Aer Lingus signs deal for two next generation short haul aircraft

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This new generation aircraft will support the airline’s sustainability programme.  Aer Lingus, as part of IAG, has pledged to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and has committed to powering 10% of its flights using sustainable aviation fuel by 2030.

The deal was signed with CDB Aviation, a wholly owned Irish subsidiary of China Development Bank Financial Leasing Co. Limited (‘CDB Leasing’) and will see the new generation A320neo join Aer Lingus’ fleet for the very first time.

They will replace two previous generation Airbus A320ceos, which will be retired from the fleet. The new A320neos are expected to enter into service towards the end of July 2022.

The Airbus A320neo delivers up to a 20% reduction in fuel burn and CO2 emissions and close to a 50% reduction in noise footprint when compared to the previous generation A320ceo.

There is a greater density of seats on the A320neo aircraft, 186 versus 174 on the previous generation A320neo, resulting in lower fuel emissions per seat/passenger on board.

The new aircraft will be delivered in full Aer Lingus livery, branding and cabin interior and will compliment the airline’s A321neo LR aircraft, eight of which have been added to the Aer Lingus transatlantic fleet in recent years.

The two new A320neo aircraft will join the Aer Lingus fleet for short-haul operations and will predominantly operate between London Heathrow and Dublin.

Lynne Embleton, Aer Lingus CEO, said: “This is a great opportunity to bring new, state-of-the-art aircraft into our short haul fleet. Renewing our fleet is one of the key ways for Aer Lingus to meet our sustainability targets, which is a priority for us over the coming years.

“The new generation Airbus A320neo aircraft is much more sustainable in terms of fuel burn and CO2 emissions and this is not only important to Aer Lingus but also to our customers.

“Equally, these more environmentally-friendly aircraft incur lower landing charges in some key airports so the new A320neos will help us to reduce costs.”

Patrick Hannigan, CDB Aviation Chief Executive Officer, said: “Our teams worked hand in hand to expediently execute this transaction as an important element of the Irish flag carrier’s recovery plan from the impact of the pandemic on air travel.

“The A320neo’s operating advantages will also further strengthen Aer Lingus’ leading position among European airlines in enhancing connectivity with a focus on improving efficiency and reducing aviation’s environmental footprint.”

Aer Lingus continues to grow its fleet and expects to acquire a further two A320neo aircraft in 2023.

In addition, the airline has plans to boost its fleet with six Airbus A321neo XLR aircraft which are a longer-range variant of the A321neo LR, and will enable further growth of Aer Lingus’ transatlantic network.

Registered as EI-NSA (MSN10712) and EI-NSB (MSN10786), the two new A320neo aircraft were originally built by Airbus to be delivered to the Russian airline Smartavia in March, but have now become available to Aer Lingus because of the ongoing sanctions against Russia.

AviaDev Africa provides perfect platform to support connectivity to and within the continent

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While June has already been packed with aviation events, the end of the month will see airport and airline executives as well as suppliers heading to Cape Town for AviaDev Africa, which is set to deliver more than 300 route development meetings.

The event, which provides a perfect networking platform for airports, airlines and suppliers, such as Airbus, Swissport, Boeing, Embraer, SITA and Rolls Royce, is taking place at Century City in Cape Town, South Africa from 29 June to 1 July. This year will mark the sixth edition of the networking event which is themed: Connect. Collaborate. Change.

Commenting on the upcoming event Wrenelle Stander, Wesgro CEO and Official Spokesperson for Cape Town Air Access, noted, “We look forward to welcoming our industry delegates to Cape Town and the Western Cape. We thank AviaDev for the opportunity to showcase our world-class destination as a business hub at the forefront of essential conversations and collaborations, especially regarding increasing air connectivity within Africa.”

A comprehensive conferencing programme will be held alongside the route development meetings with sessions addressing the role of air cargo and diversifying airport revenues, building airline partnerships, financing African airlines and exploring the opportunities for OEMs. Meanwhile a pre-conference workshop specifically for airports and tourism authorities will focus on the skills needed to drive active route development and what airlines look for when placing a new route.

Underlining his support for aviation in Africa Jon Howell, CEO AviaDev Africa stated: “We have supported the industry through the pandemic with numerous digital engagements and will continue to do so, but it is clear the industry needs to meet and discuss future route development for Africa in person.

