Airlines, Airports and Airliners 7 Sept 2023

Compiled by Willie Bodenstein




This Week in Airlines, Airports and Airliners


African states agree to heighten safe, secure and sustainable air connectivity.

IATA rejects decision to reduce capacity of operations at AICM.

TAAG Angola Airlines to increase frequencies to Kinshasa.

DOT fines American Airlines $4.1 Million for unlawfully keeping thousands
of passengers on the tarmac for hours.

FAA Hits 1,500-Controller Hiring Goal for 2023.

Qatar Airways Ramps Up Excitement for Expo 2023 Doha.


The Cathay Group continues to invest in the Hong Kong international aviation hub with intention to purchase up to 32 new single-aisle Airbus aircraft.

Air France and Airbus in exclusive negotiations to create a JV for A350 component support.

Worldwide incidents and accidents.

Bonus Video - Taylor Monoplane - The Perfect Antidote to a Boring Day.



AFRICAN STATES AGREE TO HEIGHTEN SAFE, SECURE AND SUSTAINABLE AIR CONNECTIVITY


The eighth edition of Africa-Indian Ocean (AFI) Aviation Week has resulted in the region's governments agreeing to work more closely together on the implementation of ICAO aviation safety, security and sustainability standards and plans, with "high performing" States offering greater assistance to those that require the most support.


The event was hosted by the Government of Kenya and took place in Nairobi from 21 to 25 August 2023 with Council Representatives and other Representatives from both States and organizations in attendance.

In his opening remarks, ICAO Council President Salvatore Sciacchitano highlighted that the presence of "so many key representatives from States and international and regional organizations present at this meeting is a clear demonstration of the recognition of the importance of aviation to the sustainable development of nations, and of the need for all partners and stakeholders to work closely together to build synergies in Africa."

Greater partnership around capacity building, particularly to support the next generation of aviation professionals (NGAP), was a cross cutting outcome of the event. States pointed to the "practical application" of the ICAO Aviation Training and Capacity-Building Roadmap and the significance of continuing support for ICAO training and workshops in priority areas. They recognized the significance of mobilizing resources under the No Country Left Behind initiative, and agreed that NGAP and gender equality objectives should be a crucial feature in national aviation planning.

The capacity of Africa's air navigation systems was also addressed, with the States agreeing to request that the African Union Commission coordinate the establishment of a task force on "the seamless sky for Africa," and to enhance their cooperation through Collaborative Decision Making (CDM). The digitalization of services was seen as a particularly important priority in this area.

To support partnership between States with "high" and "low" performing safety and security oversight capacities, the ICAO Regional Offices were requested to facilitate cooperation through regional mechanisms, with a special focus on the development of focus projects on achieving the targets set out in ICAO's aviation safety and security global plans.

The ICAO Cyber Security Action Plan and the Aviation Safety Alliance for Africa (ASAA) initiative on the effective incident and accident data collection in Africa were seen as high priorities for governments, as was the ratification of the African (Malabo) Convention on cybersecurity and personal Data protection (2014).

Sustainability was recognized as an equally important priority, with the development of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) acknowledged as both playing a crucial role in the decarbonization of flight and an extremely promising catalyst for sustainable development in Africa.

States and other stakeholders were encouraged to join the ICAO Assistance, Capacity building and Training for SAF (ACT-SAF) Programme and take advantage of all the support initiatives provided under its umbrella. States were also encouraged to contribute actively to the upcoming Third ICAO Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels, to be held in November 2023 in Dubai, from which a global framework for SAF investment and production is expected to emerge.

Governments acknowledged that the safe, secure, and sustainable development of African air transport would also require the full implementation of ICAO's facilitation and air transport guidance, especially those around the liberalization of air services and on user fees, charges and taxes on aviation. States and stakeholders were encouraged to solicit the political will of leaders by promoting the benefits of fully implementing the Yamoussoukro Declaration Concerning the Liberalisation of Access to Air Transport Markets in Africa, and to avoid protectionism.

