Airlines, Airports and Airliners 4 May 2023

Compiled by Willie Bodenstein

This Week in Airlines, Airports and Airliners

Airlink adds Mpumalanga - Victoria Falls flights.

TSA reminds passengers to not bring firearms to airport security checkpoints.

Aviation provides critical relief in crises.

Air cargo priorities: sustainability, digitalization & safety.

ATR set for growth in 2023.

Heathrow sees strong start to 2023 - results for three months ended 31 March 2023.

Jetstar Group commences operations at Changi Airport Terminal 4.

Almost 1.7 million people travelled via BER in March.

Norwegian partners with Norsk e-Fuel to build new e-fuel plant in Norway.

Worldwide incidents and accidents.

Bonus Video - Kodiak to Bishop's Cove to George Airport.


Airlink, Southern Africa's premier, independent and privately owned regional airline, will launch flights between Mbombela (Nelspruit) and Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, from 28 November 2023.

The new route will complement Airlink's existing service between Mbombela's Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA) and Livingstone on the Zambian side of the world-famous waterfalls.

"The new service to Victoria Falls expands our direct connections between Southern Africa's prime tourist attractions, i.e. the Kruger National Park and surrounds, Victoria Falls as well as Cape Town and the Garden Route. The new route provides travellers with a greater choice of itineraries using direct Airlink flights and without having to connect via Johannesburg," said Airlink CEO and Managing Director, Rodger Foster.

To facilitate the new service, Airlink will adjust its KMIA-Livingstone flights to four per week.


Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers intercepted 1,508 firearms at airport security checkpoints during the first quarter of 2023, which ended March 31, averaging 16.8 firearms caught per day. More than 93% of the firearms were loaded.

The number of firearms catches during the first quarter represents a 10.3% increase over the same period in 2022; however, the number of passengers from 2022 to 2023 has also increased. In the first quarter of 2022, TSA officers stopped 1,367 firearms at airport security checkpoints, which averaged 15.2 firearm catches per day. More than 86% of those firearms were loaded.

During the first quarter of 2023, Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) screened over 191 million passengers, compared to about 158 million passengers in the first quarter of 2022, representing an increase of 20.4%. The rate of passengers with firearms during the most recent quarter was 7.9 firearms per one million passengers, decreasing slightly from the same period in 2022, when the rate of discovery was 8.6 firearms per one million passengers.

"Firearms at TSA security checkpoints present an unacceptable safety and security risk to other passengers and I am deeply concerned that the majority of these firearms our TSOs catch are loaded," said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. "If you carry a firearm to the checkpoint, our TSOs will see it and there will be significant penalties, to include federal penalties and additional screening, which may prolong the security screening process. You may still travel with a firearm - it just must be properly packed in your checked baggage and you must declare it to the airline."

Firearm possession laws vary by state and local government, but firearms are prohibited in carry-on bags, at TSA security checkpoints and on-board aircraft, even if a passenger has a concealed carry permit.

When passengers bring firearms to the TSA security checkpoint, TSA suspends their TSA PreCheck eligibility for five years, which includes current TSA PreCheck members. Additionally, TSA may conduct additional screening for those passengers to ensure no other threats are present. Late last year, TSA increased the maximum civil penalty for a firearms violation to $14,950. Passengers with firearms found in a carry-on bag at a TSA checkpoint are also subject to applicable city or state laws at that airport that may include citation or arrest.

Passengers may travel with a firearm if they properly pack the firearm in checked baggage and declare it with the airline at check-in. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition, so travellers must also contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies prior to arriving at the airport.


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reminded stakeholders of the critical role that aviation plays at times of natural disasters and humanitarian crises.

"When crises strike, aviation is there. Connectivity is essential to get aid and first responders to where they are needed. The response to the recent earthquake in Southern Türkiye and Syria was no exception. Airlines helped save lives in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake. And airlines continue to help accelerate the recovery with vital cargo shipments," said Willie Walsh, IATA's Director General, as the airline industry met in Istanbul for the IATA World Cargo Symposium.

