Aviation News in Brief 15 Nov 2019

Metrojet, BOC Aviation, Airways International, Qatar Airways, CFM, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines


metrojetHK’s Metrojet renewed for IS-BAO certification: Hong Kong-based Metrojet, part of the Kadoorie Group, said its International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) Stage 3 certification renewal has been successfully approved for another three years to 2022. IS-BAO contains three stages of certification where Stage 3 is currently the highest registration certificate issued by the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC). The successful completion of an audit verifies that safety management activities are fully integrated into the operator’s business and that a positive safety culture is integrated and supported in the daily operations.

BOC Aviation delivers 2 A321s to Sichuan Airlines: BOC Aviation announced that it has delivered the final two of five Airbus A321NEO aircraft on lease to Sichuan Airlines. These aircraft are powered by Pratt & Whitney GTF PW1100G-JM engines, and were delivered from the company’s existing order book. “Sichuan Airlines is very pleased to have partnered with BOC Aviation for our latest two A321NEO aircraft, as we continue to grow our network and connectivity in the region. With this latest delivery, we now have 19 A320NEO family aircraft in our fleet,” said Li Haiying, chairman of Sichuan Airlines.

Air traffic management-Driving efficiency-metrojetAirways’ TotalControl simulation taking off to the UK: New Zealand’s Airways International’s TotalControl simulator will shortly be used by air traffic control trainees at the United Kingdom’s Takeoff Aviation Academy. Airways will provide Takeoff Direct with a desktop tower simulator and a surveillance simulator, in the first installation of a TotalControl simulation solution into the United Kingdom. The project is due to begin in early 2020. The Takeoff Direct desktop simulator will have eight screens, with two multi-purpose pseudo pilot positions capable of controlling both tower and radar simulations as well as preparing new exercises. The simulator uses high fidelity 3D graphics, and air traffic control trainees will be able to control traffic in exercises that mimic the real world including complex weather conditions.

Qatar Airways signs US$4 billion deal for LEAP-1As: Qatar Airways said that it has ordered CFM International LEAP-1A engines to power its new fleet of 50 Airbus A321neo family aircraft, placing the largest A321neo order ever in the Middle East. In addition, the national airline of the State of Qatar has also signed with CFM a Rate-Per-Flight-Hour (RPFH) support agreement to cover its entire fleet of LEAP-1A engines, including spares, for a combined total value of US$4 billion at list prices. Qatar Airways has been a CFM customer since 2015 and currently operates a fleet of eight CFM56-5B-powered A320ceo family aircraft. The first LEAP-1A-powered A321neo is scheduled to be delivered in 2020.

metrojetCathay Pacific traffic continues dropping: Cathay Pacific Group released combined traffic figures for October for Cathay and Cathay Dragon that showed decreases in passengers carried as well as cargo. Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon carried a total of 2,740,830 passengers in October, a drop of 7.1 percent compared to October 2018. Passenger load factor decreased by 4 percentage points to 77.6 percent, while capacity, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), rose by 2.4 percent. In the first 10 months of 2019, the number of passengers carried grew by 0.5 percent and capacity increased by 6.4 percent , as compared to the same period for 2018. The two airlines carried 183,119 tonnes of cargo and mail in October, a drop of 4.9 percent compared to the same month last year. The cargo and mail load factor fell by 2.4 percentage points to 68 percent. Capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres (AFTKs), was down by 2.5 percent while cargo and mail revenue freight tonne kilometres (RFTKs) dropped by 5.9 percent. Cathay Pacific Group chief customer and commercial officer Ronald Lam said: “It continues to be a challenging time for both the Cathay Pacific Group and for Hong Kong. In response to weakened travel sentiment to and from Hong Kong, we have so far reduced our passenger flight capacity against our original schedule by 2-4 percent between August and October, and 6-7 percent for November and December. In October, demand for travel into Hong Kong remained weak with our inbound passenger traffic seeing a year-on-year decline of 35 percent, consistent with the trend seen in both August and September. The drop in outbound Hong Kong traffic was 13 percent in October, again similar to the trend over the past two months. Transit traffic via Hong Kong remained relatively less affected. Our passenger load factor dropped by 4 percentage points to 77.6 percent compared to the same time last year. Apart from reduced traffic volume and load factor, overall passenger yield also continued to be under significant pressure. Mainland China routes in particular felt significant pressure with weak travel sentiment to Hong Kong by mainland tourists. Demand for premium class travel was also sluggish with passenger volume seeing a double-digit dip in October, traditionally a peak month for business travel. Japan routes were the star in our network – the Rugby World Cup generated good demand, especially from England and South Africa when both teams advanced to the final. Looking ahead, our advanced bookings continue to show weakness in both inbound and outbound Hong Kong traffic for the rest of 2019, partly offset by moderately increased transit passengers via Hong Kong. Overall we foresee a challenging remainder of 2019 for our airlines. We expect our second-half financial results will be significantly below those of our first-half. The short-term outlook remains challenging and uncertain.”

metrojetSingapore Airlines traffic growth grows: October passenger traffic at Singapore Airlines (measured in revenue passenger-kilometres) grew 8.7 percent compared to last year, outpacing capacity (measured in available seat-kilometres) growth of 5.5 percent. Passenger load factor (PLF) rose by 2.5 percentage points to 84.4 percent.  Singapore Airlines’ PLF improved by 1.7 percentage points year-on-year to 84.4 percent. Passenger carriage increased 10.3 percent compared to last year, against capacity injection of 8 percent. PLF improved for all route regions except for the Americas where PLF was flat against last year. Improvement in loads was partly due to the shift in Deepavali holidays from November 2018 to October 2019. Efforts continue to focus on RASK (revenue per available seat-kilometres).  SilkAir recorded a 4.8 percentage point increase in PLF to 79.7 percent as the system-wide passenger carriage grew by 4 percent against a 2.2 percent contraction in capacity. The strong growth in passenger carriage led to increases in PLF for East Asia and Pacific, as well as West Asia. Scoot’s PLF improved 4.3 percentage points to 85.6 percent, as passenger carriage increased by 4.4 percent against a marginal decline in capacity of 0.8 percent. PLF improved for East Asia as Chinese routes benefitted from the China Golden Week, while the suspension of underperforming routes led to the improvement of PLF in West Asia. Rest of World also registered higher PLF as demand for long-haul routes to Europe improved. During the month, Scoot launched new routes to Coimbatore and Visakhapatnam which were previously served by SilkAir. Scoot ceased services to Kochi, with the route being transferred to SilkAir. Services to Male were also suspended. Cargo load factor (CLF) was 6.2 percentage points lower, as the 10.3 percent decline in cargo traffic (measured in freight tonne-kilometres) outpaced the capacity contraction of 1.4 percent. All route regions registered declines in CLF.

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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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