Tag Archives: #airlines

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Qatar Airways voted World’s Best Airline for 2024

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Qatar Airways has been voted World’s Best Airline in the 2024 Skytrax World Airline Awards along with best Middle-East airline, World’s Best Business Class and World’s Best Business Class Seat.

The Qatari state owned airline took the top spot for its high level of service and overall performance.

Singapore Airlines gained the runner up spot coming in 2nd place to Qatar Airways but picked up the World’s Best Cabin crew gong.

3rd place went to Middle-eastern rival, Emirates Airlines.

Worlds Top 10 Airlines according to Skytrax

  1. Qatar Airways
  2. Singapore Airlines
  3. Emirates Airlines
  4. All Nippon Airways (ANA)
  5. Cathay Pacific
  6. Japan Airlines
  7. Turkish Airlines
  8. Eva Air
  9. Air France
  10. Swiss International Airlines

The best European Airline award went to rapidly growing Turkish Airlines which also picked up an award for Best Economy class in Europe.

British Airlines also picked up awards with Virgin Atlantic being awarded Europes Best Premium Economy while British Airways picked up awards for being the World’s Friendliest Airline and the most family-friendly in Europe.

In the low cost categories easyJet scooped the Best Low Cost airline in Europe and TUI Airways UK picked up the Best Leisure Airline in the United Kingdom award.

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IndiGo and Garuda Aviation Academy to enhance Cadet Pilot Programme

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IndiGo has partnered with Garuda Aviation Academy to train fresh pilots as future junior first officers, under the airline’s Cadet Pilot Programme.

This is the eighth partnership for cadet pilot program by IndiGo in the last 13 years.

The 21-month course also includes three-month ground schooling at Garuda Aviation Academy training center in Gurugram, followed by 12-months of training at 43 Air School in South Africa, which has a track record of training 6000+ ab-initio pilots over the years. 

Over the past 13 years, IndiGo has inducted over 1000 pilots through these full training programmes, which include commercial pilot license and A320 type rating. These courses start right from cadet selection to induction into the airline as a pilot. 

Captain Ashim Mittra, senior vice president- flight operations, IndiGo said: “We are proud to announce our partnership with Garuda Aviation Academy to bolster our Cadet Pilot Programme. We believe that this 21-month duration course will successfully foster the next generation of skilled pilots who will continue to uphold IndiGo’s commitment to providing safe, affordable, and hassle-free travel, for everyone. At IndiGo, we focus on the personal and professional growth of our pilots. This partnership will provide our people with unique learning opportunities and foster leadership skills, paving the way for a robust cadre of leaders within IndiGo.”

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Saudia places big additional Airbus A320neo family order

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Saudia Group, which operates Saudi Arabia’s flag carrier Saudi as well as budget airline flyadeal, has placed an order for an additional 105 singe-aisle A320neo family airliners with European airframer Airbus.

Announced at the Future Aviation Forum in Riyadh, the deal adds to the 144 aircraft already on the books as part of the delivery backlog for Airbus.

The 105 aircraft order consists of 12 A320neo and 93 A321neo airliners which will help Saudia meet its ambitious expansion and sustainability goals.

His Excellency Engr. Ibrahim Al-Omar, Director General of Saudia Group, said: “Saudia has ambitious operational objectives to meet growing demand. We are increasing flights and seat capacity across our existing 100+ destinations on four continents, with plans for further expansion. The progress of Saudi Vision 2030 is attracting more visits, tourists, entrepreneurs, and pilgrims each year. This motivated our decision to secure this significant deal, which will create jobs, increase local content, and contribute to the national economy.”

Benoît de Saint-Exupéry, Executive Vice President Sales of the Commercial Aircraft business said: “The new additions of the A320neo family aircraft will play a vital role in contributing to Saudi Arabia’ ambitious Vision 2030 plan,” adding “It will enable Saudia Group’s strategy to advance the Kingdom’s aviation capabilities while enabling both airlines to benefit from the A320neo Family’s exceptional efficiency, superior economics, highest level of passenger comfort as well as lower fuel-burn and emissions.”

As well as having the widest single-aisle cabin in the skies, the A320neo family aircraft can currently operate on 50% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) mix making it attractive to airlines looking to reduce their carbon footprint. Airbus aims to be able to operate A320neos on 100% SAF by 2030.

The wings for the A320neo family, and all other A3XX family aircraft, are built at Airbus’ Broughton, North Wales facility meaning that Airbus orders are always good news for the local and UK economy.

