Saturday, 29 September 2012

Panic as Qatar Airways plane makes emergency landing in Lagos

 There was panic on Saturday afternoon as a Qatar Airways plane inbound Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos from Doha made an emergency landing.
Reports said the plane lost a tyre midair while its landing gear also developed a fault.
Aviation and National Emergency Management Agency officials swiftly rushed to the runway of the airport to handle any emergency.
The plane eventually landed at the airport and after some anxious moments, came to a halt.
The pilot of the Airbus A330-200 plane had sent a distress call to air traffic controllers on duty at Lagos airport, telling them that one his tyres was having low pressure.
 The aircraft carrying 248 passengers touched down on runway 18R of the airport at about 1:15pm and one of the tyres tore opened.

Fuel Costs, Economy Undermine Lufthansa Savings

Lufthansa's efforts to cut costs will be thwarted by higher fuel prices and a weak economy this year, its chief executive said.
The company launched a savings initiative - dubbed SCORE - earlier this year to boost annual earnings by EUR€1.5 billion (USD$1.9 billion) by end 2014, compared with 2011.
"Due to the headwinds we face, the progress we have made is not visibly reflected, as we had hoped, in our financial result," Christoph Franz said in an employee newsletter on Friday.
The airline - whose business is caught between low-cost rivals such as easyJet in Europe and Gulf carriers such as Emirates in the premium long-haul market - has said it has identified more than EUR€1 billion in potential cutbacks in its passenger airline business alone.
It announced this month that it will merge its European and German domestic routes under a new low-cost brand.
While SCORE will reach its target this year, Franz said high jet fuel prices and the weak economy, as well as fees and costs for materials, were mitigating its effects.
"Therefore we have to work harder to achieve SCORE's planned earnings improvement of EUR€1.5 billion in the end," he said.
The airline is negotiating with union representatives of cabin crew, who held a series of rolling strikes several weeks ago, resulting in the cancellation of more than 1,000 flights.

Aurelien Hayman: The Boy who Remembers His Past.

 Aurelien Hayman studies English literature at the Durham University in the UK. He may seem like a regular 20-year-old, but this remarkable young man can recall every moment of every day of his life.

Aurelien is one of just 20 people in the world displaying superior autobiographical memory, or hyperthymesia. He is also the only one of those people that lives in Great Britain.

He doesn't claim to remember every single day of his life. Describing his astonishing gift, he says he couldn't recall details about his life the way he does today, until he was about 14 years old. He describes his childhood memories, up to the age of 11, as “vague recollections.”

“It’s not something that I realized overnight, but when I was 14 I discovered that I was quite good at remembering some things that had happened years before,” he said in an interview with the Daily Mail.

His parents are intellectuals, but they do not share this ability. It is not likely it is inherited as, in previously documented cases, those displaying hyperthymesia had children who didn't have the same abilities.

Professor Giuliana Mazzoni, head of psychology at Hull University, put Aurelien through a series of tests to determine the accuracy of his renditions of certain events.

When she asked him about events that happened on a specific date, she observed the boy would recall details like what conversations he had had, what had been on the news, what he had eaten that day, what he had been wearing, and what the weather had been like etc. Hayman always started by telling her what day of the week the date given to him was.

His renditions of the chains of events, on dates spanning over the last decade, proved to be not only accurate, but quite objective. Most of us remember things like what was on TV, or what the weather was like, in cases in which something marked that specific occasion. For example, one might remember what channel they were watching or what they were wearing when finding out about the attacks on 9/11.


Friday, 28 September 2012

Nigerian FG Ready to Float New National Carrier

The Ministry of Aviation with full support of the Presidency has concluded plans to float a new national carrier in partnership with one of Europe’s mega carriers, which name government is still keeping to its chest.
The mega carrier, which presently operates into the country is to provide technical support that would include maintenance, infrastructure, training of pilots, engineers and other technical personnel and route development.
The ownership structure will have zero government control in terms of management and equity holding but its controlling shares would be owned by Nigeria, who will become stakeholders through the sale of Initial Public Offer (IPO), while the partner airline would have management control and 49 per cent stake holding.
Special Adviser (Media) to the Minister of Aviation, Joe Obi, confirmed to THISDAY that the proposed national carrier would be wholly privately owned and would operate in partnership with an international airline.
He explained that it might be entirely new airline with foreign partnership or an existing one that can emerge as a national carrier “but what is clear now is that government will not play any role in its ownership and control. It will be owned by Nigerians through IPO, although the template of that is still being worked on.”
But THISDAY learnt that government was no more considering building up a domestic airline into a national carrier because of the inherent problem of such arrangement, which include the initial owner insisting on having some control and possibly sabotaging the new plan.