While there is no comprehensive tabulation of the support that aviation provided, a limited review of 29 key carriers serving the Türkiye market reveals an impressive relief effort. These airlines:

Delivered over 3,500 tons of aid from over 90 countries
Operated over 350 relief and repatriation flights to affected areas
Provided transport for over 130,000 responders from across the world
Critical supplies delivered included winter jackets, blankets, toilets, hygiene articles, food, fire guards' equipment, power generators, tents, water distribution ramps, flashlights, sleeping bags, and medical supplies, among other items.

Airlink provides a good example of how the aviation sector responds to crises. It is a non-profit organization that coordinates donated airline resources and NGO needs in times of humanitarian disaster. Working with its NGO and airline partners, Airlink has coordinated the transport of 1,000 tons of aid supplies to the affected area, with an additional pipeline of 300 tons.

Resilience of cities and infrastructure are key components of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 9 and 11 respectively). This is tested in times of crisis when air transport's role is both as an essential infrastructure component in its own right and a vital lifeline for communities.

"Each and every day airlines make an enormous positive contribution to humanity by connecting people, cultures, businesses and economies. This fosters economic growth and social development. When disaster strikes, these links become even more critical. Everyone in aviation can be proud of the essential supplies, critical talent and hope that planes carry to disaster affected areas. With that in mind, we encourage all our stakeholders to join us in ensuring that aviation can fulfil this role by becoming ever more safe, secure, reliable and sustainable," said Walsh.

"Airlines have shown exceptional compassion and solidarity, delivering vital supplies and aid to affected communities around the world. During crises, we bring hope, relief, and aid, striving to rebuild lives together. I am proud to be part of an industry that makes such a difference," said Walsh.


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) highlighted three priorities to enable the air cargo industry to maintain momentum against the backdrop of a challenging operating environment.

The priorities, outlined at the 16th World Cargo Symposium (WCS), which opened in Istanbul today are:

• Sustainability
• Digitalization
• Safety

"Air cargo is a different industry than the one that entered the pandemic. Revenues are greater than they were pre-pandemic. Yields are higher. The world learned how critical supply chains are. And the contribution of air cargo to the bottom line of airlines is more evident than ever. Yet, we are still linked to the business cycle and global events. So, the war in Ukraine, uncertainty over where critical economic factors like interest rates, exchange rates and jobs growth are concerns that are real to the industry today. As we navigate the current situation, air cargo's priorities have not changed, we need to continue to focus on sustainability, digitalization, and safety," said Brendan Sullivan, IATA's Global Head of Cargo.


Sustainability is a critical priority and the aviation industry's license to do business. Last October, at the 41st ICAO Assembly, governments agreed to the Long-Term Aspirational Goal (LTAG) of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, in line with the industry's commitment adopted in 2021.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) is critical to achieving this goal, 65% of carbon abatement will come from SAF, however, production levels remain challenging. IATA called for government incentives for production.
"SAF is being produced. And every single drop is being used. The problem is that the quantities are small. The solution is government policy incentives. Through incentivizing production, we could see 30 billion litres of SAF available by 2030. That will still be far from where we need to be. But it would be a clear tipping point towards our net zero ambition of ample SAF quantities at affordable prices," said Sullivan.

IATA outlined three other areas where it was working to support the energy transition of the industry:
• Supporting effective carbon calculations and offsetting through the development of accurate and standardized emissions calculation methodology and the launch of CO2 Connect for Cargo later this year - a precise tool for calculating emissions from operations.

• Expanding the IATA Environmental Assessment (IEnvA) to airports, cargo handling facilities, freight forwarders, and ramp handlers to allow the industry to drive commercial success, build trust in our sustainability actions, and positively impact the industry.

• Developing environmental, social and governance (ESG) related metrics to cut through the many methodologies in circulation with ESG Metrics Guidance for Airlines.

