Monday, January 15, 2018

Cambodia plans $1.5BN Kandal airport, set to be among world’s biggest

and | Publication date 15 January 2018 | 06:49 ICT
The Cambodian government has approved plans to build one of the world’s largest airports in Kandal province, though key actors have yet to work out the details and one economist noted yesterday that the current proposal may be short-sighted.
A document from the Council of Ministers, dated December 21, approves an investment proposal from Cambodia Airport Investment Co Ltd to build a $1.5 billion, 2,600-hectare airport in Kandal province’s Kandal Steung district, about 30 kilometres south of Phnom Penh.
Cambodia Airport Investment is a joint venture between local conglomerate Overseas Cambodia Investment Corporation (OCIC) and the Cambodian government’s State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA), according to the document. Last Thursday, OCIC signed a “cooperation framework agreement” for a new Phnom Penh airport with the state-run China Development Bank.
A 2,600-hectare airport would be the ninth-largest airport in the world, putting it just below the US’s Chicago O’Hare (2,610 hectares) and well above China’s Beijing Capital International (2,330 hectares). The current Phnom Penh International Airport is about 400 hectares.
According to the document, OCIC will invest $280 million, while unspecified “foreign banks” will provide $1.1 billion in funding. OCIC will own 90 percent of the shares in the completed airport, with the rest going to SSCA.
But the project is just getting off the ground, according to OCIC and government officials. Sin Chansereyvutha, a spokesman for the SSCA, said yesterday that there was no detailed plan or agreement, and the aviation authority had not even met with OCIC to discuss the project yet.
“The project will need a long time [to materialise] because we need to negotiate on many criteria, on the frameworks of the agreement,” Chansereyvutha said, adding that the government would also have to find a way to deal with Cambodia Airports, the company that currently holds a concession to operate Phnom Penh International Airport until 2040.
Cambodia Airports, which is majority-owned by France’s Vinci Group, submitted plans to the government last year to expand both the Phnom Penh and Siem Reap airports to accommodate future growth in traffic, according to Khek Norinda, the company’s PR and communications director.
But expansion plans have been halted in the past by government officials, who have opted instead to build new airports, financed by Chinese banks, in both towns.
Norinda declined to answer questions yesterday about Cambodia Airports’s concession agreement or about whether negotiations were ongoing between the company and the Cambodian government, instead replying with a statement that said “dialogue through a mutual respect of the agreement made between both parties is critical for the future development of the airports, their successes and the country’s development. Our teams are always ready to engage with Cambodian authorities.”
Another potential roadblock to the new airport project is its questionable long-term viability, according to Nget Chou, a senior consultant at Emerging Markets Consulting.
Chou said yesterday that he was suspicious a project requiring so much capital would materialise, and even if it did, its proximity to Phnom Penh would not accommodate the long-term trend of rapid urban expansion.
“The suggested location seems like it does not reflect long-term planning, because in the next 10 years, that place could become [as crowded] as the current existing airport,” he said, adding that an airport further away, connected with an expressway, would be a better option.
Brendan Sobie, Southeast Asia analyst at the Centre for Aviation, said that the size of the airport was less important than other factors, such as the number of runways and terminals.
“A lot of the details are not yet known but it seems there is movement to meeting the long term growth needs of Cambodia’s aviation market,” Sobie said in an email yesterday. “Cambodia has been one of the fastest growing markets in Asia – and the world – over the last several years and there is potential for more rapid growth which can only be fully realised with a new airport.”
OCIC is owned by Pung Khiev Se, the powerful tycoon whose company also developed the capital’s Koh Pich. Contacted yesterday, Khiev Se’s assistant, who declined to give her name, said that the project is still in the preliminary stages, and said she could not give out the exact location of the new airport.
“Regarding the actual location, I cannot confirm yet,” she said, declining to verify the location listed on the Council of Ministers document. “It could change and is flexible based on actual circumstances,” she said.
Despite that, the assistant was confident that construction on the new airport would begin sometime in the next five years.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Singapore Airlines: A new way to fly

Singapore Management University Assistant Professor Terence Fan, who specialises in transport, said: "SIA is trying to walk a fine line between completely alienating this group of customers and slightly nudging them to pay a little more."
The airline must be careful not to cross the line, which could then also create confusion among customers about the different roles and markets that SIA and Scoot serve.
Temasek Polytechnic aviation management and services senior lecturer Gary Ho said: "When a customer picks a premium brand, he does not expect to be nickel-and-dimed...
"When customers choose SIA, they know they are choosing a premium airline and, certainly, they do not expect SIA to behave like Scoot."
Even as it pursues a portfolio strategy to corner all segments of the air travel market, SIA must be mindful to maintain a clear brand distinction between full-service premium and budget, especially on routes that both SIA and Scoot serve.
A good way to do this is to maintain a high level of in-flight service and to constantly upgrade aircraft cabin products across all classes.
As SIA evolves to survive in a new world, it must always remain a great way to fly.

