Friday, November 17, 2017

World Atlantic Airlines McDonnell Douglas MD-83 (49345/1371) N804WA "Zairah"

Top two photos capture the aircraft's arrival at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) on Thursday November 16, then it's departure on November 17, as it takes the Chapman College football team to Texas for a game.

This aircraft was originally delivered to American Airlines as N563AA on June 5, 1987.

(Photos by Michael Carter)

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Cathay to roll out wi-fi on 777, A330 fleets

Cathay Pacific Group will introduce high-speed wi-fi to its Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 fleets from mid-2018.

This follows the introduction of the service on Cathay's Airbus A350-900 fleet. The Hong Kong carrier will adopt Gogo's 2Ku satellite-based broadband inflight connectivity technology.

"We envisage that by 2020, all of our wide-body aircraft will have inflight connectivity capabilities. This will open up a wealth of opportunities for us to provide more innovative experiences for our customers," says Cathay's chief customer and commercial officer Paul Loo.

"Our goal is to allow our customers to be connected anytime and anywhere – and this agreement with Gogo is a huge step in enabling us to deliver this."

Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that Cathay has 70 777s and 37 A330s in its fleet, while regional subsidiary Cathay Dragon has 24 A330s.

(Mavis Toh - FlightGlobal News)

Embraer Lowers Cabin Altitude for Legacy 450/500

Embraer Executive Jets has announced a lower cabin altitude for its midsize Legacy 450 and 500 to further enhance passenger comfort and reduce fatigue. “The cabin altitude of these two aircraft is…among the lowest on the market, but the maximum cabin altitude has been further reduced to a best-in-class 5,800 feet,” the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer said yesterday at the 2017 Dubai Airshow.

The current maximum cabin altitude of the fly-by-wire twinjets is 6,000 feet at 45,000 feet. Embraer is now increasing the cabin pressurization differential from 9.3 psi to 9.73 psi to reduce the maximum cabin altitude to 5,800 feet.

Deliveries of Legacy 450s and 500s with new the cabin altitude enhancement will start in the first quarter, when the upgrade also becomes available to the in-service fleet.

(Chad Trautvetter - AINOnline News)

Bombardier To Ramp Up Hiring for Global 7000 Production

Bombardier Business Aircraft has started to hire more workers as it ramps up production of its flagship Global 7000.
(Photo: Bombardier)

Bombardier Aerospace has quietly started to hire more workers in Montreal and Toronto as the Canadian aircraft manufacturer begins to ramp up production of its new Global 7000. There are eight customer airplanes already in production at Bombardier’s Toronto factory. Global 7000 completions will be done at the company’s facilities in Montreal.

The OEM currently has about 50 open positions related to Global 7000 production and completions listed on its website, but sources cited by news agency Reuters said they expect the company to hire nearly 1,000 people to assemble and outfit the ultra-long-range jets over the next 18 months. An announcement about the stepped-up hiring plans for Global 7000 manufacturing could come as early as tomorrow, according to Reuters’ sources.

“We will confirm our long-term hiring plans in the coming days,” a Bombardier spokesman told AIN. “With the Global 7000 aircraft transitioning from the development phase to production, operations are ramping up on track to meet entry-into-service in [late] 2018.”

Global 7000 production is already sold out through 2021, Bombardier Business Aircraft president David Coleal said last month at the NBAA convention.

(Chad Trautvetter - AINOnline News)

Air Senegal commits to two A330neos

Rendering of A330neo in Air Senegal livery

Air Senegal has signed an MOU for two Airbus A330neo aircraft, making the national carrier of Senegal the first airline in Africa to select new re-engined A330 version.

The agreement was announced at the Dubai Air Show in the presence of Maimouna Ndoye Seck, Minister of Air transport and Development of Airport Infrastructure, Senegal.

Air Senegal will launch operations in 2018; the airline plans to use the A330neo to develop its medium- and long-haul network.

Air Senegal CEO Philippe Bohn said, “Aviation is a catalyst for economic development and this purchase demonstrates Senegal’s ambitions for economic growth in line with the country’s strategy to accelerate progress towards emergence. The A330neo has proven itself to be the right aircraft, combining low operating costs, long-range flying capability and high levels of comfort.” 

