Oman Airports Management Company (OAMC) announced (20-Aug-2017) plans to introduce a new baggage policy across its major airports, including Muscat, Salalah and Suhar, effective 01-Sep-2017. Passengers will no longer be allowed to check in round and irregular shaped luggage such as items wrapped in blankets, linen or tied with rope. This change is applicable to all passengers regardless of carrier, cabin class or destination. OAMC is currently working with all airlines, travel agencies as well as tourism websites to ensure that this policy is clearly communicated to all travelers to and from Oman. [more - original PR - English/Arabic]
News for Europe/MEA
Samoa's Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi confirmed an operating budget for Samoa Airways has been set and "tabled with the board" and it is maintaining a 12-Nov-2017 target for launch of service (Samoa Observer, 18-Aug-2017). The carrier has set Auckland, Sydney and Brisbane as initial routes, leased a Boeing 737 from IcelandAir and plans to expand to larger aircraft in the future.
Ryanair advised (18-Aug-2017) passengers to comply fully with its cabin bag rules, which the carrier said are "being repeatedly flouted", resulting in boarding delays during the peak summer season. Ryanair CMO Kenny Jacobs said: "Many customers are repeatedly exceeding our cabin baggage allowance and we will be left with no choice but to review our policy should this practice continue". [more - original PR] [more - original PR - French]
Delta Air Lines announced (20-Aug-2017) plans to launch three times weekly New York JFK-Lagos service on 24-Mar-2018, complementing four times weekly Atlanta-Lagos service. The carrier will deploy A330-200 aircraft on the route. SVP for trans atlantic Dwight James noted: "Nigeria has been a strategically important market for Delta over the past 10 years and is a mainstay in our African network. As we look ahead to the next decade, we are improving the product offering with the A330 and increasing the number of seats from Lagos". Arik Air previously operated the route in early 2017, according to OAG. [more - original PR]
Kuwait Airways chairman Sami Al-Rasheed said the airline aims to increase market share in Kuwait from 35% to 50%, modernise its fleet and expand its network over the next five years (aviator.aero, 16-Aug-2017). The airline expects to require government support until it breaks even in 2021. The carrier retired four aircraft in Aug-2017 and intends to take delivery of one Boeing 777-300ER, ending the month with 25 aircraft. The airline plans to commence Taif service in Nov-2017 and is considering destinations in East Asia, Europe and the US.
Royal Air Maroc plans to commence three times weekly Casablanca-N'Djamena-Nairobi service with Boeing 737-800 equipment on 11-Oct-2017, replacing three times weekly nonstop Casablanca-Nairobi service operated with 767-300ER equipment (Airline Route, 17-Aug-2017). The airline does not hold local traffic rights between N'Djamena and Nairobi. The carrier also operates three times weekly Casablanca-N'Djamena service. The airline's Casablanca-Nairobi service is the only nonstop connection between Morocco and Kenya, according to OAG.
Armenia's General Department of Civil Aviation (GDCA) director Sergey Avetisyan stated Armenia will meet with China in autumn 2017 to discuss the issue of organising direct services between the nations (Armenpress, 17-Aug-2017). He said: "In autumn I will visit China and expect to sign new inter-state agreement. I plan to have meetings with the representatives of Chinese airlines to discuss the possibility to operate Armenia-China flight. If we successfully pass this stage, we don't rule out anything".
Counter Intelligence Retail reported (16-Aug-2017) scheduled operators on Russia-Turkey routes are looking to take advantage of demand with seat capacity to double year-on-year in 2017. Istanbul Ataturk is expected to remain the key destination for traffic from Russia while Antalya could see triple digit growth in seat capacity in 2017. Dalaman and Gazipasa airports will also see a return of traffic from Russia. [more - original PR]
Germany's Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure Alexander Dobrindt stated it is "imperative" that Deutsche Lufthansa AG be "able to take over significant parts of airberlin" (Rheinische Post/focus.de/Reuters/AFP/Sueddeutsche Zeitung, 17-Aug-2017). Mr Dobrindt said: "We need a German champion in international air transport... We are in... a European and international market environment, so monopoly can no longer be viewed by single regional sites". Lufthansa is reportedly aiming to acquire around 90 of airberlin Group's fleet of 140 aircraft, which would be allotted to Eurowings. Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr reportedly presented the acquisition idea to the carrier's supervisory board, while the 90 aircraft would include the 38 aircraft Lufthansa is already leasing from airberlin and NIKI.
Garuda Indonesia and Saudia plan to expand their codeshare network in 2H2017 to include Garuda's Jakarta-Makassar, Jakarta-Medan and Jakarta-Surabaya services and Saudia's Madinah-Riyadh-Jakarta, Jeddah-Bahrain, Jeddah-Cairo, Jeddah-Casablanca, Jeddah-Dammam, Jeddah-Madinah, Jeddah-Madrid, Jeddah-Qassim, Jeddah-Riyadh, Jeddah-Tabuk and Riyadh-Jakarta services (Airline Route, 17-Aug-2017). Garuda has 27 codeshare partners and Saudia has 11, according to OAG.