Monthly Archives: November 2018

Vietnam Airlines takes delivery of first Airbus A321neo aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney GTF™ engines

Pratt & Whitney, a division of United Technologies Corp. and Vietnam Airlines celebrated delivery of the airline’s first Airbus A321neo aircraft (VN-A618, msn 8589) powered by Pratt & Whitney GTF™ engines.

Vietnam Airlines is leasing the aircraft from Aviation Capital Group (ACG).  The airline announced selection of the GTF engine to power 20 Airbus A321neo aircraft in November 2017.  The delivery was celebrated at a ceremony in Hamburg, Germany with Vietnam Airlines, Airbus, ACG and Pratt & Whitney officials in attendance.

Pratt & Whitney and Vietnam Airlines share a long history dating back to the early 1990s when the airline received its first PW4000-powered 767.  Today, the airline’s fleet consists of 57 V2500®-powered A320ceo aircraft and 2 PW4170-powered A330 aircraft.  With the addition of the A321neo aircraft, Vietnam Airlines plans to continue their growth in the region.

Since entering into service in early 2016, the GTF engine has demonstrated its promised ability to reduce fuel burn by 16 percent, to reduce NOx emissions by 50 percent to the regulatory standard and to lower the noise footprint by 75 percent.

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SaudiGulf Airlines to add ten Airbus A320neo family aircraft

Al-Qahtani Aviation, owner of SaudiGulf Airlines, has signed an agreement to purchase ten Airbus A320neo family aircraft. The commitment was announced at the Bahrain International Airshow, which runs until November 16, 2018.

SaudiGulf Airlines currently operates a fleet of six Airbus A320 aircraft from its hub in Dammam.

The carrier commenced operations in 2016 serving domestic destinations across the Kingdom prior to expanding to international routes. In October, 2018 the airline launched its second international destination with flights to four destinations in Pakistan.

Images: Airbus and SaudiGulf Airlines.

Emirates Group announces half-year performance for 2018-19

Emirates Airline Airbus A380-861 A6-EDD (msn 020) JFK (Fred Freketic). Image: 944350.

  • Group: Revenue up 10% to AED 54.4 billion (US$14.8 billion), and profit of AED 1.1 billion (US$296 million), down 53%. Results impacted by significant increase in fuel cost, unfavourable currency movements, and one-time transaction in dnata.
  • Emirates: Revenue up 10% to AED 48.9 billion (US$13.3 billion), and profit decline of 86% to AED 226 million (US$62 million). 30.1 million passengers carried, up 3%, on overall capacity expansion of 3%. Dubai’s attraction as a destination remains strong with the airline carrying 9% more customers to its hub city.
  • dnata: Revenue up 11% to AED 7.0 billion (US$1.9 billion), profit up 31% to AED 861 million (US$235 million) includes gain of AED 320 million from one-time transaction. Without this transaction, the profit recorded would be down 18% compared to last year. 350,052 aircraft handled, up 6%, 1.5 million tonnes of cargo handled, up 2%.

The Emirates Group has announced its half-year results for 2018-19. The Group saw steady revenue growth compared to the same period last year, however profits were impacted by the significant rise in oil prices, and unfavourable currency movements in certain markets, amidst other challenges for the airline and travel industry.

The Emirates Group revenue was AED 54.4 billion (US$ 14.8 billion) for the first six months of its 2018-19 financial year, up 10% from AED 49.4 billion (US$ 13.5 billion) during the same period last year.

Profitability was down 53% compared to the same period last year, with the Group reporting a 2018-19 half-year net profit of AED 1.1 billion (US$296 million). The profit erosion was primarily due to the significant increase in fuel prices of 37% compared to the same period last year, as well as the negative impact of currencies in certain markets.

The Group’s cash position on September 30, 2018 was at AED 21.5 billion (US$ 5.9 billion), compared to AED 25.4 billion (US$6.9 billion) as at 31st March 2018.

His Highness (HH) Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group said: “Emirates and dnata grew steadily in the first half of 2018-19. Demand for our high quality products and services remained healthy, as we won new and return customers across our businesses and this is reflected in our revenue performance. However, the high fuel cost as well as currency devaluations in markets like India, Brazil, Angola and Iran, wiped approximately AED 4.6 billion from our profits.

