Monthly Archives: July 2018

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The 10 best economy-class airlines in the world, ranked

Category:News

Thai national carrier tops survey taken by more than 20 million respondents


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COMMENTARY: HOW AIRLINES CAN COMBAT RISING FUEL PRICES IN A NEW WAY

Category:News

What makes for efficient air travel? That depends on who you ask. For travelers, it means getting to and from the airport without incident and arriving at your destination on time (and with your bags). From the airline’s perspective, efficiency can mean many things.

On-time performance will always be important, but as airlines strive to increase efficiency, there are several other factors that contribute to running an efficient airline. How quickly can an aircraft be “turned around” from one destination to the next… is every seat occupied… is the internet connectivity strong enough to allow passengers to relax with a movie or get some work done? As important as these factors are, fuel prices – especially when they are rising – tend to be the dominant concern from the airline’s perspective when it comes to efficiency.

We’re in the thick of earnings season, and it is no surprise that the recurring theme in quarterly reports from airlines is rising fuel prices and how they are cutting into profits. Jet fuel prices continue to put enormous bottom-line pressure on the world’s airlines, and those prices have soared 54 percent from June 2017 to June 2018, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The increases in the first six months of 2018 added more than $42 billion worldwide to carriers’ operating costs, IATA estimates.

Prices are still below their historical peak. Research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology shows U.S. airlines spent a combined $42.8 billion on fuel in 2012, when prices topped out. That number was $25.2 billion in 2017 and will inevitably be higher this year.

Just think, if a global carrier could cut fuel costs by just 1 percent, the savings could top $50 million a year – and that’s if prices hold steady.

Airlines have addressed fluctuating fuel prices for many years, but there’s a big difference with this latest spike in fuel prices.

It’s not hard to understand that the heavier the aircraft, the more fuel is needed to propel it, but ironically, fuel itself is a large component of the weight carried on a typical flight. Software like Honeywell’s (NYSE: HON) GoDirect® Flight Efficiency helps airlines better understand the amount of fuel they need to operate an aircraft without sacrificing safety. The software examines not just how much, but how fuel is used.

We’ve all been on flights that take off about 30 minutes late, and the pilot says “we’ll make it up on the way.” What that really means is the pilot will throttle up during flight – and burn more fuel than anticipated – to make up the lost time. Travelers land on time, but the airline burns money along the way.

Honeywell’s software can help prevent this common and costly habit by analyzing historical flight data to make better strategic decisions on flight routes that take into consideration weather patterns, the time of day, approach patterns and more. Additionally, pilots can make tactical decisions in flight based on that historical data. This is accomplished through Honeywell’s algorithm that blends engineering and flight operations expertise with advanced statistical and machine-learning methods. The result is a new level of airspace efficiency that airlines could never achieve before.

The benefit of this technology to travelers can be seen in their pocketbooks. As airlines implement more advanced software technologies to drive out inefficiencies, rising fuel costs will put less pressure on ticket prices. In addition, analytics that optimize routes will reduce time in holding patterns around busy airports and enable more on-time arrivals.

Operating an airline is one of the most logistically challenging undertakings in the business world. Despite the challenges, airlines connect every corner of the world each day with a remarkable amount of efficiency. Thanks to new technology, airlines will only grow more efficient, and we will all benefit because of it.

Source: Honeywell


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Cirrus Vision Jet Wins 2018 Flying Innovation Award

Category:News

World’s first single-engine personal jet continues to gain accolades.

Fresh of its Collier Trophy win this spring, the Cirrus Vision Jet nabbed yet another accolade, this time taking home the 2018 Flying Innovation Award, presented Monday night at Oshkosh.

Flying editor-in-chief Stephen Pope handed over the Innovation Award trophy to Cirrus Aircraft senior vice president of product development Ken Harness, who accepted it on behalf of the entire development team and described the monumental engineering task to design and test the world’s first jet with a full-airframe parachute.

