Airlines, Airports and Airliners 14 Sept 2023

Compiled by Willie Bodenstein

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This Week in Airlines, Airports and Airliners

Customer experience an increasingly decisive factor when booking travel amid post-pandemic disruptions.

Airlink touches down in Malawi with Lilongwe and Blantyre routes.

IATA - Strong passenger demand continues in July

Beond Airline announces Munich and Zurich as its first European launch cities to the Maldives.

Boeing, Aviation Capital Group Finalize Order for 13 737 MAX Jets.

Consortium lays pathway for green hydrogen aviation to take flight in New Zealand.

Turkish Airlines places order for ten additional Airbus A350-900.

UK hydrogen alliance established to accelerate zero carbon aviation and bring an £34bn* annual benefit to the country.


Worldwide incidents and accidents.

Bonus Video - Boeing B17 Flight - Unforgettable

Kitplanes for Africa

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE AN INCREASINGLY DECISIVE FACTOR WHEN BOOKING TRAVEL AMID POST-PANDEMIC DISRUPTIONS.

When booking a flight, experience at the airport is an increasingly important consideration for passengers, beyond just cost and availability of destinations. SITA's 2023 Passenger IT Insights report, published today, finds customers looking to technology to optimize every aspect of the post-pandemic travel landscape, from addressing pain points in the airport journey, to supporting air transport sustainability, to streamlining intermodal travel.

The report reveals that, as demand has skyrocketed post-pandemic amid lingering staff and resource shortages for airlines and airports, the resulting disruptions to air travel have taken their toll on passengers' experience. Over half of passengers reported encountering flight delays and cancellations, with most highlighting the negative impact this had on their travel experience. It is therefore no surprise that concern over delays and cancellations causes anxiety at the booking stage for nearly one third of passengers in 2023.

Against this backdrop, passengers are embracing the use of smart technologies to smooth pain points along the journey. 2023 has seen passengers continuing to adopt mobile as a remote control for the journey, with boosted usage across booking, check-in, dwell time, on board, and bag collection.

When asked about comfort levels with biometric identification throughout the journey, passengers scored an average of 7.36 out of 10 (with 10 representing most comfortable), up from 7.26 in 2022, reflecting a rising desire for the frictionless airport experience this technology facilitates. There is additional interest in completing certain checks pre-arrival at the airport to further maximize efficiency, with nearly one fifth of passengers pointing to 'automated checks before the airport ensuring documents are sufficient to pass border checks' as a potential improvement to the booking process.

Sustainability is another crucial area where passengers highlight the potential of technology. The use of new technologies supporting sustainability emerged as the number one initiative passengers would value most for both airlines (for 64% of passengers) and airports (62%). This has jumped considerably from about half of passengers in 2022, sending a clear message to the industry that innovative approaches to achieving concrete emissions reductions are front of mind. Such technologies include flight path optimization to reduce fuel burn on the airline front, and tools that monitor data on environmental performance to reduce emissions at the airport.

As the world of travel becomes increasingly interconnected, the survey finds that a significant majority of passengers expect to book intermodal1 trips in the coming year, with only 24% saying they are unlikely to do so. As openness to intermodal travel grows, so too does interest in technology to streamline this experience across the entire journey door-to-door, with passengers seeing intermodal as a new realm of travel that technology has the power to optimize with greater automation.

One third of passengers expressed interest in being able to drop their bags at their journey start point (either from their home or hotel or from the first terminal of departure) and have them arrive at their end destination, and nearly one third would like to see travel operators coordinate when disruptions occur and respond with necessary changes.

David Lavorel, SITA CEO, said: "When planning travel, cost is just one of the factors affecting travellers' willingness to book flights. Experience at the airport has become fundamental to passengers' decision making, and travellers are telling the industry loud and clear: the more they are subjected to clunky and inefficient processes, the more likely they are to consider other options. Passengers are pointing to a clear way forward for the industry: now more than ever they recognize smart technologies as key to streamlining travel while reducing its environmental impacts, both for air travel alone and for the broader intermodal ecosystem."




AIRLINK TOUCHES DOWN IN MALAWI WITH LILONGWE AND BLANTYRE ROUTES.

Johannesburg - Airlink, Southern Africa's premier airline, touched down in Blantyre this afternoon, wrapping up the successful inauguration of its new dual Malawi routes - the other destination being Lilongwe.

With the new services Malawi becomes the latest country in Airlink's comprehensive network which now extends to 46 destinations.

"In launching Airlink's services, we are helping to establish Malawi as an attractive destination for tourism and business and support its economic diversification strategy by providing convenient, reliable and competitive flights to Johannesburg and with convenient connections to other Airlink destinations and the rest of the world with our constellation of long-haul partners," explained Airlink CEO and Managing Director, Rodger Foster

Last year, Malawi featured in Lonely Planet's top 10 Best in Travel countries. Tourist attractions include Lake Malawi (Africa's third-largest and the ninth biggest in the world, which is more like an inland sea), wildlife, adventure and its rich cultural heritage. The country has also embarked on a programme to revitalise its economy and build a prosperous, self-reliant and industrialised middle-income country.




STRONG PASSENGER DEMAND CONTINUES IN JULY

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that the post-COVID recovery momentum continued in July for passenger markets. Total traffic in July 2023 (measured in revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) rose 26.2% compared to July 2022. Globally, traffic is now at 95.6% of pre-COVID levels.


Domestic traffic for July rose 21.5% versus July 2022 and was 8.3% above the July 2019 results. July RPKs are the highest ever recorded, strongly supported by surging demand in the China domestic market.

International traffic climbed 29.6% compared to the same month a year ago with all markets showing robust growth. International RPKs reached 88.7% of July 2019 levels. The passenger load factor (PLF) for the industry reached 85.7% which is the highest monthly international PLF ever recorded.

"Planes were full during July as people continue to travel in ever greater numbers. Importantly, forward ticket sales indicate that traveller confidence remains high. And there is every reason to be optimistic about the continuing recovery," said Willie Walsh, IATA's Director General.



International Passenger Markets
Asia-Pacific airlines saw a 105.8% increase in July 2023 traffic compared to July 2022, continuing to lead the regions. Capacity climbed 96.2% and the load factor increased by 3.9 percentage points to 84.5%.

European carriers' July traffic rose 13.8% versus July 2022. Capacity increased 13.6%, and load factor edged up 0.1 percentage points to 87.0%.

Middle Eastern airlines posted a 22.6% increase in July traffic compared to a year ago. Capacity rose 22.1% and load factor climbed 0.3 percentage points to 82.6%.

North American carriers had a 17.7% traffic rise in July 2023 versus the 2022 period. Capacity increased 17.2%, and load factor improved 0.3 percentage points to 90.3%, which was the highest among the regions for a second consecutive month.

Latin American airlines' traffic rose 25.3% compared to the same month in 2022. July capacity climbed 21.2% and load factor rose 2.9 percentage points to 89.1%.

African airlines saw a 25.6% traffic increase in July 2023 versus a year ago, the second highest percentage gain among the regions. July capacity was up 27.4% and load factor fell 1.0 percentage point to 73.9%, the lowest among the regions. For a second month in a row, Africa was the only region to see capacity growth outrun traffic demand.








The Bottom Line
"The Northern Hemisphere summer is living up to expectations for very strong traffic demand. While the industry was largely prepared to accommodate a return to pre-pandemic levels of operations, unfortunately, the same cannot be said for our infrastructure providers. Performance of some of the key air navigations services providers, for example, has been deeply disappointing for many reasons from insufficient staffing to the failure fiasco of NATS in the UK. These must be promptly corrected. Even more worrying, however, are political decisions by some governments-among them Mexico and the Netherlands-to impose capacity cuts at their major hubs that will most certainly destroy jobs and damage local and national economies. The numbers continue to tell us that people want and need air connectivity. That's why governments should be working with us so that people can travel safely, sustainably and efficiently," said Walsh.





BEOND AIRLINE ANNOUNCES MUNICH AND ZURICH AS ITS FIRST EUROPEAN LAUNCH CITIES TO THE MALDIVES

Beond, the world's first premium leisure airline, is pleased to announce that Munich and Zurich are the initial origin cities for the airline, flying to Malé, Maldives. The inaugural flights are scheduled for November 2023, with the Munich inaugural departing November 15, and the Zurich inaugural departing November 17.

Beond's Chief Commercial Officer, Sascha Feuerherd said: "We are thrilled to announce Munich and Zurich as launch cities for Beond. Our customers there will enjoy an incredible premium leisure experience on their way to Maldives, a beautiful destination. Our team is hard at work preparing for service launch with a goal to exceed every expectation of our first customers from the moment they book with us."

Beond will begin operations this fall with Maldives as its first hub. The service launch from Europe will begin with an Airbus A319 aircraft with 44 state-of-the-art lay-flat configurations, and a premium on-board experience including fine dining. The airline recently received its Air Operator's Certificate in Maldives from the Maldives Civil Aviation Authority.


Beond is the world's first premium leisure airline offering unique and tailored experiences for today's modern travellers. Beond will initiate flights from a variety of destinations with the latest aviation and luxury travel innovations.




BOEING, AVIATION CAPITAL GROUP FINALIZE ORDER FOR 13 737 MAX JETS


Boeing [NYSE: BA] and Aviation Capital Group LLC (ACG) announced today the airplane lessor has finalized an order for 13 737 MAX jets, increasing the lessor's order book to 47 737 MAXs.

The new, incremental order includes seven 737-8 and six 737-10 jets as ACG grows its single-aisle options to meet robust customer demand for the fuel-efficient 737 MAX airplane family.

"We are pleased to expand ACG's commitment to the 737 MAX program. This additional order will allow ACG to offer highly fuel efficient and versatile aircraft to our airline customers worldwide," said Steven Udvar-Hazy, senior vice president and chief of Aircraft Operations at ACG.

The 737 MAX family offers carriers enhanced efficiency and route flexibility for short- and medium-haul air travel, making it a valuable asset for airplane lessors such as ACG. Lessors have ordered more than 1,300 737 MAX jets.

The 737-8 can carry up to 210 passengers based on configuration with a range of 3,500 nautical miles, while the 737-10, the largest 737 MAX model, seats up to 230 passengers with a range of 3,100 nautical miles. Both variants reduce fuel use and carbon emissions by 20% compared to the airplanes they replace.

"ACG's growing and diverse 737 MAX portfolio allows its customers to operate a more sustainable, efficient fleet," said Christy Reese, Boeing vice president of Global Leasing Commercial Sales & Marketing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "We look forward to helping ACG deliver the most fuel-efficient airplanes in the industry to its airline partners."

On average, each 737 MAX saves up to eight million pounds of CO2 emissions annually compared to the airplanes it replaces. The 737 MAX is a quieter airplane, with a 50% smaller noise footprint than the airplanes it replaces.

Aviation Capital Group is one of the world's premier full-service aircraft asset managers with over 480 owned, managed and committed aircraft as of June 30, 2023, leased to roughly 90 airlines in approximately 45 countries. It was founded in 1989 and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tokyo Century Corporation.





CONSORTIUM LAYS PATHWAY FOR GREEN HYDROGEN AVIATION TO TAKE FLIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND

A new report called 'Launching green hydrogen powered aviation in Aotearoa New Zealand' demonstrates how the consortium members could work together to remove up to 900,000 tonnes of carbon emissions every year by 2050 through the use of hydrogen-fuelled aircraft flying New Zealand domestic routes.


Launched in February 2023, the Consortium has spent the last six months examining the hydrogen supply chain, evaluating the local aviation market's projected hydrogen requirements, and scoping what it would take to establish a successful hydrogen ecosystem for aviation in New Zealand.


Its ZEROe Ecosystem Vice President, Karine Guenan says New Zealand is uniquely positioned to lead the testing and deployment of low carbon aircraft.

