rover vehicle that will scour soil and rocks for any signs of current or past environments on the planet that could have supported life. NASA says Curiosity is the largest and most complex piece of equipment ever to try to reach the surface of another planet. In support of the mission, a Volga-Dnepr AN-124-100 freighter aircraft delivered the Atlas V active expendable launch system, part of the Atlas rocket family operated by the Lockheed Martin-Boeing joint venture, United Launch Alliance. The flight departed from Huntsville, Alabama, for Cape Canaveral. Each Atlas V rocket delivered by Volga-Dnepr’s AN-124-100 aircraft weighs up to 25 tonnes and is 36 metres in length. It has a diameter of 3.8 metres and is 4.3 metres high in transport configuration. The weight of the Centaur upper stage reaches up to nine tonnes. It measures 14 metres in length and 3.3 metres in diameter
Atlas begins operating B747-8F for British Airways
Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings has taken delivery from Boeing of the first of nine B747-8 Freighters it has on order which its 49 per cent subsidiary, Global Supply Systems (GSS), will operate on behalf of British Airways World Cargo through a five-year wet-lease agreement. As part of the lease agreement for three B747-8 Freighters with GSS, British Airways World Cargo will utilise the aircraft on longhaul routes to cargo hubs in Asia, Africa, India and the US. “The addition of the B747- 8 Freighter to the fleet is an important step in our overall long-haul business strategy,” said Jude Winstanley, senior vice president for IAG Cargo, comprised of BA World Cargo and Iberia Cargo.
US lawmakers to block new lithium battery rules
US lawmakers have responded to industry and foreign governments by tentatively agreeing to block the Obama administration from requiring that air shipments of lithium batteries be treated as hazardous cargo because of the danger of fires during flight. The deal came in talks on a longterm funding bill for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The bill will effectively block new batteryshipment rules by insisting the US follow international standards, which are less stringent. Pilot unions said the international standards don’t provide enough safety and are weaker than rules the administration proposed nearly two years ago, but never made final. Both the unions and the National Transportation Safety Board for several years have sought new rules on air shipments of the batteries to prevent fires that can cause air crashes and deaths.
Ethiopian first customer for Southern’s B747- 400F
Southern Air Holdings Inc, a global provider of ACMI (aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance) services has announced a multiple-year B747- 400SF ACMI agreement with Ethiopian Airlines. Ethiopian is Southern Air’s first customer for its recently acquired fleet of B747-400 freighter aircraft with operations scheduled to begin in early January 2012. Ethiopian Airlines earlier announced plans to expand its cargo business through both wet lease and purchase of new Boeing aircraft which includes upgrading its current fleet to B747-400SF and B777F freighters. In addition to the utilisation of passenger fleet belly space on their B767-300, B757-200, B777-200 LR, B737-700 and B737-800 aircraft, Ethiopian cargo operates dedicated freighter aircraft on a charter and scheduled basis. Ethiopian currently operates to more than 40 cargo destinations across Afr