The SF50 Vision Jet entered service late last year as a step-up product for owners of SR22 piston airplanes. It is the first Part 23-certified single-engine jet to reach the market and boasts an order book of more than 600 airplanes. Cirrus plans to build 50 Vision Jets this year and 75 in 2019.

The Flying Innovation Award recognizes the previous year’s top achievement in general aviation worldwide. Nominees for the 2018 prize included the winners of the 2017 Flying Editors’ Choice Awards, which were also presented at Oshkosh. Winners included the Vision Jet, Garmin G1000 NXi avionics system, Mooney Ovation Ultra, Lightspeed Zulu 3 headset and ForeFlight Scout ADS-B receiver.

Source: Flying 


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Boeing, Airbus Clash over Farnborough Sales Bounty

Category:News

Airbus and Boeing each saw sizable order activity during the Farnborough Air Show, but executives from the world’s two airframe making giants harbored somewhat different perspectives on the general character of the order activity. Boeing vice president of commercial sales Ihssane Mounir, for example, characterized the large number of unidentified customers as simply a result of typical air show exuberance, while Airbus head of sales Eric Shultz attributed it to hesitancy over global trade tensions.

“The fact that the world every morning is waking up to see which tweets have hit which part of the world doesn’t really help,” said Schultz. “We can see the market being a little bit cautious as to what is going on in the world…You can understand why [this] kind of thinking [is] not helping.”

Schultz stopped short of expressing any doubt that customers wouldn’t follow through with their orders, however. “I think what people are expecting is just to give them a little bit more space to choose the right time to disclose the announcements,” he explained. “To be a little bit more precise, if the money was not in the bank I would not freeze the slots.”

At the start of the show Airbus’s firm orders totaled 261 for the year and memoranda of understanding stood at 60 airplanes. By show’s end, the company’s 2018 firm order total stood at 354 airplanes and MOUs totaled 398.

All told, the European company announced new business for a total of 431 aircraft, 52 of which were identifications of previously anonymous customers.

Schultz expressed particular delight in the number of widebody commitments he collected, namely 42 A330neos and 25 A350 XWBs, bringing the A350 total to 75 for the year. “This is magic,” he said.

The Airbus sales boss added that low-fare carriers continue to play a particularly important role in the company’s mounting narrowbody totals. He also highlighted the 60-airplane commitment for A220s from a new planned startup in the U.S. led by JetBlue founder David Neelaman as validation of the importance of Airbus’s sales and support network to the success of the former Bombardier C Series. “Since we have taken over we can see a big push from the level of confidence if I can put it this way,” he said. “What we bring is a big organization, especially people who are operating on the single-aisle market, which is closest to the regional market. So people are feeling reassured that the support is there, that the power is there and whenever they need something—training, maintenance, whatever—there is a big machine that is already in place.”

Notwithstanding Airbus’s successes at the show, Schultz did acknowledge that it lost convincingly in the cargo sector, where Boeing sold 88 production freighters and modified cargo airplanes at the event. Mounir called the total “a big story,” given the resurgence of the cargo market.

During the show, Boeing announced orders and commitments totaled 673 airplanes, of which 145 already appeared in the backlog before the event, bringing the actual show total to 528. Mounir highlighted two new 737 Max 10 customers—Vietjet, which signed for 80, and Gol, which committed to 30. The Max 10 has now collected commitments for more than 500 units, said Mounir, who noted that Boeing has decided to specify Max 10 order totals while declining to do so for the other three Max variants because of what he called “the hype” surrounding the A321.

“I’m assuming that [Airbus] has the exact same thing; people can move between models at will,” he explained. “So we ask customers to talk about their intent at times and some of them are willing to talk about their intent right out of the gate.”

Mounir would not specify how many of the commitments for the 528 airplanes involved firm orders because, he said, the company recognizes a so-called quiet period ahead of publication of its monthly figures on orders and deliveries.

Source: AIN


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Nigeria to Relaunch its National Airline at the End of the Year

Category:News

Lagos, Nigeria (CNN) — Nigeria unveiled a new national carrier Wednesday, nearly 15 years after the previous state-run airline, Nigerian Airways ceased operations.

