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News : V Air to launch Taipei–Macau route

V Air to launch Taipei–Macau route

From 10 April, V Air will commence thrice-weekly return flights between Taipei and Macau before the schedule is expected to be increased to a daily service in June when a new Airbus A320 joins the fleet. 

The initial Taipei–Macau service will run every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, departing Taipei at 20:10 and arriving in Macau at 21:55. The return Macau–Taipei service will leave Macau at 22:55 and arrive at Taipei Taoyuan International Airport at 00:45 the following morning. 

V Air currently owns one Airbus A321 and aims to grow its fleet to a minimum 5 aircraft by the end of 2015. 
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News : Liebherr signs landing gear overhaul deal with Estonian Air

Liebherr signs landing gear overhaul deal with Estonian Air

The overhaul of the main and nose landing gear systems on Estonian Air’s Embraer E170 aircraft will now be looked after by Liebherr-Aerospace, which developed the complete landing gear system for the E-Jet family (E170, E175, E190 and E195).

“That Estonian Air has selected us to overhaul the landing gear systems of their E-Jet fleet underlines the fact that the quality standards we adhere to are recognised on the market. We are delighted with the confidence placed in us by Estonian Air, the biggest operator at Tallinn airport with a strong presence in the Baltic region,” commented Sven Dicke, director of customer services at Liebherr Aerospace.
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News : Emirates pushes ahead with $20 million IFC investment

Emirates pushes ahead with $20 million IFC investment

Emirates is in the process of equipping all of its Boeing 777-300ERs and 777-200LRs with in-flight connectivity (IFC) services, whilst all of its Airbus A380s are already Wi-Fi enabled.

The airline says it is installing two or three aircraft with in-flight Wi-Fi every month and that its total number of connected aircraft now stands at 106.

This is spearheaded by Emirates’ $20 million annual commitment to installing and maintaining IFC systems. Since updating their onboard services in February, the airline has reported a 25% increase in passenger uptake, with data showing that on its ultra-long haul flights (over 14 hours) 30% of passengers use its in-flight Wi-Fi.

Furthermore, on a recent flight to New York, Emirates found that 66% of passengers used the in-flight Wi-Fi, demonstrating its assessment that free IFC will be the standard that passengers demand in the future.

“Customers seek free Wi-Fi on-the-go, especially while travelling, and it is becoming the norm for most people who want to stay connected through online social networks and instant messaging. Emirates is subsidising or waiving the high cost of buying data to serve our passengers on routes across six continents. We foresee that free Wi-Fi onboard is the future standard for all our customers, something that will require no charge or limitations,” says Patrick Brannelly, divisional vice president for customer experience.
Emirates has calculated that in 2014, nearly 650,000 customers used its in-flight Wi-Fi service and, as of early March this year, more than 350,000 customers have already used the service.
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News : Alaska Airlines showcases Microsoft’s IFE capabilities

Alaska Airlines showcases Microsoft’s IFE capabilities

After deploying 7,000 Toshiba Encore 2 tablets equipped with a new Windows in-flight entertainment (IFE) system across its fleet, Alaska Airlines has confirmed the roll out of more devices to accommodate its aggressive route growth and customer demand.
“There’s split screen viewing for simultaneous content experiences, whether it’s an Xbox game, a new release movie or catching up on the latest TV series,” said Curtis Kopf, Alaska’s VP innovation. “The launch with our Windows 8.1 devices has gone well and we’re excited to see how Windows 10 can enhance the solution.”
Whilst Microsoft 10 is yet to be released, the tablets run Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry software and are operated by Skycast Solutions, Microsoft’s partner on the ‘Alaska Beyond’ IFE programme.

“Moving to Windows tablets enables us to provide a cutting edge experience for Alaska’s travellers,” explained Greg Latimer, president, Skycast Solutions. “In particular, the robust security capabilities allow us to work with Hollywood studios to load early window movies that wouldn’t be available without similar safeguards.”
Alaska Airlines has also teamed up with digital engineering and design partner, Ratio, to integrate technologies, develop entertainment apps, and design an embedded experience for the passengers. To improve the experience for their guests even further, Ratio aggregates user information to deliver real time analytics through Azure Data Factory, helping Alaska better understand content use case scenarios.
“The Ratio telemetry, powered by the Azure Data Factory, allows Alaska Airlines to understand the entertainment scenarios that its guests prefer and track content popularity,” explained Russ Whitman, Ratio’s chief strategy officer. “Enabling Alaska to curate content that best serves the traveller is a perfect demonstration of what’s possible when you bring together amazing partners committed to creating an exceptional user experience.”
The new ‘Alaska Beyond’ IFE offering will also see the airline introduce power outlets at every seat on 70% of its B737 passenger aircraft by mid-April.
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News : Aegean increases profit in 2014

