Showing posts from June, 2010

Europe’s airline shares dive as market gets nervous. BA, Air France, Lufthansa all lose over 5%

As European and global markets headed downwards on 29-Jun-2010, airline shares led the way, in most cases showing falls of the magnitude of twice the indices’ losses. There was little to distinguish the reasons for the falls, other than the economically sensitive nature of the industry.

When it comes to airline deregulation, the U.S. hasn't gone far enough

Anyone who has tried to book a summer airplane trip recently has probably had a bit of a shock. Gone are the days of flying cross-country for $400 or less now you're talking $500 or even $600. Bing Travel reports that domestic fares are up an average of 22 percent over last summer. But according to a new American Enterprise Institute report by Mark Milke, a Canadian researcher, this state of affairs isn't entirely inevitable. His research finds inspiration in a place that AEI, with its free-market leanings, rarely regards wistfully: Europe. "Every jurisdiction can have an ideological bias," Milke says, "and Europe, you can say, is sometimes anti-market, and anti-competition." But when it comes to air travel, he points out, the European Union has taken deregulation much further than the United States. Since 1997, the European Union has allowed European airlines to pick up and drop off passengers anywhere within the union. Meanwhile, back in the U.S., on

Airport construction boom shows confidence is still strong in aviation industry

While the aviation industry may still be emerging out of the global economic downturn, with many carriers still suffering from reduced passenger bookings, it seems such money worries are not affecting some of the world's biggest airports. Indeed, one of the biggest construction projects the world has ever seen, the building of the Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai, is well on track. The multi-billion pound airport, which will eventually boast five runways and be capable of welcoming as many as 160 million domestic and international passengers a year, has now welcomed its first test flight. However, though the flight from Hong Kong only served to mark the opening of Al Maktoum as an air cargo hub, this latest development indicates that the economic crisis has not derailed the project, with initial projections that the airport will be the largest and busiest in the world by 2030 looking highly realistic. It is anticipated that the first passenger flights will start ar


Air France has been awarded top prize* in the Transport category for customer relations management by BearingPoint and TNS Sofres. This prize was awarded by 4,000 customers who graded the airline on more than ten aspects of customer service including product and service developments, innovation, quality of contact, transparency, availability of information and the frequent flyer product. "Over the past few years, Air France has been focusing its efforts on two separate and complementary goals: promoting a closer relationship with its customers through intensive training initiatives with staff and the use of new technologies making it possible to offer more innovative, automated services, while maintaining constant contact with our customers, wherever possible” stated Christian Boireau, Executive Vice President, Commercial France, Air France KLM. Air France is committed to quality, certification and innovation. Customer satisfaction is assessed in over 500,000 questionnaires

U.S., EU to Cooperate on Aviation R&D

The European Union and the U.S. have sealed a preliminary agreement to cooperate on civil aviation research and development, the EU said Friday. Under the deal, the EU and the U.S. will communicate on safety, security, performance, aircraft design and alternative fuels. They will also work together to modernize their air traffic management systems, with a view toward eventual standardization of these systems in both airspaces. The preliminary deal must be approved by Europe's national governments and the European Parliament. Commission officials hope the agreement could come into force early next year. Authorities from both sides of the Atlantic have been working for years to develop satellite-based navigation equipment that will enable pilots to fly more direct routes and provide controllers with advanced tools to safely handle many more planes in the same airspace. Until now, the formal U.S. and EU efforts have been separate, though companies and government officials from

EADS In Algae-Based Aviation Biofuel Venture In Brazil

European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. NV (EAD.FR) said Thursday it is considering an evaluation project to make algae-based aviation biofuel in Brazil in collaboration with local company BioCombustibles del Chubut. It said that if the technical and economic evaluation is conclusive, it could lead to the development of a full-scale biofuel production plant in Brazil. EADS' helicopter division Eurocopter is part of the cooperation agreement. EADS demonstrated an algae biofuel-powered aircraft at the Berlin Air Show earlier this month.

