Airlines, Airports and Airliners 18 May 2023

Compiled by Willie Bodenstein

This Week in Airlines, Airports and Airliners

Ethiopian Airlines takes delivery of its 20th A350-900 powered by Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

SAA announces fleet expansion to relaunch long-haul routes.

NTSB Chair Homendy to Hold May 23 Event on Runway Incursions.

ICAO releases new data on status of global aviation gender equality.

FAA activates scores of new, faster routes along east coast ahead of summer.

Ryanair orders 300 Boeing 737-Max-10 aircraft worth $40bn.

Delta celebrates 100th U.S.-produced Airbus A321, reaffirms commitment to domestic job growth.

Wisk Aero and Japan airlines partner to bring autonomous, everyday flight to Japan.

Worldwide incidents and accidents

Bonus video - SafAir Boeing 737 ORT to CTI


Ethiopian Airlines, the largest airline in Africa, is pleased to announce that it took delivery of its 20th A350-900 aircraft from Airbus on the 28th of April 2023. The delivery flight used 30% blend Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) thus reducing its carbon footprint and contributing to the ambition set by IATA, ATAG and ICAO to reach “net zero carbon emissions by 2050”. The airplane also carried 10 tonnes of humanitarian shipment into Ethiopia.

Regarding the flight, Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mr. Mesfin Tasew said, “We are glad to receive our 20th brand new A350 aircraft from Airbus. This is another historical first for Ethiopian Airlines as it is our first flight operated with sustainable aviation fuel in cooperation with Airbus, demonstrating our commitment to realizing a sustainable air transport industry. The humanitarian shipment the ferry flight carried also signifies our commitment to discharge our social responsibility. We will continue to invest in fulfilling our corporate social responsibility by reducing carbon emissions and transporting humanitarian shipments going forward.”

“The A350-900 has proven to be instrumental in Ethiopian Airlines fleet strategy, offering unrivalled operational flexibility and efficiency and best in class passenger comfort. The delivery of this A350-900 powered by Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) marks yet another milestone in our relationship; working together to reduce carbon emissions across the aviation industry.” Said Mikail Houari, President Airbus Africa Middle East.

With the new delivery of the A350, Ethiopian Airlines operates 144 modern aircraft to more than 150 domestic and international passenger and cargo destinations across five continents.

Airbus A350-900, Boeing 737s, 777s, 787s, and Bombardier Dash 8-400 double cabin are among the modern and environmentally friendly aircraft Ethiopian has in its fleet.


South African Airways (SAA) is pleased to announce that it has been given the green light for a significant expansion of its fleet to pave the way for the national carrier to relaunch international routes and increase seat capacity for its regional and domestic destinations.

Interim CEO, Professor John Lamola, says the airline's plan to lease six new aircraft has been approved by the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Public Enterprises. “The aircraft will be delivered before the end of this calendar year, and the planes include a wide-body aircraft as well as five narrow-body aircraft - all of them Airbus equipment,” Lamola said.

“We are excited, as SAA, to lay the groundwork for the relaunch of our first international route since coming out of business rescue and since the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. We will announce the new route in the coming few weeks, and we will open commercial marketing and sales for it.”

Lamola says the terms and conditions attached to the deals for the new aircraft are along the same competitive, transparent, and cost-effective lines that have characterised the 'new' SAA since it emerged from Business Rescue in September 2021.

“Currently a Request for Proposals is out for four A320 narrow-body aircraft. The other two - an A330 and A320 have already been secured from the lessor community on the same terms as the ones issued in the RFP.”

“The four aircraft that we are ordering will all be deployed by September 2023. This is a significant boost for the domestic and regional markets and underscores our commitment to expanding our route network and increasing our frequency in the African market. It will also ensure that the equilibrium between the supply of seats and the flow of traffic will benefit our passengers,” Lamola added.


??? The NTSB announced Friday Chair Jennifer Homendy will host a May 23 in-person roundtable discussion on the danger of runway incursions in the United States.

Although the number of runway incursions - defined as the incorrect presence of an aircraft, vehicle, or person on a runway - has remained relatively stable over the past decade, there has been a recent increase in the number of the most serious incursions. The NTSB has opened investigations into six incursion events since just the start of the year.

The roundtable will bring together safety experts from the aviation industry, labour, and government to discuss the current state of the runway incursion problem and possible solutions and next steps. The event is open to the public and a recording will be made available after. A detailed list of participants will be released closer to the roundtable.

“I look forward to hosting a candid assessment of what's been done to prevent runway incursions in the years since our last event on the topic - and to spur meaningful, immediate action on the areas where we're stalled,” said NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy. “By proactively looking for ways to make our skies safer, this event reflects our agency's commitment to meeting the same high standards we ask of others.”


