Helvetic Airways E190

flyBAIR forms partnership with Helvetic Airwa..

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Start-up Swiss company, flyBAIR, has formed a co-operation agreement with regional carrier Helvetic Airways ahead of its summer launch.

A subsidiary of Bern Airport, flyBAIR plans to launch in May 2020, offering flights from Bern to holiday destinations; Jerez, Crete, Kos, Mallorca, Menorca, Olbia, Preveza and Rhodes – as well as from Sion to Mallorca.

flybairHelvetic Airways will carry out flyBAIR’s planned flight connections from Bern and Sion using an Embraer E190 aircraft, with Urs Ryf, delegate of the flyBAIR board of directors, commenting, “With Helvetic Airways we have found a partner that represents the Swiss values that also identify flyBAIR.”

Originally German Airways and Lions Air were set to operate the flights but could not keep the existing contract. Ryf explained that in Helvetic Airways flyBAIR has found a partner “Who knows regional airports very well,” and knows the Swiss market.

Tobias Pogorevc, CEO of Helvetic Airways, added: “As a regional airline of European importance, Helvetic Airways contributes to and supports the sustainable development of Bern Airport regional project flyBAIR.”

The airline has been partially crowdfunded, attracting a total of 1,398 shareholders to support the “virtual airline”. Flughafen Bern AG holds 15.3% of the share capital as the largest shareholder of the regional company. Through its operating model, flyBAIR will be responsible for marketing services, working with partners operating the flights.

Bern Airport has faced a challenging few years following the bankruptcy of SkyWork Airlines and the subsequent loss of scheduled flights.

On the reveal of the flyBAIR project in 2019, André Lüthi, Board of Directors of the new airline called it a “Berner project for Berners” adding, “Now we all have a unique chance to show that we have sensible and ecologically justifiable public traffic in Bern: as a tourist region, as a federal capital with a hub connection to the world.”

Since entering the market in December 2019, the airline has seen solid interest from the Swiss population, with José González, CEO of flyBAIR commenting: “The number of bookings that we have received since the Bern Holiday Fair is over expectations. We were very well received by the regional market.”

Belavia orders Embraer E2

Belavia signs with AerCap for three E195-E2s

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Belavia – Belarusian Airlines has signed a lease agreement with AerCap for the lease of three new Embraer E195-E2 aircraft.

The first aircraft is expected to be delivered in December 2020, with the remaining two aircraft delivering in March and April 2021.

The E195-E2 will seat 125 passengers in a two-class configuration, with nine seats in business class and 116 in economy.

“Belavia has successfully updated the air fleet over several years. We got three Embraer-195 and one Embraer-175 in 2019, in spring 2020 we are expecting to get one more Embraer-175, and on December of the current year our fleet will be replenished with absolutely new Embraer E195-E2,” said Anatoly Gusarov, CEO of JSC Belavia. “Belavia passengers first of all admire Embraer-175 for their comfort. For the airline such fleet replenishment gives the possibility to improve the level of service and contribute to further reduction of airfare via efficiency of airliners of this type.”

The airline planes to use the aircraft on routes to London, Barcelona, Astana, Munich, Paris, Sochi and Amsterdam.

Belavia added that the additions to its fleet would allow the airline to increase the frequency of scheduled flights to existing destinations, as well as open new routes, positioning Minsk as a hub for transit.

The aircraft are from AerCap’s order book with Embraer, with President and Chief Commercial Officer of the leasing company, Philip Scruggs, commenting, “With the introduction of Embraer’s most advanced aircraft, Belavia will enjoy improved operating costs and versatility.”

TAROM take delivery of first ATR 72-600

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Romanian carrier, TAROM, took delivery of its first ATR 72-600 aircraft with another eight expected by the end of 2020. 

This is the first of nine aircraft, featuring a new livery, as a part of a leasing contract with regional aircraft lessor NAC. TAROM has used ATR 42-500 and 72-500 to compete with low cost carriers and it is expected that this new aircraft will lower operating costs and improve performance.

This fleet upgrade will result in an additional 330,000 seats per year at the same cost, improving short haul connectivity in Romania. With the new aircraft, TAROM stated that it will be “supporting the development of local and isolated communities.” The ATR 72-600 burns 40% less fuel and emits 40% less CO2 than similar-sized regional jets, the manufacturer suggest.

TAROM Chief Executive Officer George Barbu said, “We are looking forward to starting operations with our brand new ATR 72-600, the only aircraft on the regional market to meet our ambitious targets in terms of efficiency, modern technology and environmental performance. We are going to be able to develop new routes and increase frequency and seat availability, whilst offering the highest levels of comfort and technology.”