Air cargo needs to continuously improve its efficiency. The area with greatest potential is digitalization. IATA outlined three goals:
• 100% airline capability of ONE Record by January 2026. This initiative will replace the many data standards used for transport documents with a single record for every shipment. The Cargo Services Conference agreed on Sunday that it wants to achieve 100% airline capability by 1 January 2026 and the Cargo Advisory Council supports this vision.
• Ensuring digital standards are in place to support the global supply chain. Guidance has been finalized on tracking devices - the IATA Interactive Cargo guidelines - used to monitor the quality and accuracy of conditions of time and temperature sensitive goods being shipped across the world.
• Ensuring compliance and support for customs, trade facilitation and other government processes that are increasingly digitalized. Digitalization plays an important role in evolving strategies for trade facilitation, reducing operational barriers at borders and managing the flows of goods securely.


"Alongside sustainability and efficiency is safety. The agenda for air cargo continues to be dominated by lithium batteries. A lot has been done. But, quite honestly, it is still not enough," said Sullivan.

IATA outlined three safety priorities for air cargo:

• Stopping rogue shippers, Civil aviation authorities must take strong action against shippers not declaring lithium batteries in cargo or mail shipments.

• Accelerating the development of a test standard for fire-resistant aircraft containers with a fire involving lithium batteries.

• Ensuring recognition from governments of the single standard to identify all lithium battery powered vehicles which comes into effect from 1 January 2025.

Value of Air Cargo
"Air cargo is a critically important industry. It helps build a better future for the people of the world. it's an industry that saves lives, delivering aid and relief to those in need. The industry mobilized to support those affected by the earthquakes in Syria and Türkiye. Working together to ensure that air cargo remains a reliable and efficient means of providing support to those in need, while simultaneously strengthening our global supply chains and contributing to the sustainable development of our economies is essential," concluded Sullivan.


After three difficult years due to Covid and a complex economic and geopolitical environment, ATR is set for growth in 2023

In the context of industry-wide supply chain issues, ATR delivered 25 new and 11 pre-owned aircraft in 2022. Nonetheless the global ATR in-service fleet is now close to pre-Covid numbers with 1,200 aircraft flying, and the current backlog stands at a solid 160 aircraft.

Last year saw 150 new routes created with ATR aircraft. As part of its commitment to decarbonisation, ATR performed the first 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) flight in history with a commercial aircraft, and its brand new PW127XT engine was certified and entered into service. At the same time, ATR successfully advanced the development of its aircraft family, completing the first test flight of the ATR 42-600S (Short Take-Off and Landing) and launching a feasibility study for its next generation EVO concept. These achievements showcase the commitment to connectivity, sustainability and innovation that ATR stands for.

ATR Chief Executive Officer, Nathalie Tarnaud Laude, said: "The goal for 2023 is to maintain our position as the leading regional aircraft manufacturer, by targeting at least 40 deliveries, with the ambition to ramp up production to 80 aircraft in the coming years. With their unbeatable economics, latest technologies and unrivalled environmental performance, ATR aircraft are what customers need to operate their routes profitably, despite inflation and energy uncertainty. What drives us is that sustainable regional aviation has the power to improve lives globally, providing vital connections to communities and economies, which translates into Gross Domestic Product increases and employment."

Now that travel restrictions have been lifted, the company plans to capitalise from the high replacement demand - 1,500 turboprops over the next 20 years -, to tap into underserved markets such as the United States, to increase its footprint on the freighter market, and to explore new opportunities, such as corporate, governmental and humanitarian operations.


Strong start to 2023 - We welcomed 16.9 million passengers in Q1, beating Paris, Frankfurt and Schiphol to retain our position as Europe's busiest airport and second in the world for international travel.

Delivering excellent and consistent passenger service - Passengers also rated Heathrow's service ahead of our main EU hub rivals, with a strong performance during the half term and Easter holidays. Our robust contingency plans kept the airport running smoothly throughout a period of industrial action over the Easter peak. Passengers can expect to travel as normal during the Coronation and half term peaks, regardless of further unnecessary strike action by Unite. We are working with partners on further improvements to service, such as Border Force's successful trial of extending eGates to 10+ year-olds over Easter.