“We are proactively managing the myriad challenges faced by the airline and travel industry, including the relentless downward pressure on yields, and uncertain economic and political realities in our region and in other parts of the world. We are keeping a tight rein on controllable costs and will continue to drive efficiency improvement through the implementation of new technology and business processes.

“The next six months will be tough, but the Emirates Group’s foundations remain strong. I’m pleased to note that our home and hub in Dubai continues to attract travel demand, as the airline saw 9% more customers enjoying Dubai as a destination in the first half of 2018-19 compared to the same period last year. We expect this demand to remain healthy as new attractions come online and the city gears up for Dubai Expo 2020. Moving forward we are firmly focussed on sustaining our business. We will do this by being agile to capitalise on opportunities, and investing to serve our customers even better with high quality products that they value.”

In the past six months, the Group’s employee base reduced by 1% compared to 31 March 2018, from an overall average staff count of 103,363 to 101,983. This was largely a result of natural attrition, together with a slower pace of recruitment as the business continues its various internal programmes to improve efficiency through the implementation of new technology and workflows.

Emirates Airline

During the first six months of 2018-19, Emirates received 8 wide-body aircraft – 3 Airbus A380s, and 5 Boeing 777s, with 5 more new aircraft scheduled to be delivered before the end of the financial year. It also retired 7 older aircraft from its fleet with further 4 to be returned by March 31, 2019. The airline’s long-standing strategy to invest in the most advanced wide-body aircraft enables it to improve overall efficiency and provide better customer experiences.

Emirates continues to offer ever better connections for its customers across the globe with just one stop in Dubai.

In the first six months of its financial year, Emirates launched new passenger services to Stansted (UK) and Santiago (Chile).  It also introduced a new linked service from Dubai via Bali to Auckland. As of 30 September, Emirates’ global network spanned 161 destinations in 85 countries. Its fleet stood at 269 aircraft including freighters.

Emirates further developed its partnership with flydubai, offering customers even more benefits as both airlines combined their loyalty programme under Emirates Skywards.  Customers also enjoy new flight choices as Emirates and flydubai continued to leverage their complementary networks to optimise flight schedules and offer new city-pair connections through Dubai, as well as open new routes including Kinshasa (Congo), Krakow (Poland), and Catania (Italy) in the first half of 2018-19.

Overall capacity during the first six months of the year increased a modest 3% to 31.8 billion Available Tonne Kilometres (ATKM). Capacity measured in Available Seat Kilometres (ASKM), grew by 4%, whilst passenger traffic carried measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometres (RPKM) was up 6% with average Passenger Seat Factor rising to 78.8%, compared with last year’s 77.2%.

Emirates carried 30.1 million passengers between 1 April and 30 September 2018, up 3% from the same period last year. The volume of cargo uplifted at 1.3 million tonnes is largely unchanged while yield improved by a healthy 11% .This performance is the result of Emirates SkyCargo’s focussed investments in products and services tailored to key sectors, which gives it a strong competitive edge in a recovering global air freight market.

In the first half of the 2018-19 financial year, Emirates net profit is AED 226 million (US$62 million), down 86%, compared to last year. Emirates revenue, including other operating income, of AED 48.9 billion (US$ 13.3 billion) was up 10% compared with the AED 44.5 billion (US$ 12.1 billion) recorded during the same period last year. This result was driven by increased agility in capacity deployment, and improved seat load factors despite fare increases reflect the healthy customer demand for Emirates’ products.

Emirates operating costs grew by 13% against the overall capacity increase of 3%. On average, fuel costs were 42% higher compared to the same period last year, this was largely due to an increase in oil prices (up 37% compared to same period last year), as well as an increase in fuel uplift of 4% due to Emirates’ expanding fleet operations. Fuel remained the largest component of the airline’s cost, accounting for 33% of operating costs compared with 26% in the first six months of last year.

Top Copyright Photo (all others by Emirates): Emirates Airline Airbus A380-861 A6-EDD (msn 020) JFK (Fred Freketic). Image: 944350.

