Airlines, Airports and Airliners 27 July 2023

Compiled by Willie Bodenstein

This Week in Airlines, Airports and Airliners

Airlink - Our reinvention recognised with prestigious global award.

ICAO - Progress towards implementing cleaner energies for global aviation.

IATA - European air traffic control performance.

ICAO and WCO update guidance to help mitigate air cargo security threats.

Delta Air Lines discloses order for 12 additional A220 aircraft.

Boeing announces second-quarter deliveries.

Ethiopian Airlines , Boeing and ThinkYoung inaugurate STEM school in Ethiopia.

Brussels airlines and ML tours enter 3-year partnership.

Worldwide Incidents and Accidents

Bonus Video - Fly Safair Boeing 737 ORT to CTI


18 July 2023, we have been recognised at the prestigious international Airline Strategy Awards for our successful reinvention as an independent operator in one of the world's toughest and contested markets.

Our CEO and Managing Director, Rodger Foster, accepted the Executive Leadership: Africa & Middle East award on behalf of Airlink at a ceremony in London last night.

It is an honour to receive this prestigious award on behalf of Airlink, our 2,300 direct employees and over 10,000 downstream families who benefit from and depend upon Airlink's well-being, as well as our board of directors, shareholders, financial stakeholders, lessors, suppliers and business partners. It is true that the pandemic tested the mettle of every airline the world over, but it created the opportunity for us to re-think and re-model Airlink and step into the sun on our own terms - without shedding a single job," said Airlink CEO and Managing Director, Rodger Foster.

"While Rodger Foster has led Airlink for more than 30 years, it is the airline's successful reinvention as an independent operator, flying in one of the toughest of markets, that has caught the eye. Airlink turned a challenging situation into a market opportunity, impressively seizing the chance to establish itself as a new independent carrier in South Africa by building a strong domestic and regional network," explained Graham Dunn, executive editor of FlightGlobal, the 110-year-old international aerospace and air transport news, publishing & analytics group.

The initial COVID-19 hiatus allowed Airlink's leadership to reinvent the airline. They asserted its independence by ending a long-standing franchise with SAA, launching flights and ticket sales under Airlink's own "4Z" code, adopting its distinctive "Sunbird" livery and expanding its network, schedule and fleet. Today Airlink's fleet of 62 modern jetliners provides comprehensive connectivity to 45 destinations across Southern and East Africa, Madagascar and St Helena Island. During this period Airlink has also established a constellation of commercial partnerships, including code-shares, with many of the world's leading inter-continental carriers.

"Having the network breadth, scheduling depth and ability to serve our growing customer base is one side of the equation in building our brand and increasing our market presence. Just as important is providing extraordinary and great value service," said Mr Foster.

"Airlink pitches itself as a premium regional carrier, and that positioning is underlined by its building of a network of partnerships with global players. Judges were further impressed that it has adopted a wider strategy in the region with its stake in FlyNamibia. The judges also suggested that Airlink's strategy shift is repeatable elsewhere in Africa, proving you don't need to be a huge airline with huge financial resources to succeed," added Dunn.

About the Airline Strategy Awards

The Airline Strategy Awards are held by FlightGlobal's Airline Business in partnership with the civil aviation practice of Korn Ferry, the largest human-capital solutions provider in the world. The awards were launched in 2002. The recipients are selected by an independent panel of industry experts, following a nominations process overseen by FlightGlobal's Airline Business and Korn Ferry.


Crucially important consultations on the development, financing, and deployment of cleaner energies for aviation, have concluded at ICAO's Montreal Headquarters.

The "2023 ICAO Stocktaking on Aviation in-Sector CO2 Emissions Reductions and Pre-CAAF/3 Policy and Finance Consultation" event tracked progress towards the achievement of aviation's long-term global aspirational goal (LTAG) of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and set the stage for states' policy recommendations at the Third ICAO Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels (CAAF/3), which will take place in November in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

"ICAO's Stocktaking events provide a highly enriching opportunity for learning about all the key novel developments and the innovations that are taking place towards aviation decarbonization that are taking place worldwide," remarked ICAO Secretary General Juan Carlos Salazar. "I am heartened by the many partnerships and collaboration initiatives, many involving ICAO, aimed at enabling key innovative solutions for a more climate resilient and sustainable development of international aviation."

The President of the ICAO Council, Salvatore Sciacchitano echoed these remarks, highlighting "the importance of the ICAO Stocktaking as a source of inspiration and new ideas to catalyse collaborations, partnerships, and financing towards the ultimate goal of aviation decarbonization, and stressing the need for further consultations amongst States and stakeholders to define a clear ICAO global framework at the CAAF/3."

