The airline industry 2010-2011

Written by  //  October 29, 2011  //  Aviation & Aerospace  //  1 Comment

Best Branding campaign we have seen to date:

South African budget carrier Kulula
The Most Informative 737 Ever

Kulula’s ‘Flying 101’ Aircraft
Kulula-air tries not to take itself too seriously


What if the world were run by the airline industry?
… Hotels would advertise nightly rates for their guests, but would charge another $25 per bag if they intended to keep the luggage in their rooms. However, if their guests chose to keep their bags in the trunk of their car and change clothes in the backseat, there would be no additional charges for that.
Dry cleaners would offer frequent launder programs that would allow customers to earn sudsy points with each paid item of clothing that was dry-cleaned. After 10 items were cleaned, a customer would have earned one free cleaning for one item of clothing.

What has it been like to work at IATA under the out-going (finally!) DG ? read here and weep.


Qantas Airways grounds global fleet due to strikes
(AP) Planes in the air when the grounding was announced continued to their destinations, and at least one taxiing flight stopped on the runway, a passenger said. Among the stranded passengers are 17 world leaders attending a Commonwealth summit in the western Australian city of Perth.
Qantas Groundings – Recovery options
(Australian Aviation) Even though it is likely that Qantas will return to the air following the Fair Work Australia hearing on the afternoon of October 30, there are still a number of passengers who will need to be recovered, and no doubt some interesting options to get people moving again.
16 September
The mystery of Swissair Flight 111’s diamond cargo
Jewels worth $500M believed onboard deadly flight
(CBC) Very little is publicly known about the gems. Three days before the crash, a popular exhibition, The Nature of Diamonds, closed at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. At least one piece from the exhibit was being shipped aboard the Swissair flight on Sept. 2.
Whoever had lent the item to the museum did not want any other information disclosed.
13 September
World’s biggest airport planned
Beijing set to beat London and Atlanta as world’s busiest aviation hub with a new airport the size of Bermuda
2 August
The airline passengers’ bill of rights
HAVING surveyed readers about the kind of behaviour they consider acceptable in flight, Lonely Planet has put together a jolly blog post outlining “The Passengers’ Airplane Behavior Bill of Rights”. It offers a none-too-serious guide to help flyers negotiate such controversies as the removal of shoes, the reclining (or “reclension” as the piece has it) of seats, and visits to the lavatory.
Most passengers will recognise why these particular areas have been highlighted. We have all been annoyed by armrest hogs and aisle-clutterers. Perhaps in an earlier, more thoughtful age, when flying was glamorous and seat pitches were larger, we would have wondered why anyone would need to tell flyers, even with tongue in cheek, not to read over each other’s shoulders. Now, though, there’s actually something rather revealing about the 13-point guidance.
31 July
(RCI) French investigators say pilots of an Air France plane that crashed into the Atlantic in 2009 on a flight from Rio de Janiero to Paris lacked adequate training. They say the pilots failed to discuss repeated stall warnings and did not have the training to deal with the hazard, which caused the plane to go down, killing all 228 people on board. Investigators based their findings on flight data recorders recently recovered from the seabed. Their report concludes that the crew failed to “formally identify the loss of altitude” despite an alarm ringing for nearly a minute. It also calls for mandatory training in high-altitude stalling for all pilots.Air France has rejected the report.
9 June
Qatar CEO criticizes IATA for lacking ‘clear transparency’
(Air Transport World) According to the Doha-based airline, there was “an unusual a level of tension during the normally carefully orchestrated morning sessions of the IATA AGM” in Singapore, with active debates on several issues, including the nomination of board members. The airline revealed that Emirates called for greater dialogue to ensure IATA is more transparent while International Airlines Group, the holding company of British Airways and Iberia, sought clarity on the voting process used to select board members.
‘Bye ‘bye Bisignani, it’s Tony’s turn now
Well, the time has come. It’s official, Tony Tyler is now the man at the top. (Or rather, in the protracted way that has come to characterise IATA’s dealings, he will be from July).
It won’t be a moment too soon [AMEN!] for the airline industry, the cargo business – and IATA employees.
5 June
Brics demand lifts Gulfstream
(FT) Demand from billionaires in the so-called Bric emerging markets has helped US-based luxury business jet maker Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation to stay airborne through the economic slowdown.
The trend is being driven by greater business links between emerging market nations as more Brazilian businesspeople fly to long-haul destinations, such as China – which is now the Latin American country’s biggest trading partner
3 June
Airline fares set to rise on oil price surge
Industry facing $50 billion cost increase due to oil
6 May
Families Concerned About Efforts to Recover Bodies
(Spiegel) Victims’ families are closer to the truth this week: Voice and data recorders from flight AF447 have been pulled from the ocean floor, and investigators hope to unlock their contents. But experts and family members remain at odds over whether newly discovered bodies should be brought to the surface.
4 May
Air France Black Box Search Harnesses Hollywood for Crash Clues
(Bloomberg) Investigators seeking to explain why Air France flight 447 plunged into the night ocean two years ago will rely on gear pioneered by telecommunications and oil companies as well as a Hollywood director to unlock the mystery.
24 March
Washington airport tower falls silent as two planes land
(Monsters & Critics) It remained unclear why the control tower was not responding. US media reported the air traffic controller might have fallen asleep, while others suggested the controller may have been locked out of the tower.
The incident prompted an immediate reaction from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who ordered Reagan National airport to place two air traffic controllers on its midnight shift [this would seem to be pretty obvious staffing, given the airport’s proximity to downtown Washington] and directed the FAA to review staffing at other US airports.
4 February
Airport security – Safe as mouses
MICE are coming to an airport near you. An Israeli start-up company, BioExplorers, has harnessed the rodents’ olfactory abilities to develop an explosive-detecting system that could have applications in the aviation industry.
4 January
Flying High in Dubai: Emirates Leaves Rivals in Slipstream
(Spiegel) The Dubai-based airline Emirates is considered the world’s most successful and has ambitious plans to expand. Its European rivals such as Lufthansa and British Airways accuse the airline of benefitting from massive state subsidies. But the reality is more complicated.