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Mexicana orders 20 Embraer E2 aircraft

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Mexicana de Aviacion, Mexico’s new government-run carrier, has placed an order for 20 Embraer E2 narrowbody aircraft, making it the first customer of the type in that country.

The San Jose dos Campos-headquartered airframer said on 3 June that the Mexican airline, which launched almost six months ago, has ordered 10 E190-E2 and 10 of the larger E195-E2 aircraft, with deliveries beginning in the second quarter of 2025.

The aircraft will be configured with 108 seats in the E190, and 132 seats in the E195, in a single-class layout.

“Seeing the success and rapid growth Mexicana has achieved since it restarted operations in December 2023 has been remarkable,” says Priscilla Doro Solymossy, vice-president sales and marketing and head of Latin America and the Caribbean for Embraer Commercial Aviation.

“The airline is already flying to 18 destinations, and has transported more than 115,000 passengers, accumulating more than 3,280 flight hours in this short period, reflecting Mexicana’s commitment to operational excellence and customer service,” she adds. 

After Mexicana went out of business in August 2010, the government resuscitated the brand last year, with plans for the carrier to be overseen by the country’s defence ministry. After numerous delays dogged the project, the new airline launched operations on 26 December. According to Cirium fleets data, it now operates three older-generation Boeing 737 NG jets.

The airline had initially outlined a proposed route network of 20 domestic destinations it planned to serve out of Mexico City’s new Felipe Angeles airport, with an envisioned fleet of 10 jets. According to a route map on its website on 3 June, the airline now shows 19 destinations, nine of which appear to be operated by a partner, Link Conexion Aerea.

”With this strategic decision, the Mexican state airline will grow and modernise its fleet, strengthening domestic and international connectivity to offer affordable and comfortable air travel, with the highest standards of safety and service,” Embraer says.

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Saudi Arabia sets ambitious targets to strengthen aviation strategy, senior official says

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RIYADH: Increasing passenger numbers and expanding flight routes are among the key objectives of Saudi Arabia’s aviation strategy, according to a senior official.

In an interview with Arab News on the sidelines of the Future Aviation Forum held in Riyadh, Vice President of the General Authority of Civil Aviation for Quality and Traveler Experience, Abdulaziz Al-Dahmash, said the Kingdom has set “very ambitious targets” in this sector.

These include tripling the number of passengers compared to 2019, handling 4.5 million tonnes of cargo, and establishing more than 250 direct destinations from the Kingdom’s airports to global locations.

“Those key targets need enablers, and one of the key pillars is our passenger experience, and we always say that the passenger comes first, so from that perspective, we started different programs from a regulator perspective,” Al-Dahmash told Arab News.

He added: “We said, total quality evaluation or air total quality evaluation program. This program focuses on the passenger experience across all the touchpoints at the airport, from entrance to boarding.”

Al-Dahmash noted that Saudi Arabia’s aviation strategy includes four sub-programs aimed at enhancing passenger experience to meet 2030 targets.

The first focuses on reducing waiting times through operational standards, while the second emphasizes traveler feedback and satisfaction. 

The third ensures infrastructure readiness by inspecting over 1,300 items annually per terminal.

The fourth addresses passengers’ complaints and improves responsiveness and resolution. These initiatives have already shown significant progress since 2019.

“We are still moving forward to achieve our targets in 2030,” Al-Dahmash stressed.

Additionally, the investment showcases in the Kingdom align closely with the national aviation strategy’s ambitious goals.

The initiative presents a substantial economic opportunity amounting to $100 billion, with half of this investment targeted toward developing the airport infrastructure.

Mohammed Al-Khuraisi, the executive vice president of strategy and business intelligence at GACA, told Arab News: “We have King Salman Airport (undergoing a) massive expansion from 40 million to 120 million capacity, similarly, Jeddah Airport. Then we have around $40 billion worth of investments in terms of airlines, that entails commercial airlines.” 

He added: “We have heard Saudia major announcements yesterday of around 105 aircrafts. Prior to that, there were Riyadh Air major announcements as well, and we expect more waves of aircraft acquisitions in terms of passenger, airlines or also cargo airlines.”

Apart from airline investments, around $10 billion is allocated to various aviation-related services such as special economic zones, cargo logistics and general aviation as well as ground handling, maintenance, repair, and catering, illustrating a comprehensive approach to supporting the industry’s expansion and development.

On the air connectivity front, Ali Rajab, executive vice president of air transport and international cooperation at GACA, highlighted Saudi Arabia’s ambitious plans for air connectivity, aiming to increase the number of destinations served by the country’s airports.