Heathrow remains loss-making and we do not forecast any dividends in 2023 - Heathrow has not yet returned to profit with Adjusted losses of £139 million in Q1 due to the revenue allowance in the CAA's H7 settlement being set too low. We have appealed the H7 settlement to the CMA.

Supporting the UK's competitiveness - We have worked to better connect all of the UK to global markets, with Loganair taking advantage of our domestic charges discount to open up new routes to Northern Ireland and Scotland, as well as opening up connections to 10 Chinese cities as borders reopen. Frequencies to Beijing and Shanghai will increase to twice daily before the summer. We urge Ministers to make the UK more competitive for overseas visitors versus the EU by removing the 'tourist tax' of VAT on shopping which will drive more spend in shops, restaurants and attractions across Britain.

Continued steady progress towards sustainability goals - We were pleased to be the first airport to achieve science-based validation from the SBTi for our 2030 carbon reduction goals. As the global aviation sector starts to decarbonise, we urge the government to move faster to bring production of Sustainable Aviation Fuel onshore, increasing energy security and creating skilled green jobs in levelling up areas.


The Jetstar Group, comprising Singapore-based Jetstar Asia and Australian-based Jetstar Airways, has commenced its first day of operations at its new home in Terminal 4 (T4).

The successful relocation comes after months of preparations by Changi Airport Group (CAG), the Jetstar Group and their airport partners who have worked closely on various trials of systems and processes to ensure a smooth move for the airlines. Two rounds of orientation flights were also conducted on 22 February and 9 March, giving Jetstar passengers a glimpse of what travelling through T4 is like.

By the end of the day, Jetstar would have served nearly 4,000 passengers via 25 departure and arrival flights at T4. The Jetstar Group joins 18 other airlines that are currently operating at T4.


Summer flight schedule with more than 140 destinations now in effect
Wanderlust is clearly on the rise: last month, just under 1.7 million passengers used BER Airport, which is around 300,000 more than in February 2023. BER's busiest day last month was Friday, 31 March, with around 71,000 passengers. On this day, Easter travel started in Berlin and Brandenburg. The summer flight schedule has been in effect since 26 March. Passengers can fly directly to more than 140 destinations from BER.

In March of the previous year, 1.3 million passengers were counted. In March of the pre-pandemic year 2019, 2.9 million people travelled through the then Tegel and Schönefeld Airports, which is around 43 percent more than in March 2023. Last month, a total of 13,200 aircraft took off and landed at BER Airport - 1,200 more than same period in 2022. There were around twice as many aircraft - 24,000 - in March 2019.
A total of around 2,800 tonnes of air cargo was loaded at BER in March 2023. This means that almost the same amount of goods was handled as in March 2022 and also in March 2019. Part of the cargo continued to be aid for earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria.


Norwegian has announced a landmark partnership with Norsk e-Fuel to build the world's first full scale e-fuel plant in Mosjøen, Norway. The plant will produce sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), marking an important milestone towards Norwegian's target of 45 percent emissions reduction by 2030.

Norwegian has signed a strategic partnership agreement with Norsk e-Fuel, with the ambition to secure long-term offtake of SAF and an equity stake in the company. The partnership will contribute to speeding up the production and availability of SAF in favour of a more sustainable aviation industry. The parties aim to finalise the detailed agreement within the next few months.

"We are moving Norwegian into the future. Our sector contributes to great value creation, both socially and economically, and we commit to significantly reducing our climate impact as we take advantage of technological advances within aviation fuel. E-fuels can become a gamechanger for aviation. The partnership with Norsk e-Fuel is a landmark agreement for Norwegian, but also a milestone for aviation in Norway. It helps us move closer to the promise we have given our customers. We want to make it possible for everyone to fly sustainably," said Geir Karlsen, CEO of Norwegian.