28 December
(Spiegel) German Airports Mull Passenger Profiling
German airports are considering assigning passengers to risk categories based on their age and ethnicity, and checking them accordingly, under a proposal by the designated head of the country’s airports federation. Critics say the move would foment racism, breach anti-discrimination laws and fail to boost security.
24 December
Strike and Freezing Temps Leave Thousands Stranded at Paris Airport

Snow, Ice, Freezing Temperatures and a Strike Disrupt Air Travel Across Northern and Central Europe
Thousands will be spending Christmas Eve at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport outside Paris. Freezing temperatures and a shortage of de-icing fluid brought on by a strike have grounded planes.
15 November
Qantas A380 Sustained Worse Damage than First Thought
The exploded engine was scary enough. But in the days following the emergency landing of the Qantas A380 in Singapore, it has become clear just how dangerous the situation was. Multiple systems on the aircraft failed and a disaster was only narrowly avoided.
24 October
A Passenger’s Airport Wish List Yes, please!
16 October
(Aviation News) … the UAE has played into the hands of the airlines of the EU and USA as they seek, quite rightly, to force an end to the export credit agreement between the two of them that now plays into the hands of all airlines not based within their borders. The timing of this has been most fortuitous for EU and US-based airlines but only compounds the problem for the likes of Etihad and Emirates. These two UAE airlines are now firmly in the focus of western media at the very same time the same regions launch biting austerity measures that will no doubt spark protectionist feelings.
5 September
After Bargains of Recession, Air Fares Soar
Air fares have marched steadily upward in recent months and are now close to pre-recession levels — and that’s not even counting all the fees that airlines have introduced lately.
The increase in fares is the result of a remarkable discipline shown by the airlines, which have generally not added more flights this year even as the economy has improved and demand has picked up. For the airlines, flying fewer and fuller planes has paid off.
17 August
Airlines start lining up for Africa take-off
(Financial Times) The football World Cup is over, the vuvuzelas have been consigned to the dustbin and fans have turned their attention from Africa to Brazil, host of the 2014 contest. But for one group at least, the continent remains in sharp focus: international airlines.
According to [IATA], airlines increased the amount of flying capacity to and from Africa by 8.6 per cent over the year to the end of June compared to 2009, more than any other region except for the Middle East.
13 August
Steven Slater’s Story Continuing to Unravel?
(CBS) JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater became something of a modern folk hero this week … But while his “take this job and shove it!” gesture gave him working class hero status among many, he now says he wants his job back – and his story is apparently springing leaks.
Airline passenger facts and the Steven Slater effect
(Did You Know?) Major airlines are required by law to employ flight attendants for the safety and security of their passengers. Passenger safety is the flight attendant’s first priority. Seeing to the comforts and whims of passengers is a secondary priority for the the flight attendant. A challenging task, in the least, considering the needs of the 2 billion passengers – 800 million in United States airspace – the 2000 airlines transport in their 23 000 aircraft in 28 million flight departures to the 37 000 main airports every year.
10 August
Did JetBlue’s Steven Slater go too far?
(Globe & Mail) At one point, we’ve all wanted to be Steven Slater. After getting into an altercation with a flyer and being hit in the head with a piece of luggage, the JetBlue flight attendant reached his breaking point: Mr. Slater made a spectacular exit from the plane – and his job – by swearing at his passengers over the plane’s intercom system, grabbing a beer from the galley, and sliding down his plane’s exit ramp.
9 July
Dreamliner becomes reality
(The Economist) The Dreamliner is much more than just another incremental upgrade to Boeing’s fleet: its revolutionary lightweight carbon-composite wings and fuselage mean much-improved fuel efficiency (20% better than comparable planes made from aluminium, according to Boeing). This could well persuade airlines to open some direct routes around the globe that they previously deemed uneconomic.
1 July
Open Skies Turns to Trains to Help Fill Airplanes
Instead of relying solely on local traffic, the airline has decided to try a different route. Open Skies will now partner with SNCF to feed people on to trains (pdf). To start, this partnership will only connect with Lyon and Nantes, but it’s expected to grow. Passengers fly into Orly and then receive a transfer to Massy Palaiseau, about 15 minutes away, where they get their connecting train. The entire trip can be booked direct through the Open Skies website.
[Wednesday Nighters point out that this idea is not unique: See comment.]
14 June
IATA Money Machine Hits Speed Bump