ICAO's latest global survey on the status of licensed aviation personnel by gender reveals that the participation of women holding positions as pilots, air traffic controllers, and maintenance technicians has increased on an overall basis from 4.5% globally in 2016, to 4.9% in 2021.

The percentage of women pilots in service increased from 3.6% to 4.0% globally, with the highest increases being observed in the Asia Pacific and Latin America/Caribbean regions. North America scored highest globally with 4.6% women pilots, followed by Africa and Europe with 4.1% and 4.0%, respectively.

The percentage of female aircraft maintenance engineers and technicians rose from 2.7% to 3.0% worldwide, with increases being seen in all regions except the Middle East and Africa. The highest increases in this area were again recorded in the Latin America/Caribbean and Asia Pacific regions, and the Asia Pacific region also had the highest global percentage of licensed female aircraft maintenance engineers and technicians with 4.4%.

The number of women air traffic controllers remained stable globally at around 20.6%, with increases being observed in the Latin America/Caribbean and Middle East regions. The Latin America/Caribbean region featured the highest percentage of women controllers with 31.8%, followed by Europe with 21.4%.

ICAO has published new analytical dashboards on the participation of licensed female aviation personnel in the workforce, and its expected that countries access to and awareness of the new data will lead to better informed targets and policy making to help reduce the still significant aviation gender gap.

Additional data and analytics on the aviation workforce by gender will be released by the UN aviation agency as part of its Global Aviation Gender Summit 2023, taking place 5-7 July 2023 in Madrid, Spain.


Just in time for the busy summer travel season the FAA has activated 169 new routes along the East Coast that are more direct, saving passengers time, airlines fuel and increasing safety.

"These significant improvements to our national airspace system are just in time for summer and will help travellers get to their destinations more efficiently," said Tim Arel, the chief operating officer of the FAA's Air Traffic Organization. "The new routes will reduce complexity and redistribute volume across all available airspace. I'm proud of the FAA and industry's strong collaboration on this project to get it done."

The direct routes will shave off 40,000 miles and 6,000 minutes of travel time annually from being shorter in distance. The change helps prevent delays by giving the agency more capacity to direct traffic to specific routes based on the aircraft's destination. When weather occurs, controllers will also have more flexibility. Finally, fewer converging points and more simple flows enhance safety.

The new routes operate primarily above 18,000 feet in altitude along the East Coast, as well as offshore over the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. The FAA has sunset the legacy routes built when aircraft largely relied on ground-based radar, limiting the directness of routes, instead of GPS.

The FAA worked collaboratively with industry for more than seven years to develop and implement these high-altitude highways in the sky.


Ryanair Holdings plc ordered 300 new Boeing 737-MAX-10 aircraft (150 firm and 150 options) for delivery between 2027 to 2033. When finalised, and subject to all options being exercised, this deal is valued at over $40bn at current list prices and is the largest order ever placed by an Irish Company for US manufactured goods. Given the size and scale of the transaction, it will be subject to shareholder approval at Ryanair's 14 Sept. AGM.

Boeing's new fuel efficient, B737-MAX-10 aircraft have 228 seats (21% more than the B737NG) and the phased deliveries between 2027 and 2033 will enable Ryanair to create more than 10,000 new high-paid jobs for pilots, cabin crew and engineers, to facilitate disciplined traffic growth of 80% from 168m in year end March 2023 to 300m p.a. by March 2034. Ryanair expects 50% of these deliveries will replace older B737NGs, which will allow Ryanair to continue to operate one of Europe's youngest, most fuel efficient, and environmentally sustainable aircraft fleets.

In addition to very significant revenue growth this new order offers Ryanair, the extra seats (coupled with greater fuel and carbon efficiency) will further widen Ryanair's unit-cost advantage over all EU competitor airlines. This new order will enable Ryanair to deliver sustained traffic and tourism growth at lower fares (and lower emissions per flight) across all European countries where Ryanair continues to lead the post Covid traffic, tourism and jobs recovery.

Given the strength of the Ryanair Group's balance sheet, its industry leading credit rating and the approx. 2-year gap between the last delivery of B-8200 “Gamechanger” aircraft in FY25, and the first MAX-10 delivery in FY27, the Group anticipates that capex will be substantially funded from internal cashflows, although the Group will remain opportunistic in its fleet financing strategy.


Delta's commitment to its cutting-edge fleet was on full display this week in Mobile, Alabama, where the airline celebrated the production of its 100th U.S.-produced A321 from manufacturing partner, Airbus.  

