Airlines, Airports and Airliners 26 October 2023

Compiled by Willie Bodenstein

This Week in Airlines, Airports and Airliners

Falko announces delivery of two Embraer E190 aircraft to Airlink.

South African Airways and Sun Express sign Damp Lease Agreement.

ICAO Council President commends Central American leadership and cooperation.

African Development Bank commits over $23 million to Rwanda's new Aviation Centre of Excellence.

Capacity building for the safe, secure, and sustainable development of aviation in Latin America

Spirit Airlines lands milestone partnership with Liberty University to expand pilot pipeline

LAX passenger traffic tops pre-pandemic numbers for first time during consecutive October days.

Worlwide incidents and accidents.

Bonus Video - Boeing B17 Flight - Unforgettable


Falko Regional Aircraft Limited (Falko) has completed the delivery of two Embraer E190 aircraft bearing MSNs 19000147 and 19000150 on lease to South African carrier Airlink. The aircraft were delivered to Airlink following the redelivery from the previous lessee, Azul.

"Falko is delighted to announce the delivery of these two E190 aircraft to South Africa's leading airline, Airlink. The latest deliveries further cements Falko's longstanding relationship with Airlink which incredibly spans more than two decades" Mark Hughes, Falko's Chief Commercial Officer notes. "The airline continues to enjoy great success as it capitalises on the strong post-Covid demand for air travel and its increase in African market share. These additional E190 aircraft expand Airlink's existing E-Jets focused fleet and supports the airline's expansion plans as it consolidates its position as South Africa's leading domestic and regional airline."

"Airlink is proud to have received these two Embraer E190 aircraft from Falko. These Embraer E190 aircraft will augment our well-established fleet of Embraer Regional Jet airliners and facilitate organic growth within our network. The Embraer E190 perfectly presents the right size capacity fit to market demands on most of Airlink's routes", said Rodger Foster, Airlink's CEO and Managing Director. He added, "Falko is an important lessor and business partner to Airlink - we have many similarities in our business cultures, and we enjoy working with the highly effective and efficient Falko team."

Falko is the world's largest asset manager and aircraft lessor focused solely on the regional aircraft leasing segment. Falko is one of the longest standing and largest managers of regional aircraft globally. Falko's strategy is focused on growing its portfolio of funds and aircraft under management and the continued development of products and services in support of its aircraft lease management activity.

Falko was formed in July 2011 through the purchase of BAE Systems Asset Management and its associated aircraft portfolio. In May 2022, Chorus Aviation Inc. (TSX: CHR) completed the acquisition of Falko and equity interests in aircraft managed by Falko. Headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Chorus is an integrated provider of regional aviation solutions, including asset management services.


South African Airways (SAA) and SunExpress, have entered into a damp lease agreement that will allow SAA to operate a schedule utilising two SunExpress aircraft for a six-month period, commencing mid-October 2023. The first of the 2 aircraft was received yesterday.

Sun Express, is a joint venture between Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines. Sun Express boasts among the youngest fleets in Europe and was named Europe's Best Leisure Airline in 2023 at the World Airline Awards and in 2022 was awarded World's Best Leisure Airline in the same awards.

SAA has entered a "damp lease" agreement with Sun Express, the lease covers the provision of aircraft, maintenance, and cockpit crew, whilst the aircraft will be served by SAA's cabin crew to maintain SAA's customer service standards. For maintenance of these aircraft, SunExpress has contracted SAA Technical (SAAT) to perform any required work, at its cost, on these aircraft whilst they are operated by SAA.

Under the agreement, two Boeing 737-800 aircraft from Sun Express fleet will operate flights from Johannesburg on behalf of SAA during the airline's high demand period. The first aircraft will start operations in mid-October and a second aircraft will be added depending on the capacity demand by SAA.

According to John Lamola, Chief Executive of SAA "This unique ACMI is a short-term tactical intervention in SAA's fleet strategy, as we are working on the deployment of our long-term dry-leased four A320s. We are pleased with our relationship with SunExpress and are excited with its potential as we both manage the seasonality of passenger traffic in our respective geographic markets."