(Linda Blachly - ATWOnline News)

Hurricane-related charters, ACMI revenues lift Cargojet 3Q profits

A surge in Caribbean hurricane-related ad hoc charters, combined with ACMI revenue related to the April opening of a new US route, lifted Canadian scheduled air freight carrier Cargojet’s third-quarter net profit to C$5.6 million ($4.5 million), reversed from its C$3.9 million net loss in 3Q 2016.

Cargojet operations include domestic air cargo services for a number of international airlines between points in Canada that connect such airlines’ gateways to Canada. The company also provides dedicated aircraft to customers on an aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance (ACMI) basis operating between points in Canada and the US, as well as scheduled international air cargo routes between Canada and Colombia, Mexico and Peru; a scheduled weekly flight between Canada and Frankfurt, Germany; and 5X-weekly air cargo service between Newark, New Jersey and Hamilton, Bermuda. The airline also provides specialty charter service across North America to the Caribbean and Europe.

On April 23, Cargojet began operating a new scheduled ACMI route between Canada and the US under a three-year contract. Under this contract, Cargojet operates 6X-weekly flights with a dedicated 767-300 aircraft.

The carrier’s 11% year-over-year (YOY) rise to C$89.4 million in revenue during the quarter was driven by increases in core overnight revenues, ACMI revenues, all-in charter revenues and fuel surcharges and other cost pass-through revenues.

Cargojet’s third-quarter expenses were up 8% YOY to C$64.7 million, attributable primarily to increases in fuel costs, aircraft depreciation and rising maintenance expenses.

“The company experienced growth over all revenue streams [during 3Q 2016, and] … anticipates that revenues will continue to sustain growth [with] the continued development and strengthening of its relationships with existing customers and establishing new relationships with national and international carriers to establish new ACMI routes to the US and south America and ad hoc charters,” Cargojet management said in a statement Nov. 13.

As of Sept. 30, Cargojet’s in-service fleet totaled 20 aircraft, comprised of five finance-leased and three owned Boeing 767-300s; one 767-200 under operating lease; four owned and two finance-leased 757-200s; three owned 727-200s and two Challenger 601s converted for cargo operations.

Cargojet said its exclusive ACMI agreement with Air Canada to fly twice-weekly to Mexico, twice-weekly to South America and once-weekly to Europe will expire Dec. 31, which coincides with the expiration of Air Canada’s agreement with pilots regarding Cargojet flying. Cargojet expects to replace these flights and approximately C$9 million in annual gross revenues by “operating directly for its ACMI and interline partners on similar routes, as demand for this service remains strong,” the company said. “Cargojet and Air Canada will continue to work together to build upon their strong commercial cooperation and will continue exploring synergies in the marketplace.”

Additionally, Cargojet expects to retire its remaining 727-200s before the end of 2019 because of regulatory requirements that will prevent the aircraft from being flown in North America.

(Mark Nensel - ATWOnline News)

Hawaiian Airlines CEO Dunkerley to retire after 15-year run

(Hawaiian Airlines)

Hawaiian Airlines president and CEO Mark Dunkerley will retire and be replaced by EVP and CCO Peter Ingram, effective March 1, 2018, ending a 15-year run in which Dunkerley transformed the Honolulu-based carrier.

Dunkerley, born in England and educated in the US, joined Hawaiian as president and COO at the end of 2002 after having served as COO of Brussels-based Sabena Airlines. His first order of business was guiding the then-struggling Hawaiian through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization that lasted for more than two years.

As recently as 2010, Hawaiian flew almost entirely among the Hawaiian Islands and between Hawaii and the US west coast, operating a fleet of aging Boeing 767s on its US west coast routes.

It now flies to Tokyo, Osaka, Sapporo, Seoul, Beijing, Auckland, Sydney, Brisbane and New York JFK, among other destinations (Honolulu-JFK is the longest domestic flight in the US). Airbus A330s make up the backbone of its long-haul fleet, and it has just taken delivery of its first A321neo.

Since December 2002, when Dunkerley joined the carrier, Hawaiian has doubled annual passengers flown to 11 million.

“This has been a heart-wrenching decision,” Dunkerley said in a statement announcing his departure.