Aegean increases profit in 2014

Aegean Airlines has announced improved results for 2014, driven by network expansion and Olympic Air synergies, reporting a rise in net earnings to €80.2 million from €52.5 million in 2013, the increase including a positive one-time effect of €11.7 million in income tax provisions.

The carrier’s consolidated revenue increased by 7% to €912 million, based on a passenger traffic increase of 14% to 10.1 million passengers, the highest ever achieved by a Greek airline.

The group generated operating cash flow of €112 million, resulting in cash and short-term investments of €218 million at year end, despite significant pre-delivery payments in relation to the new Airbus order.

Domestic traffic increased by 15% driven by demand stimulation on lower fares and strong connecting traffic. International traffic rose by 13%, aided by performance in Athens where traffic rose by 20% on the back of Aegean’s network expansion which supported the city’s strong tourism recovery.

“In 2014 we reached another milestone and achieved passenger traffic in excess of 10 million passengers, offering the biggest network ever operated by a Greek airline with 119 destinations,” remarked Dimitris Gerogiannis, Aegean’s managing director. “Joining forces with Olympic Air has resulted in benefits for our passengers, the Greek economy and regional employment, and of course our shareholders. Synergies with Olympic Air as well as strong connectivity and positive tourist flows were the main factors that boosted our results.

“For 2015 we plan to take delivery of new aircraft and expand significantly our network, mainly out of Athens, but also Larnaca in Cyprus with the addition of new destinations and more frequencies on existing routes,” Gerogiannis added. “At the same time, competition is expected to intensify, the recovery path of the Greek economy remains uncertain, whereas significant volatility on the US dollar and oil markets are affecting key cost items.

“On the positive side, even in this uncertain environment, Greek tourism and especially arrivals to Athens seem resilient. It is important to highlight that we maintain a long-term view, targeted at improving the country’s and Athens’ connections, securing our competitive advantage of our main hub and also upgrading Greek travel and tourism product,” Gerogiannis concluded.
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News : easyJet revises 2015 forecast upwards

easyJet revises 2015 forecast upwards

easyJet has released a trading update for the first half of its financial year (which runs from 1 October-30 September), including revised figures from the trading statement it issued on 27 January 2015 which now foresee a better first half result before tax.

The airline now expects first half capacity growth to be around +3.7% rather than the previous +3.5%, although it still predicts full year capacity growth of +5.0%, as forecast in January. The first half revenue per seat – at constant currency – is now expected to be +2.5% rather than around +2.0%.

Overall, the first half result before tax, predicted in January to be a loss of £10 million to £30 million, is now expected to be in the range of a loss of £5 million to a profit of £10 million. easyJet expects the first half performance to be ahead of the guidance given in the 27 January 2015 trading statement primarily due to the movement of exchange rates in the second quarter.

Based on a Euro:Sterling exchange rate of 1.3574 and a US Dollar:Sterling exchange rate of 1.4917, it is now expected that exchange rate movements are likely to have around a £20 million favourable impact in the six months to 31 March 2015, primarily due to the recent weakening of the Euro against Sterling;

Commenting on the pre-close statement, easyJet’s chief executive Carolyn McCall remarked, “easyJet has performed well in the first half of the year and has continued to deliver its strategy of making travel easy and affordable for passengers. We continue to expect that lower fuel costs will be beneficial for our customers as fares adjust. easyJet continues to be well positioned to deliver sustainable returns to shareholders due to its compelling network, low cost base and strong balance sheet.”

easyJet will provide further details on its performance in the six months to 31 March 2015 when it publishes its half year results on 12 May 2015.
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News : Volaris further expands Guadalajara network

Volaris further expands Guadalajara network

Volaris has continued the expansion of its route network from Guadalajara in Mexico by inaugurating a thrice-weekly service between Guadalajara and Houston, Texas, as well as announcing another planned new route between Guadalajara and Dallas.

