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7JetSet7 Code: ITA
Status: Operational
Country: CANADA
Web: iata.org
Telephone: +1 514 874 0202
Fax: +1 514 874 9632

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The International Air Transport Authority (IATA) (ITA) is an international trade body, created some 60 years ago by a group of airlines. Today, (ITA) represents >230+ airlines comprising 93% of scheduled international air traffic. (ITA) also represents, leads and serves the airline industry in general.

800 Place Victoria
PO Box 113
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June 1964: Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) Chairman Alan S Boyd graced the 2nd cover of Air Transport World (ATW) in June 1964. Economics Editor Robert Burkhardt wrote a lively feature on the (CAB) Chairman, who rallied hard for the traveling public, while angering airlines around the world. He fought against world wide fare increases, tackling (IATA) and its powerful membership, saying the increase was “not in the public interest.”

"ITA-1964-06 - ATW 50TH."

He also was a proponent of mergers, but when (TWA) and Pan Am (PAA) proposed one, he responded that the merger would cost a great deal and not provide the traveling public with a “good transport system.”

Also in this issue were articles on the Concorde Supersonic Transport (SST): Top Contender in a ‘Non-Race,’ the headline said. (ATW) also included the (SST) delivery schedule, of which there were 88 on order at that time. In the end, only 20 Concorde (SST)s were ever built.

October 2007: (IATA) (ITA) announced a standard it said "paves the way for global mobile phone check-in using 2-dimensional bar codes."

Mexico soon would incorporate (IATA) (ITA)'s Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) into its civil aviation regulatory requirements for airlines operating to, from and within the country.
December 2007: SriLankan Airlines (LNK) completed its (IATA) (ITA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA).

USA airline pilots (FC) may now stay on the job to age 65 rather than be forced to retire at 60, under legislation signed into law by USA President George W Bush. Bush signed the bill the same day he received it from Congress. Under the law, the retirement age was raised to 65 on international flights, with the condition that the other cockpit pilot (FC) would be younger than 60. On domestic flights, both pilots (FC) could be 60 to 65. The (FAA), which set the age-60 rule in 1959 for safety reasons, concluded that there was no medical justification for the standard.

The 3rd runway at Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) was put into operation following a successful flight test acceptance of a new (CAT III) Instrument Landing System (ILS) provided by Thales (THL). (PEK) was the busiest airport in China, with >48 million passengers transported in 2006 and an average of 1,100 landings/departures per day.

March 2008: (IATA) (ITA) Director General & (CEO) Giovanni Bisignani warned that air cargo was losing market share to ocean shipping and urged the industry to push for more efficient security, make the switch from paper to electronic document processing, and work to minimize the environmental impact of airfreight operations. He called air cargo a "tough business that would only get tougher," adding: "Our sea competitors are gaining market share with faster ships, lower prices and innovative solutions."

The Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) announced a partnership with Eurocontrol aimed at strengthening cooperation between the 2 organizations in order to reduce safety risks. The accord followed a similar agreement between (FSF) and Aviation Safety Foundation-Australasia and focused on mitigating risks posed by the combination of traffic growth and a shortage of controllers and pilots (FC), the creation of a "Just Culture" in aviation, and the promotion of SKYbary, an online repository for safety-related information.

The trend of airlines assessing fees for checked baggage was growing, highlighted by 2 USA legacy carriers deciding to limit economy (Y) passengers to 1 "free" checked bag, while charging $25 for a 2nd checked bag on a large portion of flights which began on May 5.

April 2008: (IATA) (ITA) announced a $3.7 million initiative, the "Implementation Program for Safe Operations in Africa," that would give 30 African carriers access to the organization's Flight Data Analysis tool over a 3-year period.

"Africa had the world's worst safety record and its airlines were the least profitable with -$300 million in losses forecast for that year. Improved safety and efficiency are a must to preserve and increase aviation's contribution of $9 billion in (GDP) and 430,000 jobs in Africa."

May 2008: An investigation by the European Union (EU) found that buying airline tickets online was still fraught with risk, and a 3rd of consumers were "ripped off or misled and confused." It warned that if the offending airlines and other ticket sellers didn't improve their sales and marketing practices by May 1, 2009, the European Commission (EC) "would have no choice but to intervene."

June 2008: Royal Jordanian (RJA) (CEO) Samer Majali took over as (IATA) Chairman, succeeding (TAP) Portugal (CEO) Fernando Pinto.(IATA)'s board of governors announced that Cathay Pacific Airways (CAT) (CEO) Tony Tyler would succeed Majali in June 2009.

At the (AGM) of the (IATA) in Istanbul, Lufthansa Cargo (LUB) was appointed the leading cargo carrier for the “e-freight“ project in Germany. (IATA) simultaneously named Germany the biggest air cargo market in Europe, as an e-freight market.

Lufthansa Cargo (LUB) Chairman Carsten Spohr said: “(LUB) would press ahead firmly with the e-freight project and expressly further paperless cargo transport.” With the help of this initiative, they intended to accelerate processes for the benefit of their customers, create cost-efficient structures and generally advance the cause of the airfreight industry.” In cooperation with customers, (LUB) would make preparations for the 1st paperless shipment and put in place the required processes. The “e-freight” project was initiated as part of the (IATA) “Simplifying the Business” initiative in 2004.

(IATA) identified +11 additional countries as "ready for e-freight," signaling a potential major expansion of trials that aimed to demonstrate the feasibility of "paperless" air cargo.

July 2008: An alliance of 6 SkyTeam (STM) airlines won antitrust immunity from USA authorities in May, while Continental Airlines (CAL) said a transatlantic joint venture with United Airlines (UAL) was an incentive to leave SkyTeam (STM) and join the Star Alliance (SAL).

Skyrocketing fuel costs and the increasing popularity of the green movement were intersecting to create new interest in an old form of transportation: rail.

In the USA, ridership on its rail system, Amtrak was breaking records. In Europe, where rail was always much more of a transportation staple, AirFrance (AFA)/(KLM) was considering getting into the high-speed rail business. And everywhere, rail and airline operators were not just looking at ways to compete with each other; they were exploring new ways in which they could cooperate. The companies that were most often associated with providing information technology (IT) and distribution services to airlines were working with rail operators as well. "The high-speed network was growing, security measures were hitting the airlines and the environment was pushing rail to the forefront. Rail transactions were growing exponentially."

The previous month, >100 delegates gathered in Nice, France for the 2nd Amadeus Rail Forum. Among them were the expected rail operators and travel agents, but airlines and car rental companies were represented as well. At the same time, consumers had become accustomed to certain things in the airline world: electronic tickets, for example. While some rail companies had made "great investments" in technology, Amadeus believed they shouldn't have to go it alone. It wanted to develop the same sort of community model for rail operators that it did for its airline customers.

Modernizing systems was particularly important in Europe, where domestic rail was slated for liberalized regulation in 2010, with international rail travel to follow in 2017. Unless rail companies moved then, they could find themselves unprepared for head-to-head battle with sleek new competitors such as a high-speed operation between Milan and Rome.

All 7 of the companies involved in Railteam, a collaboration of high-speed rail operators in Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, and the UK, were Amadeus Rail customers. They were working on the standardization of technology and processes to streamline travel through Europe. For example, a customer traveling between Paris and Stuttgart would notice that the conductor had 2 ticket punchers: 1 for tickets issued in France, and the other for tickets issued in Germany.

The 8th edition of the European Commission (EC)'s blacklist of banned airlines did not include Iran's Mahan Airlines (MHN), thanks to "significant efforts and progress accomplished by this carrier, which were verified during an on-site inspection," but continued to include Indonesian airlines, including Garuda Indonesia (GIA). "The Commission (EC) decided that the Indonesian authorities had still not developed and implemented an efficient oversight program on any of the carriers under their regulatory control," it said. Ukraine Cargo Airways remained banned as well, and Yemenia Airways (YEM) was told it "should complete its corrective actions plan" by the Air Safety Committee's next meeting. All airlines from Equatorial Guinea, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo were banned, while Gabon Airlines and Afrijet (FRJ) from Gabon were allowed to maintain operations at their current level.

August 2008: Washington Dulles (IAD)'s new underground rail system, which connected the main terminal with the midfield concourses, was to be operational by late 2009, officials said. AeroTrain would connect the main terminal with the east and west wings of Concourse B.

December 2008: (ITA) might lose up to -20 members owing to its requirement that all members earn their way onto its (ITA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) registry by year end, Giovanni Bisignani conceded during a Global Media Day in Geneva. 9 airlines already had lost their membership because they did reach interim targets. (ITA) expected the number of carriers included in its (IOSA) registry to exceed >270, including 210 to 220 (ITA) members.

January 2009: The previous year was 1 of the safest years on record for air travel, with 539 reported passenger and crew fatalities, down from 730 in 2007 and the 2nd-best year on record. Only 2004 had fewer fatalities at 434. On the down side, 2008 saw an increase in the number of fatal accidents to 28 from 24 in 2007. The fatal accident rate for 2008 was 1 per 1.3 million flights compared to 1 per 1.2 million for the 9 years since 2000.

The European Union (EU)'s blacklisting of unsafe carriers "proved effective," as had "(IATA)'s Operational Safety Audit for member airlines and improved adherence to international safety regulations."


The airline industry parked 1,167 airplanes the previous year "making 2008 the worst year for cutbacks since 2001." The total number of stored jets was approaching 2,300, representing >11% of the global air transport fleet of 20,293, and the number was supposed to rise significantly in 2009 as "at least +400 more airplanes were scheduled to be cut during 2009."

The downturn was approaching in severity the situation at the end of 2001 when 13% of the world jet transport fleet was in storage. At that time, the fleet comprised 15,950 airplanes, "so a similar share in 2009 could mean a total of some 3,000 idle airliners."

North American airlines had big head start in grounding airplanes, having announced fleet reductions totaling almost -800 since mid-2008. The decision to ground these airplanes was cited by analysts as the main reason USA carriers were in better shape to weather the downturn than their counterparts in Europe, where 450 airplanes were being parked, and the Asia/Pacific region, where at least -230 were to be grounded.

March 2009: Cargo traffic contracted -4% for full-year 2008, including a -22.6% year-over-year plunge in December that Giovanni Bisignani described as "unprecedented and shocking."

Giovanni Bisignani also called for faster implementation of e-freight. "We need to modernize the old paper-based processes of air cargo," he said. "Each freight shipment is accompanied by >30 documents." (ITA) e-freight trials are underway at 26 airports world wide. "By 2010, our target is to have the capability to remove 64% of the paper from 81% of international shipments," he said.

April 2009: USA Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said NextGen is an "essential upgrade" and promised "real progress" in modernizing (ATC) despite the economic downturn.

(ITA) said all 224 member airlines now are listed on the (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) registry. "This is a great achievement and an important mark of quality for all (IATA) airlines.

Turkish Airlines (THY) became a member of (IATA) (ITA)'s Cargo 2000 Quality Management System.

The USA National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reported that USA scheduled airlines operated for a second consecutive year in 2008 with no fatal accidents. In preliminary numbers recently released, the (NTSB) said Part 121 scheduled carriers had an accident rate of 0.189 per 100,000 departures last year. That translated to 28 accidents, identical to 2007. None of the accidents in either year resulted in fatalities. Part 135 regional airline operations resulted in 7 accidents in 2008, none of which were fatal, up from 3 nonfatal accidents in 2007. The streak ended in early February with the Colgan Air Dash 8-Q400 crash outside Buffalo which killed 50, and the FedEx (FED) MD-11F accident at Tokyo Narita last month that killed both pilots (FC).

May 2009: Alitalia (ALI) has been re-established as an (IATA) (ITA) member and said it is "now in a position to play an active role in all the association's projects, confirming its intention to be a key player in the air transport world, at the same time as following an investment strategy to continuously improve its services and products."

June 2009: FAPA.aero, an assistance service for professional pilots (FC), recently released a report of what each major USA carrier pays its captains and first officers. For the 11 largest USA airlines, including freight carriers FedEx (FED) and (UPS), the average annual pay for a 1st-year first officer flying the smallest mainline airplane is about $36,000. But the range between the best and worst paying airlines is large, with (FED) paying $51,000 and US Airways (AMW)/(USA) just $22,000. Southwest Airlines (SWA) is the 2nd highest paying at the entry level ($50,000), while Continental Airlines (CAL) and United Airlines (UAL) are tied for 2nd last at $27,000. At the other end of the scale are long tenured captains flying the largest airplanes, who earn an average of $165,000 per year. Again, the cargo carriers are tops with (UPS) and (FED) paying $231,000 and $211,000, respectively. The best paying passenger airline is (SWA) ($181,000), quite remarkable considering its pilots (FC) only fly narrow body 737s. The worst is JetBlue (JBL) ($123,000). Flt.Ops.com notes that pilots (FC) can earn considerably more than their base pay through international overrides, overtime work, per diems and other items.

Recently released federal government employment figures for airline pilots (FC) and mechanics (MT) run counter to data compiled by private organizations and the personal stories of highly-trained pilots (FC) standing in unemployment lines.

By the end of 2008, as the recession deepened, it became clear that the future would be bleak for newly minted flight school graduates. Air Inc said airline pilot (FC) hiring totals for 2008 were less than half of what they were the previous year, 6,479 compared to 13,157 in 2007. However, the federal government says USA scheduled passenger airlines employed +2.3% more pilots (FC) and +5.9% more maintenance (MT) workers in 2008 than in 2007, while total industry jobs declined by -3.0%. According to the USA Department of Transportation (DOT)’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the 7 large network carriers employed +1.1% more pilots (FC) and +8.6% more maintenance (MT) workers in 2008 than in 2007. The 7 largest low-cost carriers (LCC)s employed +5.2% more pilots (FC) and -6.8% fewer maintenance (MT) workers from 2007 to 2008.

Delta Air Lines (DAL) had the largest increase in pilots (FC) of any network airline from 2007 to 2008, while Alaska Airlines (ASA) had the greatest percentage decrease in pilot (FC) employment of the network airlines. United Airlines (UAL) had the largest increase in maintenance workers of any network airline from 2007 to 2008, while Northwest Airlines (NWA) had the smallest increase.

All of the low-cost carriers (LCC)s except Frontier Airlines (FRO) added pilots (FC) from 2007 to 2008. Spirit Airlines (SPR) had the largest increase in pilot (FC) employment followed by Allegiant Airlines (WJE). (WJE) had the largest increase in maintenance (MT) workers of any low-cost airline from 2007 to 2008, while (SPR) had the largest reduction. The seven network carriers employed 13.2 pilots per airplane in 2008, down from 13.5 pilots (FC) per airplane in 2007. The (LCC)s employed 11.2 pilots (FC) per airplane in 2008, down -1.8% from 11.4 pilots (FC) per airplane in 2007.

(ASA) had 12.0 pilots (FC) per airplane in 2008, down from 12.9 (FC) per airplane in 2007, the fewest of any network airline. (DAL), with 14.9 per airplane, up from 14.3 per airplane in 2008, had the largest increase in the number of pilots (FC) per airplane from 2007 to 2008 and had the most pilots (FC) per airplane of any network carrier.

(WJE) had 9.3 pilots (FC) per airplane in 2008, the fewest of any (LCC), compared to 9.6 pilots (FC) per airplane in 2007. (SPR), with 15.5 (FC) per airplane, up from 12.6 (FC) per airplane in 2007 had the most pilots (FC) per airplane in the (LCC)s group.

As regards airline mechanics (MT), the (BTS) said the passenger airlines had 8.9 maintenance (MT) workers per airplane in 2008, up from 8.3 per airplane in 2007. The network airlines had 12.9 maintenance (MT) workers per airplane in 2008, up from 12.3 (MT) per airplane in 2007. Spending by network airlines for outsourced maintenance increased from 42.5% of total maintenance spending in 2007 to 42.8% in 2008. The (LCC)s had 3.2 maintenance (MT) workers per airplane in 2008, down from 3.7 (MT) per airplane in 2007. Spending by (LCC)s for outsourced maintenance increased from 52.1% of total maintenance spending in 2007 to 54.6% in 2007.

(NWA) had 0.8 maintenance (MT) workers per airplane in 2008, the fewest of any network airline and unchanged from the 0.8 employees per airplane in 2007. (NWA)’s spending for outsourcing maintenance declined from 71.0% of total spending in 2007 to 65.9% in 2008. (AAL) had 22.4 maintenance (MT) workers per airplane in 2008, the most of any network airline. (AAL)’s spending for outsourcing was 23.6% of total maintenance spending in 2008, the lowest percentage spending share of the network carriers.

Virgin America (VUS) had 1.7 maintenance (MT) workers per airplane in 2008 the fewest of any (LCC). Of the (LCC)s, (SPR) spent the smallest portion of its maintenance expense on outsourcing at 22.6%. (SWA) had the highest percentage share for outsourcing at 61.3%. (FRO) had 3.9 maintenance (MT) workers per airplane in 2008, the most of any (LCC) but down from 7.7 (MT) employees per airplane in 2007. (FRO)’s spending for outsourcing increased from 20.5% of total maintenance spending in 2007 to 24.9% in 2008.

Meanwhile, it is reported that the skies aren’t so friendly for Steffan Schmidt and Chris Campbell. They were recently found on a street in Seattle, at rush hour, holding signs more often used by panhandlers. “2 laid-off pilots (FC)” read Schmidt's sign. “Will Fly for Food” Campbell’s sign said. It’s a small industry, and there aren’t a lot of pilot (FC) gigs on Craigslist or Monster, said Campbell, who lost his job flying a corporate airplane. Schmidt was laid off from his job flying a corporate plane 3 months ago, and figured they would get some “exposure” by standing at a busy freeway ramp. “The normal way to find employment didn’t cut it,” he said. Schmidt said he wanted to get off unemployment, and not “waste any more tax dollars.” They're seeking pilot (FC) jobs, not handouts, but passersby offered them money and books, which they politely declined.

Cathay Pacific Airways (CAT) (CEO) Tony Tyler was named Chairman of the (IATA) (ITA) Board of Governors for 2009 succeeding Royal Jordanian (CEO) Samer Majali. Tyler said his 1st priority is to achieve "a workable, sensible approach to [airline] emissions." (ITA) announced a commitment to achieving carbon neutral growth from 2020. Interestingly, (CAT) is a founding member of the Aviation Global Deal (AGD) Group, a coalition of 6 airlines plus the British Airports Authority (BAA) formed outside (ITA) to work for the inclusion of aviation in a "new global climate deal" scheduled to be discussed at December's United Nations (UN) climate summit in Copenhagen.

Al Baker (QTA) blasted airline inclusion in the European Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), calling it "a complete farce created by the (EU)." He also warned that other states could retaliate by imposing their own fees and taxes on airlines flying into their airspace. In addition to naming Tyler Chairman for the current year, the (ITA) board agreed to appoint David Bronczek President & (CEO) of FedEx Express (FED) to serve as Chairman, following Tyler in June 2010.

On the environmental front, (ITA) expects airline CO2 emissions to fall -7% this year compared to 2008, -5% from reduced capacity and -2% from direct actions. He said that the (ITA) board "took a landmark decision" that "by 2020 the airline industry will achieve carbon neutral growth demand will continue to increase but any expansion of our carbon footprint will be compensated."

(TAP) Portugal launched a carbon offset program with (IATA) (ITA) enabling passengers to pay compensation for the carbon dioxide emissions resulting from their flights. The proceeds will be given to the Aquarius Hydroelectric Project, a renewable energy project in Brazil. It is the 1st such program to be launched in conjunction with (ITA). The industry-wide scheme designed by the association calculates CO2 based on a methodology developed by (ICAO). (ITA) is the administering entity for the (TAP) program and will arrange the purchase of carbon credits and manage and provide offset tracking.

July 2009: (SITA) said its "2009 Airline Information Technology (IT) Trends Survey" revealed that carrier investment in (IT) "is set to reach a new low this year as airplane operators cope with unprecedented financial losses." According to the survey, (IT) and telecommunications spending as a percentage of airline revenue is forecast to be just 1.7% in 2009, the lowest level since 2002. "Many airlines are in survival mode," (SITA) said, explaining that "72% of survey respondents intend to renegotiate (IT) supplier contracts and 70% will invest in solutions that lower overall enterprise costs. Most airlines have already put in place measures such as rationalization of (IT) suppliers, (IT) infrastructure consolidation, reduced head count and outsourcing."

The Association of European Airlines (AEA) said that air cargo demand continues to decline at a "catastrophic" rate while passenger traffic registered its "worst result" of the economic downturn in May.

(ICAO) President Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez rejected European Commission (EC) VP TransportAntonio Tajani's call for a global "blacklist" banning airlines for safety reasons, "Reuters" reported. Tajnai outlined plans for a global list that would be similar to the (EU)'s list of banned carriers following the Yemenia Yemen Airways (YEM) A310-300 crash. "I don't think [a blacklist] is the solution at the global level," Gonzalez said.

Later, Ukrainian Mediterranean Airlines and Iran's Mahan Air (MHN) were added to the (EU)'s list of banned airlines, while Garuda Indonesia (GIA), Airfast Indonesia, Mandala Airlines (MND) and Premiair were removed from the "blacklist." The latest update, did not include Yemenia Yemen Airways (YEM), despite recent controversy following the June 29 A310-300 crash that killed 152 passengers and crew. All airlines from Zambia and Kazakhstan were added to the list with the exception of Air Astana (AKZ), which will be allowed limited access to (EU) nations.

(TAAG) Angola Airlines (ANG), already on the list of >200 carriers, will be allowed to operate "into Portugal only with certain airplanes and under very strict conditions," the (EC) said, adding that the limited access was granted to acknowledge "progress made by the civil aviation authority of Angola [and (TAAG) (ANG)] to resolve progressively any safety deficiencies." All other Angolan airlines remain banned. All Indonesian carriers remain banned apart from the aforementioned 4. Complete bans are in place on airlines from Benin, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Swaziland.

August 2009: The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) urged the USA government "to prohibit shipments of lithium batteries on passenger and all-cargo airplanes until new regulations are in place to ensure the safe transport of these hazardous materials," citing 3 recent incidents in which "fire, smoke or evidence of fire associated with battery shipments has occurred" on freighter airplanes.

(ALPA) is not pushing to restrict passengers from carrying lithium battery-powered devices such as laptop computers aboard airplanes, but it is concerned that lithium batteries shipped as cargo present a dangerous fire hazard.

September 2009: (IATA) (ITA) and the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) jointly issued a "Runway Excursion Risk Reduction" toolkit. (ITA) and the (FSF) said the package includes "an in-depth analysis of runway excursion accident data, a compilation of significant risk factors and recommendations for operators, pilots (FC), airports, air traffic management, air traffic controllers and regulators to assist in addressing this challenge. The toolkit also contains considerable training materials and best practices for all operators."

The world's airlines suffered a collective loss of -$8.5 billion in 2008 and are expected to report a a -$9 billion deficit this year, according to IATA (ITA). "It is the worst crisis in the air transportation industry (2,860 airliners have been parked idle, which is about 13.1% of the total global fleet and [a figure that has risen] +30% over the past 12 months).

Airlines in the USA collected $669.6 million in baggage fees in the 2nd quarter, nearly 4x more than the amount collected in the year-ago period and up +18.2% from the 1st quarter, helping boost operating margins nearly across the board, the USA Department of Transportation reported. American Airlines (AAL) led the way last quarter with $118.4 million in baggage revenue. Delta Air Lines (DAL) (not including Northwest Airlines (NWA)) was just $86,000 behind and US Airways (AMW)/(USA) took in $104.1 million. AirTran Airways (CQT), the leading Low Cost Carrier (LCC), came in 7th with $40.5 million.

October 2009: China Southern Airlines (GUN) launched "e-freight" service on its Guangzhou to Dalian route and said it will offer largely paperless cargo carriage on additional routes by year end. It said the initiative could save -CNY1 million/-$146,300 annually. It is the 1st Chinese carrier to implement e-freight, which is being pushed strongly by (IATA) (ITA). (GUN) noted that it sold the country's 1st e-ticket in 2000, introduced China's 1st self-service kiosk in 2005 and was the nation's 1st carrier to offer an online check-in option in 2006.

November 2009: The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that passengers on flights delayed for >3 hours have the same right to seek compensation from airlines as passengers on cancelled flights. (EU) regulations clearly entitle passengers on cancelled flights to be compensated between €250 ($373) and €600. This ruling stems from cases in Germany and Austria in which passengers on flights that reached their destination airports 25 hours and 22 hours late respectively sued Condor (CDF) and Air France (AFA) for compensation. German and Austrian courts asked the (ECJ) to clarify whether delays should be treated as cancellations because the (EU) regulation only refers to cancellations.

December 2009: (IATA) Director Global Safety Chris Glaeser said that through the first 11 months of 2009 there were 73 airline accidents worldwide in which significant airplane damage was recorded, meaning the industry is on pace for a +38% improvement from the 109 accidents in 2008. "This is the best accident rate we've seen," he told the (FAA) International Runway Safety Summit in Washington. However, it should be noted that there have been multiple accidents this year with high fatalities, including the May 31, Air France (AFA) A330-200 crash that killed all 228 aboard.

The USA Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said it is moving ahead steadily with procuring and deploying next-generation airport security technology to screen both checked and carry-on baggage, spurred by $1 billion that was allocated to the agency for aviation security in the $787 billion stimulus passed by the government.

The (EU) finalized and implemented an "open skies" accord with Canada, signed an air services pact with the West African Economic & Monetary Union (WAEMU) and reached agreement with Iceland and Norway to allow those nations to become part of the (EU) - USA "open skies" deal. The Canada agreement, first announced in May, allows airlines from each side to operate freely without any restrictions on the number of carriers or flights between any airport in the (EU) and any in Canada. Air Canada (ACN) announced it would operate daily seasonal service between St John's and London Heathrow May 27 to September 26. (ACN) Executive VP & (COO) Duncan Dee said the "agreement opens up a realm of new commercial opportunities for (ACN) throughout the (EU)."

The USA Department of Transportation (DOT) announced a final ruling forcing USA airlines to deplane passengers after a 3-hour delay under most circumstances, among other consumer-friendly provisions, which the Air Transport Association (ATA) said would lead to unfavorable "unintended consequences." The August stranding incident in Minnesota, which resulted in a combined $175,000 in fines levied against Continental Airlines (CAL), ExpressJet Airlines and Mesaba Airlines, was the final straw for the (DOT).

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, "Airline passengers have rights, and these new rules will require airlines to live up to their obligation to treat their customers fairly." The rules enter effect 120 days from their publication in the Federal Register, meaning late April. On domestic flights, airlines will allow passengers to leave an airplane after 3 hours "with exceptions allowed only for safety or security or if air traffic control (ATC) advises the pilot (FC) in command that returning to the terminal would disrupt airport operations," the (DOT) said. USA carriers, operating international flights "must specify, in advance, their own time limits with the same exceptions applicable." Food and drinking water must be provided within 2 hours and lavatories must be operational.

In addition, airlines will be prohibited "from scheduling chronically delayed flights" and will be required to be more responsive to consumer complaints and to display delay information on their websites for each flight operated. Carriers face fines of up to $27,500 per passenger for violations, according to press reports. Government data indicated there were 1,096 flights delayed on the ground for >3 hours in the fiscal year ended September 30, "Bloomberg News" reported.

In response, the (ATA) said it "will comply with the new rule even though we believe it will lead to unintended consequences, more cancelled flights and greater passenger inconvenience." It said forcing airplanes to return to the gate after 3 hours "is inconsistent with our goal of completing as many flights as possible."

Cargo traffic measured in (FTK)s will plunge -15% in 2009. Asia/Pacific airlines, which account for 36% of the world market, saw traffic fall -14%. North American and European airlines (25% each) saw (FTK)s decline -17% and -18%, respectively.

January 2010: (IATA) (ITA) said 2009, "the worst year the industry has ever seen," according to Director General & (CEO) Giovanni Bisignani, concluded with a -3.5% drop in international (RPK)s traffic and a load factor of 75.6% LF. "We have permanently lost -2.5 years of growth in passenger markets and -3.5 years of growth in the freight business," Bisignani said. Airlines cut international capacity by -3% last year. The largest drop in demand was the -6.8% fall in Africa, followed by -5.6% declines in both North America and Asia/Pacific and -5% in Europe. Middle East (RPK)s rose +11.2%. Freight fell -10.1% year-over-year against an -8.4% cut in capacity.

Asia/Pacific airlines recorded demand growth of +5.1%, while Latin American carriers boosted traffic by +8.2% and Middle East operators saw a +16.5% surge. European and North American airlines both experienced collective -3% decreases in traffic. Compared to November 2008, European carriers' capacity was down -3.9% and North American airlines lowered capacity (ASK)s by -6.7%.

On the cargo front, Asia/Pacific carriers posted +14.5% demand growth in November, which (IATA) credited to government stimulus packages in the region that it said drove stronger industrial output. Africa (up +8.1%), Latin America (up +17.5%), the Middle East (up +21.4%) and North America (up +13.6%) all experienced freight demand increases. European airlines recorded a -5.6% fall in (FTK)s for the month.

Last year was "the safest year ever" for airline operations in terms of the rate of fatal accidents, though the severity of several accidents resulted in the number of passengers and crew killed increasing "significantly" from 2008. The fatal accident rate in 2009 was 1 per 1.5 million flights, the best ratio ever recorded. It noted that on this basis, flying is "now about twice as safe as in the 1990s." During that decade, the fatal accident rate was 1 per 700,000 flights. The fatal accident rate for the 2000s was 1 per 1.2 million flights. The number of fatal accidents in 2009 decreased -23% to 23 from 30 in 2008. The 2009 total was -15% below the annual average of 27 for the decade and -40% fewer than the annual average of 37.4 in the 1990s. There were 100 fewer fatal accidents overall in the 2000s than in the 1990s, or 10 fewer per year on average.

But the number of passengers and crew killed in 2009 totaled 732, up +29.1% from 567 in 2008 owing to heavy fatalities in several severe accidents, including the Air France (AFA) A330 crash in May that killed 228. Still, the 2009 figure was -8% below the annual average of 794 fatalities during the decade and a +35% improvement over the 1990s annual average of 1,128 fatalities. Overall, there were 10 accidents in 2009 that resulted in fatalities on revenue passenger flights, nearly -25% fewer than the 13 recorded in 2008. For the 2000s, nearly 8,000 passengers and crew (FC)/(CA) were killed in airline accidents, down -29.1% from the 11,280 deaths in the 1990s. The estimated passenger fatality rate for 2009 was 1 per 4.2 million carried, +27% better than the annual average of 1 per 3.3 million for the 2000s, and more than 2x as good as the 1 per 1.84 million rate recorded in the 1990s.

The Association of European Airlines (AEA) admitted airBaltic (BAU), Aegean Airlines (CRM) and Montenegro Airlines as members. It now comprises 36 carriers. The (AEA) also announced that British Airways (BAB) CEO, Willie Walsh will serve as the organization's Chairman in 2010, succeeding Croatia Airlines (CRH) President & CEO, Ivan Misetic.

(IATA) and the airlines made the following recommendations: Government/industry cooperation should be institutionalized under an (ICAO) template so security policies can be formulated "with the benefit of airline operational expertise;" implementation and targets should not be "one size fits all" and a single data collection and sharing program should be created by the (DHS) as a "model" for other governments; governments should work together to ensure requirements and laws do not contradict; development of "next generation" checkpoints that combine technology and intelligence should begin.

February 2010: (IATA) (ITA) revealed that Asia in 2009 eclipsed North America as the world's largest commercial aviation market. Asia/Pacific air travelers last year numbered 647 million, besting the 638 million who traveled by air within North America (including domestic markets). An additional +217 million travelers are expected to take to the skies annually within the Asia/Pacific region by 2013.

The (IATA) reported that the accident rate in 2009 for Western-built jet airplanes was "the second-lowest in aviation history" at 0.71 hull losses per million flights, "equal to one accident for every 1.4 million flights." The (ITA) said, "This is a significant improvement [from] the 0.81 rate recorded in 2008 (1 accident for 1.2 million flights)." The only better year was 2006, when the rate was 0.65. The 2009 rate was -36% lower compared to 2000. The (ITA) noted that member airlines "outperformed the industry average with a Western-built jet hull accident rate of 0.62, equal to 1 accident for every 1.6 million flights."

Overall, there were 19 accidents involving Western-built jets last year compared to 22 in 2008. There were 90 accidents for all airplane types compared to 109 in 2008, including 18 fatal accidents for all types compared to 23 the preceding year, the (ITA) said. Owing to the severity of several accidents, fatalities increased 36.5% to 685 in 2009 from 502 in 2008.

"Last year, 2.3 billion people flew safely," Director General & CEO Giovanni Bisignani said. "But every fatality is a human tragedy that reminds us of the ultimate goal of 0 accidents and 0 fatalities."

The (IATA) pointed to regional differences in 2009 accident rates: Airlines based in N Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and the (CIS) had zero Western-built jet hull losses for the year. The Western-built jet hull loss rate per million flights was 0.41 for carriers in North America, 0.45 for Europe, 0.86 for Asia/Pacific, 3.32 for the Middle East and North Africa and 9.94 for Africa, "significantly higher than their 2008 rate of 2.12," it said. "Africa has once again the worst rate of the world. There were 5 Western-built jet hull losses with African carriers in 2009. African carriers are 2% of global traffic, but 26% of global Western-built jet hull losses."

(IATA) said its analysis of accident causes in 2009 revealed 3 primary trouble areas. Runway excursions caused 26%, though the number of excursions did drop 18% to 23 from 28 in 2008. Ground damage accounted for 10% of all accidents. "While runway excursions and ground damage were the main categories of accidents, pilot (FC) handling was noted as a contributing factor in 30% of all accidents."

March 2010: USA and Asia/Pacific-based carriers saw the largest improvement in financial performance over the last year while "European airlines saw much less progress."

The freighter fleet is down by -160 airplanes compared to early 2008 and cargo capacity also has been lowered "by reducing the average hours in the air of both freighters and wide body airplanes" carrying belly cargo. "Revenues, particularly for cargo, are picking up much more strongly for travel and freight coming out of Asia than they are on developed markets such as transatlantic [routes]," it concluded. "This is being reflected in the divergent financial results of airlines based in different regions."

Middle East carriers will post a loss of -$400 million this year, +$100 million more than estimated earlier, as yields remain low despite a double-digit passenger growth. The rise in loss for Middle Eastern carriers is in contrast to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) halving its loss for its members.

The USA and Zambia signed an "open skies" aviation agreement. Zambia is the USA's 96th "open skies" partner and 20th in Africa.

The European Union (EU) and Jordan announced a common aviation area agreement that is expected to be signed in June.

April 2010: (ICAO) said A High-Level Safety Conference (HSC) in Montreal concluded with a "strong mandate" by attendees to "create a global safety information exchange to enable analysis of key safety indicators." The (HSC) called upon (ICAO) "to facilitate the collection, analysis and dissemination of safety information" provided by member states and industry stakeholders throughout the international aviation community.

The (ICAO), the (FAA), the European Commission (EC), and the (IATA) (ITA) signed a landmark safety data sharing accord.

April 2010: Volcanic ash from the recent eruption in Iceland continues to cause dramatic disruption to air traffic in Europe, with many airlines cancelling services for a fifth consecutive day owing to airspace closures but questioning whether European Union (EU) governments and Air Traffic Control (ATC) providers are overreacting.

(KLM) President & (CEO) Peter Hartman estimated the combined financial impact of lost revenue and costs for stranded passengers at €5 million/$6.8 million to €10 million daily. "This is rather dramatic," he told Dutch media. He confirmed that (KLM) does not have insurance that covers this event.

(SAS) warned it would lay off up to -2,500 employees temporarily in Norway if airplanes remain grounded. It later announced that nearly all of its flights would be cancelled, though it did say "a few domestic flights" would operate in Norway.

Several European carriers, including Finnair (FIN) and Lufthansa (DLH) grounded their entire fleets. Ryanair (RYR) said it has cancelled all scheduled flights to/from the UK, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Poland, and the Baltic States.

Eurocontrol said there were 10,400 flights in European airspace Friday compared to 28,000 normally and approximately 5,000 Saturday compared to 22,000 on a normal Saturday.

The situation has forced airlines in North America and Asia to cancel a high percentage of their Europe-bound flights. The USA Air Transport Association (ATA) said USA carriers cancelled 282 of 337 scheduled Saturday transatlantic flights. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of passengers were stranded at airports across Asia over the weekend as airlines in the region halted nearly all flights to Europe, though some to southern Europe were still operating. Qantas (QAN) cancelled all of its European flights through at least Tuesday.

JetBlue Airways (JBL) received its (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) registration and is now a member of (IATA) (ITA). (JBL) said joining the (IOSA) registry will "expand (JBL)'s partnership opportunities" and demonstrates its "rigorous [safety] guidelines." White Airways (YES) achieved (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) registration.

May 2010: Flights into and out of Ireland and Northern Ireland were grounded for about 6 hours again as another volcanic ash cloud drifted from Iceland. The disruption paled in comparison to last month's (EU)-wide airspace closure, but it renewed fears that volcanic ash could interrupt air traffic on an ongoing basis. In a worrying development, the Icelandic Meteorological Office stated on its website that there has been an increase in activity from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano along with a high number of earthquakes in its immediate area. Both Aer Lingus (ARL) and Ryanair (RYR) cancelled hundreds of flights. UK airports, including London Heathrow were not closed.

Meanwhile, the full extent of the April 15 to 21 closures came into clearer focus with the release of data on the period from (IATA) (ITA). (ITA) said >100,000 flights were cancelled over 6 days, with 19,000 cancelled on both April 19 and 20, the 2 days of "maximum impact." This equated to about 30% of worldwide scheduled passenger capacity of 4.9 billion (ASK)s, (ITA) said. "Over 1.2 million scheduled passengers were being affected each day," it stated. "The European Commission (EC) estimates the total number of passengers unable to travel over the whole period at 10 million." Lost revenue on flights between the UK and the USA amounted to -$24.9 million daily, (ITA) said. The next-highest route impact was France to the USA on which losses totaled -$8.7 million daily.

Mandala Airlines (MND) received (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certification from (IATA) (ita) and will launch its 1st international service from Jakarta to Singapore Changi (SIN), Macau, and Hong Kong, as well as Balikpapan to (SIN) service, June 25. (MND) said it is the 1st privately owned Indonesian airline to achieve (IOSA) registration.

June 2010: (IATA) (ITA) Director General & CEO Giovanni Bisignani, who announced that he will step down at the organization's next Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Cairo in June 2011, outlined his "Vision 2050 - Shaping Aviation's Future," a program that aims "to build an industry that is even more successful at serving its customers, so successful that our customers will be our biggest advocates."

In his State of the Industry address delivered at the start of (ITA)'s 66th (AGM) in Berlin, Bisignani argued that it "is time to think big and to look beyond the cycles and shocks. Our duty is to work together to define a vision on which to build a sustainable future." He said the industry is capable of "enormous" change and wondered if his future industry vision would be dismissed as "another crazy Giovanni dream like biofuels or e-ticketing," both of which once were seen as far-fetched.

He described his plan as "a long-term initiative," saying that "we have to look for a model that allows for a sustainable and profitable industry. An industry burdened with $217 billion in debt and realizing a 0.5% margin demands a different approach."

"Vision 2050" stresses safety and rests on 4 cornerstones of change: Profitability, infrastructure, a new energy source, and the customer. "It's an exercise on how to reshape the industry," Bisignani explained. "If it's up to us, we will make good progress, but the governments over-regulate us and under-appreciate us. We have to bring government aboard and the best way to do this is to involve our customers." (IATA) forecasts that by 2050, airlines will transport some 16 billion passengers annually.

Painting a picture of the industry at mid-century, he told the (AGM) delegates, "We will be very [close to] zero accidents. We will emit half the carbon. We will have eliminated queues with integrated systems ensuring security as we process more passengers. We will operate with almost no delays in globally united skies. We will share costs and profits equitably across the value chain. We will be a consolidated industry of a dozen global brands supported by regional and niche players. We will deliver value to investors. In just over a decade, I can see $100 billion in profits on revenues of $1 trillion. As we near 2050, this 10% margin will become much more robust."

Germany announced a new airline ticket departure tax that it believes will raise €1 billion/$1.19 billion annually, but the airline industry led by (IATA) slammed the proposal and vowed to vigorously flight it vigorously. The tax was part of a package of spending cuts introduced by Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said Berlin needs to slash spending by -€80 billion by 2014 to alleviate the nation's shaky fiscal situation. Few details were provided on the departure tax, described by the German government as an "ecological air travel levy." It will be in place until aviation is included in the European Union (EU)'s Emissions Trading Scheme beginning in 2012, the government said.

"It's a cash-grab by a cash-strapped government," (IATA) Director General & CEO Giovanni Bisignani proclaimed at the (IATA)'s (AGM) in Berlin. "Painting it green adds insult to injury. There will be no environmental benefit from the economic damage caused. The proposal should be axed as it is the wrong measure at the wrong time."

Lufthansa (DLH) said the new tax came as a complete surprise. "We don't yet have the exact details, but we will react strongly," Chairman & (CEO) Wolfgang Mayrhuber told reporters at the (AGM). He said a "rough calculation" led (DLH) to "estimate the tax will be between €8 and €16 per passenger. There is no way we can pass this on to the customers." He predicted that the tax will drive passengers to use airports in other countries. "It's evident that passengers will avoid Germany," he said. "There will be lost traffic, lost value."

The German Airports Association warned that air traffic in Germany could drop by as much as -3% owing to the tax. The International Air Carrier Association said the tax is "totally inappropriate at a time when airlines need support from governments." Director General Sylviane Lust said, "the German government [should] reconsider urgently its proposal" and criticized the "worrying trend for governments to misuse the green label as a way of making money that does nothing for the environment."

"Governments should be careful how quickly they take the punch bowl away from the party," warned (IATA) Chief Economist Brian Pearce when discussing the dilemma facing governments withdrawing stimulus packages. Responding to a question from "ATWOnline" at (IATA)'s 66th (AGM) in Berlin on the significant gap between soaring business confidence and stagnating consumer confidence, Pearce conceded that business confidence, and thus the rebound in premium air travel, has been fed by government stimulus programs and not consumer demand.

Typically, business confidence and consumer confidence track similar trend lines with an index point difference of no >5. But in May, the difference in the global business and consumer confidence indexes spread to an alarming 20 points. Pearce explained that government stimulus packages introduced in 2008 buoyed business confidence, which has stayed ahead of consumer confidence throughout the global recession and current recovery, with the gap progressively widening. He cautioned that if governments withdraw stimulus funding too quickly and consumer demand does not fill the void, airline traffic growth will stall.

Despite that qualification, he said (IATA)'s surveys indicate airline Chief Financial Officer (CFO)s are bullish on profitability. A large part of that is based on robust cargo traffic that is now back to pre-recession levels with a +25% turnaround in the past 9 months, he noted. However, he said the boom in air cargo over the past year largely has been fueled by a push to restore inventory levels. Now that those levels are back to normal, a slowing of demand growth is likely, he commented, adding that with consumer confidence still sluggish, restored inventory levels may take longer to turn over. Another complication for the airline industry, he said, is the "2-speed recovery" evident globally. He noted that emerging economies' production is up +10%, while developed economies are still -10% down in production.

(IATA) named FedEx Express (FED) President & (CEO) David Bronczek Chairman of its board of governors and selected (KLM) (CEO) Peter Hartman to follow as Chairman when Bronczek's term ends in June 2011. Bronczek succeeds Cathay Pacific Airways (CAT) (CEO) Tony Tyler, who served as Chairman for the past year. "Along with improving safety and effectively managing the industry's settlement systems, (IATA) must play a role in laying the foundation for sustainable profitability," Bronczek said. "And we need to continue to lead the industry on climate change. These are my priorities. I will also bring a cargo perspective to my duties as Chairman. We must focus our efforts on achieving the cost savings that (IATA) e-freight can deliver to the cargo value chain as part of Simplifying the Business." Bronczek has been FedEx Express (FED) (CEO) since 2000.

(IATA) said that it formalized a strategic partnership with the Ukraine to cooperate in a number of areas, including safety and security. Director General & CEO Giovanni Bisignani and Ukraine Deputy Transport Minister & Chairman State Aviation Administration, Anatolii Kolisnyk signed a Memorandum of Intention in Kiev, where Bisignani also met with officials from Ukraine International Airlines (UKR) and Aerosvit Airlines (UKA). The organization will share ideas and best practices on safety, security, technology, airport infrastructure, air navigation, ground handling and training.

"(IATA)'s global standards and technical expertise can contribute significantly to the development of safe, efficient and environmentally responsible aviation in Ukraine," Bisignani said. He noted that Ukraine "has made progress to improve safety but many challenges remain. More needs to be done. We must accelerate the work to bring safety oversight in line with the standards of (ICAO)." The country has a USA (FAA) Category 2 safety rating. He added that the nation's "airport and air traffic control (ATC) rates remain high and are not cost-based. Ukraine's system is 1 of the most expensive in Europe and remains 1 of the least productive. This undermines the competitiveness of Ukraine. We need immediate reform. "He said the agreement gives "hope that the government can quickly address the challenges of safety and infrastructure."

Rossiya Airlines (SDM) successfully passed its 2nd (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA).

July 2010: The world airline industry has been to hell and back in a remarkably short period of time. From record losses of $16 billion in 2008, followed by $9.9 billion in red ink in 2009, carriers are projected to earn $2.5 billion in 2010, according to (IATA)’s most recent financial forecast presented at last month’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Berlin. If achieved, this will represent a +$18.5 billion profit rebound over two years after a negative swing of -$28.9 billion between 2007 and 2008. But recent history hardly inspires confidence in the next six months, let alone the next year, particularly given the known-unknowns of oil prices and terrorism and the unknown-unknowns typified by Europe’s volcanic ash crisis.

