The airline industry

Written by  //  December 30, 2009  //  Aviation & Aerospace, Judith Patterson  //  3 Comments

Virgin: the world’s best passenger complaint letter?
Here we reproduce a complaint letter sent to Sir Richard Branson, which is currently being emailed globally and is considered by many to be the world’s funniest passenger complaint letter. Not to be missed!
More on aviation and airlines and ; Financial Times December 2008 ; IATA International Air Transport Association


Aviation Security and the Israeli Model
A Room for Debate forum on Monday discussed ways to deal with terrorist attacks on commercial airplanes. A number of readers suggested that the United States adopt Israel’s tough air safety system. Is that option desirable or even possible here? Excerpts from the reader comments follow. A very cogent discussion.
27 December
New Restrictions Quickly Added for Air Passengers
In the wake of the terrorism attempt Friday on a Northwest Airlines flight, federal officials on Saturday imposed new restrictions on travelers that could lengthen lines at airports and limit the ability of international passengers to move about an airplane.
22 December
Stiff Fines Are Set for Long Wait on the Tarmac
(NYT) Carriers that do not provide food and water after two hours or a chance to disembark after three hours will face penalties of $27,500 a passenger.
30 November
Dubai Crisis Threatens Airbus and Boeing, Too

26 November
Fined for stranding passengers
Three airlines were fined $175,000 for holding travellers in the cabin overnight on a flight that was diverted to Rochester, Minnesota, in August because of bad weather. It is the first such penalty imposed for stranding passengers by the government. See article
18 November
Airlines helped craft Canada’s air passenger bill of rights: Documents
The Conservative government launched Flight Rights Canada last fall to inform air travellers of their rights, but only after airline executives reviewed several drafts, provided input and approved the final product — a process that raised the ire of a top bureaucrat involved.
Transport minister tried to kill passenger rights bill despite publicly supporting it
The federal transport minister’s office privately pleaded with Canada’s big airlines to step up their lobby campaign to kill a proposed passenger bill of rights even as the minister publicly rallied behind the popular initiative ….
The motion by Newfoundland Liberal MP Gerry Byrne, calling on the government to bring forward a bill to entrench a passenger bill of rights into law, passed in the House of Commons unanimously last year, but only after a high-ranking political operative in then-transport minister Lawrence Cannon‘s office tried to scuttle the whole thing.
16 November
Governments Sign Principles for Liberalization – Historic Achievement
Montebello – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) today announced the signing of a Multilateral Statement of Policy Principles regarding the Implementation of Bilateral Air Service Agreements by seven states and the European Commission. The signing took place at the conclusion of the IATA-hosted second Agenda for Freedom Summit.
12 November
BA and Iberia agree merger
British Airways and Iberia on Thursday night agreed the terms of a merger that would create Europe’s third-largest airline by revenue, one of the biggest deals in the global aviation industry.
Africa looks to improve air safety
African aviation officials have agreed to form regional organizations to investigate crashes and examine equipment, maintenance and safety procedures. Africa accounts for only 4% of the world’s aviation traffic but one-third of air disasters. The Globe and Mail (Toronto)/The Associated Press (11/6)
21 October
Gatwick to be sold to City Airport group for £1.5bn
London airport to go to Global Infrastructure Partners for £1.5bn price tag as owner tries to head of competition concerns from regulator
18 October
Qatar Airways uses natural gas fuel on flight from London
A Qatar Airways flight has made history by being the first commercial flight to be powered by fuel derived from natural gas.
The Airbus A340-600 flew from London Gatwick to Doha using a mixture of synthetic Gas to Liquids (GTL) kerosene and conventional oil-based kerosene fuel The blend, which will be known as GTL jet fuel, produces fewer emissions and sulphur dioxide. It took more than two years for a consortium consisting of Airbus, Qatar Airways, Qatar Petroleum, Qatar Science & Technology Park, Rolls-Royce, Shell and WOQOD to develop the fuel.
