Friday, 26 July 2013

Air France A330 Grounded

An Air France A330-200 (MSN 519 | F-GZCL) operating as flight AF547 from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso to Paris CDG via Niamey, Niger, has been grounded in the Nigerien capital since Thursday after a dead body, believed to have fallen from the aircraft as it approached Diori Hamani International Airport's runway 09R/27L, was discovered in one of the city's arrondissements.

According to the Agence de Presse Africaine (APA) newswire, corresponding blood stains have also been discovered on the aircraft's port side wing.
"We have identified a body (...) in all likelihood it had to have fallen or was dumped from the Air France aircraft (...) there are blood stains on the left wing of the aircraft," said the Nigerien Minister of State for the Interior, Mr Abdou Labo Minister, during a press conference.

"A forensic examination of [tissue] samples, DNA testing will be done and compared with the bloodstains found on the plane. We do not know if it is a passenger or a stowaway," said Minister Labo.
Air France, in a statement quoted by AirJournal, has confirmed the incident and the grounding stating:

"According to preliminary information we have, it appears to be a stowaway who had hidden away onboard the plane. He would have fallen from the forward landing gear bay on July 24."

The Nigerien authorities are currently investigating the incident.

Air France-KLM Unveils Plan For Cost-Cutting

Air France-KLM said on Friday it planned to introduce major new cost-cutting measures as Europe's weak economy thwarts efforts to turn around its medium-haul and cargo businesses.
The airline said the plan would include voluntary departures as well as industrial and commercial initiatives.
Air France-KLM had already renegotiated pay and conditions with airline staff, cutting 5,122 jobs and restructuring its network to cope with high fuel costs, a worsening cargo business and tough competition from Gulf and low-cost carriers.
"The measures already taken have enabled medium-haul and cargo to improve their operating results but not sufficiently in view of the weak economic conditions," it said in a statement.
The airline said it aimed to improve its operating result in the second half in line with the first and reduce its net debt by year-end.
Air France-KLM posted an operating profit of EUR€79 million (USD$104.56 million), reversing last year's loss, helped by lower fuel bills and staff costs.
Revenue rose 1.2 percent to EUR€6.58 billion in the three months to June 30, a level described by the company as "below target at this stage".

United's Profit Rises On Lower Costs

United Continental on Thursday posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit as costs at the airline fell and it raised airfares.
United said second-quarter revenue rose 0.6 percent to USD$10 billion, the highest ever for that period. The average airfare rose 3.5 percent to USD$289.46.
United has been working to win back customers who turned to rivals after technology problems hurt customer service last year. The company made a number of changes to integrate as one carrier following the 2010 merger of United and Continental, including converting to a new computer reservation system.
In a fast consolidating industry, analysts are looking out for signs that United has moved beyond its merger related issues to make progress in revenue and profits.
Rival Delta has moved ahead after its merger with Northwest and said in May it plans to return USD$1 billion to shareholders over the next three years. American and US Airways are in line to merge pending government approval.
United Continental's passenger revenue per available seat mile increased one percent.
Net income was USD$469 million for the quarter, up from USD$339 million a year earlier.
Operating costs fell 1 percent, with fuel expenses falling 10 percent.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Delta Quarterly Profit Up As Fuel Costs Drop

Delta Air Lines reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday as fuel costs fell and it held down other expenses.
The carrier said "solid" travel demand trends would help it expand profit margins.
Delta is expanding in high-growth markets and has upgraded aircraft seats and food options to entice passengers to spend more. It recently bought a stake in British carrier Virgin Atlantic that will give it more access at London's Heathrow Airport, an important international business market.
The airline, which in May announced its first dividend in a decade and a USD$500 million share buyback programme, bought a Pennsylvania refinery last year to try to gain more control over its fuel costs. The refinery had a loss of USD$51 million in the second quarter because of costs related to US renewable fuel standards. But Delta added it was reducing fuel costs.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Bombardier Delays CSeries First Flight Again