Over 1000 participants registered for the three-day event, with where nearly 100 panellists from governments, aviation and energy stakeholders, research institutions, start-up companies and civil society shared their visions, ambitious plans and roadmaps for decarbonizing aviation for energy transition. All the sessions held during the event were moderated by female leaders in aviation, reflecting the sector's efforts towards improve gender equality.

The keynote address, was delivered by French Aerospace Industries Association (GIFAS) Chairperson Guillaume Faury. It highlighted ICAO's major role in decarbonizing aviation: a sector that, as shown during the Paris Airshow, is focused on green innovations in support of the LTAG adopted by ICAO Member States.

This set the stage for the impressive number of solutions and innovative technologies that were presented during the Stocktaking. These included advanced and novel aircraft technologies, operational improvements both in the air and on the ground, and opportunities to expand the production and use of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF), Lower Carbon Aviation Fuels (LCAF) and other cleaner energies for aviation.

A special focus was given to the theme of financing, including the importance of blended finance and the role of public and private institutions. Financial institutions presented their views, needs, and challenges to support green funding for cleaner energy aviation projects. Discussions also addressed the importance of assistance and capacity development and implementation support building to facilitate access to such funding, including the development of multi-stakeholder partnerships, feasibility studies, and policy implementation roadmaps.

An exhibition on SAF was also offered to illustrate the various stages of the fuel-related supply chain, and to engage with the different stakeholders involved in the production of SAF, lower carbon aviation fuels (LCAF), and emerging renewable energy technologies.

Several tools to support decarbonization efforts were also launched by ICAO during the event.

The ICAO Assistance, Capacity-building and Training for SAF (ACT-SAF) Feasibility Study Guide & Template will encourage greater coherence across such studies and facilitate potential funding opportunities, while a new package of video series on the implementation of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) will facilitate the consideration of aviation fuel's sustainability and its certification.

ICAO also released the latest addition to its successful Carbon Emissions Calculator (or ICEC) which computes the amount of CO2 emissions from a given flight. It now includes an air-freighter calculator that allows the estimation of carbon emissions on the basis of the weight, departure, and arrival airports of the package shipped.

The next step in the lead- up to CAAF/3 will be the ICAO pre-CAAF/3 Outcomes Consultation at ICAO Headquarters in September. Delegates at this pre-event will seek a convergence of views on as many issues.


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released the following statement by its Director General, Willie Walsh, on the performance of European Air Traffic Control. "Last month I expressed concern about Air Traffic Control (ATC) performance in Europe and the US. Both are disappointing.

The ATC environment that all carriers in Europe are experiencing is challenging. Airlines and airports worked hard to ensure that sufficient resources would be provided to minimize disruptions and get travellers to where they need to be on time. Lack of ATC resources nationally-particularly in Germany and France are preventing that. While some areas of ATC performance have improved over 2022, we remain unacceptably behind 2019 levels.

The most severe impacts are being seen at Europe's most congested airports-especially London Gatwick where the performance is also affected by local ATC resource issues. Gatwick is now the worst performing airport among the 31 major airports reported by Eurocontrol and sits at number 106 out of the 110 airports covered by the entire data set.

It is disheartening that the politicians who were quick to criticize airlines last year, have remained silent about the disruption caused by government controlled or regulated ATC providers.

What can these politicians do so we don't have another year of European ATC performance below pre-COVID levels? To start, they need to be held accountable for the economic and environmental costs of poor ATC performance, so they have an incentive to make better decisions. This summer has shown us that the 'to do' list is already well-known-proper staffing, modernization with the Single European Sky and finding ways to maintain essential ATC services during periods of industrial action, while respecting workers' rights."


To further assist air transport regulators and operators in their mitigation of security threats associated with air cargo activities, ICAO and the World Customs Organization (WCO) have released a revised supply chain and secure mail publication today.

The highly complex nature of the air cargo and mail operating environment, involving a multiplicity of entities, might add to the day-to-day operational difficulties of implementing security measures and countering threats. The advice, which has been published in the third edition of "Moving Air Cargo Globally", describes the roles and responsibilities of these various entities, and highlights how they can work together effectively to secure air cargo and mail within the regulatory framework.

"Maintaining operational efficiency and commercial viability has always been at the cornerstone of ICAO's efforts towards improving aviation security, as demonstrated by the tremendous adaptability and resilience the air cargo sector showed during the COVID-19 pandemic," remarked ICAO Secretary General Juan Carlos Salazar, noting that the understanding of the nature and level of related security threats - and how to combat them - has also significantly improved in recent years. "Moving Air Cargo Globally" will help to support the implementation of robust and harmonized standards worldwide, while fostering the improved air transport connectivity which is so critical to the future sustainability of societies and economies everywhere."