Indeed, if anything is to be learned from the past 12 to 18 months, it is that stability and the airline industry will continue to be strangers for the foreseeable future. To understand how thin the margins between tragedy and hope are, it is only necessary to reflect upon what the outlook for the next 12 to 24 months might be.

It is also possible to frame volatility as a positive. Industry revenues sank from $564 billion in 2008 to an estimated $483 billion in 2009, but (IATA) now projects that 2010 revenues will bounce back to $545 billion, easily exceeding the $510 billion in 2007 and just 3.4% below 2008. “We thought that it would take at least 3 years to recover the -$81 billion [-14.3%] drop in revenues in 2009. But the $62 billion top-line improvement this year puts us about 75% on the way to pre-crisis levels,” Bisignani said in Berlin.

Likewise, the fear that international premium travel was entering a sustained secular decline turned out to be overblown. The sharp drop in premium travelers bottomed in the summer of 2009 and turned positive in the 4th quarter, reaching an annualized pace of >20% in the 2010 1st quarter. Overall, (IATA) forecasts a +4.5% improvement in yields this year, driving a +13% rise in revenues. The cargo recovery has, if anything, been more striking: From a stunning -9.8% collapse in demand between 2008 and 2009, it is forecast to rebound +18.5%.

Although the resurgence is being driven by the macroeconomic environment, other factors are coming into play as well, lower oil prices among them. After peaking at >$135 per barrel in July 2008, the price of a barrel of Brent crude averaged $62 last year, helping reduce industry fuel costs by -40% versus 2008. Unfortunately, the price of oil has risen considerably this year, hitting $86/barrel by late May. (IATA) expects it to average $79 for the full year.

The industry is doing its part as well. By and large, carriers maintained capacity discipline during the recession with (ASK)s down an estimated -3% last year. By the end of 2009, load factors on international flights were at record levels, according to (IATA). The 2010 forecast is for a +5.4% rise in capacity, which will be manageable in a high traffic growth environment. Still, as Bisignani noted, 1,340 airplanes will be delivered this year “and only 500 are for replacement.”

On the revenue side, fare “unbundling”—the introduction of things like baggage and preferred seat fees—has created much-needed revenue streams and not just for Low Cost Carriers (LCC)s. USA carriers generated +$2 billion in revenue from bag fees and other ancillary charges in just the fourth quarter. Airlines also maintained cost discipline, with non-fuel costs down an estimated -3.4% in 2009. This year’s outlook is less positive, with non-fuel expenses forecast to rise nearly +6%.

Labor unrest at British Airways (BAB) and Lufthansa (DLH) signals growing resistance among employees to continuing austerity diets. Most major USA passenger airlines are in the process of negotiating open labor contracts, and after years of belt-tightening employees are eager to dine on something a bit richer than the potatoes and gravy they have been served since the restructurings conducted earlier in the decade.

A further challenge comes from revenue-hungry treasuries eager to cover budget deficits with new taxes on aviation. As the (AGM) was underway, the German government announced plans to impose a new “green” departure tax intended to raise €1 billion/$1.19 billion. “We never had a €1 billion tax gift from a government during an (IATA) (AGM),” Bisignani commented sourly. The government says it will be in place until the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) begins in 2012, but such taxes often have a habit of sticking around long after their ostensible purpose has been fulfilled. Rising air navigation charges are also a concern in Europe, with (IATA) claiming that rate hikes at 19 (ANSP)s added $413 million to airline costs.

And what will be the ultimate cost to airlines of Europe’s questionable handling of the volcanic ash crisis that stranded an estimated 10 million passengers and lost airlines an estimated -$2.2 billion in the first week alone? Even if 1 accepts that safety regulators were justified in closing airspace for 6 days, is it reasonable that the European Union (EU) passenger rights legislation contains no force majeure clause to absolve carriers of the costs of feeding, housing and in some cases babysitting and entertaining stranded passengers, while the airlines were not permitted to fly?

A look back at 2009 reveals that, as expected, Europe bore the brunt of the recession. Aggregate airline losses there are estimated at -$4.3 billion. 6 years of profitability came to an end for the Lufthansa Group as it posted a net loss of -€112 million/-$160.5 million, largely owing to problems in the passenger airline business. Although this was mild compared to the losses at most other European network airlines, it signaled the depth of the crisis that cost Air France(AFA)/(KLM) -€1.56 billion, Alitalia (ALI) -€326 million, British Airways (BAB) -£425 million/-$534.3 million, Iberia (IBE) -€273 million, and the (SAS) Group -SEK2.95 billion/-$410.4 million.

Europe’s legacy carriers attributed their troubles to the weak economy and collapse of high-yield long-haul business (C) traffic, as well as the residue of upside-down fuel hedges and a stronger dollar. This is certainly accurate, but if additional culprits are needed one could point to rising long-haul competition from Emirates (EAD), Etihad (EHD), and Qatar Airways (QTA) and perhaps to encroachment in short-haul markets from the likes of Ryanair (RYR), easyJet (EZY), Air Berlin (BER), and Norwegian (NWG), although this last factor is disputed by most former flag carriers.

At last month’s Berlin Air Show, Emirates (EAD) threw down a challenge to Lufthansa (DLH) (and others) seeking to curb its European ambitions by ordering +32 more A380s. Political leaders in Germany and France now must manage their aviation negotiations with an eye cocked on keeping the (EADS) (EDS) factories in Toulouse and Hamburg busy. The continent’s deepening debt crisis, coupled with the fall of the euro and fallout from the volcanic ash crisis, are among the reasons that its airlines are expected to lose money again this year, $2.8 billion, according to (IATA).

Airlines in the Asia/Pacific region that lost some -$4.7 billion in 2008, shed a further -$2.7 billion in 2009, but most of those losses were incurred in the first half of the year. Singapore Airlines (SIA) hung onto its 38-year profit streak. Qantas (QAN) and Air New Zealand (ANZ) ((ATW)’s "Airline of the Year for 2010," also found ways to make money, albeit at a reduced rate. Malaysia Airlines (MAS) doubled its income year-on-year owing to profitable fuel hedges and some aggressive sales campaigns.

Tough medicine, including parking airplanes and unpaid leave for staff, helped restore Cathay Pacific (CAT), although the largest impact came from fuel hedges and asset sales. China’s big three, heavily supported by government cash infusions and a resurgent domestic market, all posted profits after deep deficits the year before. India’s big three are still in the red, but the big 2 private carriers, Jet Airways (JPL) and Kingfisher (KFH) are feeling better about the future in spite of the inroads made by successful Low Cost Carriers (LCC)s IndiGo (IGO) and SpiceJet (ROJ). Air India (AIN)/(IND), reeling from the crash of a 737 in May and an unsustainable cost structure, has pinned its future on a government recap that is tied to an ongoing restructuring program.

The bankruptcy of Japan Airlines (JAL)/(JAS), as dramatic in Japan as was the collapse of Swissair (SWS) in Switzerland, seemingly left the door wide open for rival (ANA), but (ANA) is struggling with cost issues itself. Shorn of its former government/legacy cost structure, (JAL)/(JAS) could emerge as a leaner, more nimble competitor. In any case, Japan, like the USA, is a mature air transport market with the added drawback of an excellent high-speed rail network. The opening of Haneda to more international flights including long-haul, is a two-edged sword; it will allow both carriers to develop a better hub function than is possible at Narita (NRT), but it also devalues their strong slot holdings at (NRT). "Open skies" with the USA means antitrust-immunized alliances for both (ANA) and (JAL), but does not eliminate the challenges posed by regional rivals happy to scoop up 5th and 6th freedom traffic if liberalization permits.

(IATA) data show that results for North American (USA and Canada) airlines improved dramatically over 2008’s -$9.6 billion deficit to a loss of just -$2.7 billion last year, excluding special items. The outlook has brightened considerably for 2010, with carriers expected to earn +$1.9 billion. Standout earnings performances last year by AirTran Airways (CQT), Alaska Airlines (ASA), Allegiant Air (WJE), JetBlue (JBL), and Canada’s WestJet (WJI), four of which did not exist 20 years ago, stand in bold contrast to the continuing losses of the big five USA legacy carriers, plus Air Canada (ACN). The merger of United Airlines (UAL) and Continental Airlines (CAL) announced in May, if consummated, could help bring stability to the market and keep a lid on capacity—or not.

Data from the Air Transport Association (ATA) show that domestic (ASM)s fell -6.9% last year, the deepest contraction since 1942. But why should a network carrier add any new domestic capacity? In 1995 dollars, the average USA domestic airfare in the 4th quarter of 2009 was $227 compared to $288 in 1995 and $300 in 2000, according to the (ATA). Meanwhile, USA scheduled passenger airlines employed -4.1% fewer workers in April 2010 than in April 2009, the 22nd consecutive monthly year-over-year decline. The total of 376,200 (FTE)s was the lowest since at least 1990.

Airlines need to pay much closer attention to the mood in Washington these days. The tarmac delay rule and a slew of new pro-consumer proposals show that the Obama administration intends to back up tough words with tough actions.

The most consistent performers during 2009 through 2010 are the airlines of Latin America, which managed the rare feat of making a bit of money (+$500 million) last year, and are expected to earn +$900 million this year, owing to standout performances from carriers such as (LAN) Airlines, Gol (GOT), Copa (COP), and TAM (TPR) (which joined the Star Alliance (SAL) in May). Airlines in the region’s 2nd-largest market, Mexico, were hard hit by the "H1N1 Swine Flu" outbreak. Consolidation continues to occur, with the most recent example being the merger of Grupo (TACA) (TAC) of El Salvador and Avianca (AVI) of Colombia via a Bahamas-based holding company structure that is owned 67% by Avianca (AVI) parent, Synergy Aerospace Corporation, and 33% by (TACA) (TAC) parent, Kingsland Holding.

Airlines of the Middle East lost -$600 million last year, but a breakeven result is expected this year. Except for the fact that it is now larger, Emirates (EAD) is the Singapore Airlines (SIA) of the region, consistently profitable and determined to grow beyond the limitations of its home market if only governments in Europe, North America, and Asia will permit it. Last month, Qatar Airways (QTA)’s outspoken (CEO) Akbar Al Baker, dismissed the notion that consolidation is required among the more than half-dozen Persian Gulf airlines, saying the majority will “just disappear,” leaving 2 dominant carriers.

Africa’s industry remains as fragmented as the continent itself, with few sub-Saharan airlines in shape to compete with the influx of lift from Europe and the Middle East. There are exceptions. Those along the Mediterranean and Red Seas like EgyptAir (EGP), Kenya Airways (KEN), and Ethiopian Airlines (ETH), are well-positioned to capture flow traffic, while South African Airways (SAA) will get a boost from the (FIFA) Soccer World Cup that exposed thousands of new visitors to the attractions of the country and its integration into the Star Alliance (SAL) network. In January, Ethiopian (ETH) realized a long-sought objective to create a West African hub with the launch of ASKY Airlines (AKY), a Lome-based carrier operating a pair of 737s leased from (ETH), but that was overshadowed by the loss of an (ETH) 737-800 that month, the 1st of 2 major accidents involving African carriers operating Western equipment this year. Although Ethiopian (ETH) has had an excellent safety record, the accident helped to keep the spotlight on safety and training issues in the region.

The European Commission (EC) released the 14th update of its list of airlines banned from the (EU), adding Blue Wing Airlines from Surinam and severely restricting Iran Air (IRN)'s access to (EU) airspace. Blue Wing was banned "as a consequence of a series of accidents suffered by this airline and serious deficiencies revealed during ramp inspections of its airplanes," the (EC) said. It also removed 2 Indonesian carriers from the list. The limitations on Iran Air (IRN) will restrict it from operating A320s, 727s and 747s, comprising around two-thirds of its fleet, in (EU) airspace. The (EC) insisted the ban is based on safety reasons and not related to (UN) and (USA) sanctions against Iran related to the country's nuclear program. The Indonesian carriers, Metro Batavia (BTV) and Indonesia Air Asia (AWR), have been removed based on "improvements in the oversight exercised by the competent authorities," the (EC) said.

(IATA) said that "e-freight" for domestic USA air shipments "went live" this month and is now operational at 58 USA airports. The organization has been pushing for several years to take "the paper out of air cargo" by involving customs authorities, carriers, freight forwarders, ground handlers and shippers in eliminating "the need to send paper documents with air cargo shipments, hence streamlining processes, improving speed and reliability." American Airlines (AAL) Cargo, in close cooperation with DB Schenker Logistics, led the e-freight roll-out for domestic USA shipping.

August 2010: The USA Justice Department (JD) said that it has no more antitrust (ATI) concerns about the deal that would combine United (UAL) and Continental (CAL) into the world's largest airline. To win that approval, (CAL)/(UAL) had to open the door to Southwest Airlines (SWA) at (CAL)'s hub in Newark, New Jersey, where it is the dominant carrier. The (JD) said leasing takeoff and landing permission to (SWA) in Newark cleared up its main competitive concern.

Shareholders at Continental Airlines Inc and (UAL) parent, (UAL) Corporation are set to vote on the deal on September 17, and the Transportation Department (TD) has to approve it. The airlines now expect the deal to close by October 1. The combined airline would leapfrog Delta Air Lines (DAL) Inc to become the world's biggest airline. (DAL) itself grabbed the top spot by buying Northwest Airlines (NWA) in 2008.

The Justice Department (JD) said it thoroughly investigated the (CAL) - (UAL) deal and concluded that their 2 networks mostly complemented each other, with overlaps on a limited number of routes.
But Newark stood out. (CAL) had 70.9% of Newark's passengers during the year that ended in June. (UAL) is only Newark's 5th-biggest airline, but most of its hubs also connect directly to Newark.

(CAL) and (UAL) operate 442 daily round trip flights in and out of Newark. The deal with (SWA) will give it enough of (CAL)'s slots to operate 18 round trip flights there by June 2011. The move increases competition for (CAL) at its Newark hub, as well as for (UAL). Currently, (SWA) operates a few flights at New York's LaGuardia Airport but none at Newark or Kennedy.

(SWA) is getting slots at both peak and off-peak travel times, (CAL) Chairman & (CEO) Jeff Smisek told workers in a memo. Smisek will be (CEO) of the combined airline, which is to be called "United" and based in (UAL)'s home town of Chicago.

(SWA)'s entrance to Newark won't change the estimates for revenue gains and cost savings from combining (CAL) and (UAL), (UAL) Chairman & (CEO) Glenn Tilton told employees. "We vigorously compete with (SWA) throughout our network," he said.

Mike Boyd, an airline and airport consultant in Colorado, said giving up a few slots at Newark was an easy decision for the combining giants. "(CAL) and (UAL) want to get this merger done," Boyd said, and if federal regulators "stick their nose in there and say, 'Give something up,' they're going to give it up."

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) (http://www.easa.europa.eu/home.php) published a proposal to the European Commission (EC) calling for "harmonized regulation" of flight crew (FC) licensing among all European Union (EU) member states. "This new regulation will ensure that the same pilot (FC) licensing requirements and related high safety levels apply in all member states," it said. The (EC) is expected to implement a new pilot (FC) licensing standard by April 2012, (EASA) said.

(IATA) said that 47 major airlines worldwide reported a cumulative +$3.9 billion net profit for the 2nd quarter, reversed from a -$900 million net loss in the prior-year period.

(IATA) noted jet fuel markets have been "unusually tranquil" over the past 12 months, with a "flat trend" of $76/barrel oil prices and $87/barrel jet fuel prices largely remaining steady. "Forward curves and most forecasts suggest relatively little change [in fuel prices] in the next year, but the long-term trend remains upward."

It pointed out capacity is starting to return to both passenger and airfreight markets. "Lots of new airplanes have been ordered at recent air shows and airplanes are being taken out of storage," it said. "There is a threat of excess capacity. However, published schedules suggest capacity growth will remain in line with demand."

While load factors remain high, (IATA) asserted that "adjusted for seasonality it becomes clear that passenger load factors peaked in February. Since then, capacity grew by a slightly faster pace than demand." But it noted, "Threats of excess capacity appear less evident in the freight sector than in the passenger business."

(IATA) said passenger fares have not rebounded in line with volume, which has returned to pre-recession levels. Economy fares on average are -5% below early 2008 peaks, while premium fares "remain some -20% below pre-recession highs," it noted, adding that "stabilizing load factors…are slowing the recent rise in fares."

The European Commission (EC) amended its list of airlines banned from the European Union (EU) for safety reasons to include Ghana's Meridian Airways (CPB). It also placed restrictions on another Ghanaian carrier, Airlift International (AGH, banning it from operating 3 of its airplanes to (EU) airspace.

(EC) VP Responsible for Transport Siim Kallas said, "We cannot afford any compromise in air safety. Where we have evidence that air carriers are not performing safe operations or where the regulatory authorities fail in their obligation to enforce the safety standards, we must act to guarantee to exclude any risks to safety."

The (EC) said in a statement that Meridian (CPB) was banned "as a consequence of a series of very poor results from inspections involving not only their airplanes but also facilities used by the airline in the (EU)."

It added that an inspection of an Airlift (AGH) airplane "indicated a standard well below that required by international standards," leading to the banning of the inspected airplane as well as 2 that the wet-lease (ACMI) cargo carrier has in storage. The (EC) said (AGH) now has just 1 airplane it can operate to the (EU). (AGH) on its website said it operates a fleet of 5 DC-8F freighters. The (EC) published the 14th update of its "blacklist" earlier this summer.

Etihad (EHD) successfully passed its 3rd consecutive (IATA) safety audit (IOSA).

Charter and scheduled airline, Germania (GER) received the (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) approval. (GER) said the auditing process took more than a year, but makes the airline more flexible. An (IOSA) audit is demanded by many operators as a prerequisite for cooperation deals such as wet-leases. Germania (GER) has a fleet of 15 737s, some wet-leased by larger carriers such as TUIfly (HAP)/(HLX) and Air Berlin (BER).

September 2010: (ICAO), (IATA), the USA Department of Transportation (DOT) and the European Commission (EC) signed a Memo of Understanding (MOU) to "create the framework and path forward to launch the Global Safety Information Exchange," at (ICAO)'s 37th General Assembly, which opened in Montreal. The 4 signed a "Declaration of Intent" to create the exchange at the (ICAO) High Level Safety Conference last spring.

(IATA) (ITA) said the 4 organizations will start their cooperation "by selecting the safety information each currently collects, which would be the most relevant to the goal of improving safety by risk reduction." (IATA), "will make the largest contribution" by providing de-identified information from 345 airlines participating in the (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) program. (ICAO) will act as the coordinator of the information exchange.

“Today’s agreement takes the long history of cooperation to a new level by tearing down silos around the data that we have and sharpening our focus on the greatest risks to aviation safety,” said (IATA) Director General & (CEO) Giovanni Bisignani.

Separately, (ICAO) said it concluded Memoranda of Cooperation with the African Union, the European Union (EU), the Arab Civil Aviation Commission, the African Civil Aviation Commission, (ECAC) and the Latin American Civil Aviation Commission to cooperate in reducing the airplane accident rate, improve security and promote "the overall sustainable development of the air transport industry."

December 2010: In a step that highlights Asia's rapidly growing role in commercial aviation, (IATA) (ITA)'s Board of Governors announced it will recommend that Cathay Pacific Airways (CAT) (CEO) Tony Tyler succeed Giovanni Bisignani as leader of the organization when Bisignani retires following the 2011 Annual General Meeting (AGM).

Tyler, 55, becomes the 1st head of an Asia/Pacific-based airline to lead (IATA), which has had just 6 Director Generals (including Bisignani) since its inception in 1946, all of them from Europe or North America. Tyler will be succeeded at Cathay by (COO) John Sosar, who has held that position since July 2007. Slosar, 54, joined Swire in 1980 and worked with the group's Aviation Division in Hong Kong, the USA and Thailand. He was appointed Managing Director of (HAECO) in 1996 and Managing Director of Swire Pacific's Beverages Division in 1998. Tyler will step down from (CAT) on March 31.

Tyler has led (CAT) since 2007 and is also Chairman of (CAT) affiliate, Dragonair (DRG). He joined (CAT) parent, the Swire Group in 1977 and moved to (CAT) a year later. He served as (IATA) Chairman in 2009 to 2010.

"Tony’s leadership of Cathay Pacific (CAT) through challenging times prepares him well for the job. His knowledge of Asia will help (IATA) take advantage of opportunities in the industry’s largest market," said David Bronczek (CEO) of FedEx Express (FED) and Chairman of the (IATA) Board of Governors.

In succeeding the dynamic Bisignani, Tyler will have some large shoes to fill. "Since taking the helm of (IATA) in 2002, Giovanni rebuilt (IATA), restored its relevance and set a very high benchmark for its leadership," Bronczek said, adding, "We are absolutely confident that Tony is the right person to take the association to even greater heights." Tyler said, "I am excited at the prospect of leading (IATA) and fully mindful of the responsibility that this important position bears. Giovanni has made (IATA)'s role critical to the industry by successfully managing (IATA)'s $300 billion financial systems while delivering important industry-wide changes."

(IATA) (ITA) announced that world wide implementation of 2D barcode boarding passes (BCBP) has been completed, replacing the more expensive and less efficient magnetic stripe boarding passes, which have been in use since 1983. "Completing many tasks during the journey will now take seconds with the swipe of a bar code," (IATA) Director General & (CEO) Giovanni Bisignani said. "Airlines issue >2 billion boarding passes every year. The conversion to printed 2D (BCBP) has been a 5-year project and will save the industry up to -$1.5 billion every year. With more and more airlines offering the possibility to receive the bar code via a mobile device, we are well on the way to truly paperless travel."

USA airlines' cargo traffic (RTMs) increased +6% year-over-year (down -2% domestically and up +13% internationally) in October, the latest month for which cargo data is available.



The United Nations (UN) International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) says both passenger and cargo traffic rebounded strongly in 2010 as global aviation recovered from the recession of 2009. Overall passenger traffic rose +6.3% (RPK), led by a +21% surge in the Middle East. Asia/Pacific, Latin America, and Africa also saw double-digit increases in passenger traffic, while growth rates in the USA and Europe were <7%. Meanwhile, cargo traffic rose nearly +19% world wide. For 2011, (ICAO) predicts passenger traffic will grow +4.7%, followed by a +4.9% growth rate in 2012.

The air transport industry experienced a "disappointing" 2010 in terms of fatal accidents and passenger fatalities according to UK-based "Ascend," which reported increases in both categories over 2009. The fatal accident rate worsened "from about one per 1.5 million flights overall in 2009, to 1 per 1.3 million flights last year," while the number of fatal accidents increased +22%, from 23 in 2009 to 28 in 2010. Ascend noted, however, that "2010 still compared favorably with earlier years," with only 2009, 2007, and 2006 producing better accident rates, while the 28 fatal accidents, although "slightly" exceeding the average of the last decade, "was still +25% better than the 1990s’ average" of 37.6 per year.

The total number of passengers and flight crew (FC) reported killed rose from 731 deaths during 2009 to 828 in 2010, about +4% worse than the decade's average of 794. The number of fatal accidents involving passenger deaths on scheduled flights jumped to 19, from 10 in 2010, while passenger fatalities rose +19% from 609 in 2009 to 726 in 2010. Western-built jets suffered 8 fatal accidents, resulting in 554 passenger and crew deaths, accounting for almost 70% of airline fatalities (but almost 90% of world traffic). Eastern-built jets experienced 2 fatal accidents compared to an average of 2.5, however, just 2 passengers and 8 flight crew (FC) were killed versus and average for the last decade of 104.

Overall, despite the setback 2010 represented, the decade's fatal accident rate of 1 per 1.2 million flights was vastly improved over 1 per 700,000 flights in 1990s, it said. Ascend estimated the cost of incurred airline hull and legal liability losses at about $2.15 billion, which is less than in 2009 ($2.52 billion) but above "the estimated $2.1 billion of premium written during the calendar year."

The USA National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released its final figures for 2010 transportation fatalities, and the results again emphatically affirm that flying is the safest way to travel. And, statistically speaking, flying commercially is by far the safest way to get from 1 point to another.

Total USA aviation-related fatalities in 2010 were 472, below total fatalities from boating (733), rail (813) and roadway (33,883). Nearly all of the aviation fatalities occurred in the general aviation sector (450), while just 2 occurred in the commercial segment and they were the 2 cargo pilots (FC) flying the (UPS) 747-400F that tragically crashed 50 minutes after takeoff from Dubai International. There were no passenger fatalities, as was the case in 2007 and 2008 (the Colgan Air Dash 8-Q400 crash killing 52 people occurred in 2009 and remains the sole fatal USA passenger airline accident of the last 5 years).

To put things in perspective, 44 people died in bus accidents in the USA in 2010, while 618 died in bicycle accidents. Some 4,280 pedestrians were killed in USA road accidents in 2010.


* Asia-Pacific: $7.7 billion

* North America: $5.1 billion

* Latin America: $1.2 billion

* Middle East: $700 million

* Europe: $400 million

* Africa: $100 million

Source: (IATA) forecast December 2010.

Navtech reached an agreement to sell a co-branded version of its flight planning solution Navtech Flight Plan through (IATA) (ITA)'s global channels. Under terms of the agreement, (IATA) will have exclusive rights to sell (IATA) Flight Plan by Navtech in most world regions. Navtech will provide customer implementation, product and technical support.

USA airlines did not have a single fatality last year. It was the 3rd time in the past 4 years there were no deaths, continuing a dramatic trend toward safer skies. Years without deaths have occurred sporadically since the dawn of the jet age, but never have so many occurred in so short a period, according to an analysis of data from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The average number of deaths fell from about 86 a year in the 1990s to 46 a year since 2000, a -46% drop. Last year also marked the 1st time that there were no passenger fatalities on any airline based in developed nations, says Arnold Barnett, a professor who specializes in accident statistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)'s Sloan School of Management. "In the entire First World, fatal crashes are at the brink of extinction," Barnett says. Dozens of safety improvements that have gradually eliminated whole categories of crashes, says John Cox, a consultant who previously served as head of safety for a major pilots' union. "The proof of those steps is results like this," Cox says.

Last year, USA carriers flew >10 million flights and hauled >700 million passengers, but only 14 people suffered serious injuries, according to the (NTSB). There also were no major accidents, the most serious category under the (NTSB)'s definitions.

Vietnam is projected by 2014 to be the world's 3rd-fastest growing
market for international passengers and freight, and the 2nd-fastest for domestic passengers, according to (IATA) (ITA). To help accommodate this growth, (IATA) is urging Air Traffic Control (ATC) provider (VATM) to make (ADS-B) and performance-based navigation a high priority.

February 2011: The USA's 8 largest airline companies (counting United Airlines (UAL) and Continental Airlines (CAL) as 1 (UCH)) earned collective 2010 net income of +$2.32 billion with all but American Airlines (AAL) profitable for the full year.

That result reversed a -$3.21 billion net loss in 2009. Total 2010 revenue rose +14.8% compared to 2009 to $122.18 billion, outpacing a +7.9% lift in expenses to $115.14 billion, producing operating income of +$7.05 billion, reversed from an operating deficit of -$236 million in 2009. USA majors maintained their commitment to capacity discipline in 2010, collectively raising (ASM)s just +1.1% over 2009. Traffic increased +3.1% and load factor improved +1.6 points to 82.4% LF. Average yield increased +7% to 13.22 cents, as (RASM) lifted +11.7% to 11.59 cents and (CASM) heightened +6.6% to 11.41 cents. (CASM) ex-fuel was up +2.1% to 7.82 cents.

United Continental Holdings (UCH), parent of merger partners (UAL) and (CAL), led the USA industry with pro forma 2010 net income of +$854 million, reversed from a combined (UAL)/(CAL) loss of -$718 million in 2009. Delta Air Lines (DAL) posted 2010 net income of +$593 million, a major reversal from a -$1.24 billion net loss in 2009, while Southwest Airlines (SWA)'s $459 million 2010 profit more than quadrupled a +$99 million profit in 2009 and marked (SWA)'s 38th consecutive year in the black.

American (AAL) parent, the (AMR) Corporation was the worst performer among USA majors in 2010, incurring a net loss of -$471 million that was narrowed from a net deficit of -$1.47 billion in 2009.

The Official Airline Guide (OAG) reported that worldwide scheduled airline capacity for the month of February increased +5% compared to February 2010, to 285.7 million seats, on a +4% increase in number of flights, to 2.3 million departures. In terms of frequency of service, the two fastest growing markets are to and from the Middle East and to and from Asia/Pacific, each growing +13%.

"Medium- to long-haul carriers continue to build their presence in European markets, with the objective of securing greater shares of the longer haul markets, which traditionally deliver higher yields."

Each regional market in the (OAG)'s report, recorded year-on-year growth for the month, with the exception of capacity to and from Central and South America, which dipped -3%, reflecting the shutdown of Mexicana (CMA). Lower South America still saw a +12% year-over-year increase in scheduled capacity. Capacity to and from Europe increased +11%, on a +10% increase in frequencies, while scheduled services to and from North America stayed constant, on a slight increase in capacity of +3%. Growth within Europe increased "a modest" +2% in both seat capacity and the total number of flights to a total of 59.5 million seats and 493,150 flights.

The Air Cargo Management Group (ACMG) said a "great deal of uncertainty" remains regarding international air cargo demand going forward despite the fact that 2010 international airfreight traffic exceeded 2007, when the industry's prior peak traffic performance was achieved.

Boeing (TBC) predicted in its World Air Cargo Forecast released last autumn that international (FTK)s will grow at an annual average rate of +5.9% through 2029.

"The past 3 years have been a veritable roller coaster ride for the industry," Dahl commented. "A run-up in fuel prices in 2008 put a damper on expansion, and the financial crisis that began in September of that year triggered the worst recession in 50 years. Airfreight suffered badly, including a period of 12 consecutive months with declining traffic, culminating in an overall airfreight traffic decline of -11% in 2009."

The (ACMG) estimated that the international air cargo and express industry (airlines, freight forwarders and express operators) generated approximately $66.3 billion in revenue in 2009, down nearly -25% from 2008. Industry revenue for 2010 is expected to have increased "at least +20% based on improvements in both traffic and yield," the (ACMG) said.

The (ACMG) said the global freighter fleet currently stands at 1,623 units, up about +4% from 2009, but down about -10% from a peak in 2007. It said international express volumes grew +12.5% over mid-2009 levels to reach 2.25 million shipments per day in 2010. "The increase in express volume in 2010 follows a modest +1.4% gain in 2008 and a -6.9% drop in 2009."

Bisignani also targeted the UK government’s failure to further develop capacity at London Heathrow Airport (LHR). “The government’s decision to ignore decades of studies supporting additional capacity at (LHR) was incredibly short-sighted,” he said.

Delays increased from an average of 1.6 minutes per flight in 2009 to 2.7 minutes per flight in 2010 and cancellations — excluding the effects from the Icelandic ash cloud crisis — were +2.5 times higher than in 2009. In total, an estimated 175,000 scheduled flights were canceled during the year as a result of weather, the ash cloud, strikes and capacity shortages, said Eurocontrol.

(IATA) said that 2010 had the lowest ever accident rate for Western-built jet airplanes, although the total number of accidents involving Western and Eastern-built transports as well as the number of fatal accidents and fatalities rose compared to 2009. (IATA)’s global accident rate is measured in hull losses per million flights of Western-built jet airplanes. On that basis, the industry achieved a rate of just 0.61 or the equivalent of 1 accident every 1.6 million flights, a significant improvement on the 0.71 rate recorded in 2009 (1 accident per every 1.4 million flights). Compared to 10 years ago, the rate is a +42% improvement. For (IATA) members, the 2010 hull loss rate was 0.25, equivalent to 1 accident for every 4 million flights, reduced from 0.62 in 2009.

(IATA) Director General & (CEO) Giovanni Bisignani said, “Safety is the No 1 priority and achieving the lowest accident rate in the history of aviation shows that this commitment is bearing results. But every fatality is a human tragedy that reminds us of the ultimate goal of zero accidents and zero fatalities. We must remain focused and determined to move closer to this goal year by year.”

According to (IATA), African carriers account for just 2% of global traffic but 23% of global Western-built jet hull losses. Bisignani said that last year, the accident rate of (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) carriers in Africa was >50% better than non-(IOSA) airlines. “Flying must be equally safe in all parts of the world. An accident rate in Africa that is >12x the global average is not acceptable. Improvements can happen. (IATA)’s African carriers performed significantly better than non-(IATA) airlines in the region. I encourage all governments in the region to make use of the (IOSA) tool to boost the region’s performance,” Bisignani said.

Runway excursions were once again the most common cause of accidents, accounting for 21% of all accidents in 2010 versus 26% in 2009 with 35% on wet runways.

UK-based "Ascend" reported last month that the air transport industry’s fatal accident rate, for all types of airplanes, worsened "from about 1 per 1.5 million flights overall in 2009 to 1 per 1.3 million flights last year," while the number of fatal accidents increased +22%, from 23 in 2009 to 28 in 2010.

(ICAO) and 4 other United Nation (UN) bodies issued a joint statement declaring air travel to/from Japan safe, adding that they are "monitoring the situation closely and will advise of any changes."

(IATA) said Japan's domestic airline market, which generates $19 billion in revenue annually, carrying 83 million passengers per year, "is the most exposed" in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear crisis. Outside Japan, China's air transport market is the most exposed, since 23% of its international revenue is generated from Japan travel, according to (IATA). Taiwan and South Korea generate 20% of their international revenue from Japan-related operations, followed by Thailand (15%), the USA (12%), Hong Kong (11%) and Singapore (9%). Regarding Europe, the French market generates 7% of its international revenue from Japan operations, followed by Germany (6%) and the UK (3%).

"The extent to which these travel markets weaken will be largely shaped by what happens to the Japanese economy," (IATA) stated. "Many economists are suggesting that once reconstruction begins, the economy will rebound, but the length of the current downturn will depend critically on developments in the nuclear power situation."

(IATA) noted that Japan produces 3% to 4% of global jet fuel supply and "some of this refinery capacity has been lost due to damages caused by the earthquake. This supply restriction could lead to higher jet fuel prices." (IATA) cautioned that it is "too early to assess the long-term impact" of the Japan crisis on the global airline industry.

A group representing China's largest airlines sent a formal notice to the European Union (EU) expressing strong opposition to non-member-state airlines' inclusion in the (EU)'s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) (EU ETS) from 2012. The China Air Transport Association (CATA), representing Air China (BEJ), China Southern Airlines (GUN), China Eastern Airlines (CEA), Hainan Airlines (HNA), Xiamen Airlines (XIA), Shenzhen Airlines (SHZ), and Sichuan Airlines (SIC), estimated that Chinese carriers will be forced to pay millions of yuan annually to comply with the (EU ETS). The figure could keep rising with increases in flights between China and Europe planned by Chinese airlines.

The (CATA) said in its statement to the (EU) that the inclusion of carriers from developing countries in the (EU ETS) is illegal and violates the "common but differentiated responsibility" principle. It called for a global solution to dealing with air transport-related carbon dioxide emissions. "But if the (EU) insists on imposing its (EU ETS) on our carriers, we would urge the Chinese government to take corresponding measures to protect Chinese airlines' interest in the global air transport industry," the group of carriers warned. The (EU) noted it would maintain communication with Chinese airlines on the issue.

March 2011: USA President, Barack Obama said that he has directed the Departments of Energy (DOE) and Agriculture (USDA) and the Navy "to work with the private sector to create advanced biofuels that can power not just fighter jets, but trucks and commercial airliners."

Speaking at Georgetown University in Washington, Obama outlined an energy policy that includes the goal of lowering the number of barrels of oil imported by the USA daily by one-third from 11 million in 2008. He said that a "substitute for oil that holds tremendous promise is renewable biofuels , not just ethanol, but biofuels made from things like switchgrass, wood chips and biomass."

He noted that the US Air Force (USF) last week "used an advanced biofuel blend to fly an F-22 Raptor faster than the speed of sound. In fact, the (USF) is aiming to get half of its domestic jet fuel from alternative sources by 2016." Obama added, "Over the next 2 years, we'll help entrepreneurs break ground on 4 next-generation bio-refineries (each with a capacity of >20 million gallons per year). And going forward, we should look for ways to reform biofuels incentives to make sure they meet today's challenges and save taxpayers money."

USA Air Transport Association President & (CEO) Nicholas Calio said, "We applaud President Obama's leadership in furthering America's energy security by directing accelerated production of commercially viable biofuels for use in airplanes. We look forward to stepping up our work with the (USDA), (DOE) and the nation's military in furthering advanced biofuels development and deployment."

Airbus (EDS), Iberia (IBE) and the Government of Spain announced a biofuel initiative.

April 2011: USA airlines operating scheduled passenger flights under (FAR) Part 121 experienced 26 accidents in 2010 but no fatal accidents, according to preliminary statistics released by the USA National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The last fatal accident involving a Part 121 passenger carrier in the USA was the February 2009 Colgan Air Dash 8-Q400 crash that killed 50.

The 26 accidents were identical to the 2009 total. Non-scheduled Part 121 operators had one fatal accident in 2010 in which 2 pilots (FC) were killed, the September (UPS) 747-400F freighter that crashed 50 minutes after takeoff from Dubai International. That matched the single non-scheduled Part 121 fatal accident in 2009: a FedEx (FED) MD-11F that crashed while landing at Tokyo Narita.

Scheduled Part 121 carriers' 2010 accident rate was 0.152 per 100,000 flight hours, a slight increase over 0.149/100,000 flight hours in 2009. The fatal accident rate was 0/100,000 flight hours for the 3rd time in 4 years; the 2009 rate was 0.006/100,000 flight hours.

Arik Air (AKI) received (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certification from (IATA) (ITA), the second Nigerian carrier to receive the certificate, but the only Nigerian carrier on (IOSA) registration to be fully operational under its own Air Operators Certificate (AOC). It operates >150 flights daily from its Lagos hub.

(SITA) is building a community cloud computing infrastructure dedicated to the air transport industry (ATI) and will launch the first cloud applications and services in June, (CEO) Francesco Violante revealed. He refrained from naming the first customers for the (ATI) Cloud but noted that the interest from airlines and airports “is clear and diverse, cannot be geographically characterized” and that several airlines are already involved in pilot programs.

Cloud computing enables Information Technology (IT)-related capabilities (infrastructure, platform, desktop, network and software) to be provided “as a service” to customers through a network. The (SITA) cloud will be the industry’s first integrated cloud, and is solely dedicated and specifically tailored to the sector. “The (ATI) Cloud is 1stly about having a secure and reliable global network, and (SITA) already has that; the (ATI) Cloud is about managing shared (IT) infrastructure such as that at airports, in which (SITA) is a leader; and it is about optimizing the operation and distribution of applications from data centers to end users and providing the (ATI) cloud is the logical next step for (SITA),” said Violante, adding that the development of an industry-specific shared cloud “meets a strong demand from the industry.” (SITA)’s 2010 Airline (IT) Trends Survey showed that 85% of airlines plan to have a virtual infrastructure deployed by 2013 and 73% prefer a private cloud to a public cloud.

(SITA) is investing about $100 million in the program, of which $50 million goes towards “NextGen” regional data centers. (SITA)’s (ATI) Cloud roadmap plans for the introduction of a desktop-as-a-service and integrated desktop solutions for remote offices in June, followed by infrastructure and (SITA) applications delivered “as a service” in September and December, respectively. It plans to add virtualized common-use airport solutions to the cloud in the 1st quarter of 2012.

“The (ATI) Cloud will be a game changer for the industry,” asserted (SITA) VP (ATI) Cloud Program, Gregory Ouillon. “For example, by deploying new applications on virtual servers and by providing access to desktops in the cloud to its ground operations staff and partners, an airline will be able to adapt its (IT) to route expansion, disruption or traffic spikes at lower cost. Such deployments would normally take months but with the (ATI) cloud, all operators at the various locations globally will have their applications instantly.”

(SITA) forecast the cloud will improve efficiency and deliver sizeable cost savings to the industry of >$100 million when the system is fully implemented. At the same time, it will consolidate and optimize (SITA)’s server infrastructure at airports. “To quantify the cost reductions is difficult as there will be a gradual deployment of the services and there will be no big bang migration of current systems to the (SITA) cloud technology,” Ouillon explained. “But, for example, if everybody would migrate its current desktops and servers to the (ATI) cloud, savings would be around -$40 to -$50 million per month.”

Russian state media reported that the government has adopted a program to raise flight safety standards in the country. Russian aviation has been criticized in the past by (IATA) for having a safety record "well below international standards." According to "(RIA) Novosti," "The program envisions a gradual reform of the country's flight safety management system through the creation of an advanced integrated data control and exchange network and the development of hardware and software to assist air traffic officials in decision-making processes." It added that Russia is planning the "technical overhaul of about 300 air traffic control (ATC) facilities" and will establish new entities to analyze airplane crashes.

May 2011: Jazeera Airways (JZI) announced it has passed the (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) after a 6-month evaluation.

Austrian Airlines (AUL) and its subsidiaries, Tyrolean Airways and Lauda Air (LAL), received (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certification renewals.

Austria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovak Republic and Slovenia have signed an agreement to create the "Functional Airspace Block – Central Europe" (FAB CE) an important step towards achieving the "Single European Sky." Slowly, the political objectives of the Single European Sky legislation adopted in 2004 is coming into reality with Member States taking the necessary steps to ensure the creation of functional airspace blocks, or (FAB)s. The agreement marks the realisation of the 4th (FAB) in Europe. The other European Union (EU) Member States are expected to sign similar agreements in the coming year.

European Commission (EC) VP Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, said: "The (FAB CE) agreement is an important achievement bringing together five European Union Member States and two neighboring States into a structured cooperation to better manage the airspace and optimise the provision of air navigation services to deliver the performance requested by airspace users. In view of the location of the (FAB) on the S E axis and the forecasted growth in traffic in this area, its success will depend on the efficient implementation of the cooperation structures and optimization of the air navigation service provision."

The creation of functional airspace blocks is one of the cornerstones of the Single European Sky. They are an important driver to deliver increased performance and will change the landscape of air traffic management (ATM) services. For air navigation service providers, the creation of the functional airspace blocks opens cooperation opportunities, which will facilitate a response to the new binding performance targets established under the Single European Sky legislation. (FAB CE) will involve a high density airspace with main traffic flows East-West, often crossing multiple Air Navigation Service Providers towards the northern part of the airspace. Traffic increases to the western and southern parts of the (FAB).

The (FAB CE) agreement creates the framework, general conditions and governance under which the contracting states intend to ensure air traffic management and the provision of air navigation services in the context of the Single European Sky legislation.

The (FAB CE) agreement is part of the common response to the "Single European Sky" performance scheme, whose objective is "to achieve optimal performance in the areas relating to safety, environmental sustainability, capacity, cost-efficiency, flight efficiency and military mission effectiveness, by the design of airspace and the organisation of (ATM) in the airspace concerned regardless of existing boundaries". The (FAB CE) is targeting a common (FAB CE) performance plan consistent with the (EU)-wide performance targets as from the second reference period, i.e. 2015.

Next steps: Ratification of the (FAB) agreement and finalization of agreements between the National Supervisory Authorities and the Air Navigation Service Providers.

June 2011: (IATA) (ITA) blamed surging oil prices, unrest in the Middle East and natural disasters across the globe for slashing the airline industry’s projected 2011 profit by -54% to +$4 billion from +$8.6 billion forecast by (IATA) in March. The downgrade, the 2nd in just 3 months, is a sobering 78% below 2010’s +$18 billion profit. Expected revenue of $598 billion means that the industry's profit margin will be an insignificant 0.7%.

Outgoing Director General & (CEO) Giovanni Bisignani warned there is little margin left for future shocks. “That we are making any money at all in a year with this combination of unprecedented shocks is a result of a very fragile balance,” he said. “The efficiency gains of the last decade and the strengthening global economic environment are balancing the high price of fuel. But with a dismal 0.7% margin, there is little buffer left against further shocks.” The cost of fuel is the main cause of reduced profitability, according to (IATA). Bisignani said the average oil price for 2011 is now expected to be $110 per barrel (Brent), a +15% increase over the previous forecast of $96 per barrel.

According to (IATA), each dollar increase in the average annual oil price costs the airline industry an additional +$1.6 billion. Fuel is now estimated to comprise 30% of airline costs (more than double the 13% in 2001). “We have built enormous efficiencies over the last decade,” Bisignani stated. “In 2001, we needed oil below $25 per barrel to be profitable. Today, we are looking at a small profit with oil at $110 per barrel.”

The price of oil is beginning to affect growth rates for both cargo and passenger traffic, which have been revised downward. Passenger traffic demand is now expected to grow +4.4% year-over-year in 2011, below the +5.6% previously forecast in March. Similarly, cargo traffic demand is expected to increase +5.5% and not +6.1% as predicted earlier, said (IATA).

(IATA) estimates that overall capacity will expand +5.8%, which is above the +4.7% anticipated increase in demand. However, (IATA) noted that generally robust economic conditions have given airlines some scope to partially recover higher fuel prices, which is reflected in an increased yield growth forecast of +3% for passenger traffic, double the previous forecast of 1.5%. Cargo yield will rise +4% compared to 2010, >2x the previous forecast of 1.9%, (IATA) said.

Giovanni Bisignani labeled the European Union (EU)'s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) "illegal" and called for airlines' inclusion in the (EU ETS) starting next year to be abandoned, warning that a trade war is possible. Bisignani's comments, made at (IATA)’s 67th (AGM) came as (EU) Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard rejected any yielding over the (EU ETS)'s inclusion in aviation from 2012.

