VietJet Air has commenced flight to Vinh, in north-central Vietnam. The new direct route from Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) will be operated daily using VietJet’s 180-seat, all-economy Airbus A320 aircraft. HCMC-Vinh becomes the airline’s sixth domestic route, and its fourth from HCMC. Services to Phu Quoc, Hue and Dalat are all due to commence by year-end.
Air NZ offers kiosk check-in at Sydney
Air New Zealand has become the first airline to offer kiosk check-in facilities for all trans-Tasman and Pacific Island flights from Sydney airport. Effective immediately, passengers can scan their passports at a kiosk to be issued with a boarding pass and baggage tags. Passengers travelling with luggage then take it to a bag drop area. There are now 15 check-in kiosks at Sydney airport’s departure terminal.
Airlines to sell Amadeus stakes
Lufthansa Group and Air France-KLM have announced plans to sell their stakes in Amadeus IT Holding SA. The German airline will offload 16.2 million of its shares in Amadeus in a private placement, cutting its overall stake in the GDS company from 7.6% to 4.0%. The share sale is being combined with the placement of 7.4m shares by Air France-KLM, reducing its stake in Amadeus by 7.3% to 5.6%.
flydubai to add Maldives flights
flydubai will commence flights to the Maldives early next year. From 19 January 2013, the Dubai-based low-cost carrier will add five weekly flights to the Indian Ocean archipelago’s capital, Malé, using its Boeing 737-800 aircraft. The airline’s CEO, Ghaith Al Ghaith, said he was anticipating strong demand “from the GCC, in particular Kuwait, as well as markets such as Russia, CIS and Central and Eastern Europe”.
Air China flies B777 to Frankfurt
Air China will put its new Boeing 777-300ER into service on its Frankfurt route this month. From 22 November, the Beijing-based carrier will fly its B777 to the German financial capital, replacing the B747-400 that currently operates the route. The new B777-300ER offers 311 seats – eight in first class, 42 in business class and 261 in economy. All the three classes of service are equipped with personal in-flight entertainment units.
Airbus seals another big A320neo order
Airbus has sealed another large order for its A320neo aircraft. Mexican low-cost carrier Interjet has signed a purchase agreement for 40 A320neos worth almost US$3.9 billion at list prices. The aircraft will more than double Interjet’s current fleet of 36 A320s. The airline will also be the North American launch customer of the Russian Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft, when it takes delivery of the first of 20 aircraft in 2013.
JAL San Diego flights go on sale
Japan Airlines’ (JAL) new Tokyo-San Diego flights opened for sale this week. The airline will launch flights on the route on 2 December 2012, using its new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Flights will initially operate four times a week (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays) before rising to daily next year.
Turkish Airlines adds 200th aircraft
Turkish Airlines has added the 200th aircraft to its fleet. The new Boeing 737-900 will carry a special “200” sticker to mark the milestone. On receiving the aircraft, Turkish’s Chairman Hamdi Topcu said the company’s next goal is to increase to 300 aircraft. The airline currently has 64 aircraft on order.
Cracked windscreen grounds flight
A passenger aircraft in Vietnam has been grounded after suffering a cracked cockpit windscreen, local media has reported. According to Vietnamese daily Tuoi Tre, the Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft operated by Air Mekong was due to fly from Ho Chi Minh City to Phu Quoc on Saturday, but had to be cancelled due to a cracked windscreen. According to the newspaper, the crack occurred on an earlier flight, although no further details were available.
IAG slips to Q3 loss
International Airlines Group (IAG) has reported a small loss for the third quarter of the year. The company, which includes British Airways and Iberia, posted a loss after tax of EUR39 million (US$50m) for the three months to 30 September 2012 – down from a post-tax profit of EUR338m in the same period last year. The result came despite a 10.8% rise in revenues, to EUR13.59bn, but company expenditure increased 14.9% to EUR13.58bn, including a 23.5% jump in fuel costs.