The goal is to start producing e-fuels in Mosjøen in Northern Norway as early as 2026. The partnership with Norsk e-Fuel is estimated to secure approximately 20 percent of Norwegian's total demand for SAF until 2030. In addition, Norwegian will invest more than NOK 50 million for a minority equity stake in the company. These measures will contribute to reaching Norwegian's goal of a 45 percent emission reduction by 2030. They also positively impact the European aviation industry's goal of net zero CO2 emissions by 2050.

"Sustainable aviation fuels need to become both more available and less expensive. To make this a reality, the aviation industry depends on collaborating with public authorities to close the price gap between fossil fuels and e-fuels. Ultimately, e-fuels will be able to compete with and replace fossil fuels. Time is crucial and we are very eager to get started," said Karlsen.

Investing in the world's first full scale e-fuels production facility

Norsk e-Fuel looks to accelerate the industrialisation of e-fuel production starting in Northern Norway. The Norwegian project developer is backed by a strong group of shareholders consisting of technology pioneers and industrial experts. The company's first production facility will be located in Mosjøen in Northern Norway. It will become the world's first full scale e-fuels production facility. The area has some of the lowest electricity prices in Europe as well as stable access to renewable energy from hydropower. This provides a considerate competitive advantage, as electricity constitutes a significant cost element in the production of e-fuels. Mosjøen has a port and rail infrastructure as well as a long-standing processing industry tradition.

"Today, we are announcing a partnership that will take a leading role in the transition to sustainable aviation. This is quite unique. With its ambitions to reduce CO2 emissions, Norwegian is a role model for the aviation industry. We are looking forward to many more joining us on the journey," said Lars Bjørn Larsen, CCO of Norsk e-Fuel.

By teaming-up with Norsk e-Fuel, a local producer of e-fuels, Norwegian wants to speed up the transition from fossil to alternative fuels. The partnership with Norsk e-Fuel offers early and long-term access to much-needed sustainable aviation fuel.

"The country of Norway depends on a strong, future-proof aviation industry. Our partnership with Norsk e-Fuel is a historic step for Norwegian as an airline. We are actively supporting the Norwegian processing industry and contributing to local economic growth, whilst at the same time taking a major leap towards making sustainable air travel a reality. To us, this marks the beginning of a new era, and we will consider entering into several future partnerships to achieve our climate goals," said Karlsen.

Djibouti, Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport: A Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on a Japan Airlines' charter flight JAL/JL8920 from Djibouti to Tokyo/Haneda, Japan for 48 Japanese evacuated people from Sudan suffered a fuel leak during preparation for departure which caused one hour and a half hour of delay.

South Sudan, Juba Airport: A Boeing 727 overran runway 13 after landing at Juba Airport (JUB), South Sudan. The cargo aircraft had been chartered to evacuate people escaping war in Sudan.

Colombia, San Andres Island-Gustavo Rojas Pinilla Airport: An Avianca Airbus A320-214 with 184 on board suffered a bird strike after take-off from runway 06 at San Andres Island Airport (ADZ), Colombia. A video of the aircraft shows the no.2 engine surged on climb out. The flight returned to land 18 minutes later.

Cuba, Santa Clara Airport: A Sunwing Boeing 737-800 with 190 occupants, suffered a burst no. 1 main landing tyre (outer left) tire on take-off from Santa Clara Airport (SNU), Cuba. The pilot decided to divert to Varadero Airport (VRA) for an emergency landing. TV footage shows the ruptured and deflated tire, but no other visible damage to the aircraft. All the passengers and crew were safe.

Atlantic Ocean: An American Airlines flight AA748, a Boeing 777-223(ER), N770AN, encountered turbulence over the Atlantic Ocean while enroute from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Madrid, Spain. There were twelve crew members and 209 passengers onboard. One crew member sustained serious injuries, two others sustained minor injuries, and one passenger sustained minor injuries.

Kodiak from Bishop's Cove to George Airport

Aviation Economy
Airlines and Airliners

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