Aviation News in Brief 24 Oct 2019

Hamad International Airport, AAPA traffic figures, HK Express, IATA on Australia, Air Astana, Scoot, Pratt & Whitney, FlightSafety, Inmarsat, ACJ, Sabena Technics, Czech Airlines, Airbus, Gulfstream, Aireon, COCESNA, Jet Aviation, Sabre, Amadeus


Hamad International Airport expanding: Hamad International Airport (HIA) has released plans for its second expansion phase that will feature a 10,000 square metre indoor tropical garden in a central concourse as well as a 268 square metre water feature that will be the focal point of the expansion project. The second phase of HIA’s expansion consists of Phase A and B. Phase A of the current expansion will comprise of the central concourse linking concourses D and E. Construction is to commence by early 2020 and will increase the airport’s capacity to more than 53 million passengers annually by 2022. Phase B, which will be completed after 2022, will extend concourses D and E to further enhance the airport’s capacity to more than 60 million passengers annually. The expansion plan also includes 11,720 square metres of landscaped retail and F&B space, which will enhance the multi-dimensional offerings of the five-star airport by integrating world-class art collection and refreshing environment of lush greenery with contemporary retail and dining concepts among other leisure attractions and facilities under one expansive terminal. HIA will also deliver 9,000 square metres of world-class Al Mourjan lounge located above the retail space with dramatic views looking towards the tropical garden. The lounge will include additional spas, gymnasiums, restaurants and business centres as well as other passenger facilities. Other significant features include a new transfer area which will help shorten passengers’ connection times and will improve their overall transfer experience at HIA as well as the central concourse that will accommodate nine additional wide-body aircraft stands. HIA expansion will also see the construction of a new cargo terminal that will increase capacity handled to an estimated 3.2 million tons per year. The state-of-the-art terminal is slated to be ready by 2023, and will be a multi-level facility with 85,000 sqm building footprint, across three levels as well as three mezzanine levels providing approximately 323,000 square metres of gross floor area.

Hamad International Airport AAPA September Asia-Pacific airlines traffic results: Preliminary traffic figures for the month of September released by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) showed continued moderate growth in international air passenger numbers, while air cargo demand declined reflecting stagnant international trade activity. The region’s airlines carried 29.1 million international passengers in September, an increase of 3 percent  compared to the same month last year. Measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPK), demand grew by 3.4 percent while available seat capacity expanded by 4.4 percent, leading to a 0.7 percentage point decline in the average international passenger load factor to 78.6 percent for the month. International air cargo traffic in freight tonne kilometres terms (FTK) fell by 6.5 percent year-on-year in September on the back of continued weakness in external demand. Combined with the marginal 0.3 percent decline in offered freight capacity, the average international freight load factor dropped by 4 percentage points to 60.4 percent for the month. Commenting on the results, Andrew Herdman, AAPA director general, said “during the first nine months of the year, Asian airlines in aggregate carried 281 million international passengers, 4.3 percent more than the same period last year. The moderation in growth, compared to the higher rates sustained over recent years, reflects an increasingly challenging economic environment. Meanwhile, unresolved trade frictions have undermined business confidence and disrupted global supply chains. Asian airlines saw overall demand for air cargo fall by 5.8 percent during the first nine months of the year, with the outlook remaining subdued in the near term. Operating conditions are challenging for Asian carriers, which face intense competitive pressures against a backdrop of moderating economic sentiment. Nevertheless, airlines are carefully managing capacity expansion, exercising cost discipline, and streamlining operations in a bid to maintain profitability.”

Hamad International Airport HK Express named e-Commerce Business of the Year – Gold Award: Hong Kong-based airline HK Express was named e-Commerce Business of the Year – Gold Award by Asia eCommerce Awards 2019. Presented by Marketing magazine, the annual competition, which is judged by a panel of industry leaders, celebrates the most innovative, creative and successful e-commerce brands across Hong Kong, Macau and Mainland China. As the Gold Award recipient of e-Commerce Business of the Year, HK Express has been recognised for its consumer-centric approach, successful optimisation strategies, and exceptional conversion rates. In the first two quarters of 2019, HK Express has seen record highs in conversion rates as well as double-digit year-on-year growth. Furthermore, direct bookings and ancillary purchases now account for 70 percent of the airline’s incremental revenue.

IATA – Australian government needs to challenge Productivity Commission’s final report: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is calling on the Australian government to challenge the recommendations of the Productivity Commission’s (PC) final report that the existing regulatory regime is effective, and changes are not needed. “The PC continues to ignore the collective views and concerns of airlines and airport users and in turn, the interests of the Australian consumer. We have consistently highlighted throughout the Inquiry period the serious concerns of airlines and that the current light-handed regime of economic regulation is ineffective in protecting the interests of airlines passengers, and the people and businesses accessing the Airport precinct,” said Matteo Zanarini, IATA’s area manager for the southwest Pacific.

