Airline & Aviation industry 2018-19

Written by  //  May 16, 2019  //  Aviation & Aerospace  //  No comments

Contemporary Issues Affecting Aviation Industry
The list of the issues and challenges faced by firms operating in the aviation industry is endless. However, there are major issues and challenges that the firms in the industry face during the 21st century. The challenges and issues addressed in this paper are security and safety, overcapacity, the fuel factor, sustainability issues and challenges associated with advancement of technology.

Air Canada and Transat, Onex and WestJet: A guide to Canadian airline deals
(Globe & Mail) The action kicked off Monday, when Private-equity firm Onex Corp. struck a friendly, all-cash deal to acquire Calgary-based WestJet for $3.5-billion.
Then on Thursday, Air Canada said it had entered exclusive talks to purchase Transat A.T. Inc., the Montreal-based airline and tour operator.
In late April, Transat said it was evaluating unsolicited takeover offers – a development that caused its share price to spike.
Roughly two weeks later, Air Canada says it has entered exclusive talks to buy Transat for $13 a share, amounting to a deal worth roughly $520-million. In a statement, Transat said its board of directors was approached by “several parties,” but has opted to work exclusively with Air Canada over a 30-day period.
Thursday’s news was generally welcomed by Quebec Premier François Legault. “If Air Canada buys Transat, we’ll find ourselves in Quebec with a solid head office that will be able to continue to develop,” he told reporters.
However, Mr. Legault said he wanted to make a deal with Air Canada to cap ticket prices on regional routes; Canada’s No. 1 air carrier is the only one that serves several smaller destinations in the province.

13 May
Onex’s WestJet deal to shake up airline industry — and Air Transat may be its next target
The huge premium is a signal, analysts say, that Canadian airlines have been persistently undervalued relative to firms in other countries
(Financial Post) The Onex/WestJet deal is also the most high-profile example of a trend playing out in the sector — of private equity companies buying stakes in Canadian airlines.
WestJet to be sold in friendly deal to Onex Corp. for $5 billion (+ video)
(Global) Under the agreement announced Monday, Onex will pay $31 per share for WestJet, which will operate as a privately held company.
“Shareholders were wondering whether WestJet could execute all these things.”
The airline’s ongoing transition from a low-cost regional carrier to a full-service international airline targeting higher-yield business passengers gives it potential that renders the premium reasonable, [Robert Kokonis, president of Toronto-based consulting firm AirTrav Inc. said.]
“Onex has very deep pockets…If that means WestJet growing faster internationally, acquiring more long-haul fleets to fly abroad, those are good things and that will create a positive pricing environment for consumers.”

12 April
U.S. aviation regulator meets with airlines, pilot unions over Boeing 737 Max
(Reuters/G&M) The Federal Aviation Administration met for three hours on Friday with representatives from the three major U.S. airlines that own now grounded Boeing 737 Max jets and their pilots’ unions to discuss two fatal crashes and the path forward.
More than 300 Boeing 737 Maxs have been grounded worldwide. … American said in a statement it was “confident in the direction the FAA is heading” and would continue to work collaboratively in this process. Pilots from American and Southwest, the two largest U.S. Max operators, said they welcomed the meeting but noted that many issues still needed to be discussed and debated before the Max flies again.

26 March
737 Max flight manual may have left MCAS information on ‘cutting room floor’
Flight manual of Boeing’s 737 Max 8 planes mentions MCAS computer system only once
(CBC) That brief mention in the manual, a copy of which was obtained by CBC News, has prompted some speculation that more details about the anti-stall computer system may have been included in previous drafts, but then left out of the final version … Rollins believes it was cut “to prevent the MCAS from having to be included in 737 Max transition training, which in turn will save 737 Max operators training costs.”

23 March
Boeing Was ‘Go, Go, Go’ to Beat Airbus With the 737 Max
(NYT) Boeing faced an unthinkable defection in the spring of 2011. American Airlines, an exclusive Boeing customer for more than a decade, was ready to place an order for hundreds of new, fuel-efficient jets from the world’s other major aircraft manufacturer, Airbus.
To win over American, Boeing ditched the idea of developing a new passenger plane, which would take a decade. Instead, it decided to update its workhorse 737, promising the plane would be done in six years.
The 737 Max was born roughly three months later.
The competitive pressure to build the jet — which permeated the entire design and development — now threatens the reputation and profits of Boeing, after two deadly crashes of the 737 Max in less than five months. Prosecutors and regulators are investigating whether the effort to design, produce and certify the Max was rushed, leading Boeing to miss crucial safety risks and to underplay the need for pilot training.