Volaris’s Houston flights depart Guadalajara on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays at 08:25, arriving in Houston at 10:35. The return service leaves Houston at 11:55, arriving in Guadalajara 14:20. Houston and Dallas are the second and third Texan destinations for Volaris after its non-stop service to San Antonio. 

According to the Pew Research Center, Houston has a Hispanic population of over two million people, of which 50% are of Mexican origin. Volaris therefore hopes the new service will facilitate communication between Jalisco residents and their relatives and friends in Houston. The Texan city is also an important business destination, thanks to its rapidly diversifying energy based economy, including high technology and medical research industries.

Volaris’s CEO, Enrique Beltranena, commented, “We are very pleased to bring to market a second destination in Texas, and soon a third one with the Dallas announcement. We reiterate our commitment towards providing Guadalajara – Mexico's Perla Tapatía — greater domestic and international connectivity and our leadership with 37 serviced destinations, averaging 480 weekly flights from this city. This is how we will maintain our position as the official airline of Guadalajara.”
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News : ​Stingray to provide music for Air Canada’s IFE system

​Stingray to provide music for Air Canada’s IFE system

Air Canada has signed a partnership deal to make Stingray the main content provider for music on the airline's in-flight entertainment (IFE) system, enRoute.

Stingray has been curating the IFE music content for Air Canada since February this year, providing themed and genre-based music playlists, music video playlists, concert videos and music documentaries.

“As a Canadian company, we are thrilled to mark our debut in the in-flight entertainment industry with Air Canada, the largest Canadian airline,” said Eric Boyko, president and CEO of Stingray. “In addition to providing Air Canada customers with the highest quality music content in-flight, our partnership includes the promotion of great Canadian artists and musicians.”

“We look forward to introducing more choice and diversified formats in the complimentary musical programming enjoyed by millions of Air Canada customers each month, across Canada and around the world,” added Craig Landry, Air Canada's vice president, marketing.
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News : Ellinair to use Travelport’s Rich Content and Branding

Ellinair to use Travelport’s Rich Content and Branding

Ellinair has entered into an agreement with Travelport which will see the airline use the company’s Rich Content and Branding solution to distribute its flights via the Travel Commerce Platform for the first time.

Ioannis Maroulas, Ellinair’s IT manager, commented, “We welcome this new agreement with Travelport. By utilising its Rich Content and Branding solution, we are able to more easily manage how our products are visually presented and described to our travel agency customers, allowing us to customise and tailor our offerings more effectively. We look forward to developing this new relationship with Travelport and seeing how the company’s merchandising solution will help drive revenue for Ellinair.”

Thessaloniki-based Ellinair, which is part of Greek holding company The Mouzenidis Group, joins a total of 100 airlines using Travelport’s Rich Content and Branding solution, including Ryanair and easyJet. 
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News : Wizz Air to close Ukraine subsidiary

Wizz Air to close Ukraine subsidiary

Wizz Air has announced plans to end operations by its Wizz Air Ukraine subsidiary, following earlier capacity reductions in 2014.

Wizz Air says that these changes will not have a material effect on the Group’s trading in the current year and subsequent financial years.

Wizz Air Hungary will establish an operating base in Kiev with one Airbus A320 initially operating eight routes. Moving forward, the airline hopes to develop its network in Kiev as the local economic and geopolitical conditions improve. The second Airbus A320 aircraft currently based in Kiev will be redeployed to Wizz Air’s new operating base in Kosice, Slovakia, and will operate new routes from Kosice to Milan Bergamo and Sheffield-Doncaster from early June 2015.

Following its successful initial public offering at the start of this month, Wizz Air Holdings plc (Wizz Air and, together with its subsidiaries, the Group), has revealed in a trading update for the fourth quarter and year ending 31 March 2015, that its revenue and profit performance for that year is forecast to be in-line with the board’s expectations.

Wizz Air is expected to report its preliminary results for the year ending 31 March 2015 on 27 May 2015.
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News : Volaris to operate Guadalajara–New York JFK route

Volaris to operate Guadalajara–New York JFK route

From 15 July, Volaris will introduce thrice-weekly flights (on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays) to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport from Guadalajara as part of its plans for international expansion.

The flights will depart Guadalajara at 17:45, arriving in New York at 23:35. The return is set to leave New York at 01:25 and arrive in Guadalajara at 05:55 on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

“We are so excited to now offer this new nonstop flight, consolidating our position as the Mexican carrier with the widest route network," stated Enrique Beltranena, CEO of Volaris. “There's no better way to achieve this than with service connecting Mexico's Perla Tapatia with The Big Apple.