The airline has partnered with ATR for 20 years. Stefano Bortoli, Chief Executive Officer of ATR commented, “Renewed confidence from a loyal customer is the best possible endorsement for an aircraft manufacturer. Especially when the decision is made after a vigorous evaluation of the existing solutions on the market – we know that our product is working for our customers. All regions deserve the same opportunity to be part of a connected world and ATR aircraft show unrivalled performance in connecting people and businesses responsibly.”

AJW Group prepares to teardown Airbus A319 ai..

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A specialist in aircraft spares, AJW Group, has purchased an Airbus A319 aircraft for teardown. 

The teardown will mean that the A319 components can recertified at AJW Group’s maintenance hub in Montreal and other vendors. The parts that pass will be stored in the strategic hubs around the world and exchanged or sold to support airlines with an extensive portfolio of A320 family aircraft. 

The global fleet of Airbus A320 has seen an increase in demand in recent months so these teardown projects allow AJW Group to bolster its inventory and become “the ‘go-to’ source for A320 material for the next decade.”

Ian Main, Chief Financial Officer of AJW Group said, “At AJW Group we have an extensive inventory of Airbus spare parts located in strategic hubs across the world. This teardown is the first in a series of airframe and engine tear-downs this year as part of our commitment to ensure that our valued-customer’s operations are supported through access to our pool of high-quality components.”

Quadrant New Simulator

Quadrant Pilot announces new APS MCC Course

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Quadrant New Simulator

Quadrant Pilot Training announced an enhanced Airline Pilot Standard Multi Crew Coorporation Course at its training centre near London Gatwick Airport, UK.

The course is aimed to help pilots achieve the highest standards required by Commercial Air Transport Operators. It will be offered on either Airbus A320 or Boeing B737 NG Full Flight Simulators. It will include four days of ground school and 40 hours in the simulators. For holders of Integrated Airline Transport Pilot Licence, the simulator phase is reduced to 35 hours. Quadrant Systems combines industry knowledge, course content and training specialists to deliver the training,

“The benefits of using our Level D Full Flight Simulators cannot be overstated as it provides the same training environment experienced by Pilots undergoing Type Rating Training,” said Nick Bendall, Managing Director, Quadrant Systems, adding that the course also enables “a seamless and easy transition for pilots progressing onto Type Specific Training.”

Editor’s Comment: As easy as catching a bus..

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It could be just a trend but if you’re a frequent flyer it might be just what you need. The Go Travel Pass launched by Canadian LCC Flair could well be a bargain for Canadians who need to city-hop for work, or students seeking to get home at the end of term.

But is it too good to be true? Passes start at just CAN$499 plus taxes and fees, for which a passenger can fly as often as they want, anywhere between 13 February to 13 May – but here’s the catch – You can’t travel on Friday and Sunday and there are “blackout dates”.

Excluding any extra fees, two trips across the nation on the unlimited pass would more than pay for itself. But the extra fees can add up for the passenger with a Go Travel Pass.

The biggest way to keep your spending down, as on any LCC or regional airline flight, is to abandon extras at check-in. The flights may be cheap, but the add-ons can come thick and fast and be expensive. Extra bags, seat selection, internet access, changing your booking, even buying water onboard can see that golden air ticket price soon lose its shine.

But there’s an upside? Budget airlines may not operate out of major airports (which makes connecting flights difficult to arrange) and the back-of-the-seat entertainment may be missing, but LCCs and regional airliners force competitors to match their prices. So, a cheap and efficient flight without a meal and without Tetris on the seatback screen is something I can live with.

Despite my initial scepticism, let’s hope that some form of frequent flyer pass makes its way to Europe soon, so LCCs and regional airlines will finally be viewed as buses with wings and bring support to the industry.

Green Africa

Green Africa Airways signs for 50 A220s

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Green Africa

Airbus has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Nigeria’s Lagos-based Green Africa Airways for 50 A220-300 aircraft – one of the top orders for the A220 programme and the largest ever from the African continent.

This purchase will allow the airline to reach new destinations and unlock routes that were previously unavailable. The aircraft will integrate well into the African airport network due to its low capacity, flexibility and high efficiency. 

Founder and CEO of Green Africa Airways, Babawande Afolabi, commented, “Together with Airbus, we are incredibly proud to announce the largest order ever for the A220 from the African continent. The Green Africa story is a story of entrepreneurial boldness, strategic foresight and an unwavering commitment to using the power of air travel to create a better future.”

Green Africa put the brakes on the launch of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft as they were unable to be delivered due to the ongoing crisis. Although the status of the Boeing order is unconfirmed, the commitment to the A220 is a significant step forwards for the airline. 

The airline aims to develop its place in the African aviation marketplace by building a strong network and becoming a vital LCC.

