Airlines, Airports and Airliners 8 June 2023

Compiled by Willie Bodenstein

This Week in Airlines, Airports and Airliners

IATA AGM: Schiphol and South Africa named and shamed in Walsh warning.

Ethiopian Airlines wins best overall in Africa Award at the 2023 APEX Passenger Choice Awards.

New professional programme to boost aviation regulators' and managers' abilities to address challenges.

HDOT announces reopening of Runway 8l.

Gulfstream G700 sets speed record from Savannah to Tokyo on SAF.

China's C919 jetliner goes into commercial operation.

Dronamics - the world's first cargo drone airline.

Air Canada Café opens at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.

Delta, Korean Air celebrate 5 years of trans-Pacific Joint Venture.

Worldwide incidents and accidents

Bonus Video - Taylor Monoplane, the Perfect Antidote to a Boring Day


That was the key concern announced by IATA director general Willie Walsh as he gave his annual report on the state of the industry at the association's AGM in Istanbul today. Walsh selected South Africa, the Netherlands, and the EU for particular attention.

Pointing out that industry had "wafer thin" margins of just $2.25 per passenger - "the value retained by airlines for the average plane trip won't even buy a subway ticket in NYC" - but this was at risk because of some actions by airports and government actions.

Describing Schiphol Airport as "the worst in the world", Walsh said: "Schiphol has no shame. After a self-made operational disaster in 2022 the airport continues its three-year 37% charges hike-with 12% this year.

"In South Africa, airports want a 38% charges increase, only to be outdone by ATC demands for a 63% hike.

"And, back to Europe, airlines are paying for a €1.9 billion addition to the air traffic management cost base in 2022. You'd expect good performance. But delays were triple what was anticipated. And capacity and environment targets were missed," Walsh said.

"With such bad behaviour on open display, calls for lighter touch economic regulation of our monopoly suppliers must not be taken seriously by any government," Walsh said. "Considering these many challenges, that airlines are turning a profit at the industry level is truly impressive."

"Airline financial performance in 2023 is beating expectations. Stronger profitability is supported by several positive developments. China lifted COVID-19 restrictions earlier in the year than anticipated. Cargo revenues remain above pre-pandemic levels even though volumes have not. And, on the cost side, there is some relief. Jet fuel prices, although still high, have moderated over the first half of the year," he said.


Africa's leading aviation group, is pleased to announce that it has been crowned as the winner of Best Overall in Africa award at the 2023 APEX Passenger Choice Awards, at a ceremony held in Dublin, Ireland on 25 May 2023.

As 'Best Overall in Africa' winner, Ethiopian has taken the accolade for 'Best Cabin Service', 'Best Entertainment', 'Best Food and Beverage', 'Best Seat Comfort' and 'Best Wi-Fi' in Africa.

Regarding the award, Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mr. Mesfin Tasew said, "We are thrilled by the prestigious award we have won today. This award is special to us as our beloved customers voted for us. I would like to thank them for their vote of confidence in our services. We will continue exceeding expectations in delivering the highest quality and consistent services to our esteemed customers. This is a testimony to the hard work our employees have exerted to make sure our customers receive the quality services and care they deserve. I am indebted to all my Ethiopian colleagues who have shown their higher level of dedication and commitment to the satisfaction and safety of our customers. Congratulations to all Ethiopian families!"

"As the 2023 APEX Best Airline in Africa, Ethiopian Airlines has soared above the competition with its unparalleled commitment to customer satisfaction, innovative services, and its state-of-the-art fleet." APEX CEO Dr. Joe Leader on his part stated, "Watching Ethiopian Airlines' incredible growth as the largest airline in all of Africa underlines the airline's philosophy in being the new spirit of Africa with comfortable seats, delectable cuisine, and outstanding in-flight entertainment delivering an unforgettable journey to every passenger."

The APEX Passenger Choice Awards, which is one of the most prestigious in the industry, recognizes airlines in various regions for providing the best passenger experiences. Partnering with TripIt® from Concur®, the world's highest-rated travel-organizing app, anonymous passenger feedback gathered based on neutral, third-party passenger feedback and insights. Passengers from more than one million flights and nearly 600 airlines from around the world were given the opportunity to provide anonymous ratings in five subcategories: seat comfort, cabin service, food and beverage, entertainment, and Wi-Fi.

It is to be recalled that Ethiopian crowned the 2022 APEX Regional Passenger Choice Awards for 'Best Entertainment' and 'Best Cabin Service' in Africa last year. The airline has also won multiple reputable awards, including SKYTRAX and Business Travel Awards consecutively in the past years.