Ingram, a Canadian, came aboard as CFO in November 2005, shortly after the carrier’s emergence from Chapter 11, having just spent three years as American Eagle Airlines’ CFO.

“Peter Ingram has been an important part of Hawaiian Airlines’ growth and success for the past 12 years, and we are confident in his deep knowledge of the airline, the industry and the community,” Hawaiian board chairman Lawrence Hershfield said. Ingram became CCO in 2011, overseeing marketing, sales, revenue management, network planning, loyalty programs and cargo.

In a 2015 interview in Honolulu, Ingram told ATW that he and Dunkerley spent a lot of time during the previous decade defining the carrier for the investment community. “We are leisure-oriented, so managing our cost structure is important, but we provide amenities that you wouldn’t see on a low-cost carrier,” he said. “So we developed this term ‘destination carrier’ because what we’re about is serving Hawaii, serving all the travel needs of people visiting here, people coming from other places. And we’ve really turned that into a defining description of what we are as an airline that is distinct from those standard models that you see elsewhere.”

(Aaron Karp - ATWOnline News)

LATAM cargo revenues in first rise for four years, but yields edge down

LATAM Airlines Group saw third quarter 2017 airfreight revenues rise by 2.5% to $272.2m, the first cargo revenue increase in four years.

The revenue rise in the three months ending September was driven by a 3.5% increase in cargo traffic, although cargo yields “declined slightly” by 1.0% over same period prior year. LATAM Cargo is South America’s biggest cargo airline.

Said a LATAM spokesperson: “Imports from North America and Europe to Brazil, continue to show improvement year-over-year, driven by major imports of electronics and spare parts, as a result of a more stable market conditions in the country as well as the appreciation of the Brazilian Real.

“Also, imports to Chile and Argentina started to recover during the quarter, as well as export markets from Peru, namely asparagus.”

As a result, cargo revenues per available tonne km (ATKs) improved by 8.2% as compared to the same quarter 2016, “continuing with the recovery trend we had during the first quarter of this year, after 19 consecutive quarters of revenue per ATK decline, as we have managed to adjust our capacity”.

In the third quarter, cargo capacity in ATKs declined 5.3%, which included a 15.3% reduction of freighter operations, resulting in a load factor of 54.2%, an improvement of 4.6 percentage points over 2016.

In terms of its freighter fleet, LATAM said that it will receive a Boeing 767-300F back from sub-leasing and will convert a Boeing 767-300 passenger aircraft into a freighter.

It added: “Also, two Boeing 777-300F are leaving our fleet during 2018 instead of 2017 as published in the previous plan.”

LATAM Airlines Group offers air services to around 140 destinations in 25 countries, and is present in six domestic markets in Latin America: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, in addition to its international operations in Latin America, Europe, the US, the Caribbean, Oceania and Africa.

LATAM Airlines Group (formerly LAN Airlines) comprises subsidiaries in Peru, Argentina, Colombia and Ecuador as well as LATAM Cargo.


AEI to convert three more MD-83S freighters for Mexico's Aeronaves

Aeronautical Engineers, Inc. (AEI) has signed a contract to provide Mexico-based Aeronaves with three additional MD-83S freighter conversions.

The first MD-83 aircraft will commence modification on December 11, followed by the second

MD-83 in February of 2018 and then a third MD-83 in late April, 2018.
All the AEI MD-83SF modifications will be performed by Commercial Jet’s Miami, Florida facility.
Last week, AEI delivered an MD-83SF to Aeronaves, which represents the largest overall operator of AEI’s MD-80SF series freighters.

Including this order, Aeronaves will operate a total of ten AEI MD-80SF series freighters.

Additionally, Aeronaves currently has two AEI CRJ 200SF undergoing conversion at Commercial Jet’s Dothan, Alabama facility.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

UAE picks C295 for airlift renewal

The United Arab Emirates air force is to update its medium transport capabilities, with a new fleet of Airbus Defence & Space C295s to enter service from late next year.

Announced at the Dubai air show on 15 November, the deal will deliver five of the twin-turboprop aircraft from the fourth quarter of 2018, Airbus says.

"The aircraft will serve with the UAE air force, replacing the existing CN235s still in operation," the company says.