"Clearly Africa has come to an important turning point in fulfilling its aspirations for national, regional, and international air connectivity on this continent," ICAO Secretary General Juan Carlos Salazar declared in his closing remarks to the event. "Moving forward we must all resolve to translate our progress this week into effective policies, programmes, and actions that deliver the intended results. Our vision is to connect Africa and the world, and it can only be achieved if we continue to work together."

AFI Aviation Week furthermore provided ICAO's leadership with the opportunity to advocate for the organization's priorities at a series of bilateral and multilateral side meetings, including with thePresident of Kenya, H.E. William Ruto, at which Kenya's commitment to ICAO and regional cooperation was expressed and welcomed. This was additionally illustrated by Kenya's announcement of the construction of a new headquarters for ICAO's Eastern and Southern Africa (ESAF) Regional Office, which is located in Nairobi, and a voluntary donation of USD 200,000 from Kenya to support the ICAO AFI Security and Facilitation (SECFAL) Plan.

In addition to his remarks to the meetings of the Comprehensive Regional Implementation Plan for Aviation Safety in Africa (AFI Plan) and AFI SECFAL Plan steering committees, the Secretary General held a meeting with the Heads of AFI Aviation Week Delegations, and undertook bilateral discussions with the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation and the Director General of Civil Aviation of Somalia, Ms. Fardowsa Osman Egal and Mr Ahmed Moalim Hassan, respectively; the Directors General of Civil Aviation of Namibia and Nigeria, Ms. Toska Sem and Capt. Musa Shuaibu Nuhu, respectively; and the Administrator of the United States' Transportation Security Administration, Mr. David Pekoske.

During his mission to Kenya, the Secretary General discussed areas for heightened cooperation with the Director General of the UN Office in Nairobi, Ms. Zainab Bangura; and the Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Ms. Maimuna Mohd Sharif.

The Council President and the Secretary General were accompanied during their activities in Kenya by ICAO's ESAF Regional Director, Ms. Lucy Mbugua; Western and Central Africa Regional Director, Mr. Prosper Zo'o Minto'o; Director for Capacity Development and Implementation, Mr. Jorge Vargas, Director of the Air Transport Bureau, Mr. Mohamed Rahma and Director of the Air Navigation Bureau, Ms. Michele Merkle.





IATA REJECTS DECISION TO REDUCE CAPACITY OF OPERATIONS AT AICM


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) rejects and challenges the Mexican Government's decision to reduce the capacity of Mexico City International Airport (AICM) to 43 operations per hour. IATA further calls on the authorities to seek alternative measures to this unilateral action, which if not withdrawn or modified, will have negative impacts on passengers, air operations, connectivity, tourism and competitiveness. It will also place Mexico in non-compliance with its international aviation commitments.

"This decision by the Government does not take into account the interests of consumers, nor does it respect the necessary consultative process with operators and users, especially at the country's main airport. Such measures must be taken with the utmost technical and operational rigor, based on studies and expert analysis. In this case, we question the methodology used by SENEAM, AFAC and AICM to determine airport capacity," said Peter Cerdá, IATA's Regional Vice President for the Americas.

That hold that capacity changes should be made through a collaborative process with all stakeholders to ensure transparency, predictability, and certainty.

Observing these standards allows for compliance with international commitments and proper planning of air operations, with the passenger as a priority and respecting the demands of the local market, connectivity and operational efficiency.

This new cutback in AICM operations follows the 2022 capacity reduction from 62 to 52 operations per hour, which was justified by the government on the grounds of airspace limitations. However, this explanation contradicted the study conducted in 2018 by the same government, which confirmed the feasibility of safely operating a maximum of 72 operations per hour. Last year's reduction forced all-cargo airlines to stop operating at AICM in order to facilitate work to improve the terminal; to date, however, no such work has been carried out.

"The main problem at AICM is not the operating capacity but the aging and deteriorating infrastructure. Terminals 1 and 2 require immediate modernization," stated Cerdá.

AICM is served by more than 24 national and international airlines and acts as the primary hub connecting all Mexican states and most international destinations. Mexico's market potential is enormous, with an abundance of tourist destinations. The joint mission of all stakeholders should be to facilitate aviation connectivity and make air travel more accessible throughout the country. Aviation enables social connection, greatly enhances tourism and is an engine for economic development and job creation. In 2021, air transport generated 1.3 million jobs and contributed US $46.8 billion to the country's GDP.

Finally, the priority on the part of the Mexican government should be to focus on recovering a Category 1 rating from the US Federal Aviation Administration's International Aviation Safety Assessment program. The negative impact of Category 2 has been significant for the country, with the loss of connectivity, increased ticket prices and the reduced competitiveness of Mexican airlines.

In conclusion, IATA rejects this damaging measure and reiterates the industry's willingness to work with the government and other stakeholders to ensure Mexico can continue to benefit from the aviation connectivity provided by AICM.




TAAG ANGOLA AIRLINES TO INCREASE FREQUENCIES TO KINSHASA

In order to promote trade, business development and mobility between Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), thus, following market demand, TAAG Angola Airlines will provide an additional frequency on the Luanda <-> Kinshasa connection, from 14 August ahead.


The Kinshasa route will have four (4) weekly frequencies, departing from Luanda on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, operated by a DASH-8 aircraft, with total capacity of 74 passengers, 64 in economy class and 10 passengers in business class.

Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo shared multiple synergies, and coincidently, today is taking place the first Economic Forum Angola - DRC in Kinshasa, with the main topic "Economic Partnerships towards mutual growth". This event brings together Government representatives from both countries, corporate segment, chamber of commerce and similar, among other participants.

Angola shares an extensive border with the DRC and a significant flow of bilateral trade. Both countries develop strong cooperation and are integrated into regional organizations, namely: Southern African Development Community (SADC), Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Gulf of Guinea Commission (CGG) and International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).
Overall, TAAG is deeply committed to providing greater connectivity and convenience services to the customer, positioning Angola as an important hub within the region.

TAAG Angola Airlines was founded in 1938 and it is based in Luanda, Angola´s capital city. For more than 80 years TAAG has connected Angolans with its key domestic and international markets. TAAG is the leading airline in the country, recognized worldwide for its strong high-yield market, having grown its current network to 12 domestic and 13 international destinations. Its fleet allows, in addition to passenger transport, air cargo services which have become essential for Angola´s growth and development. TAAG is a company that prides itself on a strong track record of service and performance excellence.





DOT FINES AMERICAN AIRLINES $4.1 MILLION FOR UNLAWFULLY KEEPING THOUSANDS OF PASSENGERS ON THE TARMAC FOR HOURS


The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has fined American Airlines $4.1 million for violating federal statutes and the department's rule prohibiting tarmac delays of three hours or more on domestic flights without providing passengers an opportunity to deplane.


DOT's investigation found that American kept dozens of flights stuck on the tarmac for long periods of time without letting passengers off. DOT is ordering American to pay the largest fine ever issued for tarmac delay violations and cease and desist from violating the law. This fine is part of DOT's unprecedented effort to ensure the traveling public is protected, including returning more than $2.5 billion in refunds to travellers.

"This is the latest action in our continued drive to enforce the rights of airline passengers," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. "Whether the issue is extreme tarmac delays or problems getting refunds, DOT will continue to protect consumers and hold airlines accountable."

An extensive investigation by the Department's Office of Aviation Consumer Protection (OACP) found that between 2018 and 2021, American allowed 43 domestic flights to remain on the tarmac for lengthy periods without providing passengers an opportunity to deplane in violation of the Department's tarmac delay rule. DOT found that none of the exceptions to the tarmac delay rule, including the safety and security exceptions, applied to those flights. In addition, on one of the 43 flights, passengers were not provided with food and water as required. Most of the delays occurred at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. The tarmac delays affected a total of 5,821 passengers.



FAA HITS 1,500-CONTROLLER HIRING GOAL FOR 2023

The Federal Aviation Administration has hired 1,500 air traffic controllers and met its 2023 goal needed to continue rebuilding its training pipeline. The agency also announced that it now has approximately 2,600 controllers being trained at facilities across the country. Many of these controllers are already certified to safely work some air traffic positions as they continue training on others.

"This is an important milestone as we come out of the pandemic, but there is more work to do. We plan to hire 1,800 controllers in the upcoming year provided we receive the funding," said Tim Arel, chief operating officer of the FAA's Air Traffic Organization.

New controllers start their career journey at FAA's academy in Oklahoma City. After graduating, they relocate to one of the FAA's hundreds of air traffic facilities. There they begin training to become certified on specific airspace positions for that facility, Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) or en route center. Certification varies from 18 to 24 months depending on the airspace complexity.

Today, there are around 2,600 controllers that are in various stages of training. Many of them were certified on the airspace for a previous facility but have relocated to another facility. Others are graduates of the academy working toward certification on all the positions where they are located.

Like the certification process for many highly skilled professions, air traffic control requires rigorous training. Not everyone who applies or enters the process will be ultimately successful.

The President's FY24 budget requests funding to enable the FAA to hire 1,800 additional controllers. More than 12,000 individuals applied to be an air traffic controller earlier this year during the FAA's BeATC campaign. Those that meet the basic qualifications then take the Air Traffic Skills Assessment exam. High scorers are invited to attend the FAA's academy.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the FAA to close its academy for six months in 2020 and pause on-the-job training at facilities for almost two years.

The public can sign up for hiring updates and learn more about the job, eligibility and other air traffic control facts at BeATC.




QATAR AIRWAYS RAMPS UP EXCITEMENT FOR EXPO 2023 DOHA

As the global anticipation for Expo 2023 Doha rises, Qatar Airways, the national carrier of the State of Qatar, is proud to announce its role as the Official Strategic Partner for the landmark event.

Set to be the first A1 International Horticultural Exhibition in Qatar, the Middle East, and North Africa, the prestigious partnership underscores Qatar Airways' commitment to bringing global attention to Expo 2023 Doha and promoting Qatar as a premier travel destination.

Expo 2023 Doha, which is expected to attract an estimated 3 million visitors from around the globe, will take place in the picturesque Al Bidda Park, overlooking the azure waters of the Arabian Gulf. The six-month event will run from October 2023 to March 2024 and will offer visitors rich experiences, from beautiful gardens and thought-provoking talks, to arts and cuisine, as well as a focus on innovative solutions to mitigate desertification.

To celebrate the partnership, adorned with the Expo 2023 Doha emblem, an exclusive aircraft livery is set to be unveiled by Qatar Airways in the coming month.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: "The upcoming months promise an array of cultural, environmental, and innovative experiences in Qatar for visitors from around the globe. As the Official Strategic Partner for Expo 2023 Doha, we look forward to welcoming international guests to Qatar, offering them our signature hospitality and connecting them to this monumental event."

Travellers onboard Qatar Airways will also be treated to an unforgettable experience that starts with a horticultural welcome video and continues throughout their inflight journey, providing them with celebratory artwork and exclusive healthy dining options, which will be rolled-out across both Premium and Economy Cabins on select routes.

Discover Qatar, the Destination Management Company of Qatar Airways, is offering complimentary entry vouchers to all international travellers for the duration of the Expo 2023 Doha. This includes stopover packages where options range from the Standard Stopover, showcasing 4-star hotel accommodations starting at USD 14 per night, to the Premium Stopover, presenting 5-star hotel selections from USD 23. For those desiring the pinnacle of luxury, the Luxury Stopover offers lavish 5-star hotel stays, inclusive of breakfast, with prices starting from USD 81.





THE CATHAY GROUP CONTINUES TO INVEST IN THE HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL AVIATION HUB WITH INTENTION TO PURCHASE UP TO 32 NEW SINGLE-AISLE AIRBUS AIRCRAFT

The Cathay Group announces today its intention to purchase up to 32 Airbus A321neo and A320neo aircraft as it continues to invest in expanding and modernising its fleet, and growing flight connectivity at the Hong Kong international aviation hub. This will bring the Group's new aircraft deliveries to up to more than 70.

These aircraft are expected to be delivered by 2029, and will join the fleets of Cathay Pacific and HK Express, principally serving destinations in the Chinese Mainland and elsewhere in Asia.

Cathay Group Chief Executive Officer Ronald Lam said: "We are committed to investing in the long-term future of the Group and the Hong Kong international aviation hub, which is expected to grow exponentially with the operation of the Three-Runway System.

