International freight continues decline but domestic market bounces back: Airports Council International (ACI) World has found that global passenger traffic grew by 2.3 percent in July on a year-on-year basis, marking a slowdown from June’s increase of 3.9 percent and a continuation of the moderating trend observed since the start of 2019. The results brought year-to-date growth to an increase of 3.4 percent, with five months left in the year. The freight industry showed a year-on-year decline of 2.1 percent in July and the year-to-date figure remained in the negative, at -2.8 percent.
“The global outlook remains particularly challenging for 2019, with the continued backdrop of geopolitical tensions and weakened trade relationships potentially leading to further subdued results in August and September,” ACI World’s director general, Angela Gittens, said. “The possible regional impacts of trade and geopolitical tension could have a compounding effect on the aviation industry, even as the global economic slowdown depresses the freight market. Despite these challenges, we remain hopeful that material trends in the industry will prevent it from reaching particularly deep losses until the end of the year.”
Passenger traffic: While the international passenger market had helped prop up the global results in June, it slowed down substantially in July, posting growth of 3.1 percent on a year-on-year basis, down from 5.7 percent a month prior. The segment’s year-to-date reached 4.6 percent, below its 5.2 percent 12-month rolling average but still strong given the global backdrop. The domestic market only gained 1.6 percent in July, standing at 2.5 percent since the start of the year. Among the major regional passenger markets, Asia-Pacific performed the best during the month, gaining 2.4 percent on a year-on-year basis. The results were a shift in trend for the region, as it has been performing much slower than Europe and North America in the last months. Its year-to-date reached +2.2 percent, with its international passenger market (+4.3 percent) continuing to drive growth during a significant slowdown in the domestic market (+1 percent for the period).
Freight volumes: The domestic freight market rebounded in July, posting 3.3 percent growth after declining by 1.4 percent in June. The resulting year-to-date figure stood at +1.5 percent for the segment. International freight’s performance remained particularly weak, however. Year-over-year growth was down to -4.2 percent during the month, a less pronounced decrease than June’s -6.5 percent. Year-to-date stood at -4.5 percent, with five months left to the year and increasingly slim chances of posting industrywide gains by year’s end.
AAPA: Moderate growth in air passenger demand in August: Preliminary traffic figures for the month of August released by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) recorded moderate growth in international air passenger markets, in contrast with further reductions in air cargo demand against a backdrop of diminishing business confidence levels and significant declines in international trade volumes. Overall, Asia Pacific airlines carried a combined 32.6 million international passengers in August, 2.3 percent more than the same month last year. In revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) terms, demand grew by 3.1 percent year-on-year. The average international passenger load factor eased 0.2 percentage points lower to 82.8 percent for the month, after accounting for a 3.4 percent expansion in available seat capacity.
In contrast to air passenger markets, air cargo demand in freight tonne kilometres (FTK) fell by 6.4 percent year-on-year in August. Subdued demand conditions, with businesses remaining cautious on their inventories, contributed to the persistent weakness. Combined with a 1.1 percent increase in offered freight capacity, the average international freight load factor fell by 4.7 percentage points to 58.3 percent for the month.
Andrew Herdman, AAPA director general, said: “The first eight months of the year saw Asian airlines carry a combined 251 million international passengers, representing a sustained 4.3 percent increase in demand for international air travel, but growth rates are moderating as consumers become more cautious about the economic outlook. Meanwhile, air cargo demand declined by 5.9 percent during the first eight months of the year, with business confidence deteriorating further in August against a backdrop of heightened global trade tensions. Consumer goods markets continued to expand, but demand for intermediate goods fell further, contributing to the decline in air shipments.”
CALC invites lead arrangers for US$400 financing: China Aircraft Leasing (CALC) is launching a US$400 million five-year unsecured syndicated aircraft finance revolving facility through its wholly-owned subsidiary, CALC Capital 1 Limited. The proceeds of the facility will be used to finance part of the acquisition cost of the aircraft portfolio owned or to be acquired. CALC is currently inviting Mandated Lead Arrangers to coordinate the facility. Similar to asset-backed securitizations, the facility is earmarked for a portfolio of aircraft on lease to well-diversified global airlines.
Unisys AirCore gets NDC certification: Unisys announced it has been granted New Distribution Capability (NDC) Level 4 certification for Unisys AirCore, a modern Passenger Services System (PSS) with a range of offerings that allows airlines to optimise their sales and customer service capabilities across all aspects of the passenger journey. Developed by The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the NDC defines a new data transmission standard to address the industry’s current distribution limitations, including product differentiation and time-to-market, access to full, rich air content and a transparent shopping experience. Level 4 is the highest level of NDC certification that IATA issues to IT providers for the deployment of NDC capabilities.