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easyJet celebrates 15% of new entrant pilots being female with its 20% by 2020 target firmly in sight

 

easyJet has announced that it has reached a key milestone in its ambition to attract 20% of new pilots joining the airline to be women by 2020, having achieved a new high of 15% of new entrants to the airline being female, over the past financial year.

It comes at a time when only 5% of all pilots worldwide are female, according to the International Society of Women Airline Pilots. Of that, just over 450 of them have achieved the rank of captain – which means that almost every female commercial airline captain could fit onto an A380 aircraft.

When we launched the initiative to attract more women into a career as a pilot in October 2015, women only made up 6% of easyJet’s new pilot intake. As a result of the campaign in 2016, easyJet had doubled the intake to 12% and has been increasing ever since towards its ambitious target of 20% by 2020. When we set out the goal we expected that 20% would equate to 50 female pilots, owing to our growth, we have attracted more than 50 female pilots this year and now have more than 200 female pilots flying for easyJet.

Johan Lundgren, easyJet CEO, commented:

“It’s hugely encouraging to now see that of the new entrant pilots we have attracted over the past year that 15% are now female and that the ambitious goal of 20% is in our sights and we don’t plan to stop there! We continue to work hard to encourage more women to join this hugely rewarding profession and from a starting point of 6% in 2015 to 15% this year is a real achievement.

“As well as encouraging applications from women now, we also recognise we need to start young so that we can be simultaneously changing perceptions of the career and so improving the gender balance of the profession for years to come. That is why our pilots have completed more than 100 school visits last year and we signed up to sponsor the Girlguiding Aviation badge for Brownies to get girls interested in flight at an early age.

“I firmly believe that no other airline is doing more on this issue.”

Julie Westhorp, Chairman of the British Women Pilots’ Association (BWPA) commented:

“The BWPA are delighted that easyJet are maintaining the momentum in encouraging women to consider a career in aviation. Also to see that their Amy Johnson Initiative is beginning to show results. Their pilots continue to support our outreach work to encourage young people, male and female, to raise their aspirations and to change the perceptions of teachers and parents to realise that becoming a pilot is an achievable and rewarding career, whatever gender. With the global shortage of pilots there is no better time for airlines to realise that by encouraging women to apply they are expanding their recruitment pool to recruit the best person for the role, as evidence and history clearly shows that being a pilot is not a male prerogative.”

Earlier this year Captain David Morgan, Director of Flight Operations at easyJet, was named as an ‘Agent of Change’ by Management Today and the Women’s Business Council for leading real transformation at easyJet and in the aviation industry through easyJet’s Amy Johnson Flying Initiative.

In FY19 easyJet will recruit 460 new pilots to meet record demands for the airline for a third consecutive year, as its European network continues to grow. Opportunities range from cadet pilots starting their career to experienced co-pilots and captains from other airlines and the military.

Photo: easyJet.

Your Face is Your Boarding Pass: JetBlue introduces its first integrated biometric self-boarding gate at New York’s JFK

JetBlue Airways, in partnership with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), today announced the roll-out of its first fully-integrated biometric self-boarding gate at New York’s John F.Kennedy International Airport (JFK). Customers flying to select international destinations from Terminal 5 at New York-JFK can now board even faster with a dual lane biometric self-boarding gate, which uses facial recognition technology to verify travelers with a quick photo capture.

Above Photo: JetBlue was the first airline to incorporate its own biometric technology with CBP’s facial recognition matching system to verify passengers exiting the U.S.  A pilot program using the technology was launched in May 2017 at Logan International Airport in Boston. Photo by Zack Caplan

JetBlue’s new biometric self-boarding gate comes on the heels of the airline’s successful biometric boarding trials at Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) and New York-JFK. This week, JetBlue also became the first airline to partner with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority to launch a one-step biometric boarding experience for customers flying to Nassau, Bahamas (NAS) from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).

Above Photo: As part of CBP’s one-to-one biometric facial recognition testing on inbound, international flights, a traveler has his photo taken and compared against his passport photo to confirm his identity at Dulles Airport. Photo by Glenn Fawcett

Since the program’s launch in 2017, more than 50,000 customers have participated in biometric boarding on 500+ flights across all four cities. There is no pre-registration required. Customers can simply step up to the camera for a photo match and make their way onto the aircraft.