Bisignani warned media that there are a growing number of states strongly opposed to the "illegal scheme." Bisignani singled out China as an example of a state expressing serious concerns with murmurs of a trade war. "We have to avoid retaliation because the risk of retaliation for a Europe that is in survival mode, would be the kiss of the death," Bisignani said. "Uncoordinated and punitive regional measures distort markets and undermine global efforts to reduce emissions. The (EU ETS) is a $1.5 billion cash grab that will do nothing to reduce emissions."

Bisignani noted the Dutch government has repealed a $412 million departure tax because it cost the Netherlands' economy $1.6 billon. "Similarly, the Irish government is planning to cancel its $165 million travel tax because it has cost the economy $494 million and 3,000 jobs," he added. "Don’t kill the goose that lays golden eggs. Aviation facilitates the global trade that is stimulating economies and restoring government budgets. It is time to be serious about climate change and honest in developing global solutions."

Bisignani urged the development of a "checkpoint of the future" for aviation security to lessen the hassle factor of air travel. "Aviation is much more secure today than in 2001, at a cost of $7.4 billion annually," he explained. "But our passengers only see hassle because governments are not working together. Passengers should be able to get from curb to gate with dignity, without stopping, stripping, unpacking and certainly without groping. We must make coordinated investments for civilized flying."

Bisignani also turned his sights on what he termed "big oil" and called on petroleum companies to commercialize sustainable biofuels at competitive prices to meet agreed targets. "Big oil is green in its advertising but not in its actions," he charged. "It prefers to pocket the $1 trillion in profits that the Big 5 made over the last decade than to invest in green initiatives."

Qatar Airways (QTA)’s outspoken (CEO) Akbar Al Baker criticized (IATA) (ITA) for appearing to be “run for the few, by the few” and lacking full transparency. According to Akbar Al Baker, there was “an unusual a level of tension during the normally carefully orchestrated morning sessions of the (IATA) Annual General Meeting (AGM)” in Singapore, with active debates on several issues, including the nomination of board members. He revealed that Emirates (EAD) called for greater dialogue to ensure (IATA) is more transparent, while the International Airlines Group (IAG), the holding company of British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE), sought clarity on the voting process used to select board members.

Akbar Al Baker “led a vocal onslaught by a number of international airlines over (IATA)’s failure to show clear transparency in its processes” and questioned the auditing process for (IATA)’s financial statement. Al Baker highlighted some of (IATA)’s expenditures, including $18 million on travel, $58 million on data processing and Information Technology (IT), and $29 million on outsourcing and consultancy. He called on (IATA) to justify “such large sums spent on travel” and the processes by which consultant and outsourcing contracts were awarded. He backed a motion for (IATA) to reconsider the appointment of its auditors.

Al Baker also questioned the “surprise” nomination of Etihad Airways (EHD) (CEO) James Hogan to fill the extra seat created to broaden the representation of Middle East carriers on (IATA)’s board. “We believe such issues should not be surprises,” he said. “1stly, such decisions should be transparent and 2ndly, if geographical representation is the basis of the composition of the board, the regional airlines involved should be informed in advance of their regional allotments so that they can coordinate who should represent them.”

Outgoing (IATA) Director General & (CEO) Giovanni Bisignani called for airline industry unity in his last "State of the Industry" address.

(IATA) said (KLM) President & (CEO) Peter Hartman will succeed FedEx Express (FED) (CEO) David Bronczek as Chairman of the Board of Governors, effective immediately. His term will expire at the conclusion of next year’s (IATA) (AGM) in Beijing. (IATA) also announced that Qantas (QAN) (CEO) Alan Joyce will serve as Chairman from June 2012, following Hartman’s term.

After years of talking about the mobile channel, the airline industry is finally embracing it. A third of airlines that responded to (SITA)’s Airline Information Technology (IT) Trends Survey 2011 are already selling through the mobile channel, and another 52% plan to sell tickets via mobile phones by the end of 2014.

But the aviation industry is “very inconsistent” in the ways it has deployed mobile applications, according to Jack Loop, formerly of Mobiata and now a specialist consultant to (SITA) on mobile technologies. “There are some great, rich applications today that have been created by a few airlines,” he said, but perhaps a “lack of vision or lack of access to some of the systems that power these applications” are holding other airlines back, he said at (SITA)’s Airline (IT) Summit in Brussels.

That may be due in part to low adoption of smart phones (20% worldwide and 45% in the USA) but that is changing rapidly: Currently, more tablets and smart phones are being shipped than (PC)s, Loop said.

Norm Rose, President of Travel Tech Consulting and author of an Amadeus white paper titled “The Always Connected Traveler,” expressed similar sentiments at the Amadeus Airline E-Commerce Conference in Cannes, France. The biggest frustration in travel, he said, is the lack of knowledge about what’s going on. Yet airlines are not using the mobile channel to ease travelers’ angst.

Just knowing whether a bag made it onto the plane can go a long way toward easing a flyer’s tension, he said. Loop’s pet peeve is, “Why does someone have to wait at a carousel when the airline knows the bag didn’t make it?”

Yet few airlines are making use of the mobile channel to ease the agony of flight delays and cancellations, both Rose and Loop said.
Simple questions, such as “Where is my bag?” “Which terminal am I departing from?” should be answered quickly, Loop said.

Rose added that 1 of the biggest surprises in his research was that only “a handful” of airlines planned to make their ancillary products and services available to customers through mobile devices.

Loop said airlines that want to get into the mobile channel need to get a handle on their data. “You can have the best (API) in the world, but if you don’t have data, you don’t have an app,” he said.
And, he added, “make it easy for your developers. Don’t give them ‘Flight number 000000005.’”

Rose said airlines need to thing about the “3 pillars” of the mobile channel: personalization, location, and contextual awareness. Don’t offer a lounge pass to a customer whose flight is leaving in 15 minutes, for example.

Airlines that are successful in the implementation of mobile technology will be those who use it to improve the passenger experience, he said. “It’s in the eyes of the customer, not what engineers think is really cool,” he said.

(ICAO) adopted a code of conduct to oversee the collection, sharing and use of aviation safety information. "Transparency and sharing of safety information are fundamental to a safe air transportation system. The new code of conduct will help ensure that the information is used in a fair and consistent manner, with the sole objective of improving safety," said (ICAO) Council President Roberto Kobeh González.

According to (ICAO), the code of conduct consists of guiding principles aimed at developing a consistent, fact-based and transparent response to safety concerns at the state and global levels. The intent is also to promote public confidence in air travel and mutual trust among states by providing reassurance as to how the information will be used. "With the code, guidance is given to member states, the aviation industry and other aviation organizations on establishing or improving their legal and institutional framework governing the use of safety information and on formulating and implementation of related legal agreements," stated (ICAO).

July 2011: Ukraine International Airlines (UKR) again passed the (IATA) Operational Safety Audit and received its 4th (IOSA) Operator Certificate.

A bipartisan contingent of USA House of Representatives' members proposed legislation that would "prohibit operators of civil airplanes of the United States from participating in the European Union (EU ETS)." The move was yet another shot fired at the (EU) from a non-(EU) government, many of which strongly oppose their airlines' inclusion in the (eu ETS) starting next year. Both the Republican Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, John Mica (Republican-Florida), and the panel's top Democrat, Nick Rahall (Democrat-West Virginia), endorsed the proposed bill.

If enacted into law before airlines' inclusion in the (EU ETS) kicks in, the legislation would create a legal battle of wills: USA airlines would be required by (EU) regulation to participate in the (EU ETS) in order to fly to/from (EU) airports, but would be barred by USA law from participating in the scheme.

Mica said that the "unjust" (EU ETS) is "a clear violation of international law that puts USA air carriers at a competitive disadvantage, kills USA aviation jobs and may lead to a trade war. This bipartisan measure sends a clear message to the (EU) that the United States will not participate in this ill-advised and illegal (EU) program."

Rahall added, "This (EU ETS) trading scheme looks more like a shell game to shuffle the money around because no one can say with certainty that the money will be used for its intended purpose. By introducing this bill, we are not flatly rejecting the notion of a system for controlling carbon dioxide emissions. Rather, just as the Obama administration has done, we are rejecting the go-it-alone approach taken by the (EU) that directly infringes on the USA sovereignty."
The bill directs the USA Transportation Secretary "to prohibit USA airplane operators from participating" in the (EU ETS) and "instructs USA officials to negotiate or take any action necessary to ensure USA aviation operators are not penalized" by the scheme, according to the (T&I) Committee.

The USA Air Transport Association (ATA) said it "commended House leaders for proposing a bill that declares the application of the European Union (EU ETS) to aviation, inconsistent with international law." President & (CEO), Nicholas Calio stated, "Subjecting airlines to the (EU) unilateral system will be counterproductive to the environment and will result in the loss of USA jobs as it siphons money away from carriers, impeding their ability to invest in new and more efficient technology."

(IATA) stated that it welcomed the House proposal, which it said "recognizes that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is the proper forum to address international aviation carbon emissions. Aviation is a global business that requires global solutions, including on climate change. (IATA) supports economic measures, including market based measures, to reduce CO2 emissions as part of the aviation industry's strategy to address climate change."

Eurocontrol has just received a formal letter from the European Commission (EC), nominating the Agency to take on the role of European ‘Network Manager’ as defined in the Single European Sky II (SESII) legislation.

Following the invitation of the (EC), Eurocontrol is now seeking the formal approval of its Members States to accept the nomination. The network manager is a key element of the (SESII) package. Its main function is to ensure improved performance across the network by developing and implementing common procedures for designing, planning and managing the European (ATM) network.

As set out in the Network Management Regulations, the Network Manager will:
* monitor, report and forecast the performance of the European (ATM) network based on the agreed performance targets;
* act as a central unit for air traffic flow management across Europe;
* ensure the European airspace can accommodate the additional capacity needs and seamlessly integrates airports into the network;
* give Member States and partners access to common resources;
* support the deployment of technological improvements across the European (ATM) network.

In 2010, Eurocontrol undertook a reform program to adapt itself to the changing political and operational context and to prepare itself for the role of Network Manager.

“Eurocontrol is ideally placed to take on the role of the Network Manager," says David McMillan, Eurocontrol Director General. "This nomination is a token of the appreciation and trust of our stakeholders for >50 years of service to the (ATM) community. It is also an exceptional challenge for the next 50 years.”

August 2011: The China Air Transport Association and the Arab Air Carriers Organization reiterated their calls for the European Union (EU) to rethink plans to include aviation in its (EU ETS) starting next year. In line with its counterparts in the Americas (the USA Air Transport Association and the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (CATA) and (AACO) doubt the legality of applying the (EU ETS) to international aviation. "Trying to impose a unilateral approach will only lead to conflict and will not lead to a better environment," the (AACO) stated, advocating instead a global solution under (ICAO) to monitor and control air transport carbon dioxide emissions.

(CATA) said the (EU) scheme is "unlawful and violates international law, which directly interferes with other countries' sovereignty and would seriously affect global airline industry's healthy and sustainable development."

(AACO) asserted that including airlines in the (EU ETS) is only "addressing, and wrongly so, the aviation emissions focusing on financial returns to (EU) governments. Aviation is a global business. The cause of the environment is also global. Therefore, the fight against climate change cannot be but global. Unilateral initiatives will not improve the environment."

Etihad Airways (EHD) revealed that the cost of it complying with the (EU ETS) could reach up to €500 million/$719 million total by 2020. "These estimates are based on a number of dynamic factors, including estimates as to the number of free allowances that will be granted to Etihad (EHD), our growth into Europe over the next 10 years, the ability of the industry to reduce emissions growth and the cost of carbon," said (EHD) Head Environmental Affairs Linden Coppell.

(CATA) estimated the (EU ETS) will cost Chinese carriers CNY800 million/$123.6 million annually and noted that the costs will keep rising as flights increase between China and Europe. The organization revealed it is assisting Air China (BEJ), which operates a large number of routes to/from the (EU), to prepare a lawsuit against non-(EU) airlines' inclusion in the (EU ETS).

The European emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) appears to be 1 issue that is uniting the political forces in Washington, DC, USA. Last month a bipartisan contingent of USA House of Representatives' members proposed legislation that would "prohibit operators of civil airplanes of the USA from participating in the (EU ETS)." The move was yet another shot fired at the (EU) from a non-(EU) government, many of which strongly oppose their airlines’ inclusion in the (EU ETS), starting next year.

Both the Republican Chairman House Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee, John Mica (Republican-Florida), and the panel's top Democrat, Nick Rahall (Democrat-West Virginia), endorsed the proposed bill. If enacted into law before airlines' inclusion in the (EU ETS) kicks in, the legislation would create a legal battle of wills: USA airlines would be required by (EU) regulation to participate in the (EU ETS) to fly to/from (EU) airports, but would be barred by USA law from participating in the scheme.

Mica said that the "unjust" (EU ETS) is "a clear violation of international law that puts USA air carriers at a competitive disadvantage, kills USA aviation jobs, and may lead to a trade war. This bipartisan measure sends a clear message to the (EU) that the United States will not participate in this ill-advised and illegal (EU ETS) program." Rahall added, "This (EU ETS) looks more like a shell game to shuffle the money around, because no one can say with certainty that the money will be used for its intended purpose. By introducing this bill, we are not flatly rejecting the notion of a system for controlling carbon dioxide emissions. Rather, just as the Obama administration has done, we are rejecting the go-it-alone approach taken by the (EU) that directly infringes on the sovereignty of the USA."

The bill directs the USA Transportation Secretary "to prohibit USA airplane operators from participating" in the (EU ETS) and "instructs USA officials to negotiate or take any action necessary to ensure USA aviation operators are not penalized" by the scheme, according to the (T&I) Committee.

The USA Air Transport Association (ATA) said it "commended House leaders for proposing a bill that declares the application of the (EU ETS) to aviation, inconsistent with international law." President & (CEO) Nicholas Calio said, "Subjecting airlines to the (EU) unilateral system will be counterproductive to the environment and will result in the loss of USA jobs, as it siphons money away from carriers, impeding their ability to invest in new and more efficient technology."

(IATA) stated that it welcomed the House proposal, which it said "recognizes that the International Civil Aviation Organization is the proper forum to address international aviation carbon emissions. Aviation is a global business that requires global solutions, including on climate change. (IATA) supports economic measures, including market based measures, to reduce CO2 emissions as part of the aviation industry's strategy to address climate change."

There have been concerns in Europe that the European Commission (EC) may be about to cave in to pressure from the USA, Russia and China.

According to the website "EuroPolitics Peter Liese" (European People's Party, Germany), rapporteur on the (EU ETS) for the European Parliament, pointed out that the USA House of Representatives adopted the Waxman-Markey Act which, had it not been blocked by the Senate, would have introduced similar rules to the (EU ETS).

Liese also explained, as way of a reference, that the fuel tax imposed by USA air carriers on an international flight, is $16.30 per passenger, whereas the equivalent tax in Germany, for a Frankfurt - Chicago flight for example, is $45, an amount that would be brought down via the (EU ETS) carbon credit purchase system to €4.80/$6.85.

“Rather than speaking of a trade war, the USA and China should try to work out a constructive solution,” Liese told EuroPolitics. He added that the directive does not prevent 3rd countries from adopting “equivalent measures” that pave the way to exemptions.

The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA), which represents 17 major airlines in Asia, including Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Cathay Pacific Airways (CAT) has lashed out at the UK government for its punitive taxation of air travel in the form of the air passenger duty (APD), which was initially touted by the UK as an environmental measure. Commenting on recent proposals by the UK government to reform (APD), Andrew Herdman, (AAPA) Director General said that the (AAPA) had long held the view that the (APD) was an ill-conceived tax measure, and that its use was fundamentally misguided. “Having been subject to repeated revisions, the (APD) is certainly not simple, nor is it coherent in terms of addressing the government’s own stated policy objectives,” Herdman said.

“The UK government has performed repeated flip flops, on occasion trying to justify (APD), entirely spuriously, as an environmental measure, but later admitting that it was purely a revenue-raising fiscal measure, that extracts £2.5 billion/$4 billion a year from the travelling public. The (APD) is entirely ineffective as an environmental measure, to address climate change and reduce emissions, for the simple reason that none of the funds raised are directed towards achieving any environmental benefit.”

Herdman added that “the UK government appears to be blind to the hidden damage done to the broader economy as a result of the imposition of punitive taxes on aviation, threatening the UK’s competitive position as a major business services hub and popular tourist destination, causing growing concern amongst the wider business community.

“The (APD) is the world’s most expensive and economically damaging aviation tax, imposing discriminatory taxes on both UK citizens and foreign visitors to the UK,” Herdman added.

Separately, Herdman said that the (AAPA) was deeply concerned about the UK government’s decision to block any further development of much-needed additional runway capacity at London Heathrow (LHR) and London Gatwick airports. “This provides yet another example of the dysfunctional nature of UK aviation policy. The resulting congestion imposes additional costs on the travelling public, degrades service levels, is environmentally harmful, and leads to situations where routine bad weather or other disruptions to air traffic flows can lead to the complete collapse of the system for several days or more.”
Herdman said that, “(LHR) is steadily losing share to competing aviation hubs, threatening its long term competitiveness.”

Herdman warned that while the UK government has “embarked on a series of consultations regarding the future development, the current policy vacuum is doing untold harm to the UK economy, hampering growth, and undermining the role of aviation in promoting sustainable travel and tourism, as well as a catalyst supporting broader economic and social development.”

In June, outgoing (IATA) Director General & (CEO) Giovanni Bisignani said during an attack on Europe’s (EU ETS) that several states had abandoned their own separate punitive airline taxes because they were a hindrance to the economy. Bisignani noted that “the Dutch government repealed a $412 million departure tax because it cost the Netherland’s economy $1.6 billon, while the Irish government is planning to cancel its $165 million travel tax because it has cost the economy $494 million and -3,000 jobs."

Airports Council International (ACI)'s World Annual Traffic Report released this month details a "strong rebound from the two-year industry slump," the organization noted, pointing out that worldwide airport passengers increased +6.6% in 2010 compared to 2009 to reach 5.04 billion for the full year. That marked the most passengers ever in a single year.

"Cargo volumes also hit a record, surging past 91 million tonnes with +15.3% growth," (ACI) stated. "Once again, our industry has shown its resiliency in recovering from a downturn."

(ACI)'s statistics for 2010 cover 1,318 airports in 157 countries.

The highest growing regions year-over-year were Latin America/Caribbean (+13.2%), Middle East (+12%), Asia/Pacific (+11.3%) and Africa (+9.5), (ACI) reported.

World wide 2010 domestic passenger traffic increased +5.8% year-over-year, while international traffic rose +7.7%, according to the organization. World wide airplane movements heightened +1.1% to 74 million. Total cargo volume handled by airports lifted +15.3% to 91 million tonnes.

(ACI) noted that "69% of airports world wide registered positive passenger growth at an average of +8.6%, while 30% of airports lost traffic at an average rate of -4.1%."

Director General Angela Gittens said the growth indicates a need to expand and upgrade airport facilities around the world. "More than ever, governments and our airline partners will need to work closely with our airports to ensure that the required capacity is added in a safe, secure, efficient and sustainable manner," she stated. "At the same time, air navigation systems will need to be upgraded to keep pace with the growth curve."

She pointed out that the regional breakdown of traffic growth reveals a changing world. "Traffic growth in emerging markets led the way," she said. "In the Middle East, liberalized bilateral agreements and large increases in fleet capacity drove growth, particularly in the (UAE) and Qatar. In Asia/Pacific, India's traffic grew nearly +15% and China's nearly +14%, as the region once again increased its global market share. Increases in the mature North American and European markets were +2% and +4.3%, respectively, but they remain the No 1 and 2 regions for market share, although Asia/Pacific is rapidly closing the gap."

New USA Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations aimed at providing "protections" for airline passengers went into effect, boosting compensation for involuntarily bumped passengers and imposing a 4-hour tarmac delay limit on international flights at USA airports.

Airlines have opposed the rules, which they view as unwarranted government intervention in day-to-day business operations. But USA Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the regulations were needed to "ensure that air travelers receive the respect they deserve before, during and after their flight." The rules establish "a hard 4-hour time limit on tarmac delays for all international flights at USA airports," the (DOT) said. Domestic USA flights are already governed by a 3-hour limit before delayed airplanes must return to airport gates to allow passengers to deplane if they choose. The new rules extend the 3-hour regulation for domestic flights from large (and medium-hub) airports to also include flights at small (and non-hub) airports.

Previously, involuntarily bumped passengers were entitled to compensation equal to the 1-way value of a flight ticket up to $400, rising to $800 if the passenger arrives at his or her destination airport >2-hours later than originally scheduled domestically, or >4-hours later on an international flight. Under the new rules, "bumped passengers subject to short delays will receive compensation equal to double the 1-way price of their tickets, up to $650, while those subject to longer delays would receive payments of 4x- the 1-way value of their tickets, up to $1,300," according to the (DOT). The new regulations also put in place a (CPI)-based formula that will set the payment ceilings to rise automatically with inflation.

The latest initiative in (IATA)'s drive to take costs and complexity out of the airline industry is slated to go live next month, but an alarming number of carriers are unprepared, according to Neela Bhattacherjee, Head of Kale Consultants' Airlines Strategic Business Unit. The Simplified Interline Settlement (SIS) program aims to dispense with the 160 tons of paper invoices and supporting documents that are shipped annually among airlines around the world each year to support the industry's interline billing and settlement process.
Instead, electronic billing files will be submitted and processed in a way that avoids duplication and minimizes the need for reconciliation with individual revenue accounting systems.

(SIS) will deal with both passenger and miscellaneous settlement.
Kale is the prime technology supplier for the development of the (SIS) platform.

(IATA) is aiming for 100% compliance, with all (IATA) Clearing House transactions processed through (SIS) by April 2013.

Bhattacherjee said the move was similar to the migration to electronic ticketing several years ago. In some cases, she said, small carriers may be dealing with a mere handful of interline invoices each month and can continue to process them outside the system.

But the vast majority of airlines will need either to make changes to their in-house legacy revenue accounting systems or, if they are using a 3rd-party system, ensure that it is (SIS)-compliant. Otherwise, Bhattacherjee said, they could be facing chaos. (SIS) will ease the pain of trying to reconcile billing and settlement files and invoices.

The separate systems used today ((ARC) Compass, (IATA) (ICH), (ATA) (ACH) and other entities that make up the industry's alphabet soup) will be integrated with new systems to offer a single point of communication for the carrier. The settlement file will be automatically created from the billing file and will always reconcile perfectly. Bhattacherjee noted that passenger revenue accounting is very centralized. "It's only executed at the airline's head office," she said. But interline settlement of miscellaneous items, such as catering, is "highly decentralized, coming into different stations all over the world. You sign, the money is paid, and you hope they are not taking you for a ride."

Carriers know what they settle through the (ICH) and (ACH), but miscellaneous items are another story. (SIS) will shed some light on them. Unlike electronic ticketing, the switch to electronic interline settlement has not gotten much press attention. Bhattacherjee said that is probably because it will have no tangible effect on passengers. But even though airline financial officers are well aware of the issue, some revenue accounting managers are "in denial about what it entails," she said. And she believes some carriers may take the same approach as Continental Airlines (CAL), which helped to drive the electronic ticketing issue home by telling its interline partners it would no long do business with them unless they adopted e-ticketing. "Airlines will just tell their partners they will not do business with them" unless they get with the (SIS) program, she said.

September 2011: (IATA) (ITA)’s Director General & (CEO) Tony Tyler has urged Indonesia to implement coordinated policy measures to reap the economic and social benefits of a successful aviation industry and put behind it the record of 33 accidents between 2005 and 2010.

“Indonesia is 1.4% of global traffic but accounted for 4% of all accidents in 2010. Every accident is a reminder of the need to improve,” Tyler said, pointing out that many efforts have been made in recent years to improve Indonesia’s safety record. “An indication of the success of these efforts is seen in the removal of 5 Indonesian carriers from Europe’s list of banned airlines. Now we need a coordinated initiative by all stakeholders to solve the safety issue once and for all and restore confidence in all of Indonesia’s airlines,” he said.

On his 1st visit to Asia as (IATA)’s Director General, Tyler met with key stakeholders such as Garuda Indonesia (GIA) (CEO), Emirsyah Satar, Indonesian government officials, including Transport Minister Freddy Numberi, and airport operator Angkasa Pura II.

Tyler urged Indonesia to mandate the (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) for all Indonesian carriers and ground operations at Indonesian airports. “Together, such proactive actions will send a clear signal to the world that Indonesia is serious about solving its safety issues,” Tyler said.

(IOSA) is the highest global standard for airline operational safety management. Countries that have mandated (IOSA) include Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Turkey, Lebanon, and Bahrain. In 2010, there was 1 hull loss accident for every 1.6 million flights globally, while (IATA) carriers (for whom (IOSA) is a condition of membership) had 1 hull loss accident for every 4 million flights. There are 372 airlines on the (IOSA) registry and Garuda (GIA) is the only Indonesian airline on it.

(CANSO) has joined with its ‘iFlex’ partners to celebrate the successful conclusion of the Johannesburg - Atlanta iFlex trial.


Data provided by Delta Air Lines (DAL) shows that the implementation of iFlex between Johannesburg and Atlanta from June 30 to August 25 resulted in an average time saving of 8 minutes per flight. This equates to 900 kg of fuel and 2.9 tonnes of CO2. Over the course of a year (and on the basis of 2x-daily) this translates to overall savings of 100 flight hours, 690 tonnes of fuel and 2,150 tonnes of CO2.

The trial is the culmination of 8 months of collaboration between the Agency for Aerial Navigation Safety in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA), (Dakar (FIR)s), Ghana (CAA) (Accra (FIR)), Trinidad & Tobago (CAA) (Piarco (FIR)), (SNA)-Antilles Guyane (Rochambeau Cayenne (FIR)), (ASA) - Cabo Verde ((SAL) (FIR)), Delta Air Lines (DAL), Emirates Airline (EAD), (CANSO), the International Air Transport Association (IATA) (ITA), and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). iFlex provides airlines a greater and more flexible choice of routes on long-haul operations. It addresses challenges resulting from conventional air traffic management restrictions, which limit the flexibility of routing within fixed corridors.

(CANSO) Director General Graham Lake said: “Along with the implementation of new technologies and the use of biofuels, the transformation of air traffic management performance through initiatives such as iFlex, is vital for reducing aviation’s impact on the environment. “The success of this trial is testament to the unprecedented level of collaboration between the regional stakeholders, (CANSO), (ICAO), and (IATA), and shows the improvements that can be delivered by effectively utilizing existing infrastructure. However, much more needs to be done if our industry is to achieve its goal of carbon neutral growth by 2020 and I am looking forward to further progress on this and other initiatives.”

The development and implementation of the iFlex trial was successful with no changes made to existing air traffic management procedures or separation standards, although new way points were added to facilitate more efficient routes and enhanced coordination.

In addition to the environmental benefits, regional stakeholders found that the increased collaboration helped raise situational awareness of traffic operating within the relevant flight information regions. This contributed to the safety of operations.

Following the conclusion of the trial, the additional iFlex routing options were made available to all operators.

About iFlex:

* The iFlex program concentrates on long-haul routes through low-density airspace in regions where maximum benefit can be achieved through a more flexible airspace structure.

* Sophisticated airline flight planning systems have now the capability to predict and validate optimum daily routings, both within airlines and Air Traffic Control (ATC) facilities.

* Upper winds, which change by time of day, season and geographical areas of flight, have a direct influence on fuel burn and proportionately, on the carbon footprint.

* These efficiency improvements will assist the industry in meeting its environmental targets.

International trade statistics through the 1st half of 2011 reveal that "the overall picture for global freight is one of growth slowing down," the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) International Transport Forum (ITF) said in a new global trade and transport "statistics brief" released this month.

Airfreight is not immune to overall slowing trade. "The air cargo recovery has faltered and volumes are now only +9% above pre-crisis levels in the European Union (EU) area compared to 15% in [February 2011]," the (ITF) said. "External trade in tonnes of goods carried by air in the USA has shown practically no growth and total trade in tonnes is only +2% above the pre-crisis peak."

The (ITF) said the "risks of dependence on Asia-led global growth are exposed. Trade by air with China declined for both the [USA and (EU) in the 2011 1st half], possibly indicating a slowdown in demand from the world's engine for growth. Only trade with India seems to have resisted [the] otherwise downward trend." The (ITF) noted, "Both sea and air exports from the USA to China declined between February 2011 and June 2011. The (EU) exports to China grew in the 2nd quarter (Q2) but [were] fairly flat for the 1st half of 2011 as a whole."

After global air cargo traffic shrank by around -25% in less than 18 months in 2008/2009, the industry experienced a robust recovery in 2010. While cautioning earlier this year that a "great deal of uncertainty" remains regarding international air cargo demand going forward, the Air Cargo Management Group predicted that global (FTK) freight traffic growth would be in the range of 4.5% - 5.5% per year going forward.

The USA Department of Commerce is creating a new committee that will target opportunities to promote and sell NextGen technologies and products to non-USA markets. Announcing the NextGen Vendors Group (NVG), Department of Commerce Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Maureen Smith said that through the (NVG), Commerce will reach out to industry and other agencies to identify market opportunities.

Countries of particular interest include China, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, and Vietnam, she said. The (NVG) participants will recommend trade mission opportunities where there are specific air transportation needs that NextGen products could fulfill and advocate those technologies, using government backing. “Advocacy is a powerful tool, especially as most of the purchases will be made by government agencies. So we will use government relationships to back suppliers,” Smith said. Smith, who unveiled the (NVG) at a NextGen Institute annual public meeting and industry day in Washington, said the group would also identify any specific trade barriers that stand in the way of NextGen product sales and work to remove them.

Aerospace Industries Association President & (CEO) Marion Blakey, welcomed the announcement. “This is something we can certainly use as we move into the international arena. We need advocacy of government,” Blakey said.

NextGen leaders hailed the fact that NextGen (a cross-government and private sector initiative to create a safer, more efficient and more environmentally minded air traffic management system using new technologies) also has new high-profile support from the top. USA President Barack Obama included NextGen in his unveiling of the America Jobs Act to Congress this month.

White House Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra said, “If it wasn’t evident before, I hope it is clear now from the President’s speech that NextGen is a presidential priority. He called for an extra $1 billion to accelerate, jump-start, and speed-up this plan.”

The USA should make the creation of a next-generation air traffic management system a rallying project that maintains the country’s position as a global leader in the aerospace industry, Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) President & (CEO) Jim Albaugh said. Albaugh said he feared the USA aerospace industry faced “an intellectual disarmament” as its skilled workforce retired, became unemployed, or moved to other countries that offered better job incentives. He said there were now many examples of where industry design and development capability had been lost because of long gaps between new airplanes being produced.

“I think we risk breaking the continuum of capability that took us a long time to build. If you lose some element of that continuum you are no longer a viable airplane contractor for the long term,” Albaugh said. “One of the reasons we had issues with the 787 was because we had not done a development program for 15 years (since the 777) and we paid a very heavy price for that.” Albaugh said that turning NextGen into a major USA aerospace project (something that creates the Internet highway system of the sky) would dramatically improve air transportation and make airlines +15% more efficient. “We need to think big and we need to think bold,” Albaugh said.

The Association of European Airlines (AEA) named General Manager Infrastructure, Athar Husain Khan, Deputy Secretary General. He will head (AEA)’s political team and oversee progress on key dossiers, such as commercial aviation’s inclusion in the European Union (EU ETS).

Air Berlin (BER) interim (CEO) Hartmut Mehdorn said (BER) needs to be rebuilt quickly and is considering various measures. "The Financial Times" reported that the (BER)'s business model could be significantly changed, including possible network and fleet adjustments. Mehdorn did not rule out job reductions among (BER)'s 9,000 employees, if necessary. (BER) has already committed to reducing its fleet by 8 airplanes this year. It has been said that 8 airplanes will not be enough and the number to be phased out could increase.

(IATA) Director General & (CEO) Tony Tyler blamed government taxation for (BER)'s troubles. "The recent downsizing of Air Berlin (BER) is a clear reminder of the high cost of the German departure tax on the economy, jobs and communities," he said.

The Asia/Pacific region will require hundreds of thousands of new commercial airline pilots (FC) and technicians (MT) over the next 20 years to support airline fleet modernization and the rapid growth of air travel, according to Boeing (TBC)’s "2011 Pilot & Technician Outlook." The report called for 182,300 new pilots (FC) and 247,400 new technicians (MT) in the Asia/Pacific region through 2030.

The greatest need is in China, which will require 72,700 pilots (FC) and 108,300 technicians (MT) over the next 20 years, said Boeing Training & Flight Services Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), Roei Ganzarski.

“The demand for aviation personnel is evident today. In Asia, we’re already beginning to see some delays and operational disruptions due to a shortage of pilots (FC),” Ganzarski said.

“To ensure the success of our industry as travel demands grows, it is critical that we continue to foster a talent pipeline of capable and well-trained aviation personnel.”

“As an industry we must make a concentrated effort to get younger generations excited about careers in aviation. We are competing for talent with alluring hi-tech companies and we need to do a better job showcasing our industry as a global, technological, multi-faceted environment, where individuals from all backgrounds and disciplines can make a significant impact," Ganzarski said.

(TBC) forecasts global demand for >23,000 airplanes in the 737's market segment over the next 20 years at a value of nearly $2 trillion.

(IATA)’s new Chief Tony Tyler has called for the European Union (EU) to abandon its plans to include aviation in the European Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) from 2012. Speaking at the "Greener Skies" conference in Hong Kong, he said the air transport industry is committed to its ambitious agenda to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and he urged governments to use a global approach to reduce aviation’s carbon emissions that could also include a global (ETS) or other compensation measures.

He reminded delegates that airlines, airports, air navigation service providers and manufacturers are committed to improving fuel efficiency by -1.5% annually to 2020, capping net carbon emissions from 2020 with carbon-neutral growth and cutting net emissions in half by 2050, compared to 2005. “These are challenging targets. Airlines represent 2% of global manmade CO2 emissions. This year, that is estimated to be some 650 million tonnes of CO2 emitted, while carrying 2.8 billion passengers and 46 million tonnes of cargo. By 2050, the industry aspires to carry 16 billion passengers and 400 million tonnes of cargo with some 320 million tonnes of CO2 emissions,” Tyler said.

But the (EU)’s emission reducing plan has several flaws, Tyler said.
“Connections via hubs closer to Europe will have a competitive advantage. Think of it from the perspective of Hong Kong. A direct flight to Europe will be charged on its emissions for its entire journey. But a connection through the Middle East or other closer hubs will be only charged for the last leg of the journey. This is an unacceptable market distortion,” Tyler said.

Tyler added that the (EU ETS) will also lead to a layering of taxes. Failure to coordinate in a global scheme will lead to air passengers compensating for their carbon emissions several times over. “We already see it in Europe with the UK Air Passenger Duty and copycat departure taxes in Germany and Austria. All were implemented using environment as the justification. But there is no guarantee that any will be eliminated when the (ETS) takes effect,” Tyler said.

The European Commission (EC) earlier laid out its benchmark directive and insisted it will move forward with applying the cap-and-trade scheme to aviation. It said it has “no intention to amend its legislation” despite the legal challenge by the Air Transport Association of America and some of its members. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has joined with the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Transport to denounce the (EU ETS).

“Managing carbon emissions is a global problem. Aviation is a global industry. And we need a global solution. All roads lead to (ICAO). It is time for Europe to refocus on a Plan B that is centered on a global solution through (ICAO),” Tyler said.

Airtel (ATN) and (ARINC) jointly announced the launch of a new commercial Aeronautical Telecommunications Network (ATN) test facility in Dublin. The (ATN) has been designated by the European Commission (EC) as mandatory for all airplanes flying in European airspace above flight level 285. It must be implemented for all new airplanes operating in European airspace by February 2013 and existing airplanes by February 2015.

Regional airlines in Europe are upset about Europe’s much greater support for railways relative to aviation. The European Regions Airline Association (ERAA), which represents carriers including Aegean (CRM), airBaltic (BAU) and Cimber Sterling (STR), says government subsidies for rail are 125x- higher than state aid for air transport. Airlines are also subject to far more burdensome security and passenger rights regulations than rail operators.

October 2011: Russian authorities are planning to amend Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR)s to increase the required minimum number of airplanes operated by an airline.

Russian Transport Minister, Igor Levitin announced during a meeting with airline (CEO)s that, beginning in 2012, carriers operating scheduled flights with airplanes of >55 seats, must have at least 10 airplanes of the same size to obtain an air operator’s certificate (AOC); this could eventually increase to 20. Airlines operating airplanes of 55 seats or fewer must have at least 3 airplanes of the same size. Charter airlines will be required to have at least 5 airplanes.

Russian regulations currently require any airline to operate at least 3 airplanes of the same size.

Russian transport authorities said the new measures will help to improve flight safety. There have been 4 aviation accidents in Russia in 2011 in which 1 or more passengers have died (excluding accidents with helicopters).

On January 1 in Surgut, Western Siberia, 3 people died when a fire started on a Tu-154B on the taxiway. On June 21, 44 passengers and crew members died when a Tu-134 crashed during landing at Petrozavodsk, NW of Russia. On August 3, 12 people died when an An-24 crashed during landing near Igarka, Eastern Siberia. On September 7, a Yak-42D broke up during takeoff at Yaroslavl, killing 45 passengers and crew.

Airline market experts say that the Transport Ministry initiative is aimed at reducing the number carriers and to make it almost impossible to start a new airline.

The Russian Ministry of Economic Development said the Transport Ministry had not proved that fleet numbers are related to airline safety. It said the number of Russian carriers operating commercial flights since 2000 has decreased from 296 to 146, but the total number of accidents has been steadily increasing. There were 24 crashes in 2010 (higher than the 21.2 per-year average over the previous 10 years).

Frontier Airlines (FRO) completed the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA), making it now (IOSA) registered.

(IOSA) sets aviation’s global standard for quality, safety and operations performance. The (IOSA) registry is official recognition that the carrier meets or exceeds industry standards, which are the strictest in the world. The audit includes eight areas: corporate organization & management; flight operations; operational control/flight dispatch; aircraft engineering & maintenance; cabin operations, aircraft ground handling, cargo operations, and operational safety.

“I can’t overstate the importance of attaining (IOSA) registration,” said Wayne Heller, Republic Airway’s (CEO). “Safety has always been our most important operating goal.”

November 2011: (IATA) (ITA) Director General & (CEO) Tony Tyler said the European Union (EU) has "stirred up a hornet's nest" by insisting it will move forward with the inclusion of aviation in its Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) next year, and again urged European nations to negotiate a global agreement on aviation carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions through (ICAO).

Tyler acknowledged there has been no "public" movement by the (EU) on its (EU ETS) position. Indeed, a European Commission (EC) spokesperson told "Bloomberg News" that the (EU) "won't modify our plans" regarding the (EU ETS).

Governments around the world have denounced aviation's inclusion in the (EU ETS), and the USA House of Representatives voted to prevent USA carriers from participating in the scheme. The House's vote is nonbinding; in order for the chamber's proposal to become law, the Senate would also have to pass anti-(EU ETS) legislation and President Barack Obama would need to sign it.

Tyler noted that the Airports Council International (ACI) called on the (EU) to drop aviation's inclusion in the (EU ETS) and move the emissions trading forum to (ICAO). "What we'd like (ICAO) to do is provide the necessary framework for a global solution for managing aviation emissions," he said at a press conference. "They've agreed this framework should be set before their next assembly in 2013. We would encourage the European states to [join these negotiations]. As a result of the (EU) action on this matter, we see states fighting and arguing with each other rather than cooperating with each other to develop a framework."

Tyler said the aviation industry has "taken the high ground with the most ambitious targets and strategy to reduce emissions of any global industrial sector." He commented that "improving fuel efficiency [and therefore reducing CO2 emissions] is in the (DNA) of the [airline] industry."

The European Union (EU) has over-reached and needs to rethink its approach to new taxes that would offset airline emissions, according to the head of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA). (AAPA) Director General, Andrew Herdman added his voice to the growing international chorus of criticism of the (EU ETS) plan that takes effect January 1 and mandates emission fees for all airlines flying in and out of Europe.

Herdman said non-European carriers were ready to comply with (EU ETS) regulations by January 1 “because the penalties for non-compliance don't bear thinking about." But retaliatory actions were being considered by some countries and the USA has begun work on a bill that would make it illegal for USA airlines to comply, while also protecting them from the consequences.

Tit-for-tat reaction is not favored by Herdman, however. “I do not look forward to a trade war, especially when it’s fought in aviation because we will get hit on both sides,” Herdman said. He said the high-stakes issue will not be resolved in the courts, but by political negotiation. As part of that negotiation, the (EU) will need to find a way to step back while also saving face. “They have over-reached and left nothing for anyone else. They need to step back incrementally or rethink what they are doing,” he said.

Herdman also criticized the USA Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for its attempts to impose new security screening rules on international cargo operators. “The USA wants to export its security regimes on the rest of the world and the rest of the world is not buying it,” he said. Herdman said that existing, intelligence-led and collaborative security measures had proven extremely effective at detecting potential threats. Meddling with that system could make it more time consuming and less effective. “To start all over again would really be taking things backward,” he said.

The (ICAO) governing council agreed to adopt a working paper urging the European Union (EU) and its member states to refrain from including flights by non-(EU) carriers to/from an airport in the (EU ETS). It also called on the (EU) and its member states to work collaboratively with the rest of the international community to address aviation emissions and re-affirmed the importance of the role of (ICAO) in addressing aviation emissions.

The non-binding statement was adopted by 26 of the council’s 36 member states convening in Montreal, including India, Japan, Russia, China, the United Arab Emirates, and the USA. 8 (EU) (ICAO) council members did not support the content of the working paper, while 2 countries did not formally adopt or reject the working paper.

The (ICAO) working paper reflects the content of the so-called New Delhi joint declaration, adopted by 25 countries in late September and corroborates the observation that the opposition against the (EU ETS) is gradually becoming more unified. Several governments, carriers and industry groups, including (IATA), have individually denounced aviation's inclusion in the (EU ETS).

(EU) Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard restated that Europe will be delivering on its “commitment to reduce emissions” and said the (ICAO) decision “will affect neither the (EU)'s commitment to working within (ICAO) to agree on a global solution, nor our adopted legislation to include aviation in the (EU ETS).” She added that “unfortunately, (ICAO) has missed again today the opportunity to tell the world when it will table a viable global solution.”

Association of European Airlines (AEA) Secretary General, Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus warned that the (EU ETS) is becoming a political issue rather than an environmental priority. He urged political leaders “to seize the negative energy around the (EU ETS) and turn it into urgent, positive action towards a global solution.” “Over recent weeks, we have seen legal cases against (EU ETS), bills to prohibit airlines from complying, vocal foreign indignation, retaliation and now a challenge through (ICAO),” he said. But “political conflict does not cut emissions.” He asserted that “Europe is right to demand concrete action and deliverable environmental results but its approach lacks essential international buy-in. Non-European countries are also right to call for a global approach, but they need to back up their words with concrete actions, which genuinely deliver for the environment.”

Emirates SkyCargo (EMC) completed its 1st paperless flight, operating a Singapore to Dubai 777-300ERF service with 100% of its shipments processed electronically. It said it is “on track” to meet the 2014 target of removing all paper Air Waybills, documents and certificates by the end of 2014, under (IATA)’s E-freight cargo industry initiative.

The Air Transport Association of America (ATA) filed suit against the Export-Import Bank of the USA (Ex-Im Bank) to halt a pending deal for $3.4 billion in loan guarantees for airplane financing to Air India (AIN/(IND)), saying that it fails to meet statutory requirements, including consideration of the impact on the USA airline industry and airline jobs.

According to the (ATA), “the Ex-Im Bank recently approved $1.3 billion in USA taxpayer-backed loan guarantees for (AIN)/(IND), and is considering an additional +$2.1 billion in loan guarantees, to support the purchase of 30 airplanes, including 27 787 Dreamliners for delivery between 2011 to 2015.”

The (ATA) said it asked the court to find the (AIN)/(IND) loan-guarantee commitments unlawful, to prevent the loan guarantees from being issued, and to order injunctive relief requiring the Ex-Im Bank to comply with its statutory obligations. The (ATA) asserted that the “practices of Ex-Im Bank put USA carriers at a commercial disadvantage to foreign carriers. Specifically, the USA loan guarantees enable foreign carriers to obtain financing for airplanes at considerably lower rates, in some cases up to -50% lower than what USA airlines must pay on the commercial market.”

Russia is increasing its airspace capacity from November 17 by implementing Reduced Vertical Separation Minima (RVSM), allowing for an additional 6 layers. Simultaneously, (RVSM) will be launched in the neighboring countries of Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. (RVSM) envisages reduced intervals of vertical separation from 500 m to 300 m on heights above 8,900 m.

According to the Russian Ministry of Transport, the new rule will reduce the number of flights -40% to -45%, save -5% in fuel costs and decrease emissions up to -5%. Russia 1st announced it would implement (RVSM) in 2009.

Since 1999, many parts of the world (including Europe and the North Atlantic) have implemented (RVSM), bringing corresponding increases in capacity. In 2001, (RVSM) was launched in the Kaliningrad region, along with European countries. Since 2004, (RVSM) has been working in the Black Sea part of the Rostov region.

China implemented (RVSM) in 2007 to prepare for the Beijing Olympics.

Increasing congestion at Latin American airports is a concern, according to Latin American & Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA) President and (TACA) (TAC) Chairman Roberto Kriete. "3 out of every 10 flights that depart from the region do so from a congested airport," he said. "There is an urgent need for infrastructure investment."