Flight Fleets Analyzer shows the service as currently using six of the earlier-generation type, with these assets aged between 23 and 24 years.

Airbus says its latest contract has boosted total sales of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127-powered C295 to 203 units, including 51 ordered by operators in the Middle East and North Africa region.

(Craig Hoyle - FlightGlobal News)

EgyptAir to lease six 787-9s from AerCap

EgyptAir has become the latest operator to commit to the Boeing 787-9, with the signing of a deal to lease six of the type from AerCap.

The aircraft, expected to come from AerCap’s existing backlog of 787 orders, will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines. The deal was disclosed in a joint announcement by the airline, lessor and manufacturer at the Dubai air show.

Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that the lessor has 54 787-9s on order, but there is no indication when the aircraft bound for EgyptAir will be delivered.

"The 787 Dreamliner has built a reputation for reliability, operational efficiency and passenger comfort," says EgyptAir Holding Company chairman and chief executive Safwat Musallam. "We look forward to the 787 becoming an integral part of EgyptAir’s fleet as we progress our modernization and network expansion plans."

Fleets Analyzer shows that the Star Alliance carrier has 54 aircraft in operation, comprised of Airbus A320 family jets, A330s, 737-800s and 777s. It also has a solitary A330-300 on order.

(Ellis Taylor - FlightGlobal News) 

Flydubai orders 225 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in $27 billion deal

Flydubai signing ceremony.

Dubai-based flydubai signed a landmark agreement for 225 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, with a list price value of $27 billion, at the Dubai Air Show.

According to Boeing, the deal represents the largest-ever single-aisle jet order—by number of aircraft and total value—from a Middle East carrier.

The transaction includes a commitment for 175 MAX aircraft, plus purchase rights for 50 more. When finalized, the manufacturer said the purchase “promises to sustain tens of thousands of direct and indirect jobs in Boeing’s US factories and network of suppliers.”

This new deal surpasses the flydubai's previous record order of 75 MAXs and 11 Next-Generation 737-800s, which was signed at the 2013 Dubai Air Show.

Flydubai chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said Boeing’s airplanes have provided “a foundation for the success of our business model, providing us with the operational flexibility and range to build a network of 95 destinations in 44 countries. Understanding the demand for travel across our network, our innovative approach to our cabin design and developing a product unique to our market has allowed us to exceed our passengers' expectations in their flying experience.”

(Linda Blachly - ATWOnline News)

CDB Aviation orders 90 A320neos

CDB Aviation Lease Finance, a wholly owned Irish subsidiary of China Development Bank Financial Leasing Co., confirmed an order for 90 Airbus A320neo family aircraft during the 2017 Dubai Air Show.

The lessor said its order book now comprises a total of 90 A320neo family aircraft, including 32 A321neo and 58 A320neos.

According to CDB Aviation, the agreement was reached in two steps: an original purchase agreement signed in 2014 for 45 A320neo family aircraft, which remained undisclosed to date; and the firming up of an MOU for an additional 30 A320neo and 15 A321neo aircraft announced at the Paris Air Show in June 2017.

“By confirming today’s order for 90 A320neos, we have doubled our overall order position for the aircraft family,” CDB Aviation president and CEO Peter Chang said. “CDB Aviation is now well positioned with a leading order book for the latest technology narrow-body aircraft to realize our aggressive fleet growth plan and further strengthen our ability to serve airline customers around the world with narrow-body fleet requirements.” 

(Linda Blachly - ATWOnline News)

Airbus lands massive order for 430 A320neo-family aircraft

Rendering of A320neo in Frontier Airlines’ livery. Under the latest order Wizz Air will take 72 A320neos, and 74 A321neos; Frontier will have 100 A320neos and 34 A321neos; JetSMART, 56 A320neos and 14 A321neos; while Volaris will acquire 46 A320neos and 34 A321neos.

Airbus signed an MOU Nov. 15 for 430 A320neo-family aircraft, to be split between the four airlines in Arizona-based private equity and venture capital firm Indigo Partners’ portfolio. The order, once firmed, will be worth $49.5 billion at list prices.