Tebogo Tsimane, Chief Commercial Officer expressed appreciation at the way SAA's loyal customer base has adapted to this temporal experimentation with SAA's brand since the airline has started utilizing ACMI fleet acquisition strategy this year.


Acknowledging El Salvador's leadership as an emerging air transport hub in remarks to Aero Expo 2023, ICAO Council President Salvatore Sciacchitano welcomed its exemplary decision to place the sustainable development of its air transport sector at the heart of its development strategy.

His address was attended by El Salvador's Ministers of Tourism and Economy, Ms. Morena Valdez and Ms. Maria Luisa Hayem, respectively, and the Representative of El Salvador and the Central America and Panama Rotation Group on the ICAO Council, Ms. Katherin Martínez.

In his remarks and at subsequent meetings, the Council President advocated for continued cooperation regionally and with ICAO as a means of heightening the implementation of ICAO's safety, security, and sustainability standards and plans.

Mr. Sciacchitano underscored that continued capacity building and heightening of ICAO implementation would be key to accelerating progress, as States in the region meet the challenges of pandemic recovery and the opportunities presented by the rapid pace of innovation, including towards the total decarbonization of flight.

The President's mission to El Salvador, which took place on 10 and 11 October 2023, was followed by a mission to Belize from 11 to 12 October.

His activities comprised high level meetings with the leadership of Central American Corporation of Air Navigation Services (COCESNA), including the President of its board of Directors and its CEO, Messrs. Francisco Sol and Juan Carlos Trabanino, respectively, and the heads of the region's Civil aviation authorities (CAAs), including the President of El Salvador's Civil Aviation Executive Board and Executive Director CAA, Messrs Homero Morales and Jorge Puquirre, respectively.

Discussions with COCESNA in Belize focused on the importance of regional integration in the aviation sector, the need to continue to build upon achievement of COCESNA's Regional Safety Oversight Organization, known as the Central American Safety Agency, and the need to continue progress on the decarbonization of air transport.

In Belize, he also met the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Cordel Hyde;; the Minister of Blue Economy and Civil Aviation, Mr. Andre Perez; the CEO of Blue Economy and Aviation, Ms. Kennedy Carillo; and the Director General of Civil Aviation of Belize, Mr. Nigel Carter.


The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved a $23.6 million loan for the construction and equipment of a new aviation training facility in the Rwandan capital, Kigali.

The proposed Centre of Excellence for Aviation Skills (CEAS), including an aircraft hangar, will partner with higher learning institutions to produce a skilled workforce to meet global aviation training standards and industry demands.

"The Bank's financial support for this Centre of Excellence speaks to our commitment to investing in human capital to meet demands for the jobs of today - and tomorrow - in Africa's aviation and related industries," said Dr. Beth Dunford, the Bank's Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, following the approval on 29 September 2023.

The project will boost Rwanda's ambition to become a regional aviation hub and draw international investment from the aviation industry. It aligns with the country's Vision 2050 to improve human capital by providing high-quality training, upskilling labour, and transforming the workforce for higher productivity.

The Centre is expected to enrol up to 500 students starting from 2025 when it becomes partly operational. It will offer training for pilots, maintenance and cabin crew. There will also be dispatch and ancillary courses, including in airport emergency operations services.

The facility will also provide drone piloting training, flight simulator recurrent training, and other advanced pilot training for specialized missions.

Industry watchers estimate that Africa needs over 50,000 aviation professionals in the next two decades, including 15,000 pilots, 17,000 technicians and 23,000 cabin crew members.

Nnenna Nwabufo, the Bank's Director General for East Africa, said the Centre will enable opportunities for skills building for the youth in Rwanda and across the East Africa region. "Overall, the project aligns with the Bank's Skills for Employability and Productivity in Africa Action Plan, which stipulates ways of elevating the skills level of Africa's workforce," she added.