Aviation is an important economic contributor to Australia, supporting over 700,000 Australian jobs, and contributing US$69 billion or 5.5 percent of the country’s GDP. “This faces imminent risk if the aviation sector is not supported by the right policies that facilitates the sustainable development of the industry,” said Zanarini.

IATA has identified six principle areas that need to be strongly addressed by regulators in Australia:

  1. The current Economic Regulatory Regime does not address or exercise remedial action where monopolistic behaviour by Australian Airports is identified
  2. The current Monitoring Regime is not Fit-For-Purpose
  3. The assertion that airlines have countervailing power at Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney airports is incorrect
  4. The existing monitoring regime has fallen short of delivering the key strategic outcomes envisioned by the Australian Government in moving to light-handed economic regulation in 2002.
  5. Lack of effective competition in jet fuel supply
  6. Implementation of measures that will result in the efficient management of scarce airport capacity, particularly at Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport.

“The conclusion of PC’s final report is wrong. The existing regulatory regime is ineffective. Change is urgently needed. And the Australian Government needs to challenge the PC’s report and re-invigorate the consultation process with airlines and airport users,” said Zanarini.

Air Astana looking to expand Asian network: Air Astana is looking to expand its Asian network over the next two years following the delivery of a new fleet of Airbus A321LR aircraft. New destinations under consideration include Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo. The new A321LRs will also gradually replace the airline’s Boeing 757 aircraft on existing long-haul services to Asian destinations including Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Seoul. The first aircraft went into service earlier this month. The Airbus A321LR is a long-range version of A321neo, with increased maximum take-off weight and associated design modifications. The aircraft is configured with 16 Business Class seats and 150 Economy Class seats. Air Astana first launched services to Asia in 2002 with flights between Almaty and Beijing , which was followed by Almaty to Bangkok and Seoul in 2003, Almaty to Delhi in 2004,  Almaty to Kuala Lumpur in 2009, Almaty to Urumqi in 2010 and Almaty to Hong Kong in 2012. The airline also operates flights from Nur-Sultan (formerly Astana) to Bangkok, Beijing, Delhi and Seoul.

Scoot moves to Changi Terminal 1: On 22 October 2019, Scoot successfully completed the shift of its operations from Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 to Terminal 1. In all, 9,877 passengers with 4,726 pieces of checked baggage on 56 flights departing Singapore were processed. The move will facilitate Scoot’s projected double-digit annual growth for the next three years and provide a more efficient and improved customer experience, with more self-service check-in and automated bag-drop facilities available at Terminal 1. The airline also flew its 65 millionth passenger on the same day. Scoot had commenced various operational and systems trials, including two trial flights, since August 2019 to ensure a smooth transition. Since July 2019, Scoot had been updating customers of the move on its website and social media channels, via email and on the Scoot mobile app. At the airport, informational standees were placed at both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 departure and arrival levels. On-board announcements for Scoot’s flights into Singapore had been updated since 1 October 2019, to inform customers of the move. Additional staff were also deployed at both Terminals 1 and 2 on the day of the move, to ensure customers would receive prompt assistance if necessary.

Pratt & Whitney launches new prop system: Pratt & Whitney, a division of United Technologies, along with Pilatus and Honeywell, launched the PC-12 NGX aircraft, powered by the new Pratt & Whitney PT6 E-Series engine. It is the first turboprop engine in general aviation to offer a dual-channel integrated electronic propeller and engine control system, pushing innovation to a new level. The company is also enhancing its new Eagle Service  Plan (ESP) for the PT6 E-Series engine. The advanced technology behind the PT6 E-Series  engine provides a more intuitive way of flying with simplified operations. At the push of a button, the pilot can start and stop the engine while being protected against hot and hung starts. The single lever and integrated electronic propeller and engine control system allows precise engine control by constantly monitoring temperature and torque to provide optimal engine power and performance throughout all phases of flight. In fact, the new turbine design of the PT6E-67XP engine, which powers the Pilatus PC-12 NGX aircraft, allows for quicker climb, greater speed and a 10 percent increase in power to reach the destination faster. Since the engine is digitally connected, more than 100 parameters are monitored to allow for predictive analysis of the engine and system operation and proactive maintenance planning. As the electronic engine control (EEC) receives all engine and key aircraft data, it is able to make adjustments to optimize and deliver the right engine power needed throughout the flight.

