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.
Corporate Travel News For Europe/MEA
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'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 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 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]
flyadeal aims to commence international services by mid 2018, following the planned launch of domestic operations on 23-Sep-2017 (Reuters/Arab News, 24/25-Aug-2017). CEO Con Korfiatis said: "We see enormous opportunity to offer more choice particularly out of another base" and added: "We saw the low fares airline space as a white space for us to grow into. We are primarily looking to come in and stimulate rather than have to survive on taking from anybody else". The airline will target young travellers, with around half of Saudi Arabia's population estimated to be younger than 25. Mr Korfiatis said: "Saudi Arabia and the region have a very young and digitally savvy population that has an increasing thirst for low fare travel domestically and across the region" and commented: "That's the demographic that's the future of this airline".
Global Ghana Airlines, via its official Facebook account, stated (18-Aug-2017) it plans to commence nonstop Chicago O'Hare-Accra service on 01-Nov-2017. According to its official website, the airline was founded in 2016 and intends to operate daily Accra service.
Norwegian Group announced plans to test the feasibility of operating the Boeing 737 MAX on trans Atlantic services between Cork to Stewart once "we learn more about the aircraft's operational capabilities" (Irish Examiner, 24-Aug-2017). As previously reported by CAPA, CEO Bjørn Kjos is concerned a fully loaded 737 MAX might not be able to take off from Cork Airport's 2133m runway, however he is hoping the aircraft will perform better than projections. The carrier is currently operating two 737 MAXs on "selected transatlantic routes from Dublin and Edinburgh" and is awaiting approval to operate the other four 737 MAXs.
India's Ambassador to Portugal Nandini Singla stressed (22-Aug-2017) the need to improve tourism ties between Goa and Portugal. She also informed Goa Tourism that she would be initiating talks with Air India to explore possibilities of direct service from Lisbon to India, subject to commercial viability. [more - original PR]
Qantas Airways Group announced (25-Aug-2017) it is investigating nonstop services from the east coast of Australia to London and New York by 2022. The carrier stated a "challenge has been given to Airbus and Boeing to give their next generation aircraft currently under development - the A350ULR for Airbus and Boeing's 777X - the range to make these nonstop flights possible with a full passenger load". Qantas stated a nonstop service would cut total journey time by up to four hours for Sydney-London and almost three hours for Melbourne-New York. Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce commented that the carrier's planned Perth-London service, due to commence in Mar-2017 "is a huge leap forward" and the airline believes that "advances in technology in the next few years will make Sydney to London direct a possibility and Qantas is well placed to be the airline to do it". Mr Joyce cautioned that "any aircraft purchase would have to meet strict financial thresholds", but believes direct services "would be revolutionary for air travel in Australia." [more - original PR]