17 March
Flawed analysis, failed oversight: How Boeing, FAA certified the suspect 737 MAX flight control system
(Seattle Times) Federal Aviation Administration managers pushed its engineers to delegate wide responsibility for assessing the safety of the 737 MAX to Boeing itself. But safety engineers familiar with the documents shared details that show the analysis included crucial flaws.

12-15 March
Investigators find 2nd piece of key evidence in crash of Boeing 737 Max 8 in Ethiopia
(WaPost) It is the second piece of information suggesting similarities between the two crashes involving Boeing 737 Max 8 jets.Investigators found a device known as a jackscrew in the wreckage. The jackscrew, used to set the trim that raises and lowers the plane’s.
“We need the data from the flight data recorders. We need it as quickly as possible. . . . The faster that we get that information, it will let everyone know what needs to be done.
Officials with France’s Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses, which has extensive experience analyzing crashes in Europe, said that work to retrieve information from the flight data recorder of the Boeing 737 Max 8 has begun in coordination with the Ethio­pian investigation team.
Experts say it typically takes almost a month to provide a comprehensive analysis of the data in the recorders, but at least some early information could be available within 24 to 48 hours.

Jean-François Codère: Boeing 737 MAX: les É.-U. n’auraient pas partagé des données avec Ottawa
(La Presse) Le gouvernement américain détenait depuis deux jours les données qui ont convaincu mercredi le ministre fédéral des Transports, Marc Garneau, de clouer au sol les Boeing 737 MAX, mais ne les a pas communiquées, malgré de fréquentes discussions de haut niveau entre les deux pays.

Here’s the terrifying reason Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 is grounded across the globe
Pilots are outraged that Boeing did not properly inform them of a program that can wrench control of an aircraft from human hands
(Ottawa Citizen) There is nothing wrong with the basic mechanics of the aircraft: Its engines, wings and control surfaces are all believed to be working fine. Rather, the passenger jet may have killed 346 people for the terrifyingly modern reason that human pilots were unable to override a malfunctioning computer.
The cause of the Lion Air crash — and the suspected cause of the recent downing of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 — is a little-known piece of software known as MCAS, the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System.At tense meeting with Boeing executives, pilots fumed about being left in dark on plane software

U.S. grounds 737 MAX jets, Boeing shares fall again
(Reuters) It was the second time the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has halted flights of a Boeing plane in six years. It had grounded the 787 Dreamliner due to problems with smoking batteries in 2013.
Canada grounds Boeing 737 MAX jets following Ethiopia crash

Ethiopian Airlines crash came after US shutdown delayed Boeing 737 Max fixes
(Quartz) While the US’s airline regulator says the plane is still safe to fly, Boeing said yesterday (March 11) it has been working on a new software update for the planes with US officials for “the past several months” and planned to release it “no later than April.
Straightforward safety upgrades to the jets’ software to fix the automated safety feature, were originally expected in January according to multiple reports. But they were delayed until April, the Wall Street Journal reported Feb. 10, because of “engineering challenges,” “differences of opinion” between federal and Boeing officials, and the 35-day government shutdown, during  which “consideration of the fixes was suspended.”
There’s a significant difference between the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air plane crashes, which both involved the Boeing 737 Max 8
The CEO of Ethiopian Airlines said the plane, which killed all 157 on board when it crashed on Sunday, did not have any known technical difficulties, and there were no previous reports of issues. … In contrast, the Lion Air plane… had been experiencing technical problems.
(Bloomberg) Boeing is facing a growing crisis of confidence over its 737 Max 8 jet, as regulators and airlines from Singapore to Australia move to ground or block the plane after two deadly crashes in five months.
[U.S.] Pilots complained at least 5 times about Boeing 737 MAX problems, records show

