Airlines, Airports and Airliners 16 November 2023

Compiled by Willie Bodenstein

This Week in Airlines, Airports and Airliners

IATA - Air Cargo demand up 1.9% in September, sustaining moderate growth momentum.

Maldivian modernises regional fleet with further ATR 42-600.

Kenya Airways secures IATA accreditation for ground handling.

Junrong Liang appointed President of the ICAO Air Navigation Commission.

RTX advances hybrid-electric propulsion demonstrator with 1MW motor rated power milestone test.

Abu Dhabi International Airport's Terminal A usher's major milestone for the UAE's aviation sector.

ICAO and IAEA to enhance transport of vital radioactive materials
Worldwide incidents and accidents.

Bonus Video - Test Flight and Development Centre Airshow


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released data for September 2023 global air cargo markets, showing continuing demand recovery.

Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs*), increased by 1.9% compared to September 2022 levels (+6% for international operations).

Capacity, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometres (ACTKs), was up 12.1% compared to September 2022 (+0% for international operations). Growth was largely related to international belly capacity which rose 31.5% year-on-year as airlines scaled up operations to meet peak-northern summer travel season demand.

Several factors in the operating environment should be noted:

In September, both the manufacturing output Purchasing Managers Index or PMI (49.7) and new export orders PMI (47.7) saw a slight improvement to the previous month. They remained, however, below the critical 50-point threshold, indicating a continuing, but slightly slower, annual decline in global manufacturing production and exports.

Global cross-border trade contracted for the fifth month in a row in August, decreasing 3.8% year-over-year. This reflects the cooling global macroeconomic environment.

Annual growth in US consumer prices stabilized in September at 3.7%, the same rate as in August. In Europe and Japan consumer price inflation slowed by 1.0 and 0.2 percentage points, respectively, to 4.9% and 3.0%, (also respectively). In China, deflation-fighting policy measures saw an annual rise in consumer prices of 0.1%.

In September, the average price of jet fuel was USD 131.0 per barrel, marking a 43.1% increase from the May 2023 price. Recouping some of this added cost from surcharges in September contributed to the first increase in air cargo yields since November 2022.

"Air cargo eked out modest growth (1.9%) in September despite falling trade volumes and high jet fuel prices. That clearly shows the strength of air cargo's value proposition. With the key export order and manufacturing PMIs hovering near positive territory, we can be cautiously optimistic for a strong year-end peak season," said Willie Walsh, IATA's Director General.

September Regional Performance
Asia-Pacific airlines saw their air cargo volumes increase by 7.7% in September 2023 compared to the same month in 2022. This was a significant improvement in performance compared to August (+4.6%). Carriers in the region benefited from growth on three major trade lanes: Europe-Asia (+9.6%), Middle East-Asia (+7.0%) and Africa-Asia (+12.8%). Available capacity for the region's airlines increased by 30.5% compared to September 2022 as more belly capacity came online from the passenger side of the business (a year ago, the key Asian markets of Japan and China were still largely under severe COVID-19 travel restrictions).

North American carriers had the weakest performance in September, with a 2.2% decrease in cargo volumes. This was a decline in performance compared to August (-1.4%). Although contractions in the North America-Asia trade lane narrowed (from -4.3% in August to -1.8% in September) and the North America-Europe market stabilized its decline at (-2.5%) for the second month in a row. Carriers in the region did not benefit significantly. Capacity increased moderately by 0.2% compared to September 2022.

European carriers saw their air cargo volumes decline by 1.5% in September compared to the same month in 2022. This was a weaker performance than in August (-0.6%). Carriers in the region suffered from further contractions in the within Europe market (-5.7% in September vs -5.2% in August). Gains made from the expansion in the Middle East-Europe trade lane (+3.3% in September vs +0.5% in August) offset some declines from the within Europe performance. Capacity increased 4.7% in September 2023 compared to 2022.

Middle Eastern carriers had the strongest performance in September 2023, with a 2.5% year-on-year increase in cargo volumes. This was an improvement from the previous month's performance (+1.3%). Carriers in the region benefited from growth in the Middle East-Asia (+7.0%) and Middle East-Europe markets (+3.3%). Capacity increased 16.1% compared to September 2022.

Latin American carriers experienced a 2.3% increase in cargo volumes compared to September 2022. This was a significant decrease in performance compared to the previous month (+6.2%). Capacity in September was up 14.4% compared to the same month in 2022.