Switzerland’s Hahn Air partners Deer Jet in Asia
Switzerland-based Hahn Air has signed a new deal with Chinese business jet operator, Deer Jet. The two carriers have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enhance their sales and distribution in the Asian Pacific region. One of the key objectives of the collaboration, according to Hahn, is to “research… innovative means of bizjet distribution using GDS, combining premium long-haul scheduled and private bizjet charter flights”.
Kenya Airways seals Vietnam codeshare
Kenya Airways has entered into a codeshare agreement with Vietnam Airlines. The new deal will see the SkyTeam alliance partners sell each other’s flights on certain routes connecting Vietnam with Kenya, via Bangkok. Vietnam Airlines will place its ‘VN’ code on Kenya Airways’ daily flights between Nairobi and Bangkok, while in return, Kenya Airways will place its ‘KQ’ code on Vietnam Airlines’ daily services on the Bangkok-Hanoi and Bangkok-Ho Chi Minh City routes.
Garuda to launch Abu Dhabi flights
Garuda Indonesia will launch flights to Abu Dhabi next month. The move forms part of the Jakarta-based carrier’s recent tie-up with Etihad Airways, which will see it re-route its UAE service from Dubai to Abu Dhabi from 2 December 2013. Like to Dubai service, Garuda’s Abu Dhabi flights will continue on to Amsterdam – the airline’s only European destination. Flights will operate four times a week, every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
Asiana seals US tie-up with Orbitz
Asiana Airlines has entered into a new multi-year partnership with online travel agency Orbitz. The deal will see Orbitz Worldwide Distribution power air, hotel, car and package search and booking capabilities on the Seoul-based airline’s US website. Asiana’s customers will be offered access to Orbitz’s global inventory of hotels, as well as specially-prepared holiday packages.
China tightens in-flight service rules
Aviation authorities have passed a new rule that will see airlines fined if they continue to serve passengers during take-off and landing. According to the decree, issued by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), airlines must ensure that cabin crew only start serving passengers after the fasten seatbelt sign has been switched off, and must stop whenever it is switched on. Chinese airlines are usually flexible on minor service issues, but the new CAAC rules called for a crackdown of safety infringements.
Indian’s GVK to manage Bali airport
India’s GVK Group has signed a deal to take over the running of Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport. According to a company statement, the agreement with Indonesia’s state airport operator Angkasa Pura, includes the management of all non-aeronautical commercial operations at the Denpasar hub, including all new terminals. GVK currently manages Bengaluru and Mumbai airports in India and has agreed to develop a new airport serving the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta.
CAAC offers online flight info
Chinese air travellers can get real-time flight information from the Civil Aviation Administration of China’s (CAAC) website. Information about both domestic and international flights at Chinese airports will be posted caacnews.com.cn. The search tool is only available in Chinese.
Air France Asian traffic dips
Air France-KLM reported a slight drop in traffic on its Asian routes in October. The airline’s passenger traffic demand for routes to and from Asia Pacific dipped 1.4% year-on-year last month, while average cabin load factors fell 2.1 percentage points to 85.2%. The decrease was reflective of a global decline in traffic and loads, which fell 2.0% and 1.2 points respectively.
India approves Vietnam connection
The Indian government has approved traffic rights for a new route connecting to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC). The move comes after India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation allocated more traffic rights to Indian carriers from winter 2012 to winter 2013. Jet Airways will connect HCMC with Mumbai, while low-cost carrier SpiceJet has been allocated the Delhi-HCMC route. SpiceJet has also received the green light to connect Delhi with Macau.
Korean Air launches Saudi flights
Korean Air has commenced flights to Saudi Arabia. The airline will now fly three times a week from Seoul’s Incheon airport to Jeddah, via the Saudi capital Riyadh. Services will operate using an Airbus A330-200 aircraft departing Korea on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and returning a day later.
AirAsia to add KK-Guangzhou
AirAsia will launch a new route from Kota Kinabalu next month. From 25 December 2012 the low-cost carrier will connect the east Malaysian city with the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou. Flights will operate daily. Guangzhou becomes AirAsia’s 25th connection from Kota Kinabalu.