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UK’s flybe. ceases operations, enters administration

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flybe. (BE, Exeter) has ceased flight operations following its entry into administration on Wednesday, March 4. The move follows the UK regional carrier’s failure to secure a critical GBP100 million pound (USD129 million) loan from the UK government needed to remain solvent.

According to The Financial Times, executives reportedly told ministers flybe. could collapse imminently without state assistance.

ITV media reports indicate that lessors began repossessing their aircraft around mid-evening with…

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KCGI fund ups stake in Korean Air owner to 17.68%

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Activist hedge fund Korea Corporate Governance Improvement (KCGI) has acquired additional shares in Korean Air (KE, Seoul Incheon) parent Hanjin KAL amid increasing sabre-rattling ahead of a boardroom showdown later this month that will determine the conglomerate’s future leadership.

KCGI subsidiary Grace Holdings raised its stake in Hanjin KAL to 17.68% after buying 0.54%, it said in a stock market disclosure on March 3.

The fund has teamed up with Hanjin heiress and former Korean Air vice president Cho…

Azul shareholders approve E195 sublease to Breeze

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Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras (AD, Sao Paulo Viracopos) shareholders have approved the sublease up to twenty-eight E195s to Breeze Airways (Salt Lake City), a US start-up backed by the Brazilian carrier’s founder and chairman David Neeleman.

Azul said in a press release that 97% of its shareholders voted in approval of the transaction. David Neeleman, who owns a 5.8% stake in the airline, abstained from the vote in accordance with related-party transaction policy.

The final scope of the…

Nigeria’s Dana Air starts B737-300 ops

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Dana Air (9J, Lagos) started B737-300 operations on February 25, 2020, and will use its first aircraft of the type to increase frequencies on trunk domestic routes in Nigeria.

5N-DNA (msn 28400) operated its first revenue flight as 9J335 from Lagos to Abuja, Flightradar24 ADS-B data shows. The 22.5-year-old ex-Southwest Airlines (WN, Dallas Love Field) aircraft was ferried to Nigeria from Naples Capodichino in mid-September 2019.

Dana Air is planning to induct another B737-300, 5N-DNB (msn 27721),…

Philippines AirAsia defers IPO due to COVID-19 impact

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Philippines AirAsia (Z2, Manila Ninoy Aquino Int’l) has deferred its planned Initial Public Offering (IPO) due to the uncertainty and losses caused by the COVID-19 epidemic.

“So far, we didn’t revisit that IPO right now. It’s still there in the planning but the more pressing matter is how to recover immediate losses from China,” Chief Executive Ricardo Isla told The Inquirer newspaper.

The Filipino unit of AirAsia Group was hoping to raise as much as USD200 million from the listing which it had planned to hold in…

Nepal’s Himalaya Airlines adds maiden A319

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Himalaya Airlines (H9, Kathmandu) has taken delivery of its maiden A319-100 following the delivery of 9N-AJK (msn 9020) on March 2, 2020.

The new-build jet was ferried directly from the Airbus assembly plant at Tianjin in China to Kathmandu, Flightradar24 ADS-B data shows. Local media reports indicate it still features the livery of Tibet Airlines (TV, Lhasa). However, once repainted it will be used to reinforce service to Chinese destinations.

“The just-arrived aircraft will not only be able to fly to…

EU to investigate Ryanair’s deal at Beziers, France

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The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether operating aid granted to Beziers airport, as well as marketing and airport services agreements concluded between Ryanair (FR, Dublin Int’l) and the French regional airport operators are in line with EU state aid rules, according to a press release.

The commission received a complaint concerning operating aid granted to the successive operators in Béziers from 2007 to today. The airport was owned and managed from 2007 to 2011 by the Chamber of…

PAL lays off 300 employees, posts $208mn full-year loss

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Philippine Airlines (PR, Manila Ninoy Aquino Int’l) said in a statement on February 28 that it had cut its workforce by about 300 employees due to continued losses. The job reductions complete a retrenchment process involving ground-based administrative and management personnel.

