Archive for October, 2007

Air India In Talks About Airbus A380

As AirlineWorld has reported earlier, India has merged its two national airlines earlier this year. The new merged Air India will be one of the largest airlines in Asia, and what would be a better way to represent this, than ordering a few Airbus A380 superjumbos?

AirlineWorld montage about possible Air India A380

According to ATW News, “Airbus CEO Tom Enders and CCO John Leahy told reporters yesterday at a press conference in New Delhi that the manufacturer is in talks with Air India regarding a potential A380 order. “We are in discussions with Air India now and we think they would need about 10-12 A380 aircraft as soon as we can deliver them,” Leahy said, according to multiple media reports. He said delivery could take place by 2011 if an order is placed soon. Enders added that it was “not an accident” that he traveled to India with Leahy. “India is one of the most important growing markets for us,” he said. AI said no decision has been made about a possible order.”

by balint01

New Runway In Beijing (Peking) For The Olympics

Beijing Olympics logo

Beijing is now ready to handle the increased traffic for the 2008 summer Olympics. A new runway was opened yesterday that is 3,8 km long and 60 m wide. Even the A380 is able to take off and land on it. Today Beijing airport manages 1100 operations (take-offs and landings) daily. This number is expected to increase to 1900 during the Olympic games.

Baijing Airport today

The next step of increasing the airport’s capacity will take place in February 2008 when the new terminal designed by British star architect Norman Foster will be opened for traffic. The new terminal will be one of the biggest airport terminal buildings in the world and with this additional building, Beijing will be able to handle 60 million passengers instead of the present 35 million yearly. The investment costs EUR 1,9 billion, but it is definately necessary for this mega sport event, where 500 thousand tourists are expected in August 2008.

By Szafi

SAS Stops Q 400 Operation And Replaces Them

Following the recent period of events involving aircraft of the Dash 8 Q400 type, SAS’s management, following an unscheduled meeting of the Board of Directors held today, has decided to immediately discontinue the use of this type of aircraft.

“Confidence in the Q400 has diminished considerably and our customers are becoming increasingly doubtful about flying in this type of aircraft. Accordingly, with the Board of Directors’ approval, I have decided to immediately remove Dash 8 Q400 aircraft from service,” says Mats Jansson, President and Chief Executive Officer of SAS.
In January 2000, SAS was the first customer to use the Dash 8 Q400 in its traffic operations. The aircraft have accounted for approximately 5 percent of the Group’s passengers. The aim is to replace traffic based on the Q400 by reallocating current aircraft in the SAS Group’s fleet and by means of leasing.

“The Dash 8 Q400 has given rise to repeated quality-related problems and we can now conclude that the aircraft does not match our passengers’ requirements concerning punctuality and regularity. SAS’s flight operations have always enjoyed an excellent reputation and there is a risk that use of the Dash 8 Q400 could eventually damage the SAS brand,” says John
Dueholm, Deputy CEO of SAS.

In total 27 aircraft of SAS Group fleet of 303 aircraft are affected, accounting for approx 5% of total aircraft seat capacity.
SAS Group will do everything possible to mitigate the negative consequences for the passengers. Short and medium term SAS will take the following actions to handle the replacement of the Q400 fleet (with estimated time frame)

1. Review of network and reallocation of aircraft capacity within the SAS group (0-3 months)
2. External wet lease capacity (0-1 month)
3. External dry lease capacity (3-6 months)

In parallel, work has already been initiated how to replace the aircraft type long term. SAS expect to start to implement a long-term solution by second half of 2008.

An early estimate of the negative impact on the SAS Group result is around 300-400M SEK (USD 46 – 57 million) for the remaining part of the year. The estimate takes into account the above mentioned actions and lower seasonal demand in the coming months. It is based on revenue loss, fixed cost and negative feeder effects and comes in addition
to the effects communicated earlier.

Due to the decision, SAS’s traffic services will be affected by flight cancellations in the period immediately ahead. The customers concerned will be given an opportunity to either rebook or have their tickets refunded.

SAS press releases 28, 29 October 2007

By Szafi 

Copenhagen – Another Q400 Accident Again!

A plane carrying 46 people made an emergency landing at Copenhagen Airport in Denmark on Saturday, sliding onto its right wing after the landing gear collapsed, a police official said. No one was seriously injured in the accident, Copenhagen police spokesman Tommy Keil said. Prior to the accident, the pilots of the aircraft reported problems with its main landing gear, according to SAS.

The accident took place at 16:55 local time and the runway on which the aircraft landed — one of two at Copenhagen’s Kastrup Airport — was closed after it happened. The Q400 involved bore the registration number LN-RDI and was operating SAS flight number SK 2867 from Bergen to Copenhagen, the airline said.

See all details on

LN-RDI earlier while landing at Copenhagen - by

As AirlineWorld reported it earlier, there were similar crashes of the Bombardier Q400, when Bombardier together with FAA recommended all operating carriers the grounding of their Q400 fleet for a safety check. We even had a discussion with Mr Murray Cohen, a flight engineer and Bombardier’s spokesman about the accuracy of this check. Now I am wondering what might have happened during that safety check when not late after relaunching them the first accident happens.

By Szafi 

Amadeus Turns 20

amadeus logo  Amadues 20 Anniversary Logo

The largest European based GDS (Global Distribution System), Amadeus has just turned 20 years old a week ago, as it was officially established 21OCT1987 by four European Airlines: Iberia, Air France, Lufthansa and SAS. The four airlines wished to create a European GDS by merging their own computer reservation systems. The basis of the new GDS was System One, an existing US reservation system.