Travelport and Singapore Airlines deepen NDC collaboration: Travelport said it has deepened its collaboration with Singapore Airlines (SIA) and the travel agency community on the implementation of SIA’s KrisConnect Programme – the airline’s initiative to leverage IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) standard. Since KrisConnect was first launched in late 2018, Travelport has been working with SIA to integrate its NDC content, ahead of general availability from April 2020. Functionality is expected to be launched through Travelport’s NDC-enabled points-of-sale, starting with initial pilots with a small group of agency customers in the coming months.
World Routes moves to Milan: The 26th annual world route development forum will be hosted by SEA Milan Airports, in partnership with local stakeholders Lombardy Region, the municipality of Milan, ENIT – Italian Tourist Board and Bergamo Airport, and will take place from 5-8 September 2020. Steven Small, brand director at Routes said, “As one of the most connected and easily accessible cities in the world and located in the booming Lombardy region, Milan is at the heart of Europe. In fact, the Roman name for the city, Mediolanum, is often translated as “middle-earth”. Few cities in Europe or indeed the world can compete with Milan’s infrastructure, which made it a perfect choice for World Routes 2020”.
Lufthansa Technik signs deal with China Cargo Airlines: China Cargo Airlines has signed a component support deal with Lufthansa Technik for three Boeing 747-400 freighter aircraft. The five-year Total Component Support (TCS) agreement is the first major collaboration between the two companies and the first TCS contract with a direct service provision to a Chinese customer. Ji Shuhu, Vice President of China Cargo Airlines, said: “China Cargo Airlines is very glad to sign the agreement with Lufthansa Technik and we realise that China Cargo can obtain more professional and stronger support from Lufthansa Technik. We are looking forward to the further cooperation and good relationship with Lufthansa Technikv in many fields.”
TP Aerospace opens office in China: TP Aerospace has opened a representative office in Shenzhen, China, to strengthen customer relations and support the rapid growth in the country. This extension is part of the Green Sunrise strategy – an ambitious growth plan for increasing proximity to airline customers worldwide and provide the best possible wheel and brake support, wherever in the world their aircraft may be. The representative office is headed by business development manager, Christina Wang.
Asiana Airlines awards PW4000 maintenance contract to SR Technics: SR Technics announced that it has been awarded an exclusive five-year engine maintenance contract by Asiana Airlines. The new contract with Asiana, South Korea’s second-largest carrier, brings SR Technics an important new customer in the region. The MRO’s Engine Services business unit will perform more than 50 Pratt &Whitney PW4000 shop visits for their A330-300 fleet over the periods. All work will be performed at the SR Technics engine shop in Zurich.
Liebherr-Aerospace gets deals with Fuji Dream Airlines, J-Air: Liebherr-Aerospace has signed a long-term service agreement in Japan to cover the overhaul of the landing gear systems of the 10 Embraer E170 family aircraft from regional carrier Fuji Dream Airlines. Takehiko Handa, general manager maintenance of Fuji Dream, said: “We at Fuji Dream Airlines have been operating Liebherr’s E170 landing gears for a long time and are fully satisfied with the excellent quality of Liebherr’s products as well as their overhaul services.” Liebherr-Aerospace also said it has signed a long-term service agreement with J-Air covering the overhaul of the landing gear systems of the airline’s 15 Embraer E170 family aircraft. J-Air, with its main bases in Tokyo and Osaka, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Japan Airlines (JAL), a member of the oneworld alliance.
IDEMIA invests further in APAC Border processing capability platform: Building on its recently renewed business in the region, IDEMIA is expanding its investment in its people in Canberra and Sydney. The growing organisation is driven by the adaptation of the Gen 3.0 Border & Airport platform for the local market with a portfolio of solutions for a seamless traveller experience across the whole Border and Airport process. The teams are placed as close as possible to customer operations to foster innovation and incubate new concepts, whilst being part of IDEMIA’s global innovation community and benefiting from its worldwide and multi-sectorial research and development capacity. This leading edge passenger facilitation capability was refined and productised for scalability through IDEMIA’s work with the award winning Singapore Changi airport in Terminals 3 and 4 and is now being further adapted to the other markets in Asia Pacific. The suite includes an innovative walkthrough eGate, designed for the free flow of passengers while guaranteeing they are seen, recognised and cleared by authorities.