Eastern Airways

Eastern Airways to launch a UK north-south link

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Eastern Airways is to launch flights from Teesside Airport to London Heathrow from September 2020 with their Embraer E170.

The daily jet service will offer a north-south link connecting the Tees Valley area with the capital so providing vital business links.

Roger Hage, Eastern Airways’ General Manager Commercial & Operations, said: “As the UK’s Regional Airline, the opportunity for Eastern Airways to connect Teesside to London Heathrow, the UK’s primary hub for worldwide connections is significant in the regions’ economic prosperity and economic recovery.

Offering an initial daily E-Jet operated service helps add further London capacity and makes reaching the capital or getting to the North East a little over an hour away, with the array of connections worldwide this opens up. We look forward to our partners at Teesside International Airport and London Heathrow Airport to restoring such a major air-link missing for over a decade.”

Eastern Airways

Airbus deliveries increase as new orders come in

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Airbus has shown a small upturn with its aircraft deliveries in July, with 49 narrowbodies being handed over to airline operators. In a press statement on Thursday, the company also reported its first new orders in over three months, with four sales for a pair of A320S and A321s.

Deliveries last month rose from the 36 made in June, following a total of 24 in May and just 14 in April. The July deliveries included a pair of A220-300s to Air Canada and Egypt Air, plus a first A321 to Middle East Airlines and another to Vistara (via Air Lease Corporation).

Trip.com Group and AirAsia.com announce strategic partnership

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Leading international online travel services provider Trip.com Group, has officially announced a strategic partnership with AirAsia.com, ASEAN’s fastest growing travel and lifestyle e-commerce platform.

The strategic partnership will see Trip.com Group and AirAsia.com collaborate on a range of popular products and services available on both digital platforms, including cooperation in the areas of transit information for connecting flights, membership benefits and product marketing, to deliver an enhanced and streamlined experience for travellers.

The cooperation is expected to generate synergies for both digital platforms, and is a joint initiative to spur greater demand for international travel by providing travellers with an end-to-end product offering, from flights to hotels, airport transfers, and activities. Trip.com Group’s Premium Members will also be able to enjoy upgraded privileges on AirAsia flights when they book on Trip.com Group platforms.

Tony Fernandes, CEO of AirAsia Group said, “Our partnership with Trip.com Group is timely as we anticipate the resumption of cross-border travel. AirAsia is the largest international airline flying into China, with Chinese passengers representing more than 10% of our Southeast Asia-bound traffic. AirAsia flies to 21 cities in China, connecting travellers to over 150 destinations in our network. With our continued focus on providing the best value and choice for our guests, AirAsia has transformed from an airline into a leading travel, lifestyle and financial technology platform. This partnership with Trip.com Group demonstrates our commitment and confidence in the China market, more so during this challenging COVID-19 environment, where we remain optimistic for borders to be reopened in the near future. In the meantime, AirAsia will continue to work with strategic partners like Trip.com Group to provide a greater range of products, services and innovation for our guests’ convenience.”

Jane Sun, CEO of Trip.com Group said, “With the pandemic gradually being brought under control, we’re seeing a recovery in travel demand across the Asia-Pacific region. Already, we’ve seen accommodation volume in a number of key regional markets virtually recover to pre-pandemic volumes, while air ticketing volumes continue to make a strong recovery. With demand gradually increasing, and flight routes continuing to resume, we look forward to working with AirAsia to prepare the travel industry for a triumphant revival, and deliver a superior experience to travellers.”

Thai Vietjet launches its tenth domestic route within Thailand

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Thai Vietjet has inaugurated its maiden flight VZ330 from the capital city of Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi Airport) to Nakhon Si Thammarat, an administrative centre of southern Thailand and one of the most ancient cities in the country. The maiden flight took off with guests of honour onboard – Mr Siripat Phatthakun, Governor of Nakhon Si Thammarat and safely landed amid celebrations of a water salute and flowers for the passengers from Nakhon Si Thammarat Airport and Tourism Authority of Thailand Nakhon Si Thammarat Office.  

Celebrating the inaugural flight, Thai Vietjet provided inflight entertainment courtesy of Thai singer “GunGun”, as well as corporate souvenirs for all the passengers. 

Thai Vietjet’s latest service began on 6 August with one return flight daily and increases to four flights daily within October, with a flight time of around 75 minutes. Having received excellent response from the market for this new route to Nakhon Si Thammarat, the airline has also completed its operational readiness for up to five flights daily by the end of the year. 

Air India Express 737 crashes at Calicut Airport

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A Boeing 737-800 operated by Air India Express crash-landed and broke into two pieces after skidding off the runway at Calicut Airport in Kerala state initial reports from India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation. The airline confirmed the accident involving its flight IX-1344 from Dubai, which landed at 7:41 p.m. local time.

A statement released by the airline’s parent group Air India said there were 174 passengers on board and seven flight crew. On the 9 August, local authorities reported that 18 people, including both pilots, had died in the accident. India’s Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau has confirmed that it has located the 737’s flight data and cockpit voice recorders.

Reports indicate that the pilots made three attempted landings the first on Runway 10, then Runway 28, and finally again on Runway 10. Local media reports state that it was raining heavily at the time of the accident and the region is currently in its monsoon season.