Plane Crash Kills Nineteen

A small plane crashed shortly after takeoff from the Nepali capital of Kathmandu on Friday, killing 19 people, including seven British and five Chinese passengers, an airline official said.
The twin-engine propeller-driven Dornier aircraft, owned by private firm Sita Air, had taken off from Kathmandu for Lukla in the Mount Everest region when it crashed in a field near Kathmandu airport, police said.
The weather was clear at the time and the cause of the crash was not immediately known. Four Nepali passengers and three Nepali crew were also among the dead.
Autumn is the peak tourism season in Nepal which has eight of the world's 14 highest mountains, including Mount Everest. At least 11 people were killed in an avalanche in northwest Nepal on Sunday.
In May, 15 people were killed when their plane crashed into a hill in northwest Nepal.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Cape Town to get direct Lufthansa flights

WESTERN Cape tourism, finance and economic development MEC Alan Winde says he will sign an agreement with German national airline Lufthansa for it to fly directly between Munich and Cape Town.
"The contract would be for one tourist season and we would have to prove to them (Lufthansa) that the route is viable," he said.
Addressing the Cape Town Press Club on Tuesday, Mr Winde said the aim of the new direct flight would be to offset the loss of South African Airways (SAA) cancelling its direct route between London and Cape Town, which ended on August 15 after 20 years.
When announcing the cancellation of the route, SAA said it was unprofitable because of a drop in business travel caused by the global financial recession.
Mr Winde said: "I am reluctant to criticise SAA on what was essentially a business decision. And it is about time they made business decisions. But it was a blow for Cape tourism and we have to find ways to offset that."
He said the air route between Cape Town and Johannesburg was rated as one of the 10 busiest in the world during the tourist season.
Another German airline, Condor, will start direct flights between Frankfurt and Cape Town from November 3 for the tourist season that ends in May.
He said the loss of the SAA direct flights was because the airline had decided on a "hub and spoke" strategy that meant all its international flights would be routed through OR Tambo International Airport.
Mr Winde said he would also explore the idea of a direct service between the Miami in the US and Cape Town.

Nigeria Bans Loans To Two Of Its Airlines

Nigeria's central bank has banned loans to 113 firms, including the country's two major airlines, which have failed to repay debts after a 2009 financial crisis that nearly brought down the banking system.
The ban covers firms whose bad debts were absorbed by state-backed "bad bank" AMCON as part of efforts to draw a line under a credit crisis that nearly sank nine lenders. The companies have yet to make good on those loans, an internal document obtained by Reuters said.
Nigeria's central bank injected USD$4 billion in 2009 to support nine lenders it judged to be so weakly capitalised they posed a threat to the whole economy. Since then, a number of banks have been restructured, and AMCON, the Asset Management Company of Nigeria, absorbed their toxic assets.
"As part of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)'s efforts at strengthening financial stability, it has become necessary to stop debtors who failed to repay their loans to banks and had those loans transferred to AMCON from further enjoying credit facilities... until they fully repay," the memo said.
"Banks are prohibited from approving or disbursing any new credit facilities to all persons and organisations on this list," it said, adding that any breach would be punished by a fine equal to the value of the loan and possibly additional penalties.
The list includes Nigeria's biggest carrier, Arik Air, with 85 billion naira (USD$560 million) in debts.
A spokesman for Arik Air, Ola Adebanji, said the company had not been informed.
"There is a relationship between Arik and AMCON... We have not received any document from CBN concerning that," he said.
Arik suspended its operations last week over a spat with unions, the airport authorities and the aviation ministry, partly over alleged unpaid dues, leaving thousands of passengers stranded. The airline resumed flights on Sunday.
Nigeria's only other functioning major airline, Aero Contractors, was also on the list but was not immediately reachable for comment.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

United Airlines Receives First 787

United Airlines Receives First 787 
                                                                         United Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

