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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.


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.


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

India may urge airlines to boycott EU carbon scheme

21 March 2012

India will urge its airlines to boycott the European Union’s carbon charge scheme, raising the prospect of a global trade war over an EU law requiring flights in and out of Europe to pay for their greenhouse gas emissions.

China said in February its airlines were barred from participating in the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS) unless they got government approval. Beijing has also suspended the purchase of $14bn worth of jets from European maker Airbus. India does not yet plan to ask airlines to cancel Airbus purchases, but that is possible if the dispute escalates, the Indian official said.

If the European commission then stopped Indian airlines from flying to Europe, India would retaliate with similar moves and consider charging an “unreasonable” amount for flying over India, the official said. “We have lots of measures to take if the EU does not go back on its demands. We have the power of the economy; we are not bleeding as they are,” the government official said, adding that Europe’s position would harm its own economy and airlines.


IATA downgrades 2012 airline industry outlook due to rising oil prices

21 March 2012

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced a downgrade to its industry outlook for 2012 primarily due to rising oil prices. IATA expects airlines to turn a global profit of $3.0 billion in 2012 for a 0.5% margin. This $500 million downgrade from the December forecast is primarily driven by a rise in the expected average price of oil to $115 per barrel, up from the previously forecast $99. Several factors prevented a more significant downgrade: (1) the avoidance of a significant worsening of the Eurozone crisis, (2) improvement in the US economy, (3) cargo market stabilization and (4) slower than expected capacity expansion.


TripAdvisor under fire for new ratings system

18 March 2012

TripAdvisor is coming under fire again, this time for a new ratings system.

The new scoring system has been criticised by reputation management company KwikChex, which argues that it will produce even more mistrust and distortion.

It claims in the last 24 hours it has been inundated with concerns about the new ratings systems.

They are coming from many who have always supported TripAdvisor, including consumers,” said chief executive Chris Emmins.


Olympics-Airlines warn of Olympic chaos at London airports

18 March 2012

The heads of four leading airlines have warned the British government there could be chaos at London’s airports during this summer’s Olympic Games, which would cause major embarrassment to the country unless a deal can be reached over their concerns.

In a blunt letter to transport chiefs, British Airways , bmi, Virgin Atlantic and Easyjet said time was running out to tackle the expected surge in air traffic and its impact.

Failure to address their concerns could bring misery to millions of regular travellers and those coming to London for the world’s biggest sporting event, the airlines argue.

Britain, already the sixth most visited country in the world, anticipates an additional 700,000 international travellers during the Olympics, which begin on July 27.

source: Reuters

Airline industry raises heat over EU scheme

16 March 2012

Airbus and a group of European airlines issued another warning that the European Commission faces sparking a trade war after extending its emission trading scheme to the global industry.

The plane maker had said that China has frozen some jet deals because of the scheme, and spearheaded a new warning to political leaders that more retaliation is imminent unless the European Union backs down and pursues a compromise.

International disquiet with the EU’s unilateral imposition of charges for aircraft carbon dioxide has drawn widespread threats of retaliation, though to date the only hard-line response has been Airbus’s recent claim that China suspended final approval of a $12 billion aircraft order placed last year.


US Airlines making overhead bins bigger

12 March 2012

Packed planes and a high volume of carry-ons are forcing airlines to expand the space above passengers’ heads. United and Delta are the latest airlines to replace or upgrade bins so they hold more luggage. And engineers at Boeing are designing jet interiors with today’s bulkier luggage in mind.

It’s a chance to placate passengers who feel like they’re thrown into a roller derby every time they board a plane. Because of fees on checked bags, more passengers are bringing carry-ons, which are growing in size. And with planes more crowded than ever, bins fill up before all passengers have reached their seats. Travelers fight physics and one another to shove one more bag overhead. Or they’re forced to check luggage at the gate.


U.S.: Airline passenger growth limited by economy until 2015

10 March 2012

A sluggish economy and higher fuel prices will hold down airline growth until 2015, according to a U.S. Federal Aviation Administration forecast.

The number of fliers will reach 800 million in 2015 and 1 billion in 2024, according to the FAA. The agency in 2011 had predicted the industry would reach the 1 billion level three years earlier. The FAA uses the predictions to estimate staffing and equipment needs.

Revenue passenger miles, which take into account how many people fly as well as how far, are expected to increase faster than passenger totals alone, the FAA forecasts. The agency predicts an average annual increase of 3.2 percent in RPMs over the next 20 years, to 1.57 trillion by 2032 from 815 billion in 2011.

source: Bloomberg