Airlines, Airports and Airliners 14 February 2024

Compiled by Willie Bodenstein

This week in Airlines, Airports and Airliners

FlySafair aim to spread tourism to every corner of the country with new Cape Town to Kruger route.
Cosmic secures $4.5 Million in seed funding.
NTSB - Missing bolts from door plug on Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9.
Plaza Premium Group unveils exclusive airport lounge at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
Airlines and airports increase IT spend to improve the passenger journey and meet sustainability goals.
Bombardier 2023 results set new highs on earnings and revenues; 2024 guidance reflects further growth.
Saudia Technic and Embraer Services & Support sign MoU to start maintenance and training collaboration.
Lufthansa Group equips more than 150 additional short and medium-haul aircraft with broadband Internet access.
Worldwide Incidents and accidents.
Bonus video - SAAF C 130 # 409 Waterkloof to TFDC.


Johannesburg, 30 January 2024 - FlySafair is starting the year strong with the announcement of its first new route for 2024. South Africa's favourite low-cost airline will be launching a direct route between Cape Town International Airport (CTIA) and Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA) just outside the Kruger National Park. This new route makes travelling between the two tourism hot spots more accessible for both local and international holidaymakers.

"We are very pleased to be able to start the year off with such an exciting new route. Although flights to areas surrounding the Kruger National Park are readily available from Johannesburg, there are limited commercial flight options from Cape Town," said Kirby Gordon, Chief Marketing Officer at FlySafair.

Thanks to the concerted efforts of Cape Town Tourism, the city has experienced a boom in popularity, particularly with international visitors. International tourism in the city has boomed, increasing by 76% between January and July last year. During the busy Christmas period, the number of visitors to the city exceeded pre-covid levels with officials recording 317 thousand international tourists passing through the city's main airport with two-way tickets. Local travel to the Mother City has also grown. In the first six months of 2023 alone, Cape Town saw 3.2 million domestic two-way passengers pass through Cape Town International Airport, representing a 9% year-on-year growth. As a result, many of the local tourist attractions have seen drastic increases in the number of visitors.

The addition of more capacity and a low-cost carrier to the route between CTIA and KMIA offers an exciting opportunity to spread the tourism success currently being experienced in Cape Town to other attractions across the country. The Kruger National Park is one of the most spectacular and unique tourist attractions South Africa has to offer. Beyond acting as an important source of income for surrounding communities, it also plays an important role in preserving our country's biodiversity and wildlife heritage. Growing this route will encourage international tourists and Cape Town locals to extend their holidays to include a visit to the park. This is likely to have a marked positive effect on overall tourism in South Africa.

"Cape Town and the Kruger National Park are two of our country's most popular tourist destinations. Unfortunately, though, they sit in opposite corners of our country, making travel between them both inconvenient and costly," said Gordon. "We hope that by introducing our low-cost option to the market, we can encourage more tourists to build a visit to Kruger into their trip itineraries while also opening this gem to the people of the Western Cape."

The inaugural flight for this route is planned for the 2nd of April and will make use of FlySafair's Boeing 737-800. Tickets will start at R1851.00 one way, with flights leaving Cape Town at 9 am every Tuesday and Saturday and landing at the destination around 11:30 am. The aircraft will then be turned around, taking off from KMIA at 12:05 pm and landing at approximately 2:50 pm.


Cosmic Aerospace (Cosmic), a US-European aerospace startup, has raised $4.5 million in seed financing to accelerate the development of the world's first electric aircraft capable of flying up to 1,000 kilometres (more than 600 miles), representing a step change in range among current electric aircraft offerings.

AInstead of relying on future battery improvements, Cosmic is focusing its engineering efforts on the development of a highly efficient airframe and propulsion system, unlocking flight ranges that elevate electric aircraft from a niche product into the mainstream aviation market.

The company has already built and tested a full-scale operational electric engine in record time. The new funds will boost the development of Cosmic's unique embedded wing design, a key enabler for achieving the breakthrough energy efficiency that the company is targeting. The first full-scale flight demonstrator is on track for its first flight in 2026, with entry into service targeted at the end of the decade.

Christopher Chahine, co-founder and CEO of Cosmic, asserts that the technology exists to build long-range electric aircraft, but needs to be developed into a commercial product that is certifiable in current and future regulatory frameworks.

The seed round was led by climate tech-focused venture capital firm Pale blue dot with participation from deep tech and fellow climate tech investors including Aera VC, Visionaries Club TOMORROW, Fifty Years, Possible Ventures, Syndicate One, Course Corrected, Understorey Capital and Samurai Incubate.