The new airline will be known as Nigeria Air.

Nigerian Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika made the announcement and unveiled the new branding and livery for the airline at the Farnborough International Airshow in the UK.

Source: AviationPros


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A Flying Aston Martin?

Category:News

But will it ever fly?

You haven’t seen Aston Martin’s new Volante Vision in a James Bond movie, at least not yet. In a joint venture with Cranfield University, Cranfield Aerospace Solutions and Rolls-Royce Electrical, the luxury car maker recently unveiled drawings of an autonomous hybrid-electric VTOL flying vehicle that Aston Martin believes will operate in either the urban or the intercity travel marketplace. The first concept drawings of the Volante Vision were shown to the public on Monday at the Farnborough Air Show.

The Volante is also expected to bring luxury to the autonomous flying vehicle with items like leather seats. Whether the hybrid vehicle will ever take to the skies is anyone’s guess at the moment since the technology necessary to make the vehicle fly doesn’t really yet exist. Could the motivation to release the Volante concept have anything to do with Aston Martin’s plans to soon create an initial public offering? Aston Martin also recently entered into a partnership with Triton Submarines to create a submersible vehicle.

Source: Flying 


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Al Baker Decries Intimidation of Suppliers, Banks

Category:News

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker on Monday said the conflict between Qatar and its Gulf neighbor shows no sign of abating, accusing at least one of the principles in the dispute of conspiring to intimidate suppliers, manufacturers, and banks into declining to do business with his country. Speaking during a Farnborough Airshow roundtable discussion with reporters at the Qatar Airways chalet (C24), Al Baker added that he thought the situation has deteriorated in recent months, perhaps making the airline’s efforts to return to profitability by the end of this year still more challenging.

“At the end of the day, it is a business decision companies have to make…where they have an interest,” he said. “But they should also know that if they oblige the adversaries, when things get back to normal we will remember them.”

Al Baker added that his adversaries’ underhanded efforts have met with mixed results. “In some ways they are succeeding, but a lot of times they are not succeeding because those entities are saying this is our business and it’s up to us with whom we do business,” he explained.
Meanwhile, the blockade of Qatar by its Gulf neighbors continues to disrupt the airline’s operations, for example increasing the flying time to São Paulo, Brazil, from Doha by an hour and 45 minutes. “Unfortunately one of the blockages is Yemeni airspace, which is controlled by Saudi Arabia. Keep in mind that Yemen is a sovereign country, but its airspace [is] controlled by a third country. Again, this is where the role of ICAO comes in.” ICAO, explained Al Baker, should not allow Saudi Arabia to issue notams on behalf of another country absent a UN mandate.

Despite the roadblocks his airline faces, Al Baker expressed optimism about the airline’s financial performance this year after suffering heavy losses last year. “There is a possibility that we will post a loss in this financial year, but it is only a possibility,” he said. “Fortunately, the routes that we have launched have been so good we feel they are maturing faster than we expected.”


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Piper Seneca and a Cessna 172 Collide in Midair Northwest of Miami Executive Airport

Category:News

One instructor was a designated pilot examiner.

Preliminary details about yesterday’s midair collision in the Everglades, 11 miles northwest of Miami Executive Airport report the accident claimed the lives of four people, apparently two aboard each aircraft. Reports also indicate that both aircraft – a Cessna 172 and a twin-engine Piper Seneca – were involved in flight training activities at the time of the accident that occurred about 1 p.m. local time Tuesday. Each aircraft is believed to have carried a flight instructor and one additional person, although which people were aboard which aircraft is still unconfirmed. One of the instructors was an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner.

Local TV video of the wreckage showed the name, Dean International Flight School, printed on the side of the Seneca’s fuselage. The tail number of the Cessna has not yet been identified although it is reported to have been from the same school. The video of the wreckage on the ground showed the right wing missing from the Seneca and both wings off the Cessna.

