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.

Iberia Pilots Agree To Job Cuts Talks

Iberia has reached a preliminary agreement with pilots over plans to restructure the loss-making airline by laying off staff and cutting salaries.
However, the agreement to sit down to talks does not necessarily mean that the union will support the restructuring. The airline's unions, which have been demanding a growth plan from Iberia, have until January 31 to support the airline's plans.
"We reached the same agreement with the pilots as we did with the other unions two weeks ago, which is a preliminary agreement for talks," a spokesman for the company said.
A union source said the pilots signed the agreement to kick off negotiations and that talks over the nature of job cuts would begin on Thursday.
Iberia averted strike action over the Christmas holidays through talks with its ground and cabin crews over the shape of the restructuring, but until now the pilots had been less willing to sit at the negotiating table.
Iberia plans to cut about 4,500 jobs - a quarter of the Spanish carrier's workforce - and cut salaries to become more competitive.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Kenya Airways Flight Makes Emergency Landing

A Kenya Airways plane with 56 passengers on board made an emergency landing in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, after an engine caught fire.
The Cairo-bound Boeing 737-700 took off from Khartoum after a scheduled stopover following a flight from Nairobi. But it had to return to the Sudanese capital after 20 minutes.
Nobody was hurt, but the incident on Tuesday night left passengers stranded in a country difficult for travel because credit cards do not work in Sudan due to US trade sanctions.
"An engine caught fire and the plane suddenly lost much altitude. The pilot made a sharp turn and returned to Khartoum," said Souhair Mohamed Hawala, an Egyptian passenger. "There was panic on board. People were crying or praying."
Other passengers showed what they said were pictures from the damaged wing and engine of the plane.
A Kenya Airways official said the plane had returned with an unspecified "engine problem" and needed to be repaired in Sudan. "We don't know the cause yet," he said, adding passengers would be booked on the airline's next available flight out of Sudan.

Jet Airways Front-Runner For Etihad Investment

India's Jet Airways is the front-runner for an investment by Gulf carrier Etihad Airways, a senior Indian government source told reporters on Wednesday, adding a deal was likely in 10 days.
Etihad, seeking to widen operations in India and other Asian markets, is in the final stages of talks to buy part of either Jet Airways or grounded rival Kingfisher Airlines, an Indian government official had said on December 17.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

US Clears Way For Wider In-Flight Internet

The US Federal Communications Commission has cleared the way for wider adoption of in-flight Internet services, aiming to cut by 50 percent the time needed for regulatory approval.
Newly adopted rules should boost competition in this part of the US mobile telecommunications market and promote "the widespread availability of Internet access to aircraft passengers," the FCC said in a statement.
Since 2001, the commission has cleared companies on an ad hoc basis to market in-flight broadband services via satellite.
Under a newly adopted framework, the licensing procedures will be simpler, the commission said.
Airlines will be able to test systems that meet the commission's standards, establish that they do not interfere with aircraft systems and then get the approval of the Federal Aviation Administration, the FCC statement said.

Qatar Airways Files Claim Over New Airport

Qatar Airways said it was filing a USD$600 million legal claim against a contractor for a delay in opening a new airport in Doha.
Lindner Depa Interiors, a German-Dubai joint venture, holds a USD$250 million contract to build 19 airport lounges by the middle of 2012, Qatar Airways said in a statement on Saturday.
In a statement later in the day, LDI said it had not received a legal claim from Qatar Airways and described the carrier's allegations as "false and misleading".
It said it was not able to meet its original completion deadline because it was denied full access to the project site for the first nine months of a 16-month contract.

American Air Pilots Approve MOU On Merger

Union leaders who represent American Airlines' pilots approved a tentative agreement on Saturday for how the airline could merge with US Airways.
The board of the Allied Pilots Association (APA) said it voted 11-5 to approve a memorandum of understanding that, with approval of other parties, "would serve as a framework for an agreement" if the airlines merge.
The union declined to provide details of the agreement, citing a non-disclosure agreement it signed as a party to the merger talks.
American, which is restructuring in bankruptcy court, is in talks to merge with US Airways. American could merge as part of the structuring process or exit bankruptcy and then decide whether to merge. A merger could be announced as soon as January 9, when AMR's board is due to meet.
A framework for the union agreements are a crucial part of the merger discussions. The APA said it is in talks with officials from American's parent, AMR, US Airways and the US Airline Pilots Association, which represents US Airways pilots. Also included in the talks is the Unsecured Creditors Committee, which represents creditors of American.
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