Aviation News in Brief 11 Oct 2019

IATA; Porsche & Boeing; Gravity Global; BOC Aviation; Airbus & IndiGo; Vietnam Airlines; AAR; ACI World; GeoSim Technologies; Thai VietJet; Etihad Engineering

August international passenger demand rose 3.3 percent compared to August 2018, improved from a 2.8 percent year-over-year growth achieved in July.

IATA – August sees moderate pick-up in pax demand: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced global passenger traffic data for August 2019 showing that demand (measured in total revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) climbed 3.8 percent compared to the year-ago period. This was above the 3.5 percent annual increase for July. August capacity (available seat kilometres or ASKs) increased by 3.5 percent. Load factor climbed to 85.7 percent, which was a new monthly record, as airlines continue to maximise asset use.

Mr deJuniac
Alexandre de Juniac, director general of IATA.

“While we saw a pick-up in passenger demand in August compared to July, growth remains below the long-term trend and well-down on the roughly 8.5 percent annual growth seen over the 2016 to Q1 2018 period. This reflects the impact of economic slowdowns in some key markets, uncertainty over Brexit and the trade war between the US and China. Nonetheless, airlines are doing a great job of matching capacity to demand. With passenger load factors reaching a new high of 85.7 percent this is good for overall efficiency and passengers’ individual carbon footprint,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.


IATA paxInternational Passenger Markets: August international passenger demand rose 3.3 percent compared to August 2018, improved from a 2.8 percent year-over-year growth achieved in July. With the exception of Latin America, all regions recorded increases, led by airlines in Africa. Capacity climbed 2.9 percent, and load factor edged up to 85.6 percent.

  • Asia-Pacific airlines’ August traffic increased 3.5 percent compared to the year-ago period, which was an acceleration compared to a 2.6 percent rise in July. However, this remains well below the long-term average growth rate of around 6.5 percent, reflecting slowing economic growth in India and Australia as well as the impact of trade disputes. Capacity rose 3.9 percent and load factor slid 0.4 percentage point to 82.8 percent.
  • European carriers saw August demand climb 3.7 percent year-to-year, fractionally up over a 3.6 percent increase for July. Capacity rose 3.4 percent, and load factor climbed to 89 percent, which was the highest among regions. Slowing economic growth in key markets such as the UK and Germany, as well as uncertainties and disparate business confidence outcomes are behind the softer conditions for the continent’s air carriers.
  • Middle Eastern airlines posted a 2.9 percent traffic increase in August, which was an increase from a 1.7 percent rise in July. While this was better than the average of the past twelve months, it remains far below the double-digit growth trend of recent years. Falling business confidence in parts of the region, combined with some key airlines going through a process of structural change and geopolitical tensions are all likely to be contributing factors. Capacity increased 1.3 percent, with load factor rising 1.3 percentage points to 82.4 percent.
  • North American carriers’ international demand rose 2.5 percent compared to August a year ago, up from a 1.4 percent increase in July. Capacity rose 1.3 percent, and load factor grew by 1 percentage point to 88.3 percent. As with the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, this performance represents an improvement from July, but remains relatively soft compared to long-term norms, most likely reflecting trade tensions and slowing global demand.
  • Latin American airlines experienced a 2.3 percent demand increase in August compared to the same month last year, down from a 4 percent annual growth in July. Argentina’s financial and currency crises, combined with challenging economic conditions in Brazil and Mexico, contributed to the depressed performance. Capacity fell 0.3 percent and load factor surged 2.1 percentage points to 83.9 percent.
  • African airlines’ traffic climbed 4.1 percent in August, up from 3.2 percent in July. This solid performance comes after South Africa – the region’s second largest economy – returned to positive economic growth in Q2 2019. Capacity rose 6.1 percent, however, and load factor dipped 1.4 percentage points to 75.6 percent.

Domestic Passenger Markets: Demand for domestic travel climbed 4.7 percent in August compared to August 2018, unchanged from the previous month. Capacity rose 4.6 percent and load factor increased 0.1 percentage point to 85.9 percent.

  • Australian airlines’ domestic traffic slipped 0.4 percent in August compared to August a year ago, which was a reversal from a 0.7 percent annual increase in July. Economic growth in Australia slipped to its lowest level in several years during the second quarter.
  • Russian airlines saw domestic traffic climb 6 percent in August, down from 6.8 percent growth in July and below the long-term average growth rate in the market of around 10 percent.