“The success of JetBlue’s biometric boarding program is a testament to the airline’s ongoing work to create a personal, helpful and simple experience,” said Ian Deason, senior vice president of customer experience, JetBlue. “The boarding touchpoint is an area that needs innovation and we feel biometrics will change the future of air travel as we look to create a more seamless journey throughout the airport.”

This latest biometric enhancement complements JetBlue’s existing self-service efforts, including self-service lobbies with interactive kiosks that feature self-bag tag and self-bag drop capabilities. The airline plans to expand its biometric boarding program to more international flights from New York-JFK, Boston and Fort Lauderdale, and expects to pilot a biometric bag drop station at New York-JFK early next year.

All images by CBP and jetBlue.

 

Nippon Cargo Airlines ends Boeing 747-400F operations

NCA-Nippon Cargo Airlines Boeing 747-4KZF JA05KZ (msn 36132) ANC (Michael B. Ing). Image: 908828.

Nippon Cargo Airlines – NCA has ended all Boeing 747-400 freighter operations.

The pictured Boeing 747-400F JA05KZ (top) operated the last revenue flight on October 31, 2018. The last flight (flight NCA 226) was operated between Shanghai (Pudong) and Tokyo (Narita).

NCA is now an all-Boeing 747-8F freighter operator.

Top Copyright Photo: NCA-Nippon Cargo Airlines Boeing 747-4KZF JA05KZ (msn 36132) ANC (Michael B. Ing). Image: 908828.

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Nordica to close three unprofitable routes in Tallinn

Nordica - LOT Polish Airlines Bombardier CRJ900 (CL-600-2D24) ES-ACB (msn 15261) BRU (Karl Cornil). Image: 938682.

Nordica has made this announcement:

In January, Nordica will be ceasing to service routes that the current competition conditions render economically unviable, freeing up aircraft and crew that it will instead use for profitable subcontracting services.

Starting from January 14, 2019, Nordica’s winter schedule will include eight nonstop flights from Tallinn: to Stockholm, Vilnius, Copenhagen, Brussels, Kyiv, Warsaw, Vienna and Munich.

Due to the prevailing market situation, it will no longer be operating flights to Oslo, Amsterdam or St Petersburg.

Hannes Saarpuu, the head of the Nordic Aviation Group, says that the closure of the St Petersburg and Amsterdam routes is because of limited demand, while the closure of the Oslo route is the result of fierce competition making it financially unviable to fly to the Norwegian capital as the third most popular carrier on the same route. “We’re better off channelling our resources into projects that are profitable and boost our financial results,” he said. “We have to turn a profit first and foremost, just like any other company, and the changes we’re making to our route network will help us achieve that. Nordica’s flexibility and being able to respond to changes on the market as they happen are important factors in ensuring our long-term success.”

Passengers affected by the closure of the routes will be offered alternative solutions. Full information is already available on the Nordica website regarding the process and passengers’ rights. Saarpuu says no one will have to worry about their ticket. “Airlines are well-trained in reacting promptly when it comes to getting ticketed passengers to their destinations,” he reassured clients. “It’s a situation that comes up quite often in the industry, for a number of different reasons.”

Nordica currently operates 19 aircraft, around 10 of which start their days from the company’s base in Tallinn. According to plans for 2019 this number will not decrease; in fact, if further export projects are implemented, it may increase. Nordica’s subsidiary Regional Jet continues to grow and demand for new pilots and cabin crew remains high.

In its three years of operations Nordica has become one of the most competitive airlines in its region and the biggest airline in Estonian history. In the first 10 months of 2018 the airline flew almost 600,000 travellers, a more than 20% rise in passenger numbers compared to the same period in 2017. It exports its flight services to Sweden, Denmark, Poland and the Netherlands and employs more than 500 aviation specialists in Estonia and abroad.

Top Copyright Photo (all others by the airline): Nordica – LOT Polish Airlines Bombardier CRJ900 (CL-600-2D24) ES-ACB (msn 15261) BRU (Karl Cornil). Image: 938682.

Nordica aircraft slide show:

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