The four major commercial aircraft manufacturers are well on their way toward certification of their next-generation single-aisle commercial airliners. The Airbus A320neo, Boeing 737 MAX and Embraer E2 families are producing major makeovers and Bombardier is offering its all-new CSeries.
Chroniclers of the air transportation industry last year were cautiously optimistic that an economic recovery in the airline business had arrived finally as large orders for new commercial aircraft from airlines and lessors rolled in. Orders for new equipment continued this year at a brisk pace but there is a debate within the industry about too many planes chasing too little traffic.
"Our government is subsidizing foreign state-owned airlines and giving them an economic advantage over US carriers."
What is surprising about the quote, which relates to the call for reform of lending policies of the US Export-Import Bank, is that it comes not from an airline CEO, but from Lee Moak, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), which represents 50,000 airline pilots in the US and Canada.
Where the new Bombardier CSeries and Embraer E2 jets fit in the air transportation business is an open question. Is this new breed of next-generation small airliners considered to be at the top end of the regional jet market or the low end of the mainline narrowbody market, nudging into Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 territory?
IFE is fast becoming a must-have product for any airline wanting to maintain a competitive edge. What was once an added benefit for only business- and first-class passengers has become an integral part of inflight service in all cabins.
Technology has played a major role in enhancing safety over the last 50 years in the air transportation system. A look at the more recent developments proves that the evolution of safety related technology, procedures and training continue.
An improving economy worldwide, record orders for new commercial airliners, plus an emerging market for used equipment is for now improving the aircraft leasing business. But industry analysts worry about overcapacity of new aircraft with marginal airline growth expected in some areas for the foreseeable future.
Air France’s recent unveiling in Paris of a new coach class seat and other onboard enhancements is emblematic of the airline’s long-term strategic plan to better compete against domestic and international carriers in a tough operating environment.
When the Boeing 737-100 first flew in 1967, the single-aisle, short-haul twinjet was equipped with only basic avionics. No so-called “glass cockpits” were available at the time. And 737 customers would likely not have bought them if they were. Times have changed.
It wasn’t the New Year’s Eve 2012 memorythat the passengers and flight crew wanted. Spirit Airlines Flight 403 had just landed at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida. While taxiing to the gate the Airbus A320 clipped the tail of a US Airways A320 parked in a remote part of the runway. The collision caused a gash in the tail cone section of the US Airways aircraft. The Spirit aircraft suffered no damage, but the incident caused consternation at Spirit Airlines, which said it was not advised by air traffic control of the presence of the other aircraft.
A J Walter Aviation’s (AJW) recent acquisition of the component maintenance business of bankrupt Montreal-based Aveos Fleet Performance is a two-part story. One half tells how an opportunistic London-based company continues to strengthen its aircraft services empire worldwide with this purchase. The other half of the tale reveals how component maintenance is growing faster than airframe and engine maintenance and how AJW is capitalizing on the trend.
Fuel hedging has helped ensure airlines for years against revenue-eroding fuel spikes, but fuel price volatility today is prompting some carriers to reevaluate their hedging programs and, in some cases, look elsewhere for savings.