United Airlines became the first US airline to take delivery of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner this week, the carrier said on Monday.
United said it expects to fly the plane to its Houston hub from Boeing Field in Seattle this week. The first of five 787s United should receive this year will be used in a month-long training programme before it enters commercial service.
Chicago-based United has 50 787s on order. Carriers that have already received the jet are All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines of Japan, Ethiopian Airlines, Chile's LAN Airlines and Air India.
The 787 is the world's first commercial passenger jet with an airframe made largely of carbon composite materials. Because of its lighter weight, the plane consumes 20 percent less fuel than other jets its size on similar routes.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Fake Italian Pilot Arrested After Flight

A man who posed as an airline pilot was arrested in Turin Airport using forged identity cards and wearing a pilot's uniform, Italian police said on Saturday.
The 32-year-old, whose real name was not released, allegedly created a fake identity as a Lufthansa pilot named "Andrea Sirlo," complete with a Facebook page that included fake flight attendant friends.
Police said they were alerted several months ago after "Sirlo" introduced himself as a captain to a Civil Aviation lieutenant, who became suspicious because he seemed too young for the job.
The national military police tracked down the suspect from photos on his Facebook profile, in which he is shown posing in uniform and sunglasses in front of planes.
He was arrested in the check-in area of Turin Airport on Friday.
Police said "Sirlo" had flown for free on at least one flight as a "third pilot" sitting in the cockpit. They were investigating whether he had flown as an imposter at other times.
Lufthansa declined to comment on whether one of their flights had been involved and said it was a matter for the police.
At a press conference, police displayed a white shirt with epaulettes and a black double-breasted jacket with pilot stripes sewn on the cuffs. They said they also seized fake resumes, airline badges and an airport staff parking permit.
Turin Airport said in a statement it had not issued any permits in the name of the person involved.
A profile on a website where users can track their flights shows "Pilot Andrea Sirlo" flying from Munich Airport to Turin on October 23, 2011.
The case recalls the 2002 film "Catch Me If You Can," in which Leonardo DiCaprio played Frank Abagnale, a real-life con man who is said to have flown more than 1,600,000 km (1 million miles) as a fake Pan Am pilot in the 1960s.
'Sirlo' is the name of a flight corridor over Turin.

Arik Air: Aviation Minister soft pedals on legal threat

Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, has suspended her planned legal action against Arik Air over allegation that she demanded five per cent equity participation in the airline.
Mr Joe Obi, the Special Adviser on Media to the minister, disclosed this Monday in Abuja.
Obi said the minister decided to suspend legal action after a meeting with the Secretary to the Government of Federation (SGF), Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim, on Friday, Sept. 21.
Obi said the minister, who had directed her lawyers to seek legal redress over the allegation by the management of Arik Air, had decided to suspend actions till further notice in deference to the SGF.
He claimed that the SGF had given the airline a two-week ultimatum to “reconcile the debts it is owing the ministry and return with evidence of payment’’.
“We don’t want to disrespect the admonition of the SGF. We are holding on for now but that will also depend on the progress that will be reported in the next two weeks.
“The SGF has directed Arik Air to go to the ministry and the agencies to reconcile its debts and come back with confirmation of payment to him within two weeks.”
Mr Aniete Okon, the Vice Chairman of Arik Air, had told journalists in Lagos on September 20 that the airline was being punished for its refusal to accede to “the personal interest of the minister’’.
Responding to the allegation in a statement on September 21, the minister threatened to institute legal action against the airline over the “unfounded allegations against her.”
The statement said that a recent publication by the management of the airline, which claimed that the minister requested for five per cent equity from the airline, was designed to embarrass her.
It said that Arik Air owed the ministry N85.40 billion and stressed that Oduah had no stake in the company.
The statement added that the minister had never contemplated acquiring a stake in any airline and said that the time was ripe for Arik Air to change its mode of business to enable it resolve its financial crisis.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