The aircraft will be split between ULCCs Frontier Airlines (US), JetSMART (Chile), Volaris (Mexico) and Wizz Air (Hungary) after final purchase agreements between Airbus and the four airlines have been concluded.

The MOU more than doubles the 427 orders for the A320 family previously placed by the four carriers.

The new commitment, comprising 273 A320neos and 157 A321neos, was announced at the Dubai Air Show by Indigo Partners managing partner Bill Franke and Airbus COO-customers John Leahy. When added to existing Airbus A320 family orders, the new agreement will make Indigo Partners one of the largest customers by order number in the world for the Airbus single-aisle aircraft family.

Under the latest order Wizz Air will take 72 A320neos, and 74 A321neos; Frontier will have 100 A320neos and 34 A321neos; JetSMART, 56 A320neos and 14 A321neos; while Volaris will acquire 46 A320neos and 34 A321neos.

The huge order lessens the disappointment in the Airbus camp at the lack so far this week at the air show of a hoped-for order for additional A380s from the type’s largest customer, Emirates Airline.

“This significant commitment for 430 additional aircraft underscores our optimistic view of the growth potential of our family of low-cost airlines, as well as our confidence in the A320neo family as a platform for that growth,” Franke said. He added that engine choices for the aircraft would be made at a later date.

“Indigo Partners have been a tremendous customer and supporter of the Airbus single-aisle fleet for many years,” Leahy noted. “An order for 430 aircraft is remarkable, but it’s particularly gratifying to all of us at Airbus when it comes from a group of airline professionals who know our products as well as the folks at Indigo Partners do.” 

(Alan Dron - ATWOnline News)

L-410 crashes in Russia’s Khabarovsk region

Shared on social media via Flight Safety Foundation's Aviation Safety Network

A Khabarovsk Airlines Let L-410 crashed in Russia’s Khabarovsk region Nov. 15, Moscow-based Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) reported.

According to Russia’s Ministry of Transport, the aircraft was en route from Khabarovsk to Nelkan and crashed while landing. Two crew members and four out of five passengers were killed; a young child survived, RIA Novosti agency reported. The aircraft is heavily damaged, IAC said.

The L-410 is a twin turboprop commuter with a capacity up to 17/19 passengers. It is manufactured by Kunovice-based Czech Aircraft Industries. In 2008, Russia’s industrial holding company, Ural Mining and Metallurgical Co. (UMMC), acquired 51% of Aircraft Industries. In 2013, UMMC became the 100% owner.

Last year, it was announced the Russian government would invest in assembling the revived Let L-410 in the Ural region.

Khabarovsk Airlines carried 51,530 passengers from January-September 2017, down 0.3% year-over-year.

(Polina Montag-Girmes - ATWOnline News)

Alaska latest to pull out of Cuba as US ends ‘people-to-people’ trips

Alaska Airlines has become the latest US carrier to give up on the Cuba market, announcing it will end its daily Los Angeles-Havana service on Jan. 22, 2018.

US President Donald Trump has not scrapped the US-Cuba air services pact reached by his predecessor, Barack Obama, but his administration has eliminated “people-to-people” travel—which allowed individuals to travel to Cuba on approved trips. The policy change was announced in June as part of a broader roll back by Trump of Obama’s Cuba opening, and the disallowance of people-to-people travel was formally put in place last week.

“About 80% of Alaska’s flyers to Havana visited under a US allowance for individual ‘people-to-people’ educational travel,” Seattle-based Alaska said in a statement. “Changes to US policy last week eliminated that allowance. Given the changes in Cuba travel policies, the airline will redeploy these resources to other markets the airline serves where demand continues to be strong.”

Alaska will end its Los Angeles-Havana route just over a year after it started the service.

Nine US airlines launched flights to Cuba in the second half of 2016 and early 2017 after Obama eased longstanding tensions with Cuba and agreed to a new air services accord restarting scheduled commercial flights between the US and Cuba for the first time in over 50 years. But Alaska will become the fourth of those nine airlines to pull out of the market, following Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based carriers Silver Airways and Spirit Airlines and Denver-based Frontier Airlines.

Minneapolis/St. Paul-based Sun Country Airlines also was granted permission by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) to fly to Cuba, but has told DOT it is relinquishing those rights and will not enter the market.

