Qatar to buy stake in American Airlines

Reuters are reporting that Qatar Airways is seeking to buy a 10% stake in American Airlines. This potential investment is likely to be worth at least $808 million.

Qatar is currently experiencing difficult diplomatic relations with four gulf nations which has resulted in a blockade of Qatari airspace.

Qatar Airways was named Skytrax World Airline of the year this month, as well as World’s Best Business Class.

The Gulf Airline links 150 International destinations with a fleet of more than 180 aircraft.

easyJet’s First A320neo Delivery

On the 14th of June 2017, easyJet took delivery of it’s first Airbus A320neo aircraft, which marked the airline’s 300th Airbus delivery. With more than 5,000 orders received from 92 customers since its launch in 2010, the A320neo Family has captured some 60 percent share of the market.

easyJet has a further 99 A320neo and 30 A321neo aircraft on order and is currently operating a fleet of 247 A319/A320 (plus 1 A320neo) aircraft.

The list price for the A320/321neo’s are as follows:

  • A320neo: $108m
  • A321neo: $127m

Carolyn McCall, easyJet CEO, said:

“The A320neo is a major step change for our fleet efficiency and will provide a cost per seat saving of up to 7% over the current A320, which itself has a cost saving benefit of up to 8% over the A319 and this benefit will enable easyJet to continue to offer our famous low fares helping to connect people across Europe for work and play.

“We strive to do this in the right way by reducing our carbon and noise impact on the environment and local communities. By using modern Airbus aircraft and flying them efficiently we have reduced the carbon impact of our flights by a third since 2000.

“With the addition of the A320neo and A321neo to the future easyJet fleet and with further planned efficiency improvements easyJet has now set itself a new, tougher carbon emissions target of 72 grams by 2022. This is a 10% reduction from today’s performance and a 38% improvement from 2000.

“Since our first A320 family aircraft delivery in 2003, easyJet has grown to operate Europe’s largest A320 Family fleet with 300 aircraft delivered.

“With 130 NEO aircraft on order we are also Europe’s largest customer for this revolutionary new plane and really looking forward to operating the NEO and realising its cost, customer, carbon and noise benefits.”

Norwegian plan expansion to Argentina

Norwegian Group has applied to Argentina’s National Civil Aviation Administration for permission to operate routes from cities including Copenhagen, Paris CDG, Rome, Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga, New York JFK, Los Angeles, Fort Lauderdale, Tel Aviv, Cape Town, San Jose in Costa Rica, Montevideo, Santiago and Papeete to Buenos Aires Ezeiza International Airport.

The international services are intended to feed traffic to Norwegian’s proposed Argentine domestic airline, Norwegian Air Argentina.

The new Argentine carrier is expected to launch services in late 2017

KLM mark Fokker 70 fleet retirement with special livery

KLM are retiring their fleet of Fokker 70 aircraft by the end of the year and they have unveiled a special farewell livery to commemorate the phasing out of its last remaining Fokker 70 aircraft. 
 
The Fokker 70 and previously Fokker 100 has been the backbone of the airlines short haul fleet over the 2 decades and has provided so many of the important feeder services from European regional airports into its hub at Amsterdam Schipol. 
 
The Dutch carrier currently has nine Fokker 70s in service, which are gradually being phased out as the airline takes delivery of new Embraer 175 and 190 jets. 
 
One of the remaining Fokker aircraft has been painted with the face of Dutch aviation pioneer and aircraft manufacturer Anthony Fokker, and will fly with the special livery until it takes its last flight on October 28

Singapore Airlines are to restructure after poor financial results

Singapore Airlines has announced it will become the second Asian legacy carrier to re-structure in a bid to restore increased profitability.

Last month Cathay Pacific announced 600 job losses and SIA have said the will perform ‘a radical review of their business’.

Singapore Airline’s chief executive Goh Choon Phong said he would be ‘leaving no stones unturned’ in his transformation strategy.

 

The airlines, which are renowned for their first class service have struggled to stop lower cost base airlines in the region eroding their short haul market share and the cash rich Middle Eastern airlines who can more than compete on service and have been building up their hubs at Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha and Istanbul to facilitate West to East and East to West connecting passengers. 

LEVEL commences operations and announces further expansion plans

IAG new low cost long haul airline LEVEL which launched operations on 1st June continues to attract strong forward bookings.

Willie Walsh, head of IAG has said the airline’s performance so far in terms of revenue has been well ahead of expectations. The airline began selling tickets in March and sold 100,000 in the first month.

The airline’s first flight to Los Angeles was a sold out carrying over 300 passengers. The carrier will also operate to San Francisco (Oakland) and Buenos Aires.

The carrier based in Barcelona has begun operations with 2 Airbus 330-200’s and has just announced that the airline will expand to 5 aircraft in 2018. The airline is looking at the possibility of opening other European bases.

Newly launched Cyprus Airways set up S7 Airlines codeshare 

Russia’s S7 Airlines has announced a codeshare agreement with newly launched Cyprus Airways, which began operations on June 1 with a Larnaca to StPetersburg Airbus A319 service. 

The flights are performed 3 times a week, according to S7 Airlines. A connection for Rhodes and Heraklion flights, which Cyprus Airways will begin later this month, will be available for passengers from St Petersburg. 

Unite Mixed Fleet Cabin Crew announce further Strike Action at BA

British Airways come up against further problems.

After the IT meltdown 10 days ago which came with some very damaging PR to BA the union Unite have announced plans for a 4 day strike beginning on June 16th.

Unite represent the ‘mixed fleet’ contracted cabin crew at British Airways Heathrow base only and the dispute has been ongoing for several months. Initially the dispute was over pay with the union claiming that the advertised annual wage by BA was not being achieved. Anyone who took strike action has had their staff travel benefits removed and it was hoped a settlement to the long running, heated dispute could be achieved but it appears BA have refused to re-instate travel benefits immediately after a yes vote to the new pay offer.

BA have said like on previous occasions all of their customers who are travelling on the proposed strike days will get to their destinations.

BA will plan to achieve this by operating flights with less cabin crew (BA are normally above the legal minimum), using trained cabin crew volunteers from other parts of the business, Sub-chartering other aircraft and by consolidating flights.

Middle Eastern Countries Stop Flights To Qatar

Several Middle Eastern carriers including Etihad, Emirates and Fly Dubai have suspended flights to Qatar following accusations of the country supporting terrorism. UAE, Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Yemen have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar.

In response Qatar Airways has stopped all flights to those countries.

Airspace restrictions have been put in place, severely limiting routings from Qatar.

Middle East Airlines suspend flights to Qatar

Emirates under fire over treatment of Taiwanese Cabin Crew

Emirates is under fire after insisting their Taiwanese cabin crew remove pins from their uniform displaying their islands flag.A leaked email suggests the airline was told by the Chinese government to ‘follow the One China policy’, Emirates subsequently told its crew to wear Chinese flags instead, but this request was later withdrawn.

Flag pins are worn to inform passengers various languages their crew are able to communicate in and their nationality.

Emirates have said ‘there was a communication error’.

The airline has now said that no crew members will be required to wear pins if they do not wish to whatever nationality they are.

This communication error comes after the previous one last week where Emirates sent an email saying ‘WTF’ to a customer who was trying to claim compensation for a delay.