“We are excited about the Green Africa project, its legitimate ambition and is professionalism, evidenced by their most discerning choice for their operating assets,” said Christian Scherer, CCO of Airbus, before adding, “We look forward to our partnership with Green Africa and to accompany their development with the most efficient aircraft in its class.”

Airbus to increase A320 production

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Airbus has revealed plans increase the production of its A320 series from 60 aircraft per month to 67. The aircraft manufacturer is stabilising the output of the A330 to just 40 aircraft this year and will keep the production rate of the A350s to between nine and 10 aircraft per month. The Airbus stated that this is due to “overall customer demand for widebody aircraft.”

At the company’s 2019 earnings meeting, CEO Guillaume Faury revealed that a “lot” of the A330 deliveries last year involved aircraft that were produced in 2018 but delivered late due to issues with the Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engine. The airframer’s lower widebody output, Faury said, reflects Airbus’s “understanding of the capacity of the market and of the backlog.” The manufacturer wants to have a “level of production reflecting demand moving forward,” he said, pointing out that “also, our main competitor is bringing rates down.” Boeing in October last year announced it would decrease the output of the 787 from 14 to 12 per month in 2020 and last month warned this could be cut further to 10 a month early in 2021 due to the “current environment” and “near-term market outlook.”

With a backlog of 6,068 A320-family aircraft, representing eight years’ production at current rates, Airbus will need to increase the output beyond the 63 a month planned for the end of 2021. “We re-assessed the capacity of our supply chain last year, and we see a clear path to further increase the monthly production rate by one or two [a month] in 2022 and again by one or two in 2023,” Faury said.

Faury stated that Airbus was making progress with problems connected with the industrialisation and production acceleration of the Airbus Cabin Flex (ACF) version of the A321neo in Hamburg and the production shift from A320 to A321s. A321s models now account for nearly 50% of the A320-family backlog. “I do feel more comfortable on these challenges for 2020,” he said, though he admitted that delivery delays—of up six months on contractual commitments with customers—are not yet over. “We are the victim of the success of our product and the complexity of the ramp-up,” he asserted. Airbus last year delivered almost 100 more ACF versions of the A321 than it did in 2018.

Airbus intends to deliver 880 commercial jet deliveries this year, up 2% on the 863 examples in 2019 – a company record and an 8% increase on 2018 deliveries.

Vietjet marks important milestone with new ro..

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Vietnamese airline, Vietjet, announced the introduction of five direct routes to India, in a move that will link some of the two countries largest cities together. 

Flights from Da Nang to New Delhi, and Hanoi to Mumbai, will commence from 14 May 2020 with the routes from Ho Chi Minh City to Mumbai planned to begin operating on 15 May 2020. Vietjet currently operates the HCMC/Hanoi – New Delhi services and plans to add more routes to alternative destinations in the future. 

“Vietjet’s direct flight opening records a milestone not only for the development of the airline but also marking the traditional bilateral relations between Vietnam and India,” said VP of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh, adding that the routes will continue contributing to the partnership between the two countries,“I am confident that Vietjet will continue to be the leading airline in exploring and commencing direct services to other potential markets in the future.”

The flights will offer a VIP SkyBoss service, including lounge access, priority services and a selection of fresh hot meals in-flight.

The trade between Vietnam and India has increased annually at a rate of 12.81% since 2018. Honorable Minister of Civil Aviation in India, Hardeep Singh Puri commented on the potential economic growth of both countries due to the direct air connectivity of Vietjet. 

The connection to India will lead to passengers gaining access further across Southeast and East Asia with Vietjet’s domestic and international network, the airline suggested.  

Myanmar Airways International CDB Aviation

Myanmar Airways International to add E190 pai..

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CDB Aviation has announced a lease agreement with Myanmar Airways International (MAI) for a pair of Embraer E190 aircraft to aid the expansion of the airline’s market.

The Embraer jet duo are set to be introduced to the airline’s all-Airbus fleet this summer and MAI plans to debut the jets on flights within its domestic market, and some international routes, as early as August 2020. According to the airline, the flights will supplement operations by sister carrier Air KBZ on domestic and regional routes.

“We are delighted to be handing over the two E190s to our newest APAC customer MAI, marking the introduction of first-generation Embraer jets on the carrier’s expanding route network,” commented Peter Goodman, CDB Aviation Chief Marketing Officer. “This jet duo will fit well within MAI’s expanding operations, facilitating their planned development of Myanmar’s market.”

Kyaw Han, Chief Operating Officer of MAI said the airline is “thrilled” to operate the E190s, adding that the jets will ensure the airline “remains at the forefront of the aviation industry in Myanmar, with a modern fleet.”

The new aircraft will support the airline’s operations across its domestic and regional network to destinations in South East Asia.