(Air Cargo News) Fascinating reading in the June 7 edition of The Financial Times: “Airlines in uproar over fraud riddle!”
It overshadowed the IATA 2010 AGM held in Berlin last week, creating an unwanted distraction and headline grabber.
Evidently, while the slick IATA PR apparatus, which is supported by a massive HR bureaucracy [emphasis added], churns out regular headlines of “IATA DG slams-” this or the other and berates another hapless government or airport, thereby generating breathless agitprop, right under everybody’s nose a 15 million USD equivalent has been mysteriously misappropriated at IATA’s Thai BSP (bank settlement plan).
7 June
Airlines in uproar over fraud riddle
(Financial Times) A curious case of fraud, unexplained death and millions of missing dollars has created a divisive backdrop to the annual general meeting of the world’s leading airline trade body in Berlin on Monday.
22 April
Bombardier unveils carbon-fibre jet
‘Largest, fastest Learjet ever built’
(Montreal Gazette) The Learjet 85 and CSeries incorporate futuristic lightweight carbon-fibre materials expected to provide significant savings on fuel and maintenance.
The Learjet 85’s entire outer body -fuselage, wings, nose cone, etc. -is made of carbon fibre, unlike the CSeries, which will retain a centre fuselage section made of metal, albeit an ultra-light aluminum-lithium alloy.
22 April
CTV: Latest Travel Woes Geoscientist Judith Patterson talks to Tarah Schwartz about the volcanic ash
Airlines seek cash for ash as flights restart
(Financial Times) European airports and airlines were scrambling to restore flights amid claims that governments had overreacted to the ash cloud and should compensate the industry
20 April
Brussels admits flaws in volcano air ban
(FT) The crisis that closed much of Europe’s airspace for five days finally showed signs of easing on Monday as officials acknowledged flaws in the computer models that led them to ground thousands of flights after a volcanic eruption in Iceland
A government bailout for airlines after Iceland volcano?
(CSM) Citing the government bailout after the Sept. 11 shutdown of US airspace, European airlines are seeking government compensation over groundings caused by the ash cloud released from an Iceland volcano. So are some stranded passengers.
16 April
(FP Morning Brief) Volcanic cloud shuts down European airspace
15 April
Ash may ground European flights for days
‘The extent is greater than we’ve ever seen before’
An ash cloud from a volcano in Iceland that has prompted the closure of airports in parts of Europe could force the grounding of planes for a further 48 hours, a European air traffic official said Thursday.
The volcanic ash, which limits visibility and can damage engines, led to the cancellation of about 4,000 of the 20,000 daily flights across Europe. The ash plume drifted at between 6,000 metres and 11,000 metres.
8 April
United Is in Talks About a Merger With US Airways
(NYT) As most airlines lose money, two see a chance to reverse their fortunes with greater economy of scale. But many hurdles remain, including labor questions.
2 April
New airline security measures announced
(Reuters) – The United States announced new security measures on Friday to replace the mandatory screening of air travelers from 14 mostly Muslim countries that had angered some allies when it was imposed after a failed bombing on Christmas Day.
The measures are designed to significantly reduce the number of passengers pulled aside for additional screening and will not be based on nationality or passport, but on characteristics pulled together by intelligence agencies. (NYT) Security Checks on Flights to U.S. to Be Revamped
22 February
Airlines must say ‘Persian Gulf’ or face Iranian airspace ban
(Guardian) Ban is latest development in dispute between Iran and other Arab states over a waterway in the Middle East
17 February
Branson holds court at McGill
Rebel billionaire decries airline alliance
(Gazette) Sir Richard Branson said Tuesday the tentative agreement to allow British Airways and American Airlines to combine their transatlantic airline operations after a 12-year battle has dealt a real blow to Virgin Atlantic, the carrier he founded in 1984.
1 February