"We are incredibly impressed by the pragmatic development approach the team at Cosmic has demonstrated and are convinced that this is the right way forward to enable a truly meaningful decarbonization of aviation. We are excited to back Cosmic and believe the team has what it takes to lead the aviation industry into a sustainable future", said Joel Larsson, General Partner at Pale blue dot.

Cosmic is in conversation with various airlines and other key stakeholders across the aviation industry. The team brings a unique blend of experiences across technology, industry, and certification, which puts them in an exceptional position to lead the transition toward sustainable electric aviation.

Cosmic Aerospace is an electric aviation startup building the future of zero-carbon air travel. Founded by alums of Boom Supersonic, NASA, Oxford, and Kittyhawk, Cosmic is designing technologically advanced and highly efficient aircraft and engines specifically for electrifying air travel. With a small team and backing from leading global VCs, Cosmic has built and tested a full-scale electric jet engine from the ground up and is continuing on its rapid development pathway towards a flying demonstrator in 2026.


The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released its preliminary report on the high-profile 5 January Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9 incident which lost a mid-exit door (MED) inflight last month.

The aircraft, N704AL, was operating as AS1282 from Portland, Oregon, to Ontario, California, when the left MED tore off shortly after departure, leaving a gaping hole in the fuselage and aircraft decompression. After a thorough investigation the NTSB determined that the bolts intended to prevent upward movement and secure it when closed were missing. However, three visible locations on the door plug reportedly show where the required bolts were missing: two vertical arrestors and a forward upper guide track.


Plaza Premium Group adds Nairobi to its global lounge network with an exclusive lounge at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), in terminal 1D, next to gate 4, on level 2. True to the brand, the lounge brings a world class elegance and functionality, providing discerning travellers at JKIA with a go-to space to relax, eat, drink, work, and refresh.

Covering an area of 366 sqm and with capacity of 150 seats, Plaza Premium Lounge Nairobi combines comfort and convenience in a refreshingly modern manner. The lounge's interior reflects contemporary African aesthetics blending touches of tribal patterns with a calming colour palette, precisely what every discerning traveller appreciates.

Amenities include a variety of lounge seating, high-speed Wi-Fi, charging stations, and dedicated workspaces, and showers. Guests can also indulge in the lounge's gourmet offerings with a diverse menu featuring favourite Kenyan flavours and international cuisines prepared by skilled chefs, ensuring culinary options cater to every palate.

JKIA is a busy airport servicing one of the most active African hubs for business and tourism, accommodating an average of 9 million travellers, 40 airlines, and over 200 nationalities each year as a key destination.

The lounge sets a new standard for airport hospitality, offering an unmatched experience that aligns with the diverse needs of today's global travellers. The grand opening of Plaza Premium Lounge at JKIA signifies the brand's commitment to make travel better and providing a haven of luxury in the heart of East Africa.

The new lounge is the group's second location in Africa, marking a significant step in the strategic expansion that it lies within its global network of over 250 locations across 80 international airports and 30 countries. The JKIA lounge enhances the company's presence in the MEA region adding to an already impressive portfolio of executive airport lounges, hotels and F&B outlets in Amman, Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Muscat, and Addis Ababa.


SITA's 2023 Air Transport IT Insights report, published today, finds that both airports and airlines saw IT spend increase year on year into 2023, reaching an estimated 10.8 billion USD and 34.5 billion USD respectively, with over two-thirds of airport and airline CIOs expecting continued growth into 2024.

Airports also boosted IT spend as a percentage of revenue in 2022 and 2023 even as business benefitted from an uptick in travel demand, signalling just how crucial a role technology will play in the next-generation travel experience.

Aviation CIOs' key investment priorities include a biometrically enabled passenger journey, leveraging data to unlock operational efficiencies, and green solutions to optimize energy consumption and emissions.

Airlines and airports have made strides in optimizing the passenger experience, with over half having implemented IT to improve efficiency across check-in, bag tag, and boarding in 2023. Biometrics are becoming commonplace to help curb congestion, with 70% of airlines expecting to have biometric ID management in place by 2026, and 90% of airports investing in major programs or R&D in this area.

CIOs are now looking to supplement passenger processing advancements with innovative solutions on the operations side. To boost efficiency, protect operations against disruption, and streamline processes for both passengers and staff, CIOs are embracing IT solutions for business intelligence (BI), artificial intelligence, and data sharing.

BI is the biggest area of technology investment for airlines in the coming three years, with 73% investing in major programs. Nearly two-thirds of airports and airlines collect and integrate data, and with the rise of generative artificial intelligence (AI), they are now looking to AI and machine learning to leverage this data and generate insights. With most citing the "use of data to improve operational efficiency" as at least somewhat of a business challenge, it makes sense that 97% of airlines and 82% of airports are investing in AI by 2026.