Ethiopian Airlines (Ethiopian) is the fastest growing Airline in Africa. In its seventy-seven years of operation, Ethiopian has become one of the continent's leading carriers, unrivalled in efficiency and operational success. In addition to its main hub in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, it is also pursuing its multi-hub strategy through a hub in Lomé, Togo with ASKY, in Lilongwe, Malawi with Malawi Airlines and in Lusaka, Zambia with Zambia Airways.


A new innovative initiative aimed at equipping aviation regulators and senior and mid-level managers with comprehensive professional training to address current and emerging challenges will result from an agreement signed today between ICAO, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU), Korea Aerospace University (KAU), and Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC).

The agreement, which was signed at the on-going ICAO Global Implementation Support Symposium in Seoul, Republic of Korea, establishes the "Global Aviation Professional Programme (GAPP)."

Under this new agreement, the partners will collaborate to deliver a transformative learning experience. This programme represents a significant milestone in aviation education and training, harnessing the collective knowledge and expertise of the partners. By leveraging their combined resources, the programme will offer a dynamic curriculum covering a wide range of critical aviation topics.

It is the first programme to combine ICAO, academia and industry expertise, with participants gaining a profound understanding of particularly crucial ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs). By instilling these skills, the programme aims to ensure effective management of aviation issues and the consistent implementation of industry best practices.

Following his signature of the agreement, ICAO Secretary General Juan Carlos Salazar remarked that "the Global Aviation Professional Programme represents a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to enhance the competencies of aviation professionals, and support States in their efforts to assure the highest standards of civil aviation regulation. This programme exemplifies the power of partnerships and our commitment to fostering a culture of continuous learning and improvement in the aviation sector."

The GAPP will provide an inclusive and diverse learning environment, open to aviation professionals and regulators from around the world. Participants will have the opportunity to engage with renowned academic experts, industry leaders, and fellow professionals, fostering a global community of practice that promotes the highest standards of aviation safety, security, and efficiency.


The Hawai'i Department of Transportation (HDOT) announces the reopening of Runway 8L at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL). Reconstruction of Runway 8L, the primary runway for arriving aircraft, began in October 2022. The project involved construction of a 1,000 lineal-foot stretch of Portland cement concrete at the threshold of the runway, joined with 7,500 lineal feet of polymer-modified asphalt. Runway safety features, such as edge lights and navigational aids, were also upgraded.

"Runway safety is a top priority for our airports," said Hawai?i Department of Transportation Director Ed Sniffen. "When you have aircraft weighing hundreds of tons carrying hundreds of people, it is crucial that they have a good surface to land on. We appreciate the patience of the travellers and airlines with the reduced capacity and the hard work put in by our partners to get 8L ready for the summer travel season."

During the construction period, all aircraft had to arrive on Runway 4R. The reopening of 8L on May 27 restores the use of all four runways at HNL.


Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. announced today the all-new Gulfstream G700 set a speed record using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), traveling from Savannah to Tokyo at an average speed of Mach 0.89. The flight, recorded at 13 hours, marked the G700's first visit to Japan. This record was achieved as the company recently reached a milestone of more than 2 million nautical miles flown on SAF blends.

Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. announced today the all-new Gulfstream G700 set a speed record using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), traveling from Savannah to Tokyo at an average speed of Mach 0.89. The flight, recorded at 13 hours, marked the G700's first visit to Japan. This record was achieved as the company recently reached a milestone of more than 2 million nautical miles flown on SAF blends.

"We are innovating for a sustainable future and have been a leader in SAF use over the past decade," said Mark Burns, president, Gulfstream. "Our latest city pair speed record further showcases the investments we are making in our next-generation fleet, as well as the commitment we've made to the industry to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by 40% over a 15-year span, leading into 2034."

Gulfstream was the first business aircraft manufacturer to sign the World Economic Forum's Clean Skies for Tomorrow 2030 Ambition Statement, a declaration of intent to accelerate the supply and use of SAF technologies to reach 10% of global jet aviation fuel supply by 2030. The company was also the first original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to fly on 100% SAF in December 2022. The flight took place on a Gulfstream G650 in partnership with Rolls-Royce on the BR725 engine.

Recently, Gulfstream was the first OEM to receive National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Sustainable Flight Department Accreditations in all four available categories: flight, operations, ground support and infrastructure. To date, Gulfstream has purchased more than 2 million gallons of SAF.


The C919, China's self-developed large passenger aircraft, completed its first commercial flight from Shanghai to Beijing on Sunday, marking its official entry into the civil aviation market.