AviaDev Africa provides the perfect mix between an educational programme, focused pre-arranged route development meetings and industry networking. We are confident that as a result of the event, new relationships will be forged that will deliver the connectivity that Africa deserves.”

JetBlue sharpens competitive edge with FLYR artificial intelligence partnership

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Award-winning low-cost airline JetBlue has partnered with FLYR Labs, the travel industry’s leading innovator in AI-driven forecasting and pricing, to elevate the airline’s revenue optimization capabilities with accurate, real-time decision intelligence and analytics.

FLYR’s cloud-native decision intelligence platform, The Revenue Operating System®, leverages deep learning technology to provide automated, AI-based revenue management capabilities that maximize business-wide revenue opportunities. Already deployed at JetBlue, The Revenue Operating System’s market performance is yielding promising results and demonstrating its ability to supercharge analyst contribution.

Dave Clark, Head of Revenue and Planning at JetBlue, said: “We’re known for disrupting our industry and the legacy processes that came before us. Collaborating with FLYR, a pioneer of AI-driven revenue optimization software, is another example of how we can amplify the ‘JetBlue Effect’ — keeping fares as competitive as possible without compromising the customer experience — an ethos that is mirrored in FLYR’s partnership approach.”

JetBlue is New York’s Hometown Airline® and the sixth-largest airline in the United States, serving more than 110 cities throughout the United States, Latin America, the Caribbean, Canada, and the United Kingdom.  JetBlue continues to invest in FLYR’s success through its venture capital subsidiary, JetBlue Technology Ventures.

Alex Mans, CEO of FLYR, said: “JetBlue already has incredible market influence. By working with FLYR, JetBlue’s analysts will be most aware of revenue opportunities earlier than ever before. Our AI capabilities will accelerate JetBlue’s advantage by understanding and applying network-wide context, enabling fast and targeted route or pricing decisions. The Revenue Operating System can positively influence all critical commercial teams of an airline, such as marketing, cargo, scheduling, network planning, and ancillaries, which will further cement JetBlue’s reputation and deliver even more benefits to travelers in every market it operates.”

PLAY celebrates one year in the skies

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PLAY, Iceland’s leading budget airline, celebrates its first year in the skies, following a year of success against a backdrop of aviation turmoil.

Launching its first flight to London Stansted in June 2021, while Europe was still feeling the effects of mass travel restrictions due to COVID-19, PLAY has enjoyed a stellar first year. The airline has launched ticket sales to 26 destinations and currently flies to 22, including transatlantic launches to New York, Boston, and Baltimore/Washington, marking PLAY’s transformation into a budget hub and spoke model.

To date, PLAY, has carried approximately 320,000 passengers, and by summer 2022 is expected to have 300 employees and increased its aircraft from three to six.

Celebrating the milestone, Birgir Jónsson, PLAY’s CEO, said “Launching an airline against the backdrop of COVID-19 and the emerging variants certainly had its challenges, but we have proven that with a knowledgeable team, concrete financial backing, and a measured expansion plan, the Icelandic-based budget hub and spoke model can thrive.

“In the last few months alone, we’ve seen positive growth in both passenger numbers and new routes, as we strive to meet travel demand, including the launch of 12 more routes from Iceland this summer.

“The future remains bright for PLAY, and we’re counting down to further UK launches as we take off from Liverpool this October, just in time for Iceland’s winter season.”

In the last year, PLAY has prioritised sustainability as a key mission, and the company was recognised for its 2021 Sustainability Report.

PLAY has had an eventful launch year filled with milestones and accomplishments. After a successful IPO, just two-weeks after they took to the skies, PLAY and Nasdaq rang the stock market bell at 12,000 feet, and two months after launch, PLAY applied for a US flying permit.

By December, PLAY announced plans for a Dublin route, commencing May ‘22. Within six months, PLAY announced transatlantic routes and grew its routes by 21, team by 150, and passenger numbers by 100,000.

Hans Airways appoints Martin Dunn as Chief Commercial Officer

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Hans Airways, the new UK airline which is gearing up to start scheduled services from Birmingham to India this year is pleased to confirm the promotion of Martin Dunn to Chief Commercial Officer.  Martin joined the business in November 2021 as Director Sales and Distribution from Etihad Airways, where he led commercial teams focused on pricing, revenue and route management for the Abu Dhabi-based carrier and its airline brands.

At Hans Airways Martin is working closely with CEO Satnam Saini in the executive leadership team and is responsible for overall sales, distribution, marketing, brand and product, e-commerce and digital retail functions, as the airline heads towards launch later this summer.

