Iata reports positive airline profit expectations

Iata reports positive airline profit expectationsImage via Shutterstock

 

Airline bosses believe they will see a rise in yields and profitability over the coming months despite a decline in yields during the second quarter of 2014.

Outlining the results of its July Airline Business Confidence Index, Iata said airline profit expectations for the year ahead were positive even through recent improvements in financial performance had slowed.

The survey’s results indicated that passenger yields declined in the second quarter of the year, compared to the year prior. However, respondents were positive about future growth, with 42% expecting an increase in yields over the coming months. Iata said that was supported by growth in demand.

A quarterly survey of airline CFOs and heads in cargo reflected confidence that airlines would drive profitability and see passenger and cargo volumes expand over the next 12 months, Iata added.

In total 40% of those surveyed said they had seen an improvement or an increase in profitability in the last three months, while 48.9% said they had seen a decrease and 11.1% said they hadn’t noticed a chance in profits.

62.2% said they expected to see an improvement in the next 12 months and only 13.3% are expecting profits to fall.

In the report, Iata said: “Respondents have reported declines in yields during Q2, which is consistent with the pause in recent improvements in airline financial performance. But there is confidence about a rise in yields over the next 12 months, which is the likely driver of the positive outlook for profitability.”

When it came to a change in passenger traffic volumes, 56.3% said they had seen an increase in the past three months and 68.8% said they expected further growth and a rise in volumes over the course of the next 12 months.

Iata also reports that airline employment activity declined during quarter two compared to a year ago, and respondents aren’t expecting any growth in employment for the coming months.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Pilots’ association urges relaxation of intelligence sharing rules

Pilots' association urges relaxation of intelligence sharing rulesThe European pilots’ association is urging airlines and stakeholders to share intelligence and security information with other airlines to help prevent tragedies like the MH17.

The European Cockpit Association (ECA) believes a thorough analysis of the industry’s approach to risk assessment and high-level international intelligence sharing needs to be addressed.

The call comes after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was brought down over Ukraine last week after apparently being hit by a missile at 33,000 feet.

Nico Voorbach, ECA President, said: ““We share the public outrage over MH17, and we owe it to the passengers and crew who lost their lives, and all our future passengers, to see past this and focus on prevention first and foremost.

“MH17 exposed a significant weakness – if not a failure – of international threat and risk assessment in civil aviation.

“In hindsight flying civilian aircraft over an area where powerful anti-aircraft systems capable of bringing down an airliner at cruising altitude are in active use is not acceptable.”

The association said some airlines could have access to good intelligence and advice from their country’s national security services, while other carriers are left at greater risk.

ECA said it appeared likely some restrictions may be placed on what intelligence an airline can share with other airlines.

“We must ask governments what those restrictions might be, and how we can ensure that the airlines are able to share information in such a way that the highest levels of risk avoidance can be rolled out to all,” the association said.

It said future prevention required “immediate attention and our long-term thinking” and is pushing for an analysis of the industry’s approach to risk assessment and sharing intelligence between airlines.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Not in my name!’ AM blasts own committee’s report on Ieuan Air north-south link… and his chairman’s comments

Jul 23, 2014 10:41

Labour AM Mike Hedges also hit out at Public Accounts Committee’s ‘superficial and simplistic’ inquiry into Cardiff-Anglesey service

Mike Hedges, Labour AM for Swansea East

A Labour Assembly Member has criticised his own committee’s inquiry into a publicly-subsidised air link connecting North and South Wales as “superficial and simplistic” – and blasted comments made by his chaiman which “bear no relationship” to the report’s findings.

Swansea East AM Mike Hedges, a member of the Public Accounts Committee, was part of the cross-party committee which produced a report into the Cardiff-Anglesey air link, which has received £9m in public subsidy since it was set up in 2007 but has seen passenger numbers plunge.

It comes after the Welsh Government confirmed it had ordered for a new contract until 2018 to be awarded when the current arrangement, with Isle of Man-based Citywing, runs out in December.

The committee chair Darren Millar said the air link had “underperformed” in demonstrating it was value-for-money for the taxpayer.

But Mr Hedges said: “Darren Millar speaks as the chair of the Public Accounts Committee, he speaks with that position that he gets because the Conservatives have a duty to be the chair of it, because of the way it is set up so the larger parties have the chair of it.