Wi-Fi E-Mail Solution for business jets

EMS Aviation, a division of aerospace connectivity leader EMS Technologies, Inc. (ELMG 15.45, +0.18, +1.18%)  , announced today that it is accepting orders for its Forte AirMail solution, an FAA-certified system that provides Wi-Fi e-mail capability in-flight. The system is ready for delivery immediately. The EMS Forte AirMail system is an Iridium-based system that enables pilots and passengers to send and receive e-mail at any altitude using various Wi-Fi devices, including the BlackBerry(R) and iPhone(R) smart-phones, and Wi-Fi-enabled personal digital assistants. Unlike some airborne e-mail systems, the Forte AirMail system offers all the advantages of worldwide coverage. It is also certified for Wi-Fi operations on these aircraft: -- Bombardier Challenger CL-600/CL-601/CL-604 -- Bombardier Global Express (not the XRS or 5000) -- Bombardier CRJ 850 -- Dassault Falcon 50, 50EX, 900, 900EX, 2000, 2000EX -- Gulfstream G-V and G-VSP "More and more customers are asking

United and Continental Grilled on Merger in House

Top executives of United Airlines and Continental Airlines sparred with irritated lawmakers on Wednesday over their merger plan, drawing a threat for closer industry regulation if the deal is approved. United's Glenn Tilton and his counterpart at Continental, Jeff Smisek, received a frosty reception at House of Representatives Transportation and Judiciary committee hearings, and faced the sharpest public questioning yet on their proposal to create the world's biggest airline. "United and Continental are repeating a strategic move that many airlines before them have made that has brought sustained success to none," said Representative James Oberstar, who as Transportation Committee chairman is influential on aviation matters. Oberstar, who says the United/Continental deal will harm competition and raise fares, said he would explore legislation to stiffen regulation if the deal is approved. Oberstar voted for airline deregulation 30 years ago, but said he did not

EADS vows to keep self financing drone project

The CEO of EADS' defense and security division said Wednesday that the European company will keep financing its drone project until cash-strapped governments are able to commit. EADS will keep ploughing its own funds into the project because to fall behind in this technology would mean being excluded from large parts of the defense industry, Stefan Zoller told The Associated Press. The unmanned aerial vehicle or UAV business is currently dominated by the U.S. and Israel. "The Talarion is the solution to stay in military airborne systems," he said in an interview at the Eurosatory defense trade fair outside Paris. "You give that up you would loose the industry thereafter. Once you loose airborne military systems, what will be the consequences for sensors, avionics, for ground stations, for data links and so on? That's why I say we are at a crossroads." Zoller had threatened to put the Talarion unmanned aerial vehicle program on hold if Germany, Fr

Aviation Industry Condemns German Air Tax

The European airline industry has rebuked the German government for its proposal to introduce a tax on air travel at German air terminals, to generate an additional EUR1bn annually to fund environmental initiatives. The announcement has been attacked as an unwelcome burden on the industry when it is already struggling with low, but improving, consumer demand and the aftermath of the Icelandic volcano crisis. Michael Engel, the director of the German Airline Association said the tax would equate to around EUR10-15 on airfares. Responding to the announcement, International Air Transport Association (IATA) Chief Executive Officer, Giovanni Bisignani, denounced the proposals as “a short-sighted policy,” and “a cash-grab by a cash-strapped government.” “Painting [the proposal] green adds insult to injury; there will be no environmental benefit from the economic damage caused,” he added. In its recent global outlook report, which predicted rising profits for the aviation industry in general,


Air France is now proposing its corporate website in mobile phone format,, where the airline’s latest news, practical information, key figures and useful contacts are available in two language versions. The content on this mobile version, updated in real-time, features a selection of fun videos that take you behind the scenes and short interviews, some of which are exclusively available on this site. The website contains over 650 pages, 700 photos and 85 videos devoted to Air France’s corporate information. All editorial and audiovisual material is designed and produced by the Air France Press Office, with the technical support of the Noven web agency. Today, there are over 400 million mobile internet users worldwide, including 12.6 million in France according to Médiamétrie, i.e. a 20% increase over the past year. In France, 20% of mobile telephone users aged 15 and over have smartphones as opposed to 11% during th

IATA on twitter

The IATA now has a twitter account for press release with a sleek design and up to date info. Check it out on :

TREND : data collection on incidents to improve aviation safety

FAA Plans To Identify Threats To Aviation Safety Through Data Analysis Expanding its analysis of the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) plans to identify threats to aviation safety in masses of data, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported on June 11th to the House Committee on Science and Technology that the agency is on the right track in looking at their massive data files for safety trends in the air system in an effort to avoid future accidents. The report, Aviation Safety: Improved Data Quality and Analysis Capabilities are Needed as FAA Plans a Risk-Based Approach to Safety Oversight, was requested by Members of the Science and Technology Committee, including Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN), Senior Member Jerry Costello (D-IL), who is also Chairman of the Aviation Subcommittee of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee,Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Brad Miller (D-NC), andSpace and Aeronautics Subcommittee Chairwoman Gabrielle G