As Arik returns to the skies

Nigeria's biggest airline Arik Air has announced that it would resume flight operations today after suspending services for three days.
On Thursday aviation workers under the aegis of Air Transport Service Senior Staff Association (ATSSSAN) and the National Union of Air transport Employees (NUATE) had disrupted the airline's domestic services over the debt it owes to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), prompting its management to suspend operations.
After a meeting with the Federal Government that was presided by the Secretary to the Federal Government Senator Anyim Pius Anyim in Abuja yesterday, the Managing Director /Vice President of Arik Air Chris Ndulue told newsmen in Lagos that the issue was amicably resolved as the aviation agencies assured that they would rein in the unions, which suspended their action on Friday, while the airline would resume operations.
"We have been able to resolve all the issues and we are happy to announce we are resuming operations tomorrow (today)," Ndulue said.
He also disclosed that another meeting was scheduled between the airline and the Federal Government and this would take place in the next two weeks to conclude the discussion that was started yesterday.
Ndulue said that there was no discussion on the payment of the debts the airline owe FAAN, which is disputably put at N7.07 billion by the agency.
"We did not discuss any payment plan. It was agreed that there was no real problem between the airline and FAAN.
We are happy to put what happened behind us. The agencies have pledged to control their workers. The meeting was all about reconciliation.
"What happened is part of the sacrifices we have to make for pioneering this kind of operation.
"It stunts growth but we know that to get where we are going takes time and endurance. We suffered disruption of our operations; we suffered losses.
On Friday during a press conference, the Managing Director of FAAN, George Uriesi, said that the agency and Arik Air had been talking on the payment of the debts and the talks had reached advanced stage before the unions disrupted that discussion by their action.
He noted, however, that the action of the workers has brought the debt issue to the fore and to the public knowledge.
"This is a little bit of distraction in the sense that we now have to deal with the crisis whereas we were progressing along a path towards a resolution as management."
Meanwhile, Arik Air has denied ever accusing the Minister of Aviation, Prince Stella Oduah, of requesting for five per cent stake in the airline.
Ndulue said that the airline never said any such thing and that there was nothing like that in the address he read to the media on Thursday.
"When I addressed you I read from a paper which contained all that I said. Go and read that document again and see whether there is anything like that there," Ndule challenged journalists.
Defending the debt owed by the airline, which made the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) give a directive that banks should no longer extend credit facility to the airline and others, the Arik Air Managing Director said that there was no way an airline could have about 23 new generation aircrafts operating many routes without being indebted, adding that shortlisting the airline among many other companies and individuals that should not be given loans by the banks might be an oversight by CBN.
The airline is reported to owe N85. 482 billion.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Delta Airlines, Pink Planes and Breast Cancer


ATLANTA and NEW YORK - Delta Air Lines' eighth annual "Breast Cancer One" employee survivor charter takes flight for the fight today in advance of Delta's October fundraising efforts benefiting The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. In memory of BCRF Founder Evelyn Lauder, Delta's Boeing 767-400 signature 'pink plane' will be dedicated at New York's LaGuardia airport in a presentation attended by her husband, Leonard Lauder, BCRF Acting Chairman and Chairman Emeritus of The Estee Lauder Companies, as well as BCRF staff.
"Delta's distinctive pink plane first took flight in 2005 and has flown around the world to highlight and help raise awareness and funds for lifesaving research efforts," said Joanne Smith, senior vice president – In-Flight Service. "This year, we dedicate our pink plane to the memory of BCRF founder Evelyn Lauder. We continue to be inspired by her tireless commitment and determination in the fight to find a cure for breast cancer."
The pink plane also will be painted with a welcome message: "Thank You Delta Customers and Employees. Together We Have Raised $5 Million For the Fight Against Breast Cancer."
"The Breast Cancer Research Foundation has found it so rewarding to work with Delta because they set the bar high and share our commitment to stopping this terrible disease," said Myra Biblowit, President, BCRF. "Together, Evelyn and I led the Foundation from a small US-based organization to a dominant global funder of research that has raised over $380 million since its inception in 1993. Our progress to date is only possible thanks to the support of special partners like Delta Air Lines, its customers and its employees. Dedicating the pink plane to Evelyn in response to her dream to live in a world free of breast cancer is, by far, a unique expression that continues to reflect your committed support of BCRF's mission."
Delta's pink plane will fly from Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to New York's LaGuardia Airport with more than 140 employee cancer survivors from 19 different departments in 35 locations around the world.
In addition to the pink plane, throughout October Delta's administrative building at its general offices will be illuminated in pink lighting in support of BCRF. Delta employees also will wear pink uniforms and sell pink products including pink lemonade and pink headsets onboard and in Delta Sky Clubs to raise awareness and support for breast cancer research. All proceeds benefit BCRF.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Lufthansa to merge domestic routes with Germanwings

German flag-carrier Lufthansa to merge domestic routes with Germanwings

German flag-carrier Lufthansa has confirmed it will merge some domestic routes with subsidiary Germanwings in order to cut costs.
The move is designed to improve profits and fend off growing competition from low-cost carriers.