16 September
Convergence: The Challenge of Aviation Security
(Stratfor) … aviation security has changed dramatically in the post-9/11 era, and great effort has been undertaken at great expense to make attacks against passenger aircraft more difficult. Airline attacks are harder to conduct now than in the past, and while many militants have shifted their focus onto easier targets like subways or hotels, there are still some jihadists who remain fixated on the aviation target, and we will undoubtedly see more attempts against passenger aircraft in spite of the restrictions on the quantities of liquids that can be taken aboard aircraft and the now mandatory shoe inspections. Quite simply, militants will seek alternate ways to smuggle components for IEDs aboard aircraft
4 September
(Kiplinger Letter) A no-nonsense airline passengers’ bill of rights is a near certainty now.
Business travel groups are finally fed up following the latest horror stories of passengers forced to spend hours on jets idled on the tarmac, often without food or other amenities. They’re seeing too many business travelers losing too much time… often held up so long they no longer have a reason to make the trip, but not allowed to disembark and simply not go. Until now, business interests sided with the airlines, opposing legislation and arguing that any hard-and-fast rules could boomerang, causing additional flight cancellations and even longer travel delays, for example.
The WTO rules on Boeing and Airbus
(The Economist)  In this the biggest dispute to come up for WTO arbitration, the likely finding will be a comfort to the American government and Boeing, on whose behalf the complaint was made nearly five years ago.
Canadian teams scramble as U.S. bans NHL charter flights
(National Post) Canada’s six NHL teams are scrambling to find alternative travel arrangements south of the border after the U.S. Department of Transportation banned Air Canada’s charter fleet from flying between U.S. cities.
19 August
Frustrated tweets new headache for airlines
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Indignant letters, e-mails and phone calls can still get results for unhappy airline travelers, but more are finding that if you really want to vent your frustrations, you can now be loud and fast and public. At least that’s the buzz on Twitter, where airlines are discovering that fuming passengers who have been stranded, delayed or just plain piqued are increasingly letting their undiluted rage fly around the Internet, often from the confines of their cramped airplane seat.
25 July
100 Years Later, Celebrating a Historic Flight in Europe
PARIS — One hundred years have passed since the first international flight over water by an airplane, and it required of the pilot a mixture of courage and madness to set out on the voyage without so much as a compass as a guide. With a century’s hindsight, Mr. Blériot’s hop across the Channel may seem like a modest achievement. But at the time his feat was an international sensation and became a landmark of aeronautic progress.
14 July
Is it all over for the business trip?
(The Economist) THE “Face of Opportunity” contest that British Airways launched on July 14th, giving American business travellers the chance to win a free flight, is a “stimulus to jump-start US business” by helping to “keep entrepreneurship alive and kick up fresh potential for economic growth”. Well, maybe. But it also sounds awfully like a cry for help from an airline that has bet big on business travel and which is now extremely worried that it has bet wrong.
30 June
France had banned Yemeni crash plane
(FT) Second air tragedy for French in matter of weeks after Yemenia Air jet accident kills 66 nationals out of 153 on board
Round-world flight planned for solar-powered plane 
A solar-powered plane its inventor hopes will lead to a non-stop round the world flight was unveiled today.
Solar Impulse has the wingspan of a Jumbo Jet but the weight of a small car. Adventurer Bertrand Piccard who in 1999 co-piloted the first round-the-globe non-stop balloon flight said: “Yesterday it was a dream, today it is an aeroplane, tomorrow it will be an ambassador of renewable energies.” The plane will have test flights over the next two years, and based on their results a new version will be constructed for the big event in 2012. The plane will fly day and night using almost 12,000 solar cells, rechargeable lithium batteries and four electric motors. It will not use an ounce of fuel. Flightglobal ; Solar-Impulse website ; Dassault Systèmes and Solar Impulse for Sustainable Living Press Release
23 June
Boeing (BA) a encore dû repousser mardi son premier vol d’essai du 787 «Dreamliner», son avion de ligne de nouvelle génération sur lequel l’avionneur américain a fait un énorme pari commercial mais qui a déjà pris près de deux ans de retard. more
14 June
(The Independent) Two weeks after Air France’s AF447 fell from the sky between the Brazilian and West African coasts, the mystery of what happened to the plane and the 228 people on board remains largely impenetrable. More
13 June
The right flight plan?: Porter bets it has the formula to survive the airline industry’s cutthroat competition
It’s a beautifully designed airline concept, designed from beginning to end to remove the hassle factor, flying out of a gem of an airport and with a business model that is holding up well despite the recession.