FlightSafety to provide training for new Gulfstream 700: FlightSafety International and Gulfstream Aerospace are preparing to provide training for the new Gulfstream G700 aircraft. “We are pleased to once again be selected by Gulfstream to support the development of a new aircraft,” said David Davenport, president & CEO. “This further demonstrates the trust and confidence Gulfstream has in FlightSafety’s ability and commitment to provide the highest quality training and outstanding service owners and operators of the new G700 aircraft deserve and expect.” The design of a new FlightSafety FS1000 full flight simulator for the Gulfstream G700 is underway. The simulator is being built concurrently with the design and development of the aircraft and will be integral to the flight test programme. The simulator will be installed at the FlightSafety Learning Centre in Savannah, Georgia which is adjacent to Gulfstream’s main facility. The start of customer training will coincide with entry into service of the aircraft. Additional training locations will be determined by FlightSafety and Gulfstream in accordance with customer needs. The advanced technology systems and components installed in this new FlightSafety FS1000 simulator will include the CrewView collimated glass mirror display, VITAL 1150 Visual System, electric motion cueing, and advanced instructor operating station. The simulator will also feature 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. FlightSafety has been the official factory authorised training organisation for Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation for more than four decades.

Inmarsat has 600 installations of Jet ConneX: Inmarsat announced that its Jet ConneX (JX) business aviation inflight Wi-Fi solution has now been installed and activated on over 600 business jets worldwide. Powered by Inmarsat’s global Ka-band satellite network, Jet ConneX offers a reliable, consistent and high-speed Wi-Fi experience, bringing business travellers a level of connectivity in the air that has previously only been available on the ground. Installations have been growing rapidly, with a 50 percent increase in the past year alone. The latest installation milestone follows a series of announcements this year detailing Inmarsat’s fully-funded development roadmap for its global Ka-band network, Global Xpress (GX) which currently consists of four high-throughput satellites. The next evolution of the network will deliver eight additional payloads, marking a transformative step-change in inflight broadband capabilities. As part of this programme, Inmarsat will also become the only provider of inflight connectivity in the Arctic region.

ACJ and Sabena Technics to co-operate in self-protection: Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJ) and Sabena Technics are to cooperate in proposing self-protection systems (SPSs) for Airbus corporate jets. Each SPS would combine an existing, state of the art, directional infra-red countermeasure (DIRCM) system with installation on an Airbus corporate jet. SPSs will initially be offered for the ACJ320 family. An SPS offers protection against missiles fired from man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS), which are the most widespread missile-threat today. Self-defence systems are already in service on some Airbus corporate jets. The co-operation agreement was signed at the NBAA show, by Sabena technics senior vice president sales and business development Daniel Soltani and ACJ president Benoit Defforge. “This is a great new opportunity to work with ACJ on aircraft protection, which builds on an extensive portfolio of business-aviation services that includes cabin-outfitting and maintenance,” said Soltani. “We strongly believe that our ability to install and certificate these systems with airworthiness authorities, such as EASA and the FAA, is a key driver of success.”

Czech Airlines orders 4 A220 and upsizes 3 A320neo to A321XLR: Czech Airlines has ordered four Airbus A220-300 aircraft and opted for additional range by upsizing a previous order for three A320neo to A321XLR. The two fuel-efficient aircraft types will complement Czech Airlines’ existing fleet of six A319 and one A330-300, and allow it to continue extending its network to reach more markets. The airline will also benefit from the commonality of Airbus Family aircraft. The A220-300 will be fitted with 149 seats, while the A321XLR will cater for top comfort in a two-class layout with 195 seats. “The A220 and A321XLR fit well with our long-term business strategy in terms of network expansion. These aircraft will definitely give Czech Airlines a competitive advantage, and will increase the capacity of our regular flights. I believe that this step will be appreciated by our passengers, as the aircraft offer best in class comfort even during long haul flights thanks to a brand new cabin configuration,” said Petr Kudela, chairman of Czech Airlines.

SR Technics announces winners of its 2019 component services supplier awards: SR Technics announced the winners of its 2019 component service supplier awards. Granted annually since 2012, the awards are based on qualitative and quantitative measures in key areas such as safety and quality, performance, customer focus, communications, continuous improvement and strategy alignment. Liebherr received this year’s award for Best OEM. “Liebherr is committed and focused on customer needs, and has offered great flexibility and high-quality services,” said Oliver Grassmann, Senior Vice President Component Services at SR Technics. “On time delivery and reliable performance round off the company’s outstanding service offering.” The 2019 Best MRO Award went to the Aerospace Engineering Group (AEG). “In additional to solid on time delivery and competitive pricing, AEG is a valued collaborator,” explained Jingyuan Sun, vice president Procurement at SR Technics. The award for Best Logistics Service Supplier went to CG Conex Global Logistics. Jingyuan Sun, Vice President Procurement at SR Technics, explained, “CG Conex provides a unique service to our company, focusing on customer needs and feedback. Besides always going the extra mile, CG Conex combines competitive pricing with service excellence.”