Boeing delivered more jetliners than ever in 2017

SEATTLE (CNNMoney) -- Boeing set a new industry record for jetliner deliveries in 2017.
The U.S. plane maker, the country's largest exporter, delivered 763 jets to customers across the globe. That beat its previous record, set in 2015 when it delivered 762 aircraft.
Conditions were right for airlines to restock their fleets.
After decades of turmoil, the airline industry between 2015 and 2017 has made more money than in the 30 years prior. The International Air Transport Association,which tracks air industry performance, anticipated airlines would make about $34.5 billion in profits last year, the eighth straight year of profitable flying.

IATA estimates that more than 4 billion people traveled in 2017, about 66% more than in 2007, fueled by the rapid rise of flying in countries like China and India. Both are expected to become the first and third largest markets for air travel at their current rate of growth, according to IATA. China will pass the U.S. around 2024 and India will leapfrog the U.K. by 2025.

Passenger yields, a common metric for gauging the price of tickets, was expected to fall by 1.5% in 2017, the sixth straight year of decline, according to IATA.

Even as those prices fell, airlines have been doing well with the help of historically low fuel expenses. About 19 cents of every dollar is spent on jet fuel, according to IATA, which has consistently fallen since 2008 when it was more than 35 cents when oil hit record prices.
Boeing also reported that it took in 912 net new orders from 71 customers. Nearly 82% of its new orders were for single-aisle 737s on a year that saw the launch of its larger 737 Max 10 in June. It also saw a 175-jet order by low-cost carrier FlyDubai in November that was far more than expected by analysts, who at the start of 2017 anticipated a slowdown in buying after a decade of record industry orders.
That boosted the company's outstanding backlog of jet orders to 5,864, a record level for Boeing. Rival Airbus was expected to announce its own annual order and delivery figures on January 15. The European aerospace company reportedly exceeded 700 deliveries last year, but Boeing anticipates it will continue to hold the bragging rights as world's largest plane maker for the 6th year running.
Analysts expect Boeing's deliveries to climb again in 2018 as it accelerates production of its 737 jetliners. The plane maker will increase output at its Seattle-area factories by another 11%, building 52 737s each month, up from 47 today.
Boeing delivered 529 737s last year, including 74 of its updated 737 Max jets.

India - Aviation boom: Indian budget airlines to expand fleet by 900 aircraft by 2024

Data made available by Union ministry of civil aviation states IndiGo, SpiceJet, GoAir and AirAsia planning massive expansion of fleet  
As India’s domestic travel industry looks at a revival, private airline operators are planning to expand their fleet to make the most of this imminent increase in passenger traffic. According to the Union ministry of civil aviation, low cost airlines are planning a huge expansion of their fleet over the next few years, with IndiGo alone expected to purchase 448 new aircraft. 
Data made available by the civil aviation ministry to Parliament as part of a Lok Sabha written reply shows that the fleet of India’s private carriers is expected to collectively expand by as many as 900 aircraft in coming years. The expansion of the fleet by low-cost airline operators comes at a time when India is emerging as a fast growing aviation market with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government also placing a premium on hitherto non-profitable regional routes through schemes like UDAN. 
Besides IndiGo, airline operators like SpiceJet, GoAir and AirAsia are also planning an expansion of their respective fleets. 

Short of Slots, Thai AirAsia Eyes Longer Jets

Thai AirAsia (TAA) will introduce the stretched-fuselage variant of its Airbus A320 workhorse to its fleet to deal with airport slot constraints.
Thailand's largest low-cost carrier (LCC) will begin to phase in more than 10 A321neos in 2019, said TAA chief executive Tassapon Bijleveld.
The A321neo can accommodate up to 240 passengers, compared with 180 seats in an A320, which constitutes the bulk of the aircraft in the fleets of TAA and other AirAsia subsidiary airlines.
"We can deploy these A321neos in busy airports that have no slots, such as Don Mueang, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Hong Kong," Mr Tassapon said.
These higher-capacity jets will supplement the A320 fleet, whose numbers will be raised by seven in 2018 from 56 this year.
More airports in Southeast Asia, which AirAsia's airlines ply, are running out of airport slots and deploying larger-capacity aircraft to maximise available slots.
The A321neo jetliners that TAA will receive are part of 100 aircraft ordered by parent AirAsia Bhd from Airbus at the Farnborough Airshow in July 2016.