Bombardier delayed the first flight of its CSeries jet for a third time on Wednesday, promising the flight "in the coming weeks" instead of July, a move likely to rattle airlines that have ordered the new plane.
"This might make people a bit jittery... This is a new market for them. A lot depends upon the confidence of customers," said aviation industry expert Richard Aboulafia, a vice-president at consulting firm Teal Group.
The delay casts new doubt on Bombardier's ambitious mid-2014 entry-into-service target for the CSeries. Aboulafia expects entry-into-service sometime in the first half of 2015.
The first flight will be the culmination of a five-year, USD$3.4 billion development programme for the CSeries.
Bombardier hopes eventually to corner 50 percent of the lucrative 100- to 149-seat airliner segment with the plane.
The Montreal-based company has announced 177 firm CSeries orders, far short of its target of at least 300 firm orders by the middle of next year. It failed to firm up new CSeries business last month at the Paris Air Show, which saw splashy news and big orders from its competitors.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Boeing 787 Catches Fire At Heathrow Airport

A Boeing 787 Dreamliner operated by Ethiopian Airlines caught fire at London's Heathrow airport on Friday in a fresh blow for the US plane maker.
Heathrow briefly closed both its runways to deal with the fire which broke out while the aircraft was parked at a remote stand. There were no passengers aboard the plane.
It was not clear if the fire was related to the batteries, which led to the worldwide grounding of the 787 in January. Pictures from Heathrow showed an area just in front of the tail that appeared to be scorched.
The 787's two batteries are in electrical compartments located low down and near the front and middle of the plane, while the visible damage to the Ethiopian plane appears to be on top of the fuselage, toward the rear, according to video from the scene.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Kenya Airways Tops Heathrow’s Punctuality Rankings

Nairobi – Kenya Airways had the most punctual flights that flew into and out of London Heathrow International Airport in the United Kingdom during the month of June 2013, latest statistics from the facility have indicated.

The airline emerged top in the ranking of punctuality of flights. All Kenya Airways’ flights departing from the airport were 100% punctual, while 83 per cent of those arriving were on time.

This is the best rank that the airline has attained over the last 12 months. The closest it has come to this during this period is the second position.

Kenya Airways’ Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Dr Titus Naikuni welcomed the achievement, stating that: “At Kenya Airways, we are committed to ensuring that we deliver a world class experience to our guests while also that all their flights depart and arrive on time,” Dr. Naikuni added.

Overall, 71 per cent of arrivals by all airlines into London Heathrow International Airport were on time while 75 per cent of the departures were punctual.

The other African airlines in the Heathrow International Airport’s punctuality rankings include South African Airways at the 19th position, Air Mauritius at 59th, Egypt Air at 67th, Ethiopian Airlines at 72nd, Air Algerie at 77th, Tunisair at 79th and Libyan Airlines at 80th.

On a daily basis, London Heathrow International Airport handles an average of 1,288 flights and 191,200 passengers. About 80 airlines fly into and out of the facility.
Kenya Airways flies seven times a week (one flight daily) between its hub at JIKIA in Nairobi and London’s Heathrow International Airport.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Arik Air Introduces New Aircraft To Its Fleet

Arik Air, Nigeria and West Africa’s leading commercial airline has increased its fleet to 24 aircraft with the introduction of an Airbus A330-200 twin engine aircraft. This latest addition to the fleet marks the first of four A330 aircraft due to be delivered over the coming year.

The new A330 aircraft will compliment Arik Air’s long-haul wide body fleet, which currently consists of two A340-500 aircraft. Fitted to offer the very best in-flight comfort and style, the new additions are an environmentally-friendly product that will provide the highest degree of operational flexibility and passenger comfort. The A330s offer a two class configuration with 30 Premier Business Class seats and 187 Economy Class seats, compared to 36 Premier Business Class seats and 201 Economy Class seats in the A340 aircraft. 