Martin brings a solid four decades’ airline experience in the UK and Middle East, having started his aviation career via the travel agency route. His first airline job was with British Midland in sales, where he was responsible for developing pricing strategy, and establishing the distribution process.  He was closely involved in the regional carrier’s move into Star Alliance, working alongside counterparts in Lufthansa, SAS and United Airlines.

After 16 years in Derbyshire,  Martin moved to the Middle East, initially working with Gulf Air in Bahrain, heading commercial route management and supervising country sales teams, before joining Etihad in 2007, initially as head of commercial route management, then head of strategic pricing, interline and digital retail.

“Martin’s experience in airline pricing and revenue management, plus his ability to lead and inspire teams was highly attractive to the Hans Airways’ Board as we determined an ideal commercial leader. Together with his extensive international airline experience and vast industry contacts, he is proving to be a terrific asset,” said Satnam.

“I have held many roles in the airline industry but the opportunity to be part of a start-up airline is very exciting,” said Martin.  “I met Satnam and quickly embraced his vision and mission for Hans Airways – to build a community airline for the people, by the people, while giving back to good causes.”

“After months working mainly by video calls it is great to be be able to get out and meet face-to-face again.  I’ll be drawing on my extensive experience to help develop an airline and product that customers want to experience – at a price they can afford.  We look forward to welcoming our first customers on-board soon.”

Norwegian concludes agreement to purchase 50 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft

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In May, Norwegian and Boeing announced an agreement in principle for the purchase of 50 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft with options for another 30 aircraft. Now, Norwegian announced that the various closing conditions related to agreement have been met.

Following this, Norwegian estimates that it will record a net gain of approximately NOK 2 billion in the second quarter of 2022. Additionally, Boeing and Norwegian have filed to settle all outstanding legal disputes.

“The agreement to purchase 50 brand-new and fuel-efficient aircraft constitutes a big leap forward in the strategy to solidify our market position in the Nordics,” said Geir Karlsen, CEO of Norwegian.

AirAsia X appoints new Independent Non-Executive Director

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AirAsia X (AAX), the medium to long-haul affiliate airline of AirAsia Aviation Group, has announced the appointment of Farouk Kamal as Independent Non Executive Director, effective immediately, following the company’s recent confirmation of a new strategy to transform low-cost, long-haul air travel.

The appointment of Farouk Kamal reflects a new era for AAX as the airline embarks on a new strategic direction for a sustainable and viable future.

AAX Senior Independent Non-Executive Director and Nomination Committee member Dato’ Fam Lee Ee said: “We are thrilled to welcome onboard Farouk Kamal, who brings a wealth of experience and corporate governance oversight in the areas of finance, investments, equity raising, corporate transformation and diversification. He will help inject a fresh perspective for the new strategic direction of our relaunched AAX and support the upcoming initiatives AAX is preparing to undertake.”

AAX Co-founder and Non-Independent Executive Director Tony Fernandes said, “Farouk is coming in at a great time as AAX had record sales this week. We look forward to his contribution as an experienced board member. AAX is an important part of our overall group expansion strategy which completes the broad ecosystem of portfolio companies and overarching transformation goal to become the global leading travel and lifestyle platform of choice.”

AAX Independent Non-Executive Director Farouk Kamal said:”This is an exciting time to join AAX as it resumes operations as a new look airline and embarks on a journey to revolutionise great value medium to long-haul air travel across Asean and beyond, to Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Europe. I’m confident of AAX’s new chapter as a combination carrier, focused equally on cargo and passengers to make flying longer haul commercially viable and as affordable as possible for our guests.

“I look forward to working with the AAX board, AAX CEO Benyamin Ismail and the senior leadership team to help take the airline to new heights.”

Chorus Aviation announces expansion of Falko portfolio

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Chorus Aviation Inc. (‘Chorus’) announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Falko Regional Aircraft Limited (“Falko”), has expanded its portfolio of assets under management.

Falko has added a total of 35 turboprop aircraft to its portfolio in a servicing capacity on behalf of a syndicate of banks.

Joe Randell, President and Chief Executive Officer, Chorus stated “I’m pleased to see the continued expansion of our asset management business and to demonstrate the ability of Falko to continue to diversify its customer base.”
“This transaction further validates our belief in the attractiveness of the regional aircraft market and in Falko, as a market-leading aircraft asset management company,” Mr. Randell concluded.