At Paris Air Show, Little Flash and Lots of Introspection
(NYT) When the Paris Air Show — which marks its 100th anniversary this year — opens its gates, a record 2,000 exhibitors from 48 countries will be in attendance. The world’s airlines had a net loss of $10.4 billion in 2008 and are expected to lose an additional $9 billion in 2009. Global air traffic is falling at rates faster than those seen in 2001. The global financial crisis has devastated the industry in a variety of ways. It choked off many airlines’ access to credit. The world’s biggest jet buyer is on the auction block, a consequence of the bailout last year of its parent, American International Group. And corporate jets, once de rigueur for the world’s captains of industry and finance, have been ditched — at least for now — in a backlash against one of the most visible symbols of capitalist excess.
12 June
Air France crash shows ‘black box’ obsolete: expert
Former Air Canada chief executive and ex-head of the International Air Transport
Association, Pierre Jeanniot helped pioneer flight data recorders 40 years ago but now says the “black boxes” are obsolete.
“Real-time data transmission from the cockpit by satellite is a lot less costly than it was ten years ago. It is now possible to transmit everything directly during the flight if there is a problem.”
6 June
The Transportation Security Administration is getting ready to take over responsibility from the airlines for checking passengers’ names against terrorist watch lists, and is advising travelers to start booking airline tickets using their full name as it appears on their driver’s license or passport More on requirements
6 June
Iata warns that airlines’ losses will top worst estimate
(The Guardian) The world’s airlines have lost at least $3.3bn (£2bn) since the beginning of the year and they will show a worse than expected loss in 2009, the industry’s trade body has warned. (Bloomberg) Airbus, Boeing Deliveries to Plunge on Airline Woes, Group Says ; (Bernama) IATA Seeks Less Restrictions For Aviation Industry
2 June
Timeline of Flight AF 447

1 June
Crash: Air France A332 over Atlantic on June 1st 2009, aircraft lost
28 May
Amadeus wins fight against IATA over PaxIS
IATA has been found guilty of breach of its contract with Amadeus by the International Chamber of Commerce.
An arbitration tribunal has found that IATA’s use, in its PaxIS product, of electronic ticketing information transmitted by Amadeus, constitutes a breach of its contractual agreements with Amadeus. The tribunal also concluded that it also infringes Amadeus’ rights under the EU Database Directive. IATA has been ordered not to use any ticketing information transmitted by Amadeus for the purpose of developing, marketing and selling PaxIS, or any other similar reports, or for any purpose, except for the orderly operation of the Billing and Settlement Plans. Background
13 May
Spain’s PM Offers To Waive Airport Fees For Airlines
(Reuters) Spain’s prime minister on Wednesday proposed EUR240 million euros (USD$327.6 million) a year in support to airlines, the latest in a flood of initiatives to combat the country’s worst recession in 60 years. Iberia and other airlines serving the country, such as British Airways and Lufthansa, would have their airport charges waived in return for boosting passenger numbers under the proposal. Airlines would have 100 percent of their monthly airport fees waived if they manage to equal or increase 2008 passenger numbers.
8 May
(RCI) Canada’s biggest airline reports a loss of $400 million in the first quarter, a worsening by 39 per cent of its $288-million loss a year earlier. CEO Calin Rovinescu, who returned to Air Canada as CEO five weeks ago, describes the company’s economic environment as “very ugly.”
Air Canada goes soft, woos travellers with pillows, pets
Chief executive officer Calin Rovinescu is developing the new strategy aimed at softening Air Canada’s reputation for taking a hard stance in dealing with consumers. He plans to ease restrictions on pets and sports equipment, pare some extra fees and bring back pillows and blankets.
4 May
Airlines strike back with passenger bill of rights
(Globe & Mail) Canada’s four largest airlines are set to unveil a legally binding passenger bill of rights Monday, stepping up their campaign to persuade Ottawa to refrain from imposing onerous new costs.
