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News : flyvista performs inaugural flight from Tbilisi to Kiev

flyvista performs inaugural flight from Tbilisi to Kiev


flyvista, Georgia’s new low-fare airline operating out of Tbilisi, has conducted its first flight to Kiev. 
 
The flyvista B737-300 (4L-AJC) aircraft was greeted on arrival in Kiev with a water cannon salute and a special performance by a group of Georgian national dancers.
 
Following a press conference the public, press and staff were all invited to a cake cutting ceremony.
 
Gregory Pomerantsev, CEO of flyvista and Mikheil Ukleba, the Ambassador of Georgia in Kiev, were both in attendance.
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News : Wizz Air carries 15 million pax in 12 months

Wizz Air carries 15 million pax in 12 months


According to Innovata, a partner of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) which specialises in airlines schedules data, Wizz Air’s scheduled departing seat capacity reached over 15 million for the full financial year (FY) 2014, ended 31 March.
 
This is the first time Wizz Air has recorded over 15 million passengers during a 12 month period, during which the airline achieved an 86% average load factor. The milestone figure also represents 17% year on year growth.  
 
“We look forward to carrying ever more customers on one of our 341 routes to 102 destinations, as our fleet grows to 54 A320 aircraft by the end of 2014,” commented John Stephenson, Wizz Air’s executive vice president.
 
The airline is also currently celebrating the “Best Operational Excellence Award – Europe” it received from Airbus in recognition of Wizz Air’s outstanding operational performance during 2012 and 2013. 
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News : fastjet announces flights between Dar es Salaam and Entebbe

fastjet announces flights between Dar es Salaam and Entebbe


fastjet has revealed its plans to launch the only direct air link between Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and Entebbe in Uganda, bringing the airline’s international routes to four in total.
 
Flights will operate on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 16 September and 29 September, on which date fastjet will begin offering the service four times weekly.
 
“fastjet is delighted with this opportunity to enter the Ugandan market and the support it has received from the Ugandan government and authorities,” remarked Ed Winter, fastjet CEO. “We very much look forward to commencing flights and hope this is the beginning of a wider fastjet network from Entebbe.”
 
fastjet’s other international routes fly from Dar es Salaam to Johannesburg, Lusaka and Harare, whilst the airline’s domestic network in Tanzania includes services to Mwanza, Kilimanjaro and Mbeya.
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News : Scoot Airlines officially relocates to Don Mueang

Scoot Airlines officially relocates to Don Mueang


Scoot Airlines (Scoot) has moved its operations from Suvarnabhumi International Airport to Bangkok’s ‘downtown airport’, Don Mueang International Airport. 
 
Speaking about the move, Scoot’s CEO Campbell Wilson said, “it's fantastic news for our guests: being much closer to the Bangkok city centre, Don Mueang means a faster trip into town and, being Nok's home-base, it enables us to offer seamless connections to and from 21 Thai destinations.”
 
Scoot’s move coincides with the airline’s new interline service with Nok Air, which allows customers to take advantage of Nok Air’s domestic coverage and Scoot’s international flights in a single booking. Patee Sarasin, CEO of Nok Air hopes “this will allow more international passengers to visit different parts of Thailand with more ease and comfort.”
 
Nok Air will also be responsible for Scoot’s ground operations at Don Mueang International Airport. 
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News : Scoot pax can use PEDs gate-to-gate

Scoot pax can use PEDs gate-to-gate


From 1 September Scoot Airlines (Scoot) will allow the use of Personal Electronic Devices (PEDs) gate-to-gate after the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) updated its regulations in line with changes made by leading aviation authorities in other parts of the world. 
 
CEO of Scoot Campbell Wilson commented, "We're pleased that CAAS regulations now allow guests expanded use of their PEDs. Increasingly, consumers use their own devices for entertainment, whether with content they've preloaded or that they're streaming from onboard services such as our ScooTV.”
 
Scoot passengers will be allowed to use small PEDs, such as tablets, smartphones and e-readers from take-off through to landing, but laptops will still have to remain stowed at the beginning and the of the flight.
 
