Aviation News in Brief 13 May 2020

Asian Sky Group, Lufthansa Consulting, Amadeus, Gulfstream, FlightSafety, Etihad, Pegasus Airlines, Kerry Logistics, Mitsubishi Aircraft, Boeing, AirAsia

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New chairman at Hong Kong’s Asian Sky Group: Hong Kong business aviation consulting firm Asian Sky Group (ASG) announced that Wu Zhendong has been appointed as the company’s new chairman, leading all of ASG and Asian Sky Media’s business units, alongside Managing Director Jeffrey Lowe. Wu has more than 35 years of experience in general aviation, working alongside clients in Hong Kong, mainland China and the US, through advisory and consulting services. He is the founder and chairman of Avion Pacific, a Chinese general aviation service provider that represents Sikorsky Helicopters and Cessna-Beechcraft. Additionally, Wu is the owner of AOC company, Kings Aviation, which supports and manages China-based aircraft and various ab-initio and advanced special training services for pilots.

Hannes Müller named managing director of Lufthansa Consulting: Hannes Müller has joined the Lufthansa Consulting Management Board as managing director. Müller together with Dr Andreas Jahnke, will further grow the Lufthansa Group’s aviation-focused management consulting business internally within the group and also externally as part of the global competitive market. In addition to the significant challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis, their focus will also include opportunities related to the digitalisation of customer interfaces, processes and business models. Müller has worked in various business units and management positions within the Lufthansa Group, most recently as senior director for  Infrastructure Strategy & Business Analytics, and prior to that as director of Segment Strategy in Corporate Strategy.

Amadeus announces Q1 results: Travel technology company Amadeus said its first-quarter core profit EBITDA fell 41 percent to 349 million euros (US$379.08 million). Revenues came in at 1.02 billion euros, in line with its own estimate of a 25-30 percent drop published in April. The group said travel agency air bookings nearly halved in the quarter, while the number of passengers airlines boarded via its IT solutions business fell 12 percent. Amadeus told Reuters it has enough liquidity and scope for cost cuts to cope with curbs to air travel caused by the coronavirus pandemic even if the crisis extends beyond this year. The group offered no specific outlook, but its president and chief executive Luis Maroto said it expected “a bad second quarter”. As part of efforts to adapt, Amadeus has shifted resources from longer-term projects to ones that generate more revenues, such as services for airlines. Amadeus’ rival Sabre reported earlier a first-quarter net loss of US$213 million, citing a drop in bookings caused by flight cancellations.

Gulfstream G650 training underway: FlightSafety International announced that training for the Gulfstream G650 aircraft is now underway at its Dallas Learning Centre using a new FlightSafety FS1000 simulator. Dallas is FlightSafety’s fifth G650 training location and this is the sixth full flight simulator the company has built to serve operators of the aircraft around the world. The advanced technology systems and components installed in this new FlightSafety FS1000 simulator include a CrewView collimated glass mirror display and VITAL 1150 Visual System, electric Motion Cueing System, and advanced instructor operating station. The simulator also features tightly integrated computer hardware and software across subsystems which allows for more accurate and higher fidelity simulation than found in other current and previous generation simulators.

Etihad increases schedules: Effective 15 May, Etihad Airways will operate a regular scheduled service from Melbourne to London Heathrow via Abu Dhabi, and from 21 May will also introduce services from London Heathrow to Melbourne via Abu Dhabi. The airline plans to maintain this link until it fully resumes its previous double daily connection between the two cities. Etihad advises all customers wishing to travel on these services to check current entry regulations for both the United Kingdom and Australia.

Pegasus Airlines launches new cargo flights: Pegasus Airlines has resumed cargo flights following the temporary suspension of all its flights within the scope of the measures taken and restrictions imposed in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.  Prior to the crisis, Pegasus had been providing cargo transportation services in its narrowbody passenger aircraft but has now converted its A321neo passenger aircraft, in line with national and international regulations, for the purpose of transporting additional cargo within the cabin itself, in order to increase capacity and carry more weight. During the first stage, Pegasus Airlines will load cargo onto the aircraft from its main hub, Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport, and Izmir and Antalya airports in Turkey, for transportation to domestic and international destinations within its flight network.

Kerry Logistics forms JV in Sri Lanka: Kerry Logistics Network announced a new joint venture, Kerry Logistics Lanka, formed with IAS Holdings in Sri Lanka to strengthen its international freight forwarding capabilities in South Asia. Headquartered in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Kerry Lanka sits at the strategic crossroads of East Asia, South and Southeast Asia, Africa and Europe. As part of Kerry Logistics’ South Asia operation, Kerry Lanka operates an office in Colombo, as well as a bonded facility and office for export purposes at the Bandaranaike International Airport. In addition to Kerry Indev Logistics in India, Kerry Logistics has also established a subsidiary in Pakistan in 2018 to extend its footprint in the Indian subcontinent.

Mitsubishi reviewing development of MHI 100: Mitsubishi Aircraft’s parent company is reviewing the development of the 76-seat version of its regional jet programme as losses on the programme widened, according to a FlightGlobal report. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) will also halve the budget allocated for the SpaceJet regional aircraft programme to Y60 billion ($558 million) for the year ending 31 March 2021. In its full-year results presentation, MHI states that it is “setting an appropriate level of budget” for the SpaceJet programme in the new financial year. The Japanese firm adds that it “remains committed” to move the development of the baseline, 90-seater M90 variant forward. The SpaceJet M100 was launched at the Paris air show in 2019 and is targeted at the US regional market. It was designed to meet take-off weight limits for 76-seat aircraft as stipulated by major US airlines’ pilot contracts.

boeing-posts-q1-loss-of-us641-millionBoeing orders continue to fall: Orders for Boeing’s grounded 737 MAX fell in April and the company delivered five commercial airplanes in April and one military derivative. Customers cancelled orders for 108 Boeing 737 MAXs and Boeing cut 99 MAX orders that had previously been booked. GE’s aircraft leasing unit GECAS cancelled 69 MAXs. Another lessor, China Development Bank Financing, cancelled 29. The remaining 10 formal cancellations were by unidentified customers. Two orders for 787 Dreamliners were also removed from the backlog. Boeing won no new orders in the month. With the added cancellations and removals, that leaves the net order tally for the year negative at minus-516 airplanes.

AirAsia rolls out contactless travel points: AirAsia said it will be rolling out several contactless procedures for essential travel including contactless payments at the airport, contactless kiosks, Passenger Reconciliation System (PRS) as well as enhanced features on its mobile app to help ensure a smooth and safe travel experience. The airline has set up contactless payment options including Wave payments for AliPay and WeChat Pay at klia2 in Malaysia, which will include other airports gradually. Other options such as BigPay and Touch N Go will also be available soon. The contactless kiosks are available at all operating airports across Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Japan.

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Editor Matt Driskill at matt.driskill@asianaviation.com
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Asian Aviation
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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