In its 18th update on the list of banned airlines in the European Union (EU), the European Commission (EC) added part of Jordan Aviation (JOR)’s fleet and air carrier Rollins Air (ROL) of Honduras to the list due to numerous and repeated safety deficiencies.

3 767 airplanes will be removed from Jordan Aviation (JOR)’s operating fleet into the (EU). (JOR) is expected to improve safety in a sustainable manner through a number of assessment visits, the (EC) said. All operations of Rollins Air (ROL) were imposed by the (EC) pending the resolution of various significant safety issues that were initially raised by France. “The (EC) is ready to spare no effort to assist its [neighbors] in building their technical and administrative capacity to overcome any difficulties in the area of safety as quickly as possible,” said Siim Kallas (EC) Vice President. “In the meantime, safety comes 1st. We cannot afford any compromise in this area. Where we have evidence inside or outside the [EU] that air carriers are not performing safe operations we must act to exclude any risks to safety.” The (EC) adopted the list following the unanimous opinion of the Air Safety Committee. The new list replaces the previous 1 established in April 2011.

December 2011: The Air Transport Association (ATA) has changed its name to "Airlines for America" (A4A), to “better represent the industry’s vital role of literally connecting the USA to the global economy.” Its new tagline will be “We Connect the World.”

“In the 75-year history of our association, we have supported USA’s airlines as they changed travel, trade and tourism across the United States and became today’s indispensable facilitators of the global economy, now transporting >90% of all USA airline passenger and cargo traffic,” (A4A) (CEO) & President Nicholas Calio said. “As the USA looks to compete in growth markets overseas and increase exports and create jobs across the country, our airlines will play an even greater role.”

The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) has been granted court permission to become party to a lawsuit brought by Airlines for America (A4A) against the USA Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank). The suit seeks to halt a pending deal for $3.4 billion in Ex-Im bank loan guarantees that will enable Air India (AIN)/(IND) to finance 30 airplanes including 27 787s.

(ALPA) asserted that the deal could “seriously harm the USA airline industry and risk USA airline jobs.” The union said the Ex-Im Bank’s loan subsidy program harms USA airlines and their workers by allowing foreign airlines such as (AIN) to acquire airplanes for substantially less than USA airlines would have to pay.

(ALPA) is contesting the Ex-Im Bank’s recently proposed financing guarantees for a purchase of Boeing (TBC) airplanes by (AIN). (A4A) has estimated that, with Ex-Im Bank financing, (AIN) would pay approximately $5 million a year less to finance a 777 than a USA airline would pay without the financing guarantees, giving USA airlines a competitive disadvantage on routes where bank-subsidized foreign carriers operate, according to (ALPA).

“At a time when every USA airline industry job counts, it is inexcusable that the USA Export-Import Bank would use USA taxpayer dollars to guarantee financing that could give a foreign airline a significant competitive advantage and risk USA jobs,” (ALPA) President, Lee Moak said. The court has set an expedited briefing schedule, with a hearing set for December 21 on the injunction request.

Airlines for America (A4A) named Elizabeth Shaver as Director of Cargo Services. She will join (A4A) in January from Delta Air Lines (DAL).

(IATA) (ITA) lowered its global airline earnings forecast for 2012 to a net profit of +$3.5 billion, -28.6% below its previous forecast, and warned of a possible net loss of -$8.3 billion if the Eurozone crisis deteriorates into a renewed banking crisis and worldwide Gross Domestic Profit (GDP) growth slows to +0.8%.

In its previous forecast in September, (IATA) still expected the world's airlines to post a profit of +$4.9 billion next year. "The biggest risk facing airline profitability over the next year is the economic turmoil that would result from a failure of governments to resolve the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis. Such an outcome could lead to losses of >-$8 billion (the largest since the 2008 financial crisis)" (IATA) Director General & (CEO) Tony Tyler told reporters at (IATA)'s Global Media Day in Geneva.

In this worst-case scenario, all regions would fall into losses. Europe would be expected to post the deepest loss at -$4.4 billion, followed by North America at -$1.8 billion and Asia/Pacific at -$1.1 billion. The Middle East and Latin America would both be expected to post -$400 million losses, respectively, while Africa would be -$200 million in the red.

Tyler said, "This admittedly worst-case—but by no means unimaginable scenario should serve as a wake-up call to governments around the world. Government policies need to recognize aviation’s vital contribution to the health of the economy."

He added, "Even our best-case scenario for 2012 [the predicted +$3.5 billion profit] is for a net margin of just 0.6% on revenues of $618 billion. But the industry is really moving at two speeds, with highly taxed European carriers headed into the red."

Under (IATA)'s forecast, European carriers are expected to fall to a -$600 million loss in 2012 resulting from the weakness of their home market economies and further increases in passenger taxes, while North American carriers are expected to generate profits of +$1.7 billion as limited capacity growth is providing some protection against the downward pressure on profits.

Asia/Pacific carriers are forecast to deliver the largest absolute profit at +$2.1 billion. Middle East carriers will see their earnings decrease to +$300 million, less than half the previously forecast +$700 million profit, as long-haul market conditions deteriorate (in particular those linked to the weak European economies. Latin American carriers will see profits decline to +$100 million) a -$400 million negative swing from the previous forecast, partly a carry-over from the recent weakness of profitability in the large Brazilian market. African carriers will fall to a loss of -$100 million, unchanged from the previous forecast.

On a more positive note, (IATA) kept its net profit outlook for this year unchanged at +$6.9 billion, which equates to a net margin of 1.2%, but regional differences have widened. Airlines in Europe, the Middle East Airlines and Latin America had their forecast downgraded to +$1 billion (down from the previously forecast +$1.4 billion), -$400 million (down from the previously forecast $800 million) and $200 million (from the previously forecast $600 million), respectively.

Conversely, carriers in North America and the Asia/Pacific region had their 2011 profitability outlook raised. African carriers are still expected to breakeven.

Passenger demand for the full year is expected to expand by +6.1% globally (which is stronger than the +5.9% forecast in September) and yields to increase by +4%. (IATA) is forecasting global airline revenue of $596 billion in 2011.

Opposition from governments against the inclusion of aviation next year in the European Union (EU)’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) is growing and could result in a trade war, the (IATA) warned.

The (IATA) still is pushing for a global solution within the (ICAO) through negotiations, but the “level of opposition is mounting. >20 states have indicated their dissatisfaction with Europe’s unilateral action. The danger of a trade war is still possible with Russia, China and India, while a bill is making its way through Congress to prevent USA carriers from taking part,” (IATA) Director Aviation Environment, Paul Steele told reporters in Geneva via satellite from the Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa.

Steele also said the option of filing a complaint under Article 84 of the Chicago Convention is being increasingly discussed. Article 84 allows (ICAO) members to file a complaint against other members for violating “the cardinal principle of state sovereignty” outlined in the Convention on International Civil Aviation (the Chicago Convention).

Several airlines confirmed that using Article 84 to stop the (EU ETS) was raised at the (ICAO) council last month. Also, Association of European Airlines (AEA) Secretary General, Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus conceded that the risk of retaliation against (EU) carriers and an action through Article 84 were becoming a real concern.

According to sources, India is seriously considering using Article 84 against the (EU) and its 27 member states. There have been similar complaints in the past but all of them have been settled out of court. If no settlement is reached, the case will end up in the International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, in The Hague.

Steele said the (EU) was in a difficult position. “There is demand from governments worldwide to change the (EU ETS) but it is not easy to change an existing regulation and all change options (intra-(EU) scheme, departing flights only, delay of the introduction) are problematic,” he said, adding that the only “real way to solve this is for all governments to get back around the table at (ICAO).”

(EU) Climate Action Commissioner, Connie Hedegaard reiterated the (EU) was steadfast in its decision to include aviation in its (ETS) from next month. “There is no way the (EU) will change legislation,” she said in Durban. She also criticized the USA House of Representatives for passing a bill prohibiting its airlines from participating in the (ETS) aviation scheme, calling the move “arrogant and ignorant.”

The House bill is merely symbolic at this stage, with action needed in the USA Senate to move the issue forward. To that end, USA Senator John Thune (Repubican-South Dakota) this month proposed similar legislation that he said would "enable the USA Department of Transportation to take necessary action to ensure America's aviation operators are not penalized by any tax unilaterally imposed by the (EU)."

4 Chinese carriers (Air China (BEJ), China Eastern Airlines (CEA), China Southern Airlines (GUN) and Hainan Airlines (HNA)) are planning to file a lawsuit against the European Union European Trading Scheme (EU ETS), scheduled to take effect January 1.

The carriers have support from the China Air Transport Association (CATA), which claims the (EU ETS) would cost Chinese carriers CNY800 million/$123.6 million annually. (CATA) said costs would keep rising as flights increase between China and Europe.

(CATA) Director General Wei Zhenzhong said it would choose the “right timing” to file the lawsuit, although he did admit “there is little hope of winning this case within the (EU) legal framework.”

(CATA) is asking for all Chinese carriers not to take part in the (EU) carbon market trading scheme, not to submit a carbon emission monitoring plan and not to negotiate with the (EU) separately for favorable policies.

(BEJ) submitted its carbon emission monitoring report to the (EU) earlier this year. Other Chinese carriers are expected to follow suit if the legal process fails.

Industry analysts say that Chinese carriers will have to increase air fares to offset extra costs imposed by the (EU ETS), which would probably lead to a reduction of Chinese airlines’ load factor, weakening domestic carriers’ international competitiveness.

China has joined several countries in opposition to the (EU ETS), which will require all airlines flying to/from an (EU) airport to offset their carbon emissions on these flights, regardless of how long that flight is in (EU) airspace. Airlines will be required to pay an emissions tax to the (EU) member state to which they most frequently fly.

Airlines for America (A4A) lauded the USA Department of Transportation’s efforts on requests for information identifying European and USA airlines’ compliance under the (EU ETS). “The information the USA government is requesting is intended to assist in countering the illegal application of the (EU ETS) to USA airlines. We applaud the government efforts to turn back the application of the unilateral scheme and to bring the (EU) and its member states back to the international negotiating table to implement the global sectoral approach framework provisionally agreed last year by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).”

Including international aviation in the (EU)'s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) does not infringe upon the principles of customary international law or the "open skies" agreement between the (EU) and the USA, the Court of Justice of the (EU) (CJEU) ruled.

“The Court of Justice confirms the validity of the directive that includes aviation activities in the emissions trading scheme (ETS),” it said in a statement.

The ruling by Europe’s highest court was widely anticipated and follows an opinion from the court's Advocate General in October. The (EU) in 2008 adopted a directive including aviation in its existing (ETS), requiring all airlines (including those from non-(EU) countries) to acquire and surrender emission allowances for their flights from/to European airports from 2012.

Airlines for America (A4A) and a few of its members, American Airlines (AAL) and United Continental Holdings (UAL)/(CAL), challenged the legality of the (EU) legislation, arguing that by including international aviation (and transatlantic aviation in particular) in the (EU ETS), the (EU) had breached several international agreements, including the Chicago Convention and the (EU) - USA "open skies" agreement. They also argued that it contravened customary international law regarding state's sovereignty over their own airspace.

The (CJEU) dismissed all of (A4A)’s arguments and argued that “the (EU) is not bound by the Chicago Convention because it is not a party to that convention and also has not hitherto assumed all the powers falling within the field of the convention.”

It reasoned that the directive is not intended to apply “as such” to airplanes flying over the high seas or over the territory of the member states of the (EU) or of 3rd states, and concluded that it is “only if the operators of such airplanes choose to operate a commercial air route arriving at or departing from an airport situated in the (EU) that they are subject to the emissions trading scheme (ETS).”

It added that (EU) legislature may choose to permit a commercial activity, in this instance air transport, to be carried out in its territory “only on condition that operators comply with the criteria that have been established by the (EU).”

Regarding the (EU) - USA "open skies" agreement, the (CJEU) ruled that “the uniform application of the scheme to all flights, which depart from or arrive at a European airport, is consistent with the provisions of the "open skies" agreement designed to prohibit discriminatory treatment between American and European operators.”

The (CJEU) ruling “further isolates the (EU) from the rest of the world and will keep in place a unilateral scheme that is counterproductive to concerted global action on aviation and climate change,” Airlines for America (A4A) said in an initial reaction.

(A4A) said the (CJEU) “did not fully address legal issues raised and has established a damaging and questionable precedent by ruling that the (EU) can ignore the Chicago Convention and other longstanding international provisions that have enabled governments around the world to work cooperatively to make flying safer and more secure, and to reduce aviation’s environmental footprint.”

(A4A), together with United (UAL), Continental (CAL) and American Airlines (AAL) initiated the legal challenge to the (EU)’s inclusion of aviation in its (ETS) in 2009 and said it will review its options to pursue in the English High Court. The legal action was initially brought in a UK court, which referred the case to (EU)’s Court of Justice.

(IATA) said it was disappointed at the (CJEU)’s ruling to uphold (EU) plans to include international aviation in its (ETS) from 2012 and noted the decision represents a “European legal interpretation of (EU ETS).”

“The (CJEU) decision may reflect European confidence in European plans. But that confidence is by no means shared by the outside world where opposition is growing,” (IATA)’s Director General & (CEO) Tony Tyler said.

(EU)’s Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said she was “very satisfied” with the ruling of Europe’s highest court. “A number of American airlines decided to challenge our legislation in court and thus abide by the rule of law. So now we expect them to respect European law,” she said.

Also the European Low Fares Airline Association (ELFAA) welcomed today’s judgment and urged its colleagues in the industry “to halt their resistance and lend their constructive support to the implementation of (EU ETS)” from January.

“The European Commission (EC) has rightly preferred (EU ETS) over all other options, including taxation, and views it as the Market Based Measures (MBM) which will achieve the greatest environmental benefit at the lowest cost to society. Airlines are not being forced to change behavior but are rather incentivized to do so,” it said.

(IATA) estimates the initial cost of the (ETS) in 2012 could be €900 million/1.2 billion, rising to €2.8 billion in 2020. According to the Chines Air Transport Association (CATA), the (EU ETS) will cost Chinese carriers CNY800 million/$123.6 million annually. (CATA) said costs would keep rising to CNY3 billion in 2020, as flights increase between China and Europe.

USA civil airplane sales will total $49.68 billion in 2011, up +3.1% year-over-year, and rise another +4.1% in 2012 to $51.71 billion, the USA Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) said in releasing its annual forecast.

Civil sales are buttressing a USA aerospace manufacturing sector that expects reduced sales next year in other sectors, including defense and space, (AIA) President & (CEO) Marion Blakey said. The USA aerospace industry will have total sales of $218.08 billion in 2011, the 8th straight year of growth, she noted. But (AIA) predicted the streak will end in 2012, for which total sales are expected to dip slightly to $217.65 billion.

"Despite significant headwinds, the USA aerospace industry fared well this year," Blakey said in a luncheon address in Washington. "Despite the economy, we're holding steady." She said the rise in civil airplane sales is driven by growing commercial air traffic and higher fuel prices that are leading airlines to place orders for more efficient equipment.

According to the (AIA), Boeing (TBC)'s commercial backlog as of December 31 will stand at 3,520 airplanes valued at $282.88 billion, up +6.5% from $265.55 billion at the end of 2010 but still -4.5% below a peak of $296.22 billion as of December 31, 2008. Non-USA orders account for 71.6% of the current backlog in terms of units and 76.7% in terms of value.

Global airline safety performance has improved in all regions this year, except Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries, according to (IATA).

“As of the end of November, the global safety performance is at the best-ever level recorded, and [western-built hull losses] is +49% better than the same time last year,” (IATA) Senior VP Safety, Operations & Infrastructure Gunther Matschnigg said.

(IATA) said that 12% of all accidents involved western-built hull losses, of which there were nine in the first 11 months of this year, compared to 17 last year. Measured by the number of hull losses per million sectors, the rate is 0.34 so far this year, versus 0.67 in the year-ago period.

There were no western-built jet hull losses in Europe and N Asia. Accident rates have improved in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, Asia Pacific and Africa, while the safety rate in North America remained flat. However, the (CIS) had more western-built jet hull losses than in 2010.

The (CIS) is also the notable exception when analyzing the total accident rates covering eastern and western jet and turboprop airplanes.

Matschnigg said, “The overall global accident rate [first 11 months] is [+22%] better than last year and it is better in all regions, except for the (CIS). There, the accident rate is 55% worse than last year, with 11.07 hull losses per million departures versus 7.15 last year.”

The overall global rate this year is 2.16 compared to 2.78 in 2010. In 2011, there were 75 accidents through November 30 compared to 92 in the year-ago period. The number of fatalities also fell markedly, from 784 in the 1st 11 months of 2010 to 486 through November 30 this year. Fatal accidents stand at 22.

African carriers have made impressive improvements in safety this year, he noted. In 2011, the accident rate fell -63% to 6.34 per million flights compared to 17.11 last year. The accident rate of western-built jets on the continent was 3.93 per million sectors, up by >50%, while African (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA)-registered carriers have had no accidents so far this year.

Globally, (IOSA) carriers had an accident rate of 55% in the 1st 11 months of the year, better than those not on the registry. “This 55% difference clearly indicates that (IOSA) is largely contributing to lower the accident rate around the world,” Matschnigg said. He also said that Russian aviation authorities had agreed to require (IOSA) audits for its commercial airlines as of next year.

(IOSA) carriers represent 22% of all commercial carriers globally and 63% of all commercial flights.

In 2011, there were 507 aviation fatalities as a result of 28 fatal accidents, the Aviation Safety Network (ASN) said in a report released December 27. According to the (ASN), 2011 was the 2nd safest year by number of fatalities and the 3rd safest year by number of accidents. Also, last year was the longest period without a fatal airliner accident in modern aviation history (81 days and counting as of January 2). The number of fatalities for 2011 is lower than the 10-year average of 764 fatalities, the (ASN) said.

According to the report, the worst accident took place on January 9, 2011 when an Iran Air (IRN) 727 crashed while on approach to Orumiyeh, Iran, killing 77.

(ASN) data has revealed that seven of the 28 accidents involved airlines on the European Union (EU) "blacklist" as opposed to 6 out of 29 the year before. The (EU) added 9 airlines to its "blacklist" and removed 3 airlines based on improved safety records.

In 2011, Africa accounted for 14% of all fatal accidents, while the continent only accounts for 3% of departures.

Cathay Pacific Airways (CAT), Tradelink and Global Logistic System Company announced a joint effort to promote an end-to-end, paper-free air cargo process flow. The move supports the implementation of the e-freight project, an industry-wide initiative facilitated by (IATA) (ITA), involving carriers, freight forwarders, ground handlers, shippers and customs authorities.

January 2012: The editors of the Air Transport World (ATW) magazine introduced a new "Decade of Excellence 2000 - 2010 award to recognize the highest contribution to the airline industry for the previous decade. The inaugural winner is former (IATA) Director General, Giovanni Bisignani. In the past ten years Bisignani has crafted some of the greatest changes ever seen in the industry, such as introducing the "(IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) which has helped lead to a 42% improvement in safety, and the "Simplifying the Business" initiative, which is well on its way to delivering its potential $18 billion in savings each year. At the same time, Bisignani encouraged regulators and governments to understand an industry in which it had to cope with and withstand unprecedented turmoil over the past decade.

The 11 USA passenger airlines that have reported 2011 earnings posted aggregate net income of +$390 million for the year, down -86% from a +$2.7 billion net profit in 2010, according to Airlines for America (A4A).

Excluding bankrupt American Airlines (AAL), which incurred a -$2 billion net loss last year, the carriers earned a +$2.4 billion net profit for 2011, down -25% from +$3.2 billion in net income in 2010 for the 10 carriers. Excluding (AAL) "doesn't at all change the picture" of an industry operating on a slim profit margin and facing a heavy tax burden, said (A4A) Chief Economist, John Heimlich.

With the 11 airlines' 2011 expenses rising faster (up +15.5% year-over-year) than revenue (up +12.6%), profit margin dipped to a mere 0.3%, down -1.9 points from 2010. (Excluding (AAL), profit margin was 2%, down -1.1 points from 2010.)

Despite earning positive net income in aggregate for two straight years, USA airlines have "flat-to-mediocre balance sheets," Heimlich said. "[Carriers] have to maintain a conservative posture [regarding capacity] expecting the worst [in terms of fuel prices], Fuel remains the largest and most volatile cost."

But Heimlich said the industry is "much more lean and agile" than it was just four years ago and maintained that 2011 earnings were "far better than it would have been if we had the same industry as 2008. We've had a tremendous transformation since 2008."

(A4A) President & (CEO), Nicholas Calio added, "While [USA airlines] may have made mistakes some years ago, putting too much capacity in the market, we have now cut our costs to bare bones in an effort to be profitable." A more sensible "national airline policy" that reduced taxes and regulations on USA airlines would "put our industry on a path to sustainable profitability," he said. "We could become sustainable. If you look at the discipline with which the current crop of (CEO)s and employees are operating the business, it's completely different than 10, 15 years ago."

The European Union (EU) has imposed carbon taxes on airlines in order to combat climate change and the fee has come into force from January 1, 2012.

All airlines flying to (EU) countries are now obliged to get permits to cover their carbon emissions for the whole length of a flight, as well as to monitor the emissions and to report.

They will get 85% of those permits for free, but the remaining 15% should be paid.

The (EU) has assured that the allocation of greenhouse gas emissions for the airlines will reduce their overall effect by -5%.

According to the European Commission (EC), aviation accounts for about 3% of global carbon emissions.

Experts expect that the introduction of carbon taxes on airlines will lead to an increase in ticket prices for passengers, from two to 12 euros/$2.5 to $15 on medium-range flights, and from four to 24 euros/$5 to $31 on transatlantic flights.

The European Commission (EC) will not modify its regulation that includes aviation in its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and “looks forward to constructive discussions with our USA partners on the need to take bold action to curb growing aviation carbon pollution,” Isaac Valero-Ladron, spokesman for Climate Action Commissioner, Connie Hedegaard.

“Also, our law gives all countries the choice to reduce aviation's carbon pollution differently. If they take equivalent measures, all incoming flights from these countries can be exempt. Hopefully, the USA and other countries will quickly shift their attention to the need to take action at home,” he added.

He confirmed this position will be included in the (EC)’s official response to the letter by USA Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, who last month warned Europe the USA government will be “compelled to take appropriate action” if (ETS) application to USA carriers is not reconsidered.

The European reply to the USA letter will be signed by Hedegaard and (EC) VP Transport, Siim Kallas.

As of January 1, emissions from all domestic and international flights that arrive at or depart from an (EU) airport are covered by the (EU ETS). In addition to the 27 (EU) member states, the (EU ETS) for aviation covers three (EEA) - (EFTA) states (Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein, although the latter has no airport) and will extend to Croatia by January 2014 because of the country's planned accession to the (EU) on July 1, 2013.

The (EU) and Switzerland are continuing negotiations to link the Swiss (ETS) and the (EU ETS), Valero-Ladron said. The Swiss government has said it aims to connect its emissions trading system to the (EU ETS) after 2012 and it will include aviation emissions. A second round of talks on their (ETS) cooperation was concluded successfully in September.


The head of (ICAO) pledged to have a proposal on how to regulate airline emissions on a global basis by the end of this year.

The new Chairman of the Association of European Airlines (AEA) has warned that tensions arising from the controversial (EU) Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) tax will be extremely damaging for European air travel.

Bernard Gustin, (AEA) Chairman and Co-(CEO) of Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA), said that Europe was bracing itself for a “turbulent 2012” and it was therefore “more critical than ever to have a competitive and thriving European airline industry.”

Gustin said the political focus was “sadly” dominated by tensions over aviation’s inclusion in the (EU ETS) – - not on the launch of landmark Single European Sky (SES) reforms, which will slash emissions by -12%, reduce delay times and cut airline operating costs.

“The (ETS) debate is like a volcano. When the tensions erupt, it is going to be extremely damaging for European air travel. A globally acceptable solution and a shift of focus from politics back to the environment is an absolute must for 2012,” he said.

“(AEA)’s members want to fuel the economic recovery. To achieve this, aviation must not be used as a regulatory playground, or as an austerity cash cow.”

He said the association’s focus for the coming 12 months will be “on removing inefficiency from the system and driving external costs down. As a key priority, we urgently need [European Union] member states to deliver on their Single European Sky promises.”

(ICAO) Secretary General, Raymond Benjamin said that in the same way as airline safety is a global program, so the industry’s environmental program is also a global issue. “While there are clear differences among member states, we still have to come to a global solution,” he said.

Raymond declined to give details on what the emissions proposal might contain. But he said it would use the (ICAO) resolution that was agreed in 2010 as a framework, and it would be put on the table by the end of the year. “You have my word on that.”

With specific regard to the controversial (EU) Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), Benjamin said he preferred not to resort to using Article 84 of the Chicago Convention to resolve the dispute between the European Commission (EC) and those who are against the (EC)’s unilateral imposition of an emissions tax. Article 84 gives the (ICAO) council the authority to decide on disputes that cannot be settled between member states and was ultimately used to settle the hushkit dispute between the USA and Europe.

“I am very happy that I don’t have Article 84 [legal proceedings] right now because that means we can keep working on the issue,” Benjamin said. But he added, “I am sure the legal file is ready.”

China has prohibited its airlines from participating in the (EU) Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS), escalating the row over the new and controversial carbon emissions tax. According to a "Reuters" report, the Chinese government’s State Council issued a statement on its website that said Chinese carriers were prohibited from participating in (EU ETS) without government approval, and they were also barred from using (ETS) as a reason to raise fares.

The Association of Asia-Pacific Airlines (AAPA) Director General, Andrew Herdman told "Reuters" the ruling put Chinese carriers in a difficult position because they have to comply with (EU ETS), or risk large fines, while also being told by their government that they must not comply. “We’re now at the stage that it’s absolutely clear that a whole host of foreign governments are not going to allow the (EU) to do this,” Herdman said.

Chinese carriers are supporting Beijing’s decision to prohibit its airlines from participating in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), while still reserving the right to file a lawsuit.

“We are quite supportive of our central government’s decision and we think the real solution should be a global approach through [ICAO],” China Eastern Airlines (MU) Chairman, Liu Shaoyong said. He emphasized that domestic carriers are reserving the right to file a lawsuit against the (EU ETS).

China Air Transport Association (CATA) Director General, Wei Zhenzhong said that “Beijing’s decision reflects Chinese carriers’ wishes and also is quite helpful to protect the real interest of domestic airlines and air travelers.” (CATA) estimates operating expenses of Chinese carriers will increase by +CNY800 million/+$127.2 million annually because of (EU ETS). Air China (BEJ), which operates the most European routes, is expected to see the largest rise in expenses (+CNY200 million). (CEA) is expected to follow at +CNY100 million.

Expenses associated with the (EU ETS) are predicted to keep rising as Chinese carriers open more international routes to Europe to compete with the high speed rail. This year, (BEJ) is scheduled to launch service from Shanghai - Paris and China Southern Airlines (GUN) plans to open a Guangzhou - London route.

Wei said that Beijing’s decision was just the first step in the escalating row over the new controversial carbon emissions tax, as Chinese carriers will most likely be suspended from flying to Europe, a consequence of “not joining (EU ETS).” As a result, the Chinese government is considering counter measures against the (EU ETS) with Russia, India, Brazil, and other countries.

(IATA) Director General & (CEO), Tony Tyler criticized European governments and the European Commission (EC) for instituting aviation policies focused on "restricting and taxing" rather than boosting the competitiveness of the continent's airlines. Europe's carriers are forecast to post an aggregate -$600 million net loss this year.

"It is quite clear that Brussels wants to influence the global air transport agenda. But, are European governments (and Brussels) focused on the right things to be competitive and capture the benefits of air transport’s growth?" Tyler asked in an address to the European Aviation Club in Brussels.

He does not see aviation policies in Europe driving growth and prosperity, in contrast to regions such as Asia/Pacific, where regulations are generally favorable to a growing air transport sector. "The general direction [in Europe] is on restricting and taxing [airlines]," he said. "Put more bluntly, instead of enabling policies, they seem focused on disabling. That comes with a big cost to competitiveness at a time when Europe can ill afford to be disadvantaged by the unintended consequences of its own rule."

Tyler referred to aviation's controversial inclusion this year in the (EU)'s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) and the (EC)'s recent proposals on airport capacity. Some 89 European airports require slot coordination because they don't have enough capacity to meet demand. “For a businessman, unmet demand is a wasted opportunity," Tyler said. "For Brussels, it is seen as an opportunity to regulate and a review of slot regulation was included in the recent airports package."

He was highly critical of the (EC)'s intent to change the use-it-or-lose-it 80:20 rule to 85:15, which he claimed "incentivizes airlines to fly when demand is not there. Flying empty planes does not improve competitiveness or environmental performance. Surely this must be an unintended consequence."

Later, several countries, including China and the USA, have joined Russia in signing a joint declaration against the (EU)’s Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS) carbon tax, which took effect January 1.

The declaration was signed at the Moscow international conference by Armenia, Argentina, Republic of Belarus, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, China, Cuba, Guatemala, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Paraguay, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Uganda and the USA.

China has formally banned its airlines from participating in the scheme without government approval.

The declaration also listed several retaliatory measures that included filing a complaint with (ICAO), prohibiting airlines from participating in the (EU ETS), mandating (EU) carriers to submit flight details and other data, assessing whether the (EU ETS) is consistent with the (WTO) agreements, and reviewing bilateral air services agreements. Other countermeasures include suspending negotiations that enhance operating rights for (EU) airlines and imposing additional levies on (EU) carriers.

It also gives other countries the latitude to create other retaliatory measures in compliance with their own legislative bases.

Russian Deputy Minister for Transport, Valeriy Okulov said Russia is planning to prohibit its local carriers from paying for emissions. The declaration could pass in the first half of 2012. Okulov also said that Russia could reinstate overflight fees on routes over Siberia. The fees were introduced by the Soviet Union in 1986 to compensate for traffic that Aeroflot (ARO) lost to foreign carriers. The payments were made part of bilateral air services agreements between member states and the Russian Federation. In 2006, the (EU) and the Russian Federation agreed to phase out costly Siberian overflight fees by 2013.

A reply to the above was:
By Jeff Gazzard
I am unsure whether to laugh or cry at the list of big hitters (?!) above who have signed up to a wishlist of risible "maybes" if the (EU) dares to keep enforcing its aviation (ETS) law. Some of these nations' air transport activities into and out of the (EU)'s 27 Member States are under the threshold of the scheme, so are exempt. There's nothing quite so pointless as threatening retaliatory action against a scheme you are not even in!

Time for a reality check to offset the notion that the entire aviation industry is a collection of anti-environment (ETS)-refuseniks. They aren’t: there are already a significant amount of global airlines in full compliance with the (EU) Aviation (ETS) regulations.

In fact, “significant” in this case means 100%, as every single airline that flies in and out of the (EU) has already registered under every aspect of the (ETS) with their respective regulator in each (EU) member state; they have met every deadline along the way; and many are active in carbon markets. They have effectively already surrendered.

And here is a snapshot of how ticket prices are already being impacted:
• Etihad Airways (EHD) has increased the fuel surcharge on all its flights to Europe to counter the costs of the (EU ETS) by $3 per passenger for flights into and out of Europe and 0.03 cents per kilogram for cargo shipments;
• Delta Air Lines (DAL, American Airlines (AAL), United Continental (UCH) and US Airways (AMW)/(USA) say they have already added a +$3 surcharge each way on tickets for flights between the USA and Europe;
• Ryanair (RYR) introduced a 0.25 Euro levy per passenger per flight from the 17th of January to cover its (ETS) costs;
• Air France (AFA)/(KLM), British Airways (BAB) and Lufthansa (DLH) have each added (ETS) costs to ticket prices via an increase in their existing fuel surcharge, although the actual amount is a little opaque;
• Many other airlines, such as Thai Airways (TII) have already been buying carbon permits, taking advantage of the current record low prices of around 7.9 Euros per tonne of carbon;
• And earlier this month, Qantas (QAN) said it would raise fares by +A$3.50/$3.77 per passenger each way on flights to London and Frankfurt, to cover the cost of the (EU ETS).

These are low, low pass through levels that will not bring about the collapse of air transport as we know it! Now call me naive but this is compliance, is it not? It is sad but true that all the countries meeting in Moscow later this week appear simply to want to bring about the complete collapse of the (EU ETS), nothing more, nothing less.

We know today that growth in global aviation fuel use and emissions through to 2050 unfortunately outpaces the very best that airframe/engine technology, improved (ATM) systems and smart operational techniques have to offer. And this includes the rather witless promotion of unsustainable bio-fuels as part of the industry’s (PR)-led attempt to manufacture consent for unlimited growth. They have nothing to offer but a high carbon future. This is not a destination we should all be hurtling towards at 39,000 feet and 500 miles per hour.

The (EU) rightly continues to stand firm to protect the integrity of the aviation (ETS) which clearly should be developed as the global market-based element in a worldwide program to control and reduce damaging climate change emissions from civil aviation.

Jeffrey Gazzard
Board Member
Aviation Environment Federation

Later again, The Association of European Airlines (AEA) responded to the Moscow declaration by warning again that airlines are at risk of becoming a target for retaliatory action in the escalating dispute over inclusion of aviation in the (EU ETS). “This situation is totally unacceptable. Airlines must not be taken hostage by politicians or be forced to compete with serious market distortions,” said (AEA) Secretary General, Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus. “We urgently need both sides to focus on the core objective (managing global aviation emission) rather than on winning a battle of sovereignty.”

“It is not right to attempt to force the (EU) to change their law. Nor is it right to impose European standards on the rest of the world,” he added, stressing that “(ICAO) is, without a doubt, the way forward. Countries must move away from retaliation and counter-retaliation and instead come up with concrete, short-term actions towards a resolution. Then (ICAO) can deliver.”

Jeff Gazzard's reply to this included:
An urgent reality check is needed to offset the notion that the entire aviation industry is a collection of anti-environment (ETS)-refuseniks. They aren’t: there are already a significant amount of global airlines in full compliance with the (EU ETS) regulations, including ALL (AEA) member airlines I am very happy to report!

In fact, “significant” in this case means 100%, as every single airline that flies in and out of the (EU) has already registered under every aspect of the (ETS) with their respective regulator in each (EU) member state; they have met every deadline along the way; and many are active in carbon markets. They have effectively already surrendered in this phoney "carbon war."

For more reading on the biofuel conundrum try:

(IATA) (ITA) said the world's airlines performed "quite well" in the 2011 third quarter, with a sample of 61 carriers reporting a combined +$5 billion net profit for the three-month period.

But that was nearly cut in half from a +$9.71 billion net profit by those airlines in the 2010 third quarter and financial "markets are still indicating a negative outlook for airlines," (IATA) said in its latest Airlines Financial Monitor.

(IATA) said global passenger traffic in November was up +4.3% year-over-year but down -0.6% from October. It cautioned that the year-over-year growth figure "is not representative, given that the comparison is being made with a weak November 2010." Additionally, airfreight markets "have fallen -4%, since highs at the start of 2011," according to (IATA).

Even in a less-than-ideal economic environment, passenger yields "continue to show improvement," (IATA) noted. "Careful capacity management, particularly in the USA, has enabled tighter supply conditions despite difficult economic conditions.

"USA airlines have the highest load factors. Average international fares also show improved yields, and are now over >8% higher than in November 2010. These fare levels have helped to cover costs, such as fuel, and have contributed to the reasonable profit results in the third quarter."

The Association of European Airlines (AEA) said its member airlines expect to post a collective +€1.5 billion/+$1.9 billion) (EBIT) profit in 2011, up from +€0.5 billion in 2010.

Preliminary figures covering 31 of (AEA)’s 35 member airlines show passengers carried increased +7.1% on 2010 to 363 million and (RPK)s rose +8%. Capacity (ASKs) increased +8.9% and average load factor slipped by -0.6 of a percentage point to 77.3% LF.

“There is much to encourage us in the 2011 figures. In times of austerity and financial turmoil, European citizens continue to vote for air travel in unprecedented numbers,” said (AEA) Secretary General, Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus.

The 2010 baseline was depressed by several events, including the closure of European airspace due to the risk of volcanic ash contamination and harsh winter conditions at the end of the year. After adjusting for the exceptional events of 2010, underlying traffic (RPK) growth was +6%.

“Unfortunately we cannot, and do not, expect this buoyancy to last,” Schulte-Strathaus said. “Air freight (a key barometer for the industry) has been slowing since May and we began to see passenger traffic cool down in the final quarter of 2011. Meanwhile, fuel costs remain cripplingly high and aviation continues to be a target for additional regulatory burdens, further impacting financial stability.”

The Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) program in Europe, which went into effect in 2002, has saved airplane operators an estimated -€3.9 billion/-$5.05 billion annually in cost benefits, Eurocontrol said on the program’s 10th anniversary.

The (RVSM) program, which went live on January 24, 2002, increased capacity in the airspace of 41 states by providing six extra flight levels between 29,000 ft and 41,000 ft, bringing the total to 13. Between 2002 and 2007, Europe’s upper air space capacity grew by +25%.

Savings are mainly derived from reductions in delay and fuel consumption. It also delivered significant environmental benefits with a reduction of -3,500 tons NOx emissions per year, according to Eurocontrol, which oversaw and coordinated the program in European air space.

“By reducing the number of airplanes sharing a given flight level, this change not only enhanced safety by allowing more airplanes to operate at their preferred flight levels, but it also underpinned better en-route performance, reduced delays, lowered fuel consumption and boosted capacity,” Eurocontrol (COO) Directorate Network Management, Joe Sultana said.

(RVSM) was first introduced over the North Atlantic and then in Europe’s busy continental airspace. North America and other regions followed, and the last regional implementation took place on November 17 in the Russian Federation and other Eurasian states.

February 2012: The following is an article on the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) by Eugene Hoeven, who represents the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO) at (ICAO), the world-wide forum for international civil aviation and manages (CANSO)'s interface with this specialized United Nations organization on a variety of strategic policy and regulatory issues affecting Air Traffic Management (ATM):
Last month, the "Economist" magazine questioned whether a fresh row over airline emissions could lead to a global trade war. China had provisionally barred its airlines from complying with the (EU ETS) that came into force in January. And then, at a meeting in Moscow the governments of 23 nations, including the USA, China, Brazil, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Russia, agreed a package of counter-measures, including proceedings under the Chicago Convention. They also agreed to intensify their common efforts to agree global measures to limit CO2 emissions from aviation and to this end “strongly urged the (EU) member states to work constructively in (ICAO)”.

This has again put (ICAO) in the center of the storm, which had previously been given a mandate to find a global solution for the aviation industry to reduce its CO2 emissions. In global terms, while aviation emissions are a modest 3% of the total, they are rising fast – for the period 2005 - 2010, emissions for the sector grew by about +11.2% according to one report. (ICAO) was charged with fixing the problem and during the last Assembly, adopted a comprehensive resolution to reduce the impact of aviation emissions on climate change and a road map for action through 2050. Much of what was agreed depends on a common commitment to action by industry (operators, services providers and manufacturers) as it was resolved to:
* improve fuel efficiency by 1.5% on average per year between 2010 and 2020;
* achieve carbon-neutral growth from 2020 onwards; and
* achieve a 50% net reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050, compared to 2005 levels.

These are ambitious targets indeed. But, what does this mean for Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSP)s? It means that despite the many and continuous efforts being made to improve (ATM) performance, be it completing the roll-out of (RVSM); introducing flex tracks; introducing Performance-based Navigation (PBN), (CDM) and new (ATFM) techniques; investing in (ATM) System modernization and a host of other (CNS) improvements, (ANSP)s will continue to be challenged to do more to improve fuel efficiencies. However, it has always been clear to (CANSO) that our industry cannot do it alone ((ATM) is one of those areas that requires collaboration between airlines, other airplane operators, airports, (ANSP)s, manufacturers, military authorities, regulators and policy-makers) a point that will be highlighted again during the upcoming "6th Aviation & Environment Summit" from 21 to 22 March in Geneva. As stakeholders in (ATM), we all need to renew our commitment and redouble our efforts in order to achieve our common targets.

Equally important is our industry’s ability to communicate our successes and the results of our efforts. Many of the valuable contributions (ANSP)s make, go largely unnoticed. Perhaps this is because we are least visible in the air transport value chain. However, unless (ATM) improvements are qualified and quantified, our efforts will not be recognized. “You can’t manage what you can’t measure” is an oft-used adage, and must become the mantra for all (ATM) operations the world over. Benchmarking and performance measurement has long been the hallmark of (CANSO) activity – for Cost-effectiveness, Productivity, Safety, and in future may also include Service Quality and Environmental Performance. (CANSO) has thus supported (ICAO) in the roll-out of the (ICAO) Fuel Savings Estimation Tool (IFSET), which has been designed as a simple calculator to estimate the fuel and CO2 savings that can result from an (ATM) improvement. A number of (CANSO) Member (ANSP)s have such tools of their own; those who do not, are encouraged to use (IFSET) as a measurement and management decision tool. (IFSET) is available for free download from the (ICAO) website. Although aviation accounts for only a small fraction of worldwide CO2 emissions, no contribution is too small or should go unnoticed.

For (ICAO) the next step will be to present a market-based solution for consideration at its Assembly in late 2013. And while States battle it out in the public domain, in the end, it will be up to industry to deliver what our global society demands. Together, working collaboratively, we can make a difference.

March 2012: The European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) will lead to a distortion of competition, higher ticket prices for Dutch consumers and be financially damaging to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS) and (KLM), a senior politician has warned.

The Netherlands’ Secretary of Infrastructure & Environment, Joop Atsma told parliament’s House of Representatives in a letter that the (EU ETS) would cost (KLM) €30 million/$39 million annually and could result in a loss of -150,000 passengers (0.6% of total passengers carried in 2011) if (KLM) passes on those costs to customers. In turn, this could lead to a revenue reduction of -€3.6 million for (AMS) and the possible loss of -200 jobs.

The warning falls in line with concerns of many European carriers about the impact of (EU ETS).

Atsma’s conclusions are based on a report by the Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis (the Kennisinstituut voor Mobiliteitsbeleid (KiM)) on the effects of the new carbon tax on the environment and on the Dutch avation industry. (KiM) is an independent institute within the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure & Environment.

The passenger loss for (KLM) could double to -300,000 annually, if the price of carbon permits or (EU) allowances doubles to €20 per tonne and the airline passes on (EU ETS) costs to passengers, according to the (KiM) report.

Other (EU) network carriers will also see a decline in passengers, mainly in their highly price-sensitive transfer traffic, the report states. Conversely, airlines and hub airports located outside the boundaries of the (EU) will benefit from the (EU ETS). The report estimates that Emirates (EAD) could see a +0.7% to +2.7% increase in passenger numbers per year, Swiss (CSR) could benefit by +0.5% to + 1.9% and Turkish Airlines (THY) +0.1% to +0.6%. This equates to 220,000, 190,000 and 65,000 additional passengers respectively.

“The negative effects of the (EU ETS) on the international competitiveness of Dutch aviation industry will be even worse if third countries implement retaliatory measures,” Atsma said in the letter, noting that this “calls for a global solution. The Netherlands will thus actively promote a positive outcome of the negotiations within (ICAO).”

The following comment appeared March 8th in response to an Air Transport World (ATW) report on the (EU ETS):
By Steve Courtie
China (the (CAAC)) has today (8th March) blocked all Airbus (EDS) purchases by any Chinese air carrier companies as a result of the (EU ETS):
I contacted (EC) VP Transport, Siim Kallas, Trade Commissioner, Karel De Gucht, and Climate Action Commissioner, Connie Hedegaard of the (EU) in November 2011 to state my serious concerns that something like this would happen, and the response I got just shows how out of touch the (EU) is with the real world. Perhaps now the (EU) will get its head out of the sand and try and get an (ICAO)-led solution, which I have been recommending for well over a year now.

Europe’s go-it-alone approach on its controversial airline carbon tax is driving discord where there needs to be harmony, (IATA) Director General, Tony Tyler said. Delivering a keynote speech at the (FAA) Aviation Forecast Conference, Tyler touched on a subject that was repeatedly raised during the conference’s opening day panel discussions and which drew universal condemnation. The European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) tax was described as a “very, very bad law” and “plain wrong” by USA regulators and airline (CEO)s attending the conference.

Tyler’s speech concurred with their view that Europe had made matters worse by implementing a unilateral tax without international discussion and negotiation. “Unfortunately, Europe has chosen a go-it-alone regional approach with the inclusion of international aviation in the (EU ETS) from this year. This is driving discord at a time when we need harmony. Why? Because non-European states, the USA included, see the intention to tax non-(EU) airlines for emissions over non-(EU) territory as an attack on their sovereignty,” Tyler said.

“No one wants a trade war. But the prospects are growing more likely.” He said it was now time for Europe to sincerely take a stake in making discussions and decisions at an (ICAO) level, a success.

“If I understand the international mood correctly, non-European states will be looking for some proof of Europe’s sincerity. That will mean doing more than simply reiterating its determination to implement its scheme even as it professes to support a negotiated agreement through the (ICAO) process,” he said.

The (EU)’s approach in passing its (EU ETS) tax “was totally wrong,” USA Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood said in his opening remarks at the (FAA) Aviation Forecast Conference. “The law is bad, and it doesn’t help our relationships with the (EU). What I say is, sit at a table, talk to one another, reach a compromise,” LaHood said.

Admitting he was "very revved up" by the issue, LaHood said he would be working closely with USA Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton on addressing this in the coming year. “This is a very, very bad law that they have passed - - to impose this kind of tax on airlines is wrong,” he said. “There are some things that we can do such as some enforcement measures.”