"We can't say enough of a city with such a high tourism profile that is sure to delight our Guadalajara customer base and this can be achieved with our clean and clear fares, on board one of the youngest fleets in the Americas," Beltranena continued.

Volaris operates 20 international and 18 domestic flights from Guadalajara and has transported 16 million passengers from the city to date, a number on the rise as a result of significant growth in 2014.
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News : Mesa selects Mxi Technologies for maintenance management

Mesa selects Mxi Technologies for maintenance management

Following the announcement of a recent deal between Mxi Technologies and Cape Air, Mesa Airlines has selected the Mxi’s Maintenix system to support its company-wide fleet maintenance management needs.

Maintenix will deliver fully-hosted, mobile-ready functionality across the airline’s planning, production, materials and engineering departments. Mesa Airlines hopes to capitalise on its aggressive strategic growth plans by using the system to drive more real-time maintenance management, improved integration between maintenance and flight operations, and stronger reporting, analytics and financial tracking.

“Mesa Airlines is committed to safeguarding our brand as the most reliable and trusted name in the US regional airline market. At a time when we are witnessing tremendous growth, we need to ensure our back-office processes – most notably maintenance operations – are helping us deliver on the promise of exceptional customer service,” explained Jonathan Ornstein, Mesa’s chairman and CEO. “Maintenix met all of our core requirements for a maintenance solution that could deliver the right mix of innovation, ingenuity and information insights, keeping us at the forefront of a fast-evolving and highly-competitive

“Mesa Airlines’ commitment to modernising its MRO practices and driving greater operational efficiencies serve as testament to what it takes to remain successful in the burgeoning US market,” claimed Bill Cavitt, president and CEO at Mxi Technologies. “Mxi is proud to welcome a market leader like Mesa Airlines into the Maintenix community, and we are honoured to be working closely with them to ensure their tradition of outstanding customer service continues unabated.”
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News : Finnair invests in Wi-Fi connectivity across its fleet

Finnair invests in Wi-Fi connectivity across its fleet

Finnair’s board of directors has approved a €30 million investment programme to roll out in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity.

The airline’s on-board Wi-Fi service will launch this Autumn with the first Finnair A350 XWB aircraft. In 2016, in-flight Wi-Fi installations will begin on the carrier's A330 long-haul and European short-haul Airbus fleet.

The progamme of installation is expected to be completed in 2018.

“This investment will enable us to offer a wide array of new services to our customers, ranging from in-flight entertainment to in-flight sales and ancillaries,” says Pekka Vauramo, Finnair's CEO.
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News : Falko adds two E170s to its portfolio

Falko adds two E170s to its portfolio

Falko Regional Aircraft has added to its portfolio two Embraer 170 aircraft acquired from another lessor, both aircraft having been manufactured in 2005 and both being currently on lease to an airline in the USA.

“We are delighted to add more E-Jets to our portfolio, reflecting the continuing development and growth of Falko and further expanding our assets in North America,” remarked Mark Hughes, EVP corporate finance for Falko. “These are the first E170s in our portfolio and the addition of these excellent aircraft brings further diversity to our regional jet portfolio.” 
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News : fastjet receives Air Service Permit for Zimbabwe

fastjet receives Air Service Permit for Zimbabwe

fastjet has received an Air Service Permit (ASP) from the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ), moving one step closer to gaining an Air Operating Certificate (AOC). 

“We recognised the real potential in Zimbabwe some time ago and as such have been working with the authorities both to build fastjet Zimbabwe and obtain permission to commence operations to various domestic and international destinations from the country,” stated Ed Winter, fastjet’s CEO. “The granting of the ASP demonstrates the ever-increasing reputation that fastjet has built across the region and marks a significant step forward for our business.”

Receiving an ASP means that the CAAZ and the Ministry of Transport have approved the business plan, aircraft choice and proposed structure of the planned airline as appropriate to operate and compliant with Zimbabwe regulations.

“fastjet has identified many potential routes within and from Zimbabwe where it believes that the low-cost model will stimulate the market and tap into the huge market of passengers currently travelling by bus,” continued Winter. “For example there are as many as 100 buses a day travelling the 1,100km between Harare and Johannesburg at fares up to $120 – return.” 
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