CAAS have specified that voice communications using mobile phones is still strictly prohibited on Singaporean airlines, citing the possibility that the strong signal required may interfere with aircraft systems.
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News : Rex executive chairman explains Australian aviation crisis

Rex executive chairman explains Australian aviation crisis


Regional Express Holdings Ltd (Rex), Australia’s largest independent regional airline, has reported a Profit Before Tax (PBT) of A$10.7 million for the full financial year (FY) ending 30 June 2014.
 
Rex’s PBT for FY 2014 is an improvement on its half year results, when the airline reported a reduction in PBT of 59.8%. However, the FY result still represents a drop of about 45% in comparison with 2013 figures. 
 
Lim Kim Hai, Rex’s executive chairman, blames the “prolonged and endemic crisis that is gripping Australian aviation”. He cites record average fuel prices and deterioration in the Australian economy, which “resulted in 38,000 fewer Rex passengers, or a reduction of 3.4%,” as some of the reasons for the airlines significant decline in performance. 
 
Hai explains, "The environment is so toxic that incredible as it sounds, Rex is not only the most profitable passenger airline group for the third consecutive year, it has more accumulated PBT than Qantas or Virgin Australia over the last nine years."
 
“The burden of increased government taxes in the form of the carbon tax and a significant increase in the fuel levy to fund the Civil Aviation Safety Authority,” he continues, “just add more nails in the coffin of the aviation industry.”

In an appeal to the Abbott government, Hai calls on them “to urgently start implementing the concrete initiatives promised in the Coalition’s Policy for Aviation issued in August 2013 prior to the federal election one year ago.” He goes on to list 16 Australian regional airlines that collapsed in the last 15 years including Horizon Airlines, Emu Airways and Transair.
 
Hai stated that Rex’s survival is due to an investment of over $56 million. A similar investment was made by the airline during the global financial crisis of 2008. He concludes, “God willing, Rex will be able to weather this storm.”
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News : Aegean releases positive 1H14 figures

Aegean releases positive 1H14 figures


Network expansion and cost synergies with Olympic Air has seen Aegean Airlines (Aegean) report improvements in traffic, profitability and revenue for the first half of 2014 (1H14).

In June the airlines recorded over a million monthly passengers for the first time, and despite the introduction of new destinations Aegean managed to increase its load factor from 74% to 76% compared with the same period in 2013.
 
“Our expanded operations for 2014 with a fleet of 50 aircraft, 13m of available seats to be offered for the whole year and 17 new international destinations are yielding positive results. Olympic Air synergies are gradually maturing bringing unit cost improvements and increased flows from connectivity,” remarked Aegean’s managing director, Dimitris Gerogiannis.
 
During 1H14, traffic in the domestic network grew by 19% due to low fares, boosting demand in smaller island destinations as well as the main markets. The consolidated revenue of Aegean and Olympic Air increased by 8% to €388 million, and after-tax earnings for both airlines combined have risen from €6.9 million last year to €16 million.
 
The first half of 2014 saw Aegean and Olympic Air carry 4.3 million passengers, 16% more than in 2013, with international traffic from the airlines’ 8 aircraft bases increasing 13%. Athens in particular showed an improvement in international traffic as the market appeared to recover for the first time since 2008.
“Our investment in incoming leisure and tourism over the last five years now brings tangible results for Aegean,” concluded Gerogiannis.
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News : fastjet introduces SmartClass and Freighty services

fastjet introduces SmartClass and Freighty services


From 1 September, fastjet passengers will have the option of purchasing a ‘SmartClass’ or ‘Freighty’ fare as the airline launches two new ancillary services.
 
After discovering that traders travelling to the port and markets in Dar es Salaam to purchase wholesale products had to use ground transportation to return goods to their home markets – which, in the case of Harare, is the equivalent of a three day bus journey – fastjet decided to create a more efficient solution. The airline’s ‘Freighty’ upgrade will allow passengers on fastjet’s international flights to carry up to 80kg of hold luggage.
 
fastjet CCO Richard Bodin explained, "We have learnt a great deal from talking to our international passengers on flights from Harare and Lusaka and their feedback has led us to introduce the innovative 'Freighty' product.  It's a simple product enhancement, which is easy to administer and will allow our passengers to benefit from the large capacity of our aircrafts holds.”
 