Porsche and Boeing partner on premium urban air mobility market: Porsche and Boeing have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the premium urban air mobility market and the extension of urban traffic into airspace. With this partnership, both companies will leverage their unique market strengths and insights to study the future of premium personal urban air mobility vehicles. “Porsche is looking to enhance its scope as a sports car manufacturer by becoming a leading brand for premium mobility. In the longer term, this could mean moving into the third dimension of travel,” says Detlev von Platen, member of the Executive Board for Sales and Marketing at Porsche AG. “We are combining the strengths of two leading global companies to address a potential key market segment of the future.”

As part of the partnership, the companies will create an international team to address various aspects of urban air mobility, including analysis of the market potential for premium vehicles and possible use cases. Boeing, Porsche and Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences are also developing a concept for a fully electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle. Engineers from both companies, as well as Porsche subsidiaries Porsche Engineering Services GmbH and Studio F.A. Porsche, will implement and test a prototype. A 2018 study by Porsche Consulting forecasts that the urban air mobility market will pick up speed after 2025. The study also indicates that urban air mobility solutions will transport passengers more quickly and efficiently than current conventional means of terrestrial transport, at a lower cost and with greater flexibility.

AviationAviation rep acquires digital marketer: Gravity Global, an international marketing agency headquartered in the UK, and which recently was nominated for multiple awards for campaigns on behalf of Embraer and engine maker CFM, announced it has acquired Further Digital Marketing, which it said was an award-winning performance marketing specialist and represented the latest in a series of acquisitions being made in the UK and internationally. “Further will strengthen our capabilities in specific key areas, notably, organic search, paid search, paid social, content marketing, conversion optimisation and data analysis. It will deliver insights for our clients that help to transform brands and maximise the business opportunity. Further also has deep category expertise in key sectors of technology and financial services – complementing many of our existing specialisms,” Gravity Global said in a statement announcing the acquisition. “Gravity’s strategy is centred around genuine integration. We want to enable our clients and their in-house marketing teams to go to one agency with all of the skill-sets and expertise to deliver truly connected customer experiences that are effective, efficient and drive accelerated performance across the entire marketing and sales value chain. The acquisition of Further strengthens a critical part of this strategy,” the company added.

BOC Aviation lists operational data: BOC Aviation announced its operational transactions for the third quarter ended 30 September 2019. The data included:

  • A total fleet of 509 aircraft owned, managed and on order;
  • An average aircraft age of 3.1 years and an average remaining lease term of 8.3 years for the 309 owned aircraft fleet, weighted by net book value;
  • Order book of 164 aircraft;
  • Took delivery of nine aircraft (including one acquired by an airline customer on delivery)
  • Signed 11 lease commitments;
  • Customer base of 92 airlines in 40 countries and regions in the owned and managed portfolios;
  • Sold 13 owned aircraft;
  • Managed fleet comprised 36 aircraft;
  • Aircraft utilisation at 99.5 percent.

Airbus marks its 1,000th A320neo family aircraft delivery: Airbus has delivered the 1,000th A320neo family aircraft, which was an A321neo produced in Hamburg, Germany, and delivered to Indian airline IndiGo. IndiGo is the world’s biggest customer for the A320neo family with orders totalling 430 aircraft. Since its first NEO was delivered in March 2016, its fleet of A320neo family has grown into the world’s largest with 96 aircraft operating alongside 129 A320s.

Vietnam Airlines AirbusVietnam Airlines starts inflight connectivity for passengers: Vietnam Airlines has become the first Vietnamese airline to offer inflight connectivity (IFC) through a partnership with SITAONAIR and Inmarsat satellite telecommunications operator VISHIPEL. Inflight Wi-Fi is now available on-board four of Vietnam Airlines’ A350 aircraft, making VN the first airline in the country to offer on-board Wi-Fi to meet high regional demand. SITAONAIR’s Internet ONAIR IFC portal will provide Wi-Fi access to the airline’s passengers.

Donecle DroneAAR launches Donecle drone technology integration for MRO aircraft inspections: AAR has announced the integration of Donecle drone technology into its maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) operations. AAR´s Miami MRO facility is the first in its global network to use the fully automated drone technology to drive operational and cost efficiencies, where the pilot phase has yielded increases in speed and precision. With laser positioning, the drone can safely perform end-to-end visual inspections of B737 and A320 aircraft in under an hour. AAR and Donecle have partnered on an initial 12-month technology agreement, and upon further assessment and results, will expand the platform to other MRO facilities. In compliance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements, AAR performs manual aircraft inspections in addition to the drone inspections.