30 April
(RCI) CEO Pierre Beaudoin says that Bombardier Transportation will next year surpass Bombardier Aerospace as the company’s biggest source of revenue. Mr. Beaudoin didn’t offer any numbers. The company’s train division is the world’s largest. In 2008, the rail division had revenues of US$9.76, a 25-per cent increase over 2007, while aerospace revenues amounted to $9.96 billion. Revenue for the latter is expected to decline this year because of production cuts to its business and regional jets due to reduced demand. Earlier in the week, Bombardier announced 3,000 job cuts in the aerospace division, in addition to the 1,380 layoffs announced last month. The rail division also expects a slowdown, but also predicts its growth will continue to be driven by population growth in Asia, rolling stock replacements in North America and Europe, rising oil prices and concerns about the environments.
28 April
OACI: Pratiques douteuses
(Le Devoir) L’Organisation de l’aviation civile internationale (OACI), qui regroupe 190 États, est en crise. Une dizaine de pays, dont le Canada et les États-Unis, soupçonnent certains cadres de cette organisation de l’ONU de trop dépenser et d’embaucher inutilement. Ils ont demandé une vérification spéciale du Bureau de coopération technique à Montréal. Il s’agit d’une crise sans précédent, selon Bachar Hakim, l’ex-directeur adjoint du Bureau de coopération technique, à la retraite depuis deux ans. Ce département de l’OACI aide les pays en développement à, entre autres, améliorer la sécurité de leur aviation. L’actuel directeur du bureau, Ricardo Heighes-Thiessen, voyagerait un peu trop au goût de certains États membres. Des documents obtenus par Radio-Canada démontrent qu’il a visité une quarantaine de pays en 2007 et 2008. Il s’est rendu en France, en Italie, en Espagne, aux Îles Figi et en Islande, des pays qui n’ont aucunement besoin de l’aide de l’OACI, selon nos sources. … Il dénonce aussi une conférence que Ricardo Heighes-Thiessen a organisée aux îles Seychelles, en Afrique, en octobre 2008, au coût de 150 000 $. Selon les factures obtenues par Radio-Canada, plus de 5700 $ ont été dépensés pour louer des limousines et 7500 $, pour organiser une réception.
31 March
Airlines To Fly Less, And Pollute Less, In Downturn
(Planet Ark) The airline sector was once seen as a driving force behind global warming, which is linked to the burning of fossil fuels such as oil, but the world financial crisis has taken the heat off the industry, which is keen to save fuel to reduce costs.
leading carriers have run successful tests with biofuels made from plants, raising the possibility that algae and other crops could be certified to power flights as early as next year.
Continental Airlines, Japan Airlines, Air New Zealand and Virgin have all had positive results with bio-jet fuels made from algae, the non-food crop jatropha, and camelina, a type of flax. “Certification by 2010 or 2011 is a real possibility, and the potential benefits are enormous,” Bisignani told an aviation conference in Geneva, where his industry group is based.
30 March
CEO resigns in surprise shake-up at Air Canada
Fears of bankruptcy filing reignited as airline faces mounting debt, pension shortfall
Making a surprising change at the top as it struggles to survive the recession, Air Canada [AC.A-T] has abruptly appointed Calin Rovinescu as president and chief executive officer.
Warning over safety of Boeing engines
(The Independent) Rolls-Royce ordered to redesign fuel component to resist build-up of ice
A faulty component in the engines of Boeing 777 aircraft which caused two near-fatal accidents could malfunction on other planes at any moment, the US air accident investigation body warns.
12 March
CSeries aims for top guns
Bombardier’s order pits it against Boeing, Airbus
(FP) With Deutsche Lufthansa AG firming up its order yesterday for 30 of Bombardier Inc.’ s new CSeries aircraft, the runway is finally cleared for the Montreal plane maker to enter the big leagues. Bombardier’s biggest gamble to date, the aircraft has the potential for its greatest reward.
2 March
Airports court airlines in Fort Worth speed dating event
The Network USA 2009 event brought 300 airline and airport representatives together for a series of 20-minute meetings modeled after the popular dating scheme. In good times, the meetings were flirtatious fun during which airports angled to land some of the new planes that carriers planned to add.
