Archive for July, 2011
AirAsia and ANA have formed a joint venture to launch a low-cost carrier next year in a move set to revolutionise the Japanese low-cost sector.
ANA will have a 51% share in the new entity (and 67% of voting rights) with the first flight due next August. It will be based at Tokyo’s Narita Airport and operate under the AirAsia Japan name.
ANA has been looking at the possibility of launching its own low-cost carrier for a number of years now, and has clearly decided to make use of AirAsia’s expertise. This is the first time that AirAsia has formed a joint venture with another airline.
Shinichiro Ito, President and CEO of ANA said, “We believe that AirAsia Japan will make air travel more accessible and provide a convenient and efficient travel option for a wide range of people.”
Tony Fernandes, Group CEO of AirAsia said, “This new joint venture is an important milestone in AirAsia’s growth as ANA is the very first airline partner to form a joint venture with AirAsia.”
AirAsia placed an order for 200 Airbus A320neo jets at the Paris Air Show and is clearly putting pressure on rivals JetStar and troubled Tiger Airways not to be left behind in terms of scale.
Singapore Airlines has selected the Boeing 777-200 for its low-cost fleet, cannibalising aircraft from the mainline aircraft fleet.
SIA says that aircraft will “initially” be acquired from parent company Singapore Airlines, which has 35 777-200ERs in its fleet, and reconfigured in a new seating layout.
Most Asian long-haul low-cost operators have gone for a two-class configuration that could provide around 400 seats on the 777.200ER.
The decision means that the three Asian budget long-haul operators will have a mix of different aircraft types. AirAsia X is basing its fleet around the Airbus A330 (mainly -300s) and the A350, while JetStar is positioning its fleet around the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
The fact that SIA says its fleet will “initially” be based around the 777-200ER suggests that if the venture proves successful it may well be in the market for new aircraft, opening up the possibility of orders for either the A350 or 787.
Cannibalising existing aircraft from the SIA fleet also minimises the risk and costs for the parent company, should things not work out.
SIA said, “The 777-200’s proven versatility and reliability are key deciding factors in the selection of the aircraft.” The 777 family of aircraft has been in the SIA fleet since 1997.
Campbell Wilson, chief executive officer of the new airline, said: “The selection of the initial fleet marks another milestone in the establishment of the new airline. The process is progressing well for our launch next year.”
Alliance Airlines is to expand its maintenance capability at Adelaide as it bases a jet aircraft, a Fokker 100, in the Australian city for the first time.
The expansion will make Adelaide the charter operators second national maintenance base after Brisbane. Alliance mainly caters for resource industries but has expanded into tourism.
The airline, which already uses Adelaide to conduct line maintenance and heavy engineering on its fleet of 50-seat Fokker 50 turboprop aircraft, will broaden its activities to include major maintenance on 100-seat Fokker 100 and 75-seat Fokker 70 jet airliners.
Another 10 engineers will be hired by Alliance to provide added maintenance capability in Adelaide, taking to 84 the number of staff employed by the airline in the South Australian capital. Two Fokker 100 aircraft will arrive in Adelaide from Europe in early August to undergo major maintenance checks prior to entry into service on the airline’s growing national network.
In the fourth quarter of this year, Alliance will permanently base a Fokker 100 in the city – the first time it has based jet aircraft in South Australia – to help support current and future customers with contract and charter flights.
The airline has also expanded into tourism, entering agreements with several major travel companies to fly holidaymakers on charter flights from around Australia to key South Australian tourist destinations including Kangaroo Island, the Flinders Ranges, Lake Eyre and Coober Pedy.
“Since we opened our Adelaide base in 2007, it has become increasingly important to us as both a maintenance and operations hub for our Fokker 50 fleet,” said Alliance Airlines managing director, Scott McMillan. “We started in South Australia with two Fokker 50 aircraft and 18 staff, but have grown in a relatively short space of time to five F50s and 74 staff – and we will continue to expand.
“Our national operations have increased so substantially that our core maintenance facility in Brisbane will soon be fully utilised, and we need to establish a second major base to support our growing fleet of jets, which recently increased from 16 to 20,” Mr McMillan said.
“Adelaide is the natural choice at this time in our development, having already grown into a significant technical support centre for our turboprop aircraft,” he said.
“We are close to securing regulatory approval to expand our Adelaide capabilities to include jet maintenance, and will advertise nationally this week for 10 more aircraft engineers.”
In addition to the new roles created directly by Alliance, Mr McMillan said the airline’s continued expansion in Adelaide would create opportunities for local suppliers, as well as new opportunities for skilled workers in the Australian aviation industry. He said the airline’s continued investment in Adelaide was also a strong vote of confidence in the economic outlook for South Australia.
Alliance operates, or has acquired, a total fleet of 18 Fokker 100 jets, two Fokker 70 jets and five Fokker 50 turboprops, for contract and charter operations within Australia and beyond on regional international routes. For more information about Alliance Airlines visit
Laos Airlines is to launch services to Singapore and has also recently started flying to Xishuangbanna, China from its main hub at Vientianne’s Wattay international Airport.
The Singapore route will provide what is currently the only direct service between Laos and Singapore – none of the city state’s low cost carriers or Singapore Airline’s subsidiary Silkair serve this route.
The Singapore service will operate three times weekly on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday during its winter season starting from the beginning of November this year, It will be operated by an Airbus A319 – the first Airbus aircraft in the Laos Airlines fleet.
The service to Xishuangbanna in neighbouring Yunnan Province, China, started at the beginning of July. The service to Xishuangbanna Gasa International Airport (formerly known as Jinghong International Airport, which opened in 1990) will operate twice a week on Fridays and Sundays, using an ATR 72-500.
This is the second Chinese service – the carrier also serves Kunming.
Aviation upport and aftermarket services provider BBA Aviation has appointed announces David Best as president, Asia Pacific. He will take up the position at teh beginning of next year and will be based in Singapore.
The company says that Best will be responsible for the strategic development of BBA Aviation and its businesses in Asia Pacific and for its existing operations in the region, working closely with the divisional management teams on the timely and effective delivery of BBA Aviation’s services and products to this growing market.
David joined Signature Flight Support (a BBA Aviation company) in 2004 as managing director, EMEA where he managed the development of Signature’s European FBO network. He was promoted to the role of Chief Commercial Officer in 2009 where he formed the commercial team consisting of sales, marketing, revenue management and brand extension. David has overseen the design and the implementation of Signature’s ‘go to market’ initiatives including Signature Status. He is a graduate of the University of Strathclyde where he earned his MBA and is a member of the Institute of Directors.