"The country's large potential renewable electricity and water resources are key advantages while the size of aircraft used here and the length of routes flown match the capabilities of hydrogen-powered aircraft. This report lays out the ecosystem required to make that happen. It is a first step and Airbus is committed to leveraging our expertise to work with government, iwi, industries and other stakeholders to bring it to life," says Guenan.

Christchurch-based company Fabrum is already working on hydrogen aviation projects overseas. Its Chairman and Co-Founder Christopher Boyle says green hydrogen is an important part of the future of clean flight.

"Our team co-developed the world's first electric aircraft engine for Magnix and built superconducting electric motors and rotors for SAFRAN and Airbus. We're currently manufacturing green hydrogen systems for airports and on-board liquid hydrogen tanks for low emission flights.The opportunity to use our experience to ensure green hydrogen aviation takes off in New Zealand is exciting."

Air New Zealand Chief Sustainability Officer, Kiri Hannifin says the Report provides information that could be used to build out a blueprint for hydrogen-powered aviation in New Zealand.

"Air New Zealand is committed to decarbonising its operations. Green hydrogen fuelled aircraft is one of the potential levers we have available to us. This report provides important proof points for both the aviation sector and decision-makers to work together to make that happen."

The Consortium's modelling shows New Zealand could use up to 100,000 tonnes of green hydrogen per year for hydrogen-fuelled aircraft by 2050 with most of it required to fuel planes at Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch airports.

Christchurch Airport General Manager Future Planning and Sustainability Nick Flack says up to 6,700-gigawatt hours of renewable energy will be required to generate that green hydrogen.

"That's up to 16% of New Zealand's current total electricity supply. That demand presents an opportunity for businesses. We've now committed to progressing a hydrogen hub as part of our 400-hectare renewable energy precinct, Kowhai Park. Twenty other airports around the world are doing the same," says Flack.



TURKISH AIRLINES PLACES ORDER FOR TEN ADDITIONAL AIRBUS A350-900


Türkiye's national flag carrier, Turkish Airlines, has announced a new order for 10 additional A350-900 aircraft, taking its total for the type to 40. This latest agreement is in addition to one announced in August for four A350-900s. Turkish Airlines already operates a fleet of 14 A350-900s.

Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Airbus International, said, "We are delighted that Turkish Airlines has decided to further enlarge its fleet with the purchase of 10 more A350-900 aircraft. With greater range capability, passenger capacity and comfort, the A350 is the perfect platform to connect Istanbul to the world. This repeat order demonstrates the confidence for our unique new generation aircraft that offers airlines unbeatable economics and efficiency. We are proud to keep expanding our long-lasting partnership with Turkish Airlines and Türkiye's aviation sector overall."

At the end of July, the A350 had won over 1,000 orders from leading carriers from around the globe. The A350 is the world's most modern and efficient widebody aircraft and the long-range leader in the 300-410-seater category. It's clean sheet design includes state-of-the-art technologies, aerodynamics, lightweight materials and new engines that together deliver 25 percent advantage in fuel burn, operating costs and CO2 emissions, as well as 50 percent noise footprint reduction compared to previous generation competitor aircraft.




UK HYDROGEN ALLIANCE ESTABLISHED TO ACCELERATE ZERO CARBON AVIATION AND BRING AN £34BN ANNUAL BENEFIT TO THE COUNTRY

A group of leading companies in the UK aviation and renewable energy sectors including easyJet, Rolls-Royce, Airbus, Ørsted, GKN Aerospace and Bristol Airport, have today established the Hydrogen in Aviation (HIA) alliance to accelerate the delivery of zero carbon aviation. HIA will work to ensure the UK capitalises on the huge opportunity hydrogen presents to both the aviation industry and country as a whole.


While there are various options for decarbonising the aviation sector, including sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), synthetic fuels or batteries, HIA believes that more attention should be paid to the potential of the direct use of hydrogen.

Hydrogen is a very promising alternative-fuel option for short-haul aviation. Airbus is developing new hydrogen powered aircraft with the aim of entering commercial service from 2035 and Rolls-Royce has already proven that hydrogen could power a jet engine following successful ground tests in 2022. Furthermore, many smaller operators are making rapid progress on hydrogen-powered aircraft, notably ZeroAvia and Universal Hydrogen who have already carried out flight tests.