In a story posted today on the Miami Sun-Sentinel website, the newspaper reported, “the 35-year-old company [Dean International] has had 21 incidents in the past 20 years, including three fatal crashes, the NTSB said.”

Source: Flying


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Fast 5: Aeroxchange Pursues Streamlined Parts Solutions

Category:News

Albert Koszarek, president and CEO of Aeroxchange, talks with Lindsay Bjerregaard about the company’s recent agreements with Volaris and Component Control, as well as its future focus on providing transparency and automation within the digital MRO marketplace.

Aeroxchange* is owned by 13 global airlines. What has been the biggest benefit of having the backing of these airlines?

I think [the biggest benefit] is being truly neutral so that you don’t have one supply chain trading partner having advantage over another. You can achieve neutrality by having an ownership structure where the top of the supply chain is owned by the buyers. And so, in this case, the global airlines are the top of the mountain in terms of buying activity as they procure all of the supply chain services to operate their airline. And by doing that now, the ownership structure shows no bias to any particular trade partner—all with a very unified focus to create efficiency, reduce cost and improve service level so they can do a better job servicing their customers.

You mentioned that MRO task card collaboration is a new focus for Aeroxchange. What work is Aeroxchange doing in this area?

If you think about the aviation ecosystem, you have collaboration between the airline and the MRO provider doing checks, where there’s a communication of work cards describing the check. For the MROs and the airlines to accomplish the work cards, there’s collaboration with a variety of trading partners that provide components that are engaged in pool exchanges; that provide components that come off of a repair cycle; that provide spare parts acquisitions through simple purchase order as well as consignment. A lot of this infrastructure historically has been manual. Aeroxchange has now created an electronic infrastructure to make that entire process paperless in real-time. By solving the availability of parts in the maintenance event, Aeroxchange goes a long way in helping people become better at the maintenance activity and to run more efficient checks.

I think [the biggest benefit] is being truly neutral so that you don’t have one supply chain trading partner having advantage over another. You can achieve neutrality by having an ownership structure where the top of the supply chain is owned by the buyers. And so, in this case, the global airlines are the top of the mountain in terms of buying activity as they procure all of the supply chain services to operate their airline. And by doing that now, the ownership structure shows no bias to any particular trade partner—all with a very unified focus to create efficiency, reduce cost and improve service level so they can do a better job servicing their customers.

You mentioned that MRO task card collaboration is a new focus for Aeroxchange. What work is Aeroxchange doing in this area?

If you think about the aviation ecosystem, you have collaboration between the airline and the MRO provider doing checks, where there’s a communication of work cards describing the check. For the MROs and the airlines to accomplish the work cards, there’s collaboration with a variety of trading partners that provide components that are engaged in pool exchanges; that provide components that come off of a repair cycle; that provide spare parts acquisitions through simple purchase order as well as consignment. A lot of this infrastructure historically has been manual. Aeroxchange has now created an electronic infrastructure to make that entire process paperless in real-time. By solving the availability of parts in the maintenance event, Aeroxchange goes a long way in helping people become better at the maintenance activity and to run more efficient checks.

Recently, we have been developing the capability to enable airlines to electronically transmit C-check work cards to the MRO provider so that it can work in a paperless environment, thereby eliminating all those PDF and paper copies on the work floor, and allowing real-time communication of work progress, status and findings. The Aeroxchange objective is to create that collaboration tunnel, allowing airlines’ engineering departments to communicate with the MROs, and to do that neutral of format or whatever systems the airlines are using. The airlines can be running their own homegrown systems, but [by] putting an Aeroxchange collaboration engine in the middle, we do the translation so the MRO gets the same type of data reliably the same way, regardless of the customer. This allows them to be more efficient and do a better job of meeting FAA and other regulatory agency requirements.

Aeroxchange recently signed agreements with Volaris and Component Control. What do these entail?