Hamad International AirportAireon signs deal with COCESNA: Aireon and COCESNA (Corporación Centroamericana de Servicios de Navegación Aérea) announced that they have signed an agreement to deploy space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. The agreement also establishes a strategic partnership to enhance the operations and collaboration of air traffic surveillance in the Central American region. Spanning the entire Central American flight information region (FIR), COCESNA’s region encompasses more than 2.6 million square kilometres terrestrial airspace and extensive oceanic areas in the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean. Its central location in the Americas positions COCESNA as the major air traffic control provider at the crossroads of the Caribbean, North, South and Central America. In addition to deploying space-based ADS-B throughout the region and within its member States, this agreement establishes a partnership by which COCESNA can utilize the Aireon data to support its leading role in advancing operations across the region. The strategic partnership brings a greater level of collaboration to the existing agreement and also enables the use of space-based ADS-B data for airspace and traffic optimization projects such as the CANSO ATFM Data Exchange Network for the Americas (CADENA) initiative.

Hamad International AirportJet Aviation Staffing and FlightSafety International form partnership: Jet Aviation Staffing announced a new global training programme for pilots in partnership with FlightSafety International. This program, offered exclusively through the hullo Aircrew platform, was created in support of the freelance workforce. This training opportunity allows pilots to complete recurrent training; Jet Aviation Staffing will ensure payment of the upfront costs for eligible pilots and offer a flexible re-payment plan. hullo Aircrew provides a platform to connect freelance and contract aircrew members with operators in a fast and simple process. In partnership with Jet Aviation, hullo is developing its technology to become a single source for freelancers to access the best trips, receive payment quickly, and easily access a variety of training programmes.

Hamad International AirportRock-it increases stake in Triple M: Rock-it Cargo announced it has made a significant incremental investment in Antwerp, Belgium-based Triple M Entertainment Logistics. Eleven-year-old Triple M focuses on four categories of shippers – live entertainment, stage, performing arts, and corporate logistics. “Rock-it’s increased investment derives from the natural evolution of the relationship of the two businesses,” Paul Martins, president of Rock-it Cargo, said. “The continued partnership between Triple M and Rock-it will provide best-in-class service to their joint customers. Triple M are well positioned geographically to assist us with all the logistics needs of our live touring customers, sports customers, industrial product customers and other end vertical markets we serve.” Located in Antwerp, Triple M is both close to the seaport and connected to an inland jetty allowing containers to be trucked or barged to their cross-load site with the capacity to handle up to 15 containers or trucks simultaneously.

Hamad International AirportFlightSafety Textron Aviation Training installing new Cessna simulator: FlightSafety Textron Aviation Training said it will be installing a new simulator for the Cessna Citation Latitude aircraft in Europe. The exact location will be determined based on Customer needs. The simulator will be manufactured by TRU Simulation + Training. It will be equipped with FlightSafety’s VITAL 1150 visual system which offers an extensive database of airports that meet the specific training needs of operators in the region. The simulator is expected to enter service by the end of 2020 following Level D qualification. FlightSafety Textron Aviation Training provides training to operators of Beechcraft, Cessna and Hawker aircraft at 17 Learning Centres around the world using a fleet of 89 full flight simulators.

Hamad International AirportATPCO signs deals with Sabre, Amadeus: Sabre and ATPCO announced a new long-term retailing agreement enabling Sabre to distribute ATPCO’s Routehappy content to Sabre-connected travel agencies, online travel agencies and other travel buyers as well as airline IT customers. The new distribution scope includes Sabre’s air shopping APIs and direct airline shopping and merchandising solutions, in addition to Sabre global distribution system (GDS). Building upon the companies’ existing partnership, the new agreement supports Sabre’s omni-channel retailing and distribution strategy for traditional and NDC-enabled solutions. Integrating the content into Sabre’s offer engines and agency points of sale will help airlines better sell their products, the way that they want, across all channels. Meanwhile, ATPCO and Amadeus announced they have signed a long-term retailing agreement. The agreement enables Amadeus to integrate ATPCO’s airline rich content within its vast array of flight shopping applications and interfaces. The distribution scope includes travel seller and traveller applications powered by Amadeus, as well as its flight shopping APIs, which are used by many corporate booking tools and online travel agencies to access flights for sale. The agreement also includes rights to integrate rich content into NDC offers that help to further differentiate airlines through effective and compelling content. As part of the retailing agreement, Amadeus will also support ATPCO’s Next Generation Storefront (NGS) standard, which helps sales channels modernize the shopping experience for consumers. The partnership will exponentially scale the adoption of Routehappy Rich Content.

AAV Media Kit
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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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