Shareholders in Jet Airways have approved an agreed sale of a 24% stake in the airline to Etihad Airways. However, the Indian airline has deferred seeking shareholder approval for a new set of “Articles of Association” as it awaits regulatory clarity on the issue, reports Reuters.
Washington attorney, Jeffrey A. Lovitky, has written to Saudi Arabian Airlines to request it “immediately discontinue its practice of refusing to sell tickets to persons of Israeli nationality”. Saudi Arabia does not allow Israeli nations to enter and as such the airline’s website makes it compulsory for every passenger to identify their nationality from a dropdown list that reflects every nationality, except for Israeli, thereby making it impossible for an Israeli citizen to purchase a ticket.
Lovitky argues that although Saudi Arabia can deny visas to Israeli citizens, the kingdom’s own rules do not require a visa if the passenger is traveling through Saudi Arabia en route to another location for example. Therefore, he states that Saudi Arabian Airlines refusal to sell tickets to Israeli nationals, regardless of which country they are going to, violates a number of anti-discrimination requirements in the United States.
Copies of the letter also went to the Department of State, Department of Transportation, the Saudi Arabian Embassy and others.
Air Comm Corporation (ACC), which designs and certifies environmental control systems (ECS) for turbine helicopters, has acquired Meggitt (Addison), the former Keith Products, in a stock purchase. Keith Products is a leading supplier of ECS for the General Aviation markets. This strategic acquisition combines Keith Products’ fixed-wing market focus with ACC’s strength in the rotorcraft market. The combined enterprise will make ACC the leading ECS manufacturer in both of these markets.
Keith Products has 40 air conditioner Supplemental Type Certificates for a wide variety of aircraft and is also a major supplier of type-certificated systems to original equipment manufacturers, including Beechcraft, Cessna, Eurocopter, Learjet, Piaggio, Pilatus, Korea Aerospace Industries and Sikorsky Aircraft. This product line, customer base, and technology is complementary to ACC’s 26-year focus designing and producing ECS and other thermal management solutions for the rotorcraft industry’s operators, service centers and OEMs. ACC’s major customers include Bell Helicopter, Sikorsky Aircraft, AgustaWestland, Eurocopter, Enstrom Helicopter, and the U.S. Army.
Both ACC and Keith Products have common roots going back to 1979 when ACC’s founder, Norm Steiner, worked for JB Systems, Inc. in Longmont, Colorado. When JB systems was sold to Parker Hannifin and moved to Cleveland, Ohio in 1986, Steiner remained in Colorado and founded ACC. After several transitions , the JB Systems Parker division was acquired by what is known today as Keith Products (Meggitt (Addison) Inc.).
ACC’s CEO, Keith Steiner, commented: “The unification of the two companies not only has full-circle historic significance, but also creates tremendous value for the aerospace industry.” Steiner continued, “We can now provide to our customers the greatest concentration of ECS and thermal management solutions with the best product support expertise in the industry. We are very committed to maintaining our culture of innovation, responsiveness, entrepreneurial flexibility, and product support, and look forward to providing best-in-class service and support to the customers of both organizations.”
LATAM Airlines Group has reported an operating income of US$114.2 million for first quarter 2013, a 149.8% increase compared to the US$45.7 million pro forma operating income in first quarter 2012. Operating margin reached 3.4%, an increase of 2.0 points compared to 1.4% in 2012. This result reflects a steady recovery in business operations as the group begins to realise the expected synergies from the merger between LAN and TAM.
Net income reached US$42.7 million for first quarter 2013, compared to a pro forma consolidated net income of US$83.7 million for the same period 2012, which represents a decrease of 48.9% mainly due to a foreign exchange gain of US$133.4 million recognized at TAM during the first quarter 2012.
TAM has maintained capacity discipline with a 9.2% reduction in ASKs during the first quarter 2013 as compared to the first quarter 2012. Traffic grew by 3.4%, with strong load factor improvements of 9.5 percentage points as compared to the first quarter 2012, reaching 77.7%. This led to a significant increase in revenue per ASK, as measured in Brazilian reais. Results in US dollars were affected by a 13% depreciation of the Brazilian currency during the quarter as compared to the first quarter 2012.
The group has reiterated its synergy target of between US$600 and US$700 million to be fully achieved by the fourth year after the merger (June 2016).