30 January
(RCI) The global economic downturn is hurting airlines. International air freight declined by four percent last year, with a dramatic fall of 22 percent in December. Meanwhile, last year, passenger traffic rose by less than two per cent, far below the seven-and-a-half per cent growth in the previous year. The figures come from the International Air Transport Association. IATA predicts that this year will be among the toughest ever for the airline industry. In a further sign of industry trouble, the Russian airline, S-7, has cancelled an order for 15 Boeing-787 jetliners worth almost $2.5-billion
15 January
‘Miracle on the Hudson’
After Splash, Nerves, Heroics and Comedy

US Airways Flight 1549 smacked the Hudson River the way a speedboat lands after jumping over a wake — with a thud that rattled teeth and nerves and stunned the cabin silent. It was a perfect landing and a perfect ending: Everyone survived. But from the moment the plane hit the water to the moment the last person reached dry land, scores of human dramas unfolded.
9 December
Airlines ‘to lose $5bn in 2008’
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) had forecasted bigger losses, but revised the figures down because of lower oil prices.
18 November
Business class travel dives 8%: IATA
IATA attributed the fall in business-class travelers – whose high-margin fares are crucial for legacy carriers – to  a “slump in the confidence of manufacturers during September in the US, Japan and Europe.”
3 November
MPs revolt over third Heathrow runway
(The Guardian) The case for building a third runway at Heathrow has been challenged by figures showing a significant fall in flights this winter as cabinet ministers join a Labour revolt against expanding the airport.
The number of flights to and from Heathrow will fall by 1.9% this winter compared with the same period last year, according to figures obtained by the Guardian. The reduction, equivalent to 25 fewer flights a day, was pounced on by anti-expansion campaigners, who said it undermined one of the key arguments for a third runway: that the airport is too congested.
27 October
Flying through a storm

FOR AN industry that relies on thrust and lift, the ongoing difficulties of the financial system and the prospect of a widespread recession are reasons to worry. The skies look black indeed for many airlines. So far in 2008 over 30 carriers around the world have seen their planes take off for the last time; by various estimates another 30 bankruptcies will follow this year. For survivors, however, fortunes might be getting brighter. (The Economist)
Prime Numbers: Change Is in the Air By William Swelbar
(Foreign Policy November-December 2008) More airlines around the world have gone belly up this year than in the aftermath of September 11. Nothing short of a complete overhaul of the industry—fewer carriers, fewer flights, and far higher prices—will keep the world flying.
Europe delays airport X-ray eye
EU lawmakers have delayed the introduction at airports of full body scanners, machines that generate images of passengers – minus their clothes.
MEPs voted for a further study on the implications for privacy and health.
18 September
Canadian airlines adjust fees after drop in fuel costs
(CBC) Canada’s major airlines say they are eliminating or adjusting fees and surcharges to reflect the recent drop in fuel prices. WestJet announced it is eliminating its fuel surcharge effective Thursday.
… Porter said it will include the cost of any fuel surcharges in its advertised base fares starting Sept. 19. Air Canada did not indicate when its change would take place.
… Air Canada also announced it is lowering its fees for passengers who check bags that are too heavy or too big.
Alitalia ‘running out of fuel’
Italy’s national airline, Alitalia, may have to cancel some flights because of a lack of funds to buy fuel, a top official has warned.
11 September
Air France to launch ‘quicker’ train to Paris as Eurostar monopoly ends
(Independent) Fares and journey times for passengers travelling to Europe could fall in just two years after an announcement by Air France that it is to compete with Eurostar by running a high-speed rail service to Paris.
The trip from London could take less than two hours under the company’s plan to bring a new generation of high-speed trains to St Pancras station. They will be capable of a maximum speed of 224mph, 38mph faster than the current top speed of trains running to France.
Eurostar’s monopoly will come to an end at the start of 2010, when new “open access” laws come into force.
The economic downturn has hit airlines hard, while the popularity of high-speed rail travel has been booming. Eurostar saw passenger numbers rise by 18 per cent in the first half of this year.
8 September
Inside The UAL Story Debacle
At 10:53 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time Monday, a reporter at a Florida-based investor information service did a routine Google search and found a story saying United Airlines was declaring bankruptcy.
It seemed credible: It was from the Chicago Tribune and it was posted on the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, a sister paper also owned by Tribune. United Airlines parent company UAL (nasdaq: UAUA – news – people ), based in Chicago, has a long history of troubled finances.
He didn’t call the company, but he did write up a headline, “United Airlines: Files for Ch. 11, to cut costs by 20%” and published it, not only to subscribers of the Income Securities Advisor, but also through Bloomberg terminals, to which ISA, in the parlance of the Internet news industry, aggregates its content.