Under the proposals, flights within Germany and some areas of Europe, excluding those from hubs in Frankfurt and Munich, will be merged with existing low-cost airline Germanwings from January 1st, 2013.
The new service will carry over 18 million passengers in its first year, Lufthansa said.

Lufthansa, one of the largest airlines in Europe, carries just over 100 million passengers a year.

The decision to bundle its short-haul flights under the low-cost brand comes after union representatives agreed to begin a formal mediation procedure.
Unions had called a series of strikes over what they perceived to be job losses as the carrier.


Thursday, 20 September 2012

Foreigners sue Nigerian Dana Air for negligence

LAGOS, Nigeria - Over 20 relatives of foreigners involved in the Dana Air ill-fated flight on June 3rd 2012 that killed all 153 passengers on board and 10 on the ground, have sued the airline in their different countries for negligence.
The Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr. Harold Demuren, who disclosed this development to newsmen last week at the NCAA headquarters in Lagos, pointed out that the foreigners involved were from the United States, United Kingdom, China amongst other countries.
Dr. Demuren noted that some of the foreigners and some Nigerians had dragged Dana Air to court to press charges against the airline adding that until that was settled, the families could not be compensated.
Asked whether he knows the outcome of the litigation, Dr. Demuren declined to comment on it. He however, stressed that apart from the foreigners dragging the airline to court, Dana Airlines was expected to pay the sum total of $350m as compensation to the families of 153 victims onboard the airline noting that the amount of money to be paid excludes those who were killed on ground by the aircraft.
According to him,"the meeting we are holding today is about Dana Air, although as you know money cannot replace lives that were lost due to the crash, people have lost their loved ones. The law is very clear that we need to pay the money that is required."
Debunking some media reports, not Vanguard, that the airline was not adequately insured, Dr. Demuren insisted that the airline was adequately insured as at the time of the crash.
He, however, explained that only 62 families had been paid so far due to the stringent measures involved in assessing the funds stressing that there were multiple claims from some family members which dragged the process backward.
He said, "The aircraft was adequately covered by insurance and I can tell you that the whole money for the settlement of the families according to the law, is on ground, but we have to say it here that money cannot replace lives because so many people have lost their loved ones. Money is the smallest thing and the law is very clear on compensation.
"We had to do a lot of DNA tests to know who to pay to in case of multiple claims. It is very important for us to move forward. That was why we called Dana management, NAICOM and representatives of Lloyds Insurance Company."
Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner, Technical, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Mr. Ibrahim Hassan also affirmed the statement of the D-G, NCAA that Dana Airlines was adequately insured as at the time of the crash adding that they had been insured even before the said crash.
According to him, "30 per cent of the risk was domiciled in Nigeria by various insurance companies while Llyods of London bears the remaining 70 per cent risk.The issue of 70 per cent has already been resolved. You really have to carry out who the next-of-kin is. Again, some people have already gone to court to challenge the airline on the amount of money they are being paid.
"The compensations of those people who lost their lives and properties on ground have not even commenced. We should not sensationalise the issue, but be responsible. However, I can assure you that all the issues would be settled," Mr. Hassan added.

Hijack scare halts US flights

Hijack scare halts US flights

Two aircraft were quarantined for 90 minutes at New York’s JFK airport yesterday after a telephone threat to the Port Authority.
An American airlines flight from San Francisco and a Finn Air flight from Helsinki were moved to a remote area of the airport following a series of hoax calls that were made claiming a number of hijacks were planned on US flights, according to reports.
Air marshals and the FBI were said to have boarded the aircraft to investigate and one of the airport’s runways was shut down.
American Airlines issued a statement saying: “We generally don’t comment on security issues, but our people are trained to work with authorities to thoroughly assess these types of threats - both credible and non-credible.
“We recommend reaching out to the Port Authority Police Department for additional information.”