Both aircraft types are fitted with the same on-board product, providing the latest in comfort and style and a consistent product experience across the long-haul fleet. This enables Arik Air the opportunity to upgrade the Lagos – Johannesburg route, replacing the existing B737-800 currently flying between the two cities, as well as to look at opportunities to develop new long-haul destinations, such as in China, UAE, Brazil or more cities in the US and Europe.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Asiana Crash: Trouble At 500 Feet

The pilot in charge of landing the Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 that crashed in San Francisco tried to correct its course when he saw it was off centre and too low as it approached the runway at an altitude of 500 feet (150 metres), the head of the National Transportation Safety Board said on Tuesday.
"At about 500 feet, he realised that they were low," NTSB Chairwoman Deborah Hersman told reporters, describing the failed last-second attempts to avoid Saturday's disaster. "Between 500 and 200 feet (60 metres), they had a lateral deviation and they were low. They were trying to correct at that point."
The crash of the Asiana 777 killed two teenage Chinese passengers and injured more than 180 others.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Dana Air Announces Special Ramadan Service

Dana Air has announced that it would offer its Muslim guests a special in-flight service throughout the period of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, which begins on Wednesday, July 10.

According to Obi Mbanuzuo, the airline’s Head of Commercial, “All through the fasting period, we will include special fruits in our in-flight catering due to the numerous health benefits they bring. Also, nutritionists advise to break a fast with fruits before having any solid meal.”

The service, said Mbanuzuo, is “to encourage our Muslim guests who are observing the daytime fasting to take along their in-flight meals while disembarking until they are ready to break their fast.”

Dana Air first introduced the special Ramadan service in 2009 in line with its vision of being ‘Nigeria’s most reliable and customer-friendly airline’, and the initiative has been well received and commended by guests of the airline.

Dana Air currently operates twelve (12) flights daily on the Lagos-Abuja-Lagos route, four (4) flights daily on the Lagos-Port Harcourt-Lagos route and two (2) flights daily on the Abuja-Port Harcourt-Abuja route. The airline is reputed for its efficient customer services, world-class in-flight services, on-time departures and arrivals, innovative e-airline products and high quality standards.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Dana Air To Commence Uyo And Calabar Operations

Dana Air is set to re-launch flight services to Uyo and Calabar, in addition to its current destinations - Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt.

The airline’s Head of Corporate Communications, Tony Usidamen, disclosed this in a chat with aviation correspondents. According to Usidamen, the decision to re-launch operations to both Uyo and Calabar is based on requests from the airline’s teeming guests to extend its services to the oil-producing states.

“Since resuming flight operations to Lagos and Abuja in January, we have had many requests from air travelers across the country to extend our world-class services to more cities. The commencement of Port Harcourt operations was in line with the requests and, in a few weeks, we will commence scheduled flights to Uyo and Calabar too”, said Usidamen.

“At Dana Air, we recognize the importance of Akwa Ibom and Cross River State in the socio-economic development of the country as oil producing states. With both states playing host to several multinational companies in the oil & gas industry, we are confident that our new services from Uyo and Calabar to Lagos and Abuja will make the states even more attractive to investors”, Usidamen added.

Dana Air currently operates twelve (12) flights daily on the Lagos-Abuja-Lagos route, four (4) flights daily on the Lagos-Port Harcourt-Lagos route and two (2) flights daily on the Abuja-Port Harcourt-Abuja route. The airline is reputed for its efficient customer services, world-class in-flight services, on-time departures and arrivals, innovative e-airline products and high quality standards.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Arik Air Rolls Out Online Check-In

Arik Air, West Africa and Central Africa’s leading airline, has introduced a new online check-in service to further boost its passenger experience.
The service is aimed at customers who want a streamlined travel experience by reducing queuing times at the airport, especially for those travelling without check-in baggage. The new service is designed to provide customers with the ability to check-in from 24 hours to 3 hours before their flights, select their seats and print a boarding pass. Passengers with baggage to check-in can still check-in online and proceed to the check-in counters at the airport for baggage drop and standard security checks.
The service has been introduced in Arik Air’s international locations- Johannesburg, London and New York-  as well as the key domestic locations of Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt, with full network coverage of domestic and regional locations to be progressively rolled out in the coming months. Guests should visi for full details of the online check-in service.
The addition of an online check-in service is part of a raft of online initiatives that Arik Air is introducing to enhance its online offering and customer experience.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Dana Air Launches Mobile Check-In Device

Guests of Dana Air will enjoy quicker and more convenient check-in services with the launch of the ‘Roving Agent’, a mobile device which allows guests to be checked-in on arrival at the airport by mobile airline staff.

