Aviation News in Brief 4 Nov 2019

ACI Asia-Pacific, Korean Air, VietJet, TP Aerospace, drones in Singapore, Ontic, ACI World


ACI APAC: Passenger traffic ticks up in August: Passenger traffic in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East recorded growth in August at +1.6 percent and +1.7 percent respectively. The overall passenger traffic growth in China was negatively impacted by adverse weather conditions in eastern China and mass flight cancellations at many airports. The pace of growth in the domestic sector remained solid, whereas international demand was steady. Hong Kong (HKG) suffered a significant decline in passenger traffic of -12.4 percent due to civil unrest and flight cancellations over two days. As a result, some traffic was diverted to nearby airports, which possibly contributed to some of the growth of +9.3 percent in Shenzhen (SZX) and +6.4 percent in Guangzhou (CAN).

In India, passenger traffic grew marginally as capacity in both domestic and international sectors continued to adjust following the service suspension of Jet Airways. A number of airports benefited from the capacity expansion of a local carrier and recorded sizable growth in passenger volume: Cochin (COK) +64.4 percent, Ahmedabad (AMD) +10.6 percent and Hyderabad (HYD) +4.9 percent. The growth of Cochin (COK) was also partly driven by the suspension of flights for two weeks in August 2018 as a result of major flooding at the airport. Elsewhere in Asia-Pacific, a number of airports in Southeast Asia posted strong growth due to a surge in vacation travels during the summer holiday period: Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK) +4.6 percent, Manila (MNL) +7.2 percent and Kuala Lumpur (KUL) +6.7 percent.

In the Middle East, passenger traffic growth slowed to +1.7 percent amid rising geopolitical tensions. Nevertheless, mixed results were recorded among major airports in the region: Dubai (DXB) -1.8 percent, Doha (DOH) +11.7 percent and Abu Dhabi (AUH) +0.9 percent.

In terms of air freight, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East declined at -6.8 percent and -5.9 percent respectively as trade tensions between the US and China intensified. Hong Kong (HKG), the largest air freight hub in the world, declined at -11.9 percent due to flight cancellations. Among the major air freight hubs, only Guangzhou (CAN) and Shenzhen (SZX) managed positive growth, growing at +2.3 percent and +7.2 percent respectively.

Korean Air enlists K-pop group for safety video: Korean Air unveiled a new safety video in partnership with SM Entertainment, the largest entertainment company in Korea. The new video stars SuperM, a global K-pop group. In-flight safety videos are required to present necessary safety information such as luggage storage, items banned during the flight, electronic device restrictions, no-smoking regulations, seatbelt signs, emergency exits, actions to take when cabin pressure rises, and how to wear the life jacket. Korean Air expects to deliver essential safety information more effectively by grabbing passengers’ attention with its new safety video. A renowned songwriter of SM Entertainment, Kenzie, created a project song called “Let’s go everywhere,” which was turned into a K-pop music video. The safety video features a mix of five music genres: hip-hop, R&B, electronic, deep house and synth pop. By mixing the various genres into one song, the video aims to capture the attention of a wide range of passengers.

VietJet named ASEAN’s Best Aviation Enterprise: VietJet has been named the best enterprise in the aviation sector for the ASEAN region. The airline received the honour at the 2019 ASEAN Business Awards (ABA) Gala Night, which was held within the framework of the ASEAN Summit in Thailand. On behalf of the airline, VietJet vice president Ho Ngoc Yen Phuong accepted the award. The award recognises VietJet’s contribution to the integration between ASEAN businesses owned and for its extensive connectivity across the region and beyond. It also highlights the carrier’s outstanding performance and presence in the region. VietJet currently operates around 400 flights daily across a network that covers Asia with more routes planned to expansively connect Southeast Asia with destinations in northern and central Asian, and to the Western countries in the near future.

Passenger-trafficTP Aerospace opens wheels MRO shop in Bangkok: TP Aerospace has opened a wheel MRO workshop in Bangkok, Thailand. The extension is part of the Green Sunrise growth plan – a strategy for increasing proximity to airline customers worldwide. The new facility is operated by five certified staff who will conduct up to five units per day. The new MRO workshop is located 10 minutes from Suvarnabhumi International Airport and only 45 minutes from Don Mueang and U-Tapao International Airport.

Passenger-trafficSingapore to implement drone registration: Singapore aviation authorities have said they will require drones to be registered starting next year. The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) will implement mandatory registration for Unmanned Aircraft (UA) from 2 January 2020. Any UA, such as a drone, with a total weight above 250 grams must be registered with the CAAS before it can be operated in Singapore. The registration process involves the purchase of a registration label bearing a unique UA registration number, followed by submission of a photo of the UA affixed with the registration label. A registration fee of S$15 per UA will be collected at the point of purchase of the registration label. Registrants must be 16 years old and above at the point of registration of their UA. Once the label is obtained, users will need to complete the registration process at the online UA portal by providing some basic personal details and information on the UA as well as uploading a photo of their UA affixed with the registration label. UA users will have a three-month grace period from 2 January 2020 to register their UA. From 2 April 2020, it will be an offence to operate or fly an unregistered UA in Singapore. Offenders could face a fine of up to S$10,000 and/or imprisonment not exceeding six months.

Passenger-trafficOntic sale to CVC Fund VII completed: Following receipt of shareholder and regulatory approvals, Ontic, a provider of OEM-licensed parts for mature aerospace platforms, has successfully finalised its partnership with CVC Fund VII, in a deal valued at over US$1.3 billion. Headquartered in Cheltenham, UK, Ontic provides a value-added solution to both OEMs and their clients, by taking on responsibility for the supply and repair of complex parts for mature platforms. The company supports more than 39,000 in-service aircraft through its portfolio of over 165 licenses for more than 7,000 parts. It has over 1,200 valued customers worldwide.

Passenger-trafficACI World appoints Patrick Lucas as new director for economics: Airports Council International (ACI) World announced that Patrick Lucas has been appointed director for economics. Lucas is currently Head of the Airport Business Analytics Unit within the ACI Economics Department, having joined the organisation in April 2011. An economist by profession, Lucas has 18 years of experience in analytical economics. He has overseen ACI World’s global airport data collection and has led the authorship of major flagship publications, the World Airport Traffic Report, the World Airport Traffic Forecasts, and the Airport Economics Report.

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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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