Other US carriers, such as Dallas/Fort Worth-based American Airlines and Dallas-based Southwest Airlines, have trimmed Cuba capacity. Southwest said there was “not a clear path to sustainability” in the market when it reduced Cuba flying over the summer.

Alaska VP-network planning John Kirby told Seattle’s KING5 television that the airline saw “a precipitous drop off” in demand on the Los Angeles-Havana route in recent weeks, adding that the Trump administration’s “decision on re-regulation” cemented Alaska’s decision to end the service. “We knew this was a real risk going in,” Kirby said. “We knew it was a very fluid environment … When traffic is embargoed for over 50 years, there’s not a lot of data to go with.” 

(Aaron Karp - ATWOnline News)

Boeing bullish on Middle East aircraft demand

Boeing said Middle East airlines will need 3,350 new aircraft over the next 20 years valued at $730 billion.

The bullish forecast for the region, released at the Dubai Air Show, projects 5.6% annual passenger traffic growth for Middle East airlines over the next two decades. Boeing Commercial Airplanes VP-marketing Randy Tinseth pointed out that 85% of the world’s population lives “within an eight-hour flight” of the Gulf.

“Coupled with robust business models and investment in infrastructure, [the geographic position] allows carriers in the Middle East to channel traffic through their hubs and offer one-stop service between many cities,” he said.

Twin-aisle aircraft will make up nearly 50% of the new aircraft delivered to the Middle East over the forecast period. These aircraft will comprise 70% of the value of commercial aircraft received by Middle East carriers ($520 billion), Boeing said. “Both percentages are significantly higher than the global average,” the manufacturer noted.

More than half of the commercial aircraft deliveries to the Middle East over the 20-year period will be single-aisle aircraft, Boeing said. “The region will need 1,770 single-aisle airplanes valued at $190 billion, driven by the growth of low-cost carriers,” Boeing said.

Boeing’s forecast for the region is notably more robust than that of rival Airbus, which last month predicted that Middle East airlines will require 2,590 new aircraft valued at $600 billion over the next 20 years.

(Aaron Karp - ATWOnline News)

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Delta plans Northwest hub tour for 747 farewell

Delta Air Lines plans to fly its final Boeing 747 to former Northwest Airlines hubs next month, after the type completes its last international service on 17 December.

The Atlanta-based carrier will fly the 747-400 from Detroit to Seattle on 18 December, Seattle to Atlanta on 19 December and Atlanta to Minneapolis/St Paul on 20 December as part of a farewell tour, it says today. Seats on the flights will be open to employees and members of its SkyMiles frequent flier program.

Detroit and Minneapolis were primary hubs for Northwest, which merged with Delta in 2009, and Seattle was a focus city.

When the tour is over, the last passenger 747 in the USA will exit scheduled service after 47 years. United Airlines, the only other US 747 operator, retired its last of the type earlier in November.

Delta's last regularly scheduled 747 flight will operate from Seoul Incheon to Detroit on 17 December, arriving at the Michigan airport at 11:15 local time that day.

The route will be flown by the airline's new flagship Airbus A350-900 from 17 December.

Delta plans to operate the 747 on a "handful" of sports team and other charters through the end of December, before flying it to storage in the Arizona desert in early January 2018, it says.

The 747 is among 16 -400s that Delta inherited from Northwest through the carriers' merger. It previously operated the 747-100 from 1970 to 1976, Flight Fleets Analyzer shows.

Delta operates six 747-400s, all of which will exit service by the end of the year.

(Edward Russell - Flightglobal News) 

Dr Peters chief confirms BA talks on ex-Singapore Airlines A380s

German asset manager Dr Peters is in talks with British Airways and other prospects on the potential sale of A380s as it prepares to receive four of the jets back from lessee Singapore Airlines.

"We are in discussion with a number of potential buyers, including British Airways and a number of other European flag carriers as well as Asian low-cost airlines," Anselm Gehling, Dr Peters' chief executive, tells FlightGlobal.

"A number of freight companies are also showing interest for freighter conversion, including one of the world's largest cargo shippers. Hi Fly is also welcome to have discussions with us after they announced they wanted A380s earlier this year, which at the time some thought would be our aircraft," he adds.