‘SmartClass’ is a premium fare which gives fastjet passengers up to 32kg of hold luggage, superior seat allocation and the unlimited ability to change flight dates at no extra cost. 
 
"After extensive research, we concluded that whilst all our passengers love our prices, on time performance and service, some require an enhanced experience when booking and flying with us,” commented Bodin. “By creating SmartClass we can provide additional flexibility, quick disembarkation from the front rows, and the ability to travel with a baggage allowance more appropriate to the needs of today's business traveller - all as part of a single, simple, all-inclusive fare.” 
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News : Scoot introduces gate-to-gate PED usage

Scoot introduces gate-to-gate PED usage


From 1 September Scoot Airlines (Scoot) will be taking advantage of updated regulations from The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) allowing passengers the expanded use of personal electronic devices (PEDs) in-flight.
 
As long as their devices are on flight safe mode, Scoot passengers will be able to watch films, listen to music or read on their tablets, phones and e-readers throughout the entire flight. However, CAAS have specified that heavier devices such as laptops must still be stowed for taxi, take-off and landing for safety reasons. 
 
“Increasingly, consumers use their own devices for entertainment, whether with content they've preloaded or that they're streaming from onboard services such as our ScooTV” commented Campbell Wilson, Scoot’s CEO. “And, with Scoot launching inflight Internet connectivity when its 787 fleet enters service from late 2014, there's even more reason to remain plugged-in.”
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News : Japan Airlines signs firm orders for up to 27 E-Jets

Japan Airlines signs firm orders for up to 27 E-Jets


Japan Airlines, which currently operates 15 E170s through its regional subsidiary J-Air, has placed firm orders with Embraer S.A. for an additional 15 E-Jets as well as 12 E-Jets family options.
 
JAL’s 15 new jets will be a mixture of Embraer’s 170 and 190 models. President of Japan Airlines Yoshiharu Ueki explained, “Having the combination of E170s and E190s in our fleet will give us greater flexibility, enabling us to match capacity with demand on routes within our existing and future networks.”
 
Ueki continued, “We have been operating our E-Jets for five years and the aircraft have achieved an outstanding 99.7% dispatch reliability.”
 
“It is a reaffirmation of the family concept to see the E190 complementing the E170 fleet also in Japan, enhancing J-Air’s operations, and delivering a seamless passenger experience across its network,” added Paulo Cesar Silva, president and CEO of Embraer Commercial Aviation. “The airline will benefit from the high level of commonality between the two E-Jet types.”
 
Also operated through J-Air, JAL’s new E-Jets will be based at Osaka’s Itami Airport, with delivery scheduled from 2015. 
 
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News : flydubai launches 3 new East African routes

flydubai launches 3 new East African routes


With the introduction of three new services to East Africa – Bujumbura in Burundi, Entebbe in Uganda and Kigali in Rwanda – flydubai will have reached a total of 80 destinations.
 
Flydubai’s CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith commented, “We are delighted to announce the launch of three new East African destinations which also sees flydubai become the first national carrier from the UAE to fly to Rwanda and Burundi, underlining our commitment to opening up underserved markets.”
 
In addition to operating between Dubai and these three new cities, flydubai has also obtained the rights to carry passengers between Uganda and Burundi.
 
The new routes, which will begin operation in September, expand upon flydubai’s already significant presence in Africa. The airline currently already conducts flights between Dubai and Alexandria in Egypt, Khartoum and Port Sudan in Sudan, Juba in South Sudan, Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa and Djibouti’s capital Djibouti.
 
Al Ghaith continued, “We have announced 17 new destinations since the start of 2014, matching the total number of destinations flydubai launched last year. We look forward to continuing to expand our network as we remain committed to supporting Dubai’s trade and tourism sectors.” 
 
Flydubai has also confirmed that passengers flying between Dubai and Burundi will have access to a Business Class cabin for the first time.
 