African airlines saw their air cargo volumes decline by 0.1% in September 2023, despite the strong growth of demand on the Africa-Asia trade lane (+12.8%). This was an improvement in performance compared to August (-3.5%). Capacity was 2.7% above September 2022 levels.


The national airline of the Maldives Maldivian, and the world number one regional aircraft manufacturer ATR, have signed a firm order for two ATR 42-600. These highly-efficient new aircraft will join the airline existing regional fleet, including two ATR 72-600 and one ATR 42-600, to replace older generation turboprops.

With these modern aircraft, powered by extra efficient PW127XT engines and featuring a spacious and appealing cabin, Maldivian will offer further reliable and affordable connectivity to the archipelago's communities and businesses, contributing to the Maldives' economic dynamism while lowering emissions.

Mohamed Mihad, Managing Director of Maldivian, stated: "We introduced our first two ATR aircraft into our fleet in January 2023, and our passengers already praise the comfort and modernity of their cabin, as well as the reliability of the services we are providing. As the benchmark in regional aviation, both in terms of financial efficiency and CO2 emissions, the ATR -600 series represents a valuable asset for us to achieve responsible growth while providing quick access to essential services and preserving destinations for the archipelago's residents and tourists."

"To modernise its fleet and sustain the vital connections it is offering its communities, Maldivian has, yet again, chosen to invest in the lowest-emission regional aircraft on the market and the proven benchmark in terms of operating economics. Having a mixed fleet of both ATR 42-600 and 72-600 will offer Maldivian flexibility, reliability, comfort, and profitability on the smallest routes. Maldivian's passengers will benefit from state-of-the-art aircraft, providing responsible and affordable connectivity for many years to come" added Nathalie Tarnaud Laude, Chief Executive Officer of ATR.

Maldivian, the national airline of the country embodies the spirit of the Maldives by providing exceptional air travel services that showcase the natural beauty and warm hospitality of the island nation. The airline is the leading domestic carrier with a scheduled network comprising of 16 domestic sectors. Maldivian operates the largest wheel-based fleet in the country which includes DeHavilland Dash 8 and ATR aircraft. Maldivian Seaplane, which consists of DeHavilland DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft, further enhances the airline's domestic operation by providing specialized tourist air transportation service connecting customers directly to the doorstep of their chosen resort. Operating from its hub in Male', the airline provides international scheduled flights to cities in India and Bangladesh.


National carrier, Kenya Airways (KQ), and its Nairobi hub have been awarded certificate of accreditation by IATA's Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) for outstanding ground handling services.

This follows the successful audit conducted on ground handling operations at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) which recognized KQ for maintaining high standard in ground handling services as well as the unwavering commitment to ensure safety and security of passengers, aircraft and goods.

The successful audit is a testament to Kenya Airways unwavering dedication to the safety and well-being of its passengers, employees, and all stakeholders. The rigorous assessment, carried out by independent ISAGO auditors, covered a wide range of ground handling aspects, including baggage handling, aircraft loading, and safety protocols.

Capt. Haig Anyonyi, Director Safety, Quality and Environment at Kenya Airways, stated, "We are excited about this achievement. The ISAGO station accreditation is an important milestone for Kenya Airways, reflecting our continuous pursuit of excellence in all aspects of our operations. This accreditation will provide confidence to our passengers, customer airlines, and the regulators on our safety, security and quality measures of ground handling services. We are dedicated to ensuring that our passengers experience world-class service to all our customers."
Kenya Airways remains focused on delivering exceptional service to its passengers while adhering to the most stringent safety standards and has been an IOSA (IATA Operational Safety Audit) registered airline since 2009.


The Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has appointed Mr. Junrong Liang to a one-year term as President of the ICAO Air Navigation Commission (ANC).

The Commission develops international aviation Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) and Procedures for Air Navigation Services (PANS) for the Council's adoption or approval. It is comprised of 19 independent commissioners appointed for their technical expertise in civil aviation.

Mr. Liang's mandate begins on 1 January 2024. As President of the ANC, he will lead the Commission's work on the development of ICAO's global plans for safety and for air navigation capacity and efficiency.