Total revenues in the first quarter 2013 reached US$3,409.0 million compared to pro forma revenues of US$3,360.2 million in first quarter 2012. The increase of 1.5% is a result of a 1.5% increase in passenger revenues and a 38.6% increase in other revenues, partially offset by a 3.2% decrease in cargo revenues. The slight increase in revenues reflects capacity reductions in the domestic Brazil passenger operations and a more challenging environment for international passenger operations, as well as weak market demand in the cargo business. Passenger and cargo revenues accounted for 84.2% and 13.5% of total revenues, respectively, in first quarter 2013.
During the first quarter 2013, LATAM received a total of five A320 family aircraft and one Boeing 767-300 passenger aircraft. The airline returned one A320-200 and sold two Airbus A318 aircraft.
Both runways were closed at Heathrow Airport this morning after a British Airways A319 made an emergency landing on the North runway after an engine failure thought to be caused by a bird strike. All passengers and crew were safely evacuated from the aircraft following the incident at about 09:00 BST. Witnesses stated seeing a black smoke trail from one of the engines.
The southern runway has since re-opened. The northern runway remains closed given that the BA A319 remains on it with chutes deployed.
Flybe has sold its 25 Gatwick slot pairs to easyJet for £20m ending 22 years of flying from the London airport. Jim French, chief executive of Flybe, stated that landing costs have increased at the airport by 100% over five years. Flybe services from London Gatwick will cease on 29 March 2014. The airline is also deferring its E175 deliveries until 2017/19.
It remains to be seen if these actions will save Flybe from continued decline however one thing is absolutely certain, these are the very best measures that Flybe could have taken and it is sure to go down well with investors.
I, along with many others, would like to see Flybe sort itself out and then move into the far superior London City airport where it should do well with the fleet it has.
And yet in all of this clueless UK politicians have raised concerns over the future of the Gatwick-Inverness route. UK Transport Minister Keith Brown said he had been in contact with Easyjet to ensure the timings on the route were kept, saying that the whole thing was “deeply worrying and I have requested an urgent meeting with Easyjet to ensure capacity is maintained”. Well we are very surprised at Mr Brown’s concern given that he was totally silent over the introduction and increase in UK Air Passenger Duty and that to date he along with UK government colleges have shown nothing but contempt for the aviation sector – I would expect both EasyJet and Flybe to jump all over the UK transport minister over this “concern”.
Indian media is reporting that the former chief financial officer of Qantas Airways, Gary Toomey, is in line to take over from Nikos Kardassis as CEO of Jet Airways following Etihad Airways’ acquisition of a 24% stake in the India airline.
None of the parties concerned have confirmed the rumours however.
South Korea’s first cargo only airline, Air Incheon, will begin services this year to smaller cities in China, where Samsung and Apple assemblers are increasingly locating their factories.
Air Incheon expects to receive its second leased aircraft – a 737-400 – in August which will be used on the China service.
Since its launch in March, Air Incheon currently transports mobile phones, garments and oil drilling equipment to Japan and Russia.
Fuel costs have impacted AirAsia quarterly profits and the carrier reported its first drop in profit in five quarters. Net income fell 39% to 104.8 million ringgit ($35 million) in the three months ended March 31, while revenue climbed 11% to 1.30 billion ringgit.
Fuel costs rose 18% in the quarter to 523 million ringgit, while aircraft lease expense climbed 11% to 44.7 million ringgit. AirAsia also booked foreign exchange loss of 37.7 million ringgit, compared with a gain of 88 million ringgit a year earlier.
AirAsia carried more passengers during the period however. Passenger numbers rose by 7% to 5.2 million in the period, with average fares increasing by 2%.
Group Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes said the carrier has potential for “double digit” growth this year as AirAsia franchise expands.
The Indian Finance Ministry has questioned the rationale behind Air India’s plan to trim its 27,000-strong workforce by offering a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS). The scheme will cost Rs 1,200 crore, but the ministry has questioned whether it is necessary since 7,000 employees will retire from service over the next three years anyway, while 12,000 will be transferred to the ground handling and engineering subsidiaries, leaving 8,000 employees left at Air India over the next five years.
There is also the concern that rather than retain talented employees, they will migrate and the “deadwoods” would remain there till superannuation.