The group will be drawing on their considerable expertise to propose a clear and deliverable pathway to achieving hydrogen-powered aviation. HIA will work constructively with Government, local authorities, and the aviation and hydrogen sectors to enable the UK to fulfil its potential as a global leader in this critical application of hydrogen technology. This will include setting out the pathway for scaling up the infrastructure and the policy, regulatory and safety frameworks needed so that large scale commercial aviation can become a reality.

The alliance will set out that Government needs to be focused on three key areas which are; supporting the delivery of the infrastructure needed for the UK to be a global leader; ensuring the aviation regulatory regime is hydrogen ready; and transforming the funding for hydrogen aviation R&D support into a 10-year programme, if the UK is to see the economic benefits and meet decarbonisation targets.


Sabine Klauke, Chief Technology Officer at Airbus said:

"As Airbus continues to mature the aircraft technologies needed to deliver hydrogen-powered flight, a united industry voice is needed to secure a robust ecosystem of renewably-sourced hydrogen. Joining our peers from across the UK aviation landscape in a targeted approach to policy and investment action brings us closer to a decarbonised future of flying."

Olivia Breese, Senior Vice President and Head of Power-to-X for Ørsted, commented:

"Ørsted is fully committed to renewable hydrogen as a key solution to defossilise hard-to-electrify sectors such as aviation. Our long experience in developing and deploying new technologies has taught us that collaboration across policy makers, developers, customers and supply chain - and considerable investment from each of them - is critical to bring down costs and drive a new sector to scale. Alliances such as the HIA are essential to bring together different actors across the value chain to support and accelerate the role hydrogen can, and must, play in the UK."

Hydrogen is key to UK industry, jobs and net zero ambitions:

Experts suggest that hydrogen powered aviation will not only be critical in delivering net zero, but also provide a significant boost to the UK economy.

The DfT's Jet Zero Strategy states that rapid investment in hydrogen aviation could see the UK securing 60,000 new jobs and recent projections from Hydrogen UK** predicts that hydrogen could contribute to £18bn GVA and help meet up to 50% of our energy demand by 2050.

The rate of research and development within the UK means that the aviation sector is already in an advanced position to take advantage of this significant opportunity. For instance, last year saw the first ground test of a fully hydrogen-powered jet engine and the first hydrogen powered narrow-body aircraft is expected to be ready for short-haul flights across the UK and Europe by 2035.









Russia, near Zhukovsky International Airport: Ural Airlines Airbus A321-231, suffered a bird strike to engine no.1. An inspection revealed damage to two fan blades of engine no. 1.

USA, near Boston-Logan International Airport, MA: United Parcel Service Boeing 767-34AFER, declared an emergency due to fumes in the cockpit and landed without incident at BOS.

Romania, Bucharest Henri Coanda International Airport: An aircraft of the Tailwind Airlines company, which was flying on the flight TI797 Antalya-Prague route and had 112 passengers on board, made an emergency landing on Friday morning at "Henri Coanda" Bucharest Airport, after announcing the detection of possible fuel leaks.

Japan, near Iwami Airport: An All-Nippon Airways Boeing 737-881, suffered a problem on a part of the stabilizer during the initial climb at 18:30 LT. The Boeing diverted to Osaka/Kansai International Airport (KIX/RJBB) where a safe landing was carried out at 19:43 LT. ADS-B data suggests the airplane stopped climbing at 13100 feet, and continued to KIX at that altitude with small fluctuation before the approach.

Russia, SW of Moscow: A NordStar Boeing 737-33R, suffered a cabin pressurization problem during climb after take-off from Moscow- Domodedovo Airport. The flight descended to 8000 feet and returned to DME.


Singapore, Singapore-Changi International Airport: Air China Airbus A320neo, was evacuated on runway 20L after landing at Singapore-Changi International Airport (SIN) following an engine fire. The flight had declared an emergency while on approach to SIN. Smoke had filled the passenger cabin.





Boeing B17 Flight - Unforgettable








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