Strapped with tablet PCs and mini printers, the airline’s mobile check-in agents can now issue boarding passes to guests even before they reach the check-in counter. This new initiative complements the airline’s existing check-in counters and online check-in service.

“What we are offering in roving agents is immense value addition for our guests," said Obi Mbanuzuo, Dana Air’s Head of Commercial. “With this solution, our mobile check-in agents can quickly access and verify the travel reservation details of guests; book them on their choice of seat and generate boarding passes.”

“Now guests with hand baggage need not wait at the check-in counter to collect their boarding pass; they can simply approach any of our easily recognizable mobile check-in agents on arrival at the airport and then proceed through airport security to the boarding gate”, Mbanuzuo explained.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Kenya Airways Marks 36th Anniversary

Nairobi – National carrier Kenya Airways is now 36. The airline launched its first flight in February 1977 following breakup of the East African Community and disbanding of East African Airways.

With only six aircraft when it was launched by the Kenyan government - four inherited from the collapsed regional airline and two leased ones - the airline has since been privatized, besides growing its fleet and route network significantly. Today, Kenya Airways flies to over 50 destinations across the world and operates a fleet of 41 aircraft.

During its 36 years of existence, Kenya Airways has achieved several key milestones that include striking a strategic partnership with KLM in 1995, issuing an Initial Public Offering in 1996 and the Rights Issue in 2012. This has seen the airline create jobs and contribute towards developing the Kenyan economy. Today, Kenya Airways expansion has seen the airline not only continue to play an integral role in connecting many African countries to the world, but the carrier’s growth is seen as a symbol of Africa’s emergence as an economic force on world stage. This has seen it scoop several major global travel industry awards and accolades over the years.

The 36th anniversary comes as the airline implements its 10-year growth plan, Project Mawingu that aims at operating a fleet of 119 aircraft from 35, besides increasing its destinations from 58 to 115 routes by the end of 2021.
Kenya Airways is also part of the Sky Team, a global network of 19 international carriers, having joined in 2007. Through the network, the airlines cooperate in providing service, easing connections amongst them, thus making flights smoother and more simplified through seamless travel by passengers. Through Sky Team and its seamless connections, KQ is able to offer its passengers service from 1000 airports in 187 countries.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

United Finds Wiring Problem On 787

United Airlines has found a wiring problem on one of its Boeing 787 jets, an issue that affects the same system that caused a fire aboard a Japan Airlines 787 in Boston on Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a source.
The airline found improperly installed wiring in electrical components associated with the auxiliary power unit, the Journal reported. United examined the components after the fire on Monday, which took the Japan Airlines jet out of service.
United spokeswoman Christen David said United inspected its 787s after the Boston incident, but she declined to confirm the Journal report or to discuss the results of the inspections.

Virgin Atlantic Names New Chief Executive

Virgin Atlantic has confirmed American Airlines' executive Craig Kreeger as new chief executive to replace Steve Ridgway, who is due to depart in March.
Kreeger will join Virgin Atlantic on February 1 after 27 years at American Airlines, where he worked closely with the US carrier's transatlantic partner and Virgin's major rival British Airways.
Virgin's new chief executive spent six years based in London up to last year as American's senior vice-president for international operations.
He was appointed senior 'customer' vice-president at American last year.
Ridgway said: "I'm very pleased to welcome Craig Kreeger to Virgin Atlantic as the new CEO. He will be taking over at a time when the airline enters a new phase - with the Delta deal to implement [and] the commencement of short-haul competition for BA on UK domestic routes."
Kreeger said: "I am delighted to be taking on the role of Virgin Atlantic’s chief executive. It is a great airline renowned for its customer service and innovation.