By 2026, over 90% of airlines plan to have IT in place to boost the efficiency of flight operations and aircraft turnaround. More than half have implemented IT to optimize both aircraft taxiing and the take-off/landing and cruise phases of flights, with nearly all expecting to have this in place by 2026.

On the airport side, building and energy management systems are a key priority for offering a unified view of emissions and opportunities to reduce them. Investment in energy management systems is expected to grow the most of any airport sustainability initiative, with over half of airports planning this by 2026.

"With industry ambitions to achieve net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050 in mind, airlines and airports are taking necessary steps towards reducing their carbon footprint, adopting digital tools for accurate monitoring and optimization of energy consumption and emissions," Lavorel added.

The SITA 2023 Air Transport IT Insights research was conducted from August to November 2023. It represents the views of over 250 senior airline and airport executives, covering a quarter of global passenger traffic.


Bombardier Inc. (TSX: BBD.B) today presented strong 2023 fourth quarter and full-year financial results which met or exceeded the company's 2023 guidance. Bombardier also unveiled its guidance for 2024, which reflects the company's steady progress towards its long-term objectives.

"Our Global aircraft broke many speed records in 2023, but those were not the only records we set last year. Our team came together to deliver the highest revenues and earnings, record aftermarket revenue, and the highest deliveries since we refocused our business in 2021. Our stellar top- and bottom-line performance included the lowest leverage ratio in years," said …ric Martel, President and Chief Executive Officer, Bombardier. "I could not be prouder of our passionate and engaged teams around the world. All of us united to go above and beyond to make sure we kept - and often exceeded - our promises. Today, we are marching ahead with confidence: our 2024 guidance reflects the path of continuous growth we have been on for the past three years, and our steadfast commitment to achieving our long-term objectives."

Bombardier reported total revenues of $8 billion for 2023, a 16% increase compared to 2022 and the highest since the company refocused its business in 2021. A key element was the aftermarket revenue, which reached an all-time high of $1.75 billion. After the significant 2022 expansion of Bombardier's worldwide service network, 2023 was marked by the new or newly expanded service facilities coming online, fuelling the company's vibrant aftermarket business, which has now firmly established itself as a predictable and consistent source of revenue.

Bombardier also reported a significant jump in earnings in 2023: adjusted EBITDA (1) rose 32% from last year to $1.23 billion, driven by increased deliveries, greater Global 7500 contribution, and a higher aftermarket contribution. Full-year reported EBIT reached $793 million, while adjusted EBIT (1) was $799 million.

Thanks, in particular to Bombardier's impressive performance in the fourth quarter, especially in terms of earnings growth and strong order intake, full-year free cash flow (1) generation from continuing operations reached $257 million, beating the company's 2023 guidance. Cash flows from operating activities and net additions to PP&E and intangible assets for the full year were also significant at $623 million and $366 million respectively.

Bombardier continued to prioritize debt reduction in 2023, paying down $0.4 billion during the year, improving adjusted net debt to adjusted EBITDA ratio (2) by 28% when compared to 2022, and resulting in a 3.3 adjusted net debt to adjusted EBITDA ratio (2), the lowest in years.

Bombardier continued to manage its production in a disciplined and proactive manner and made the most of steady and strong demand. The company reported a solid full-year book-to-bill (3) of 1, while the multi-year backlog (4) stood strong at $14.2 billion. Bombardier also reached its target of 138 aircraft delivered in 2023, with a particularly active fourth quarter.


Saudia Technic and Embraer Services & Support signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today, commencing collaboration involving maintenance and training capabilities. The agreement reached at the World Defence Show 2024, held in Riyadh from Feb 4 to 8, aims to enhance cooperation in Commercial Aviation, with a focus on the E2 jets family and Executive Aviation maintenance.

The MoU was signed between Saudia Technic's CEO Capt. Fahd Cynndy, and Embraer Services & Support representative, the Regional Sales Director Rida Amara, with the distinguished presence of His Excellency President of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) Abdulaziz Al-Duailej.

Commenting on the signing of the MoU, Saudia Technic's CEO Capt. Fahd Cynndy, said that "Through this Memorandum of Understanding, we embark on a journey of collaboration and growth. The aerospace industry in Saudia Arabia is thriving, and together with Embraer Services & Support, we are poised to make remarkable advancements. This partnership will propel us towards new horizons, shaping the future of commercial aviation and paving the way for excellence in maintenance."

"We are very pleased to sign a broad Memorandum of Understanding with Saudia Technic. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has one of the fastest-growing aerospace industries worldwide, and Embraer Services & Support is well-positioned to advance in the region by working in partnership with Saudia Technic," says Carlos Naufel, President and CEO, Embraer Services & Support.