FlyArystan launches new regional domestic routes

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Low cost airline FlyArystan continues to expand its domestic regional network by opening new routes across Kazakhstan. Historically, regional connections have been predominantly offered through the main hubs of Nur-Sultan and Almaty. But, from 28 August, it will be possible to travel on direct, non-stop flights operated by A320.

The new routes are:

  1. Karaganda-Shymkent-Karaganda,
  2. Karaganda-Atyrau-Karaganda,
  3. Karaganda-Aktau-Karaganda
  4. Atyrau-Kostanay-Atyrau,
  5. Atyrau-Kyzylorda-Atyrau,
  6. Shymkent-Kostanay-Shymkent,
  7. Shymkent-Ust-Kamenogorsk-Shymkent,
  8. Shymkent-Pavlodar-Shymkent.

With the launch of the new regional flights between Atyrau, Shymkent and Karaganda, FlyArystan the airline is offering seats purchased between 5 to 7 August with a discount of up to 20% for the flights departing from August 28.

Wizz Air Hungary is the first airline to acquire an EASA operator certificate

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Wizz Air Hungary, the largest subsidiary of Europe’s fastest growing airline group, has announced that from the 1 August it will be the first airline in Europe to have the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) as its competent authority responsible for safety oversight. Hungary as a Member State will continue to be identified as “State of Operator” with regard to the airline’s Air Operator Certificate.

The EASA Basic Regulation (EU) 2018/1139 introduced in 2018 the possibility for organisations operating in more than one EU Member State, such as Wizz Air, to request that EASA acts as its competent authority, responsible for safety oversight and certification.

This regulatory transition supports the multinational expansion of the Wizz Air Group. EASA’s oversight enables the airline to enhance cooperation with national civil aviation authorities across its current and prospective markets. It will continue to fly under the Hungarian flag and the Hungarian Civil Aviation Authority continues to exercise regulatory control over the carrier’s operating licence and route permits.

Editor’s Comment: Thinking positive about production

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We all knew it was coming; the sad inevitability that aircraft production numbers would be cut in order to take into account the reduction in global air traffic, the collapse of some once-viable operators and the havoc COVID-19 would wreak on the commercial aviation industry.
Recent announcements by both Boeing and Airbus, that production rates of some of their most profitable models have been reduced was confirmed by Boeing recently, when it announced that it has seen a slower-than-expected increase in narrowbody production in Renton, Washington, and it now sees a gradual rise in the rate no sooner than early 2022 rather than 2021, as previously anticipated.

The news from Airbus was of a similar vein, with the announcement that the manufacturer has a stockpile of 145 commercial aircraft undelivered at present and had cut its production rate by a third, which included reducing its A320 production from 60 aircraft a month at its peak in 2019 to just 40 per month this year. However, despite the reduction, the company is positive that this is currently the right balance between supply and demand.

Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury stated: “There might be some small adjustment, but we will keep it for the second half of 2020 and entering into 2021.”

Despite the current predictions and upheaval that the commercial aviation industry is undergoing, both airframers have remained positive in their long-term outlook for the industry, a viewpoint typified by Faury’s comment: “We will see again a very strong demand when recovery occurs between 2023 and 2025.”

Ryanair fears second pandemic wave in the autumn

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Ryanair has revealed its first quarter 2020 results have shown a net loss of €185 million. In comparison with a net profit of €243 million in the same period last year.

Ryanair says the Q2 of 2020 was the most challenging, the coronavirus pandemic hit has been harsh. Almost entire Ryanair Group’s fleet was grounded for nearly four months, operating only special flights.

In July, Ryanair has operated approximately 40% of its normal schedule. For August, the carrier expects this to rise to  60% of its regular 2019 summer month schedule and in September rise to 70%. However, as for now the biggest fear is the second wave of the lockdowns amid the pandemic.

“It is impossible to predict how long the COVID-19 pandemic will persist, and a 2nd wave of COVID-19 cases across Europe in late autumn (when the annual flu season commences) is our biggest fear right now,” Ryanair said in a statement.

The operator predicts that 2021 could see its air traffic fall by 60%got the Ryanair Group.

Nevertheless, before the end of 2020, Ryanair hopes to take the first delivery of delayed Boeing 737 MAX 200 aircraft. Boeing estimates its MAX program will return to service in the US in late 2020.

FAA issues emergency directive for 2,000 Boeing 737 aircraft

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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued an emergency airworthiness directive (AD) concerning approximately 2,000 stored Boeing 737-300-900 series aircraft.

The AD requires inspections of the engine bleed air fifth stage check valve on each engine to identify is there any corrosion. Corrosion of the engine bleed air fifth stage check valve internal parts during airplane storage may cause the valve to stick in the open position.

The AD followed four recent reports of single-engine shutdowns due to engine bleed air fifth stage check valves being stuck open.

“Corrosion of these valves on both engines could result in a dual-engine power loss without the ability to restart. This condition, if not addressed, could result in compressor stalls and dual-engine power loss without the ability to restart, which could result in a forced off-airport landing,” said the FAA.