The above resulted in the following March 8th comment:
By Jeff Gazzard:
Good to see a conciliatory tone from Mr LaHood concerning the (EU ETS) in his statement: "What I say is, sit at a table, talk to one another, reach a compromise."

I look forward to hearing what the USA Administration has to offer the (EU) as an equivalent measure. Any package to control and reduce aviation's CO2 emissions should have a similar target to the (EU) policy, have the same financial impact, to avoid competitive distortions, and commit funds raised by what we hope will be a global cap and trade framework to climate adaptation in the least developed nations.

Over to you Mr LaHood!

Jeff Gazzard
Aviation Environment Federation

By David Connolly (on March 9th):
Not really Jeff, but things are moving quickly though. As I predicted, China’s (CAAC) has got its retaliation in first. In the interest of reducing European Emissions over China, it has put on hold Airbus orders for 35 A330 Medium Lemmings and 10 A380 Super Lemmings at an aggregate list price of Mega $Billions. The USA has political muscle, China has economic muscle, and all others have varying mixes of economic and political muscle. The (EU)’s (EC) has no muscle of any kind. It has piously declared emissions of bloated inanity and is being treated with well deserved reaction. Is China being a bully? - - yes, but bully tactics are needed as shock therapy to kick the arrogant "BS" out of the obscenely bloated (EC). LaHood is doing a disservice by indulging their "pie in the sky" muppetry. Whenever I meet any Eurocrats in Brussels, I have to make a conscious effort to prevent myself reflexively punching them.

Final comment by Steve Courtie (March 9th):
Bravo David, well said! (and entertaining as always) - - has anyone asked you to be on the advisory board of (ICAO)/(IATA) etc? If not, maybe it's time someone did.

FedEx Express (FED) President & (CEO), Dave Bronczek said he fully agreed that Europe’s approach was wrong. “We need to work on this together. I think retributions will happen if we don’t do this,” he said.

Nine European aviation companies and airlines have joined forces in demanding concrete steps to stop the escalating trade conflict with countries opposing the inclusion of aviation in the (EU ETS).

The (CEO)s of Airbus (EDS), Air Berlin (BER), AirFrance (AFA), British Airways (BAB), Iberia (IBE), Lufthansa (DLH), (MTU) Aero Engines, Safran, and Virgin Atlantic (VAA) have written joint letters to the heads of state of the four Airbus (EDS) manufacturing countries (France, the (UK), Germany, and Spain) urging them “to take action and stop an escalating trade conflict with China and other countries” opposing the (EU ETS). Airbus (EDS) led the initiative, and (CEO), Tom Enders signed all four letters.

European Commission (EC) President, Manual Barroso, (EC) VP Transport, Siim Kallas, Trade Commissioner, Karel De Gucht, and Climate Action Commissioner, Connie Hedegaard of the (EU) are copied on the letters.

The companies’ (CEO)s argue that the threat of retaliation is becoming “concrete” and this will have “serious” consequences on the European aviation business. “In many of the countries opposed to the (EU ETS), countermeasures and restrictions on European airlines are in preparation, such as special taxes and even traffic rights limitations. In China, approval for $12 billion worth of Airbus (EDS) orders has been suspended.” It estimates that this action will jeopardize more than >1,000 Airbus (EDS) jobs in Europe and at least another >1,000 in the supply chain.

The (CEO)s said they expect the list of suspensions, cancellations and punitive actions to grow, as other important markets continue to oppose the (EU ETS) and describe the situation as becoming “intolerable” for the European aviation industry.

They are requesting “urgent consultations” at the level of the (EU) Council and with the governments taking retaliatory trade action. “The aim must be to find a compromise solution and to have these punitive trade measures stopped before it is too late,” they wrote.

“We have always believed that only a global solution would be adequate to resolve the problem of global aviation emissions. This solution can only be found in (ICAO), which has recently appointed a high level dedicated group to propose a global framework for international aviation emissions by the end of this year,” they said.

At a recent meeting of Environment Ministers from the 27 (EU) member states, they reiterated their support for the inclusion of aviation in the (EU ETS), although several insiders have confirmed that more and more member states are increasingly getting nervous about the mounting retaliatory measures.

(ICAO) Council President, Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez told "Reuters" that the United Nations (UN) body is considering four options to manage carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions produced by aviation.

Governments around the world have been encouraging the (EU) to drop aviation's inclusion in its (EU ETS), instead urging (EU) leaders to enter negotiations at (ICAO) on a mutually agreed global scheme for controlling airline CO2 emissions. Gonzalez conceded to "Reuters" that finding such a worldwide solution would be "a very difficult exercise, very complicated."

Four options are under consideration for a potential global agreement, he said. According to "Reuters" these include mandatory CO2 emissions offsetting by airlines, mandatory offsetting "with some revenue-generating mechanism," a cap-and-trade system in which all aviation emissions are traded and, finally, a cap-and-trade system pegged to an emissions baseline.

Lufthansa Cargo (LUB) Chairman & (CEO), Karl Ulrich Garnadt said that Russia’s opposition to the European Union’s Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS) has delayed approval for traffic rights for several flight frequencies of (LUB) and AeroLogic (AGC) via Russia.

“Aerologic (AGC) didn’t get a single flight approval via Russia [for the coming summer schedule starting March 25]. We cannot accept this situation and force politics to react,” he said during the financial results conference.

Garnadt said that out of 30 planned weekly (LUB) flights via Russian Territory, only 11 have been approved. “We see that the (EU) is not changing its mind,” he said, adding that the (ETS) is further affecting the already distorted level playing field.

Garnadt also criticized the night-flight ban at Frankfurt Airport (FRA), which took effect October 30, 2011, and said a court decision April 4 will determine if the night-flight ban remains. “This ban will cost (LUB) annually €40 million/$53 million in profit,” he said. “This is substantial. The amount in turnover we lose is a three-digit million euro number.” Among the top 10 major airports, (FRA) is the only one with a night-flight ban.

Christoph Franz, as the (CEO) of Europe's largest airline Lufthansa (DLH) urged European Union (EU) officials to back down from their steadfast insistence on including airlines in its Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), warning that time is running short to avoid a damaging geopolitical standoff over the issue.

International aviation became part of the (EU ETS) at the start of this year, and carriers will have to make their first payments under the scheme in about a year. Christoph Franz, speaking to a recent International Aviation Club luncheon in Washington DC, said the timeline for solving the (ETS) issue "is very urgent since the system is legally in place" and carriers such as (DLH) are already spending "millions" to comply with it.

"It is imperative to avoid a trade war," he said. "We are already in the middle of the mess [caused by the (ETS)]. In order to avoid a trade conflict, for the time being we should sideline the (EU ETS) and get a commitment [from nations throughout the world] to negotiate through (ICAO). The speed to move ahead and come to a conclusion [on airline carbon dioxide emissions at (ICAO]) has not been sufficient."

Asked to clarify further, he said, "Sidelining [the (EU ETS)] means we do not apply this legislation for the time being, while we negotiate at the (ICAO) level."

Franz emphasized that (DLH) is not opposed to an emissions trading scheme in general, but believes the (EU ETS) is causing "conflict and dissatisfaction" and will potentially lead to a damaging trade war with a range of countries opposing airlines' inclusion in the scheme. "We need to deal with climate change, there is no doubt about it," he said. "Lufthansa (DLH) has always committed to participating in these kinds of cap-and-trade schemes [but] we have to find a global solution for a global problem."

Airlines for America (A4A) filed a complaint with a German court to protest Germany's eco-tax on airline passengers, arguing the charge violates international agreements governing aviation. From January 1, all airline tickets on flights to/from German airports are taxed with an environmental fee, including a €45/$59.50 charge on long-haul international flights. (A4A) said USA airlines operating to Germany have been complying with the tax under protest, but are now moved to take court action because the government-imposed eco-charge "violates several long-standing international agreements, including the Chicago Convention [and] the USA-(EU) "open skies" agreement." It also contravenes the German constitution, (A4A) claimed.

(A4A) added in a statement, "Germany cannot arbitrarily close its budget gap on the backs of USA airlines and their passengers, who already pay taxes at excessive rates. This is a short-sighted cash grab." (A4A) said the filing was preliminary, noting that a more detailed filing will be made within the next two months. The German government has said it expects the tax to generate around €1 billion annually.

(IATA) (ITA) Director General & (CEO), Tony Tyler said, "Flying is one of the safest things that a person could do. But every accident is one too many, and each fatality is a human tragedy. The ultimate goal of zero accidents keeps everyone involved in aviation focused on building an ever safer industry."

There were 11 hull loss accidents involving Western-built jets in 2011 compared to 17 in 2010, (IATA) said. There were 92 total accidents for all airplane types (Eastern and Western built), down slightly from 94 in 2010. There were five fatal hull loss accidents involving Western-built jets last year, down from eight in 2010. The fatality rate dropped to 0.07 per million passengers from 0.21 in 2010 for Western-built jet airplane operations.

The regional figures reported by (IATA) offer a stark contrast. In terms of Western-built jet airplane hull loss rates, Asia/Pacific (0.25), Europe (0.0), North America (0.10) and North Asia (0.0) performed better than the global average of 0.37. But Russia/(CIS) (1.06), Latin America/Caribbean (1.28), Middle East/North Africa (2.02) and Africa (3.27) all fared worse than the global average.

(IATA) pointed out that African carriers participating in its (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) program had a zero hull loss rate in 2011. "The problems of Africa are complex and include both insufficient government oversight and a lack of infrastructure investment," Tyler said. "It is quite clear from the industry's performance that global standards like (IOSA) are an effective means to improve safety."

(IATA) noted that a similar trend could be seen in Russia/(CIS), where the 2011 accident rate for (IOSA)-registered airlines was more than five times better than the rate for non-(IOSA) airlines.

Runway excursions were the most common type of accident in 2011, comprising 18% of total accidents globally, (IATA) said.

The world's airlines' passenger traffic increased by +6.4% in 2011 on a +6.5% rise in capacity, according to (ICAO), which predicted the annual rate of growth going forward won't be as robust.

In a presentation at the just held (FAA)'s annual Aviation Forecast Conference in Washington, (ICAO) Air Transport Bureau Chief Economic Analysis & Policy, Narjess Teyssier projected that global airlines' collective passenger traffic will "most likely" grow at an annual average rate of +4.5% through 2030, higher than the +3.2% average annual growth rate the (FAA) has predicted for USA airlines. She noted the world economy is now moving at two speeds as developing nations' gross domestic product (GDP) rises at about twice the clip of developed countries' (GDP). That will lead to uneven passenger traffic growth in different world regions through 2030, she said. The highest rate of growth over the period will occur in Latin America, according to (ICAO), which forecasts +6.1% growth per year for the region.

(ICAO) predicted Asia/Pacific traffic to rise +5.7% annually, followed by the Middle East (up +5.2% per year), Africa (up +4.7%), Europe (up +4.2%) and North America (up +3.9%).

North American carriers' share of world air passenger traffic will fall from 30% currently to 20% in 2030, Teyssier said, adding that Asia/Pacific airlines' market share will rise from 27% now to 36% in 2030. The average passenger airplane in 2030 will have 174 seats, up from 169, according to (ICAO).

Total airplane movements (including both passenger and cargo flights) will double from 24.79 million annually in 2010 to 51.71 million per year by 2030, Teyssier said.

To overcome its airline industry's serious financial difficulties, India needs a more coherent aviation policy that creates conditions under which carriers can be more successful, according to (IATA) (ITA) Director General & (CEO), Tony Tyler.

Speaking in Hyderabad at the India Aviation 2012 conference, Tyler mapped out India's civil aviation potential. "Let's do some simple math," he said. "If India’s 1.17 billion people traveled at the same frequency as do Americans, a market of 2.1 billion travelers would be created. But even if they only traveled one-third as much, India would have an air travel market of about 700 million - - rivaling that of the USA.

"There is no doubt that India is a market with big potential and that aviation could be a much more significant contributor to the Indian economy. But there are no guarantees that this will occur without well-coordinated policy measures."

He pointed to the "major hurdles" facing Indian carriers. "Air India (AIN)/(IND) (the national carrier) is being sustained on life support of state aid," Tyler said. "The difficulties at Kingfisher (KFH) are well known. And the sector as a whole is not generating the sustainable profits that one would expect from such a large high-growth market."

The Indian government could improve the country's airlines' prospects through several initiatives, he told the conference. For starters, taxes on airlines are too high, he asserted. "All [airplane] fuel [in India] is subject to an 8.24% excise duty," Tyler said. "Then domestic flights face state fuel taxes of up to 30%. The result is destroying the competitiveness of Indian airlines."

Second, he said, airport infrastructure needs to be modernized where necessary. "Where we see value and a clear return on investment, airlines are willing partners in developing infrastructure capabilities," he added. Third, airport charges should be lowered, he said.

Finally, Tyler pushed for India to end its restriction on investment in Indian carriers by foreign airlines. But he warned that "allowing foreign airlines to invest in Indian aviation is not a panacea [because under the current regulatory environment] the odds are stacked against any investor making a positive return on investment in the Indian aviation sector."

April 2012: “The USA government has very serious concerns” about the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) carbon tax, (FAA) Assistant Administrator Policy, International Affairs & Environment, Julie Oettinger said. “Our concern is not with difference of option with the objective. We are very serious about addressing aviation emissions in the USA. The concern we have with the (EU ETS) is the way it’s been designed and the way it’s been applied. We have concerns that it violates international law.” Oettinger said the (EU)’s approach “has impeded the process on finding a global approach. We’re not opposed to emissions trading, it can be a very effective tool.”

Speaking as an (EU) delegate to the USA, Transport Counselor, Energy, Environment & Nuclear Matters, Felix Leinemann said, “The (EU ETS) is not a tax, it is a system that has the only objective to reduce emissions, all the revenues will be used to combat climate change. As it is a market-based system, it allows a lot of flexibility.”

Airlines for America VP Environmental Affairs, Nancy Young countered, “It is a tax. What [the (EU)] is saying to us is ‘we’re going to impose upon the world an EU policy.’ If we have tax upon tax how can we do what we need to do not only to keep the industry strong but to move the environmental ball forward?”

Leinemann added, “Obviously the (EU) would prefer a global solution. The law says exactly that, when there is consensus in (ICAO), the law will be amended. This is just a step, a stepping stone to a global solution.”

When asked what it would take for the (EU) to amend (ETS) law in the face of a widely publicized global outcry, Leinemann said it would require a proposition from the legal system and the chamber to decide. “We are a little bit stuck in the process,” he said of the two sets of organizations that would need to agree on amending a law that was backed by all (EU) member states.

“The (EU ETS) covers about two-thirds of the world’s aviation emissions,” he said. “Any system that would go further than that … would maybe be a progress that would convince them to change the existing law.”

The Association of European Airlines (AEA) has welcomed the European Union (EU) Parliament’s decision to approve a new data transfer agreement with the USA. The law replaces a provisional agreement set in 2007 and will give USA authorities access to the (EU) passenger name record (PNR) data in order to “prevent, detect, investigate and prosecute terrorism and serious transnational crimes” as well as "to identify persons who would be subject to closer questioning or examination.” The Justice & Home Affairs Ministers will formally approve the agreement, which will be effective for seven years.

Under the agreement, all identification information such as a passenger’s name and contact information will be codified after the first six months. USA authorities will keep the data in an active database for up to five years after which it will be moved to a dormant database for up to 10 years, with stricter access requirements. All identification information will then be deleted.

“This new deal gives airlines flying across the Atlantic a clear legal basis for compliance with USA data requests,” said (AEA) Secretary-General, Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus. The (AEA) represents 34 airlines including more than >20 national flag carriers.

Law enforcement agencies routinely seek passenger details to check names against watch lists in the fight against terrorism. However, airlines have been unable legally to provide these details until both sets of regulators agreed on a clear data protection framework.

With this (USA)-(EU) agreement in place, (AEA) urged European regulators to act on approaches from at least 11 nations that are seeking access to European airline data as part of their counter-terrorism strategies.

“The (EU) has been sitting on these requests for far too long,” said Schulte-Strathaus. “European airlines are coming under growing pressure to provide this data but they cannot and will not provide this information without the necessary legal framework. The (EU) must act soon or flights to these countries could be disrupted.”

(IATA) (ITA) has said Thailand should expand Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (SVB). “Thailand needs to urgently build new terminal and runway capacity at Suvarnabhumi to ensure it remains one of the region’s top hubs,” (IATA) said.

(IATA) commissioned consultants Oxford Economics to carry out a study of 54 countries to better quantify the benefits they receive from aviation.

Aviation contributed THB139 billion/$4.48 billion to the Thai Gross Domestic Product (GDP), or 1.5% of the total, through the output of airlines, airports, ground services, their supply chains and the spending of those employed in the sector and in the supply chains. This number rises to THB818 billion or 9% of (GDP) when its contribution to the tourism sector was factored in.

“These urgent expansion projects must be done in full consultation with the airline users to ensure that costs and design are in line with the needs of those that will pay the bill — the airlines,” (IATA) said.

(IATA) also endorsed the view that Don Muang, Bangkok’s former airport, should be available to airlines and aviation services but should remain supplementary to (SVB) airport.

“Don Muang can fulfill a vital role of relief capacity in the short term. But the long-term solution is a single strong hub for Bangkok at Suvarnabhumi,” it said, because one major hub allows for more convenient connections and improves efficiency as airlines do not need to support duplicate infrastructure.

(IATA) named Hussein Dabbas as regional VP Middle East & North Africa. Dabbas has served as President & (CEO) of Royal Jordanian Airlines (RJA) since 2009.

May 2012: The European Union (EU) said that there has been “systematic non-reporting” of emissions data by Chinese and Indian airlines, a violation of the carriers’ legal responsibilities under the (EU) Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).

More than >1,200 airlines that fly to/from the (EU) submitted data by the March 31 deadline, though many of those airlines oppose aviation’s inclusion in the (ETS). The (EU) said 10 airlines from China and India, none of which were named, failed to report the required data. It noted that the data would “not trigger obligations to surrender allowances this year.”

Indian Civil Aviation Minister, Ajit Singh took a strong stand against the (EU)’s efforts to enforce the (ETS) in comments to "Reuters." ”You cannot enforce laws outside your sovereign area,” he said. “Its implications are huge. Now you are talking about aviation, tomorrow you will talk about shipping.”

(EU) Climate Commissioner, Connie Hedegaard told reporters in Brussels that the Chinese and Indian airlines have until mid-June to report the data before enforcement action is taken. Conceivably, the (EU) could eventually deny the airlines the right to operate to (EU) airports.

Chinese carriers are still refusing to join the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) said Wei Zhenzhong. “The (EU ETS) is a unilateral action and lacks any basis to enforcement action and punishment,” Wei Zhenzhong said. “Currently (ICAO) is working on formulating a global solution to it and we would prefer to rely on technological advancement and promotion of biofuels to reduce carbon emissions,” he said, adding that the (CAAC) (CAC) is working on how to confront the (EU ETS), which include retaliatory measures.

In February, the Chinese government’s state council issued a statement prohibiting Chinese carriers from participating in the (EU ETS) without government approval. “If the (EU) really makes any punishment on our Chinese carriers, we can take counter measures against them” (CATA) Marketing Director, Zhu Qingyu said.

In March, Airbus (EDS) (CEO), Louis Gallois said the Beijing (CAAC) blocked approval for $12 billion worth of Airbus (EDS) orders to protest the European aviation carbon tax.

(CATA) estimates Chinese carriers’ operating expenses will increase by +CNY800 million/+$127.2 million annually because of the (EU ETS). Expenses associated with the (EU ETS) are predicted to keep increasing as Chinese carriers open more international routes to Europe to compete with the high speed rail.

The (EU) has appealed to China to join global emission talks as tensions escalate over the country’s refusal to join the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). “We don’t want a trade war with anyone. We would support a global solution and would very much like to see a stronger role played by China in those talks. In the event of a global solution in (ICAO), the (EU) is fully ready to review and amend the (ETS) directive to take account of that global solution," (EU) Director Aviation & International Policy, Matthew Baldwin said at the China Civil Aviation Forum on May 23.

The (CAAC) Vice Minister, Xia Xinghua told the forum that Beijing will continue to conduct bilateral talks with the (EU) over (ETS). In the meantime, China will also “conduct relevant talks with other countries outside the (EU) to work out an effective global solution through (ICAO),” Xia said.

Baldwin declined to say whether Chinese or other airlines might face penalties if they refuse to cooperate. ”We obviously hope that everyone will comply with the emissions trading system, and I think it is far too early to start talking about punitive measures," he said.

(IATA) Director General, Tony Tyler said, “Of course, nobody wants a trade war. We continue to urge a solution through the International Civil Aviation Organization [ICAO] process. We all want a solution that is global. (ICAO) is working on four options. Europe must be a sincere participant in those negotiations.”

(ICAO) Council President, Robert Kobeh Gonzales told reporters he is optimistic that the global framework will be finalized next year as (ICAO) works on several options. “We hope to narrow down several options to one or two options and submit them to (ICAO) council meetings in June and October for our member states to review and fix the final framework, which will be scheduled to be submitted to a (ICAO) General Meeting for their vote to approve,” Gonzales said.

European airlines have lined up to criticize the (EU)'s controversial Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), warning once again that imposing it on non-(EU) nations and carriers risks a trade war. The (ETS) is levied on all flights landing at or departing from (EU) airports — even if much of a sector's mileage is racked up outside (EU) airspace.

Speaking after the Association of European Airlines (AEA)'s Presidents' Assembly in Brussels, several (CEO)s expressed worries that retaliation by non-(EU) nations, angered by what they regarded as an infringement of their sovereignty, would undermine further Europe's fragile economic state. They argued that European airlines could help stimulate economic growth but that sanctions against imposition of the (ETS) would hamper it.

"We can't deliver growth with a trade war hanging over us," said International Airlines Group (IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh. He urged the (EU) to take action to defuse international tensions and insisted ICAO is the organization best placed to achieve a global agreement on emissions.

(KLM) (CEO), Peter Hartman said it was simple for non-(EU) nations who disagreed with the (ETS), to levy additional charges on (EU) airlines. "For example, it's very easy for the Russians to increase the cost of overflying," he said. That money could be used to compensate Russian carriers for their (ETS) charges.

Airbus (EDS) has already felt Beijing's displeasure with the (ETS) in the form of airplane order cancellations, added Walsh.

The 115 European network, regional and leisure airlines (represented by the Association of European Airlines (AEA), the European Regions Airline Association (ERA), and the International Air Carrier Association (IACA)) have joined forces to insist that European flight time regulations are safe.

The three aviation bodies issued a joint statement in response to a pilot (FC) and cabin crew (CA) demonstration that created “a misleading picture of European aviation safety regulations.”

The European Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) rulemaking group will meet to discuss proposals for harmonizing existing rules for Flight Time Limitations (FTL) and rest requirements across the (EU). Cabin crew (CA) and pilot (FC) unions object to the changes, claiming they are relaxing the standards.

(ERA) Director General, Mike Ambrose argued the proposed new rules “simply harmonize the different (FTL) requirements that currently exist across Europe. They even include some new, more restrictive requirements and limitations.” He added: “Airlines and regulators will never allow this fundamental safety cornerstone of our industry to be compromised.”

(AEA) Secretary General, Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus said, “European (FTL) rules have been and continue to be safe.”

The three associations called on the unions to channel their comments to the (EASA) rulemaking group, where they and all other stakeholders, will have an opportunity to express their views.

Secondary Surveillance Radar (SSR) Mode S Elementary Surveillance (ELS) implementation in Europe has been expanded to include a much great number of flights, taking the initiative into its second phase.

The use of (SSR) (ELS), initially applied only to flights operating on city pairs within Mode S airspace, will now include flights originating outside but then remaining within Mode S airspace. This increases the number of eligible flights from approximately 1,000 a day to nearer 4,000 flights. The next phases of implementation will encompass flights transiting Mode S airspace, and those originating within but then departing Mode S airspace. Timeframes for implementation of these subsequent phases are under negotiation.

Mode S is essentially a tool whereby an airplane downlinks an unambiguous four-digit identification code in response to interrogation from the ground. This downlinking of airplane identification is a feature of modern surveillance techniques, including Mode S (interrogated) and ADS-B (broadcast).

Flights that are identified by the airplane’s own automatically downlinked airplane identification are assigned a Mode S conspicuity transponder code (A1000) to alert controllers, especially those using legacy systems, to the flight’s status.

(SSR) transponder codes are a finite resource as there are only 4,096 of them. As a result, some areas of Europe are experiencing code conflicts with potential loss of identification, frequent changes of code for a given flight, and a shortage of codes that can, at peak periods, result in airplanes being held on the ground until a suitable code becomes available.

Mode S uses the (SSR) radio frequency spectrum more efficiently, reducing frequency congestion, increasing radar capacity, easing delays and (by reducing garbling, mutual interference and radio reflections) improving safety.

All airplanes operating (IFR)/(GAT) in Europe are required to be compliant with (ELS) by January 8, 2015 for new airplanes and December 7, 2017 for retrofit. Airplanes with a minimum take-off mass greater than 5,700 kg and/or with a maximum cruising true air speed greater than 250 knots are required to be compliant with Mode S Enhanced Surveillance (the second level of Mode S that provides the controller with additional information about the airplane’s short-term intent.

The Association of European Airlines (AEA) has renewed its call for the continent's states to implement the Single European Sky (SES) system to improve air traffic control (ATC).

Europe currently has a patchwork of air navigation service providers, resulting in inefficiencies in routing airplanes. The European Union (EU) has talked about implementing (SES) for many years but individual countries have dragged their feet, airlines have complained. "We welcome the [European] Commission (EC)’s efforts to push through the (SES), but we are furious that the largest (EU) member states are simply not delivering," Lufthansa (DLH) (CEO), Christoph Franz said at the (AEA) Presidents’ Assembly in Brussels.

The (AEA) represents 34 of the continent's carriers. "This fragmentation is ridiculous and unacceptable," Franz said. "The (EC) must stand firm, rejecting every national performance plan that falls short of the (EU)-wide target."

Implementing (SES) and more direct routings would save European carriers some -10% to -15% on their fuel bills, Franz said at a press conference. The (AEA) estimates this would save -16 million tonnes of CO2 emissions and some -€3.7 billion/-$4.68 billion annually.

Last month, Europe’s SESAR Single European Sky (ATM) Research (SESAR)) Joint Undertaking began a study to integrate Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) into non-segregated airspace in a (SESAR) air traffic management (ATM) scenario.

Perseuss is a technology company that keeps a low profile, so low that the landing page of its website offers no clue as to its true purpose. The page educates the reader at some length about a cluster of galaxies in the constellation Perseus that has a red shift of 5,366 km/s.

Even if you can make your way through all that, you still won’t know that Perseuss (the technology company, not the galaxy cluster) claims considerable success in reducing fraudulent airline ticket purchases.
The company was born out of efforts by a group of European airlines, including some of the largest carriers, to tackle fraud by sharing information.

They began by sharing spreadsheets, comparing characteristics of fraudulent transactions and looking for patterns of behavior. As the community of airlines expanded, it needed a better way to handle large amounts of data.

It initially worked with an external company, but that relationship ended and the airlines partnered with (IATA) to create the independent company called Perseuss. Currently, 70 airlines, mostly European, use Perseuss.

For the last year, Normand Schafer, who owns an online agency in Canada, has been charged with raising Perseuss’ profile in North America. Schafer said the Perseuss system can store anything contained in a Passenger Name Record (PNR) except credit card numbers.
That would be a breach of Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards. It would also be pointless because when credit card numbers are used for fraudulent purchases, the accounts are quickly closed.

When data from a new (PNR) is submitted, Perseuss goes into action, performing a real-time check for matches of any of its elements among its fraudster information, such as addresses, email addresses and itinerary information. It can’t flag every name (“there are probably several fraudsters named John Smith,” Schafer said) but a transaction made by someone with an unusual name that matches one in the database would be flagged. Serial fraudsters might also use stolen credit card numbers to book the same itinerary, he said.

Schafer became involved when he researched ways to protect his online agency, cheapticketscanada.com, from fraud. He noted that as airlines get better at protecting themselves, fraudsters go after the next weakest link on the food chain — travel agencies. Airlines, online agencies and large travel management companies can connect with the Perseuss database via an Application Programming Interface (API). Alternatively, they may choose to use (API) interfaces that are created by Payment Service Providers and fraud screening providers.

Perseuss also has developed a “lite version” of the system for agencies that don’t have the necessary technology resources. Small agencies that have close relationships with their customers won’t want to run checks on every transaction, Schafer said, but it’s always a good idea to check new customers. Schafer cautioned that fraud doesn’t just happen online: It happens with bookings made over the phone and in person as well. “A travel agent in Alberta had a new client who booked $30,000 in tickets for a wedding party,” he said. “A fraudster will befriend an agent and become the agency’s best client. The chargebacks will come weeks or even months later.”

Any merchant that uses Perseuss is required to comply with local privacy regulations, according to the company’s fact sheet. Therefore, Perseuss does not have mandatory fields in the upload sheets, and it works closely with users to ensure that they comply with local regulations.

Information shared within the Perseuss community is region-bound, Schafer said. Any information about Europe, for example, stays on servers in Europe, although it can be used by airlines on other continents for checking.

June 2012: (IATA) announced Qantas Airways (QAN) (CEO) & Managing Director, Alan Joyce has succeeded (KLM) President & (CEO), Peter Hartman as Chairman of the Board of Directors. The leadership change took place at the conclusion of (IATA)’s 68th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit in Beijing. Joyce’s term expires at the conclusion of next year’s (AGM), to be held in Cape Town, South Africa.

Joyce, who has led (QAN) since November 2008, said his top priorities, “as always, will be safety, security and sustainability. On top of that, I want to see (IATA) continue to deliver value to its members by being a strong advocate for the industry. Aviation delivers enormous economic benefits: supporting some 57 million jobs and $2.2 trillion in economic activity. We need to ensure that governments understand what is at stake, when they are making key decisions on taxes, regulation and capacity expansion,” Joyce said.

(IATA) Director General & (CEO), Tony Tyler said, “Our ambitious agenda over the next year includes developing the foundation standards for a new distribution capability, pushing forward progress on Checkpoint of the Future, and working through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to achieve a global approach on positive economic measures to help manage aviation’s 2% contribution to man made carbon emissions. All of this will be done in an economic environment that is likely to become even more challenging,” he said.

(IATA) also announced that the board of governors appointed Delta Air Lines (DAL) (CEO), Richard Anderson to serve as Chairman from June 2013, following Joyce’s term.

A "poster child" for sustainable development, the aviation industry is continually progressing toward sustainability, Airlines for America (A4A) VP Environmental Affairs, Nancy Young told attendees at Air Transport World (ATW)'s 5th Annual Eco-Aviation Conference in Washington DC — but she noted it is a journey that could be hindered by the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).

Twenty years after the 1992 “Earth Summit" in Rio de Janeiro, which was "regarded as a foundational pillar of sustainable development principles," aviation has made significant strides in its environmental efforts, but the (EU ETS) scheme poses a threat to advancing "the right kind of measures to further address" aviation emission reductions, Young said.

"This unilateral action violates a key principle adopted at the 1992 Summit stating: ‘unilateral actions to deal with environmental challenges outside the jurisdiction of the importing country should be avoided. Environmental measures addressing trans-boundary or global environmental problems should, as far as possible, be based on an international consensus,’" Young said.

Rather than the “(EU) jurisdictional grab over aviation emissions,” (A4A), along with worldwide aviation coalition, has a proposal for addressing aviation CO2 though a harmonized approach, Young said.

This “global sectoral approach” proposal targets annual average fuel-efficiency improvement of +1.5% through 2020 and carbon-neutral growth from 2020 (subject to government infrastructure and technology investments such as air traffic control (ATC) modernization) with the goal of a -50% reduction in CO2 by 2050, relative to 2005 levels. Implementation of this framework could be agreed to at the (ICAO) Assembly in September 2013, Young noted.

Through direct and coalition diplomatic efforts, the Obama Administration has given the (EU) every chance to withdraw or stay its unilateral scheme,” Young said. But the (EU) has snubbed these diplomatic efforts. The United States must now take concrete legal action under Article 84 of the Chicago Convention to overturn the application of the (EU ETS) as to USA airlines and to bring the (EU) back to the table in support of a global framework under (ICAO).”

Fielding questions on the (EU ETS), First Counselor – Environment, Delegation of the (EU) to the United States of America, acknowledged that the scheme has received global criticism, “but not a lot of constructive responses.” He said, “Arguments have been raised about sovereignty and impinging on others. We believe that that’s not so and we see a clear way forward. We would invite the industry and other countries to come along with us.”

Airlines began incurring charges under the (EU ETS) January 1, and will have to begin paying fees in 2013. Global opposition to the scheme has been widely publicized.

(A4A) VP Environmental Affairs, Nancy Young said, “We’re very hopeful that there will be legal action that will result in a stay” before airlines must begin paying in 2013.

Even if it were to reconsider the scheme, the process of undoing the (EU ETS) would be a long and complicated one, Armandinger said. "You cannot undo them overnight . . . it’s not like we have this as an option that we can switch it off like that.”

The USA, the European Union (EU) and Switzerland have agreed to mutually recognize each other’s air cargo security procedures and rules, a move aimed at streamlining duplicative screening practices and other time-consuming security protocols on transatlantic airfreight lanes.

“Air cargo traffic between the (EU) and the USA amounts to over a million tons a year traveling each way across the Atlantic, which is over >20% of all outbound air cargo from the (EU) [according to 2010 figures],” the USA Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and European Commission (EC) noted.

(TSA) Administrator, John Pistole said the agreement “will ease the burden on industry, and allow for the free movement of goods and commerce between our nations. It will also strengthen security by ensuring that we share information and work together towards our common interests.”

(EC) VP Transport, Siim Kallas added that through “mutual recognition of our comprehensive and solid regulatory frameworks, we create significant savings and simplification for our freight transport industry, while maintaining a high standard of security.”

The mutual recognition is effective immediately. “As a consequence of this, private industry can move cargo though the 27 (EU) member states, the USA and Switzerland, while following a single set of security rules,” the (TSA) and the (EC) stated. “The close cooperation between the (EC) and the (TSA) over the last few months permitted the air cargo security regimes in place in the (EU) and the USA to be compared in detail and to be confirmed as ensuring an equivalent, high level of security.”

Nine out of 10 airlines plan to sell tickets via smartphones by 2015, turning mobile into a mainstream distribution channel, according to (SITA)’s latest Airline Information Technology (IT) Trends Survey.

Mobile technologies were a top investment priority for the airlines surveyed, for both distribution and passenger service. “Airlines are going to get personal, selling direct to customers through new channels,” said (SITA) Market Insight Director, Nigel Pickford, speaking at the 2012 Air Transport (IT) Summit in Brussels.

Although 86% of respondents expected their website to remain their dominant direct sales channel beyond 2015, smartphones came in a close second with 70% of the vote. (SITA) estimates that roughly half of airline tickets are sold direct.

By 2015, mobile is expected to generate 7% of revenues, followed by social media at 3% and kiosks at 2%. “Together, by 2015, these channels will represent 12% of total sales. This is where we see a new and strong change occurring. We could be at the start of a big change in terms of revenue generation,” he added.

While websites are expected to keep the top spot when it comes to direct sales, smartphones are expected to overtake the web as a customer service tool and the two channels will be neck and neck when it comes to passenger processing.

“Passengers have an insatiable appetite to have more control, more personalization,” Pickford said. “Data needs to be personalized customized, timely and relevant.”

However, personalization involves capturing and analyzing passenger behavior. This will be a key challenge and the “evolution of business intelligence” is an area (SITA) hopes to investigate next year.

For the first time, the survey also looked at social media use. The prime airline use for social media will be marketing, followed by customer service, sales, travel planning and passenger processing.

Roughly 90% of respondents expect to promote by social media by 2015 and 63% will use it as a booking channel, four times more than last year.

Although the channel mix may be shifting, airlines’ top three investment priorities remained unchanged. Improving the passenger experience topped the list, followed by cutting the cost of business operations and enabling new revenue opportunities.

In 2012, airlines are planning to spend 1.65% of their total revenues on (IT), slightly up from the 1.57% actual spend in 2011. The airlines polled in this year’s survey carry 53% of global passenger traffic.

Self-service kiosks appear likely to be overtaken by smartphones, as airlines increasingly focus their (IT) spending on mobile technologies.

“Adoption [of kiosks by passengers] is the problem,” (SITA) Senior VP Marketing & Sales Operations, Arthur Calderwood said. “We think we’re introducing solutions, but the dots don’t join up.”

Only 39% of airlines believe kiosks will be a dominant passenger processing channel beyond 2015, according to the 2012 Airline (IT) Trends survey. Smartphones and websites will battle it out to be the prime channel, with both attracting 71% of the vote.

Yet despite this apparent fall from grace, three-quarters of airlines are still planning additional kiosks at check-in. Today, just 28% offer bag tag printing and this number could swell to 83% by 2015. However, half of those surveyed do not plan to add extra features such as flight transfer or lost baggage reporting.

“Different channels are playing different roles. Perhaps kiosks will remain dominant at check-in, but they don’t have as many features as mobile,” (SITA) Director Market Insight, Nigel Pickford said, adding that kiosks will continue to play an important passenger-processing role “at least for a few years.”

The situation is neatly summarized by (SITA) Board Chair, Paul Coby: “Different parts of world are at different stages of acceptance of technology. Some are moving to kiosks from check-in desks and, for them, that is quite a radical approach. For others, online check-in and mobile check-in are the de facto norm. Kiosks are a rather expensive online check-in with a printer.”

July 2012: A number of countries opposing the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) met again July 31, just as the (EU) considers intervening in the carbon market to inflate prices.

“The so-called "coalition of the unwilling," including 15 non-(EU) states opposing the (EU ETS), gathered on July 31 to discuss possible actions against the scheme,” Association of European Airlines (AEA) Acting Secretary General, Athar Husain Khan said.

The coalition last met February 21-22 in Moscow. This session culminated in a joint declaration and a series of suggested retaliatory measures to be used against European industry.

An earlier meeting, which took place in late 2011, resulted in a working paper that formally opposed Europe’s approach to the (EU ETS). The principles of this paper were endorsed by the (ICAO) Council. “The fact that the (EC) now wants to artificially manipulate the price setting mechanism of the (EU ETS) gives these non-(EU) states even more arguments,” Husain Khan said.

Separately, (AEA) members have criticized an (EC) proposal that aims to artificially inflate the cost of carbon permits traded in the (EU ETS).

On January 1, aviation joined the (EU ETS) despite strong opposition from a large number of non-European countries that feel the scheme infringes on their sovereignty.

Now, (EU) Climate Action Commissioner, Connie Hedegaard has tabled a proposal, aimed at reviving the depressed market for carbon permits. This could increase airline costs and further-escalate international tensions around the (EU ETS).

“On July 25, the European Commission presented a package of three documents aimed at strengthening the carbon market and, in the final analysis, raising the price of carbon by modifying the 2013 - 2020 calendar for auctions of emission allowances under the (EU ETS),” (AEA) said.

The (AEA) accuses the Commission of “changing the rules of a game which has already started” and undermining the (EU ETS)’s status as a market-based measure.

“We have already seen retaliation from non-(EU) countries that are very, very upset by the (EU ETS) scheme,” (AEA) Acting Secretary, general Athar Husain Khan said. “The declarations of Commissioner Hedegaard might have further impact on the negotiations on a global level. There is a lot at stake, and it is essential that policy-makers also realize this threat.”

(IATA) said it expects (ICAO) to fully develop a standard for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by the end of 2013, a move that is being welcomed by airlines and industry but which so far does not seem to have prompted the European Commission (EC) to change track on its emissions trading scheme (EU ETS).

(ICAO)’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) has unanimously agreed on a CO2 metric system “which characterizes the CO2 emissions for airplane types with varying technologies,” bringing the industry one step closer to a global CO2 standard for airplanes.
(ICAO) Council President, Roberto Kobeh González said the new CO2 metric system agreed by states, as well as intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, addresses emissions from a wide variety of airplanes on a fair and transparent basis.”

“It includes factors which account for fuselage geometry, maximum take-off weight and fuel burn performance at three different cruise conditions and is a major move forward,” González said.

“The (ICAO) process is working,” (IATA) Director General and (CEO), Tony Tyler said. “Alongside this important progress on a CO2 standard, (ICAO) is also moving forward with discussions on market-based measures in time for agreement at the 2013 (ICAO) Assembly. Unfortunately, the insistence by the (EC)’s Directorate-General for Climate Action D on the unilateral and extra-territorial inclusion of international aviation in its emissions trading scheme is putting the success of this process at risk. It is a divisive scheme, forced through at a time when the global community needs to unite and deliver a global solution.”

The metric system, based on fuel burn performance at three difference cruise conditions, defines how airplane CO2 emissions can be evaluated relevant to how each airplane is operated, accounting for fuselage geometry and maximum takeoff weight.

"We welcome the progress (ICAO)/(CAEP) are making, because it is of utmost importance to establish the CO2 Standard as the benchmark and reference point for measuring efficiency delivered by technology,” Airbus (EDS) President & (CEO), Fabrice Brégier said. “It underscores the importance of (ICAO) as the international body to lead key issues on aviation globally. This is a clear demonstration of the industry’s commitment in using technology to help the aviation sector meet its ambitious environmental goals.”

Boeing (TBC) described the move as a “major milestone.” Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) VP Environment & Aviation Policy, Billy Glover said, "Our industry continues to advocate for global standards for aviation emissions developed through (ICAO) because the process works; this achievement is proof-positive."

Russia’s lower legislative house, the State Duma, will consider adding European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) amendments to its environmental protection law, which were put in place 10 years ago. If the parliament approves the changes, the Russian government will be able to forbid local carriers to take part in the (EU ETS).

The amendments would make the move on the basis that the (EU ETS) was “launched by foreign countries and international organizations, in which [the] Russian Federation doesn’t participate.”

In February, Russian Deputy Transport Minister, Valery Okulov said Russia was planning to prohibit its local carriers from paying for emissions and said the declaration could pass in the first half of 2012.

In addition, Russian authorities are using Siberian overflight fees to influence the (EU) in the (ETS) dispute.

The (EU) and the Russian Federation in 2006 agreed to phase out costly Siberian overflight fees by 2013. In February, Okulov said Russia could reconsider the decisions on overflight fees on routes over Siberia. However, Russian authorities have now refused to discuss reducing overflight charges in light of the (EU ETS) fees.

Jordan Aviation (JOR) has been granted a fourth renewal of its (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) registration.


August 2012: USA aviation security costs have skyrocketed since "9/11" but it is not certain the benefits outweigh those costs, a new industry report finds. Authored by the RAND Corporation, the report suggests the USA Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Congress should weigh both the costs and benefits of the complex USA aviation security system.

The (TSA) spent approximately $6.5 billion to protect the aviation system in the fiscal year 2011 and costs borne by airlines and passengers for security measures (including time spent in screening queues) are estimated to be $7.4 billion annually, the report said.

“Before the 2001 "9/11" attacks, federal budgets for aviation security fell in the comparatively modest range of the low hundreds of millions of dollars in contrast to the billions today,” the study said. “When the system being protected is as valuable economically as aviation, even a small reduction in its usefulness and value adds up quickly, making security potentially much more costly than might be assumed,” the report co-author and senior RAND researcher, Brian Jackson said.

Although it is possible to calculate how much is spent on scanners, screeners and other security measures, but less-tangible economic costs also occur because a lot of security makes the aviation system difficult to use, the report points out. And while the USA security system relies on a layered security strategy, more layers are not necessarily better than fewer.

“In some cases, layers can reinforce each other and be more effective than the sum of the individual measures on their own. In others, they can interfere with one another and provide less security together than they would have separately,” the report said.

The report: "Efficient Aviation Security: Strengthening the Analytic Foundation for Making Air Transportation Security Decisions" suggests ways to reduce security costs, including greater use of trusted traveler programs. “Commercial aviation plays a central role in the national economy, and attacks on planes and airports have long been a threat by terrorists worldwide, but it has also become clear that the public’s tolerance for inconvenience and other security costs is not inexhaustible. The benefits of aviation security must be weighed against the costs in providing that security,” Jackson said.

Responding to the report, the (TSA) issued this statement: “The (TSA) is committed to providing a high level of security for all travelers using a risk-based approach and the latest intelligence to drive security procedures. In the last year, the (TSA) has made significant enhancements to the passenger screening experience through changes to procedures for travelers at airports across the country.”

Ireland has become one of the first European countries to implement the Centralized Code Assignment & Management System (CCAMS), a cooperative European initiative aimed at streamlining the way Secondary Surveillance Radar (SSR) codes are distributed and assigned.

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) had to modify its Air Traffic Management (ATM) system to accommodate the (CCAMS) standards and was involved in many months of offline testing in conjunction with the Eurocontrol Central Flow Management Unit (CFMU) (CCAMS) before it was introduced in Shannon, Cork and Dublin earlier this summer.

All flights in European airspace must be tagged with an (SSR) code and (CCAMS) will optimize the efficiency and safety of European (SSR) code management by centrally selecting an (SSR) code for each flight within its area of applicability using an intelligent algorithm, and distributing it to the appropriate (ATS) unit. This service will be provided by a dedicated (CCAMS) office located in Eurocontrol’s Network Manager Operations Center (NMOC).

Without the (CCAMS), (SSR) codes have to be changed frequently to avoid code conflict and a potential loss of identification. It addresses the need for unambiguous and continuous airplane identification and has already been implemented in Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Norway. A further 14 European states have committed to joining the (CCAMS) in the next two years.