Previous attacks on civil aviation committed or attempted by concealing improvised explosive or incendiary devices in consignments demonstrate that it is essential to remain vigilant and apply measures that secure air cargo and mail, with vulnerabilities potentially providing terrorists and criminals with a route of attack. These threats remain credible today and measures still need to be sustainably implemented by all stakeholders.

The guidance issued today also highlights the increasing importance of the digitalization of cargo processes, in order to make them better fit for purpose in modern multimodal supply chains, and more agile, responsive, and secure in the face of new opportunities and threats. It focuses on measures around high-risk cargo and screening, including preventive security measures directed at staff members to mitigate the threats posed by insiders.

Drawing on inputs from wide ranging stakeholders, including both regulators and industry, the publication notably recognizes the critical role international supply chains play as catalysts for sustainable development at the national, regional, and global levels, underscoring the broader need to avoid security-related disruptions to these activities.


Under its current agreement, Delta Air Lines has disclosed an order for 12 additional A220-300 aircraft, bringing the airline's total firm order for A220s to 131 aircraft - 45 A220-100s and 86 A220-300. Throughout the years, Delta has reordered the A220 five times and is today the largest A220 customer and operator in the world.

"The A220-300 offers efficient performance and flexibility," said Kristen Bojko, Vice President of Fleet. "The continuing expansion of Delta's A220 family is an integral investment in the future of sustainable aviation."

"This additional order from the largest A220 customer and operator is yet another strong endorsement for the value and opportunities offered by this latest generation aircraft family. The A220 provides Delta the flexibility to right-size its operations, gaining in efficiency and offering superior single-aisle comfort. In service with Delta, the A220 has proven to be a game changer in its size category in highly competitive North America markets," said Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International.

In addition to its positive cabin experience, the aircraft plays an important role in helping decrease airline operating costs and environmental impact. Offering 25% lower fuel burn and CO2 emissions per seat compared to previous generation aircraft, the A220 is the only aircraft purpose-built for the 100-150 seat market. Combining state-of-the-art aerodynamics, advanced materials and Pratt & Whitney's latest-generation GTF™ engines, the A220 brings customers a 50% reduced noise footprint and around 50% lower NOx emissions than industry standards.

Delta took delivery of its first Airbus A220 in October 2018, and was the first U.S. carrier to operate the aircraft type. Delta currently operates a fleet of 433 Airbus aircraft, including 61 A220 aircraft, 280 A320 Family aircraft, 64 A330s and 28 A350-900 aircraft.

With 271 A220s delivered* to 16 airlines operating on four continents, the A220 is the optimal aircraft to offer operational flexibility for both regional as well as long-distance routes. To date, more than 90 million passengers have flown on the A220. The fleet is currently flying on over 1,100 routes and over 375 destinations worldwide. As of the end of June 2023, around 30 customers have ordered more than 800 A220 aircraft - confirming its leading position in the small single-aisle market.


The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] announced today major program deliveries across its commercial and defence operations for the second quarter of 2023. The company will provide detailed second quarter financial results later. Major commercial program deliveries during the second quarter were as follows:


Ethiopian Airlines, Boeing and ThinkYoung have launched the STEM School, an initiative designed to equip young individuals and teachers in Ethiopia with the necessary skills for better employment opportunities. The program focuses on underprivileged African youth especially women, fostering their pursuit of higher education in STEM with a focus on aviation.

The STEM School will be hosted at the Ethiopian Airlines Aviation University, leveraging the expertise of the flagship carrier of Ethiopia. This collaboration ensures that students and teachers will benefit from the extensive knowledge and resources of the fastest growing Airline in Africa, enhancing their educational experience and providing them with real-world insights.

Ethiopian Airlines Group Chief Executive Officer Mr. Mesfin Tasew said about the program: "We are delighted in our collaboration with Boeing and ThinkYoung to launch the STEM School initiative, which helps Ethiopian youths to succeed in education and in their future careers, primarily in aviation fields, and to become the next generation of innovators. We believe in going at a compatible pace with the speed of technology and being prepared for future demands. This cooperation and initiative will develop young people to meet the future needs of the fast-growing Ethiopian aviation industry."