1 September
Aviation industry slow to act on Swissair safety issues, investigators say
10 years after Swissair crash, TSB investigators still pushing for changes to regulations

(CBC) At the heart of the matter are “unsatisfactory” ratings the Canadian Transportation Safety Board (TSB) has given the industry regarding action on two of its recommendations — one dealing with the information gathered by the black boxes on planes and the other addressing the safety testing of insulation materials. Transport Canada says all high-risk insulation has been removed from domestic aircraft, but some safety experts maintain that the safety of some material still in use needs to be reassessed. The airlines, meanwhile, say they are waiting for regulatory changes to guide them.
21 August
A terminal solution
Britain’s Competition Commission published its eagerly awaited provisional opinion on airport ownership and recommended that BAA sell two of its three airports that serve London and one in Scotland. BAA, which was bought in 2006 by Ferrovial, a Spanish construction company, has been heavily criticised for poor service and delays, especially at Heathrow. The company insists it will not sell the world’s busiest international airport, which would leave it no choice but to sell Gatwick and Stansted. See article
The head of the International Air Transport Association said that global aviation was a “fragile industry in a crisis”. Many airlines have been hit financially by the soaring price of oil. However, Australia’s Qantas Airways bucked the trend when it reported a 44% rise in annual profit, partly by hedging its fuel costs.
August 16
Airports and airlines on different flight paths

Construction continues at a gallop across Canada, even as carriers go into slim-down mode

(Canwest News Service) These are turbulent times for air travel. Profits at the major carriers are being threatened by soaring fuel prices and passengers are being hit by higher fares and surcharges to cover those additional costs.
At the same time, there’s a growing awareness among consumers and corporate leaders of the environmental impact of carbon emissions and concerns over how to reduce them.
But take a closer look – on the ground – and you’ll find surprisingly aggresive growth.
August 15
Falling oil prices have lifted airlines’ share prices. Is the crisis over?
(The Economist) SEVEN of America’s biggest airlines chalked up combined losses of $5.9 billion in the second quarter of the year, but this week their share prices continued their month-long, gravity-defying rebound. Fuelling the new optimism was a report from Morgan Stanley, an investment bank, suggesting that much of the troubled industry could return to profit as early as 2009.
August 4
Port Authority Will Block U.S. Plan to Auction Airport Slots
Defying the Bush administration, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced on Monday that it would block any flights that result from the federal government’s plan to auction off departure and arrival slots at the three major airports in the New York region. The Port Authority said the federal plan would “have a severe negative impact” on air travel and “would be illegal without Congressional authorization.”
July 29
BA and Iberia look for savings in merger
British Airways and Spain’s Iberia on Tuesday said they were in talks on a merger that would create Europe’s third-biggest airline in the latest example of restructuring in the troubled global aviation industry.
The two airlines, ranked fourth and sixth in Europe by market capitalisation, said they were negotiating an all-share merger in talks that had the full backing of both boards.
July 28
SAS cargo executive to be jailed in US
(FT) A second senior airline executive is to be jailed for his role in the global conspiracy to fix prices for air cargo rates, the US justice department said
July 17
(Airport Business July 2008) Environmental Stewardship
The airlines are suffering, but the order books of Boeing and Airbus are bulging
With the exception of a few airlines from the Middle East, for which high oil prices are helping to fund an expansion, airlines are in deep trouble. According to IATA, their trade association, if fuel costs stay at present levels, the world’s airlines will lose over $6 billion this year.
The pain is greatest in America where competition is fierce, many planes are old and fuel has to be bought with weak dollars. But just about everybody is hurting. Martin Broughton, the chairman of British Airways, said this week that the airline was “up to its neck in perhaps the biggest crisis the aviation industry has ever known” and was responding by cutting flights. Even Cathay Pacific, one of the most efficient operators in the hitherto booming Asia-Pacific market, issued a profit warning on July 2nd. A number of Indian carriers also look vulnerable.
16 July
Innovative Green Wave/Airbus Partnership Takes Flight
July 15
Bombardier takes billion-dollar risk
(London Free Press) “I don’t see any sort of risk for Bombardier. The demand is too strong,” said Jacques Kavafian of Research Capital.