Boeing 787 Fire Renews Aviation Safety Concerns

Fire broke out on an empty Boeing 787 Dreamliner jet parked at a gate in Boston on Monday, putting safety concerns about the new, carbon-composite jet back in the spotlight and drawing attention from federal investigators.
Officials said the fire started when a battery in the Japan Airlines jet's auxiliary power system exploded around 10:30 am EST, shortly after passengers deplaned.
A mechanic inspecting the jet discovered smoke in the cockpit while performing a routine post-flight inspection and reported it to authorities at Boston's Logan Airport, officials said.
"Japan Airlines spokeswoman Carol Anderson later said smoke was not discovered in the cockpit. "Smoke was initially discovered by a maintenance staff in the rear end of the cabin, and confirmed by another maintenance staff who also detected smoke outside the aircraft," she said in an email.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are looking into what caused the problem, which came just weeks after Boeing endured a string of other electrical problems that briefly grounded three 787s. The new jet also has suffered an engine failure and fuel leaks in the 14 months it has been in service.

Iran Warns Airlines To Pay Debt Or Face Grounding

Mahan Air - one of the indebted airlines

Airlines in Iran have seven days to repay more than USD$200 million in debts they owe to the oil ministry for fuel or face being grounded, a senior official was quoted as saying on Tuesday.
Several airlines have amassed large debts due to the pressure of successive fuel price increases and the loss of access to government-subsidised foreign currency exchange rates which has resulted in a sharp rise in spare parts costs.
The demand for payment comes amid continued economic pressure from sanctions over Iran's disputed nuclear programme which has more than halved its revenue from crude oil sales.
"Based on meetings with officials from the Civil Aviation Organisation, it was agreed that all airline companies have seven days to clear their debts to the National Oil Refining and Distribution company," Mehr news agency reported deputy oil minister Alireza Zeighami as saying.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Italian holding company IMMSI said on Monday no talks were under way for the sale of its 7.08 percent stake in Alitalia.
"IMMSI, in confirming the comments released by Air France, denies the existence of any talks in course with the aim of selling (the stake)," IMMSI said in a statement.
Italian newspaper Il Messaggero reported on Sunday that Air France was in advanced talks to buy the whole of Alitalia.
"There is nothing. There are no negotiations," Air France CEO Alexandre de Juniac told reporters earlier on Monday.

Boeing 787 Catches Fire At Boston Airport Gate

A Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft with no passengers on board caught fire at Boston's Logan Airport when a battery in its auxiliary electrical system exploded, officials said.
A mechanic inspecting the Japan Airlines jet discovered smoke in the cockpit while performing a routine post-flight inspection and reported it to airport authorities at around 10:30 am EST (1530 GMT), said Massport Fire Chief Bob Donahue.
A fire crew responded and determined that a battery used to power the plane's electric systems when the engines are not running had exploded, Donahue said. The mechanic was the only person on board the plane when the smoke was discovered and no one was hurt by the blaze, he added.
"Passengers were in no danger as this event had happened at least 15 minutes after they deplaned," Donahue said.
The fire is the latest reported mechanical failure in a string of incidents affecting the 787, which was also plagued by production problems that delayed initial delivery by 3-1/2 years.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Air France-KLM is in "advanced" talks to take control of Italy's Alitalia by the summer, Rome's Messaggero newspaper reported on Sunday without citing its sources.
Alitalia is owned by CAI, a consortium of investors that bought the then-bankrupt airline in 2008. CAI is already partly owned by Air France-KLM. Alitalia's shareholders can exercise options to trade their shares when a lock-up period ends on January 12.
In May, Air France said it would probably wait until at least 2014 before using its option to take control of Alitalia, in which it has held 25 percent since January 2009.
Air France-KLM has offered shareholders a 20 percent premium on what they paid for the airline in 2008, the newspaper said, probably in Air France-KLM shares. CAI paid a little more than EUR€1 billion to take over Alitalia five years ago.

