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".
Corporate Travel News For Europe/MEA
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.
airberlin CEO Thomas Winkelmann commented on parties interested in acquiring parts of the carrier, stating all three potential investors are "reputable in terms of their finances, sufficiently large to offer airberlin a secure future and are interested in keeping Germany as a base of operation" (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung/Reuters/focus.de/Bloomberg, 17-Aug-2017). Mr Winkelmann reportedly stated discussions include assets of NIKI. As previously reported by CAPA, Lufthansa confirmed acquisition discussions with airberlin, Thomas Cook Group said it is "standing ready to play an active role in the future" of airberlin, while easyJet is reportedly interested. TUI Group is another reportedly interested party. Mr Winkelmann said the airberlin Group is aiming for an agreement with two investors by the end of Sep-2017.
AFI KLM E&M director innovations James Kornberg confirmed trials of non-destructive testing eddy-current inspection technology at the company's Amsterdam engine unit (MRO Network, 16-Aug-2017). Mr Kornberg said efficiency increases through automation, made possible by the technology, "has resulted in a 50% reduction of process time with the ability to test with efficient use of resources". Mr Kornberg also confirmed collaborations with Donecle, a French drone aircraft inspection manufacturer, to develop a system of autonomous drones to detect airframe defects.
El Al CEO David Maimon confirmed (16-Aug-2017) the carrier's first Boeing 787-9 aircraft will arrive in Aug-2017 and enter service in Aug/Sep-2017. Mr Maimon added: "This plane is the first out of 16 to reach by the end of 2020". CFO Dganit Palti said the carrier paid "advances totaling approx USD24 million for the aircraft it has acquired" in 2Q2017. [more - original PR]
airberlin appointed specialist insolvency lawyer Dr Frank Kebekus of Kebekus et Zimmermann and Dr Lucas Flöther of Flöther & Wissing to direct the airline's insolvency proceedings (Wirtschaftswoche/Berliner Zeitung, 15/16-Aug-2017). Dr Kebekus expects the carrier's employees to be paid salaries as usual in Aug/Sep/Oct-2017. He added: "we will finance the insolvency with a bank" in Nov-2017.
airberlin CEO Thomas Winkelmann commented on the German Government's EUR150 million bridging loan, stating: "The speed with which all parties in the government worked impressed me... We avoided a national disaster" (Die Zeit/The Business Times, 16/17-Aug-2017). Mr Winkelmann reportedly expects the airberlin brand to eventually dematerialise, as rival carriers express interest in the carrier.