Airbus launched its first U.S. production facility in 2015, with just under 400 employees and Delta received its first aircraft from the Mobile facility in 2016. Because of Delta's strong partnership with Airbus, the Mobile facility now supports more than 1,600 jobs.  

The A321 is central to Delta's fleet strategy, which focuses on delivering next-level customer service and some of the most fuel-efficient aircraft made today. 

“I am grateful for the ongoing partnership between Delta and Airbus, which continues to support good-paying jobs that help families live their American Dream, bolster local communities, and strengthen the regional economy,” said U.S. Senator Katie Britt. “This landmark achievement is only possible because of the hard work, dedication and skill of Airbus employees across Alabama.”

Though the production of Delta's 100th A321 from Mobile is a milestone celebration, Delta received its actual 100th aircraft from the facility last fall.  

“Delta's premium travel experience on our state-of-the-art fleet is made possible by manufacturing partners like Airbus,” said Kristen Bojko, V.P. -- Fleet for Delta Air Lines. “Delta's 100th U.S.-produced A321 aircraft is a significant milestone that reinforces our commitment to flying more fuel-efficient aircraft while investing in quality U.S.-based jobs.”  

“Delta has had a truly essential role in the growth story of Airbus in Mobile and manufacturing in the United States,” said C. Jeffrey Knittel, Chairman and CEO, Airbus Americas, Inc. “Delta has recognized our commitment to providing modern, efficient and passenger-friendly aircraft to our customers. It's particularly special when we can deliver their aircraft from right here in the U.S.A.” 

Delta has a long history of partnering with manufacturers with production operations in the U.S. Delta recently announced a Boeing order for 100 737-10 aircraft, which will be assembled in Renton, Washington.


Wisk Aero, a leading Advanced Air Mobility company, and Japan Airlines (JAL), a leading international airline based in Japan, are partnering to bring Wisk's self-flying, all-electric air taxi services to Japan. Additionally, Wisk and JAL Engineering (JALEC), will work closely together to develop plans for the maintenance and operation of Wisk's autonomous air taxis.

“We are excited to be partnering with Japan Airlines, a highly-respected leader in aviation both in Japan and globally,” says Brian Yutko, CEO of Wisk. “Wisk and Japan Airlines share a commitment to safe, accessible transportation and to ensuring that our services provide long-term benefit to the communities that we serve. We look forward to working together to bring autonomous everyday flight to Japan and to further advancing Advanced Air Mobility in the broader APAC region.”

“We are very honoured to partner with Wisk, a pioneer in autonomous eVTOL aircraft development. In Japan, the introduction of autonomous air travel is developing and we strongly feel that this partnership with Wisk is the first step towards the development of the next generation of safe air mobility in Japan,” says Ryo Tamura, CEO of JALEC.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) has been signed that establishes a framework for collaboration between the two companies, as well as between the two companies and the Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB), and other relevant Japanese Government agencies. This will include careful consideration of regulatory requirements, safety measures, and how the community can benefit from advanced air mobility through the use of Wisk's 6th Generation self-flying, electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.

Over Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean: A Qatar Airways flight QR960, a Boeing 777-3DZER, encountered severe turbulence while en route from Doha to Denpasar. Several occupants were injured and the aircraft diverted to Bangkok, Thailand.

Russia, Noril'sk Airport: NordStar flight Y7912, a Boeing 737-8AS, suffered a loss of tire tread on one of the wheels of the right main landing gear during landing at Noril'sk Airport (NSK).

Brazil, São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport: A GOL Boeing 737 was damaged in a collision with ground equipment at São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport, SP (GRU). The driver of the ground vehicle sustained injures and the vehicle appears to have been crushed.

Brazil, Salvador-Luís Eduardo Magalhães International Airport: Azul flight AD4372, an Embraer E195-E2, suffered a runway excursion after landing on runway 17 at Salvador, Airport, BA (SSA), Brazil. The aircraft became stuck in soaked grass and mud.

Mexico, near Monterrey: Volaris flight Y4512, an Airbus A320-233, suffered damage to the nose cone and cockpit windscreens after flying through a hail storm while descending towards Monterrey Airport, Mexico.
The aircraft operated on a flight from Tijuana (TIJ) to Monterrey (MTY) entered a holding pattern at FL330 from 19:52 to 20:20 before commencing the descent toward MTY. About ten minutes later the aircraft encountered a hail storm. The flight crew stopped the descent and decided to divert to Torreon (TRC), where it safely landed at 21:19 LT.

SafAir Boeing 737 ORT to CTI

Airlines and Airliners
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