Monday, 17 September 2012

China-Japan Dispute Affecting Flights

Flights from China to Japan have been affected amid increasingly angry protests over a territorial dispute between the two countries.
All Nippon Airways reported a rise in cancellations on Japan-bound flights from China.
Some Japanese companies have also temporarily shut factories and shops in China while Chinese state media warned on Monday that Japan could suffer another "lost decade" if trade ties sour.
The dispute follows Japan's decision last week to buy disputed East China Sea islands, which Tokyo calls the Senkaku and Beijing calls the Diaoyu, from a private Japanese owner.

Lufthansa To Present Low-Cost Airline Plan

Lufthansa management will present a strategy update to the supervisory board on Wednesday including plans for a new European low-cost airline, German business weekly WirtschaftsWoche said in its Monday edition.
A spokesman for Lufthansa declined to comment on the supervisory board meeting, adding that no strategy decisions are to be expected on Wednesday.
Separately, WirtschaftsWoche, citing unnamed sources, said strikes could have cost the German airline EUR€100 million (USD$131 million) if the lost revenue from passengers who booked with rival airlines as a result of the actions was factored in.
Lufthansa said it was too early to put a final figure on the cost of industrial action and reiterated the strikes were said to have resulted in lost revenue in the double-digit million euro range.
Around 1,737 flights were cancelled during the strikes, with 187,614 passengers impacted, employee magazine Lufthanseat said in its most recent edition. Another 165,598 passengers were hit by delays, the employee publication further said.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Air Nigeria Closes In Latest Aviation Setback

International carrier Air Nigeria said it would terminate operations on Monday due to "staff disloyalty and environmental challenges", the latest setback for the country's aviation industry after a rival's plane crash in June killed 163 people.
Privately-owned Air Nigeria was part of Richard Branson's Virgin group until he pulled out in 2010, selling his minority stake.
It operated flights across West Africa and to London.
It is now shutting down operations and sacking over 500 staff in a move that has prompted union protests over alleged unfair dismissal and unpaid salaries.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority suspended Air Nigeria in June due to financial concerns, although some flights were allowed to continue.
Several Nigerian airlines have folded in recent years due to lack of finance or poor safety.
"Corporations are like individuals, who naturally will get sick, and the usual thing to do is to admit them to hospitals, either for corporate surgery or for treatment, as the case may be," a statement from the company's Chairman Jimoh Ibrahim said.
Ibrahim said Air Nigeria would close operations for at least a year but he hoped to resurrect the airline in the future.
Dana Air flight 992, a McDonnell Douglas MD-83, crashed into an apartment block in a populated Lagos suburb in June, killing 153 people onboard and 10 others on the ground.
Air crashes are relatively common in Africa's most populous nation, although Air Nigeria was never involved.
The aviation ministry cleared Dana to fly again last week even though the accident bureau has not concluded its investigation into the crash.

AirAsia To Be First A320 Operator With Sharklets

Low-cost carrier AirAsia will be the first airline to sport fuel-saving sharklet wing tips on an A320 plane from December, Airbus said at the Berlin air show on Tuesday.
The bent-back wing tips offer fuel savings of about 4 percent. Airbus completed the first new-build A320 equipped with sharklets in Toulouse in April and previously said it expected the first member of the family to enter service from the fourth quarter of 2012.
AirAsia is Asia's largest budget carrier and last year placed a record-breaking USD$18 billion order for 200 of Airbus's fuel-saving A320neo jets.
The airline is close to a further deal to buy up to 100 A320 jets, although an order may not be ready to be announced in Berlin, sources familiar with the matter said last week.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Dubai Passenger, Freight Traffic Climbs

 Passenger traffic at Dubai Airport climbed 6.0 percent in July from a year earlier, with monthly traffic surpassing 5 million passengers for the first time, the airport said on Wednesday.
Dubai, one of the world's busiest, handled 5.01 million passengers in July, up from 4.72 million in July 2011.
Annual growth slowed from June's 16.0 percent, however, because of the impact on traffic of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which began in July this year and affected Gulf and Middle East routes.
Freight passing through Dubai International climbed 6.2 percent from a year earlier in July to 204,510 tonnes.
"July's traffic volumes mean that an average of 112 passengers passed through our airport every minute of every day," Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Dubai Airports, said in a statement.
"By 2018, when we expect to complete the expansion of Dubai International, that will soar to just under 170 passengers per minute."
Dubai is investing USD$7.8 billion on the expansion of the airport. Concourse 3, the world's first purpose-built A380 facility, is expected to open once it completes operational readiness tests likely to occur in the first quarter of 2013.