A member of the Commission since September 2018, Mr. Liang's ANC positions have included serving as its First Vice-President and Second Vice-President, and in various working groups as Chairperson and Vice-Chair. He has also contributed to the ICAO Industry Consultative Forum, the ANC's Planning Team, and the Council's Group on Innovation.

Prior to his appointment to the Commission, Mr. Liang held various positions with the Civil Aviation Administration of China's Middle and South Regional Air Traffic Management Bureau, including Director for Safety Management, Deputy Director for Air Traffic Management Operation, and Chief of Technical Business Office.

Mr. Liang has over 30 years of experience as an air traffic controller.


RTX (NYSE: RTX) has achieved a critical milestone in its hybrid-electric flight demonstrator program, successfully completing a rated power test of the demonstrator's 1 megawatt (MW) electric motor, developed by Collins Aerospace (Collins).

The 1MW motor will be combined with a highly efficient thermal engine, developed by Pratt & Whitney, as part of a hybrid-electric propulsion system that aims to demonstrate a 30 percent improvement in fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions compared to today's most advanced regional turboprops. Collins and Pratt & Whitney are both business units of RTX.

RTX hybrid-electric flight demonstrator is targeting 30% improvements in fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions, compared to today's most advanced regional turboprops.

"With its industry-leading power density and efficiency, our 1MW motor will help to significantly reduce aircraft carbon emissions by supporting hybrid-electric propulsion architectures on the next generation of commercial platforms," said Henry Brooks, president, Power & Controls for Collins Aerospace. "As the motor's development continues apace, each milestone brings us one step closer to hybrid-electric flight and our industry's shared commitment to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050."

Compared to Collins' most advanced electric motor generators flying today, the 1MW motor will deliver four times the power and twice the voltage, with half the heat loss and half the weight. The company is developing the motor at Collins' facility in Solihull, United Kingdom, and testing it at the University of Nottingham's Institute for Aerospace Technology.

Following on from the first low speed engine run at a Pratt & Whitney Canada facility in Longueuil, Quebec in December 2022, testing of the combined hybrid-electric propulsion system - including both thermal engine and 1MW motor - will continue through 2023. The propulsion system and batteries will be integrated on a Dash 8-100 experimental aircraft, with flight testing targeted to begin in 2024. The project is supported by the governments of Canada and Quebec.

"Hybrid-electric propulsion technology offers significant potential to optimize aircraft efficiency across a range of future aircraft applications and is a key part of our technology roadmap for supporting more sustainable aviation," said Jean Thomassin, executive director new products and services, Pratt & Whitney Canada. "Aside from leveraging the deep expertise of Pratt & Whitney and Collins engineers within RTX, our project draws from extensive collaborations across Canada's aerospace ecosystem and around the world."

In addition to the hybrid-electric flight demonstrator, the 1MW motor will also be part of the Pratt & Whitney GTF™ hybrid-electric powertrain planned for the SWITCH project under the European Union's Clean Aviation initiative. Future testing will be conducted at The Grid, the $50 million electric power systems lab at Collins' Rockford, Illinois, facility slated to open later this year.


The new state-of-the-art Terminal A at Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) welcomed its first passengers to Abu Dhabi, signalling a new era in aviation history for the UAE.

From now until November 14th, there will be a transition period for 28 airlines, with operations being conducted concurrently from Terminals A, 1, 2, and 3. The full transition of all airlines to Terminal A will take place on November 14th and all flights will take-off and land exclusively in Terminal A from 15th of November. In its first seven days of operations, 637 flights will depart and arrive.

Abu Dhabi International Airport will be renamed Zayed International Airport. The new official name will take effect from February 9th 2024, and coincide with the official opening ceremony of Terminal A.

Terminal A brings a major increase in capacity for Abu Dhabi's commercial aviation sector, more than doubling the current passenger capacity, with the new facilities being able to process up to 45 million travellers annually. Terminal A will further strengthen Abu Dhabi's global standing as an aviation hub, capable of handling 79 planes at once and 11,000 passengers per hour. The increase in capacity allows for airlines to boost their presence in Abu Dhabi in response to growing demand.

With leading facilities, including biometric technology to streamline the screening and boarding process, 35,000 square metres of retail and F&B space and 163 outlets for passengers to shop, dine and enjoy, Terminal A will enhance the travel experience for all passengers, end to end, as well as travellers transferring to other destinations.