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News : NokAir takes delivery of Bombardier Q400 NextGen aircraft

NokAir takes delivery of Bombardier Q400 NextGen aircraft


The first of NokAir’s six firm orders for Bombardier’s Q400 NextGen aircraft has been delivered.
 
NokAir is the launch customer for the Q400 NextGen aircraft with an extra capacity seating configuration. The jet is currently the only commercial turboprop available today to offer 86 seats.
 
“We are confident that Nok Air will successfully showcase the flexibility and adaptability of the extra capacity Q400 NextGen aircraft as it makes point-to-point regional air service more accessible to an increased number of travellers in the region,” claimed Frank Baistrocchi, Asia Pacific’s regional VP of sales for Bombardier Commercial Aircraft.
 
CEO of Nok Air Patee Sarasin added, “We always aim to lead through continuous innovation to offer our passengers an unsurpassed experience, and our new Q400 NextGen aircraft will enable us to serve more passengers comfortably and conveniently, as well as expand to new destinations profitably.”

NokAir still possesses two additional purchase rights from the original contract, which brings the airline’s potential number of Q400 NextGen aircraft to eight in total. 
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News : JAL plans to order 32 Mitsubishi Regional Jets

JAL plans to order 32 Mitsubishi Regional Jets


Japan Airlines (JAL) has revealed that the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) is to become the core aircraft on JAL’s regional routes.
 
JAL has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation to order 32 MRJs. The new aircraft, which will see delivery from 2021, will be operated on domestic routes by JAL’s regional airline subsidiary, J-AIR.
 
Equipped with a newly-developed Pratt & Whitney PurePower engine, it’s hoped the MRJ will achieve lower operating costs than current regional jets .

JAL has expressed its intent to provide comprehensive support to the Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation for the launch of the MRJ.
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News : fastjet takes steps towards launching Kenyan base

fastjet takes steps towards launching Kenyan base


fastjet Kenya has submitted an Air Service Licence (ASL) application to the Kenyan Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA). 
 
The KCAA has indicated that fastjet Kenya’s application will be published almost immediately, with a decision set to be made on its ASL after a public hearing taking place in approximately three weeks.
 
This is fastjet Kenya’s next step towards obtaining a full Air Operating Certificate, which would allow the airline to commence both domestic and international flights within and from Kenya respectively.
 
The ASL application required fastjet Kenya to submit an in-depth business plan detailing its proposed operation, network, aircraft specification, operational plan and commercial strategy.
 
“We are excited at the prospect of extending the footprint of the fastjet operation through greater penetration of the African market with a Kenyan-based airline,” commented Ed Winter, CEO of fastjet. “This is in addition to the application for fastjet Tanzania to operate services into Kenya from Tanzania.  The process for designation of fastjet Tanzania is ongoing."
 
51% of fastjet Kenya is owned by a Kenyan national in order to comply with Kenya’s rules on airline ownership, whilst the remaining 49% of the airline belongs to fastjet plc.
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News : Aegean expands fleet with 7 new aircraft

Aegean expands fleet with 7 new aircraft


Aegean Airlines (Aegean) has announced it expects accelerated delivery of 5 Airbus A320s alongside a new order for 2 Airbus A320ceos.
 
The 7 new aircraft, which are scheduled to be delivered between June 2015 and the beginning of 2016, will be the airline’s first A320s. Aegean hope the aircraft’s increased take-off weight capacity of 78 tons will allow for the expansion of the airline’s flight range and offer potential for the enlargement of the Aegean network.
 
The original order for the 5 A320s had previously been deferred by Aegean due to the crisis in Greece, but the airline is citing a slow return to stability as a good time to upgrade and expand.
 
Chairman of Aegean Theodoros Vassilakis stated, “Aegean’s decision to take delivery of 7 new Airbus A320s shows its commitment to invest once more in the ongoing qualitative growth of the aviation sector in the country.”
 
Aegean's new A320 aircraft will be powered by IAE V2500 engines and equipped with fuel saving ‘sharklet’ wing tips. 
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