Dr Martha Phiri, the Bank's Director for Human Capital, Youth, and Skills Development, said: "There is a diversity of skilled and sustainable employment in the aviation industry that should be on the radar of Africa's youth. We aim to scale up the infrastructure needed to increase access to the aviation sector skills training to succeed in securing decent jobs."

The project's construction phase will require up to 1,000 workers, and the operation phase is expected to create 98 jobs. The proposed site is close to other related structures, connecting project components to Kigali International Airport's existing services and facilities.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Development Bank Group (AfDB).

Kitplanes for Africa


ICAO Secretary General Juan Carlos Salazar underscored the importance of robust capacity building efforts in Latin America during his mission to Venezuela this week, advocating for the safe, secure, and sustainable development of the region's air services at both the 103rd Meeting of the Latin American Civil Aviation Commission's Executive Committee and at a series of high-level bilateral discussions.

These meetings included discussions with the Minister of Transport of Venezuela, Mr. Ramón Celestino Velásquez Araguayán, the President of Venezuela's National Institute of Civil Aeronautics, Col. Leonardo Briceño Dudamel, and several other Directors General of Civil Aviation.

In the context of the challenges and opportunities presented by air transport's recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the critical need to build capacity to respond, Mr. Salazar highlighted the critical significance of assuring good governance of aviation authorities and adequate infrastructure planning and modernization.

Mr. Salazar also placed a significant focus on climate change and the efforts by ICAO and other aviation stakeholders to achieve the long-term global aspirational goal (LTAG) for international aviation of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, with the Committee's Regional Seminar on Civil Aviation Environmental Initiatives providing an important platform.

Sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) were naturally at the centre of these discussions, given that they will need to provide half of the necessary reduction in emissions. In this regard, the Secretary General prioritized partnership in the ICAO Assistance, Capacity-building and Training for Sustainable Aviation Fuels (ACT-SAF) programme, the implementation of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), and active contributions to the upcoming Third ICAO Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels (CAAF/3).

A variety of safety and security priorities were furthermore addressed by the Secretary General, including the need to conjugate systemwide information management (SWIM) implementation with the adoption of resilient and reliable systems capable of tackling potential cybersecurity threats, as was the importance of safeguarding aviation's role as a catalyst for strategic development by implementing ICAO's guidance on fees and charges.

Venezuela's commitment in these areas was illustrated by its conclusion of a new Management Services Agreement with ICAO, and a Project Document that will foresee ICAO experts identifying critical priorities and establishing a roadmap for civil aviation investments, in close cooperation with the national civil aviation authority.


The next generation of pilots can now venture from the skies of Virginia to the vast network of Spirit Airlines (NYSE: SAVE). The carrier today announced a new partnership with Liberty University to launch the Spirit Wings Pilot Pathway program at the university's School of Aeronautics in Lynchburg, Virginia.

The collaboration marks a milestone in the airline's efforts to grow its pipeline of professional pilots. Liberty University becomes the 10th partner to join the Spirit Wings Pilot Pathway program, which offers graduates a fast track to the flight deck and a rewarding career as a Spirit First Officer.
"We put a lot of hard work into developing the Spirit Wings Pilot Pathway program and assembling a great group of partners making it incredibly rewarding to reach this key milestone," said Ryan Rodosta, Senior Director of Flight Operations and System Chief Pilot at Spirit Airlines. "Liberty University offers a premier pilot training program designed to provide graduates with the skills to lead in the aviation field, and Spirit's growth creates opportunities for those graduates to achieve their dreams with us."

Liberty University students pursuing an aviation degree can apply for the program after finishing their sophomore year and obtaining a recommendation from a faculty member. If successful in Spirit's interview process, they will receive a conditional offer of employment, a Spirit Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) and mentorship as they complete their degree and build flight hours. After reaching Restricted Airline Transport Pilot (R-ATP) minimum requirements, program pilots must successfully complete the Spirit-funded and approved Airline Transport Pilot Certification Training Program (ATP CTP) and Jet Transition Course. Graduates who meet all program requirements will join the team as a Spirit First Officer.