These airports, including gateway Suvarnabhumi and LCC hub Don Mueang, processed 129 million

Thailand - New Year rush to increase passenger traffic by 6.6%

At Suvarnabhumi airport, the country's main gateway, passenger throughput is expected to grow by 2.7% in the seven-day period to 1.32 million or 188,500 a day, with aircraft movements rising 5% to 7,200 or 1,030 a day.
Don Mueang, the country's second-busiest airport and a low-cost carrier hub, expects a 4.9% rise in passenger traffic to 781,400 or 111,630 a day, with aircraft movements edging up 3.4% to 5,200 or 740 a day.
Phuket airport's passenger volume is expected to leap 16% to 425,300 or 60,760 a day, with flight movements rising 12% to 2,500 or 360 a day, thanks to the completion of a recent airport upgrade that raised capacity.
Chiang Mai airport is forecast to see 11.1% growth in passenger traffic to 243,900 or 34,840 a day, while aircraft movements will increase 5.4% to 1,630 or 230 a day.
At Hat Yai, passenger throughput is projected to grow by 4% to 89,100 or 12,730 a day, with aircraft movements rising 4.7% to 620 or 90 a day.
Chiang Rai is projected to record a 42.6% surge in passenger traffic to 78,200 or 11,170 a day, on a 19.4% jump in aircraft movements to 420 or 60 a day.

Battle must never stop so everyone can fly, says Fernandes

AirAsia group CEO Tony Fernandes shares email from customer which he says justifies his efforts to make flights cheap for the average person.

PETALING JAYA: AirAsia Group chief executive officer Tony Fernandes shared an email he received recently saying it highlighted why the “battle must never stop” when it comes to keeping the cost of flying within reach for everyone.
Fernandes posted a message on Facebook, calling it the email which “made my year”, and said it justified his intention in pioneering the low-cost carrier industry in the region.
“All I and AirAsia have ever tried to do was to make it cheaper for the average man to dream and fly like those with money. One day airports, regulators and politicians will understand,” he said alluding to the controversy over the increase in passenger services charges (PSC) at klia2, which is the main hub for AirAsia.
“I’m probably one of the most unpopular men for being outspoken and trying to make flying affordable. But won’t stop till the slogan I came up with in the shower becomes true. ‘Now Everyone Can Fly’. The battle must never stop,” he wrote on his FB page.
In the letter emailed to Fernandes, the author thanked the AirAsia boss for making “my dream come true”.
“The reason why I admire you is simply because you and your company truly made my dream come true, to fly with affordable price. So the tag line ‘now everyone can fly’ was truly deep for me.
“My dad was bankrupt, so we lost everything. I was starting my life from 0. When I got married, we had very little savings. But we wanted to go a honeymoon.
“Then it happened, thanks to AirAsia. I remember January 2008, we went to 2 cities, KL & Bangkok with AirAsia. We could afford the price…” said the AirAsia customer, who is believed to be from Indonesia.
The self-confessed fan of the airline tycoon also spoke highly of the latter’s book, calling it a source of great inspiration.
“My job requires me to travel alot. So I read it on my flights. I finished it all during my return journey between Jakarta and Hongkong.
“At home, in my spare time, I read it again and again. I have also marked every single inspiring thing that you’ve done.
“Now I know, behind the ‘now everyone can fly’ (slogan), there was a lot of blood, tears, sadness, and also happiness. You are so great sir,” the author wrote, adding that the book was a birthday gift from a sibling.
The email author also spoke of being able to bring the “entire family” to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong, saying “AirAsia helps me a lot to fulfil my dream, and it’s because of you and the whole AirAsia team”.
The email ended with a Christmas and New Year greeting for Fernandes and the author’s wish to one day get a chance to meet him in person.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Indonesia's aviation sector sees double-digit passenger growth for 2018

JAKARTA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Indonesia's aviation industry is forecasting double-digit passenger growth next year due to an expected boom in demand, government and industry officials say.
Transportation Ministry airport director Bintang Hidayat said he predicted the number of air passengers would climb 29.6 per cent to 140 million in 2018, much higher than the projected year-end figure this year of 108 million passengers.
The 2017 figure will also be a 12.45 percent increase from the previous year.