Chat with your loved ones at an altitude of 10,000 meters, shop online while travelling or use the company VPN above the clouds without limits: In future, all passengers travelling on European routes will have the reliable option of using Wi-Fi on board.

The Lufthansa Group will therefore continue to equip its short and medium-haul aircraft with broadband Internet on three of its airlines this year. The plan is to fully equip all aircraft in the Airbus A220/320 family (A220, A319, A320ceo, A320neo, A321ceo, A321neo) operated by Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and now also SWISS, in total more than 150 aircraft.

The installation of the system will begin at all airlines from the fourth quarter of 2024 and will be completed after around two years. After Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and Eurowings, SWISS will thus be the next airline in the Lufthansa Group to introduce in-flight internet for its passengers on short- and medium-haul aircraft. Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and Eurowings have been offering their passengers broadband internet on many short- and medium-haul flights since 2017.

New is that Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines are now offering their guests unlimited free messaging on aircraft already equipped with internet access. Travellers can send and receive as many messages as they like on their own smartphone or tablet free of charge during the flight. The prerequisite for using this service is logging into FlyNet with a Miles & More service card number or with an e-mail address registered with the Lufthansa Group Travel ID. For all other onboard Internet packages, such as the faster Premium access, now available from just six euros, the price was reduced by almost 50 per cent at the beginning of the year.

The use of the Lufthansa Group Airlines apps and many services in the FlyNet portal of Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines, in the Wings Connect portal of Eurowings and in future also in the SWISS Connect portal are generally free of charge in all Airbus A220/A320 aircraft equipped with broadband Internet. Depending on the airline, guests can follow their flight live on the moving map, for example, receive information on connecting flights, use the chat assistant for service questions, download e-journals, browse the Worldshop or view the onboard menu.

The internet on board is also used by crews in many cases for their daily work, for example to optimize flight routes during the flight. This allows fuel consumption and the corresponding CO2 emissions to be reduced.

The Lufthansa Group commissioned Viasat with the technology and service for equipping more than 150 additional aircraft. The Lufthansa Group has been working with the technology company Inmarsat, which was acquired by Viasat, since 2015. To date, Internet access on more than 200 aircraft in the Lufthansa Group's A320 family has been based purely on a satellite connection (Ka-band). On the newly equipped aircraft, the internet connection is provided using a hybrid technology called EAN (European Aviation Network). An S-band satellite provides Europe-wide coverage, while supplementary ground components from Deutsche Telekom, terrestrial radio towers with 4G LTE technology, provide additional capacity.

The new technology also represents progress in terms of sustainability in particular: thanks to the much smaller and lighter antennas compared to the technology used previously, the total weight of the system is less than 60 kilograms, thus significantly reducing additional paraffin consumption and CO2 emissions.

South Sudan, Malakal Airport (MAK/HJMK): A McDonnell Douglas MD-82, 5Y-AXL, sustained substantial damage when it was involved in an accident at Malakal Airport (MAK/HJMK), South Sudan. There were no injuries. Preliminary information indicates that the airplane landed short of runway 04. The main gear collapsed and the airplane came to rest on its belly.

USA, 5 km NE of Naples Airport (APF/KAPF), Naples, FL: Hop-A-Jet flight HPJ823, a Bombardier CL-600-2B16 Challenger 604, was destroyed in a forced landing on the I-75 at mile marker 107, 5km northeast of Naples Airport (APF/KAPF), Naples, Florida. Two of the five occupants perished. The aircraft was on approach to Naples Airport (APF/KAPF), Florida, when the crew radioed that they had lost both engines and were not able to make it to the runway. The aircraft struck a truck during the landing and burst into flames as it came to rest against a concrete wall at the side of the southbound lanes.

Cayman, Grand Cayman Island-Owen Roberts International Airport (GCM/MWCR): A Delta Airlines Boeing 737-900 struck a stairs truck at Owen Roberts International Airport. There were no personal injuries.

Ireland, Shannon Airport (SNN): A Cargolux Boeing 747-400FER diverted to Shannon Airport (SNN), Ireland, after a main deck fire warning was triggered. The aircraft landed safely at SNN where the crew evacuated using the emergency escape slide. There is no evidence of a fire on board & all 3 pilots on board are unharmed.

SAAF C 130 # 409 Waterkloof to TFDC

Aviation Economy
Airlines and Airliners

Copyright © 2024 Pilot's Post PTY Ltd
The information, views and opinions by the authors contributing to Pilotís Post are not necessarily those of the editor or other writers at Pilotís Post.