“The streamlining will strengthen the company in the wake of losses sustained in 2019, aggravated by the ongoing travel restrictions and flight suspensions to areas affected by Covid-19,” the carrier said, adding that the job cuts involved a “voluntary…

American Airlines to invest $550mn in Tulsa MRO base

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American Airlines (AA, Dallas/Fort Worth) announced on February 28 that it will invest USD550 million at its base maintenance facility at Tulsa Int’l. This is the most significant investment ever made at a maintenance location in the carrier’s history and will take seven years to complete.

Already the world’s largest commercial aircraft maintenance facility, the new project includes the construction of a new widebody-capable hangar and base support building. The new 18,000sqm hangar will be able to hold two widebody aircraft — or…

South Africa’s Airlink bid to sue SAA rejected

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The High Court in Johannesburg has denied Airlink (South Africa) (4Z, Johannesburg O.R. Tambo) the right to sue South African Airways (SAA). The regional airline had been seeking to recover funds from ticket sales under the terms of its franchise agreement with the embattled flag carrier, but on March 2 the court dismissed the application saying Airlink must wait in line like all other creditors.

As previously reported, Airlink wanted special permission from the court to order SAA and its business rescue…

Redang Island, Malaysia sees commercial pax traffic

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Berjaya Air (J8, Kuala Lumpur Subang) started flights from Kuala Lumpur Subang to Pulau Redang on February 20, utilising the carrier’s sole ATR42-500 9M-JOG (msn 564), Berjaya Hotels and Resorts (BHR), part of the Berjaya Group which also owns the airline, said in a social media post.

The 188-nautical mile (333-kilometre), hour-long sector will serve BHR’s two resorts on the island, namely The Taaras Beach and Spa Resort and Redang Island Resort. Initially operating 2x weekly, the year-round service will offer 6x weekly rotations…

Aleppo, Syria resumes civilian flights; eyes Egypt route

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Aleppo Airport reopened to civilian traffic in mid-February, after the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) took control of the area around the city, Minister of Transport Ali Hammoud said. The last commercial flights to the city were in 2012.

The opening of the airport, which serves Syria’s second-largest city and its former economic capital, was made possible after the SAA took control of the entire Aleppo-Damascus M5 highway, which is in the southwest of the city. The airport is located to the east of the city….

Colorado’s Key Lime Air wins Thief River Falls EAS route

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Key Lime Air (KG, Denver Centennial) will commence Essential Air Service (EAS) flights on the Thief River Falls to Minneapolis/St. Paul route from June 1, 2020, replacing the existing turboprop service operated by Boutique Air (4B, San Francisco, CA). The current EAS contract with Boutique Air, which operates from Thief River Falls 18x weekly with its PC-12 fleet, is set to end on May 31 and no service hiatus is expected.

The new two-year contract, awarded by the US Department for Transportation (DOT),…

Air Namibia suspends three managers during internal probe

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Air Namibia (SW, Windhoek Int’l) has suspended three members of its management team as part of an ongoing internal investigation, spokesperson Paul Nakawa revealed in a statement issued on March 1.

Wimpie van Vuuren, acting general manager for commercial services; Johannes Blaauw, manager for cargo sales; and Abraham Nasab, manager for cargo operations, were named as the three suspended employees.

“The suspensions are to allow the airline to conclude pending investigations. The airline holds instructions that…

Global airlines cut capacity, staff, costs due to COVID-19

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A growing number of airlines have unveiled measures to combat the effects of the COVID-19 epidemics, including grounding aircraft, cutting capacity, and furloughing staff.

  • Cathay Pacific (CX, Hong Kong Int’l) together with its subsidiaries Cathay Dragon, HK Express, and Air Hong Kong has grounded around 120 out of its 237 aircraft, the South China Morning Post reported. While actual aircraft on the ground are rotated, the number of parked units remains relatively stable. The group has also slashed 75% of its total number of flights…

Aer Lingus takes delivery of world’s last new-build A330-300

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Aer Lingus (EI, Dublin Int’l) has taken delivery of its tenth and final A330-300, which is also the world’s last unit of the type built by Airbus.

EI-EIN (msn 1951) was ferried from Toulouse Blagnac to Brussels National on February 28, 2020, and has remained at the Belgian gateway since then, RadarBox24 ADS-B data shows.

The ch-aviation fleets advanced module shows that there are four more completed, albeit undelivered, A330-300s, namely msn 1863, 1865, 1874, and 1940. The quartet was initially destined for…

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