"These aircraft models have been serving Cathay Pacific and HK Express well, allowing us to strengthen the expansion of our Chinese Mainland and regional network for our customers.

"As we strive towards achieving our vision of becoming one of the world's greatest service brands, we remain committed to continuously investing in our customer experience. These aircraft feature the latest technological enhancements to provide a quieter, more comfortable and more fuel-efficient journey for our customers."

The Group has already taken delivery of 13 of its initial order for 32 A321neos that it placed in 2017. This intention to purchase will add up to another 32 single-aisle Airbus aircraft to the Group's fleet.




AIR FRANCE AND AIRBUS IN EXCLUSIVE NEGOTIATIONS TO CREATE A JV FOR A350 COMPONENT SUPPORT

Air France-KLM and Airbus today announced that Air France SA ("Air France") and Airbus SAS ("Airbus") have entered into exclusive negotiations to establish a joint venture for the provision on a worldwide basis of Airbus A350 component maintenance services (supply chain management, repairs, creation of a worldwide pool of aircraft components).

The envisaged cooperation would take the form of a 50-50 joint venture between Air France and Airbus and involve the transfer of aircraft components assets belonging to both partners into the joint venture's pool.

This joint venture, combining the expertise of Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance and Airbus, would entail an optimized commercial offering, aimed at better meeting the growing long-term maintenance needs of the Airbus A350 worldwide fleet (more than 1,000 aircraft on order and 550 currently in service worldwide) through enhanced capacity, an expanded global footprint, and the development of innovative solutions to the benefit of the customers.

The objective is for the joint venture to be operational by the first half of 2024 in line with all compliance requirements and subject to approval by all relevant authorities.

Anne Brachet, Executive Vice President Air France-KLM Engineering & Maintenance, declared: "This project aims to bring customers the best expertise of our two companies on a product as high-tech as the A350. We will be able to better respond to the needs of the market, and to guarantee the satisfaction of our customers over the long term, with support solutions that are always responsive, of high quality and at the right price".

Cristina Aguilar, Senior Vice President Customer Services at Airbus, added: "We're in the business of offering the very best service to our customers, and as the world's A350 fleet grows, so does the necessary support. Air France-KLM Engineering & Maintenance and Airbus have a long-standing relationship and pooling our complementary A350 component skills and capabilities will deliver an enhanced service."









Saudi Arabia, Jeddah-King Abdulaziz International Airport: An Air Airbus A320neo, made an emergency landing after an acrid burnt smell filled the cabin. The aircraft made an emergency landing at Jeddah-King Abdulaziz International Airport (JED).

USA, NW of Charlotte, NC: An American Airlines Boeing 737-823, returned to land at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, NC (CLT) after smoke had entered the cabin due to a possible compressor stall in engine no. 2.

Canada, Vancouver International Airport: During pushback, an Air Canada Rouge Airbus A319 collided with a Q400 and was taken out of service.


Estonia, Tallinn: A SmartLynx Airbus A320, departed from Tallinn Airport (TLL), Estonia, en-route to Tivat, Montenegro. Shortly after take-off, the pilots reportedly requested to return to Tallinn due to the indication of fire in one of its CFM56 engines. As a result of the fire indication, the flight crew shut down one engine and stopped the climb at 2,000 feet. Approximately 20 minutes after take-off, the Airbus A320 safely returned to Tallinn Airport.

Italy, Catania-Fontanarossa Airport: A Volotea Airbus A320-216, suffered an engine failure after take-off from Catania-Fontanarossa Airport (CTA). The aircraft circled and landed again at CTA. All passengers disembarked safely.

France, Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport: An Air France flight AF483, a Boeing 777-328ER (F-GSQT), and Delta Air Lines flight DL80, an Airbus A330-941 (N411DX), were involved in a ground collision accident at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG). ADS-B data suggest that AF483 had landed on runway 26L and was stationary on taxiway UT3 when DL80 was taxiing behind it on taxiway T at 11:31 when the collision occurred.

USA, 40 miles NE of Atlanta, GA: A Delta Airlines Airbus A350-941, encountered severe turbulence about 40 miles northeast of Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Eleven people were injured and taken to a hospital.








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