"[The aviation industry's growth] depends on economic growth. I hope the economy will keep growing," he said recently.
The Indonesian government has set a target of 5.4 per cent for economic growth in 2018. It reached 5.06 percent in the third quarter of this year.
Bintang explained that the growth would be supported by airlines adding to their fleet next year.
Bayu Sutanto, scheduled flight division head of the Indonesian National Air Carriers Association (INACA), voiced similar sentiments about next year's predicted double-digit growth, with aviation industry growth typically 2.5 times economic growth. He also pointed to the busy run-up to the April 2019 presidential elections prompting extra travel.
"We are optimistic. Next year is the political year, so there will be a lot of people [taking flights]," he said, adding that 2018 growth would likely surpass the 12 per cent growth projected this year.
Bayu cited airport capacity as the only obstacle that could potentially curb growth.
The busiest airport in the country, Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta, for example, can only handle around 43 million passengers until next year, although it is set to handle 60 million passengers this year alone. The airport is undergoing a major terminal expansion programme, with plans to add a third runway as well.
Air transportation is the main way for many Indonesians to travel across a nation with about 17,500 islands. As the economy grows, more people can afford air travel.
From January to September, the number of domestic air passengers grew by 11.36 per cent to 66 million compared to the same period last year, according to the Central Statistics Agency (BPS). Meanwhile, international air passengers increased by 14.47 per cent to 12.5 million.
Even so, INACA remains concerned over the base fare for economy-class flights, which the government has not increased despite skyrocketing operational costs.
The organisation had previously suggested an increase of the base fare, from the current 30 per cent of the ceiling fare for each route to 40 per cent.
The move was suggested to improve the financial condition of Indonesian airlines, despite criticism from low-cost carriers Lion Air and Indonesia AirAsia (IAA).
The minimum price was revised last year to cushion the impact of rising fuel costs and fluctuation in the rupiah's exchange value.
Commenting on the matter, president director Juliandra Nurtjahjo of low-cost carrier Citilink said the airline also expected 10 per cent growth next year with the expansion of new routes.
The airline has so far surpassed the 12 million passengers year-end target earlier this month, and expects the actual year-end figure to hit 12.5 million passengers.
However, the airline will not add to their fleet next year, Juliandro said, rounding the total of the remaining fleet to 50 aircraft. Its parent group, Garuda Indonesia, has postponed delivery of its aircraft in a bid to cut costs amid financial woes.
"We will increase [the number of passengers] to 14 million passengers, without any additional fleet, but we will increase the utilization," he told The Jakarta Post, adding that it will open up new routes in eastern Indonesia and two cities in Southeast Asia.
The country's largest low-cost carrier, Lion Air, has cited the possibility of adding 17 new aircraft next year if growth can reach 10 per cent.
"We will see the market situation. Next year is the political year, so there will be growth, based on some predictions," Lion Air Group president director Edward Sirait said.

AirAsia sets up subsidiary in China

KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia Bhd image:
is a step closer to setting up a joint-venture low-cost airline operation in China, having received a business licence approval on Nov 13 from the local government (via unit AirAsia Investment Ltd) and incorporated a wholly-owned subsidiary.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia on Wednesday, AirAsia said the new subsidiary, AirAsia (Guangzhou) Aviation Service Ltd Company, was expected to have issued share capital of US$1mil.

“The main objective of establishing the subsidiary is to have an aviation and commercial services company in China. The incorporation of the subsidiary is not expected to have any immediate effect on the issued and paid-up share capital or substantial shareholders’ shareholding in AirAsia,” it said.

On Sept 25, AirAsia inked a non-binding term sheet with Everbright Financial Investment Holdings, Plato Capital Ltd and Oxley Capital Ltd to supplement a memorandum of understanding (MoU) dated May 14 between it, Everbright and Henan Government Working Group for purposes of setting up a JV in China to operate a low-cost aviation business.

China-based Everbright is a conglomerate focusing mainly on financial services.

Plato, listed on the Singapore Exchange, is involved in hospitality, education and precision engineering sectors while Oxley is part of the Oxley Group, a Singapore-headquartered private investment firm.

According to the announcement on the MoU, the JV will also look into developing infrastructure apart from setting up a JV low-cost airline.

The JV will invest in the development of a low-cost carrier terminal, an aviation academy for pilots, engineers and crew training as well as a maintenance, repair and overhaul provider in Zhengzhou, which is intended as AirAsia China’s operating base and headquarters.
Airlines , AirAsia Bhd


Friday, January 5, 2018

India's Jet Airways in-cockpit fight between woman captain and male first officer ends in tears

Jet grounds two senior pilots for fighting in cockpit of London-Mumbai flight
Saurabh Sinha|

File photo used only for representation

NEW DELHI: Jet Airways has grounded two of its senior commanders for fighting inside the cockpit of a London-Mumbai flight on January 1. The commander flying as co-pilot allegedly slapped the lady commander mid-flight after which she left the cockpit in tears.

After great persuation, the lady pilot went back to the cockpit but reportedly came out in a huff shortly afterwards. This time, a frightened cabin crew, fearing for everyone's safety, requested her to go back to the controls and operate the flight to its destination. Luckily, the plane landed safely. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has suspended the licence of the male co-pilot and ordered a probe into the entire episode.

This unprecedented cockpit fight happened on 9W 119 soon after Jet's Boeing 777 took off for its 9-hour journey to Mumbai with 324 passengers and 14 crew members on board on New Year's Day at 10am (UK time).

Full story:

-- THE TIMES OF INDIA 2018-01-05