A comprehensive, immersive program spanning six weeks, the STEM School will provide over 300 hours of classes and hands-on training. The program will welcome 24 students in grades 11-12 from different regions of Ethiopia. 50% of students will be girls. The students will learn the basics of STEM, coding and programming as well as soft skills such as teamwork and problem-solving. Job shadowing at Ethiopian Airlines will allow students to experience various STEM-related roles and improve skills gained during the program. The students will have an opportunity to meet with the professionals from Ethiopian Airlines who will mentor them during their individual projects. This internship also has the added benefit of providing professional recommendations, resume-worthy experience, and networking opportunities.

Kuljit Ghata-Aura, president of Boeing Middle East, Türkiye and Africa commented, "The partnership between Ethiopian Airlines, ThinkYoung, and Boeing embodies a perfect blend of leadership in African aviation, global aerospace innovation, and educational excellence. This synergy will undoubtedly contribute to the success of the STEM School, facilitating the creation of a steady talent pipeline to support growing commercial aviation in Ethiopia."

Anbessie Yitbarek, Boeing Commercial Airplanes Sales and Marketing vice president in Africa added, "We value our partnerships with Ethiopian Airlines and trusted NGOs that in the long run help boost the economy in Ethiopia and beyond by developing and attracting local talent. We are proud of the community work we do in Africa and believe in developing the skills and encouraging young people to consider the aviation industry for their studies and careers."

Another portion of the partnership is the Teacher Training Program. 24 educators from Ethiopia will attend a teaching workshop to improve their ability to teach advanced STEM concepts. After one week of training the teachers will return home with a kit they can use in their classrooms.

Andrea Gerosa, founder of ThinkYoung Africa said, "ThinkYoung is honoured to join forces with Boeing and Ethiopian Airlines in introducing our transformative STEM School program, aimed at supporting Ethiopia's commitment to addressing skills gaps, particularly in the field of STEM education. Together, we want to create a lasting impact on the lives of Ethiopians, empowering them with the essential education and skills needed to not only adapt but thrive in the ever-evolving digital future."


Brussels Airlines, the national carrier of Belgium, and ML Tours, a specialist travel agency for flights from Belgium and The Netherlands to Morocco, signed a strategic cooperation running until 2025. The agreement has a volume of 175.000 seats and encompasses flights between Brussels and Al Hoceima, Nador, Oujda and Tangier. With this, both partners cater to passengers who regularly travel between Belgium and Morocco.

Brussels Airlines and ML Tours signed a partnership agreement on four connections between Belgium and Morocco, in a period running until 2025. The two partners together will initially guarantee the availability of 175.000 seats between Brussels and Al Hoceima, Nador, Oujda and Tangier. Flights between Brussels and the last three cities will primarily be scheduled flights in the summer season, the Brussels to Al Hoceima connection will be operated year-round as charter flights.

Through this partnership, Brussels Airlines and ML Tours guarantee convenient connections between Brussels Airport and Morocco for VFR travellers (Visiting Friends & Relatives) as well as for tourists and business travellers.

Netherlands, N of Amsterdam-Schiphol International: A TUI Airlines Netherlands flight OR122, an Airbus A320-214 (N276GX), and KLM flight KL1670, a Boeing 737-900 (PH-BXP), were involved in a loss of separation incident during the approach to Amsterdam-Schiphol International Airport (AMS). OR122, arriving from the east, had been cleared for an approach to runway 18C while KL1670 arriving from the southwest, was cleared for runway 18R. OR122 made a wide turn to runway heading, causing a conflict with KL1670. Both aircraft aborted the approach and landed normally after a second approach.

Russia, Mineralnye Vody Airport: An Azimuth Airlines flight A4929, a Sukhoi Superjet 100-95B, suffered an engine cowl detachment from the left engine during take-off. The captain decided to return to the departure airport.

Italy, NW of Rome: An AlbaStar flight AP3975, a Boeing 737-86J, reportedly suffered a loss of cabin pressure while en route at FL310. The flight diverted to Rome-Fiumicon Airport, where it landed safely.

USA, near Melbourne, FL: An Allegiant Air flight G4485, an Airbus A320-214, declared a crew medical emergency due to an injured flight attendant. The flight returned to FLL, were it landed.

Italy, W of Milan: A Delta Air Lines flight DL185, a Boeing 767-332ER, encountered a hailstorm while on climb out after departure from Milan, Italy. The flight diverted to Rome-Fiumicino Airport (FCO), were it landed safely at 11:55 UTC, 65 minutes after take-off. Photographs of the aircraft show a hole in the nose radome with associated hail damage; damage to the wing leading edges; and damage to at least one of the aircraft engines' spinners.

Peru, S of Tarapoto: A Star Peru flight 2I3143, a Boeing 737-3H4, reportedly suffered an engine failure. After landing at the destination, Tarapoto Airport, the aircraft had to be towed off the runway.

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