“[But] as a general matter of principle, when Darren Millar speaks about things that are not in the report – he’s not speaking for me.”

Evidence from the Wales Audit Office (WAO) to the committee’s inquiry found it had cost the taxpayer around £86 in subsidy for every one of the 65,073 passengers which used the service between May 2007 and April 2013.

But Mr Hedges, a former leader of Swansea council before he was elected to the Assembly in 2011, also hit out at the “superficial” and “bland” inquiry into the air link, which was dubbed “Ieuan Air” because it began under then-Transport Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones.

The service has run twice-daily weekday flights since it was brought in, but requires public funds under the government’s aim of supporting services that “would not otherwise be commercially viable”.

He said the Assembly committees were trying to do “too much, not very well” and that the air link inquiry had a lack of comparison to other subsidised services, such as air services to the Scottish Highland and islands and the subsidised rail franchise.

Mr Hedges said: “If you’re going to do it, let’s do it properly. We do have a tendency to be a bit superficial in some of the things we do. This is the worst example of it.

“Having one consultant and the Welsh Government and then writing the report, with all fairly bland recommendations, then quotes bearing no relationship to the report that are very much less than bland.

“The report itself is bland. It’s superficial and simplistic. It had the views of one consultant…who came along and talked to us about. Then we had the view of the Welsh Government. Very simplistic, very superficial and very bland recommendations. I have no problem with that at all. Who would?

“But how anybody from the information in there can say there are concerns over the cost of it…there may be. I don’t know. Nobody knows.”

It follows a similar row among AMs on the Environment Committee, who fell out over a letter sent by its then-chairman Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas that was heavily critical of then-Natural Resources Minister Alun Davies’ evidence to a scrutiny session.

Three Labour AMs complained over the tone of the letter, which they claimed they had not had a chance to read as it came among lots of other emails.

Sourced from walesonline


FAA temporarily suspends flights to Ben Gurion International

 

FAA temporarily suspends flights to Ben Gurion International

 

The United States Federal Aviation Authority has prohibited American airlines from flying to or from Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport until 12:15 today.

The notice was issued in response to a rocket strike which landed approximately one mile from Ben Gurion International Airport on the morning of July 22nd, 2014.

The Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) applies only to US operators, and has no authority over foreign airlines operating to or from the airport.

The FAA immediately notified US carriers when the agency learned of the rocket strike and informed them that the agency was finalising a NOTAM.

A statement explained the FAA will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation, with further restrictions possible.

Europe’s aviation regulator is also urging airlines not to fly to Tel Aviv.

Lufthansa – which includes Swiss, Germanwings and Austrian Airlines – confirmed it had decided to suspend flights to Israel for two days, while KLM, Air France, easyJet, Air Canada and Alitalia are among other carriers to have cancelled departures.

The halt in service comes less than a week after Israel began a ground operation in Gaza.

Airlines around the world are also revaluating flight paths over conflict areas following the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine.

Sourced from Breaking Travel News


Travellers urged to apply for EHIC following survey findings

Travellers urged to apply for EHIC following survey findings 

One in three British holidaymakers could be turned away from hospitals in Europe because they don’t have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), a study claims.

The figure comes from research by travel insurance provider Allianz Global Assistance ahead of the main summer peak holiday period.

The company is calling on travellers to apply for an EHIC, which entitles them to reduced or free medical care in the European Economic Area, as well as taking out adequate travel insurance.

Chief sales officer Lee Taylor “Our survey shows that 1 in 3 UK travellers don’t take an EHIC with them to Europe.

“This puts them at huge risk, if they need medical care abroad. An EHIC is essential for anyone to receive treatment from public hospitals in all European Economic Area countries

“We also urge holidaymakers to ensure they book the right level of travel insurance, declaring all medical conditions, as falling ill or needing emergency support abroad can be very costly.

“Travellers need to be aware of the risks they face, whether that’s delayed or cancelled flights, lost luggage or something more serious such as an accident or illness.

“Only having adequate travel insurance cover provides financial support, as well as expert advice when you need it most.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Airlines suspend flights to Israel

Airlines suspend flights to IsraelImage credit: ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock.com

 

Major airlines have suspended flights to Israel’s main international airport near Tel Aviv following a rocket strike nearby.