This transaction is not expected to impact the financial forecast set out in Chorus’ news release dated May 5, 2022.

Vietjet opens four new routes to India

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Vietjet has officially launched four more services linking top destinations of Vietnam and India including Ho Chi Minh City/Hanoi – Mumbai and Phu Quoc – New Delhi/Mumbai.

The new routes’ launch ceremony was held in Mumbai during the visit of Ho Chi Minh City’s leaders to Mumbai as India and Vietnam mark their 50th Anniversary of diplomatic relations. The ceremony witnessed the presence of Phan Thi Thang, Vice Chairwoman of People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City, representatives of Consulate General of Vietnam in Mumbai and Vietjet’s leaders.

The Phu Quoc – Mumbai route will operate four weekly flights on every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, starting from September 8, 2022. The services between Phu Quoc and New Delhi will commence on September 9, 2022 with three weekly flights on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. The Ho Chi Minh City/Hanoi – Mumbai routes started operation in early June, 2022.

The two countries’ two first direct services connecting Ho Chi Minh City/Hanoi and New Delhi resumed operation in April, 2022 with the frequency of three to four flights per week for each one. Passengers can book these routes’ air tickets now with fares starting as low as US$18 for one way. (*)

Nguyen Thanh Son, Vietjet’s Vice President said: “Vietjet’s Vietnam-India’s flight network expansion will boost and strengthen travel connectivity and trade ties between the two countries. We have been the first carrier operating direct services between Vietnam’s capital city Hanoi and its largest city of Ho Chi Minh with India’s capital city New Delhi.”

“Vietjet’s flight network covering up to six direct routes between Vietnam and India also marks a milestone in the two countries’ 50 years of diplomatic relations, since 1972. We will progressively expand the flight connection between the two countries in the coming time while constantly enhancing service quality along with technology adoption to bring our passengers best flying experience,” Mr. Son added.

With flight time of just over five hours per leg and diversified flight schedules throughout the week, Vietjet’s direct flights have eased traveling from India to the ‘lands to remember’ of Vietnam including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Phu Quoc. Passengers can now easily connect to Vietnam’s other attractive destinations such as of Ha Long Bay, Da Nang and otherfamous heritage sites in the central region, et​c. or quickly transfer across the Southeast and Northeast Asia thanks to Vietjet’s expansive international network. Vietjet’s direct flights between Vietnam and India have also enabled tourists to explore diverse cultures, religions, culinary and tourism attractions in India.

Vietnam has lifted the arrival regulations relating to Covid-19 and travelers can enjoy a complete pre-pandemic fashion arrival in Vietnam. The S-shaped country is more than ready to welcome international travelers to visit and explore its magnificent scenery.

(*) Excluding taxes and fees

Elix Aviation merges with ADARE Aviation Capital to create Abelo

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Elix Aviation, the international regional aircraft leasing company, is to merge with ADARE Aviation Capital. Elix is owned by funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. (“Oaktree”), which initiated the merger to enable further investment in the regional Turbo-prop sector and to introduce an experienced new leadership team.

The merged companies will operate as Abelo, integrating Elix Aviation’s platform and Turbo-Prop portfolio with the management expertise of ADARE Aviation Capital.

“Elix Aviation has weathered the pandemic and is well placed to enter a new phase of growth. With the addition of ADARE Aviation Capital, we have formed a leadership team that has significant expertise and experience in regional aviation,” says Martin Graham, Managing Director at Oaktree . “We believe the synergy of the teams will enable Abelo to become a market leader, creating growth and value for its stakeholders. We look forward to supporting this exciting transition.”

Effective as of June 21st, Abelo’s executive team will be:

  • Stephen Gorman, Chief Executive Officer
  • Mathieu Duquesnoy, Chief Marketing Officer
  • Michael Hayden, Chief Operating Officer

Abelo’s new CEO, Stephen Gorman, says: “This merger comes at a unique time in the aviation cycle, so we are thrilled to be able to align with Oaktree and join forces with the team at Elix Aviation in the creation of Abelo. We remain committed to regional aviation and believe Abelo will be well placed to grow in the Turbo-Prop sector.

There are a lot of changes expected in all areas of the business – especially in ESG – and we intend to be in the driving seat of progress. This is also an exciting time for the Elix Aviation employees joining us, as with the support of Oaktree, we plan to accelerate growth and become the go-to lessor of turboprop aircraft.”