US Airways Pilots Board Backs Deal With AMR Pilots

The board of the union representing US Airways pilots has unanimously backed a key proposal made by American Airlines pilots, a move that helps advance a potential merger of the two carriers.
The US Airline Pilots Association said its board voted to recommend that its 5,000 members back the measure, which governs how the two unions would be integrated if the airlines were to combine.
US Airways formally proposed a merger in November and American Airlines parent AMR is expected to consider it at a board meeting this week.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Dana Air Resumes Flights After Crash

Passengers on board Dana Air Abuja – Lagos flight shortly after take off. Photo: Lamidi Bamidele

Nigeria's Dana Air resumed flights on Friday, seven months after one of its planes crashed into a Lagos apartment block, killing 163 people in the country's worst airline disaster in two decades.
The government lifted a ban on the airline in September but an investigation is ongoing and there is still no official explanation of the crash.
Dana Air's five remaining McDonnell Douglas MD-83's operating in Nigeria have a capacity of 140.
Airline spokesman Tony Usidamen said 67 passengers were on board the resumed Lagos-Abuja flight on Friday and 82 on the return journey.
"There was a round of applause for the very smooth landing," Usidamen said.
Tickets were sold for as little as 14,400 naira (USD$92) one way, around half what some airlines are charging. Dana Air will only be flying the Lagos-Abuja route for the time being.
The MD-83 crashed in a Lagos suburb on June 3, killing everyone on board and 10 people on the ground.
The pilot reported dual engine failure before the plane went down.

Pilot Arrested After Failing Alcohol Breath Test

An American Eagle pilot preparing for a flight to New York on Friday morning was arrested on board an aircraft at Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport on suspicion of being under the influence of alcohol, an airport spokesman said.
"The pilot was in the process of doing the pre-flight check and a witness had smelled alcohol on the pilot's breath," airport spokesman Patrick Hogan said.
Hogan said airport police arrested the pilot at 6:19 am. He failed a breath test administered by airport police and was taken to a local hospital for a blood alcohol test, Hogan said. Results of the blood test could take weeks.
Hogan did not know the results of the breath test. In Minnesota, the blood alcohol threshold for pilots is 0.04, half of what it would be for a motorist, he added.
American Eagle, a regional carrier for American Airlines, was operating Flight No. 4590 to New York's LaGuardia Airport.
"We are cooperating with authorities and conducting a full internal investigation," American Eagle said in a statement. "The pilot will be withheld from service pending the outcome of the investigation."

Friday, 4 January 2013

Balotelli and Mancini in a fight?

Mario Balotelli, Roberto Mancini (Paul Cousans, Zenpix)Eurosport - Mario Balotelli, Roberto Mancini (Paul Cousans, Zenpix)

It is reported Mancini stepped in after Balotelli went in too strongly on team-mate Scott Sinclair for the City boss's liking.
Balotelli is reported to have taken exception to Mancini's intervention, leading to the pair having to be pulled apart.
In the sequence of pictures, Mancini is seen striding towards Balotelli, pointing in an aggressive manner.
He is then seen to grab hold of Balotelli's orange bib in an apparent act of fury before the young striker is dragged away by a member of City's coaching staff.
A short time later, Balotelli is believed to have left the training ground at Carrington, on the outskirts of Manchester.
Balotelli's habit of attracting negative press has seen him frequently become the subject of criticism, but Mancini has always been a firm ally of the temperamental but talented striker.
Yet after this latest spat it seems increasingly likely the 22-year-old - whose off-and-on girlfriend Raffaella Fico recently gave birth to a girl - will leave City. Bookies responded to the pictures by immediately slashing odds on Balotelli signing for AC Milan from 5/1 to 2/1.
The Italy international's form has been poor this season and he was recently involved in a dispute over a fine he received from the club.
However, Mancini said on December 31: "The relationship between me and him is always good.
"I love him because for many years we live together, and I’ve seen him grow. But the professional relationship is another thing, and I’ve told Mario what I need from him."
The Mancini-Balotelli confrontation is not the first to be captured at City's training ground, which is not totally enclosed.
Balotelli has also had confrontations with former team-mate Jerome Boateng, Vincent Kompany and Micah Richards, while Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor were also involved in a melee on one occasion.

