Asian Aviation Briefs
China will build 82 new airports by 2015 in an effort to provide transport links to remote rural areas. Speaking at a news conference in Shanghai recently, Li Jiaxiang, Head of Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said the developments form part of China’s broader goal of developing an air transport network that will cover 89% of the total population by 2020. Reported by Xinhua, Li said the majority of the new hubs will be ‘feeder airports’, connecting remote, rural communities, especially in western China.
EVA to launch Yangon flights
EVA Air is planning to launch direct flights to Myanmar. The airline will operate three weekly flights to Yangon from October 2012, direct from Taipei’s Taoyuan International Airport. Taiwan-based EVA is one of several airlines to have confirmed plans to launch direct flights to Myanmar, following the recent reforms in the country. ANA, Korean Air and Qatar Airways will also add services to Yangon before the end of the year.
Air links between Taiwan’s two largest cities – Taipei and Kaohsiung – will be severed in September. The country’s Ministry of Transportation & Communications announced on Saturday that the last scheduled air service between the two hubs, operated by Mandarin Airlines, will cease operating on 31 August 2012. The development of the Taipei-Kaohsiung high-speed rail line, which opened in 2007, has been blamed for the flights’ demise.
AirAsia booking outage during Bangkok switch
Online bookings for AirAsia’s Thai services will be unavailable from 27-29 July as the airline undertakes a system shift to prepare for its move to Bangkok’s Don Mueang airport. The airline said that technical work changing airport codes would mean that customers would be unable to book Bangkok flights departing Don Mueang airport from 1 October 2012 onwards. The outage will last from 2200 on 27 July to 2200 on 29 July 2012, Thailand time.
Air Busan launches Macau flights
Air Busan has commenced a new direct service to Macau. The South Korean low-cost carrier will now operate the Busan-Macau route twice a week using either 195-seat Airbus A321 or a 162-seat Boeing 737-400 aircraft. Air Busan is the regional subsidiary of Seoul-based Asiana Airlines, and becomes the fourth airline offering direct services between Korea and Macau.
Bali to relocate airport statues
Authorities in Bali have announced plans to relocate two statues at its airport. The monuments to I Gusti Ngurah Rai – an Indonesian independence hero – were located at close to Bali’s main airport, which is named after Ngurah Rai. But according to local news portal BaliDiscovery.com, the statues will be removed and relocated as part of the airport’s expansion plan.
Korean Air experienced a double-digit rise in international passenger traffic in the first half of the year. The national carrier’s traffic climbed 10% in the January-June 2012 period, compared to the first half of last year, led by routes to Russia and CIS (+41%) and Japan (+28%). Korean Air also announced plans to boost frequencies on several routes in the second half of the year, including flights from Seoul to Jinan, Kunming, Okayama, Guam and Paris.
Firefly to add extra holiday flights
Malaysia-based airline Firefly will add a series of extra flights to cater for the increased passenger demand during the Hari Raya holiday season. From 16-16 August, the regional carrier will offer five extra flights from its Subang hub to Kota Bahru, three to Pekanbaru and two to Medan. In addition, Firefly will operate one extra service between Penang and Langkawi.
Jetstar Hong Kong has submitted its application for an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC). The application was lodged with Hong Kong’s Civil Aviation Department last week, and sets the airline on track to launch commercial operations in 2013. The airline will also soon undertake a major recruitment process for up to 100 pilots and cabin crew. Jetstar Hong Kong, which is a joint venture between Qantas and China Eastern Airlines, will be the first low-cost carrier based at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA).
Garuda plane overshoots runway
A Garuda Indonesia aircraft carrying 162 passengers overshot the runway on landing at Pekanbaru airport last week. The incident occurred on Tuesday, when the Boeing 737-800 was attempting to land at the Sumatra hub in what the airline’s described as “torrential rain”. No injuries were reported to either passengers or crew.
Qantas has been identified as the most punctual major Australian domestic airline for the third straight year. According to the latest Australian aviation statistics, released on 20 July by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport & Regional Economics, Qantas’ on-time departure performance for the 12 months ending 30 June 2012 was 84.4% for 119,636 domestic sectors flown. This compares with 82.9% for Virgin Australia and 76.4% for Jetstar.
Vietnam Airlines plane suffers technical fault
A Vietnam Airlines domestic flight was forced to make an unscheduled landing recently due to a technical problem. Local news portal Dan Tri reported that the Airbus A320 aircraft, travelling from Ho Chi Minh City to Quy Nhon, on Vietnam’s central coast, was forced to turn back to HCMC after the plane suffered a drop in hydraulic pressure. All 87 passengers were delayed for more than three hours while a replacement aircraft was found.
China Eastern plane lands safety after bird strike
A Chinese Eastern Airlines flight landed safely in Shanghai last week, despite suffering a bird strike prior to landing. The aircraft was coming into land at the city’s Hongqiao airport, following a domestic flight from Zhengzhou, when it is reported to have struck a number of birds. The aircraft managed to land safety but the aircraft’s engine was reported to be “destroyed”.
All Nippon Airways (ANA) has announced the share price for its forthcoming public offering. The Japanese airline will offer 914 million shares at JPY184 (US$2.33) per share. This means that the company will generate total funds of US$2.13 billion, which it will use to pay for its 55 ordered Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. Of the total share sale, 784m will be available for purchase inside Japan, while 130m will be sold on the international market.
New hotel opens at Phnom Penh airport
A new hotel serving the Phnom Penh International Airport opened its doors this month. The new Dara Airport Hotel has 155 rooms, along with a swimming pool, bar and spa. The property is also planning to expand with a new 60-room wing, including long-stay apartments, in November. The Phnom Penh Post reported the hotel’s GM, Pierre Bernard, as saying that the hotel would focus on corporate and transit business.
Turkish expands in Kyrgyzstan
Turkish Airlines has launched flights to Osh – its second destination in Kyrgyzstan. The airline will operate three weekly flights on the route. Services will depart Istanbul on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, returning from Osh a day later. Turkish already operates flights to the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek.