Vule Airways MD Robert Mwesigwa Nviiri said the airline intends to commence operations with six aircraft and aims to serve more than 20 destinations from its Entebbe hub, including "major airports" in East African Community states, Southern Africa, Dubai, Guangzhou, London, Moscow and Tel Aviv (The Independent, 28-Aug-2017). The airline is negotiating codeshare agreements with other carriers and also aims to attract cargo traffic, particularly exports from Uganda. The airline reportedly aims to break even in 2020/21 and be profitable from 2021/22. The carrier is awaiting approval from Uganda's Civil Aviation Authority to commence operations in Nov-2017.
News for Europe/MEA
Ireland West Airport Knock three year transformation programme to commence in winter 2017/2018
Ireland West Airport Knock announced (28-Aug-2017) the airport's EUR15 million three year transformation programme will commence in winter 2017/2018. Upgrades include new passenger facilities and infrastructural works across the airport and runway. The airport will also complete a EUR4 million upgrade of infrastructural projects to improve operational efficiency by year ending 2017. [more - original PR]
Qatar Airways: 'India is a big market...we will definitely start operations there'
Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker stated the carrier is firm on plans to launch an airline in India despite facing business challenges because of sanctions imposed on Qatar by some Gulf countries (The Hindu, 28-Aug-2017). "India is a big market and we will definitely start operations there", he said. He however said the carrier has no interest in Air India as "we want to launch our own airline". Mr Al Baker accused some carriers in India of trying to block Qatar Airways from its plan but hoped the "Indian government will not favour them only". "We will overcome this opposition because travellers in India deserve more", he said, citing the government's business friendly policies.
Wizz Air launches five new Kiev routes and adds second aircraft to base
Wizz Air launched (28-Aug-2017) five new routes from Kiev Zhuliany International Airport and added a second A320 aircraft to the base. New routes include:
- Kiev Zhuliany-Copenhagen: Three times weekly;
- Kiev Zhuliany-Lublin: Twice weekly;
- Kiev Zhuliany-Frankfurt Hahn: Three times weekly;
- Kiev Zhuliany-Poznan: Twice weekly;
- Kiev Zhuliany-Nuremburg: Twice weekly.
Wizz Air communications manager Sorina Ratz said: "This year only, we have expanded the Ukrainian network with eight new services and grew our capacity by 65%. In 2018, WIZZ's investment in the country will be almost USD300 million, with a third allocated aircraft and more than 1.5 million seats offered on 23 routes from Kiev and Lviv, showing a remarkable 97% growth year-on-year". [more - original PR]
Modlin Airport expecting 2.9m pax in 2017, construction could 'double the capacity' of terminal
Warsaw Modlin Airport forecast it will handle around 2.9 million passengers for 2017 (rynek-lotniczy.pl, 25-Aug-2017). As previously reported by CAPA, the airport's EUR11.8 million development aspirations include modernisation of taxiways, expansion of the departures section and its eastern wing, and a new hotel. Modlin Airport CEO Leszek Chorzewski said: "We want to double the capacity of the terminal, we could do it in 2-2.5 years, but would operate on a different system than before, would create integrated shopping zones".
Air Mauritius outlines initial A350 deployment from Oct-2017
Air Mauritius plans to introduce A350-900 equipment on Mauritius-Johannesburg service, effective 19-Oct-2017, Mauritius-London Heathrow service, effective 04-Nov-2017 to 15-Nov-2017, and Mauritius-Paris CDG service, effective 01-Dec-2017 (Airline Route, 27-Aug-2017). As previously reported by CAPA, the airline will receive its first two A350s in Oct-2017 and Nov-2017.
South Africa needs a state owned airline, SAA 'can be run on a sound basis': Finance Minister
South Africa's Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba said South African Airways (SAA) has "many inefficiencies" but "can be run on a sound basis" (moneyweb.co.za, 28-Aug-2017). Mr Gigaba cited forensic reports which indicate that "altering inefficient contracts" could improve profitability by ZAR1.5 billion (USD115 million) to ZAR2 billion (USD153 million) p/a. Mr Gigaba said: "We also need proper management, and a sound board. We need to have a strategic equity partner. All of these things put together will make it a sound airline". He also commented: "We do need a state-owned airline. We need to guarantee air travel for tourism and investors to our country. The best way to do that is to have an airline".
Armenia and Turkmenistan sign agreement, consider launch of nonstop service
Armenia's President Serzh Sargsyan and Turkmenistan's President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov signed (24-Aug-2017) a tourism cooperation agreement. Armenia and Turkmenistan confirmed their readiness for joint development of projects in the field of transport and tourism. The parties expressed support for the establishment of a regular, nonstop air service between the countries. The parties also agreed to consider intensifying bilateral cooperation in this area and explore opportunities to create the most favourable conditions for tourists and business people, especially in regards to the improvement of the regulatory and legal framework, which streamlines tourism and business travel. [more - original PR]
TUI Group CEO reiterates need for airline consolidation in Europe
TUI Group CEO Fritz Joussen reiterated the need for airline consolidation in Europe (The Telegraph, 27-Aug-2017). "I think in time there will be exits of competitors in Europe and we just need to take care of how those exits are managed", he said. On airberlin, Mr Joussen stated the carrier's insolvency "is not a bad thing... But we are looking at it through the lens of our people and customers".
Sweden's Government grants five airlines permits to operate domestic services
Sweden's Transport Agency granted (25-Aug-2017) Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA, SAS, Sparrow Aviation, Högkusten Flyg AB and BRA - Braathens Regional Airlines permits to operate domestic services. The permits may be extended for a maximum of 24 months. [more - original PR]