10-11 March
Ethiopian Airlines flight crashes, all 157 on board killed, including 18 Canadians
“No survivors in Ethiopian Airlines crash en route to Kenya,” by AP’s Elias Meseret in Addis Ababa: “A jetliner carrying 157 people crashed shortly after takeoff from the Ethiopian capital Sunday, killing everyone aboard, authorities said. More than 30 nationalities were among the dead. … The Boeing 737-8 MAX operated by Ethiopian Airlines was the same model as a Lion Air jet that plunged into the Java Sea in October just minutes after taking off from Jakarta.” AP
Boeing 737 Max 8 under intense scrutiny after two crashes in five months

From January 2018 (Quartz) How Africa’s largest airline will dominate the continent’s skies

27 February
Montreal-based UN aviation agency tried to cover up 2016 cyberattack, documents show
November 2016 hack was the worst in agency’s history
(CBC) In November 2016, the Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) was hit by the most serious cyberattack in its history, and internal documents obtained by CBC suggest key members of the team that should have prevented the attack tried to cover up how badly it was mishandled.
As the United Nations body that sets standards for civil aviation around the world, ICAO is the gateway to everyone in the aviation industry, so an uncontained cyberattack left not just ICAO vulnerable, but made sitting ducks of its partners worldwide. The documents obtained by CBC suggest the hacker was most likely a member of Emissary Panda, a sophisticated and stealthy espionage group with ties to the Chinese government.
At ICAO, investigators found a network full of holes, with security vulnerabilities that should have been flagged years earlier.
José Fernandez, a cybersecurity expert and professor at Polytechnique Montréal, said what happened at ICAO is akin to leaving your car unlocked and allowing a criminal to use the vehicle to commit a crime.

14 February
Airbus A380: from European dream to white elephant
(Reuters) Loved by passengers, feared by accountants, the world’s largest airliner has run out of runway after Airbus decided to close A380 production after 12 years in service due to weak sales. It is the final act in one of Europe’s greatest industrial adventures and reflects a dearth of orders by airline bosses unwilling to back Airbus’s vision of huge jets to combat airport congestion.
Air traffic is growing at a near-record pace but this has mainly generated demand for twin-engined jets nimble enough to fly directly to where people want to travel, rather than bulky four-engined jets forcing passengers to change at hub airports.
And while loyal supporters like top customer Emirates say the popular 544-seat jet makes money when full, each unsold seat potentially burns a hole in airline finances because of the fuel needed to keep the huge double-decker structure aloft.
As demand see-sawed, so did the plane’s marketing: starting with luxuries including showers, then vaunting its green credentials with the messianic slogan ‘Saving The Planet One A380 at a Time” before joining the race to squeeze in more people and cut costs.
Yet despite its own deep industrial problems, Boeing was winning the argument with its newest jet, the 787 Dreamliner. It was designed to bypass hubs served by the A380 and open routes between secondary cities: a strategy known as “point to point”.

11 February
Critics attack secrecy at UN body seeking to cut global airline emissions
Body in charge of cutting aviation’s carbon footprint meets behind closed doors
The environment committee of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) meets on Monday in Montreal behind closed doors to discuss measures to reduce emissions from international aircraft. Domestic and international flights emitted 895m tonnes of CO2 last year – 2.4% of global energy-related CO2 emissions, according to Carbon Brief. In terms of emissions, if aviation were a country it would be the sixth largest in the world.
Under the Paris climate change agreement, emissions from international aviation are not specifically included in national climate targets required by countries to pursue efforts to limit global temperature increases to 1.5C. This leaves ICAO as the primary body for reducing airline emissions.
A spokesman for ICAO provided the Guardian with a list of attendees to the meeting and said the meeting results would be made available, but not the discussion papers. “Only the CAEP members and recognized observers are permitted in the room for said discussions,” he said.

28 January
Ethiopia has tripled the size of its main airport as it gets set to be Africa’s gateway hub
(Quartz) Ethiopia’s capital is set to cement its place as Africa’s leading aviation hub with an expanded airport terminal which triples it passenger capacity. Last year, Addis Ababa overtook Dubai as the leading transfer hub for long-haul travel to sub-Saharan Africa.
On Sunday (Jan. 27), prime minister Abiy Ahmed inaugurated the newly-expanded terminal of the Bole International Airport, the main hub of Ethiopian Airlines in Addis Ababa. The project, which was funded and built by China for $363 million, triple (sic) the airport’s size and can now accommodate up to 22 million passengers annually from its current 7 million.
The terminal and a new luxury hotel are a great boost for the state carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, which is currently implementing a 15-year strategic plan aimed at becoming Africa’s leading airline group. Founded 74 years ago, the airline has an operating fleet of 111 planes and currently flies to more than 119 international passenger and cargo destinations, with over 61 of those in Africa alone.
Dubai airport handles 89 million passengers in 2018, misses target
Dubai International Airport handled 89.1 million passengers in 2018, a rise from one percent in 2017, operator Dubai Airports said on Monday.
This marked its weakest annual growth rate in at least a decade, and short of its 90.3 million target.
The airport saw growth slow throughout 2018 after 15 years of strong increases. Among other factors, the Gulf’s economic slowdown because of low oil prices has dented the region’s travel industry.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world’s busiest, handled 98.6 million passengers in the first 11 months of 2018. It has yet to release annual figures.