Airplane Airbags

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. and Air France-KLM Group have begun introducing seatbelt-mounted airbags in their economy-class cabins as authorities tighten regulations aimed at reducing the risk of fatalities in plane crashes. All aircraft built in the U.S. since October must conform to standards designed to keep passengers conscious through an impact involving deceleration at 16 times the force of gravity so that they can escape any subsequent fire. The same rules will be introduced in Europe by the end of next year, European Aviation Safety Agency spokesman Jeremie Teahan said. While many seats comply with the so-called 16g rule without needing airbags, which are installed in about 2 percent of seats, manufacturer AmSafe Inc. predicts they’ll become standard by 2020 amid heightened awareness of safety issues. The devices cost about $1,200 apiece, versus $25 for a regular seatbelt. “The problem with our economy seats is that they have rigid shells and a head impact is more difficult

Air France: now hold web fares for two weeks

Air France has launched an online service which allows passengers to hold a reservation and fare on any of its European routes for up to 14 days. The Time to Think service costs from £10 per passenger and will appeal to business travellers who want an element of flexibility without buying a fully flexible ticket. It will mean they can reserve seats on a number of services and only buy the one at the date and time they need. If the passenger confirms their reservation with payment during that period, the boarding pass is issued 30 hours to departure. If the reservation is not confirmed, it is cancelled at the end of the 14-day period and only the Time to Think fee is lost. The service will also be useful for leisure passengers who want to take advantage of a sale fare and need to confirm with other passengers before confirming the booking. Henri Hourcade, general manager, Air France KLM UK and Ireland, says: “Whether it’s business or leisure, we know that people’s travel plans c

Dubai-based Emirates to order 32 Airbus A380 aircraft

Dubai airline Emirates announced on Tuesday an order for 32 A380 "superjumbos" for 11.5 billion dollars, the biggest contract in civil aviation history according to the aircraft's maker Airbus.   The A380 order, which takes to 90 the number ordered by Emirates, "shows our confidence in the future growth" of the airline industry, chief executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum said at the Berlin Air Show (ILA).   "It's the largest order ever placed for civil aircraft by dollar value based on catalogue prices in aviation history," said John Leahy, chief commercial officer at Airbus.   Emirates was the first airline to order the huge A380, which was the main attraction at the ILA starting on Tuesday. It has already taken delivery of 10 of the aircraft.   Franco-German Airbus, the arch rival of US giant Boeing, has gone months without receiving any confirmations of orders for the A380 or any new contracts for the plane as airlines have wrestl

IATA Expects Global Aviation To Be Back To Profitability In 2010 - Update

The International Air Transport Association, or IATA, said Monday that it expects the global aviation industry to return to profitability in 2010, in view of a much quicker recovery of global economy, than expected earlier. It now sees global profit of $2.5 billion as against prior forecast of $2.8 billion loss, in March. However, it projects a $2.8 billion loss for the European carriers citing strikes, natural disasters, economic stagnation and currency crisis. In 2010, industry revenues are forecast to be $545 billion, sequentially up from the $483 billion, but below the $564 billion recorded in 2008. IATA warned that the $2.5 billion profit represented a net margin of just 0.5%, "which is a long way from sustainable profitability" and a major part of the global industry are still posting big losses. IATA maintained its expectation for an average annual oil price of $79/barrel of Brent in 2010. Giovanni Bisignani, IATA's Director General and CEO said, "Airlin

Airbus delivers the 30th A380

The 30th A380 to be delivered was handed over today to Emirates Airline, one of the launch customers of the Airbus double-decker aircraft. This is the tenth A380 Emirates has received out of its total firm order for 58 aircraft.   This aircraft will be on display at the ILA Berlin Air Show which is taking place from June 8th to 13th. Lufthansa will also bring their recently delivered, first A380 to the show and from June 11th an Airbus flight test A380 will be on static and flying display.   Airbus has already delivered seven A380s so far in 2010, three to Emirates Airline, two to Air France, one to Lufthansa and one to Qantas. Airbus is on track to deliver a total of at least 20 A380s in 2010. Today five major airlines, Singapore Airlines, Emirates Airline, Qantas, Air France and Lufthansa, operate 30 A380s on 20 routes linking 18 major international destinations. Together they have carried nearly five and a half million passengers on 15,000 revenue flights and have clocked up