How Boeing Beat Airbus In 2012

Boeing said it booked 1,203 net orders and delivered 601 new jets in 2012, a performance that likely puts it ahead of rival Airbus for the prize of being the world's largest plane maker.
Boeing's tally of 601 planes delivered to customers puts it ahead of Airbus's stated target of 580 deliveries for the year.
Airbus figures won't be announced until January 17, but Boeing's tally makes it virtually certain the company will regain the crown as the world's largest plane maker, a title its rival has held for a decade.
Airbus won the most new orders over the last two years, a period when both companies introduced new versions of their top-selling single-aisle planes, the Airbus A320neo and the Boeing 737 MAX.
Airbus has so far announced 721 gross orders for 2012, bringing its two-year total to 2,329. That tops Boeing's count of 2,260 for the two years, based on 1,339 gross orders in 2012 and 921 in 2011.

Jet Airways Confirms Stake Sale Talks With Etihad

Jet Airways said on Thursday that it was in talks with Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways for a potential stake sale in the Indian carrier, although terms have not been agreed yet.
The statement was the first confirmation of a potential deal by either side, a day after an Indian government source said the Gulf carrier could pay up to USD$330 million for a 24 percent stake in Jet.
Jet shares rose 6.4 percent on Thursday. The stock has risen 65 percent since September, when India relaxed rules allowing foreign airlines to buy up to a 49 percent stake in local carriers.

"Various structures are being explored by the legal and commercial teams," Jet said in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange, adding any structure would comply with Indian rules.
The founder of Jet Airways is likely to convert shares owned by its holding company into his personal stake to comply with foreign investment regulations, a government source had said.
Tail Winds, the Isle of Man-based investment vehicle of Jet founder Naresh Goyal, currently holds 79.99 percent of Jet Airways.

Etihad declined comment.
Etihad and Jet already have a code-sharing agreement, and a tie-up could make Jet a more formidable competitor to state-owned Air India, while strengthening Etihad's position against Dubai-based Emirates, which carries a big chunk of the traffic between India and the Middle East.

A deal between Jet and Etihad could close the door on grounded rival Kingfisher Airlines, which is in desperate need of cash to fly again and was in talks with Etihad to sell a stake.
Etihad's decision to buy into Jet may be announced in 10 days, the same source quoted earlier said on Wednesday.
Etihad, which expanded globally through stake purchases in Air Berlin and Virgin Australia, is looking to extend its geographical reach to India and other Asian markets, its chief executive told reporters in October.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Lufthansa Cancels Boeing 747-8I Test Aircraft Order

Lufthansa has formally cancelled a Boeing 747-8I order after the manufacturer asked to retain the respective aircraft for internal purposes.
The aircraft in question, RC021, which is registered N6067U, was part of Boeing's three-strong flight-test fleet and used to test cabin systems such as air conditioning, galley and lighting equipment.
It has been furnished with Lufthansa's cabin interior and visited the German carrier's base in Frankfurt in December 2011 for promotional filming work and ground operational tests prior to the first delivery in April.
The aircraft, which is already painted in Lufthansa's basic colour scheme with a white fuselage, grey underside and blue vertical stabiliser, was to be delivered as the carrier's fifth 747-8I later in the year.
But Lufthansa revealed during the summer that it would only take four aircraft in 2012. Boeing wanted to keep the aircraft for internal purposes for two years, says the airline, and asked to "relieve" the delivery schedule.
The carrier originally ordered 20 747-8Is, which were to be delivered in batches of five every year through 2015.
Lufthansa says that it has decided, in the meantime, to cancel its order for RC021 "purely due to reasons of flexibility" but that the remaining balance of 15 747-8Is would be delivered as planned until 2015. The airline adds, however, that it might order a "factory-new" 747-8I at a later stage.
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