September 2012: A German politician has urged (ICAO) to find a solution to the problem of airplane emissions when it convenes in the fall of 2013. Peter Hintze a Deputy Minister at Germany’s Economics & Technology Ministry, who is in charge of Aviation Policy, was speaking at the 2012 (ILA) Berlin Air Show after meeting his counterparts from fellow Airbus (EDS) member-nations, France, Spain and the UK. Hintze was reported as saying that Airbus (EDS) could “suffer deeply” from retaliatory actions to protest the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).

The USA, India and China are among countries that have refused to co-operate with the (ETS), in some cases barring their airlines from participating in it. China has also forced some airlines to put Airbus (EDS) airplanes orders on hold. The (EU ETS) levies taxes on emissions on airliners that either take off or land in (EU) nations, even if their journeys occur outside (EU) airspace. Several nations have complained that this infringes their sovereignty and Airbus (EDS) fears that it will lose orders from nations opposed to the scheme.

“This is one of the first times a Transport Minister has openly declared he has reservations about the timing [of the (EU ETS)],” said Geert Sciot, General Manager Communications, at the Association of European Airlines (AEA). The (AEA) has urged a global solution to the emissions issue rather than a regional European one that could distort competition, he added. The latter “would have a negative impact and our carriers risk retaliation from non-European countries”.

Later, the USA Senate unanimously passed a bill on September 22nd allowing the Transportation Secretary to direct USA airlines to not participate in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), which Airlines for America (A4A) claims is a violation of international law and USA sovereignty.

The vote comes a week after nineteen USA aviation stakeholders sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to challenge the inclusion of international aviation under the (EU ETS).

Last year, the USA House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly for the (EU ETS) Prohibition Act of 2011, which effectively forbids its carriers from participating in the (EU ETS).

(A4A) President & (CEO), Nicholas Calio said, “Congress has spoken — USA airlines should not be subjected to this illegal scheme that amounts to little more than a cash grab for the European Union (EU) as none of the funds collected are required to be used for environmental purposes.” He said (A4A) “commends Senators John Thune and Claire McCaskill for their leadership in passage of this crucial legislation that recognizes this scheme is a breach of USA sovereignty that actually limits our ability to build on our strong environmental record by investing in new and more fuel-efficient airplanes.”

According to Calio, (A4A) supports a global sectoral approach to aviation climate change policy under (ICAO), “as do all other non-(EU) countries impacted by the scheme.”

(EU) Climate Action Commissioner, Connie Hedegaard tweeted: “Interesting amendments to Thune bill: USA to pursue global approach. Agreed. This means that a different USA approach @ (ICAO) would be most welcome!”

According to "Politico," the bill passed with two amendments: “One by Senator Ben Cardin adds language to shield USA taxpayers from any monetary liability for airlines' failure to pay. The second by Senator Jeff Merkley adds language allowing the bill's effects to be nullified if the (EU) changes its scheme, if (ICAO) takes some related action, or if the USA issues a related rule or law on airplane emissions,” it said.

(IATA) (ITA) Director General & (CEO), Tony Tyler warned that Japan’s visa requirements and airport costs are holding back its potential as an airline market. He said the Japanese domestic air passenger market is the world’s third largest. About 5.5% of global airline traffic is linked to Japan, generating approximately 11% of worldwide industry revenue.

But the country is falling behind regional rivals in terms of competitiveness, he cautioned. South Korea is ranked sixth in the world in granting visa-free entry, Tyler said, adding, “That puts it in the company of Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong, when you measure the number of countries granted visa-free entry (a key enabler for a successful tourism industry. Japan ranked in 76th place), a big handicap if it is to make its ambitious target to increase inbound tourism to some nine million visitors this year.”

Japan, he said, ranks 106th globally in terms of the cost of airport charges and taxes. South Korea comparatively is ranked 33rd. “To try to understand the impact of this, we did some research on the competitiveness of [Tokyo] Narita and [Seoul] Incheon for transit traffic from other Japanese cities,” Tyler explained. “The majority of transfers (1.4 million people a year) use Narita. But a number equal to about a third of that flew via Incheon (not to mention the traffic that flows over other hubs in the region). So the negative impact on business is real and measurable. At a time when Narita is struggling to utilize capacity, it can ill-afford the lost business.”

He concluded, “Everyone who lives, works or does business in Japan should have an interest in this. Japan’s main airports are its gateway to the world. Cost-efficiently facilitating that basic connectivity will help to make all of Japan more competitive.”

The European Commission (EC) has launched an initiative aimed at coordinating and focusing European research and innovation in transport. The (EC) said its goal was “speeding up deployment of new transport means and solutions to achieve a competitive and affordable European transport system.”

As a first step, it will define a set of deployment roadmaps for technologies and innovation in 10 areas of transport, including aviation. Work on these is starting this month.

For aviation, the initiative’s objectives include deployment of clean, efficient, safe, quiet and smart airplanes, as well as the more generic objectives of Europe-wide alternative fuel distribution infrastructures; efficient modal traffic management systems (including capacity and demand management); integrated cross-modal information and management services; and seamless logistics.

The Commission’s White Paper on Transport (2011) makes the case for transforming Europe’s transport system into a more sustainable and competitive one, in the context of increased demand, transport evolution, demographic change, and dwindling government investment capacity.

(EC) VP responsible for Transport, Siim Kallas said: “Transport is essential to Europe's economy. This new initiative will help our transport system to become more efficient, sustainable and user-friendly.”

Later, the European Union (EU) announced it will implement tougher rules to ensure fair competition and protect its airlines. European Commission VP Transport, Siim Kallas said it would negotiate “new and more effective (EU) instruments to protect European interests against unfair practices.” He added, “Archaic ownership and control restrictions” must also go as part of an international effort to ensure airlines get easier access to new capital.

According to Kallas, the (EU) realized many ambitions of its airlines too late. Carriers have long wanted cross-border consolidation, which would make the industry more sustainable. Most countries apply control restrictions (foreign ownership in USA airlines is limited to 25% and in the (EU) 49%) “but these deny carriers access to new capital and prevent consolidation,” Kallas said, adding, “It is now time to address this issue more vigorously.”

Kallas also said “fair competition clauses” would be included in current bilateral air services agreements between the (EU) and non-(EU) countries. He wants to negotiate (EU)-level air service agreements with countries such as China, Russia, the Gulf States, Japan, India, and Southeast Asia.

The (EU) realized very late that European aviation had suffered badly in the economic downturn, he said. “We urgently need a step change. Faced with the dramatic changes in global aviation, Europe must respond and adapt rapidly or be left behind.”

Europe is also being hurt by under-investing in airports, he said. Bottlenecks should be identified at an early stage and removed or limited “by using all means available to use scarce airport capacity more efficiently.”

October 2012: The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has issued a final proposal to the European Commission (EC) on pilot (FC) flight duty time and rest requirements, moving to harmonize various national regulations into one European Union (EU)-wide standard.

Pilot (FC) unions across Europe have strongly denounced the proposals, which the (EASA) just published this month. They claim the amendments put the commercial interests of airlines before passenger safety.

The (EC) needs to finalize the new rules and (EU) member states must approve the changes. If all goes smoothly, the (EASA) expects the regulations to be fully implemented by the end of 2015.

The regulations proposed by the (EASA) include a limit of 1,000 hours of flight time per 12 consecutive months and an additional limit of 110 duty hours per 14 days. Also, the (EASA) calls for flight deck crew (FC) to have “prolonged extended recovery rest periods twice per month.”

Overall, the proposed rules contain more than >30 safety improvements, the (EASA) said, adding, “Allowed duty periods at night are reduced, rest for flights with time zone crossings is significantly increased and new rules are introduced for limiting crew standby.”

(EASA) Executive Director, Patrick Goudou said, “These harmonized flight crew (FC) duty time rules are based on scientific evidence, risk assessment and best practice.” However, the European Cockpit Association (ECA), which represents more than >38,000 European pilots (FC), argues that the (EASA) proposal “disregards unanimous scientific advice and makes it legal for pilots (FC) to operate an airplane and land after having been awake for more than >22 hours.”

It said the new rules would allow pilots (FC) to land after “extremely long hours awake,” night flights of up to 12 hours (compared to a 10-hour limit determined by scientists), and evaded “stringent rules on flight schedules that disrupt sleep patterns,” such as early starts and extended open-ended standbys.

“By focusing on some marginal improvements compared to the current (EU) flight time limitations rules, the (EASA) deflects from the fact that its proposal will permit work schedules that will make pilots (FC) fly whilst being dangerously fatigued. It will be our responsibility to decline duties that are not safe,” (ECA) President, Nico Voorbach said.

British Air Line Pilots Association General Secretary, Jim McAuslan said the (EASA) proposals “will simply make it more likely that pilots (FC) will have to fly more tired more often and therefore increase the risk of a similar accident in the UK.”

The (USA) (FAA) finalized strict, new pilot (FC) duty time and rest requirements last year.

Billund Airport (BLL) in Denmark has become the first airport to enable passengers to print their own baggage tags as well as boarding passes off site.

Following a six-month development and test period this spring (in collaboration with Thomas Cook Airlines (GUE)/(JMA)/(PRH)) (BLL) launched the new baggage tag, which the airport said reduces queues at baggage check-in.

The tags are printed onto a standard A4 sheet of paper, and then folded according to instructions and inserted in a plastic cover (available free of charge at the airport), which is secured to the bag. Passengers can use the dedicated Express Drop desks to check their bags in the departure area instead of queuing up at the traditional bag drop.

(BLL) VP Project & Development, Anders Nielsen said: “Around 15% of our charter passengers have used the system since it was launched, and we want to get that figure up to 35% to 40% in the future. No problems have been reported for printing the tags,” he said.

Denmark’s second largest airport, (BLL), developed the new service in collaboration with the airport’s software provider, Unisys, and (IATA) (ITA). (BLL) also acts as a handling agent, with its own check-in software. Nielsen said there is “considerable interest” from other airport operators around the world “in how the system has been designed.”

Innovation and an aligned value chain will be crucial components toward serving a growing aviation industry, (IATA) Director General & (CEO) Tony Tyler said recently.

Tyler stressed the need for simplifying airport processes, implementing a checkpoint of the future (COF) and developing a new distribution capability. “[A] (COF) will require a mindset change,” moving away from the one-size-fits-all screening approach to a model based on risk assessment, he said. And though additional passenger information would be necessary to achieving the goals of the (COF), an (IATA) passenger survey has revealed that nearly three out of four passengers would be willing to share personal information with governments to speed up security screening. “(COF) will not happen tomorrow. We’re approaching this in stages with a vision to 2020.”

(IATA)’s vision for 2020 “is for a fast, seamless curb to airside experience that is predictable, repeatable, secure and globally consistent,” he said. An important component of that vision is ubiquitous one-click access to Wi-Fi at airports.” And in today’s connectivity-hungry environment, a New Distribution Capability (NDC) (one that allows the industry to reach customers seamlessly regardless of distribution channel) is crucial. “The Internet economy has fundamentally reshaped the ways in which sellers and consumers interact. Customers expect to be recognized when they shop online receiving tailored offerings.”

Approximately 60% of airline tickets today are sold by agents using Global Distribution System (GDS)s, which does not allow for tailored airline offers. “Airlines are trying to escape the commoditization trap through differentiation and merchandising. The travel agent sees only fare codes, whereas customers expect more. The solution is the (NDC) powered by open (XML) standards. This will enable innovation in the way airline products are distributed."

“As our industry developed, global connectivity changed the way that the world lives and works. And there is still enormous potential to be realized. Working together, we can innovate to deliver a better travel experience and ever more, efficient connectivity.”

Reply comments:
* Yes, I totally agree, we need to be more proactive how we travel through an airport - - it should be as seamless as possible. (COF) is the way to go! RavSta.
* A good move indeed! People use air travel for saving time. (IATA) is working fantastically to facilitate air travel connecting across continents with better facilities and fares. What we need today is reduction in time to reach airports and also easier check-in, plus reduced time to reach the boarding gates. How this is achieved depends truly on improved technology and also good managemenht decisions with respect to the airports and the concerned airlines! Sqn Ldr (Retd) Banu.
* The key is RISK ASSESSMENT; today 100% of the effort is spent on 100% of the customers (passengers). With intelligent, focused and prudent analysis, this could be reconfigured, where say 90% of the effort could still be addressed to 80% to 90% of the customers (random checks would still ne needed), which would be a quantum leap from where we are today, whilst adding to safety and security. Lorne Clark.

(IATA) has formally adopted its New Distribution Capability (NDC), a new model for distributing airline services that (IATA) says will allow airlines to differentiate their products more clearly. The (NDC) was adopted at the World Passenger Symposium in Abu Dhabi.

The new model is intended to let airlines differentiate their products beyond just the lowest ticket price. (IATA) said it expects to complete the definition of standards for (NDC) in 2013. It will have an aggregator role that will allow product comparisons.

In his opening keynote at the World Passenger Symposium, (IATA) Director General & (CEO), Tony Tyler said, “Airlines are trying to escape the commoditization trap through differentiation. “But at the end of the day, the travel agent sees only codes—F, J, Y and their various derivatives. There is no way to tell if your “J” product is a flat bed or a (Y) economy class seat with an empty seat beside it.”

European Technology & Travel Services Association Secretary General, Christoph Klenner said “I think there’s a renaissance coming and [airlines] see they have to do something about their product. Airlines have become so safe that it doesn’t matter who you fly with, especially on the short haul. It has meant that price became the most important driver for consumer decisions.”

The European Technology & Travel Services Association (ETTSA), which represents travel agents and tour operators of 28 European countries, is concerned it has not had a say in whether the (NDC), as recently adopted, will be effective. “While a single standard to improve the distribution of ancillary services could be beneficial for the whole distribution chain, we feel there has been no consultation on whether (NDC) is the appropriate model,” (ECTAA) President, Boris Zgomba said.

The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and Business Travel Coalition (BTC) alleged that (NDC) development is not being conducted in open collaboration with all segments of the travel industry that would be affected. “(ASTA) sees nothing in the (IATA) process to create (NDC) that resembles full and open transparent collaboration with the travel agency community,” (ATSA) (CEO), Nina Meyer said. “When (ASTA) later asked for details of [the (IATA) Working Group on (NDC) in Montreal] it was told that neither it nor any other agency associations would have access to the development process for the (NDC).”

Meyer noted that though (IATA) expressed a willingness to meet separately with (ASTA), “that is far from full collaboration and openness.” (BTC) Chairman, Kevin Mitchell said, “(IATA) pointedly talks about an open and collaborative industry process, yet refuses to let organizations that represent travel agents and corporate travel departments have a seat at the table.”

In an emailed statement, (IATA) said, “The (ASTA)/(BTA) release indicates that we reached-out to their membership by sending a team to their Los Angeles Meeting. We had the global associations for travel agents at (WPS) ((UFTAA) and (WTAAA)) and we invited the technical teams of their key members to participate (alongside the technical experts from the airlines and other stakeholders) in the Montreal working group. We will continue to collaborate with individual travel agents and their associations in this important project. Other travel trade organizations that attended and participated the just concluded World Passenger Symposium included (GBTA) and (ETCAA).”

Government interference in airlines can hinder the industry and is “all too common,” United Arab Emirates (UAE) Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdullah bin Zayed said. bin Zayed said though government involvement is necessary in some instances (such as in security matters) the intervention can impede the industry in managing supply and demand. “False beliefs about government subsidies have caused some governments to deny those airlines full access to their market,” he said. National carriers Emirates (EAD) and Etihad Airways (EHD) were denied additional slots in Canada and are struggling to obtain additional slots in Germany.

Taking aim at the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), he said the taxes may lead to retaliatory measures. “Environmental concerns should be fair and balanced,” he said. (UAE) neighbor, Saudia Arabia in early October joined a growing list of countries that have forbidden their carriers to comply with the (EU ETS).

The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) said it has agreed to “enhanced cooperation” with (ICAO), particularly in the area of security. The cooperation will also cover “environmental practices, market access, capacity building and air cargo safety,” (TIACA) stated. The organization, which counts as members, a range of air cargo players, including airlines, forwarders and airports, said it “will intensify participation in relevant (ICAO) meetings.”

The announcement of increased ties with the (UN) body follows (TIACA)’s recent International Air Cargo Forum & Exposition in Atlanta, during which industry executives expressed mixed views about the state of the global air cargo sector. According to a (TIACA) release of quotes from the conference, (UPS) Airlines President, Mitch Nichols said the stuttering world economy continues to work against air cargo’s speed advantage over other transport modes. “The global economy is not moving as fast as I’d like,” he said. “When things slow down, people don’t want things so fast.”

(CEVA) Logistics (CEO), John Pattullo warned air cargo traffic growth is likely to continue to be slow in the near term. “I think we will have a sluggish economy and we will be battling for share in a sluggish but stable economy,” he said.

Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings (AAWH) (TLS) President & (CEO), William Flynn said long-term prospects are still bright: “Manufacturing is moving and airfreight remains vital. It is never a smooth, straight line but each time there is a challenge, airfreight recovers and grows.”

Almost 9,000 flights were canceled Monday October 29th as Hurricane "Sandy" approached the USA East Coast. According to flight tracker service FlightAware.com., 2,594 flights were also canceled from and within the USA for Tuesday, although the service expected this number to grow. “Most airlines have not begun publishing cancellations, but forecasters are expecting winds to be 45 - 60 kts.

On Monday, 6,814 flights were canceled to, from and within the USA. The majority of affected flights were at Philadelphia International Airport, which shut down operations Monday. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey recommended airlines cancel all Monday services to the three New York airports (LaGuardia (LGA), Newark (EWR) and (JFK)) due to expected flooding.

According to FlightAware data, (EWR) had 992 canceled flights Monday followed by (JFK) (969), (LGA) (918), Reagan National (836), Boston Logan (720), Baltimore (602) and Washington Dulles (587).

On Sunday, approximately 1,300 flights were canceled to, from and within the USA. (EWR) was the hardest hit, with 307 cancellations.

FlightAware’s tracking service put United Airlines (UAL) at the top of the cancellations list for Monday with 823 canceled flights, followed by US Airways (AMW)/(USA) (615), Delta Air Lines (DAL) (610), Southwest Airlines (SWA) (575) and JetBlue (JBL) (568).

The US National Hurricane Center in a Monday morning advisory said, “Sandy [is] now moving north-northwestward and accelerating . . . expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and coastal hurricane winds plus heavy Appalachian snows.

The European Union (EU) transport ministers have agreed a general approach on proposed changes to the 1993 slot allocation rules that could make it legal for airlines to buy and sell slots. Proposals for freeing up the slot allocation market have been under discussion since the 1993 regulation was implemented. However, (EU) legislators have remained wary of throwing the doors open to either primary or secondary trading.

Primary trading is defined and regulated by an authority; secondary trading involves a direct exchange between airlines. The (EU) has traditionally insisted that secondary transfers should not involve monetary compensation, but has consistently turned a blind eye to such activities. In the UK, secondary trading is entrenched at Heathrow, one of the region’s most capacity constrained airports, and has created a thriving gray market.

The Transport Council’s general approach would permit secondary trading between airlines, but would also allow member states to introduce charges for carriers that return unused slots to the slot pool too late for re-allocation. It would also strengthen the independence of, and cooperation between, slot coordinators and enhance the transparency of the allocation process. To ensure that capacity allocation at individual airports does not adversely impact the European air traffic network, the Single European Sky (SES) network manager would remain integral to the allocation process.

Concerns about the possible negative impact of secondary trading on less lucrative regional flights and the potential speculative use of traded slots have been addressed through inclusion of a clause permitting states to apply temporary restrictions, where “a significant and demonstrable problem with second trading occurs.” Such restrictions would have to be transparent, non-discriminatory and proportionate, justified and subject to (EC) approval.

A “general approach” is a position agreed by the Council before the European Parliament has determined its position on the proposal in question. It can be used to negotiate the draft legislation that will lead to final adoption and subsequent entry into force of the legislative act.

November 2012: (IATA) Director General & (CEO) Tony Tyler said the European Union’s (EU) insistence on including aviation in its Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), and the controversy that has erupted over its stance, is “poisoning the atmosphere that is needed to achieve a global approach” on managing airplane carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions at (ICAO).

Speaking to the Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO) AGM in Algiers, Tyler said the (EU) is “continuing to pursue its unilateral and extra-territorial scheme is dividing the world and recklessly risking a trade war.” He added that, regardless of their views on the impact of airplane CO2 emissions on the global climate, a wide-array of non-(EU) nations have united against aviation’s inclusion in the (EU ETS). “The crux of the issue is sovereignty,” he said. “States outside of Europe view Europe’s plans to tax non-European airlines flying in non-European airspace as an attack on their sovereignty. Saudi Arabia is the latest state to forbid its carriers from participating. China, India and Russia have done the same. The USA is moving in that direction.”

Tyler said the (EU) needs to identify an off-ramp before the issue boils over. “Europe needs to find a way of relieving the pressure that it has created. There is no time to lose.”

Later in this month, the (EU) suspended aviation inclusion in the (EU ETS) for international flights for a period of one year to allow time for (ICAO) to finalize a global scheme. - - SEE ATTACHED "AIRLINER WORLD" ARTICLE - - "ITA-2012-11 EU ETS U TURN."

(EU) Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard said the decision to “stop the clock” on the (EU ETS) was “a gesture of good faith” taken in response to a recent (ICAO) council meeting. That meeting agreed to initiate a high-level political process to whittle down the three options currently under consideration for a regulatory market-based mechanism (MBM) to a single preferred solution. Of particular relevance to the Commission was the council’s explicit reference to the need for a global (MBM).

Hedegaard said: “Our regulatory scheme was adopted after having waited many years for (ICAO) to progress. Now it seems that because of some countries' dislike of our scheme, many countries are prepared to move in (ICAO), and even to move toward a Market Based Mechanism (MBM) at global level.”

However, she stressed the (EU) was not willing to wait indefinitely and that if progress within (ICAO) was not forthcoming at next autumn’s (ICAO) Assembly, the inclusion of international aviation in the (EU ETS) would be reactivated.

"Let me be very clear: if this exercise does not deliver — and I hope it does, then needless to say we are back to where we are today with the (EU ETS). Automatically," Hedegaard said.

She called on all parties to contact (ICAO) “to engage urgently to take advantage of the window of opportunity that the (EU) was offering.” The suspension means the (EU) will not require allowances to be surrendered in April 2013 for emissions to and from the (EU) during 2012. The monitoring and reporting obligations will also be deferred for such flights. However, the obligations relating to all flights within the (EU) remain unchanged.

(IATA) Director General & (CEO), Tony Tyler said the Commission’s decision “clearly recognizes the progress that has been made towards a global solution for managing aviation’s carbon emissions by (ICAO).”

He said that details of how the suspension would be administered at a technical level remained to be clarified, and the proposal still needed ratification by (EU) states and Parliament. However, it reflected (EU) willingness to “create the space” for the (ICAO) process to succeed. “The flexibility shown by the (EC) demonstrates that the (ICAO) process is working, and we look forward to seeing all parties working together to present positive proposals to the (ICAO) Assembly in September 2013,” Tyler said.

For the most part, the air transport industry has reacted positively to this news. Airbus (EDS) (CEO), Fabrice Brégier said: “Last week’s (ICAO) Council brings the aviation industry one step closer to a coordinated, globally acceptable approach to better manage civil aviation emissions. The positive cooperation between (ICAO) and the (EC) provides the international community with a real chance to make progress on a worldwide agreement on aviation CO2 emissions.”

The response from Europe’s airlines has been more subdued because intra-(EU) flights are still included in the (EU ETS). The moratorium is nevertheless acknowledged as a means of breaking the deadlock on global aviation emissions and averting a potential trade war over the issue. The USA, China and India have spearheaded international opposition to the scheme and have threatened retaliatory action.

The Association of European Airlines (AEA) said the (EC)’s decision “firmly placed the task of finding an effective mechanism to manage airlines’ CO2 emissions in the hands of (ICAO) — which is where, the (AEA) has consistently argued, it should have been all along.” (AEA) acting Secretary General, Athar Husain Khan said: “As international tensions over the issue have escalated, European airlines have been facing the very real prospect of discrimination and retaliation in our most important global markets. Indeed, some (AEA) members have already encountered operational obstacles with regard to certain countries.” However, the (AEA) said the continued inclusion of intra-(EU) flights in the (EU ETS) was “clearly an unsatisfactory situation in anything but the shortest term.” Khan said that “since these are such a tiny proportion of worldwide CO2, it shows the inability of a purely regional scheme to have a meaningful impact on what is a global issue.”

A lone voice of dissent, the European Low Fares Airline Association (ELFAA) said it “strongly condemns” the (EC)'s decision. (ELFAA) Secretary General, John Hanlon said: “To continue to require compliance in respect of intra-(EU) flights only, is to not only impugn the environmental credentials of (EU ETS) but to impose a highly unfair and discriminatory burden on (EU) citizens flying within Europe.” The (ELFAA) has been a staunch supporter of the (EU ETS) as an appropriate market mechanism, conditional on its environmental effectiveness. It argues that 80% of (EU) aviation emissions result from long-haul flights and only 20% from intra-(EU), so “the proposed reduction in scope would clearly forfeit (EU ETS) any valid claim to environmental effectiveness.”

The (ELFAA) said the European Parliament should not “countenance such a discriminatory and highly distortive retreat by the (EC) in response to political pressure” and insist that any moratorium be extended to all flights within the scope of (EU ETS).”

Ryanair (RYR) similarly urged complete removal of aviation from the (EU ETS) and not just foreign carriers that “refused to pay for the misplaced environmental guilt of (EU) tree-huggers.” It said the continuation of the eco tax “will damage traffic, tourism, European competitiveness and jobs at a time when no other economic block is including aviation in their (EU ETS) schemes.”

The China Air Transport Association (CATA) has welcomed the European Union’s (EU) decision to suspend its Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) for flights into and out of Europe for one year to allow time for (ICAO) to finalize a global scheme. (CATA) Deputy Secretary General, Chai Haibo called the decision a “sensible choice.” “The (EU’)s (ETS) development showed that it started to move from unilateral action to a global solution through (ICAO)’s multilateral negotiations. China will take an active part in (ICAO)’s negotiations to address the aviation carbon emission issue and, hopefully, (ICAO) can develop a global system to tackle airlines’ carbon emissions [by its next general assembly in September 2013],” Chai said.

The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) has given a “cautious welcome” to the (EU ETS) development. “In making this long overdue move, the (EU) has finally bowed to the inevitable — in effect acknowledging that it cannot unilaterally impose the scheme on non-(EU) airlines without the consent of other governments,” (AAPA) Director General, Andrew Herdman said.

China is among the countries that voiced the strongest opposition against (EU ETS). In February, the Chinese government’s state council issued a statement prohibiting Chinese carriers from participating in the (EU ETS) without government approval. In addition, China also threatened to launch a possible trade war against (EU ETS) following reports that Hainan Airlines (HNA) threatened to cancel an order for 10 A380s for its Hong Kong Airlines (CRY) subsidiary. In addition, China’s opposition to the (EU ETS) prevented Lufthansa (DLH) from obtaining rights to operate an A380 on its Shanghai - Frankfurt route, according to (DLH) Chairman & (CEO), Christoph Franz.

Speaking at the opening session of the Latin American & Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA) Airline Leaders Forum in Panama City, (IATA) Director General & (CEO) Tony Tyler reiterated the (EC)’s move “creates space at the (ICAO) level” to forge a “political agreement” on how to control aviation emissions globally. Airlines that found unity in opposition to the (EU ETS) must now come together to push (ICAO) toward a sensible agreement, he added. “The [(ETS) delay] decision puts pressure on the [airline] industry,” he said. “Now we must find a common position. No solution is going to satisfy every airline 100%. We will need to find the fairest possible compromise, remaining consistent at global and regional levels. If we fail or lose unity, that opens the door for individual governments to pick us apart and impose solutions that will, quite probably, be more expensive and less workable for our complex global industry.”

USA President, Barack Obama signed into law on November 27th legislation that enables USA’s Transportation Secretary to “prohibit” USA airlines from participating in the European Union’s (EU) Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).

After the European Commission (EC) agreed earlier this month to temporarily suspend the (EU ETS) for flights to/from the (EU), the USA House of Representatives went ahead and cleared the anti-(ETS) bill passed by the Senate in September, moving the legislation to the President’s desk. Obama signing the bill doesn’t start the international battle that might have ensued had he done so before the (EC)’s temporary back down, but the law theoretically gives the USA more leverage in future negotiations.

Airlines for America (A4A) President & (CEO), Nicholas Calio said that Obama’s signing of the bill “sent an unequivocal signal to the (EU)” that the (ETS) is “illegal and unilaterally imposed.” He reiterated USA airlines’ call for “a global sectoral approach at the international level” to regulate airplane carbon dioxide emissions.

The law signed by Obama states that the Transportation Secretary can bar USA carriers from participating in the (EU ETS) if doing so would be “in the public interest,” particularly taking into account “the impacts on USA consumers, USA carriers and USA operators; the impacts on the economic, energy and environmental security of the United States; and the impacts on USA foreign relations, including existing international commitments.”

It additionally green lights the Transportation Secretary (currently Ray LaHood) to “take other actions under existing authorities to hold operators of civil airplanes of the United States harmless from the (EU ETS).” The law also gives the Secretary the authority to “reassess” a prohibition on USA airlines' participation in the (EU ETS) if the (EU) amends the scheme or an international agreement on airplane emissions is reached.

USA House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman, John Mica (Republican - Florid.) said, “I am pleased that this measure has been signed by the President over suggestions by some environmental groups to veto the bill. The law signed today is a clear signal that the United States will not accept the (EU)’s go-it-alone attempt to impose emissions taxes on other nations for activities far outside the (EU)’s own borders.”

Canadian air navigation services provider (ANSP) NAV Canada has signed an agreement to acquire up to a controlling interest in Aireon, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Iridium Communications, creating a joint venture (JV) that will provide satellite-based airplane tracking anywhere in the world. The Aireon (JV), announced in June, will use Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Extended Squitter receivers installed as an additional payload on each of the 66 Iridium NEXT second-generation satellites to be launched between 2015 and 2017. The cross-linked Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites will, for the first time, make it possible to track airplanes from pole-to-pole, including oceanic airspace and remote regions, facilitating fuel savings, greenhouse gas emissions reduction, and enhanced safety and efficiency for airspace users.

Under the agreement, NAV Canada will make an aggregate total investment of up to $150 million in five tranches, each dependent on the achievement of performance milestones. Payment for the first tranche (amounting to $15 million and representing 5.1% of the fully diluted equity of Aireon) was made on November 19. The final tranche is scheduled for late 2017, and NAV Canada's preferred membership interest could ultimately represent up to 51%. In that event, Iridium would retain 49% ownership of Aireon.

NAV Canada President & (CEO), John Crichton said, "Despite the progress being made around the world, we are all limited by the geography of the world's oceans, and by mountain ranges and remote areas that are difficult to reach. Aireon promises to circumvent these geographical barriers, extending the benefits of (ADS-B) surveillance far beyond what was previously thought possible.”

He said the Aireon partnership also “opens the door to collaboration with other air navigation service providers in other parts of the world.” NAV Canada will also participate in Aireon as a customer, deploying this satellite-based surveillance capability on the North Atlantic. NAV Canada estimates this could generate fuel savings of more than >$100 million per year as well as a reduction in CO2 emissions of up to -263,000 metric tons annually. Crichton said: "The level of future savings to airlines and airplane operators will quickly recoup our planned investment, thus providing this project with a strong business case based on customer and environmental benefits."

Once Aireon's data service is established, other (ANSP)s will be able to subscribe for their own flight information regions. Iridium would then also expect to receive annual data fee revenue in addition to the approximately $200 million in one-time hosting fees that Aireon plans to generate for the integration and launch of the payloads between 2014 and 2017.

The (FAA) upgraded Israel’s aviation safety rating to Category 1, allowing Israeli carriers to add new flights and service to theUnited States and carry the code of USA carriers.

The upgraded rating comes following the (FAA)’s International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) review of Israel’s civil aviation authority in October. The Category 1 rating qualifies Israel as being in compliance with (ICAO) standards.

The (FAA) originally downgraded Israel to a Category 2 rating in 2008. Israel's civil aviation authority worked with the (FAA) on an action plan to bring its aviation safety oversight system to within full compliance with (ICAO) standards.


December 2012: Airlines for America (A4A) has launched a campaign for a National Airline Policy to ensure the USA airline industry remains globally competitive. The policy is aimed at reducing air travel taxes, reforming regulatory burden on the airline industry, modernizing the air traffic system, ensuring USA carriers can compete globally and stabilizing energy prices. It will also spur economic growth and create more high-paying USA jobs, (A4A) said.

(A4A) President & (CEO), Nicholas Calio said a National Airline Policy is good for passengers and shippers, businesses and the economy because it will “take a holistic look at what impedes the industry from competing globally, including high taxes, excessive regulation, infrastructure challenges and volatile fuel prices.”

He said the USA airline industry “safely and efficiently transports 2 million customers and 50,000 tons of cargo every day, and is a critical driver of the USA economy, creating $1 trillion in economic activity and 10 million jobs. We can do even more in an environment that recognizes the airlines as a national asset.”

(A4A) said a National Airline Policy would help keep ticket prices affordable; reduce flight delays, decrease missed connections and cancellations; lower fuel burn and related emissions; ensure USA carriers could compete globally and maintain air service to smaller communities; and would support a balanced and comprehensive national energy policy.

Throughout 2013, it aims to build a coalition of state and local organizations and businesses to support the campaign.

Separately, the organization announced it elected Southwest Airlines (SWA) Chairman, President & (CEO), Gary Kelly as Chairman of the (A4A) board. Kelly succeeds Delta Air Lines (DAL) (CEO), Richard Anderson. United Airlines (UAL) Chairman, President & (CEO), Jeffery Smisek was elected to serve as Vice Chairman. (A4A) President & (CEO), Nicholas Calio said Kelly will lead the organization as it continues to push to further a National Airline Policy, “which is critical to America’s economic growth, our communities, our infrastructure and the traveling public.”

Kelly said, “The USA airline industry plays a vital role in the overall health of our nation’s economy. I look forward to the opportunity to work with my industry peers to advocate for a National Airline Policy and serve our passengers, our employees and our communities.”

The European Commission (EC) has been pressing member states to comply with "Single European Sky" targets. But as it turns out, many of them do not and that does not bode well for one of Europe's key aviation policy projects, which aims to eliminate national borders, triple European airspace capacity and halve air traffic control (ATC) costs by 2020.

National interests and powerful labor unions continue to override cross-border collaboration and the economic rationale of forging a single European airspace, of which the first initiatives date to the late 1990s. The (EC) is now trying to provide the project new traction with a third package of legislative measures in spring 2013 and the threat of legal action against member states for failing to comply with a directive to make nine Functional Airspace Blocks (FABs) fully operational by the December 4 deadline.

“We will take every possible action to make the Single European Sky a reality,” (EC) VP & Transport Commissioner, Siim Kallas vows. “At a time of economic crisis, we cannot afford to live with the status quo. Right now, the implementation of the reform of Europe's airspace is falling seriously behind. (FAB)s are the cornerstone of the Single European Sky infrastructure and a critical deadline has been missed.”

The establishment of the (FAB)s is spelled out in the comprehensive Single Sky II (SES II) legislative framework. It reorganizes the multitude of air traffic control centers (close to 70) and air navigation service providers (ANSP) (more than >30) into only nine airspace blocks, based on operational requirements and established regardless of national boundaries. The (FAB)s cover the airspace of all 27 European Union member states plus four bordering countries—Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Norway and Switzerland (SEE ATTACHED MAP - - "ITA-2012-12-SINGLE EUROPEAN SKY").

The (FAB) agreements were mostly in place by the deadline, yet as International Air Transport Association Director General/(CEO), Tony Tyler points out, “There are no signs of real consolidation or efficiencies of scale. (EU) member states have paid lip-service to European legislators and turned this key reform into an administrative box-ticking exercise and continue to operate their (ANSP)s in silos.” Matthew Baldwin, Director Air Transport at the (EC)'s Directorate General Mobility & Transport, describes the (FAB)s as “empty shells” lacking substantive air traffic management agreements within them.

Kallas has publicly criticized the member states, citing their “undue protection of national interests” for the lack of progress implementing a single-European airspace. At the (EU) Aviation Summit in Cyprus in October, the Commissioner asked the inevitable: “Have we really lost a decade? Inefficiencies caused by Europe's fragmented airspace impose extra costs of around €5 billion/$6.5 billion per year.”

The yearly €5 billion burden to airlines due to en route delay and gate-to-gate inefficiencies averages about €530 per flight (at 2011 prices), according to the Association of European Airlines (AEA). “The elimination of circuitous routings, inefficient flight profiles and holding patterns could reduce airlines' carbon footprint by as much as -12% and save -16 million tons of CO2 emissions annually,” (AEA) Chairman, Bernard Gustin says.

January 2013: Industry profitability remained roughly unchecked in 2012, despite the tough economic climate for many this year's "Airline Business World Annual Rankings" show.

Operating profits among the leading 150 carriers by revenues increased slightly to more than >$20 billion. However, the fact that net profits remained much lower (and indeed slipped by almost a billion to under $4 billion for the year) illustrates the extent to which restructuring continues to take place in the industry.

Revenues for the top 150 airlines were up nearly +$30 billion in 2012 to just shy of $700 billion. "The new [economic] norm applies to the USA and Europe. When you get outside of these areas (in Asia, Middle East, Africa and Latin America) the markets are still growing. Maybe not quite as fast as recently, but still at +5% to +10%.

Revenue and traffic growth was relatively constrained in Europe and North America. Revenues grew nearly +2% and just over >+3% among European and North American carriers, respectively, last year. By contrast, revenues grew +5% in Africa and Asia, and +12% in the Middle East. Likewise traffic grew only +2% as North American airlines kept the tight grip on capacity which has helped lift yields, while the fast growing Middle East carriers increased traffic +13%.

Lufthansa (DLH) was the biggest airline group in 2012 by airline revenues. The German group generated revenues of just short of $39 billion last year, putting it just ahead of United Airlines (UAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL) and AirFrance (AFA)-(KLM) groups.

The rankings show (DAL) as the largest operator by traffic and passenger number, while (UAL) was the second biggest. American Airlines (AAL), if it completes its merger with US Airways (AMW)/(USA), would be even bigger, based on 2012 numbers.

The Montreal/Geneva-based (IATA) is celebrating the 100th anniversary of commercial aviation this year.

Airline passenger traffic worldwide increased by +5.3% in 2012 compared to 2011.

(IATA) also reports the full-year traffic data for 2012 showed a decline of -1.5% for air cargo traffic compared to 2011. That marks the second consecutive year of a drop in international air cargo traffic, following a decline of -0.6% in 2011. “Growth and high airplane utilization combined to help airlines deliver an estimated +$6.7 billion profit in 2012 despite high fuel prices. But with a net profit margin of just 1%, the industry is only just keeping its head above water,” said Tony Tyler, (CEO) of (IATA).

(IATA) said the strongest growth in international passenger traffic in 2012 came from emerging markets such as the Middle East which posted a +15.4% increase over 2011 and Latin America which posted a +8.4% increase.

Tyler said the drop in air cargo was due largely to a decline in world trade, and countries choosing to utilize sea shipping more for bulk commodities. The largest drop in air cargo traffic occurred in the Asia-Pacific region, which posted a -5.5% year-over-year decline.

“We are entering 2013 with some guarded optimism. Business confidence is up. The Eurozone situation is more stable than it was a year-ago and the USA avoided the "fiscal cliff." Significant headwinds remain. There is no end in sight for high fuel prices and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth is projected at just +2.3%. But improved business confidence should help cargo markets to recover the lost ground from 2012,” said Tyler.

The Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA) has criticized a +150% increase in taxes and landing fees at Curacao Airport. Curacao Airport Partners (the international consortium that manages Curacao International Airport) announced the hike November 30 and made it effective December 1.

According to (ALTA), the increase includes all passenger facility charges (PFCs) and landing fees.

The organization has sent an official message to the Minister of Traffic, Transport & Regional Planning of Curacao, protesting the “unjustified measure to increase airport revenues at the expense of passengers and carriers.” “Raising taxes by +150% from one day to the next is drastic and unheard of,” the organization stated. It pointed out that “although the Curacao airport authority will assume the cost of the (PFC) increase on tickets previously sold at a price that included the existing (PFC), if the flight date on said tickets is within three months of the new charges becoming effective, carriers will be forced to absorb the additional taxes on tickets already sold for flights departing after February 28, 2013.” (ALTA) and its 35 airline members called the initiative “deplorable,” contrary to (ICAO)’s recommended practices and detrimental to Curacao’s tourism. The organization said the industry supports 5.4 million jobs in Latin America and the Caribbean and $125 billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the region, while 4 million additional jobs are supported “through the catalytic impacts of travel and tourism.”

Airline groups are joining forces to protest Curacao Airport’s +150% fee increase in taxes and landing fees. Curacao Airport Partners (CAP) (the international consortium that manages Curacao International Airport) announced the hike on November 30, 2012 and made it effective on December 1, 2012.

(CAA) President, Germaine Richie pointed out that “not only is Curacao’s one of the most expensive airports to operate, but we are downgraded to CAT II by the (FAA) for not having followed rules and regulations, which continues to be the case even after the downgrading.”

February 2013: The European Regions Airline Association (ERA) is looking to expand to new regions including Eastern Europe and Central Asia. (ERA) Director General, Simon McNamara said that its 51 member airlines continue to feel the pinch of the economic downturn. “It is a very challenging period for regional airlines, but it is not new when we look back on the past five years,” he said.

Several regional airlines (including Cirrus Air and OLT Express Germany) have ceased operations over the past year. Others face uncertain futures as mainline carriers end partnerships with regional carriers. “There is no doubt consolidation in the industry is going on, particularly in the core of Europe,” McNamara said.

He sees huge opportunities in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, which are still regulated, but said that as they become deregulated, (ERA) is very interested in them. Other new regions could also include places such as Kazakhstan, Ukraine or even Russia, he said.

McNamara believes there will be further consolidations, mergers and bankruptcies across the board as competition remains a strategic issue. He also said that regulation, which adds complexity and cost, needs to be simplified. He expects passenger traffic for (ERA) members to decrease for 2012. “For the full-year 2013, I will anticipate either neutral growth or a small reduction in capacity,” he said.

(ERA) members carry 70.6 million passengers on 1.6 million flights to 426 destinations in 61 European countries annually.

(ICAO) has called on the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO) to consider creating a safety evaluation audit program similar to the (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) program and a similar initiative by the Airports Council International (ACI).

President of the (ICAO) Council, Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez told the inaugural World (ATM) Congress in Madrid that this would bring the information sharing arrangements of the four main partners in aviation safety (regulators, airspace users, air navigation service providers and airports) under one safety umbrella.

"We could all share important information coming from our evaluations and we could then focus our resources and work programs where they are most needed and where they would yield maximum results," he said. He acknowledged that this would be "a long term undertaking," but argued that it would represent "a giant step forward to improve safety to match traffic growth."

(CANSO) Director General, Jeff Poole said: "It is an idea that has been round for a while, but we need to consider if it is something that we should pursue strategically, because it adds value in terms of safety. We will look at it to see if it makes sense." He stressed there was some concern from (ANSP)s that are already highly regulated, that it would simply add yet another layer of safety evaluation and monitoring, but acknowledged the information sharing value of such a scheme.

"If we do move forward with it, perhaps we should consider a soft start along the lines of the (IATA) program," Poole said. (IOSA) was initially introduced on a voluntary basis, but later became a requirement for membership.

Poole acknowledged that (IOSA) helped to build the credibility of (IATA) as organization and said that it could perhaps help to create a similar level of critical mass for (CANSO). However, he pointed out that there were many existing opportunities for data sharing and pointed out that the memorandum of cooperation (MOC) signed in Madrid between (CANSO) and (ICAO) stressed the need for improved data sharing.

The (MOC) supports the establishment of an aviation safety intelligence model, which (CANSO) describes as "a shared safety data bank that brings together all aviation industry stakeholders in the collection, analysis, and sharing of safety information."

(ICAO) has adopted a new noise standard with more stringent requirements for future commercial airplanes. The Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection agreed to lower the current standard by seven Effective Perceived Noise Decibels, compared to the current Chapter 4 Standard, which became effective in 2006.

The new stringent noise standard will apply to new-design airplanes entering service from 2017 and for lower weight airplanes entering service from 2020. The new standard will be presented for final review and approval by the (ICAO) Council later this year and will come into force on December 31, 2017. “This new noise standard is an important step for aviation and will provide a much quieter environment for the many communities living in proximity to the world’s airports,” (ICAO) Secretary General, Raymond Benjamin said. “(ICAO) is encouraged that, while it took air transport more than >20 years to agree to the last significant noise reduction standard, this one has been determined in less than half that time. This progress confirms our community’s continued determination to deliver on tangible and consensus-based environmental improvements.”

Airbus (EDS) said new standard is another major step in how the global commercial aviation industry is pro-actively addressing environmental protection. (EDS) President, Fabrice Brégier said, “Over the past 40 years, Airbus (EDS) has put a lot of effort into reducing noise at source and to bringing the quietest airplane to the market.”

Airbus (EDS) said all its development airplanes (the A320neo family and A350 XWB) are designed to be compliant with the new noise standard.

(IATA) also supported the agreement. Director General & (CEO), Tony Tyler said, “Air transport is already 75% quieter than it was four decades ago and the industry will continuously pursue cost-effective noise management options to reduce the number of people subject to airplane noise, in line with our broader global commitments on sustainability and environmental performance.”