“We will have by 2030, 250 destinations that would reach to Saudi Arabia. In 2019, we were only 99, And today we have reached to 149 destinations,” Rajab said.

He added: “This conference focuses on connectivity, and we have around 73 airline representatives here. We have most of the industry, including airports and, logistics services and ground handlers, catering, etc., all of these companies help to have more connectivity, helping the world, connecting each other.”

Rajab also expressed confidence that by 2030, Saudi Arabia will emerge as the leading country within its region in terms of aviation and will rank fifth globally in the industry.

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IndiGo places order for 30 Airbus A350s

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India’s largest airline, IndiGo has placed a firm order with Airbus for 30 Airbus A350 widebodies as it looks to expand its international long-haul network.

The order comes ahead of an expected boom in international travel from India which is already the fastest growing aviation market in the world.

IndiGo’s order consists of 30 A350-900 airliners which have a range of 15,372 km carrying up to 350 passengers.

IndoGo CEO Pieter Elbers commented: “Today’s historic moment marks a new chapter for IndiGo and will further shape the future of the airline and for Indian aviation at the same time. For IndiGo, after successfully pioneering the Indian skies with an unprecedented journey, its fleet of 30 Airbus A350-900 aircraft will allow IndiGo to embark on its next phase of becoming one of the leading global aviation players.

“At IndiGo, we take pride in being India’s preferred airline and for offering connectivity to our customers, in and with India. This reaffirms IndiGo’s belief in, and commitment to, the growth of India, and in our strategic partnership with Airbus,”

The Delhi-based airline is already a big operator of Airbus aircraft having one of the largest A320 family fleets in the world and the A350, with its cleats-leading efficiency, will help the airline take advantage of the growth in international travel to and from India.

Benoît de Saint-Exupéry, Airbus EVP Sales, Commercial Aircraft added: “A heartfelt thank you to IndiGo for putting its trust in Airbus once again, and to our respective teams who negotiated this agreement for 30 A350s. IndiGo’s first widebody order opens an exciting new chapter in our close partnership.

“We are proud that our fuel-efficient, next-generation A320 Family revolutionised domestic air travel in India, and that now the A350 is poised to replicate the same success on long-haul routes,” 

IndiGo currently operates 171 Airbus A320 and 84 Airbus A321 aircraft along with 45 ATR 72s and two Boeing 777’s, which at 16 years old, will likely be replaced by the A350’s.

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Turkish Airlines signs cooperation deal with Rolls Royce

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Turkish Airlines has inked an agreement with Rolls Royce regarding the maintenance services and the supply of engines for Airbus A350 aircraft, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Abdulkadir Uraloğlu has announced.

The flag carrier already firmed up the purchase of 230 aircraft, including A350 and A321NEO jets, from Airbus, Uraloğlu recalled, speaking at the event which was held in Istanbul on April 29 to unveil the “Strategic Türkiye Enhanced Program” to be implemented in cooperation with Airbus and Rolls Royce.

Within the scope of the aircraft purchases, negotiations were also held with Airbus and Rolls-Royce on Competitive Industrial Cooperation, according to Uraloğlu.

Turkish Airlines, Airbus and Rolls-Royce also agreed to bring new business models to Türkiye and to increase the country’s production in the field of aviation by bringing together domestic aviation service providers and parts manufacturers with these companies, Uraloğlu said.

The minister noted that the flag carrier operates a fleet of 24 cargo planes and 416 passenger jets, flying to 364 destinations in 133 countries.

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Gulfstream Deliveries Set To Take Off in 2024

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Manufacturer expects to hand over 160 aircraft to customers this year, almost 50 more than in 2023

Gulfstream deliveries edged up slightly in the first quarter but did not nearly double from a year ago as planned, since FAA certification came too late to start handing over G700s before April, Phebe Novakovic, chair and CEO of parent company General Dynamics, said this morning during an investor call. The Savannah, Georgia aircraft manufacturer shipped 24 jets (21 large-cabins and three super-midsize G280s) in the quarter, up from 21 (17 large-cabins and four G280s) in the first three months of 2023.

According to Novakovic, Gulfstream had planned to deliver 15 to 17 G700s in the first quarter but will still meet its target of handing over 50 to 52 of the ultra-long-range jets by year-end. What she called Lot 1—the first 20 G700s—needed unspecified post-certification modifications but are now ready for delivery to customers, with another seven to eight of the twinjets ready by June. Novakovic said G700 shipments will be evenly paced throughout the year, meaning around 17 per quarter. Gulfstream expects to deliver about 160 aircraft in total this year, up from 111 in 2023.