Volaris has purchased [our] automation platform to manage spare parts. The Aeroxchange AeroBuy platform provides global access to the world’s suppliers—including the OEMs, distributors and surplus dealers—giving full visibility into global availability of components. The AeroBuy platform allows [Volaris] to view contracts and secure pricing that particular trade partners offer Volaris in a unique and secure way. There’s also a quotation engine where Volaris can conveniently ask for quotes, lead time and pedigree documents for any components or parts that it would like to purchase. Once [Volaris] has identified the source, the AeroBuy platform then automates the whole procure-to-pay lifecycle with the electronic movement from Volaris’ TRAX system.

We’ve recently signed a strategic agreement with Component Control so we can fully integrate our repair management solution into Component Control, so [its] users can interact with aviation buyers to manage repairs, which is a more complex collaboration. This allows repair vendors that run Component Control’s Quantum system to be able to facilitate repair orders with direct, real-time communication into the Component Control workflow. It also reduces the administrative burden significantly—not only for the users of Quantum, but also for the airline partners on the buyer side.

What trends have you noticed in terms of the way buyers and sellers are looking to conduct business digitally?

People want more automation. They want higher levels of transparency around real parts and component availability. And when we talk about transparency, we’re not talking about “somebody lists a phantom stock in somebody’s catalog listing service,” but, “somebody has stock available with all of the pedigree documents and all of the certification necessary to give the buyer confidence that he’s making the right purchase at the right time.” So we’re seeing movement where people want improved transparency. They want automation in tool exchanges. They want to use more asset management programs. When they’re buying a component, they would like the data to follow the component—where the component has been over its lifetime. All of that transparency now is becoming available, and we’re seeing higher and higher demands for better information, in real-time and secure.

What’s next for Aeroxchange?

We are completing our deployment for the AeroMRO product, which creates electronic task cards. And as we orchestrate these electronic task cards, there’s coordination with the regulatory agencies [so] people have comfort that the technology meets the requirements. As we do that, the next piece on the horizon is the implementation of a real blockchain solution—[ensuring] that information follows the part, historical information follows the task and that a trusted utility such as Aeroxchange is positioned to secure the data and deliver it to the aviation trade partners so that they can make better decisions. I think blockchain technology as it is applied to currency isn’t terribly relevant in our space, but blockchain capability in terms of securely understanding history and pedigree is a terrific opportunity that people are going to get comfortable with over the decade. I think it’s going to change the way predictive maintenance happens and the effectiveness in which aircraft are made available. The whole process of lease returns now becomes much easier because all of the information is available, it’s digital, you can search it and it’s not a bunch of PDFs and pictures—which basically don’t help people—but it’s the real data.

*Aeroxchange was formed in 2000 by Air Canada, Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, American (originally America West), Austrian, Cathay Pacific, Delta (originally Northwest Airlines), FedEx, Japan Airlines, KLM/AFI, Lufthansa, SAS and Singapore Airlines.

Source: MRO Network


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Airbus Renames Bombardier CSeries A220

Category:News

The announcement comes on the heels of Boeing’s announcement its of buyout of Embraer’s commercial airliner division.

Never content to let arch-rival Boeing have a moment in the sun, Airbus made headlines today by renaming the Bombardier CSeries jet the Airbus A220.

The new naming convention fits with Airbus’ larger jets, spanning the Airbus A320, A330, A350 and A380. The smaller Bombardier CS100, which seats about 120 passengers in standard configuration, will now be called the Airbus A220-100, while the larger CS300 that can seat 130 to 140 passengers in typical layout will be known as the A220-300.

In a statement announcing the new name, Airbus said that A220 is “fully optimized for the 100 to 150 seat market and perfectly complement Airbus’ existing … A320neo family.”

Airbus and Bombardier announced a partnership last October that will see U.S.-bound CSeries jets assembled at Airbus’ recently opened factory in Alabama. The deal gave Airbus a majority stake in the CSeries.

Boeing, meanwhile, announced its own major deal last week, saying it had agreed to take over the commercial airliner division of Brazil’s Embraer.

Now we wait to see what names Boeing chooses for Embraer’s E-Jet line.

Source: Flying


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