BA edges closer to global alliance
(FT) The planned global tie-up between British Airways, American Airlines and Iberia has moved closer to securing a regulatory green light in Europe.
22 January
In for the long haul – The Boeing 747 has spent 40 years circling the earth
(Economist) FORTY years ago the Boeing 747 first entered service on a Pan Am flight between New York and London. The jumbo jet changed the economics of air travel by slashing costs per seat and lowering ticket prices. The 747’s huge capacity and its long range made it the world’s long-haul workhorse. (Economist archives) Fly with jumbo: Pan American launches its jumbo 747 24/01/1970
7 January
Slovak security test ends with explosives on plane
(AP) – A failed airport security test ended up with a Slovak man unwittingly carrying hidden explosives in his luggage on a flight to Dublin, Slovak officials admitted yesterday — a mistake that enraged Irish authorities and shocked aviation experts worldwide.
Additional airport security measures draw criticism, skepticism
Foreign officials from nations subjected to increased scrutiny during airport security checks objected to the new U.S. measures, a response to an effort by a Yemen-trained Nigerian terrorist to detonate an explosive while aboard a trans-Atlantic flight. While many passengers probed with pat-downs and other enhanced security techniques did not object to the measures, some security experts expressed doubts about whether they would be effective. Women traveling to the U.S. from Qatar objected to measures they felt were invasive, while the information minister from Nigeria said millions of people were being punished for the behavior of one individual. The New York Times (1/4)
(Reuters) – Air travelers from Nigeria, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and nine other countries will face full-body pat downs before boarding airliners under new security screening procedures targeting foreign passengers announced by the United States on Sunday.
Focus on passenger behaviour: Israeli expert
(National Post) The hordes of people waiting at screening points at Canadian airports, sometimes for hours, are easy targets for terrorists that would never be permitted in Israel, says [Rafi] Sela, a security consultant with Ben-Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv. … Israeli airports rely most on direct contact with passengers and careful screening of their backgrounds, Mr. Sela says. Every passenger is interviewed before going through security screening. Staff make direct eye contact with each passenger and are trained to watch for signs of stress, nervousness and other behavioural indicators. (NYT) Will Profiling Make a Difference? Philip Baum, a London-based aviation security expert, argues that profiling based on an analysis of the appearance, behavior, itinerary and passport of a passenger can be effective.

One Comment on "The airline industry 2010-2011"

  1. Diana Thébaud Nicholson July 1, 2010 at 8:02 am ·

    Re Open Skies Turns to Trains to Help Fill Airplanes
    Wednesday Nighters point out that this idea is not unique:
    I recall when I was in Lake District that some of the people who had arrived from outside the UK, having taken Virgin, were on the ‘Virgin’ train from London to Oxford and points beyond. I thought that it was a brilliant idea. They have the same amenities as First class, a lunch or dinner, etc.etc. It was very popular. This was about 3 years ago.
    Here, out of Dorval (PET for the younger ones) Swiss has a bus to Ottawa with the same J Class amenities. Lunch, free drinks, etc. Our own little ‘Open Skies’ or in this case, ‘Open Road’!
    — Another adds: Air France also has a dedicated bus running between Ottawa and Dorval matched to their flights. As well, Lufthansa has been selling “seamless” air-train tickets to other destinations in Germany via Frankfurt and some other German airports for years. Of course, the Germans have excellent and frequent train service to a wide range of destinations, something which is not necessarily the case here in Canada.
    Also, for some time, there has been a rail link to Paris for international travelers arriving at Brussels.

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