By 2015, the way airlines, airports and customers interact and exchange information will be modernized by Information Technology (IT) innovations, according to a report released by European air transportation communications specialist (SITA).

Based on (SITA)’s recent surveys of airlines, airports and passengers worldwide, by 2015, airlines and airports expect the Web and mobile phones to be the top two sales channels used to purchase airline tickets. Additionally 90% of airlines will offer mobile check-ins and provide flight updates using smart phone apps and more than >80% of airports and airlines will invest in business intelligence (BI) solutions aimed at improving customer service.

“We are seeing more than a >100% increase year-over-year in booking flights and ancillary revenue purchases via our mobile apps,” said Phil Easter, Director Mobile Apps for American Airlines (AAL).

According to the report, self-service, aided by smart phones, will continue to increase for air travelers as well. Near-field communication (NFC) chips is a technology being developed and improved to be embedded in smart phones so that passengers can check-in or board their flights with their flight information stored in the chips. Japan Airlines (JAL) currently has an Android app that it hopes will soon allow passengers to tap to pass through boarding gates at airports equipped with (NFC) readers.

(SITA) said passengers expressed some concern with the privacy issues related to the modernization of the travel experience being offered by airlines and airports, with 55% of passengers surveyed, refusing to sharing personal data.

However, with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicting that airlines will carry about 3.6 billion passengers in 2016 (an increase of 800 million from 2011) airlines and airports are looking to collaboratively use technology to ensure that they can handle the predicted increase in capacity in a cost-effective way.

“The outlook for collaboration and data sharing over the next three years is positive,” (SITA) said in the report. “The challenge for airlines and airports is to break down the barriers to sharing and collaboration. Furthermore, to access better information about their customers they will need to work harder to convince them of the benefits.”

Members of the European Low Fares Airline Association (ELFAA) broke through the 200 million passenger mark in 2012, continuing their upward trend year-on-year despite the difficult financial environment.

(ELFAA) member airlines: EasyJet (EZY), Flybe (BEE), Jet2.com (JT2), Norwegian (NWG), Ryanair (RYR), Sverigeflyg, Transavia.com (TAV), Volotea (VLT), Vueling (VUZ), and Wizz Air (WZZ). They carried 202.4 million passengers in 2012, up +7.2% on the previous year. Their fleet grew +9.4% in 2012 and load factor remained stable at an average of 83.2% LF year-over-year.

(ELFAA) Secretary General, John Hanlon said the latest figures “show (ELFAA) airlines continuing to thrive, despite the many challenges facing our industry sector, such as ongoing injections of illegal state aid to flagship carriers such as (SAS), and the ongoing failure to implement the Single European Sky. These results demonstrate that the low-cost business model is not only sustainable, even during difficult economic times, but also provides an attractive and affordable travel option for consumers.”

He warned, however, that “a very real threat” lay in plans to implement a partial moratorium on application of the (EU) Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) to all flights other than intra-(EU) flights. “This highly discriminatory proposal will, if adopted, not only distort competition, but decimate the environmental effectiveness of (EU ETS), 80% of (EU) aviation emissions of CO2 resulting from long-haul flights. (ELFAA) has urged the European Parliament and Council to reject this ill-conceived and damaging proposal,” Hanlon said.

March 2013: There was one hull loss for every 5 million flights of Western-built jet airplanes in 2012, the lowest accident rate for a single year ever, the (IATA) reported.

In terms of accidents as measured in hull losses per million flights of Western-built jets, the 2012 accident rate was 0.20, -46% lower than 0.37 in 2011.

There were six hull loss accidents involving Western-built jets in 2012, down from 11 in 2011. There were three fatal hull loss Western-built jet accidents last year, down from five in 2011. (IATA)’s more than >240 member airlines had no Western-built jet hull losses in 2012. “The industry’s 2012 record safety performance was the best in history,” (IATA) Director General & (CEO), Tony Tyler said. “Each day, approximately 100,000 flights arrive safely at their destination.”

For all airplane types (including turboprops and Eastern-built airplanes) there were 75 hull loss accidents in 2012, down from 92 in 2011, (IATA) said. There were 15 fatal accidents for all airplane types last year, down from 22 in 2011.

Total airline accident fatalities globally, stood at 414 in 2012, down -14.8% from 486 the previous year.

The 2012 Western-built jet hull loss rate per million flights was 0.00 in North America, the Middle East/North Africa, North Asia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The 2012 accident rate was 0.15 in Europe, 0.42 in Latin America & the Caribbean, and 0.48 in the Asia-Pacific region.

Africa’s accident rate of 3.71 was by far the worst worldwide last year. Africa’s “overall [safety] performance is far from satisfactory,” Tyler said. “It should be as safe to travel by air in Africa as it is in any other part of the world.”

Russia’s commercial aviation safety record improved in 2012, according to the Federal Air Transport Agency, Rosaviatsia. In its annual report, Rosaviatsia said there were six fatal accidents last year, down from 10 in 2011. In 2012, 58 people were killed in crashes, down from 119 in 2011. The number of non-fatal accidents decreased from eight in 2011 to seven last year. The accidents in Russia were on both Western- and Russian-built airplanes.

In April, a UTair (TYU) ATR72 airplane crashed shortly after taking off in Siberia, killing 31 of the 43 people on board. In September, an Antonov An-28, operated by Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky Air Enterprise, crashed on approach to a small town on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula, killing 10 people. At the end of the year, a Red Wings Airlines Tupolev Tu-204 overshot a runway at a Moscow Airport and crashed into a road, killing four people.

Airlines for America (A4A) President & (CEO), Nicholas Calio reiterated his call for the USA government to reduce the tax and regulatory burden on the nation’s airlines. The USA airline industry’s top lobbyist noted there are 17 separate federal taxes and fees imposed on airlines, some of which date back to the 1970s. The taxes are “a hodge-podge thrown together over the years without any guiding rationale or consideration of their overall impact on demand or affordability.” Calio said a $300 flight ticket typically contains $61 in taxes and fees, which airlines are now required by law to advertise as part of the fare price. “In no other industry is pricing done that way,” he said. “This allows the government to hide the ball on taxes and fees.”

He said airlines “fully expect” the Obama administration to propose raising airline security taxes in its next budget proposal, likely to be issued in March. “Quite simply, commercial aviation, while supposedly deregulated, is now among the most highly regulated industries in America,” Calio said. He pointed out that a rule being developed by the Department of Transportation (DOT) would require airlines to report revenue information “related to 19 separate items, including how much they collect for meals, drinks and upgrades.” He said other industries, such as passenger trains, ocean cruise lines and cable television companies, don’t have to report such a detailed breakdown of revenue.

Calio said USA airlines “need a rationalized, more normalized business environment” to prosper long-term, noting that the industry operated on a 0.1% profit margin in 2012. Airlines are pushing Congress to move to ease the tax and regulatory burden, and are hopeful legislation will be introduced this year. Calio conceded, however, that passing such legislation this year will be difficult.

But, Calio added, the disunity on public policy that has often characterized the USA airline industry in the past, has largely gone away. “We have a united industry, which is something we’ve never had before” and should give airlines more leverage with lawmakers, he said.

Global air freight traffic increased by +4.5% in January, according to the monthly air cargo report released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The increase was driven by demand in Asia and the Middle East, however, (IATA) said the volume of cargo shipped by air was still below levels reported during the same period in 2010 and 2011. The Middle East saw the highest overall year-on-year growth, with an increase in demand of +16.3% compared to January 2012. Growth in the Middle East was fueled by the addition of new capacity and routes in the region. Carriers in the Asia-Pacific region reported year-on-year demand growth of +7.1%, which (IATA) attributed to the timing of the 2013 Chinese New Year.

“The air freight business is showing some encouraging signs. But it’s too early to be overly optimistic. While the decline has stopped, overall volumes are still below the levels of 2010 and 2011. Load factors are low. And the global economy is fragile,” said Tony Tyler, (CEO) of (IATA). North American carriers experienced growth of just +0.6% in January. Airlines in Latin America reported the only regional decline for January, as year-on-year air freight traffic there decreased by -1.6%.

In 2012, global air cargo demand decreased by -1.5% for the year. Tyler said (IATA) is standing by its forecast of an increase of +1.4% for 2013. “Headwinds presented by the fragile global economic situation are strong. But if governments and all the players of the value chain are aligned, there is much that can be done to improve the competitiveness of the global air cargo industry,” said Tyler.

India will replace its Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) with a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), according to the Minister for Civil Aviation, Ajit Singh. He said the (CAA) would have greater financial and operational authority than the existing (DGCA). Its main functions would be to regulate and better manage civil aviation safety through safety oversight of airlines, airports, air navigation services and providers of civil aviation services. It will also be responsible for licensing, environmental regulation and consumer protection.

The Minister said that a bill creating the authority was likely to be introduced in the second part of the budget session of Parliament, which concludes in May. He said the (CAA) would be headed by a Chairperson supported by a Director Ggeneral and between seven and nine members, all appointed by central government on the recommendation of a selection committee.

The (CAA) will be financially autonomous and financed from a separate fund (the Civil Aviation Authority of India Fund) but will also have the power to fix and collect fees to become self-funding.

Singh said a shortage of adequately trained human resources (HR) was behind the proposal. He said the (DGCA) was tied by procedural and structural problems that made it difficult to recruit and retain adequate manpower. He pointed out that manpower had remained the same even though passenger traffic, cargo and aircraft movements had increased manifold.

“The (DGCA) is overloaded with increased work and under-staffed,” the Ministry said. “It has limited delegation of financial powers and is incapable of making adequate structural changes to meet the demands of a dynamic civil aviation sector. This necessitates replacement of the (DGCA) with a (CAA) that will have more administrative and financial power to deal with the fast-changing domestic and global aviation scenario.”

Eurocontrol’s impressive medium term forecast of flight numbers in Europe, covering 44 markets for the period 2012 to 2019, sees an average growth rate of +2.3% p a under its base case. It contains a number of key points concerning recent trends and the outlook for European airlines. Eurocontrol sees the weak traffic environment of 2012 continuing in 2013, with another year of falling flight numbers and winter seasons especially weak. However, it forecasts a recovery in 2014, and that Turkey will lead the superior growth of Eastern countries both in 2013 and through to 2019. Airport capacity constraints and competition from high speed rail are forecast to cut 1.6% from the total of flights in 2019.

For charter carriers, 2012 brought some welcome relief as flight numbers recovered from the impact of the Arab Spring in 2011, although they are still on a longer term, downward trend. Traditional carriers saw a fall in their share of flights in 2012 and this looks set to continue as (LCC)s are projected to increase their share further (especially in Central and Eastern Europe). The main point of comfort to traditional carriers is that growth rates to destinations outside Europe are forecast to be higher than within Europe.

The (EU)-USA "Open Skies" agreement came into force on 30 March 2008. The year before, in 2007, (IATA) had released a major report looking at the benefits of airline liberalization. After internal de-regulation within the USA and the (EU), and some limited moves in other parts of the world, the agreement was (and still is) the most significant step towards global aviation liberalization. The North Atlantic is the world’s largest intercontinental air traffic market and the eyes of the world were on it as it took this step.

The (EU)-USA "Open Skies" agreement opened up markets on both sides so that any carrier from either side could fly between any point in the (EU) and any point in the USA. It also provided for a second stage of negotiations aimed at loosening foreign ownership controls. This was signed in 2010, but has not so far been implemented.

With the fifth anniversary of "Open Skies" approaching, this analysis takes the opportunity to review the state of the North Atlantic market since 2008. The launch of "Open Skies" into the jaws of a global recession blurs its impact, but the main detectable results of "Open Skies" seem to be in the increased concentration of capacity in the hands of mega carriers and alliance (JV)s, with consequent benefits for load factors and yields.

Aerospace communications, integration and engineering specialist (ARINC) has won two contracts for its (vMUSE) passenger processing system. (ARINC) will install its (vMUSE) Enterprise cloud-based common use check-in system at Kazan Airport in the Russian province of Tatarstan.

It will install 40 workstations at Kazan, linked to a remote (ARINC) data center. The cloud-based (vMUSE) Enterprise is designed to give small- and medium-sized airports access to the same type and quality of services as (vMUSE) systems at major airports that run on on-site servers. Kazan normally handles one million passengers annually; the new system will assist in handling the estimated three million passengers expected to pass through the airport this summer for the Universiade sporting event being held locally.

Additionally, a three-year contract with the Egyptian Holding Company for Airports & Air Navigation will see (ARINC) installing (vMUSE) at five regional Egyptian airports: Abu Simbel, Aswan, Borg El Arab, Luxor, and Sharm El Sheikh.

The project involves installation of the core Common Use Passenger Processing Systems as well as providing remote Level 3 support.

April 2013: Global passenger numbers for February indicate that demand is accelerating on the back of stronger business confidence, particularly in emerging regions, according to (IATA). Passenger demand was up +3.7% compared to February 2012, but this figure actually masked improvements in recent months.

(IATA) said passenger demand has been growing at an annualized rate of +9% since October 2012, which appears to have been a turning point for air travel markets. This is almost double the growth trend over the first nine months of 2012. (IATA) Director General & (CEO), Tony Tyler said: “February’s performance was good news. Demand for air travel continues to rise on economic optimism and improved business confidence. But that comes with a few caveats. Much of the growth is concentrated on emerging markets. Europe continues to be a laggard. And the handling of the banking crisis in Cyprus has reminded all of us that the deep problems in the eurozone economies still remain.

Capacity was up +1% on the previous February and the industry load factor stood at 77.1% LF. “Airlines are carefully managing capacity expansion, which is keeping the load factor at a record high. This is helping the industry to remain profitable despite persistently high oil prices,” Tyler said.

In March, announcing the improved 2013 financial outlook for the world’s airlines, Tyler said, “The industry’s fortunes appear to be moving in the right direction. But the margins are wafer thin. And any shock could negatively impact the outlook.”

(IATA) (ITA) has appointed Warren Jones as Head of Cargo Network Service, effective April 24. Jones was previously the Aviation Development Manager at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and has more than >15 years’ experience in aviation and cargo issues.

(IATA) Director General, Tony Tyler has rolled out a series of changes, following harsh criticism of the association under its former leadership at the (IATA) 2011 annual general meeting.

Shortly after Tyler took the helm of (IATA) in July 2011, he launched a strategic review, which has resulted in a reorganization of its main divisions and regional offices. Under the revamp, (IATA)’s seven regional operations will be consolidated into five hubs: Amman, Beijing, Madrid, Miami, and Singapore. Each of these will be led by a regional VP who reports directly to Tyler.

North and South America will be consolidated into a Miami-based Americas region, led by new Regional VP, Peter Cerda, who was formerly Regional Director for Safety, Operations & Infrastructure for the Americas. Africa, Middle East & North Africa will be consolidated into the Africa & Middle East led by Amman-based Regional VP, Hussein Dabbas. The Structures & Regional VPs for Asia-Pacific, North Asia and Europe remain unchanged, with regional offices in Singapore, Beijing, and Madrid.

(IATA) is also expanding its head office divisions from four to five units: Airports, Passenger & Cargo Services (APCS); Member & External Relations (MER); Safety & Flight Operations (SFO); Financial & Distribution Services (FDS); and Marketing & Commercial Services (MACS).

The newly created (APCS) division will be led by Thomas Windmuller, who is currently Senior VP of Member & Government Relations. Director of Aviation Environment, Paul Steele has been promoted to become Senior VP of advocacy arm, (MER). Operations Division (SFO) will be headed by Guenther Matschnigg in a continuation of his current role as Senior VP of Safety Operations & Infrastructure.

Aleksander Popovich, who is currently Senior VP of Industry Distribution & Financial Services, will lead (FDS) in a continuation of his present role. Finally, Mark Hubble will continue to head up (IATA)’s commercial activities as Senior VP of (MACS).

The internal Corporate Services division remains under the leadership of (IATA) (CFO), Ayaz Hussein.

“This restructuring will enable (IATA) to meet these aspirations without redundancies or downsizing of the organization. The changes in divisions and regions do not impact or alter (IATA)’s governance processes,” (IATA) said.

(IATA), which represents 240 airlines world wide, will implement the changes from July 1.

May 2013: Governments must put more political will into sorting out air traffic management (ATM) mega-projects and also addressing the political issue of finding a global agreement for emission market-based-measures (MBMs), Tony Tyler, the head of (IATA) said.

The Functional Airspace Block Central Europe (FABEC) has moved a step closer to realization as the ratification process enters its final phase. All six participating states (Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland) have now deposited their instruments of ratification to the (FABEC) Treaty with the Belgian government, which will duly notify the ratification on their behalf to the European Commission (EC).

India is likely to oppose the reported European Union (EU) threat to impose fines on Air India (AIN) and Jet Airways (JPL) for not accepting (EU)’s emissions trading scheme (EU-ETS) and not reporting their emissions over European skies. Only these two Indian carriers, which fly to Europe, are likely to be slapped a total fine of around Euros 30,000, while eight Chinese carriers could face fines totalling Euros 2.4 million euros, they said.

Refusing to be cowed down to the (EU) threat, the officials said the two Indian carriers operate a total of about 5 - 6 flights a day, while their European counterparts together operated 30 - 40 daily flights to India. On top of this, several European carriers overfly India for which they require permission. The officials said India had the option of taking counter-measures which could “prove costly for European carriers.” Indian airlines also have major airplane orders from European firms like Airbus (EDS) and its parent company, (EADS), which constitute Europe’s most important exports. India had last year joined Russia, China, the USA and about 18 other major countries in opposing (EU-ETS).

India and China had also asked their airlines not to participate in a permit system that entitled them and other producers of greenhouse gases like a steel factory, to emit greenhouse gases by paying for the right to emit them. Officials said India and several other nations, which are major aviation nations, have been opposing the (EU-ETS) as it was “ultra vires and went counter to the provisions of the (UN body) International Civil Aviation Organization.

June 2013: Delta Air Lines (DAL) (CEO), Richard Anderson has become the new Chairman of the (IATA) board of governors. Anderson succeeds Qantas Airways (QAN) (CEO) and Managing Director, Alan Joyce, whose one-year term expired at the conclusion of the (IATA) (AGM) in Cape Town.

July 2013: Conviasa (VCV) and Philippine Airlines (PAL) have been cleared to resume services to the European Union (EU) in the latest (EU) blacklist update.

All carriers from the Philippines were banned from European airspace in 2010, but the European Commission (EC) said the Philippine authorities have improved their safety oversight and Philippine Airlines (PAL) has met the standards needed for the ban to be lifted. “For all other carriers registered in the Philippines, the ban remains,” the (EC) said in its first blacklist update since December 2012.

Conviasa (VCV), which has been on the list since April 2012, has now resolved its “serious safety deficiencies” following a European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) audit in Spain and an (ICAO) check in Venezuela, according to the (EC).

It also praised Libya’s progress, but said Libyan authorities have agreed to maintain a voluntary ban on their airlines operating to Europe until they reach full compliance with international safety standards. Sudan and Mozambique were likewise highlighted for their “good progress” and the (EC) recognized reform efforts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Libya, Mauritania, Mozambique, Philippines, Russia and Sudan.

“Today we confirmed our willingness to remove countries and airlines from the list, if they show real commitment and capacity to implement international safety standards in a sustainable manner. Beside Philippines, Venezuela and Mauritania, good signs of progress are also coming from a number of other African countries,” (EC) VP Transport, Siim Kallas said.

Air Madagascar (MAD), which is not banned but remains under strict limitations and restrictions, was granted permission to operate another airplane.

The (EU) has a blanket ban on 20 countries covering 278 airlines with a few named exceptions. It has also banned two individual airlines (Surinam’s Blue Wing Airlines and Meridian Airways (CPB) from Ghana) taking the blacklist total to 280 airlines. A further 10 airlines are allowed to operate under strict conditions.

Countries where all operators are banned comprise: Afghanistan, Angola, Benin, Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon (with three exceptions), Indonesia (with five exceptions), Kazakhstan (with one exception), Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Mozambique, Philippines (with one exception), Sierra Leone, Sao Tome & Principe, Sudan, Swaziland, and Zambia.

Philippine Airlines (PAL) is planning to relaunch European services after a 15-year break now that it has been removed from the European Union (EU) blacklist.

Industry profitability remained roughly unchecked in 2012 despite the tough economic climate for many, this year's Airline Business World Annual Rankings show:
Operating profits among the leading 150 carriers by revenues increased slightly to more than >$20 billion. However, the fact that net profits remained much lower (and indeed slipped by almost a billion to under $4 billion for the year) illustrates the extent to which restructuring continues to take place in the industry.

Revenues for the top 150 airlines were up nearly +$30 billion in 2012 to just shy of $700 billion. "The new [economic] norm applies to the USA and Europe. When you get outside of these areas (in Asia, Middle East, Africa and Latin America) the markets are still growing. Maybe not quite as fast as recently, but still at +5% to +10%. Those are not small growth rates," notes Roger de Peyrecave, partner at (PwC).

Revenue and traffic growth was relatively constrained in Europe and North America. Revenues grew nearly +2% and just over >3% among European and North American carriers, respectively, last year. By contrast, revenues grew +5% in Africa and Asia, and +12% in the Middle East. Likewise, traffic grew only +2% as North American airlines kept the tight grip on capacity which has helped lift yields, while the fast growing Middle East carriers increased traffic +13%.

Lufthansa (DLH) was the biggest airline group in 2012 by airline revenues. The German group generated revenues of just short of $39 billion last year, putting it just ahead of United Airlines (UAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL) and AirFrance (AFA)-(KLM) groups.

The rankings show (DAL) as the largest operator by traffic and passenger number, while (UAL) was the second biggest. American Airlines (AAL, if it completes its merger with US Airways (AMW)/(USA), would be even bigger, based on 2012 numbers.

August 2013: Continuing tough economic conditions in Europe showed up in the half-yearly traffic summary released by the Association of European Airlines (AEA). The (AEA), which represents the interests of 32 European carriers, reported that scheduled passenger numbers in the first half grew +2.9 million to just over >176 million, or +1.7% up compared to the year-ago period.

Long-haul passenger traffic to/from Europe increased +3%, while international short- and medium-haul traffic (which includes the Middle East and North Africa) recorded a +3.2% growth.

The association noted that its member airlines are continuing to keep a close watch on capacity, with total scheduled (ASK)s growing just +1.2%, less than half than the (RPK) growth rate of +2.7%. This produced record-high passenger load factors, up +1.2% to 78.8% LF.

It also expressed continuing concern at cargo figures, both carried by dedicated freighters and as belly freight, which accounted for 10% of total commercial revenue of European network carriers. Air freight is facing serious challenges, it said. Tonnages were down -0.2% on the first half of 2012, although recent months had shown signs of improvement.

In its accompanying commentary, the (AEA) described 2013 as a crucial year for its members to overcome challenges through a combination of cost cutting, capacity adjustments and revenue improvements. “(AEA) will continue to stress to European policy-makers the need to facilitate the growth and competitiveness of European airlines” (AEA) acting Secretary General, Athar Husain Khan said.

Air Transat (AIJ) has become the first airline to renew its (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) under the Enhanced (IOSA) (E-IOSA) audit process.

(IOSA) provides a standardized audit program for airlines’ operational management and control systems, based on internationally recognized standards and supported by a rigorous quality assurance process that aims at improving operations and safety in the airline industry. The program is made up of more than >900 stringent standards that contribute to airline operational safety in the areas of management, safety and security of flight operations, operational control, aircraft engineering and maintenance, cabin operations, ground handling and cargo operations.

In 2011, (IATA) (ITA) added new elements to the program and introduced (E-IOSA), which involves ongoing internal assessment processes, to provide enhanced value and continuity of the audit process. At the request of (IATA), Air Transat (AIJ) participated in the development of the new program, which will be mandatory for (IATA) member airline companies from 2015.

According to (IATA), in 2012, airlines on the (IOSA) registry had an all-accident rate +77% better than non-(IOSA) registered airlines.

UK air navigation services provider (NATS) has been approved by the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to operate there as an Instrument Flight Procedure (IFP) design organization. (NATS) was awarded the (IFP) service certificate (IFP007) after being assessed against (UAE) Civil Aviation Regulations and (ICAO) Standards & Recommended Practices (SARPs). The certificate enables (NATS) to provide air traffic design, management, maintenance and other related services in the (UAE). The move is in line with (NATS)’ commitment to build its client base and projects portfolio in the region.

(NATS) Middle East Director, John Swift said: “With the continuous expansion in airlines and hub airports in the Middle East, there are associated capacity challenges that need to be addressed. With our experience of providing air traffic control (ATC) services in the UK, complemented by our strong understanding and experience of the Middle East market, I believe (NATS) is the right partner to help solve these problems.”

Organizations applying for (GCAA) approval to provide (IFP) services must have in place a quality management system, a safety management system, a procedure design manual, an acceptable organizational exposition, and proof of the experience of its safety and quality managers.

In addition to its UK business, (NATS) is spreading its global influence, working in the USA and the Far East. In the Middle East, the company is currently working on projects in Qatar, Kuwait, and Oman; and has previously been involved in projects with Bahrain and at Dubai World Central Al Maktoum International Airport.

September 2013: Under the auspices of its International Aviation Safety Assessments (IASA) program, the (FAA) has upgraded Ukraine’s safety rating to Category 1 from Category 2. The new rating means that Ukraine now complies with international safety standards set by (ICAO), based on the results of a July (FAA) review of Ukraine’s Civil Aviation Authority.

Ukraine was rated Category 2 by the (FAA) in 2005, meaning that it either lacked laws or regulations necessary to oversee air carriers in accordance with minimum international standards, or that its Civil Aviation Authority was deficient in one or more areas, such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record keeping or inspection procedures. The airlines of a Category 2 rated country can maintain existing services to the USA, but are barred from launching new services.

Since 2005, Ukraine’s Civil Aviation Authority has been working with the (FAA) on an action plan to ensure its safety oversight system fully complies with (ICAO)’s standards and practices. The new Category 1 rating indicates that that has been achieved and as a result the country’s airlines can add flights and service to the USA and carry the code of USA carriers. Ukraine currently does not provide service to the USA.

As part of its (IASA) program, the (FAA) assesses the civil aviation authorities of all countries with air carriers that operate or have applied to fly to the USA and makes that information available to the public. The assessments determine whether or not foreign Civil Aviation Authorities are meeting (ICAO) safety standards, not (FAA) regulations.

JetBlue Airways (JBL) (COO), Rob Maruster said the (FAA) has a “credibility” problem regarding the implementation of the satellite-based NextGen air traffic control (ATC) system, leading to a loss of confidence among USA airlines.

During its 199th Session, the (ICAO) Council endorsed a recommendation from the Secretary General to establish a Regional Sub-Office (RSO) for the Asia-Pacific Region in Beijing, China. Ms Nancy Graham, Director of the (ICAO) Air Navigation Bureau announced that the office is now ‘open for business.’

According to (ICAO), based on Passenger Kilometers Performed (PKP), the Asia-Pacific Region is the largest market, carrying 30% of world traffic. Last year, the airlines of this region posted a +6.4% increase over 2011. (ICAO) therefore felt it necessary to create a more effective presence in the region. The office is now operational and strategically located in Beijing, China where the domestic market has increased by +10.3% over 2011.

The new (RSO) will operate on a project-oriented basis, focusing on three key success criteria, namely:

* Improve safety and efficiency of flight operations through innovative procedures.

* Enhance airspace capacity and efficiency to accommodate Asian aviation growth.

* Optimize Air Traffic Management (ATM) operations via collaborative management of traffic flow.

Ms Graham remarked, “(ICAO), working closely with (IATA), (ACI) and (CANSO), established this common success criteria that is in the best interests of aviation and important for all”.

Key focus areas in projects planned in the short-term, some of which are already underway, are Performance Based Navigation (PBN) procedures for high-density airports in the region, and across (ATS) continental and oceanic routes with clear targets. Flexible Use of Airspace (FUA) as a cooperative mechanism between civil and military authorities has been conceptualised and 50% of States that have military airspace are to establish conditional (ATS) routes that go through military airspace by 4th quarter 2015. An Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM)/Collaborative decision-making (CDM) unit under the (RSO) will develop a regional framework for collaborative management of traffic flows between (ATS) Units. 50% of the area centers and aerodromes serving high density traffic are targeted to implement (ATFM) with (CDM) during 2015.

(CANSO) Regional Director for the Asia-Pacific Region, Mr Hai Eng Chiang welcomed the move, adding that the (RSO) would provide additional resources and greater focus on the priority areas for (ATM) in the region.

Airbus (EDS) on September 4th announced a new agreement with China's Air Traffic Management Bureau (ATMB) to begin modernizing the nation's air traffic system. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) (CAC) authorized the new partnership, which calls for Airbus "ProSky" (the air traffic management (ATM) subsidiary of Airbus) to focus on launching four projects this year, including; air traffic flow management, airport collaborative decision making, implementation of Required Navigation Performance Authorization Required (RNP AR) approaches at Chengdu Airport and Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) at Beijing Capital Airport.

The (CAAC) is looking to improve the air traffic management (ATM) practices of one of the most delayed air transportation systems in the world. According to flight data provider FlightStats, just 18% of flights from Beijing Capital Airport took off on time for the month of June, and the second most delayed airport in the same month was Shanghai.

According to the (CAAC), Chinese airlines handled 319 million passengers in 2012, a +9.2% rise from 2011. The (CAAC) attributed 26% of delays last year to air-traffic management (ATM), thus leading to the need for the new partnership with Airbus (EDS).

"The cooperation will help us draw on the experience of other regions to develop our future (ATM) systems, which will be more integrated with global systems," said Wang Liya, Director General of (CAAC) (ATMB).

According to the International Air Transportation Association (IATA), China is expected to lead the global increase in passenger demand on domestic routes through 2016 with an additional 193 million passengers projected to travel domestically on Chinese carriers over the next three years.

Hard on the heels of its memorandum of understanding (MOU) to help modernize China’s air traffic management (ATM) system, Airbus (EDS) has signed another (MOU) to extend its cooperation in aviation safety with the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) for a further five years.

The European Union (EU) will soften its stance on including international aviation in its Emissions Trading scheme (EU ETS) in a bid to help (ICAO) secure agreement on a global plan at the 38th (ICAO) General Assembly later this month.

In November last year, the European Commission (EC) agreed to ‘stop the clock’ on the inclusion of international aviation in the (EU ETS) for one year to give (ICAO) time to come up with a global solution in time for the Assembly. As a result, only intra-(EU) flights were included in the (EU ETS). The (EU) has now said that, if agreement on an (ICAO) proposal for a global market-based mechanism (MBM) for emissions trading is passed by the Assembly, it will limit extension of aviation’s inclusion in the (EU ETS) to encompass emissions from non-(EU) flights occurring in (EU) airspace (rather than the whole flight) until 2020, to give any (ICAO) solution time to take effect.

(EC) Climate Action spokesman, Isaac Valero-Ladron said: ''This is a multilateral negotiation where you give and take. Only in return for a global deal, the (EU) has offered to continue emissions curbs for intra-European flights as well as the part of international flights covered by regional airspace up to 2020.”

Although a final text will only be agreed at the Assembly, the (ICAO) Council this week passed what sources described as “a clean, balanced text” for consideration by the Assembly. The text is understood to include a single global (MBM) to be finalized in 2016, which could come into force as early as 2020. The text also includes interim regional measures to reduce aviation emissions up to 2020.

Explaining the (EU)’s softening of its erstwhile resolute position on (ETS), Valero-Ladron said: “We should not miss the bigger picture: this first-ever global deal means more emissions covered in the long term. A global deal starting in 2020 would mean a -37% reduction in emissions between now and 2050. This compares to a -20% reduction if the (EU) were to ‘go it alone' during this entire period.''

The (EC) acknowledged that, although the (ICAO) proposal was not perfect, it nevertheless represented significant progress.

In a tweet, Climate Action Commissioner, Connie Hedegaard said: “Not perfect, but progress within reach on a global (MBM) to curb emissions from aviation.” However, she cautioned there was “still work to be done before the (ICAO) Assembly.”

Earlier, the European Low Fares Airline Association (ELFAA) urged the (EU) to “honor its oft-repeated public commitment” to include all flights within the (EU ETS) “in the seemingly likely event of (ICAO) failing to deliver [a global solution] at its forthcoming General Assembly.”

(ELFAA) believes that for the (EU ETS) to be environmentally effective, it must include all flights and not just intra-(EU) flights, which it says account “for only a very small proportion of (EU) aviation emissions of CO2.” (ELFAA) said that current indications were that (ICAO) was “unlikely to deliver,” and the organization therefore expected the Commission “to honor its unequivocal, frequently-stated undertaking that the derogation was for one year only.”

(ELFAA) believes the derogation is legally flawed and has applied to the UK High Court for a referral to the Court of Justice of the (EU) for Judicial Review on a number of grounds, including that the derogation breaches (EU) environmental law, was not subject to due process, and is discriminatory.

Airlines for America (A4A) VP Environmental affairs, Nancy Young said she was confident that significant progress will be made at the upcoming (ICAO) Assembly toward achieving a single, global market-based measures agreement for airlines. Delivering the opening keynote address at the "ATW 6th Annual Eco-aviation" conference in Washington DC, Young said the pieces are in place for stepwise progress, even though there will be “difficult negotiations” at the assembly, which will be held at the end of September.

“There has been stepwise progress leading to this moment. Not just from the work done over the last year, but work going back to the past several years,” Young said. Among those steps, Young listed (ICAO)’s 2003 guidance on voluntary agreements and emissions trading between mutually agreeing countries and the 2010 (ICAO) Assembly Resolution, which confirmed an aggressive target of carbon neutral growth from 2020. “The poster child for environmental action has to be in the area of climate change. USA airlines have improved their fuel efficiency by +120% between 1978 and 2012, saving -3.4 billion metric tons of CO2, roughly equivalent to taking 22 million cars off the road each of those years. As a result, USA airlines account for only 2% of the nation’s inventory of greenhouse gas emissions, yet they drive more than >5% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” Young said.

But Young stressed that the concerted efforts of governments are needed as well as those of the airline industry. “We also need rationalized government policy in support of our efforts,” she said.
She said (A4A) welcomed the European Commission (EC)’s decision last year to “stop the clock” on the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) aviation tax, providing time for (ICAO) to reach a global aviation scheme. However, the (EC) has continued to implement the (EU ETS) on intra-European flights. Young said (A4A) did not like the intra-European tax, but has not opposed it. “We would like to see a continuation of the ‘stop the clock’ with the same terms. We have heard some talk of expanding the scope of (EU ETS) to when you are touching (EU) airspace and we think that would be a slippery slope. We don’t want to see it expanded,” Young said.

Speaking later as a conference panelist, United Airlines (UAL) Managing Director Global Environmental Affairs, Jimmy Samartzis endorsed Young’s view that progress will be made at the (ICAO) Assembly. “I believe we have made good progress, and I believe (ICAO) will continue to make progress in the months to come even though there are some concerns still,” he said. Samartzis also pointed out that the airline industry has been working environmental issues for many years and on many fronts. He cited the (IATA) Climate Change Task Force as one of several initiatives that the industry has proactively launched.

Alternative aviation fuels provide the best opportunity (as compared to technological and air traffic management solutions) to decrease airlines’ carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, according to Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) Executive Director, Steve Czonka.

(IATA) said on September 18th it has high expectations for the decisions that states will make at the (ICAO) 38th Assembly in Montreal and that climate change will be at the top of the agenda.
“We will be looking to states to make decisions that will enable the industry to meet its ambitious commitment to stabilizing its emissions from 2020 via carbon-neutral growth,” (IATA) Director General & (CEO), Tony Tyler said. “It is important that governments keep firmly focused on reaching agreement on a global solution. Environment is a global challenge. Aviation is a global industry. And we need a global way forward. National or regional schemes are politically charged distractions. We must not allow such discussions to get in the way of important progress that needs to be made.”

(IATA) said there is a common understanding that reaching the 2020 goal will be accomplished through a four-pillar strategy of improved technology, more efficient infrastructure, and better operations. The fourth pillar, market-based measures (MBM)s fill the gap until the other elements of the strategy achieve their full potential.

“While all four pillars of the strategy are important, finding a global approach to market based measures is expected to continue to be the main focus of discussion among governments,” (IATA) said.

(IATA) called upon the assembly to:

* Agree to a road map for development of a single global (MBM) for aviation to be implemented from 2020 that can be adopted at the next (ICAO) Assembly in 2016.

* Agree the principles for development of a global (MBM), including the 2020 carbon-neutral goal; that aviation emissions should only be accounted for once; that a global (MBM) should take account of the different operating circumstances of operators around the world.

* Ask (ICAO) to develop, in the meantime, several milestones that could help build the foundation for a single global (MBM), including an (ICAO) standard for monitoring, reporting and verifying emissions from aviation; and a mechanism to define the quality of verified offset types that could be used in a global (MBM) for aviation.

At the (ATW) sixth annual Eco-Aviation Conference in Washington DC, Airlines for America (A4A) VP Environmental Affairs, Nancy Young, and United Airlines (UAL) Managing Director Global Environmental Affairs, Jimmy Samartzis both expressed confidence that significant progress would be made at the upcoming (ICAO) Assembly toward achieving a single, global (MBM).

The (ICAO) Assembly takes place between September 24 and October 4.

When Alex de Gunten took over as Executive Director of the Latin American & Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA) 10 years ago, Latin America “was seen as an appendix of the world from an aviation perspective,” he said. Now the market is booming, ranking as one of the world’s fastest growing regions for air travel.

European Commission (EC) VP Transport, Siim Kallas has again come down hard on Europe’s political fraternity for its role in delaying implementation of the "Single European Sky (SES)" and questions the future role of Eurocontrol.

(ACI) Europe Director General, Olivier Jankovec is confident European airports will be ready for a partial relaxation of restrictions on carry-on liquids by January 2014. Beginning in January, passengers will be permitted to buy duty-free items over >100 ml outside Europe and transfer through a European airport without having the item confiscated. The liquids must be sealed in tamperproof bags and screened by specialized scanners.

In April 2011, the European Union (EU) attempted to ease restrictions on carrying liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGS) in hand luggage, which was imposed in the wake of the "9/11" terrorist attacks. However, this was halted at the last minute in 2011 because some countries (including the USA) were not ready and doubts were raised over the maturity of screening technologies. “So far we are confident that we will be able to make it with the partial withdrawal of restrictions,” Jankovec said in London. “Screening technology has improved a bit in terms of false alarm rates, reducing the need for secondary screening and the opening of bottles. Throughput should also be manageable because the technology has improved.”

While the relaxation is relatively minor, with little effect on regional airports, Jankovec said it is a big step for Europe’s major hubs. “This is a reasonable first step, which will allow the technology to be tested in real-life situations. It is a good way of moving forward so we can make sure we are doing things in the right way, ahead of the next step.” Jankovec added that this time around the (EC) has secured USA buy-in. “Everyone is now holding hands,” he confirmed.

No deadline has been announced for a full relaxation of the liquids restrictions, as this will depend on the success of the first phase. Member states are expected to report to the (EC) on their readiness by the end of September.

The USA Department of Justice’s lawsuit against the proposed merger of American Airlines (AAL) and US Airways (AMW)/(USA) is based on faulty reasoning, the head of (IATA) told the Wings Club in New York on September 19th.

In his address, (IATA) Director General & (CEO), Tony Tyler said, “I am not an expert on USA antitrust policy, but I do know something about the airline industry and I have to agree with those in the investment community and elsewhere who have found the (DOJ)’s arguments to be unpersuasive. I can easily point to several examples of faulty reasoning.”

He said that the (DOJ) seems to believe a larger number of unhealthy airlines is better than a smaller number of healthy ones. He cited a (DOJ) statement that in 2005 there were nine major airlines and, if the merger were approved, there would be only four. Tyler commented, “Left unsaid is the fact that in 2005, four of those airlines either entered bankruptcy or were already undergoing a Chapter 11 reorganization.”

Answering reporter questions in a session that followed the address, Tyler said, “I think when all the issues are aired, when it comes to trial, clearly the airlines will put their views forward and I have no doubt that common sense will prevail and the merger will go ahead. It seems to me extraordinary that there could be any other outcome.”
A November 25 date has been set for the lawsuit trial, even though the (DOJ) sought to push the hearing to March 2014.

The (DOJ)’s August 13 announcement that it intended to challenge the merger proposal in court shocked the industry. The (DOJ) had previously approved the mega-mergers between Delta Air Lines (DAL) and Northwest Airlines (NWA), United Airlines (UAL), and Continental Airlines (CAL), plus Southwest Airlines (SWA) and AirTran Airways (CQT). But the (DOJ) said it believed the (AMW)/(USA) - (AAL) combination would be harmful to consumers.

Tyler’s (DOJ) comments in his Wings Club address were part of a larger attack on government intervention and micro-management of how airlines do business. “Our biggest challenge comes from governments that are engaging in what I would broadly describe as regulatory backtracking,” he said. “The airline industry may be deregulated to the extent that carriers are permitted to set their fares according to demand. But regulators aim to design the details of competition in a manner that is wholly at odds with how other industries are treated and with the workings of the free market. “In particular, they appear determined to hold commercial aviation to a different business standard than they impose on any other form of transportation or consumer facing activities.”

(IATA) has revised its industry profit outlook for 2013 to $11.7 billion, a full billion dollar downgrade from (IATA)’s June forecast. “The industry situation is not improving as quickly as we expected,” (IATA) Director General & (CEO), Tony Tyler said.

October 2013: The (ICAO) United Nations Aviation Assembly has reached an agreement to develop a global market-based measures (MBM) scheme for aviation emissions by 2016 that will be implemented in 2020. The landmark accord was approved on October 4, the last day of the two-week Assembly in Montreal.

The European Commission (EC), which forced the emissions fees’ issue to the forefront when it implemented its European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS), has made a statement welcoming the (ICAO) agreement. “The (MBM) will go hand in hand with new procedures to promote more advanced technology, including the use of better alternative aviation fuels and to promote better procedures, including in the area of air navigation,” the (EC) said. “The agreement also puts in place a fair and equitable solution that respects the special circumstances and respective capabilities in which a number of countries find themselves. Aviation accounts for 3% of global CO2 emissions but (ICAO) statistics show that international aviation CO2 emissions are forecast to increase between four and six times by 2050 from the levels of 2010.”

(EC) VP Transport, Siim Kallas said, "Faced with a huge responsibility, this Assembly has set the agenda for world aviation for the years to come. The (EU) can take pride in our role in the achievements in all areas ranging from safety, to security, air traffic management (ATM) and economic regulation. On aviation emissions, this is a landmark deal. It is good news for the travelling public, good news for the aviation industry and most importantly it is good news for the planet."

The (ICAO) emissions resolution permits countries or groups of countries, within certain parameters, to deploy their own (MBM)s in the interim if they choose. But it prevents the (EU) from expanding its (ETS) to include foreign carriers, until the global scheme is in place, a contentious issue that the (EC) appears to have backed away from as a concession to enabling a global aviation (MBM) scheme.

(IATA) also praised the agreement, calling it “an essential enabler for the industry to achieve carbon-neutral growth from 2020.” (IATA) Director General & (CEO), Tony Tyler said, “Today was a great day for aviation, for the effort against climate change and for global standards and international cooperation. Industry, civil society and governments have worked hard to reach this point and keep aviation at the forefront of industries managing their climate change impact. Now we have a strong mandate and a short three-year time frame to sort out the details. Airlines need and want a global (MBM). Without losing any of the momentum built up over these last two weeks, we are eager to get on with the detailed work needed to design the global scheme in time for finalization at the 2016 Assembly.”

In June, (IATA)’s 240 member airlines overwhelmingly passed a resolution asking governments to develop a global mandatory carbon offsetting scheme, but getting agreement across state governments required lots of behind-the-scenes talks and diplomatic maneuvering.
“Reaching this landmark agreement among (ICAO)’s 191 member states was a challenging task. Today’s result carries on the (ICAO) tradition of uniting governments to focus on the global standards that underpin global connectivity. I congratulate the (ICAO) leadership for their vision and skill in rallying interests around a common purpose,” Tyler said.

The resolution also reverts to the “de minimis” clause in (ICAO)’s original draft resolution, calling for exemptions, until a global scheme is implemented, from (MBM)s on routes to and from developing states whose share of international civil aviation activities is below the threshold of 1% of total revenue ton kilometers (RTK).

Several countries objected to the 1% threshold as it would exempt the airlines of a large number of states, but a revised proposal to set a threshold of 4.7 billion (RTK) in 2014, reducing by 470 million a year thereafter, was voted down.

The revised resolution requests the (ICAO) Council to review the de minimis provision, “taking into account the specific circumstances of States and potential impacts on the international aviation industry and markets,” and present the results at the 2016 Assembly, where the details of the global (MBM) system are to be agreed.

Later, however, in a surprise move that could undermine the work achieved on aviation emissions by the (ICAO) Assembly earlier this month, the European Commission (EC) is proposing to extend its tax on aviation emissions to the portion of international flights that occurs within European Union (EU) airspace. The (EU) emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) currently applies to intra-European flights. In a statement released October 16th, the (EC) said the proposed change in legislation would apply from January 1, 2014 and remain in place until a planned, (ICAO)-led global market-based mechanism (MBM) becomes applicable to international aviation emissions by 2020.

The (MBM) agreement was reached in Montreal in early October after long and tense negotiations and despite many differing views on how best to approach international aviation carbon offsets. The (ICAO) accord has been widely hailed as significant progress toward regulating airline CO2 emissions on a global scale. But there were hints last week that the (EC) could make a move that, while possibly not contravening the (ICAO) (MBM) agreement, is not in the spirit of the accord. Günter Hörmandinger, Environment Counselor at the (EU) delegation to the USA, told an audience at the World Route Development Forum in Las Vegas that the (EU) wanted (ICAO) “to go further than what was achieved.”