BA declined to comment.

At an Airline Economics Growth Frontiers conference in January 2016, IAG's chief executive Willie Walsh raised the prospect of group subsidiary BA adding "five or six" second-hand Airbus A380s to its delivered-new fleet of the double-deck aircraft, which is now 12-strong. Walsh described the A380 as a "fantastic" but "inflexible" aircraft.

Additionally, Gehling is calling on Airbus to commit to producing the A380 in order to ensure its future both as a new and used aircraft asset.

"Interestingly, I see Emirates have chosen to order Dreamliners at the Dubai air show. I recall Tim Clark [the airline's president] said that Emirates wanted to order more A380s, but that he needed Airbus to commit to producing the product in the future.

"Well, I echo his words and think Airbus need to commit to producing it for a another 10 to 15 years at least, to ensure not only new orders but a secondary market for this aircraft. Many experts of the aviation industry think pressure needs to be put on them to do make this commitment soon."

Tarbes-Lourdes airport recently received the first Dr Peters A380, which is being placed in storage following its withdrawal from SIA's fleet.

As an interim solution until a buyer is found, Rolls-Royce is paying Dr Peters a fee for the use of the engines, Gehling says.

"We expect this arrangement can be rolled out for the other three SIA A380s we have under management. When we find a buyer, the aircraft will go through a shop maintenance visit and have fully updated engines attached for the new user," he says.

Gehling says Dr Peters would ideally look to sell all four A380s as a package, but would also consider selling to two buyers. He stresses that Dr Peters is focused on finding the best deal for the aircraft: "What is more important is that we get the right deal, so while we may conclude a deal by mid-2018 at the earliest, I don't mind if we wait a few more months to get the best deal."

Dr Peters is also still considering part-out as an option for the returning A380s, as previously reported by FlightGlobal.

"Part-out is still a serious option we are considering. It would be sad for the aircraft, and the manufacturer I think, if this was the case, but of course we must consider it," Gehling adds.

Dr Peters has nine A380s – financed via the KG market through investment subsidiary DS Aviation.

Air France is leasing five, while the remainder are on lease to SIA.

(Jamie Bullen - FlightGlobal News)

Samoan government says state airline must be self-sufficient

(Samoa Airways)

The government of Samoa said the South Pacific country’s state-owned airline must remain financially self-sufficient, as it relaunches international services.

Samoa Airways began scheduled services with a flight to Auckland, New Zealand, on Nov. 14, and also will offer service to Australia. The carrier is based on the former Polynesian Airlines, which was operating turboprops in recent years. It was renamed Samoa Airways earlier this year after the government decided to resume international jet flights.

At a speech marking the first international flight, Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said the government “has not given [Samoa Airways] any funds to start the airline, as [management] must run it as a business.” He said its forerunner, Polynesian Airlines, was operated profitably for 12 years, so Samoa Airways needs to show it can do the same with jet services.

Tuilaepa noted that many of Samoa’s neighboring Pacific Island countries “have their own national airlines and they have maintained their airlines successfully and profitably. . . . If others can do it, why can’t we?” Polynesian Airlines operated international jet flights several years ago, but was forced to contract after financial problems.

The move to launch Samoa Airways follows the government’s decision to terminate its Virgin Samoa joint venture with Virgin Australia, which ended this month. Virgin Australia will operate its own Australia-Samoa flights, although the Samoan government is blocking it from competing on a Samoa-Auckland route.

Tuilaepa said the establishment of Samoa Airways will ensure that some of the revenue on Samoan routes will stay in the country, rather than being sent offshore. He said the foreign airlines operating to Samoa are generally very profitable, but all of that profit “stays overseas.”

Samoa Airways is operating a single Boeing 737-800, wet-leased from Icelandair. The arrangement is expected to become a dry lease in six months after flight attendants have been trained. The Samoan government has said more aircraft likely will be added.

The initial services will be six weekly flights between Auckland and Apia, and twice-weekly flights between Apia and Sydney. The carrier has a partnership with Fiji Airways, which will allow it to offer codeshare flights to the US and Asia. 

(Adrian Schofield - Aviation Daily / ATWOnline News)