"We are delighted to join with Spirit Airlines as the 10th partner in their Spirit Wings Pilot Pathway program," said Rick Roof, Dean of the School of Aeronautics. "This partnership is a major step in creating exceptional opportunities for our graduates, providing selected Liberty trained aviation professionals with a unique pathway directly to Spirit once they fulfill the necessary training and experience. Spirit will gain access to pilots with exceptional technical skills and the character to be difference-makers in the aerospace industry, while Liberty Aeronautics graduates can become a member of the Spirit team where they will join a recognized leader in quality of life while flying some of the most advanced aircraft in the skies. This is an incredible opportunity for our Champions to fulfil their aviation dreams, and their calling to serve."

Spirit's Pilots fly some of the newest, most fuel-efficient aircraft in the industry to 90+ destinations across the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean. More brand-new planes are planned for delivery in 2023, including eight new Airbus A321neo aircraft, creating opportunities for First Officers to quickly upgrade to Captain. Spirit's Pilots recently approved a contract that provides a significant pay increase and other enhanced benefits. Spirit also offers its Pilots industry-leading training and exceptional quality of life.


Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is proud to announce the airport surpassed pre-pandemic passenger levels for the first time since 2019 during a two-day October travel period.

The milestone was first reached on Monday, October 9 when the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reported screening 111,017 passengers at LAX, which represents about 103% of the number of passengers screened on the same day in 2019 (107,675 vs. 111,017). On Tuesday, October 10, the TSA screened 94,686 passengers representing more than 100% of the passengers screened on the same day in 2019 (94,211 vs. 94,686). From October 1 - 16, the airport welcomed 3,317,276 passengers compared to 3,509,522 passengers during the same time in 2019, which represents a 94.5% recovery.

"The remarkable milestone of surpassing pre-pandemic passenger volume is an achievement that Los Angeles World Airports celebrates with our employees, guests, and airport partners. Over the course of the last few years, we have been dedicated to building resiliency and laying the foundation for a full recovery," said Bea Hsu, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Los Angeles World Airports. "The fall travel season is already taking off at the highest levels since 2019, and LAX looks forward to more record-setting days as we welcome passengers into the Thanksgiving and winter holidays."

LAX continues to experience improvements in domestic and international traffic. Flights to Mexico, Central and South America are fully recovered, and flights to Europe are expected to reach pre-pandemic levels by this winter. Available seats on current LAX flights are at 88% of pre-pandemic levels, but due to high travel demand and increased load factors, the airport still achieved 100% passenger recovery.

LAX has service to 85 domestic destinations compared to 93 domestic destinations in 2019 and 75 international destinations compared to 83 international destinations in 2019.

Russia, ENE of Novosibirsk: A S7 Airlines Boeing 737-8ZS with 165 on board was en route when the oil level of engine no.1 decreased. The flight crew then shut down the engine, issued a 'Pan Pan' call to diverted to the alternate Novosibirsk-Tolmachevo Airport. At 02:38 MSK the aircraft landed safely.

India, near Delhi: An Air France Airbus A330-203, was struck by lightning in the vicinity of Delhi, India. The return flight was cancelled and the aircraft was grounded at Delhi for multiple days.

USA, Boston-Logan International Airport, MA: An Aer Lingus Airbus A330-302, reportedly suffered a bird strike. The aircraft remained grounded at Boston-Logan International Airport, MA (BOS) for multiple days.

Russia, Vladivostok: An Yakutia Sukhoi SuperJet 100-95LR, suffered a surge in the left engine after take-off from Vladivostok Airport. A Master Caution triggered along with a ENG L EGT OVER LIMIT warning message. The flight crew shut down the engine and decided to return to the departure airfield.

Boeing B17 Flight - Unforgettable

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