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News of March 2012


In New York, airplane phone calls could land you in court

29 March 2012

Refusing to turn off a cell phone or laptop during takeoff from a New York area airport could soon land airline passengers a one-way ticket to court.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said on Tuesday it is exploring suing the worst offenders who fail to comply with guidelines for turning off electronic devices on the runway and sometimes cause costly and annoying delays.

The issue got national attention last year after actor Alec Baldwin was kicked off an American Airlines flight for repeatedly refusing to stop playing a game on his phone as his plane prepared to depart from Los Angeles.

source: Reuters


Emirates expects more airlines to go under

28 March 2012

Emirates said more carriers will go bust this year as fuel costs and sluggish economies undermine profitability.

Airline profits will plunge 62 per cent in 2012 to $3 billion, equal to a 0.5 per cent margin on sales, as oil prices rise, the International Air Transport Association said this week. Emirates’s fuel bill accounts for 45 per cent of costs and may jump by an “incredibly challenging” $1.7 billion in the year ending March 31.

Emirates president said some private airlines will need to be bailed out by governments in the countries where they’re based, though that will raise aid issues with the European Union and other parties.

In the United States, more filings for Chapter 11 protection are likely, while smaller carriers operating in the Indian Ocean region and in Africa face “difficulties,” the executive said.

source: gulfnews.com


Spanish new low-cost airline Iberia Express launched

28 March 2012

Spain’s Iberia has launched a new entry in Europe’s competitive market for low-cost airlines.

Iberia Express will cover Spanish cities including Madrid and the islands such as Ibiza, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote.

he low-cost Iberia Express has 500 staff and has a fleet of four Airbus A320 aircraft, according to Iberia Express chief executive Luis Gallego.

source: BBC.co.uk


Fiji takes control of national airline from Qantas

28 March 2012

Fiji’s military government says it is taking control of the country’s national carrier Air Pacific from Australian company Qantas.

Fiji already owns a majority stake in the airline, holding 51 percent of it while Qantas owns 46.3 percent. But Fijian Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said Qantas since 1998 has exercised effective control over the carrier because Qantas-appointed board members enjoy supermajority and veto rights.

source: seattlepi.com


EU and Israel reach comprehensive aviation deal

26 March 2012

The European Union (EU) announced last week that it has finalized negotiations on a comprehensive aviation agreement with Israel.

Following eight rounds of negotiations since December 2008, the two sides have agreed to develop a common aviation area between Israel and the EU based on common rules. According to the agreement, all EU airlines will be able to operate direct flights to Israel from anywhere in the EU and Israeli carriers will be able to operate flights to airports throughout the EU.

The EU–Israel air transport market will be opened gradually so that by the start of the summer season in 2017, the market will be fully open with no restrictions on the number of weekly flights between Israel and the EU.

source: minews26.com


FAA to investigate ban on in-flight electronics

25 March 2012

The US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) is to open an investigation into the use of electronics on board commercial flights, bringing hope that the current ban on the use of gadgets during landing and take-off could be overturned.

As anyone who has flown on a commercial flight will know, passengers are asked to switch off all electronic devices during landing and takeoff while those without radio transmission capabilities – including smartphones switched into ‘flight mode’ – can be used during cruising.

In the last few years, however, the sheer volume of electronic devices carried by passengers has exploded. As well as the aforementioned smartphone, devices which distract passengers from the horrors of economy-class travel include MP3 players, multimedia players, tablets, eReaders, laptops, netbooks and more.

While the FAA is only able to mandate rules for flights above US soil, its rules are monitored closely by equivalent organisations in other countries.

source: expertreviews.co.uk


Spanish new low-cost airline Iberia Express launched

25 March 2012

Spain’s Iberia has launched a new entry in Europe’s competitive market for low-cost airlines.

The new airline, Iberia Express, begins on Sunday with prices starting at 25 euros (£21) for a one-way ticket.

Iberia Express will cover Spanish cities including Madrid and the islands such as Ibiza, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote.

The launch comes after Spain’s fourth-largest airline Spanair collapsed in January, stranding 20,000 passengers.

source: BBC.co.uk


Air Canada plane servicer shuts Canada operations

23 March 2012

The company that services planes for Canada’s biggest airline ceased Canadian operations and fired its workers on Tuesday, a new headache for an airline already facing arbitration over two labour disputes.

Aveos was once the in-house maintenance division at Air Canada and many of its 2,600 employees in Canada previously worked for the airline, some of them very recently.

It obtained bankruptcy protection on Monday, laid off workers in its airframe division and blamed Air Canada, its principal customer, for a liquidity crisis.

source: Reuters


Ryanair investigated over £10 charge for exit seats

22 March 2012

The seats are popular with travellers as they provide additional leg room, which in turn has encouraged Ryanair to charge passengers for the privilege of sitting there. Fliers occupying those seats are also expected to follow directions and – if necessary – open the doors in the event of an emergency.

However, due to some passengers refusing to pay the extra charge, many Ryanair flights have taken off with those seats vacant. In those cases, passengers in the surrounding rows, further from the exit, are asked to familiarise themselves with the evacuation procedure.

source: Telegraph.co.uk


Lufthansa may shut BMI if sale blocked

22 March 2012

Lufthansa AG is considering shutting down its loss-making British Midland Ltd. – known as BMI – if its sale to International Consolidated Airlines Group is held up by anti-trust authorities in Brussels.

The German airline agreed in December to sell BMI to IAG, the parent company of British Airways and Iberia, for a maximum GBP172.5 million. But the deal could be held up following Brussels’ rejection last week of concessions offered by IAG, which the competition regulator said were inadequate.

source: marketwatch.com