“There’s a very big buzz, lots of excitement,” said Karl Moore, a McGill University professor of globalization.
With the announcement of the new aircraft, Bombardier said it had a provisional order for 30 planes from German airline Lufthansa. An option for 30 more jets, valued at US$46.7 million each, could raise the deal to $2.8 billion.
July 14
Boeing Co. and Airbus not to compete with CSeries
(The Gazette) FARNBOROUGH, U.K. – The Boeing Co. and Airbus said Monday they’re unlikely to compete in the 110- to 130-seat spot carved out by Bombardier Inc.’s new CSeries family of fuel efficient jets.
Executives from the world’s two largest aircraft makers said they don’t expect to lose any narrowbody customers to the CSeries, which is expected to be 20-per-cent more fuel efficient than comparable planes on the market. Both companies said its customers are asking for increasingly larger aircraft to reduce fuel consumption per passenger.
A new Bombardier jet draws only tepid demand
FARNBOROUGH, England: With jet fuel prices soaring, and airlines desperate to save on operating costs, Bombardier’s new 100-seat jet might seem an easy sell.
But Bombardier is starting out with just one customer for the jet, Lufthansa of Germany.
American carriers, which are cutting routes, raising ticket prices and adding charges, would face more turmoil before they are in a position to order the C-series. “Their issue is financial. They just aren’t healthy,”
July 13
Investment Bank Calls for Congressional Action on Airline Re-Regulation
(Market Watch) FARNBOROUGH, England (BUSINESS WIRE) — A prominent investment bank with strong ties to the aerospace and airline industry is calling on Congress to increase regulation of the U.S. airline industry, arguing that a financially healthy industry is crucial to the well being of the nation’s economy.
Bombardier announces new fuel-efficient regional jet
(CBC) Bombardier announced the launch of a new CSeries regional jet on Sunday, saying the “greenest single-aisle aircraft in its class” will be manufactured mostly at the company’s Mirabel plant north of Montreal.
July 8
European ETS Vote: The Wrong Answer
Geneva – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) severely criticised today’s European Parliament vote to bring aviation into the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).
June 29
EU Lawmakers Confirm Deal on Airline CO2 Emissions
BRUSSELS – European Union governments have struck a provisional deal with lawmakers to include aviation from 2012 in the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS), a key tool to fight climate change, the European Parliament said on Friday.
A parliament statement confirmed a Reuters report on Thursday that airlines would have to cut emissions by 3 percent in the first year, and by 5 percent from 2013 onwards, paying for 15 percent of their permits to pollute.
June 27
Four more carriers caught in [air cargo] probe
(Aviation Week) The U.S. Justice Dept. rolled out more than $500 million in fines for four international airlines accused of price-fixing on cargo services, as the list of major airlines implicated in the investigation continues to grow.
The fines result from a long-running investigation by the Justice Dept., FBI and other agencies into a “conspiracy involving a number of the world’s largest airlines to manipulate air cargo transportation costs through a multi-year price-fixing scheme,” said Associate Attorney General Kevin O’Connor. “This conspiracy, conservatively, has affected billions of dollars of shipments.” O’Connor believes the total harm to U.S. consumers and businesses runs into hundreds of millions of dollars.
Travelers Facing Deep Flight Cuts by Summer’s End
Across the United States, airports from La Guardia in New York to Oakland in California will be affected by flight cuts, bringing the industry down to a size last seen in 2002, when travel fell sharply after the 9/11 attacks.
Over all, the cuts will reduce flights this year by American carriers by almost 10 percent, industry analysts estimate, with even deeper cuts in store for 2009.
And if oil prices keep rising, airlines may have to keep paring their schedules, as they struggle to find ways to make money in light of rapidly rising jet fuel prices, which have climbed more than 80 percent in the last year.
June 17
Air Canada cutting 2,000 jobs, trimming capacity
(CBC) Air Canada said Tuesday it plans to eliminate 2,000 jobs and reduce its capacity as the company joins the list of airlines cutting back in the face of higher fuel prices.
The airline also hinted that more capacity cuts may be necessary if fuel costs remain at their current levels.
The country’s biggest carrier said it will reduce its overall capacity by seven per cent in the last three months of this year and the first quarter of 2009.