25 January
Could the government shutdown make this the most chaotic Super Bowl ever?
Atlanta is host to this year’s Super Bowl … and the world’s busiest airport. Will the shutdown turn the whole affair upside down?
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the busiest in the world, handles 270,000 passengers a day – nearly four times the capacity of the stadium. About 125,000 extra passengers are expected to filter into and out of the airport before and after the Super Bowl, with about 110,000 expected to leave the day after the game.
With the government shutdown edging to Super Bowl Sunday on 3 February, and with the Transportation Safety Administration reporting twice as many unscheduled absences among employees who are not being paid, operations even at an airport as large as Atlanta’s could be hampered, and fans could be delayed getting out – or even in.

23 January
Q&A: A Look at What Happens When Drones Get Near Airports
The ability of drones to interfere with airliners — and inconvenience their passengers — has now been demonstrated on two continents, and the problem is likely to get worse as the number of small, unmanned devices multiply.
Law enforcement authorities are trying to figure out who flew a drone so high and so close to Newark Liberty International Airport that incoming flights were held up briefly during a peak hour at one of the nation’s busiest airports.

19 January
Brexit may lead to a slow-motion crash for Britain’s aerospace industry
One of the UK’s few world-class, high-value manufacturing sectors might be undermined by failure to negotiate an orderly exit from the EU says Keith Hayward
(The Guardian) The prospect raised by Tom Enders, CEO of Airbus, that Brexit could imperil over 50 years of investment in the UK, is real enough (Don’t believe the Brexiters’ ‘madness’, says Airbus boss, 25 January). It would be slow but inexorable. Transferring in totality British-located wing manufacturing is not an option, even though it should be noted that China already produces a number of Airbus A320 wing sets under British supervision. Aerospace, as Enders noted, is a long-term business and the real threat is to the location of the next big Airbus investment, likely to be decided in the early 2020s. This decision would then set a path stretching out for over a decade.

Airports rally around unpaid TSA workers with offers of free food, services
As the partial government shutdown slogs on, the Transportation Security Administration says an increasing number of its officers—who aren’t being paid during the furlough – are facing financial difficulties, with some not showing up for work.
TSA officers, air traffic controllers and other federal workers who have been showing up for work at airports aren’t getting paychecks. Yet across the country, they are getting lots of love, food and offers of assistance from a range of service providers and the general public.

5 January
Friendlier Skies? Consumer Protections for Airline Passengers on the Way
Air travel is something many Canadians dread. While travellers may be excited to reach their destinations, the process of getting there — which involves the general feeling that you’re no longer being treated as a human — isn’t part of that excitement. That could be changing.
This past May, the federal government opened consultations on a new bill of rights for air passengers and on December 17, Transport Minister Marc Garneau unveiled the proposed new rules. The rules will apply to flights departing or arriving in Canada and are expected to be in effect this summer. The actual document outlining passengers’ specific rights will be developed by the regulatory body that hears complaints from passengers, the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA).
The proposed regulations include protections many Canadian passengers have been asking for, such as requiring airlines to communicate clearly about flight delays or cancellations; provide compensation for delays or cancellations; provide compensation when boarding is denied as a result of a commercial decision, such as overbooking; provide compensation for lost baggage and have a clear policy for tarmac delays. The compensation isn’t trivial either. For larger airlines, passengers can be entitled to $400 for delays of three to six hours, $700 for delays of six to nine hours and $1,000 for delays over nine hours. For delays due to commercial decisions, compensation will range from $900 if the passenger is delayed by up to six hours, to $2,400 for delays longer than nine hours. Compensation for lost or damaged luggage will top out at $2,100.