Angela Gittens
Airports Council International World’s director general, Angela Gittens.

ACI World joins with global partners to call for new guidance on drone operations: Airports Council International (ACI) World and its global aviation industry partners have addressed the pressing need for standards and guidance to address unauthorised drone operations to the 40th International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Assembly. ACI World, the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO), International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations (IFATCA), International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) and International Air Transport Association (IATA) presented a paper – entitled The need for standards and guidance to mitigate the risks of, and to improve response to unauthorised UAS operations – which stated that disruption to airport operations by drones is a matter that requires urgent attention by ICAO, states and industry. In addition to the safety risk which comes directly from unauthorised drone – or Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) – operations, several major airports have been shut down by drone sightings around the world and this major disruption has led to frustration for passengers and substantial economic costs. The ICAO Assembly supported the working paper, recognising the safety risks associated with the unauthorised presence of unmanned aircraft in close vicinity to commercial aircraft and airports and noted the offer from industry to assist in drafting suitable guidance material.

“The issue of unauthorised drone incursions is a clear and present risk to airport operations around the world,” ACI World director general Angela Gittens said. “ACI is ready to join our industry partners to work with ICAO in drafting new international guidance material which builds upon existing standard, guidance, and regulations to protect operations and assist airports in responding to incidents. The industry needs harmonised processes for the detection of – and counter measures against – unauthorised drone operations that may interfere with international aviation.”

IATAEuramec adds Leonardo, Eurocopter and Bell, Specialty Flight Simulator lines from Australia’s GeoSim Technologies: Euramec, the European flight simulation solution providers, announced it has signed a non-exclusive distribution agreement with GeoSim Technologies for the worldwide distribution of GeoSim’s rotary wing simulators and specialty flight simulators. GeoSim based in Ipswich, Australia, signed a reciprocal arrangement to market EURAMEC’s portfolio of Flight Training Devices in Australia and New Zealand. GeoSim has partnered with EURAMEC, as EURAMEC has an extensive integrated global sales and support network, and has a proven track record of one-to-one personal attention to customer relationships around the world. Under the agreement, EURAMEC will promote GeoSim’s simulators for rotary wing and specialty products like the Air Tractor 802 simulator used for firefighting and crop-dusting. The Rotary Wing product line will include the Leonardo AW139, Bell 412 and Bell 206 series and the Eurocopter AS350 B3 platforms. EURAMEC will adapt GeoSim Technologies Flight Simulators to fully comply with EASA FNPT-II standards, which EASA compliant trainers will be marketed as a joint development.  Both companies also signed a licensing agreement to acquire and integrate selected components.

IATAThai VietJet opens new domestic routes: Thai VietJet announced its latest direct route connecting Udon Thani, one of the big capital cities in northeast Thailand, with Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) and Chiang Rai. The Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) – Udon Thani route will operate daily starting from 25 November.



Etihad Engineering wins awards: Etihad Engineering, the largest commercial aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services provider in the Middle East, received two industry honours at the annual Aviation Business Awards 2019 held in Dubai. Etihad Engineering was awarded the MRO Service Provider of the Year award in recognition of the company’s strong performance, remarkable achievements and contribution to the industry. The company expanded its comprehensive capabilities partnering with industry leaders regionally and globally to strengthen its global customer footprint beyond the Middle East across Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. Additionally, Abdul Khaliq Saeed, the chief executive officer of Etihad Engineering, was named Aviation Executive of the Year.

IATAJahan Alamzad appointed president of  LAMINAAR Americas: Singapore-based  LAMINAAR Aviation Infotech has appointed Jahan Alamzad as president of LAMINAAR Americas, which was established in Denver, Colorado in July 2019. Jahan will be primarily responsible for the company’s business in the Americas. He will additionally be the acting chief operations officer of the LAMINAAR Group, overseeing world-wide operations.

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Matthew Driskill is the Editor of Asian Aviation and is based in Cambodia. He has been an Asia-based journalist and content producer since 1990 for outlets including Reuters and the International Herald Tribune/New York Times and is a former president of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Hong Kong. He frequently appears on international broadcast outlets like CNN, Al Jazeera and the BBC and has taught journalism at Hong Kong University and the American University of Paris. Driskill has received awards from the Associated Press for Investigative Reporting and Business Writing and in 1989 was named the John J. McCloy Fellow by the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in New York where he earned his Master's Degree.


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