US carriers Delta Air Lines, United and US Airways halted flights for 24 hours following an instruction by the US Federal Aviation Administration.

EasyJet, Lufthansa, Air France-KLM, Swiss and other European carriers also suspended flights following a “strong recommendation” by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

However, British Airways continued to operate services to the airport, Ben Gurion International.

BA said it was “closely monitoring the situation”, but that “flights are currently operating as scheduled”.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately sought a resumption of US flights. The Israeli government issued a statement saying: “Ben Gurion Airport is safe.”

However, a Delta flight from New York to Tel Aviv was diverted to Paris following the rocket strike yesterday.

Israel was continuing its military operation in Gaza today. More than 640 Palestinians and 31 Israelis have been killed in the past fortnight.


Special Report: ‘The trade will pull us through this tragedy’

Special Report: 'The trade will pull us through this tragedy'Malaysia Airlines’ UK boss Weng Chi Lee says the carrier is doing ‘everything it can to rebuild confidence’. Ian Taylor reports

 

The bodies of 282 of the 298 victims of the Malaysia Airlines disaster in Ukraine were being transported to Amsterdam as Travel Weekly went to press, although investigators had yet to gain full access to the crash site.

A deal with leaders of the breakaway eastern Ukraine resulted in the handover of black box recorders from flight MH17, which appears to have been shot down last Thursday on the way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

The evidence appeared to point to Russian-backed rebels shooting down the aircraft, as Malaysia prime minister Najib Razak announced the black boxes would “be held securely while an international investigation team 
is formalised”.

Airline association Iata denounced the disaster as “a hideous crime”, noting: “MH17 was a clearly identified commercial jet … shot down while broadcasting its identity and presence on an open and busy air corridor at an altitude deemed safe.”

Sadly, for the second time in four months – following the still-unexplained disappearance of flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March – Malaysia Airlines must deal with the fall-out from a tragedy it could do nothing to prevent.

The carrier acted quickly to do what it could, offering full refunds to anyone wishing to cancel a booking between now and the end of the year.

Passengers had until Thursday this week to cancel without charge, after which the airline will assess claims case by case.

Malaysia Airlines UK and Ireland area manager Weng Chi Lee said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those affected. Our primary focus is the care and attention we are providing to them.”

There were 10 British nationals onboard the flight when it was brought down and the carrier has offered to fly the relatives and friends of those lost to Amsterdam.

Support for families

Weng said: “We are in continual contact with them, providing support and keeping them informed.”

It is indecently early to look beyond the immediate concerns of the loved ones of those who died and Weng repeatedly emphasised that single point: “Our focus is the family and friends.”

But he also sought to thank the trade for the messages of support the carrier has received. “The trade has responded with overwhelming support and we thank it,” he said.

“We are in constant contact with our 50-60 primary agents. Our phone lines have not closed. It is not business as usual, but we continue to take calls.”

Malaysia Airlines operates two A380 flights a day from Heathrow to Kuala Lumpur and Weng said: “The flights are still full. Bookings are still coming in. We have not heard of anyone fearful of selling or marketing Malaysia Airlines.”

Low cancellation rates

He said the extraordinary refund policy had led to “a higher level of refunds than usual”, but added: “Cancellation rates are low.”

Weng insisted: “It is early days and our primary focus is the care of family and friends. [But] I believe the trade will pull us through.

“We will come out of this. We are the national carrier of Malaysia. We have been flying 42 years. We have a strong heritage and an extensive network. We have 360 departures a day flying 50,000 people. We are doing everything we can to rebuild confidence and trust. I am confident we will see this through.”

Weng confirmed all flights now avoid Ukraine but declined to speculate on what happened to MH17.

“We follow what air traffic controllers tell us,” he said.

The aircraft was on the most common route from Europe to southeast Asia when it crossed eastern Ukraine.

Eurocontrol, the pan-European air traffic control body, confirmed there were flight restrictions in place over the region last week, but only to an altitude of 32,000 feet, and MH17 was at 33,000 feet “when it disappeared from the radar”.

Unlimited restrictions now apply and Eurocontrol said: “The routes will remain closed until further notice.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Agents reassure long-haul clients as Malaysia Airlines offer refunds

Agents reassure long-haul clients as Malaysia Airlines offer refunds 

The trade responded to the Malaysia Airlines tragedy by offering clients reassurance and alternative flights.