Meanwhile, General Dynamics’ aerospace division, which includes Gulfstream and Jet Aviation, reported revenues of $2.084 billion and operating earnings of $255 million in the quarter, both up by more than 10 percent from a year ago. Novakovic termed the sales pipeline at the division “robust,” with strong demand for new-production Gulfstreams and aircraft maintenance services. Book-to-bill was 1.2:1 in the first three months at the aerospace division, with backlog up slightly quarter-over-quarter, to $20.454 billion.

Supply-chain issues continue to weigh on Gulfstream—with parts shortages still occurring on the production lines—but are “getting better,” Novakovic said.

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Air Astana announces settlement with Pratt & Whitney

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Air Astana Group has reached a settlement with Pratt & Whitney in connection to its PW1100G engines fitted to the carrier’s A320-200neo aircraft.

In a Kazakhstan Stock Exchange filing on March 27, the Air Astana (KC, Astana Nursultan Nazarbayev) and FlyArystan parent said the settlement “will help address costs and will supplement the existing range of robust operational initiatives to address these issues in a sustainable manner.” It did not disclose a figure on the settlement.

The engine type powers the group’s twenty-nine A320neo Family aircraft. The company said it expects to have 34 engine removals throughout 2024.

“To mitigate the ongoing maintenance issues concerning the PW1100G engines, Air Astana Group has five spare engines and plans to obtain six additional engines by 2028,” a January 2024 preliminary prospectus reads. “Furthermore, Air Astana Group has access to Pratt & Whitney’s pool of spare engines.”

The module reveals that the PW1100G is fitted to thirteen A320-200Ns, four A321-200Ns, and twelve A321-200NX(LR)s among the group’s fleet. Eight of the A320-200Ns operate on behalf of FlyArystan with the remainder flying for Air Astana. Six of the A320-200Ns are currently out of service.

The settlement draws a line under Air Astana Group’s second major engine dispute in as many years. In February 2023, the company withdrew an appeal at the New York Supreme Court after it lost a 2021 damages claim against Embraer. Alleging five E190-E2s delivered on lease from AerCap in 2018 were unsafe to fly, it grounded the planes and sued Embraer for breaches of contract and warranty. However, the court dismissed Air Astana’s claim for damages in September 2022. Air Astana appealed that decision before deciding to withdraw it.

Separately, this week’s stock exchange filing disclosed that Air Astana Group had executed a purchase agreement with International Aero Engines for a sixth spare PW1100 engine. IAE will deliver it in April and the transaction is “aligned with the airline’s engine issue mitigation planning.” The group further advised that it had signed a lease for two A320-200s to help offset the capacity issues caused by the out-of-service A320neo. Those two aircraft are due to arrive in the first quarter of 2025.

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Japan Airlines buys 42 aircraft from Airbus, Boeing

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The ‘catalogue’ prices of the planes come to around $12.9 billion in total

Tokyo: Japan Airlines said Thursday that it is buying 42 airplanes from Boeing and Airbus as part of a drive to boost its international and domestic operations.

32 new aircraft from Airbus and 10 from Boeing in orders worth billions of dollars.

The firm said it would “introduce a total of 21 Airbus A350-900 aircraft from Airbus, along with 11 A321neo aircraft, and 10 Boeing 787-9 aircraft from The Boeing Company, as part of its fleet renewal plan”.

But a separate statement listed the “catalogue” prices of the planes, which in total comes to around $12.9 billion.

The airline said it will add 20 Airbus A350-900 aircraft and 10 Boeing 787-9 to its international routes, adding to its existing fleet of more than 50 Boeing 787-series planes.

“These new aircraft introductions aim to enhance and expand the capacity of JAL’s international operations, with a primary focus on regions such as North America, Asia, and India where future growth is expected,” it said in a statement.

On domestic routes, JAL will introduce 21 Boeing 737-8 aircraft to replace its current Boeing 737-800 fleet, starting from 2026, it said.

Additionally, to update their existing fleet of medium-sized Boeing 767 aircraft, JAL will introduce 11 Airbus A321neo aircraft.

This marks the first time that JAL, which is Japan’s second-biggest airline after All Nippon Airways (ANA), will introduce the model, it said.

The introduction of both aircraft types is planned over a period of approximately six years, starting in 2027.

JAL added that it “remains committed to steadily advancing the introduction of fuel-efficient aircraft as part of its efforts to achieve its CO2 emissions reduction targets”.

The goals include a 10 percent reduction in total emissions compared to 2019 by fiscal year 2030, and near-zero emissions by fiscal year 2050, it added.