Flights from other terminals at Abu Dhabi International Airport will gradually transition to Terminal A throughout November. Passengers flying before November 15th are urged to check travel information with their respective airlines prior to travelling to or collecting visitors from the airport.

To ensure passengers and visitors arrive at the right terminal, Abu Dhabi Airports has launched a print, digital and broadcast awareness campaign that urges guests to regularly check on for updates on arrivals and departures flying to and from Abu Dhabi International Airport between November 1st and November 14th.

Elena Sorlini, Managing Director and Interim Chief Executive Officer at Abu Dhabi Airports said: "This is a momentous occasion for Abu Dhabi Airports and the emirate. The official opening of Terminal A today ushers a new era for air travel in Abu Dhabi. I'm grateful for the hard work from my colleagues, and partners across the aviation sector, that has helped us reach this historical milestone. We look forward to sharing the state-of-the-art facilities, available at Terminal A, with the world and welcoming passengers to Abu Dhabi International Airport's new home."


ICAO and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have agreed to enhance their cooperation around the transport of radioactive materials by air, notably to improve the efficiency and speed of these shipments that are vital for cancer care and other medical uses around the world.

In a joint statement signed today, ICAO Secretary General Juan Carlos Salazar and IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi underscored that the agreement also "highlights the importance of adherence to the IAEA safety standards for the safe use of radioactive materials and to ICAO standards for global civil aviation safety and security."

The agreement builds on the cooperation between both UN bodies on matters of common interest that began in 1960.

Nuclear medicine, which is based on access to radiopharmaceuticals for a variety of diagnostic uses and specific therapies, is the fundament of nuclear applications in health care. Getting radiopharmaceuticals from the manufacturer to hospitals and medical clinics depends on fast and reliable transport, including by air, as they are extremely time sensitive. Over 10,000 hospitals worldwide use radioisotopes in medicine, mostly for diagnosis.

"The IAEA's role in ensuring the safe transport of radioactive material by air is essential in the carriage of short-lived radiopharmaceuticals and other crucial radioactive materials," remarked ICAO Secretary General Juan Carlos Salazar. "ICAO welcomes the heightening of our collaboration in this vitally important area of mutual interest."

Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director General of the IAEA, said: "It is very important that the work the IAEA and ICAO undertake in developing and strengthening the implementation of international standards is complementary. The IAEA greatly values ICAO's long-standing contribution to the development and review of IAEA safety standards. We can work even more closely together in other areas of common interest, such as in reducing denials of, and delays in, shipment of radioactive material by air."

The agreement encompasses the development and review of relevant IAEA safety standards and the harmonization of best practices globally, with the IAEA and ICAO collaborating to collect and analyse associated information.

Raising stakeholder awareness through education, training, and outreach are also foreseen, including around emergency preparedness.

Radiation research and information exchange towards radiation protection in civil aviation, especially regarding cosmic radiation exposure to flight crews, is a further focus of the agreement.

Today's joint statement highlights that the "stronger mutual cooperation will create a conducive environment for countries to harness the benefits of the peaceful uses of nuclear technology in meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals," and helps set the stage for deeper collaboration in the near future.

Mozambique, W of Maputo: A LAM Boeing 737-700, suffered a loss of cabin pressure about 16 minutes after departure from Maputo Airport (MPM). The flight crew performed an emergency descent and returned to land back at MPM.

USA, San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, CA: A JetBlue Airways Airbus A321-231(WL), intended to perform flight JBU34 to Logan International Airport (BOS/KBOS), Boston, Massachusetts, was hit by a tug vehicle at San Francisco International Airport (SFO/KSFO), San Francisco, California. After all occupants disembarked the aircraft, it was taken out of service. The flight was delayed and performed later by JetBlue Airways Airbus A321-231

France, Paris-Orly Airport: A Corsair Airbus A330-343E, intended to perform flight CRL894 to Felix Houphouet Boigny Airport (ABJ/DIAP), Abidjan, Ivory Coast, hit a mobile aircraft stair with the left engine nacelle when being towed at Paris-Orly Airport (ORY/LFPO). The empty aircraft received minor damage and the flight was cancelled.

Nigeria, Abuja-Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport: An Aero Contractor's Boeing 737-36Q, suffered a taxiway excursion with the nose landing gear when vacating the runway after landing at taxiway A4. The nose gear bogged in, disabling the aircraft.

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