EgyptAir Resumes Flights After Cabin Crew Deal

EgyptAir said it would resume international flights from Cairo that had been suspended for most of the day on Friday after reaching a deal with cabin crew who had gone on strike over pay and conditions.
An Egyptair official said flights would resume at 6 pm (1600 GMT). It had suspended them from 4 am (0200 GMT).
A second airline official said an adviser to President Mohamed Mursi had helped convince cabin crew to end the strike at the national carrier after committing to meeting demands.
A spokesman for the cabin crew, Tamer al-Sioufi, said the strike was called off after a deal was reached but said the crew would walk out again on Sunday if it was not fully implemented.
The airlines said it had operated six international flight departures during the hours of the strike using crews of private airlines. Domestic flights were not affected by the strike.
Witnesses reported crowds of frustrated passengers. The airline urged passengers to check before turning up at the airport to confirm when their flights would depart.

Heathrow Expansion Decision Set For After 2015

Planes queuing for takeoff at Heathrow airport. Photograph: David Pearson/Alamy

A decision on whether Britain will expand airport capacity around London will be taken by the next government, the country's new transport secretary said on Friday, meaning a decision is unlikely before 2015.
A commission chaired by former Financial Services Authority head Howard Davies to examine ways to expand airport capacity in southeast England will report in the summer of 2015 after releasing an interim report next year, Patrick McLoughlin wrote in his first ministerial statement as transport secretary.
Several options are being considered to increase the southeast of England's strained airport capacity: a third runway at London's Heathrow airport; a second at Stansted northeast of London, or a new airport in the estuary of the river Thames.
"This is a very difficult debate, but the reality is that since the 1960s Britain has failed to keep pace with our international competitors in addressing long term aviation capacity and connectivity needs," wrote McLoughlin.
"A decision on whether to support any of the recommendations contained in the final report will be taken by the next government."
Britain's Conservative-led coalition government had ruled out building a third runway at BAA's capacity-constrained Heathrow before the next election, in part to appease the junior Liberal Democrat partners and boost its green credentials.
However, several Conservative ministers have called for a third runway to be built at Heathrow.
McLoughlin's appointment as transport secretary earlier this week - replacing Justine Greening, a vocal critic of a third runway at Heathrow - indicated it could rethink its opposition to airport expansion in southeast England.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Etihad Raises Virgin Australia Stake

 Abu Dhabi's flag carrier Etihad Airways has raised its stake in Virgin Australia to 10 percent through open market purchases, the state airline said in a statement on Sunday.
Etihad, founded eight-years ago, received approval from Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) to increase its stake from five percent to 10 percent, it said in the statement.
Etihad has already bought stakes in three other carriers -- Aer Lingus, Air Seychelles and Air Berlin -- in a push to chase the big Gulf state-backed airlines such as Dubai's Emirates and Qatar Airways.
Based on Virgin Australia's current market value, the stake is worth about USD$100 million. The airline had previously said it was keen to increase its Virgin Australia stake to at least 10 percent.
But the airline does not plan to acquire a majority stake in Virgin Australia, Etihad's President and chief executive James Hogan said in the statement.

 Virgin Australia is 26 percent owned by Richard Branson's Virgin group and 20 percent by Air New Zealand.
Etihad began flying to Australia in 2007 and along with Virgin Australia they operate 24 flights a week between Abu Dhabi and Australia.

Lufthansa Says 190 Flights Hit By Strike

Lufthansa said it would cancel 190 flights at its main hub, Frankfurt airport, on Tuesday due to a second round of strikes by cabin crew in a row over pay and conditions.

Lufthansa said only a handful of long-haul flights would be impacted, while around half of short and medium-haul flights were cancelled.

The airline initially expected only 64 cancellations in the first eight-hour strike on Friday but ended up scrapping almost 200 flights, leaving 26,000 passengers stranded and costing it millions of euros.

The German cabin crew union, UFO, said its workers would strike in Frankfurt from 0400-1200 GMT and in Berlin's Tegel airport from 0300-1100 GMT.
This morning it was calling on its members working at Lufthansa to go on strike in Munich from 1100-2000 GMT.
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