The flight, operated by China Eastern Airlines, took off as MU9191 at 10:32 a.m. from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport with 128 passengers on board. The plane was greeted with a water salute after touching down at Beijing Capital International Airport.

The C919 is China's first self-developed trunk jetliner in accordance with international airworthiness standards and owns independent intellectual property rights.

The C919 project was launched in 2007. Developed by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd. (COMAC), the first C919 aircraft rolled off the production line in Shanghai in November 2015.

"The first commercial flight is a coming-of-age ceremony of the new aircraft, and C919 will get better and better if it stands the test of the market," said Zhang Xiaoguang, director of the marketing and sales department of COMAC.


"We are innovating for a sustainable future and have been a leader in SAF use over the past decade," said Mark Burns, president, Gulfstream. "Our latest city pair speed record further showcases the investments we are making in our next-generation fleet, as well as the commitment we've made to the industry to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by 40% over a 15-year span, leading into 2034."

Dronamics, the world's first cargo drone airline, announced today the successful completion of the first flight of its flagship aircraft, the Black Swan, at Balchik airport in Bulgaria; demonstrating the potential for the logistics industry to enhance efficiency in the transportation of products.

Born out of two brothers' desire to find a quicker, greener and more affordable way to deliver goods, Dronamics is on a mission to enable same day delivery for everyone, everywhere. This significant milestone is the culmination of months of ground testing and subscale flights. The Black Swan aircraft was remotely piloted by two commercial airline pilots from the Dronamics ground control station.

The successful flight test validates the company's licensed cargo drone technology for commercial flights in Europe, set to begin later this year, serving a variety of industries, with a fast and cost-effective solution to meet evolving consumer needs.

"Since the day we first imagined what the Black Swan aircraft could look like, we've worked towards this flight. Today we've made history and are proud to have demonstrated the validity of our drone technology," said Konstantin Rangelov, Co-Founder and CTO of Dronamics.

"It's taken an enormous amount of hard work, belief and drive to prove that what we envisioned works. We can now focus on the next step, the roll-out of our commercial operations, and we couldn't be more excited," said Svilen Rangelov, Co-Founder and CEO of Dronamics.

Dronamics is a leading developer and operator of large, long-range drones built specifically for cargo. Its flagship Black Swan is able to carry 350 kg (770 lb) at a distance of up to 2,500 km (1,550 mi) up to 80% faster, 50% cheaper and with up to 60% lower emissions than alternative modes of transport, including airfreight. This enables same-day shipping over long distances for a variety of industries: from pharma to food, from e-commerce to spare parts. Dronamics is Europe's first licensed cargo drone airline and IATA's first Strategic Partner for drones worldwide.


Air Canada announced its newest Air Canada Café, in collaboration with Aspire, Swissport's premium lounge brand. Beginning June 1, eligible Air Canada customers departing from Toronto's downtown airport will have dedicated access to the only airline lounge at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ) to enjoy elevated comfort and convenience before they fly.

Beginning June 1, eligible Air Canada customers departing from Toronto's downtown airport will have dedicated access to the only airline lounge at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ) to enjoy elevated comfort and convenience before they fly. (CNW Group/Air Canada)

The new Aspire | Air Canada Café marks the 27th lounge in Air Canada's lounge network and the sixth Canadian location for Aspire. It's a 133-seat modern respite at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport's domestic departures terminal. Quiet workspaces, a private meeting room and premium food and drinks to stay or go are among the complimentary amenities in the café-style executive lounge.

"We know how much Air Canada customers, who travel frequently within the busy Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal corridor, really value the convenience of flying out of Billy Bishop," said Jacqueline Harkness, Managing Director, Product & Services, Air Canada. "Our new Aspire | Air Canada Café at Billy Bishop builds upon the success of our first Air Canada Café at Toronto-Pearson, and is just one more way Air Canada continues to invest in the best lounge network in Canada."

"We are thrilled to collaborate with Air Canada on our first joint lounge concept," said Charles Roberge, CEO of Swissport Canada. "With this new addition, we continue to expand our lounge network in Canada and reinforce our commitment to providing exceptional services to our customers worldwide. Our newest lounge is Toronto's first Aspire Lounge and aims to be the first LEED-certified lounge in Swissport's international network of 63 Aspire lounges."

"We are thrilled to see the opening of a new lounge at YTZ. Featuring local and sustainable amenities in a serene bespoke space, this lounge builds upon the award-winning amenities for passengers at Toronto's City Airport," said Neil Pakey, President and CEO of Nieuport Aviation, the owner and operator of the passenger terminal.

The Aspire | Air Canada Café is available to Air Canada customers who are Aeroplan 50K, 75K, or Aeroplan Super Elite Status members, Star Alliance Gold members, and Aeroplan premium co-brand cardholders, as well as travellers connecting to an Air Canada business class ticket.


Delta Air Lines and Korean Air are celebrating the fifth anniversary of the leading joint venture between the U.S. and Asia, a partnership that continues to grow traffic through the region's premier connecting hub at Incheon International airport.

The partnership has improved customer experience, enhanced its combined network and benefited more than 7 million customers since launching in May 2018. Delta and Korean Air rapidly grew connecting passengers over ICN to 2,000 per day each way, an increase of more than 40% in five years despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, Delta and Korean Air offer 18 peak day departures between Seoul-Incheon and the U.S., connecting more than 290 destinations in the Americas and over 80 destinations in Asia in 44 countries.

Delta's partnerships with like-minded carriers across the globe offer customers more choice of destinations, more chances to earn and redeem loyalty points, a better airport experience and shared technology for a smoother journey.

"We are proud of how we achieved the leading position in the trans-Pacific together with Korean Air the past five years, which is all thanks to the dedication of our people," said Peter Carter, Delta's Executive Vice President - External Affairs. "We are also excited for how this best-in-class joint venture will continue to deliver for our customers, our business partners and our employees for many more years to come."

Nigeria, near Dutse: A Max Air flight VM1009, a Boeing 747-4B5 with 554 on board, suffered a crack in the windscreen after it was struck by lightning after departure from Dutse International Airport, bound for Saudi Arabia.
The flight diverted to Kano.

Canada, near Calgary International Airport, AB: A WestJet Encore DHC-8-400, was operating as flight WEN9820 from Calgary International Airport (CYYC), AB to Ft. Chipewyan (CYPY), AB with 2 flight crew and 2 flight attendants on board. During the initial climb after take-off from CYYC, the flight crew heard a bang and the aircraft yawed to the right. Both flight crew observed that the No. 2 ITT was reading 1100°C. The captain (pilot flying) turned off the autopilot and as both flight crew assessed the situation the engine fire aural warning sounded. Smoke and fumes were also detected in the flight deck and in the cabin. The captain asked for the engine fire quick reference checklist and the first office commenced the actions. The captain declared a MAYDAY with ATC and levelled the aircraft at 8200 feet ASL. When the No. 2 engine (Pratt and Whitney Canada PW150A) was shutdown, the smoke and fumes dissipated. The No. 1 fire bottle was actuated and after 30 seconds, the fire light remained illuminated. The No. 2 fire bottle was actuated and the fire light remained illuminated. The captain requested a priority return for CYYC and ATC vectored WEN9820 back to the airport. The No.2 fire light extinguished a few minutes later and WEN9820 completed a single-engine approach and landing onto Runway 35R. ARFF inspected the aircraft on the runway prior to the aircraft continuing to the gate.
India, Guwahati-Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport: IndiGo Airlines flight 6E2652, an Airbus A320neo, suffered engine issues, forcing a return to land at Guwahati International Airport (GAU).

Russia, Adler/Sochi Airport: A Pobeda Airlines Boeing 737-8LJ was struck by a luggage cart tug at the gate at Adler/Sochi Airport (AER).
The corner of the cabin frame of the tug struck and punctured the left-hand forward fuselage.

Bolivia, East of Cochabamba: A Boliviana de Aviación flight OB648, a Boeing 737-8Q8, had departed Cochabamba (CBB) when the flight crew noticed a rise in temperature in one of the engines. The flight returned to CBB for a safe landing 45 minutes after take-off. It was determined that the engine had ingested an 'external object'.

USA, near New York-John F. Kennedy International Airport, NY: A JetBlue Airways flight B61219 with 128 on board, an Airbus A320-232, suffered a high temperature warning after take-off from near New York-JFK International Airport, NY (JFK). The flight crew shut down engine no.1 and returned to land at JFK. The incident aircraft resumed regular service about 46 hours after the occurrence.

Indonesia, W of Manado: Garuda Indonesia flight GA607, a Boeing 737-8U3, suffered engine problems after departure from Manado Airport (MDC). During climb out, one of the engines suffered unspecified problems. The flight crew elected to return to MDC, where it landed safely.

USA, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, TX: An American Airlines flight AA860, a Boeing 737-823, landed on runway 17C at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, TX (DFW/KDFW) and the left rear tire shredded and damaged the left wing.

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