2018

Airline safety: 2018 a sad year for plane crashes with sharp increase in fatal incidents
During 2018, 534 passengers died in commercial aircraft accidents. The death toll was much worse than the previous year, with 13 fatalities in plane crashes, and represents a sharp increase on the recent average.
But aviation remains extremely safe, especially when compared with road transport; the World Health Organisation says: “1.25 million people die each year on the world’s roads.”
In its Civil Aviation Safety Review for 2018, the Dutch safety consultancy To70 records 160 accidents involving larger passenger aircraft commonly used by most travellers; military flights, private flights, cargo operations and helicopters are excluded.
In 147 of the crashes – 92 per cent of the total – nobody died.
Of the remaining 13, the biggest aviation tragedy was the loss on 29 October of an almost-new aircraft belonging to Lion Air of Indonesia.

21 December
Idiots with drones shut down the UK’s second largest airport — again
A new ‘suspected drone sighting’ briefly shut down air traffic at Gatwick Airport yet again, diverting more flights.
Gatwick Airport, the UK’s second largest airport, has just become a key example of how thoroughly today’s consumer tech can disrupt our infrastructure. The airport briefly suspended all flights again Friday, the third time in three days, due to suspected drone sightings in the area. That’s right — drones were able to shut down a major UK artery for well over 24 hours, as police and armed forces have seemingly been unable to find those responsible.

17 December
Airline passengers could be entitled to hefty compensation for delays, lost bags
Scott Streiner, chair and chief executive officer of the CTA, said the changes are comparable to the European compensation system, which is considered a global leader in passenger rights.
Transport Minister Marc Garneau officially unveiled the first version of the long-awaited air passenger bill of rights Monday morning. The details will be published in the Canada Gazette this week, and Canadians are being encouraged to submit their comments.

28 November
Pilots unable to correct for faulty sensor that sent Indonesian flight plunging into the sea, report says
A malfunctioning sensor and an automated response from the aircraft’s software stymied pilots’ efforts to control a doomed Indonesian flight that went careening into the sea last month, according to a preliminary investigative report released Wednesday.

6 October
President Trump Just Signed a Law That Radically Changes Life for Airline Passengers, Flight Attendants, and Airlines (Almost Nobody Even Noticed)
In the middle of the Supreme Court fight, the White House held a Friday afternoon signing ceremony for this new, 1,200-page law
This is about the Federal Aviation Administration bill that President Trump signed into law a little before 3 p.m. Friday.
To be clear, there’s no suggestion that the White House intentionally picked a time when people weren’t paying attention to sign the bill. This law had passed Congress with overwhelming support, and industry players and airline lobbyists have been watching it like hawks for a long time.
But it is striking, given that Congress passed this bill at literally 2:52 in the morning on a Saturday two weeks ago, that it would also be signed at the White House in relative obscurity.
The story of this law has been dominated largely by what isn’t in it: no restrictions on what airlines can charge for baggage or change fees. But it still changes a lot of things. Here’s a quick summary of what’s included.

19 April
‘Nerves of steel’: She calmly landed the Southwest flight, just as you’d expect of a former fighter pilot
(WaPost) In the midst of the chaos, Shults successfully completed an emergency landing at the Philadelphia International Airport, sparing the lives of 148 people aboard the Boeing 737-700 and averting a far worse catastrophe.
The engine on Shults’s plane had, in fact, exploded on Tuesday, spraying shrapnel into the aircraft, causing a window to be blown out and leaving one woman dead and seven other people injured. Passengers pulled the woman who later died back into the plane as she was being sucked out. Others on board the Dallas-bound flight braced for impact as oxygen masks muffled their screams.
21 April
Deadly engine blast on Southwest flight could shake any traveler but air travel has become remarkably safe
Fatal airline accidents have declined in recent years, while traffic deaths have increased.
Southwest Flight 1380 marked the airline’s first onboard passenger death in its 47-year history.
Regulators have adopted new safety standards following other incidents.

14-16 April
American Airlines warns pilots some Asia flights could be rerouted amid tensions with Russia
American Airlines rerouted 3 flights out of more than 6,000 a day amid tensions between the US and Russia.
The changes involve flights that generally fly over Russia.
The airline resumed the nonstop routes on Sunday.

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