Within a year they have opened their headquarters in Madrid, Spain, their development center in Nice, France, and have started construction on the new Data Center, in Erding, Germany. In 1989 they have launched AmadeusPro to allow travel agents to book flights through neutral screens, while already 11 airlines were Amadeus users. One year later the Erding Data Center opened, which costed $200 million altogether, and was capable of handling 150 million transactions in the first year. 1991 saw 45.000 terminals being connected to Amadeus, while in 1992 the new Amadeus GDS was launched with the first PNR being booked for Mr. Wolfgang Amadeus. In the first year 70 million bookings were created. 1993 saw more than 10 million bookings each month, as well as 60% of European Travel Agencies were connected to 1A (1A is the two letter IATA code of Amadeus GDS). In 1994 Austrian Airlines joined the distribution system as the 100th airline selling through Amadeus. One year later Amadeus fully acquired System One from Continental Airlines, thus becoming the largest GDS in terms of travel agency locations. In 1996 was launched, while bookings topped 309 million. Only about 50% of old System One users accepted the forced migration to Amadeus. In 1997 Amadeus celebrated its 10 year anniversary, while serving 32% of the travel agency market worldwide, and the first Amadeus powered travel website was also launched by Icelandair.

In 1998, the first year of their second decade, they launched the SAP Travel Management tool, which is fully integrated with SAP’s finance and HR modules, and their data center handled one million transactions in a single day for the first time. By 1999, around 80 airlines and 3000 travel agencies rely on 1A e-commerce solutions, and this is the year, when 1A launches the world’s first neutral Electronic Ticketing solution: the Amadeus E-Ticket Server (ETS). In 2000 and 2001 Amadeus lays down the plans for the coming years, by starting development on Vista (a browser based version of their reservation system), on new Inventory and Departure Control Systems (for British Airways and Qantas as the first customers), as well as announcing the new Altéa Customer Management Solution. In 2003 the annual number of bookings passes the 400 million mark, while new airlines launch their websites based on 1A, among them bmi and Qantas. In 2005 Amadeus shifts its “identity” to become “Your Technology Partner”, and repositions itself as a leading Airline IT service provider. To support this change, they win a major contract to support the Star Alliance with a new Common IT Platform for all member airlines. Last year Amadeus handled 499 million bookings, and by 2007 they provide 192 airlines with their e-Ticketing. This year they have launched MoneyDirect as a Joint Venture with Sabre.

As the leading Airline IT provider, they provide the capacity for common shared access to flight reservations and frequent flyer information to nearly 150 airlines as Amadeus Altéa Reservation airlines (formerly known as System User). Current Amadeus Altéa Reservation customers include:

  • 6 of the 11 oneworld airlines (55%)
  • 13 of the 21 Star Alliance airlines (61%)
  • 3 of the 10 SkyTeam airlines (30%)

And with the Common IT Platform for Star, this number will raise in the future. As we can see, in the first 18 years Amadeus focused on the travel agencies (and seems like they have won on that front being the leader on the market), and now they start to focus on Airlines. If they are as successful on this market as with the travel agencies, they may be the largest player in this field as well, within the next few years. It looks like they have started down the right path to do that.

On the dedicated anniversary website you can find some more items besides the history of Amadeus, such as future plans, and thank you notes. They also added a fun “Personal Note for you” feature, with a personalized message, don’t miss that one, either!

We would also wish Amadeus a Happy 20th Birthday on behalf of AirlineWorld Blog!

by balint01

Friday Fun – Autumn Weather Report

 This coming weekend the airline world will switch to the “Winter Schedule” as it is called on the Northern Hemisphere. Every year this change also signals the beginning of the bad, autumn weather on this side of the globe, with cooler temperatures, rains and fog (which sometimes lead to delays). So such weather reports as the one in our Friday Fun cartoon will be more regular these days.

Autumn Weather Report

by balint01

Easyjet Acquires GB Airways

easyJet announced yesterday that it has agreed to acquire the entire issued share capital of GB Airways, excluding its slots at Heathrow Airport, from the Bland Group Limited, for a cash consideration of £103.5 million.

GB Airways is primarily a London Gatwick based point-to-point airline operating to destinations across Southern Europe and North Africa under a franchise agreement with British Airways. It serves 31 destinations and operates 15 Airbus aircraft (9 A320s and 6 A321s) with an average age of 4.1 years, which are complementary to the easyJet fleet of 107 A319s. In total it operates 39 routes – 28 from Gatwick, 6 from Manchester, 5 from Heathrow.

Based upon its statutory accounts under UK GAAP for the year ended 31 March 2007, GB Airways reported profit before tax of £2.6 million and EBITDAR of £35 million on revenues of £250 million; it carried 2.8 million passengers; had gross assets of £182 million and net assets of £33 million.

The acquisition of GB Airways is consistent with easyJet’s expansion strategy and, importantly, strengthens its customer offering at Gatwick, the airline’s biggest base which has a highly attractive catchment area in London and South East England. The purchase adds valuable take-off and landing slots at Gatwick and the opportunity to accelerate easyJet’s route development. Following the acquisition, easyJet will operate 24% of Gatwick’s slots and will fly approximately 8 million passengers across 62 routes from Gatwick.

By Winter 2008/09, GB Airways will be fully consolidated into the easyJet business model, releasing cost savings. The acquisition will be positive to easyJet’s earnings per share and return on equity in easyJet’s current financial year, before one-off integration costs. easyJet anticipates GB Airways’ seat profitability reaching a similar level to its own at Gatwick in the first full financial year of operation.

My only comment to this press release is that the key part of this acquisition is the Gatwick slots as it appears  in the press release that I bolded.

By Szafi

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