13 June
Airline passenger bill of rights lifts off
(National Post) OTTAWA – A private member’s motion calling for an “airline passenger bill of rights” received unanimous support in the House of Commons yesterday, setting the stage for what some hope will be legislation and new regulations to force airlines to compensate passengers for bad flying experiences.
Like American, More Airlines Add Fees for Checking Luggage
The full effect of the new policy probably will not be felt for a few more days. For example, 75 percent of American’s passengers traveling through Labor Day have already bought their tickets, and therefore do not have to pay the bag charge, said Mark P. Mitchell, the airline’s managing director for customer experience.
The carriers are also exempting premium members of their frequent-flier clubs, as well as passengers with full-fare tickets, those traveling in business or first class, and overseas June 10
Airlines Seek Out New Ways to Save on Fuel as Costs Soar
They are power-washing jet engines more often to get rid of grime, carrying less water for the bathroom faucets and toilets, and replacing passenger seats with lighter models.
Airlines are raising fares and adding surcharges and fees as fast as they can, but at a certain point, passengers stay home. That’s why the carriers are looking for any new savings they can find.
June 9
Revealed: airlines’ £10bn government fuel subsidy
By Andrew Grice
The [UK] Government has been urged to abolish a £10bn-a-year “hidden subsidy” to the airline industry to bring it into line with hard-pressed motorists struggling with higher petrol prices.
Although the aviation industry claims it is being badly hit by the soaring price of oil, it still enjoys a double boost denied to drivers because it does not pay fuel duty or VAT on the fuel for its planes. New figures suggest this subsidy is worth £9.92bn at current levels of fuel tax.
Airlines pay price for creating ‘flying is cheap’ image
The aviation industry is guilty of creating the impression that “flying is cheap” and will pay the price as rocketing oil prices in the coming months force no-frills carriers out of business, the joint head of the world’s biggest airline has said.
Peter Hartman, the chief executive of the Dutch company KLM, one half of Air France/KLM, said airlines had been wrong in allowing consumers seduced by the arrival of budget carriers such as Ryanair and easyJet to think that the low cost of flying would continue for ever.
June 3
Trouble ahead for the world’s airlines
(The Economist) High oil prices and widespread economic gloom are putting the squeeze on an industry that, until recently, seemed to face a relatively rosy future.
A slew of bad news was capped on Monday June 2nd by black forecasts from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The industry body calculates that if the oil price were to stay at about $135 a barrel, a record from which it has retreated in recent days, then the world’s airlines would suffer a combined loss of $6.1 billion this year. Even if oil prices fall by 20% or so the industry would still face big losses. A couple of months ago IATA thought that the industry would be in profit over the same period to the tune of around $4.5 billion. In the past year fuel prices have doubled: kerosene now accounts for as much as 40% of an airline’s operating costs. Willie Walsh, the boss of British Airways, concludes that the industry is in crisis.
IATA’s boss, Giovanni Bisignani, says that 24 airlines have gone bust in the past six months alone. Last week Silverjet, a business-only carrier linking Britain, America and Dubai, was the latest casualty, collapsing after it had failed to secure fresh capital. Maxjet, a similar airline, folded in December. Oasis Hong Kong, a long-haul low-cost carrier, failed in April.
In America four smaller airlines filed for bankruptcy in a matter of weeks—Aloha, Skybus, ATA and Frontier. Delta and Northwest have elected to plough ahead with plans to merge despite objections from powerful unionised pilots. They clearly reckon that the advantages of attempting to force through a deal in the face of such parlous conditions is worth the gamble.
Costs are not the only problem. Just as worrying is that passenger numbers look vulnerable to a slowdown in the world’s big economies. According to IATA, global passenger numbers grew by a seemingly healthy 4% in the first four months of the year. But that compares badly with a 6.7% increase in the same period last year. Of greater concern is that fewer lucrative business and first-class flyers are taking to the air.
18 February
IATA joins forces with Solar Impulse
Singapore – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has become an Institutional Partner of Solar Impulse – the solar airplane that will fly around the world with no fuel and zero emissions. The agreement, signed by Bertrand Piccard, President of Solar Impulse and Giovanni Bisignani, Director General and CEO of IATA, establishes a framework for cooperation between the two organisations. IATA will provide assistance to ensure the smooth passage of the solar plane around the world.

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