The airline offered full refunds, including for tickets classed as non‑refundable, up to the end of this year, and waived fees for itinerary changes made by Thursday this week.

Agents and operators immediately contacted clients after Thursday’s disaster, when an Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur flight was apparently shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing 298 passengers and crew.

Travel Designers managing director Nick Harding‑McKay said some clients had requested not to fly with Malaysia Airlines on new bookings. “This is such a shame,” he added.

Derek Moore, chairman of the Association of Independent Tour Operators, said some members had clients who asked to cancel holidays.

Abta has taken calls from operators about the cost of changing airline or cancelling accommodation. It said: “Operators can pass on these extra costs to clients.”

But Travel 2 managing director Andy Freeth said: “We’ve had very few calls on this. I think consumers are aware it’s not the airline that has been targeted.”

Claire Hunt, operations director of Journeys A La Carte travel agency, had three future bookings for Malaysia Airlines, but clients chose not to switch airline. She added: “It took a morning to sort out, but this is what we’re good at.”

David Moon, head of business development at Advantage, was not aware of any members who had issued refunds.

Miles Morgan Travel owner Miles Morgan added: “In reality people know security will now be at its tightest.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Airlines demand new rules for flights over war zones

Airlines demand new rules for flights over war zonesImage via Shutterstock

Revised safety protocols for the routeing of airlines over war zones have been demanded following last week’s shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

The downing of the Boeing 777, killing all 298 people onboard including 10 Brits, is widely assumed to have been the result of a missile strike by Russian-backed Ukrainian separatists.

The aircraft was flying a route avoided by some airlines, including British Airways, but at 33,000ft was operating at a higher altitude than officially restricted airspace.

All commercial flights have now been barred from eastern Ukraine.

Schiphol Steph

The scene at Schiphol airport yesterday (Tuesday)


The incident prompted a furious response from Emirates president Tim Clark. He said: “The international airline community needs to respond. It needs to say this is absolutely not acceptable and outrageous, and that it won’t tolerate being targeted in internecine regional conflicts.”

Clark suggested Iata and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), a United Nations body, should intervene.

“I think there will have to be new protocols and it will be up to ICAO and Iata and the aviation community to sort out what the protocols have to be.”

Aviation analyst John Strickland, of JLS Consulting, said if someone as influential as Clark was calling for change, it was likely to happen.

“This is going to lead to world bodies like Iata and industry safety groups working to get a clearer and more precise position on any types of risk,” he said.

Clark’s call for new protocols was echoed by Lufthansa.

An Iata spokesman said: “Governments will need to take the lead in reviewing how airspace risk assessments are made. And the industry will do all that it can to support governments, through ICAO, in the difficult work ahead.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Light aircraft ‘with smoke coming from it’ forced into emergency landing on Swansea beach

A plane has crash landed on the beach next to the under-construction Swansea University second campus

BBC Wales

The light aircraft that crash landed on a beach in Swansea

A pilot and two passengers escaped unharmed this afternoon after their plane crash-landed on the beach next to Swansea University’s under-construction Bay Campus.

People working at the £200m campus off Swansea’s Fabian Way on the main eastern approach road to Swansea reported seeing “a light aircraft with smoke coming from it” go down in sand dunes next to the sprawling Swansea University second campus building site.

However, the pilot managed to land the plane safely.

It is understood the plane was being rented by a holidaymaker from North Yorkshire who is a hobby pilot.

The aircraft’s owner Derek Clyde, from Kidwelly, a member of the Cambrian flying club said the plane had suffered an engine leak.

He said: “It is just one of those things. There was an engine leak. I take my hat off to the pilot. He made a perfect landing.

“It was the only place he could land. I’m glad nobody was hurt. But now we’ve got the problem of moving this before high tide.”

BBC WalesThe light aircraft that crash landed on a beach in Swansea

The light aircraft that crash landed on a beach in Swansea

A South Wales Police spokesman said: “Emergency services were called to Jersey Marine at around 4pm today following reports that a light aircraft had performed an emergency landing on the beach. Three people on board were uninjured.”

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service was also called to the scene and sent one crew from its Swansea station but a spokesman for the service said the officers were not needed at the scene and added at 6pm that the fire crew had left the scene.

Sourced from walesonline


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