Explaining the (EC)’s decision, (EC) Climate Action Commissioner, Connie Hedegaard said, “In the light of the recent progress made at (ICAO), not least thanks to Europe’s hard work and determination, the (EC) today has proposed to adjust the (EU ETS) so that emissions from the aviation sector would be covered for the part of flights that takes place in European regional airspace. “I am confident that the European Parliament and the Council will move swiftly and approve this proposal without delay. With this proposal, Europe is taking the responsibility to reduce emissions within its own airspace until the global measure begins.”

Reacting to the decision, (IATA) issued a statement expressing “concern and surprise” at the proposal. “The 38th (ICAO) Assembly concluded with an historic agreement to develop a global market based measure, which will be a key enabler of aviation’s commitment to carbon neutral growth from 2020 (CNG2020). So we are concerned that the (EC) is now recommending a course of action that has the potential to undermine the goodwill that has brought us to this point,” (IATA) Director General & (CEO), Tony Tyler said. “As the (EC)’s proposal moves to the co-decision process with the European Parliament & Council, we trust that there will be wide stakeholder engagement including with the international community. We have all worked hard to reach a consensus on the way forward through (ICAO) for a global (MBM). It is of critical importance to ensure that everybody (including Europe) stays focused on the big picture of CNG2020.”

The Airlines for America (A4A) association also issued a statement, saying the (EC)’s proposal “flies in the face of the agreement reached at the International Civil Aviation Organization [ICAO] less than two weeks ago. As this proposal is only an initial draft, we urge the European Council and Parliament to use their deliberative process to revise the proposal in line with the global agreement.”

The (EC) said key features of the revised (ETS) system resulting from this proposal would be that all emissions from flights between airports in the European Economic Area (EEA), covering the 28 (EU) Member States, plus Norway and Iceland) would continue to be covered.

From 2014 to 2020, emissions from the part of flights taking place within (EEA) airspace would be covered. To accommodate the special circumstances of developing countries, flights to and from third countries which are not developed countries and which emit less than <1% of global aviation emissions would be exempt.

India voiced firm opposition on October 22 to the (EU) plans to impose a scaled-back carbon charge on flights over European airspace while a senior USA lawmaker said the (EU) proposal runs afoul of a law intended to shield USA airlines from such charges.

The European Commission (EC), the (EU) executive, in the previous week proposed to make all airlines pay for emissions over European airspace in a retreat from a suspended (EU) law that covered the duration of flights using (EU) airports.

India said the (EU) proposal defies a global aviation agreement hammered out in Montreal earlier this month at an assembly of (ICAO) the (UN) body in charge of civil air travel. “What they (the (EC)) have now done is in total conflict with what the (ICAO) has decided. The multilateral body has to intervene in this matter,” K N Shrivastava, India’s Aviation Secretary, told "Reuters."

Along with China, India has defied the (EU) move, even refusing to submit emissions data before the (EU) suspended it for a year, amid threats of a trade war.

The (EU) proposal also could push the USA government to invoke a law signed by President Barack Obama in November 2012 that would shield USA airlines from what Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx may deem an unfair charge.

Republican Senator, John Thune, who introduced the measure in the Senate, will raise the issue in a letter to Foxx and other USA officials, his office said. The law gives the Secretary of Transportation the authority to ensure that USA carriers are not penalized by unilateral (EU) emissions charges.

“Senator Thune believes that any such effort by the (EC) would be in direct violation of the legislation that was signed into law last year to hold USA air carriers harmless from such unilateral actions,” Thune spokesperson Andi Fouberg told "Reuters."

(ICAO) negotiators this month reached a consensus on a market-based system to curb carbon emissions from airlines by 2020, but rejected a proposal to let Europe apply its own plan to foreign carriers in the meantime. The deal averted a looming global trade dispute over aviation emissions.

USA airlines hope that because the (EC)’s most recent proposal was a draft, the Europeans will revise the plan in line with what was agreed to at (ICAO), according to Vaughn Jennings, spokesman for the industry group Airlines for America (A4A).

The (EC) said it is acting in good faith.

“Limiting it to (EU) airspace and not touching on somebody’s else’s airspace. That’s our interpretation of what was said in Montreal,” Artur Runge-Metzger, Director for International Climate Strategy in the (EC)’s Climate department, told "Reuters."

For the proposal to go into effect, it needs the approval of member states and the European Parliament.

Just a few weeks ago, it was uncertain whether the almost 200 nations gathered in Montreal at the (ICAO) Assembly could achieve what has often seemed impossible: a common agreement on how to approach aviation carbon emissions offsets.

The resulting aviation emissions market-based measures (MBM) scheme accord was, therefore, rightly applauded as a landmark achievement. (ICAO) described it as “dramatic” and “an historic milestone.”

Industry organizations worldwide concurred, including (IATA), (A4A), (AAPA) and (ALTA). Most vocal of all was the European Commission (EC), which welcomed the agreement as good news for aviation, the traveling public and the planet. The (EC) was also keen to praise itself as a key motivator behind the accord, first plowing ahead with its European Union emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) to show it was serious about leading the way on tackling aviation emissions, and then providing an hiatus on the non-European part of that tax to allow time for international dialogue and agreement to be achieved via the industry’s preferred and internationally-recognized representative body, the (ICAO).

It's agreed that the (EC) deserved credit for pushing the emissions issue to the fore, while simultaneously providing the breathing space it needed for more level-headed discussions. And yet, despite all that was achieved in Montreal, the (EC) promptly made an astonishing turnaround and gave the accord (and the entire commercial aviation community) a good, hard poke in the eye by proposing to extend (EU ETS) to the portion of all international flights that occurs within (EU) airspace from January 1.

The only serious question to be asked of the (EC)’s small-minded proposal is why and why now? The proposal may not technically contravene the (ICAO) (MBM) accord, but there is no question that it goes against the spirit of the agreement; a spirit of consensus that required compromise from all those represented in Montreal.

But this poke is worse than mean-spirited; it has potential to do great harm and undo the extremely hard-earned work that the (ICAO) agreement signifies. At the least, it will surely incense those non-Europeans who railed against the original premise that the (EU ETS) should apply to all international flights. It could even trigger a new set of trade war threats.

But the worst outcome is the potential damage that merely brandishing the possibility of an extended (EU ETS) before the (ICAO)-led (MBM) can be established might do to that agreement. Instead of being able to focus with clear heads and a clean slate on the nuts and bolts of (MBM) implementation (a tough enough task) negotiations will undoubtedly be clouded by the (EC) proposal and how to retaliate.

That would be a dangerously unconstructive setting for the establishment of a global aviation (MBM) scheme. And ironically, it could also further delay the achievement of the very goal that Europe has claimed all along to be championing: – a fair and responsible way to ensure that greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.

(EC) Climate Commissioner, Connie Hedegaard should immediately withdraw this harmful proposal, acknowledge that the aviation industry and the (ICAO) did what was asked of them, and allow those who signed up for a global (MBM) to get on with their implementation work without the obstruction of politics.

Later (in December) the European Parliament’s (EP) Committee on Transport & Tourism (TRAN) distanced itself from the European Commission (EC)’s controversial plans for including international aviation in the European Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) by proposing amendments to soften the (EU) position.

Alaska Airlines (ASA) has completed the (IATA)’s Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) and has been renewed on the (IOSA) Registry. (ASA) has been on the registry since 2006.

The (FAA) has decided to allow airline passengers to use portable electronic devices (PEDs) (including being online via Wi-Fi) “during all phases of flight.” The new ruling does not permit cell phone voice communications. “Due to differences among fleets and operations, the implementation will vary among airlines, but the (FAA) expects many carriers will prove to the (FAA) that their planes allow passengers to safely use their devices in airplane mode, gate-to-gate, by the end of the year.” The continuing prohibition on in-flight voice communications is based on USA Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations “that prohibit any airborne calls using cell phones,” the (FAA) noted.

Delta Air Lines (DAL) and JetBlue Airways (JBL) moved quickly to file (PED)-usage plans with the (FAA). “All (DAL) airplanes have completed carrier-defined (PED) tolerance testing to ensure the safe operation of passenger portable electronic devices during all phases of flight and (DAL)’s plan has been submitted to the (FAA) for approval,” adding that “more than >570 mainline domestic airplanes stand ready to allow customer use of e-readers, tablets and smartphones, all in airplane mode, during taxi, takeoff and landing on domestic flights. Delta Connection’s more than >550 regional airplanes will be ready by the end of the year.”

JetBlue (JBL) (CCO), Robin Hayes said, “The rules have caught up with today’s technology. This new policy vastly improves our customers’ experience, and giving everyone a chance to be more connected is good for business. We intend to be the first commercial airline in the United States to allow gate-to-gate use of personal electronics devices.”

The (FAA) concluded that using (PED)s during flight largely does not present a safety issue, though it cautioned, “In some instances of low visibility (about 1% of flights) some landing systems may not be proved (PED) tolerant, so [passengers] may be asked to turn off [their] device.”

The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) union warned, “While we applaud the (FAA)’s view that (PED) use must be shown to be safe before being allowed, we remain concerned that relying on passengers to selectively turn off their devices in areas of extremely poor weather is not a practical solution. We urge passengers to realize the potential seriousness of using a device at a time when any crewmember (pilot (FC) or flight attendant (CA)) has advised them that it is unsafe to do so.”

The (FAA) said it based its decision to revise (PED) rules “on input from a group of experts that included representatives from the airlines, aviation manufacturers, passengers, pilots (FC), flight attendants (CA), and the mobile technology industry.”

The (FAA)’s decision means “passengers will eventually be able to read e-books, play games and watch videos on their devices during all phases of flight, with very limited exceptions,” the (FAA) said, adding, “Cell phones should be in airplane mode or with cellular service disabled. If your air carrier provides Wi-Fi service during flight, you may use those services. You can also continue to use short-range Bluetooth accessories, like wireless keyboards.”

USA Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx stated, “We believe today’s decision honors both our commitment to safety and consumers’ increasing desire to use their electronic devices during all phases of their flights.” (FAA) Administrator, Michael Huerta added, “I commend the dedication and excellent work of all the experts who spent the past year working together to give us a solid report, so we can now move forward with a safety-based decision on when passengers can use (PED)s on airplanes.”

The (FAA) emphasized that “each airline will determine how and when they will allow passengers broader use of (PED)s. Current (PED) policies remain in effect until an airline completes a safety assessment, gets (FAA) approval, and changes its (PED) policy.”

The (FAA) said it did not consider changing regulations regarding cell phone voice communications during flight “because the issue is under the jurisdiction of the (FCC).”

November 2013: "Collaboration is key to improving airport experience!"
By: Gillian Jenner, London
Travelling through an airport in the future will be a vastly different experience for passengers. It will be fast and seamless, with no inconsistent or unpredictable processes and no uncertainty or stress.

The check-in process will be eliminated as passengers will be considered checked in from the time of booking, and options will be available to self-process other elements of the journey from kerb to gate. Passengers’ own smart mobile devices will likely be doing most of the heavy lifting when it comes to self-processing. At the same time, these devices will provide real-time travel information and interaction with travel providers, giving passengers more control over their journeys.

As (IATA) Director General, Tony Tyler remarked at the World Passenger Symposium in late October, this is not science fiction. Making this journey a reality and bringing value to the airport experience is a crucial component of (IATA)’s vision for travel by 2020, expounded in its updated Simplifying the Business (StB) program.

But how does (IATA)’s ideal play out with the airport community and the visions airports themselves have for the future? In fact, it dovetails with Airports Council International’s (ACI) goal of helping airport operators achieve excellent service to passengers by not just meeting but, where possible, exceeding their expectations at the airport. It also rather neatly exemplifies some of the opportunities and challenges that airport Chief Information Officers are helping their own businesses and airport partners to address.

On the passenger-facing side, there is a requirement not only for more self-service, but also increased flexibility. A key focus is connectivity and mobile technologies. Behind the scenes, there is widespread recognition that greater collaboration between all the stakeholders at the airport will be essential. The technology discussion is already considering a future in which better sharing of information will enhance the passenger experience.

Transition towards (IATA)’s "2020 vision" is under way. Penetration of (IATA)’s "Fast Travel" initiative to give passengers more control over check-in, bag-check, self-boarding and document checks is forecast to cover airports serving 45% of eligible passengers by 2015. Looking at the priorities of airport Information Technology (IT) bosses, revealed in the 2013 Airport (IT) Trends Survey, the overwhelming majority will be making investments in mobile technologies and self-service processes in the coming three years, with over half of airports funding major programs.

This mass engagement is vital for the overall airport experience to become seamless. “In the passenger experience area, most of the technology exists, but in the airport community, it is hard to get them out there because of the requirement to invest at individual airports, and that takes time,” says John Jarrell, Head Airport (IT) for Amadeus. “What will be more relevant from now till 2020 is the proliferation of technology, so it can be more seamless and I can use that technology across the entire journey.”

Looking at just one aspect of that proliferation, how does (IATA)’s (StB) plan for passengers to be checked in ahead of their arrival at the airport stack up against the massive investment airports continue to pump into self-service check-in technologies, and will there be any future requirement for traditional desks?

It is an issue that Gerry Luttrell, Head (IT) at Dublin Airport Authority, is debating. “We are at the point of renewing equipment at the check-in desks. How far do we go in this space? What will be the take-up of this facility? “Even if only one passenger wants to check in [using] the traditional mechanism, the airport still has to accommodate that, regardless of the preference of the airport and airlines.”

Offering choice, will still be important, according to Paul Behan, (IATA)’s Head Passenger Experience, who says that for this reason, (IATA) programs are rarely designed to be 100% global. (IATA) estimates that 5 to 6% of passengers each year are flying for the first time, so inevitably they will require a greater degree of hand-holding. “If people are older or travelling with families or have special needs, desks can be as efficient as five people standing around a kiosk,” Behan acknowledges.

For (ACI), it is about investing in technology that facilitates flexibility for passengers. “There still needs to be a way or channel provided to the passengers to retrieve their travel token, change their preferences in seating, provide and receive additional information, rebook or cancel their ticket, purchase additional services and, of course, drop the bags. And that is why infrastructure and systems are still needed, not for doing the legacy check-in process, but to provide ways for the passengers to do so,” said (ACI) Assistant Director Facilitation & Airport (IT), Arturo García-Alonso.

(IT) investment at Miami International airport is geared towards providing that flexibility. The airport’s $6.4 billion capital improvement program includes implementing (SITA)’s AirportConnect Open passenger processing platform in a virtual environment across the airport. The virtualization will enable the airport to run the latest technologies and keep them efficiently upgraded, while allowing its 88 airlines to operate seamlessly from any desk, gate or work station.

The airport’s Director Information Systems & Telecommunications, Maurice Jenkins, predicts that check-in will evolve into something more responsive. “As the design and footprints of airports have changed minimally, increased traffic with less brick and mortar to work with will necessitate a change in how best to utilize space,” he said. “The traditional ticket counter will change, if not virtually go away, and make way for portable configurations and common bag-drop locations.”

But while the onsite check-in process can be eliminated for passengers, if they are travelling with luggage then their bags must be checked in at some point. The ideal (StB) scenario would see passengers dropping off bags even before they reach the airport, but the pragmatic, shorter-term goal is a fast and simple common bag-drop.

Common bag-drop initiatives are gathering momentum across the airport sector. By the end of 2016, the Airport (IT) Trends Survey reveals that 90% of airports are expected to have implemented assisted bag-drop, 68% will have implemented fully self-service bag-drop, and 82% will offer bag tag printing at kiosks. In many respects, the passenger-facing technology is the easiest piece of the equation; the issues for airports are around passenger acceptance and baggage sorting.

Sao Paulo Guarulhos International Airport is gearing up for the 2014 (FIFA) World Soccer Cup in Brazil and the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games by investing in end-to-end processes to ensure a good passenger experience.

The investment includes self-tagging, which was implemented in October, bag-drop and a sortation system that can handle 5,000 bags an hour, due to come on stream in March 2014. Chief Information Officer, Luiz Ritzmann has put self-tagging first, even through it means fulfilling the back-office processes manually, to build up confidence among users. He estimates initial usage at 5% of customers, a number that will grow over time.

These cultural issues are not unique to Brazil, as Ritzmann discovered when he recently stepped into the shoes of an agent supporting self-tagging and bag-drop in Brussels. “They have been using that for six months now. It’s not that people are scared, they really don’t believe it will work,” he says.

“I stayed for four hours acting as an agent for Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA). People were getting used to it, but it will take some time. When they have confidence that it is in their own interest, it will make life easier and faster. That’s then a good experience on the passenger side and efficient on the operational side.”

Against the backdrop of proliferating self-service, there is seemingly no end to the consumer love affair with smart mobile technology. Find a way of combining the two, and real-time contextual interaction between customers and their travel suppliers creates a win-win situation. If the smart mobile device is enabled with near-field communications (NFC) technology, it can take on more of the self-processing burden, allowing passengers to be stress-free.

Interest in (NFC) among airports is growing (the Airport (IT) Trends Survey reveals that 60% are planning to invest in the technology over the next three years). Admittedly, most of these projects will be trials, but interest overall has increased from 2012, when 52% were committing to initiatives.

Miami is one of those planning some cutting-edge technology pilot programs, such as deploying self-boarding gates and (NFC) to allow passengers with smart phones to move through airport checkpoints with a tap of their phones. “This is one of our envisioned concepts of the future of airports and simplifying the passenger experience,” explains Miami Airport’s Jenkins.

However, the always-connected passenger ideal is complicated by Wi-Fi availability, charging policies and roaming fees. As García-Alonso points out, one size does not fit all. “Connectivity is an area where airports are putting a lot of effort in serving passengers and stakeholders. It is important to say that connectivity needs and requirements are not just for passengers, but also for staff, stakeholders, operations, concessionaries, etc,” he says.

“A passenger waiting for boarding, who wants to check their email, does not have the same needs as an Airbus A380 that needs to update the in-flight entertainment system.”

(ACI) is already working with (IATA) and other stakeholders to create guidelines and recommendations to facilitate choosing the right solutions and providing connectivity to suit different requirements, as well as cost-recovery options. “Another aspect that we are interested in studying together with other stakeholders, [such] as the World Tourism Organization and World Travel & Tourism Council, are the roaming policies of mobile operators, to see if it would be possible to find a better and more affordable framework for travellers to be connected, not only at the airport but during their activities at their destination,” says García-Alonso.

Smart mobile devices and social media provide opportunities to give passengers information and services to improve their travel experience, but with every kind of travel supplier trying to get their app in front of the passenger, the challenge is one of fragmentation. “The passenger still has to make the decision about which window do they look through for the information. Today, they look at the airline app, airport app or car rental app and there’s a danger that we have gone app mad. It’s creating its own problem,” says Nigel Pickford, Director Market Insight at (SITA). “As a passenger going on a journey, what you really want is ‘my travel wallet’ where everything comes together.”

The experience will also quickly degrade from seamless to stressful if there are various information sources, each with a different take on how long a flight will be delayed by. “The single source of truth does not filter down to other users of that data instantly, so there’s a data latency problem and people get very frustrated,” said Pickford. “This highlights the growing interest, and I think it’s more than hype. There’s a lot of serious thinking going on about how airlines and airports can better share and leverage the information that’s generated out of the management systems that sit behind the passenger journey.”

At Dublin, Luttrell is already considering how he can enhance the information provided to passengers with internal information. “We give queue times currently and we’re interested to give more information,” he says. “It’s using information we have from different stages of our processes. Once the system has recognized you as a passenger and you have checked in, the system will recognize when you are in security, and knows how long it will take for you to get to the boarding gate. The question is, how do you provide that information reliably to passengers?”

Ultimately the challenges around creating a seamless, end-to-end experience cannot be solved by airports alone. “I think there is a recognition by both airlines and airports that there has to be real partnership to get the passenger experience better than it is,” says Luttrell.

By the end of November, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) will issue guidance allowing passengers to use personal electronic devices (PEDs) during taxiing, take-off and landing. The move, which applies to devices such as tablets, smartphones, eReaders and MP3 players, follows a similar decision by the (FAA), which lifted its restrictions late in October. “With the new guidance an airline, following its own assessment, will be able to allow passengers to use their (PED)s in ‘flight mode’ during all phases of flight,” (EASA) said.

However, it added that bulky (PED)s, such as laptops, will still need to be stowed during taxiing, take-off and landing. “In the long term, (EASA) is looking at new ways to certify the use of mobile phones on board airplanes to make phone calls,” (EASA) said.

The Association of European Airlines (AEA), which will hold its annual general meeting in Brussels November 29, is set to announce Turkish Airlines (THY) (CEO), Temel Kotil as its new Chairman.

Kotil said his message is clear about the importance of aviation: “What I believe is Europe is a big market and every single person in this world should have [access] to the airline business. We are not asking for money [from governments]. What we [the airlines] are doing is like a civil service.” He said airlines play a widened role in global development and are becoming a big contributor. “The message is that every single government on this earth should have the airline business. We don’t need babysitting by governments, but we are asking for them to understand our business [and the dynamics of aviation] better.”

December 2013: Global air cargo made a “solid improvement” in November with a total market increase of +6.1% in (FTK)s year-over-year, according to (IATA)’s Global Air Freight report for November. Total market (FTK)s rose +1.7 points from October’s +4.4% increase, with growth reported in all regions except Latin America and Africa. Total market (AFTK) capacity increased +4.8%, bringing the global freight load factor to 49.2% LF, up +2.8 points from October and +0.7 points from November 2012.

Global freight volumes increased +2.5% from October to November. While noting that November is normally a strong air cargo month as businesses stock up inventory in preparation for the holidays, “global (FTK)s increased in November compared to October even after adjustment for seasonal factors,” (IATA) said. “The increase in volumes in November (and recent past months) is consistent with improvements in the business environment.”

Middle Eastern carriers again made the greatest gains, reporting +16.5% year-over-year growth (up from October’s +12.3% increase). Capacity on Middle East carriers grew +13.1%, leading to a freight load factor of 48.2% LF. “Carriers in the Middle East have benefited from improvements in advanced economies, including better demand in Europe,” (IATA) said. “Indicators showing record high export orders in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) bodes well for continued growth in the region’s trade volumes.”

European carriers reported +8% year-over-year air cargo growth in November (up from October’s +4.4% increase). Capacity on European carriers grew +4.3%, bringing the region’s freight load factor to 52.3% LF. The figures are “consistent with the region’s emergence from economic contraction in 2013,” (IATA) said, noting that “manufacturing in the eurozone show that 4th quarter (Q4) 2013 has been the strongest quarter for two and a half years.” Nonetheless, (IATA) warns “improvements throughout the region remain patchy and volatile.”

Asia-Pacific carriers’ cargo demand grew +4.9% year-over-year in November, with capacity growing +5.6%, resulting in a regional freight load factor of 58.5% LF. Citing manufacturing growth in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, and Indonesia, as well as an improving Chinese economy and strong demand for Asian-manufactured consumer goods in North America and Europe, “the jump in demand among the Asia-Pacific carriers (which account for [39.2%] of the global market) is a good indicator for broader air freight improvements in the coming months,” (IATA) said.

North American carriers’ cargo demand grew +2.5% year-over-year in November, with capacity up +0.7%, resulting in a regional freight load factor of 37.3% LF. Latin American carriers’ cargo demand dipped -0.1% as its capacity grew +1.4%, creating a regional load factor of 46.2% LF.

Air freight demand in the Africa region fell -1.2% with the region’s capacity growing +10.6%, resulting in a freight load factor of 31.1% LF, a +2.9 point improvement over October and +2.3 points better than a year ago. (IATA) noted African carriers’ reported a +5% increase in (FTK)s in November compared to October, “which suggests an upturn in the [region’s] recent growth trend.”

“The November results are encouraging, particularly for carriers in the Asia-Pacific region,” (IATA) Director General and (CEO), Tony Tyler said. “The uptick is a welcome development in a weak performing market.”

All airlines in Nepal (Air Nepal International (NPL) and Nepal Airlines (RNA)) have joined the European Union’s (EU) aviation safety blacklist, which bans them from flying to or within Europe. In addition, European operators and travel agents must inform and reimburse European travelers if they decide to cancel flights booked on a Nepalese carrier as a result of the (EU)’s decision.

European Commission (EC) VP Transport, Siim Kallas said: “The current safety situation in Nepal does not leave us any other choice than to put all of its carriers on the (EU) air safety "black" list. We do hope that this ban will help the aviation authorities to improve aviation safety. I have already asked the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to prepare an aviation safety assistance project for Nepal.”

This is the 22nd update of the (EU)’s blacklist, or air safety list detailing which airlines are subject either to a ban or operational restrictions within the (EU). It replaces the list issued in July and includes 295 airlines certified in 21 states. The 21 states are Afghanistan, Angola, Benin, Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon (except three airlines which operate under restrictions and conditions), Indonesia (with the exception of 5 airlines), Kazakhstan (except one airline which operates under restrictions and conditions), Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Mozambique, Nepal, Philippines (with the exception of one airline), Sierra Leone, Sao Tome & Principe, Sudan, Swaziland, and Zambia.

Kallas said safety is “gradually improving” in a number of states on the list, particularly the Philippines, Sudan, and Zambia. He said they remain on the list for the time being, but expressed confidence “that positive decisions are in the pipeline, if things keep moving in the right direction.”

Libya is being monitored closely, but remains subject to voluntary restrictions on flying to the (EU), applied since the Libyan revolution to all airlines licensed in Libya.

Other technical updates to the list include the removal of some airlines that have ceased to exist and the addition of new ones created in four banned countries: Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, and Mozambique.

The list also includes 10 airlines that are allowed to operate into the (EU) under strict conditions: Air Astana (AKZ) (Kazakhstan); Afrijet (FRJ), Gabon Airlines (GBK), and SN2AG (Gabon); Air Koryo (KOY) (North Korea); Airlift International (AGH) (Ghana); Air Service Comores; Iran Air (IRN), TAAG Angolan Airlines (ANG); and Air Madagascar (MAD).

The European Parliament’s (EP) Committee on Transport & Tourism (TRAN) distanced itself from the European Commission (EC)’s controversial plans for including international aviation in the European Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) by proposing amendments to soften the (EU) position.

The Council of the European Union (EU) has voted to remove duties on jet fuel imports that were due to come into effect at the beginning of next year. The Council said the suspension of these duties would avoid the inevitable price increase that would have followed application of the new scheme of generalized tariff preferences, which becomes effective January 1, 2014.

The new scheme means that a number of jet fuel exporting countries will no longer have preferential access to the (EU) market. The Council said it believes the imposition of customs duties on top of the loss of preferential access “would likely cause an increase in the price of jet fuel in the (EU), as it is not economically viable for refineries in the (EU) to increase their production of aviation fuel to any significant degree.”

A significant percentage of jet fuel is imported to Europe from countries that benefit from preferential access to the (EU), which in practice means those imports are effectively duty free. In June, the (EU) proposed levying a 4.7% duty on aviation fuel imports from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman. India was subsequently added to the list. The Council said the suspension of the jet fuel duty would be reviewed within five years.

(IATA) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Airports Council International (ACI) to develop Smart Security (SmartS), which replaces "Checkpoint of the Future." SmartS will enable passengers to proceed through security checkpoints with minimal inconvenience. In addition, security resources will be allocated based on risk and airport facilities will be optimized.

(IATA) said the name change to SmartS reflects the start of a new phase of pilot (FC) testing involving first generation checkpoints. “Since 2012, components of the Checkpoint have been tested individually. Under SmartS, several components will be tested together to see how they interact with one another in an operational environment. The renaming to Smart Security also signals the stronger (ACI)-(IATA) collaboration, together with the strong participation of governments and other key industry stakeholders.”

(IATA) Director General & (CEO), Tony Tyler said, “Smart Security is the way forward. A lot has been learned from the component tests conducted over the last two years. It forms the foundation for us to move confidently into the next phase of the development. The (MOU) with (ACI) on Smart Security will deliver synergies by drawing on the collective expertise and knowledge that both organizations have built over the years,” Tyler said.

“A touch point in the passenger journey that triggers a sense of dread is the security check. Through Smart Security, (ACI) and (IATA) will drive the needed change,” (ACI) World Director General, Angela Gittens said. “Airports, airlines, control authorities and system suppliers all have a role to play in making the process more effective, efficient and pleasant for the passenger. Smart Security brings these stakeholders together with the shared goal of transforming the security checkpoint for the benefit of all the traveling public.”

The Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) announced that its current (CEO) and President, Captain Kevin Hiatt, will be stepping down to take on a new role as (IATA)'s top safety executive in February 2014. (IATA) has appointed Kevin Hiatt as Senior VP Safety & Flight Operations, effective February 17, 2014. He will succeed the retiring, Guenther Matschnigg, who has been in the position for 14 years. Matschnigg led the development of the (IOSA) program. He has also overseen the launch of Enhanced-(IOSA). Hiatt joined the (FSF) in 2010 as Executive VP and served as (COO). Hiatt previously served as VP Corporate Safety & Security for World Airways (WLD), and was with Delta Air Lines (DAL) for 26 years in various positions.

January 2014: (IATA) said scheduled passenger numbers rose +5.1% in 2013.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said 2013 was the safest year in a decade for commercial air transport. According to (EASA), there were 17 fatal accidents worldwide last year involving large commercial air transport airplanes, compared to a yearly average of 27, which was fewer than any other year in the last decade. As a result, there was also a significant decrease in the number of fatalities worldwide, down to 224 in 2013, compared to a yearly average of 703 between 2003 and 2012.

There were no fatal accidents involving large commercial air transport airplanes in (EASA) member states in 2013, despite the region’s airlines operating some six million commercial air transport flights carrying more than >800 million passengers.

(EASA) Executive Director, Patrick Ky said: “Europe continues to have one of the strongest safety records in the world; however, this positive picture cannot be taken for granted. As traffic over European skies and worldwide increases, we need to continue our efforts to maintain and even improve aviation safety.”

These efforts include the European Aviation Safety Plan, which connects safety issues identified with actions and initiatives launched to address the underlying risks, and the (EASA) Annual Safety Review, which provides an overview of aviation safety in Europe covering all major sectors of aviation, from commercial air transport to general aviation and aerodrome and air traffic safety.

The more Europe “stands its ground” (its term on aviation emissions taxes (EU ETS)), the more ridiculous it looks, not to say downright unstatesman-like.

As if the whole saga of the European Commission’s unbelievable stance on its emissions trading scheme (EU-ETS) could not get more astonishing, the European parliament’s environment committee said it would back (EC) proposals to impose an emissions tax on those parts of long-haul flights that are in European airspace.

What this will achieve, or the logic of it, is very hard to make out. The parliament's own Transport & Industry committees are against the proposal, fearing (quite rightly) severe international diplomatic retaliation and a potential trade war that would harm the European economy.

The foolhardy move also shows huge disrespect to (ICAO) and its membership, which is the properly recognized authority for global commercial aviation.

What it also demonstrates is that Climate Commissioner, Connie Hedegaard was insincere when she made her infamous “stop the clock” announcement on (EU ETS), saying she was willing to give (ICAO) the "breathing space to forge an international agreement on aviation emissions." (ICAO) then accomplished that in September and the entire global aviation community applauded those who had worked hard to make it happen, actually (at the time) giving public credit to the (EC).

As has been said before, then Hedegaard "poked (ICAO) in the eye" with her rebuke of the (ICAO) (MBM) agreement so soon after it was made. Europe’s latest move shows the Commissioner did not actually believe (ICAO) would be able to reach an emissions agreement and proves what was likely true all along. The (EC)’s apparent true interests are not about the environment; they are really about filling the treasury!

The final showdown in the European Parliament over the scope of the controversial European Union (EU) Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) is now anticipated to be in April.

The European Union (EU) has earmarked at least €6.6 million/$9 million to co-finance a study looking at methodologies to support faster flight data processing (FDP) for more effective air traffic management (ATM) in Europe.

The study, selected for funding under the 2012 Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) Multi-Annual Program, aims to increase the safety, capacity, flight efficiency and cost effectiveness of European (ATM) by accelerating the development and implementation of advanced (FDP) capabilities. It will develop the key elements of the future European (FDP) infrastructure and support the interoperability of competing platforms, pursuing the implementation of a network and a data model for the interoperability of (ATM) in line with "Single European Sky" legislation. The study will be undertaken by members of the A6 Alliance of air navigation services providers: (AENA) (Spain), (DFS) (Germany), (DSNA) (France), (ENAV) (Italy), and (NATS) (UK), plus Austro Control (Austria), (IAA) (Ireland), (LFV) (Sweden) representing the (NORACON) consortium.

The study is expected to make a positive contribution to global interoperability and, in particular, to the timely implementation of interoperable (FDP) systems, which can support the Single European Sky (ATM) Research (SESAR) operational concept.

Progress will be monitored by the Infrastructure and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) and the study is due to be completed by the end of 2015.

A USA airline lobbying group has said it will continue to protest the opening of a new customs and immigration pre-clearance facility in Abu Dhabi. Airlines for America (A4A) has repeatedly urged the USA government not to go ahead with the facility, claiming it gives an unfair advantage to Etihad Airways (EHD), Abu Dhabi’s national carrier. Pre-clearance allows foreign-originating passengers to arrive in the USA as domestic traffic, enabling them to skip the often lengthy queues at immigration desks.

Several members of Congress and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) are among others that have spoken out opposing the plan.

The initial flights to be affected by the opening of the new facility operate from Abu Dhabi to Washington Dulles. Flight websites show only (EHD) operates direct between the two points, although American Airlines (AAL) has a code share with (EHD) on the route.

(A4A) said that it “continues to believe that CBP Customs & Border Protection (CBP) should focus on resolving lengthy wait times at USA gateway airports before opening new pre-clearance facilities overseas, and we are committed to working with Congress and the Administration to achieve that goal.”

The concern is that passengers could opt for (EHD) in preference to USA carriers because of the convenience in pre-clearing immigration and customs.

(ALPA) said that “by allowing a (CBP) pre-clearance facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport, where no USA air carrier currently flies, the USA government is handing a state-subsidized airline, Etihad Airways (EHD), the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a major competitive advantage over USA airlines.”

Pre-clearance facilities already exist in Canada, several Caribbean nations and Ireland.

Following the opening, (EHD) said that additional flights to the USA will be processed via the facility in coming days. (EHD) currently operates non-stop daily flights from Abu Dhabi to New York, Washington DC, and Chicago. It plans to open routes to Los Angeles and Dallas later this year.

Singapore Airlines (SIA), SilkAir (SLK), Cathay Pacific (CAT) and Dragonair (DRG) have adopted Abacus electronic miscellaneous document (EMD) technology, creating a new paperless ticketing environment, per (IATA) (ITA)’s mandate that all miscellaneous documents issued from January 2014 to be electronic.

(IATA) has appointed Conrad Clifford as Regional VP Asia Pacific, effective February 1st. He succeeds Maunu von Lueders, who is retiring from (IATA), and will be based in (IATA)’s Asia Pacific Regional Office in Singapore.

At the end of this month, USA officials downgraded India's aviation safety rating due to that country’s lack of compliance with international safety standards as established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The (FAA) said India has been assigned a Category 2 rating under its International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program. India received the downgraded rating based on a recent reassessment of the country's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Although the (FAA) did not provide details on the downgrading, the lower rating means India's (CAA) now lacks the ability to meet (ICAO) standards in areas such as providing adequate manpower for inspections and safety checks on airplanes.

During a news briefing, India Aviation Minister, Ajit Singh called the downgrading "disappointing" and "surprising," stating that he believes "95% of all the issues raised have been solved."

"USA and Indian aviation officials have developed an important working relationship as our countries work to meet the challenges of ensuring international aviation safety. The (FAA) is available to work with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to help India regain its Category 1 rating," said (FAA) Administrator, Michael Huerta.

With the downgraded rating, Indian carriers will not be able to increase their frequency of flights to the USA and will face extra inspection for current ones. State-run Air India (AIN) has 21 weekly flights to the USA, while Jet Airways (JPL) has seven.

The (FAA) originally identified issues with India's civil aviation oversight during its (IASA) assessment in September. Since then, the India Cabinet has hired 75 additional full-time Inspectors, but will need to take further action to address the (FAA)'s concerns.

February 2014: Premium air travel in international markets grew +4.2% in 2013, a -0.6 point slide from 2012’s +4.8% growth, “[but] while this is a slowdown, growth has picked up over recent months, reflecting improvements in the business environment,” according to (IATA)’s December Premium Traffic Monitor.

2013’s strongest premium traffic growth was seen on Africa - Middle East routes (up +9.2% year-over-year), Europe - Middle East routes (up +8.9%), North America - South America routes (up +8.8%), routes within the Far East (up +7.2%) and North America - Central America routes (up +5.9%).

Premium travel routes showing a decline in demand during 2013 included routes within Africa (down -4.1% year-over-year), Europe - Africa routes (down -1.2%), Mid-Atlantic routes (down -1.2%) and South Atlantic routes (down -0.3%).

Worldwide international economy (Y) passenger traffic grew +3.5% in 2013, slipping -2.4 points from 2012’s +5.9% growth. The Far East market in 2013 slowed to less than half of 2012’s growth pace (from 9.6% in 2012 to 4.3% in 2013). “While major economies in the region started to show improvement during 2013, growth in China was patchy throughout the year and likely slowed to rates not seen since the 1990s,” (IATA) reported. “Given the size of the Chinese economy, these were knock-on effects for the region.”

International economy traffic growth in 2013 was strongest on Europe - Middle East routes (up +10.5% year-over-year), North America - South America routes (up +9.1%), Africa - Far East routes (up +5.9%), Middle East - Far East routes (up +5.9%) and Africa - Middle East routes (up +5.8%).

2013 international economy traffic declined on just four routes: Mid-Atlantic (down -2.3%), routes within North America (down -0.4%), South Atlantic routes (down -0.3%) and Europe - Africa routes (down -0.2%).

December’s overall international premium traffic increased +5.5% year-over-year, building on November’s result (+5.4%), with improvement seen most dramatically on Africa - Middle East routes (up +13.4% year-over-year), North America - South America routes (up +11.5%) and Europe - Middle East routes (up +9%). Premium traffic contracted in December for routes within Africa (down -6.5%) and Africa - Far East routes (down -3.1%).

Economy international passenger traffic grew +4.1% year-over-year in December, up +1.7 points from November. December’s strongest international economy traffic growth occurred on Europe - Middle East routes (up +12% year-over-year), Middle East - Far East routes (up +8.4%) and North America - Central America routes (up +8.4%). Economy (Y) traffic declined in December for Africa - Far East routes (down -2.5%), South Atlantic routes (down -2.1%), and Europe - Africa routes (down -1.6%).

“The outlook for premium travel markets is broadly positive, but [recent] improvements in the business environment appear to have paused in January,” (IATA) said. “The weakness is coming from emerging market economies, which have responded negatively to USA monetary policy tapering. Nonetheless, improvement in advanced economies should help sustain growth in premium travel, at least at current rates.”

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) (ITA) released figures showing a +1.4% expansion of global freight tonne kilometers (FTKs) in 2013 when compared to 2012. Cargo markets made very slow progress during the first half of the year. Acceleration in the trend took root in the latter half of 2013, placing air freight volumes on a steadily increasing trajectory. Capacity grew faster than demand at +2.6% and load factors were weak at 45.3% LF.

Regional performance varied. Middle Eastern and Latin American carriers reported the strongest growth in demand (12.8% and 2.4%, respectively). Asia-Pacific carriers, which have nearly 40% of the global air freight market, saw cargo activities shrink by -1.0% over the year. “2013 was a tough year for cargo. While we saw some improvement in demand from the second half of the year, we can still expect that 2014 will be a challenging year. World trade continues to expand more rapidly than demand for air cargo. Trade itself is suffering from increasing protectionist measures by governments. And the relative good fortunes of passenger markets compared to cargo make it difficult for airlines to match capacity to demand,” said Tony Tyler, (IATA)’s Director General & (CEO).

In December, global (FTK)s grew +1.8% compared to a year ago. This continues the positive trend in the latter half of 2013, though it was down from the November figure of +6.0%. Capacity grew by +3.6%, taking load factor down -0.8% points on a year ago, to 46.3%.

Asia-Pacific carriers saw freight volumes fall -0.3% in December, and declined -1.0% for 2013 as a whole, compared to 2012. The economic performance of the region was patchy, as was growth in trade volumes, although these have picked up in recent weeks. Despite shrinking demand, capacity grew by +0.8% in 2013.

European airlines reported cargo growth of +2.9% in December and +1.8% for the whole of 2013, the best volume performance of the traditional ‘big three’ aviation regions. Manufacturing indicators suggest that the fourth quarter of 2013 was the strongest quarter for two-and-a-half years, and the outlook, particularly in Germany, is improving.

North American carriers’ air freight volumes contracted -0.5% in December and fell by -0.4% for the whole of 2013, compared to 2012. Indicators of business activity in North America have shown some improvement in recent months, but remain below the levels seen at the start of 2013.

Middle Eastern carriers continued their strong growth, expanding (FTK)s by +13.0% in December and by +12.8% for 2013 as a whole. The Middle East has benefitted from improving economic conditions in Europe as well as solid growth in domestic Gulf economies. Middle Eastern carriers have also captured a significant share of the increase in the volumes out of Africa.

Latin American airlines’ freight volumes fell -5.0% in December, but for 2013 as a whole, increased by +2.4%. This is a slower pace of growth than in 2012, largely reflecting sluggish growth in Brazil. However, there have been signs of a steady pick-up since the third quarter of the year.

African airlines saw their freight volumes rise +1.7% in December and grow +1.0% for 2013 overall. African volumes, after a strong start to 2013, suffered from a mid-year lull, which has continued into the second half of the year, with weakness in major economies like South Africa as well as a slowdown in regional trade dampening demand.

The bottom line:

“The dynamics in which the air cargo industry operates are changing, but air cargo’s basic value proposition remains the same. Customers still need speed, quality, reliability and efficiency. And we need to get better at delivering it through improved technology and modern processes. This will be a year of change for air cargo. A key measure of success will be in passing the tipping point on e-air waybill implementation. That will lay the foundation for further improvements for a modern paperless air cargo industry that can only be achieved by aligning all stakeholders (including governments) in a common vision,” said Tyler.

Frustrated by the persistent lack of concrete progress on the implementation of Functional Airspace Blocks (FABs), European Transport Commissioner, Siim Kallas has raised the specter of imposing a single (FAB) on the whole of Europe.

March 2014: The nine USA passenger airlines that have already released full-year financial results for the past year, collectively earned a net profit of +$11.6 billion in 2013, or +$7.4 billion excluding one-time special charges, according to the 2013 Financial Recap released by Airlines for America (A4A). The nine USA passenger airlines’ profit margin for 2013 came to 7.8%, or 4.9% excluding special items.

In the fourth consecutive year of profitability for USA carriers, the 2013 result marked a stunning expansion on 2012’s net profit, which (A4A) reported as +$152 million (from 10 reporting USA passenger airlines, pre-American Airlines (AAL) - US Airways (AMW/(USA) consolidation).

“At the same time, the airlines reduced debt, invested in their workforces, renewed their fleets and met customer demand by offering new and improved products, destinations and seats,” (A4A) said. “These nine airlines ended the year with $71 billion in debt or 48% of annual revenues, having paid down $8 billion in debt from year-end 2012.”

“Airlines paid down debt and reinvested $12.4 billion in the travel experience for customers,” (A4A) VP & Chief Economist, John Heimlich said. “And while US airline profit margins rose from 0.1% to 7.8% year-over-year, they still remain below the (S&P) 500’s average of approximately 10%.”

2013 revenue was up +4.3% to $149.6 billion as expenses rose +0.8% to $139.2 million. Total operating profit for the nine reporting airlines came to +$10.3 billion for the year.

The average price per gallon of jet fuel paid by the nine airlines in 2013 was $3.09, down from $3.25 in 2012, a -4.9%year-over-year decline in the average price of jet fuel-per-gallon. Collectively, USA airlines spent over >$47.8 billion in fuel and related taxes during the past year, a decline of -3.6% year-over-year.

The nine carriers (Alaska Airlines (ASA), Allegiant Air (WJE), American Airlines (AAL) (including US Airways (AMW)/(USA)), Delta Air Lines (DAL), Hawaiian Airlines (HWI), JetBlue Airways (JBL), Southwest Airlines (SWA), Spirit Airlines (SPR), and United Airlines (UAL)) reported a collective passenger yield of 16.08 cents, up +1.8% from 2012’s 15.79 cents. Overall passenger load factor for the nine carriers came to 83.1% LF, up +0.4 point from 2012.

The USA Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported that 743.1 million passengers were transported by USA airlines in 2013, the highest annual total since 2008’s 743.3 million passengers. 2013’s total passenger number was a +0.9% increase year-over-year from 2012’s 736.7 million passengers. Domestic passengers reached 645.6 million for the year, up +0.5% year-over-year. International passengers reached 97.5 million, up +3.3% from 2012.

Full-year 2013 load factors all set new record annual highs, with the systemwide (domestic and international) load factor reaching 83.1% LF; the domestic load factor hit 83.5% LF, and the international load factor peaked at 82.3% LF.

Record-high passenger load factors for December were also set. The systemwide load factor for December 2013 reached 84.4% LF. Domestic load factor was 85.1% LF; the international load factor for December came to 82.9% LF.

For the full-year, Delta Air Lines (DAL) (for the fourth consecutive year) carried the most passengers systemwide (120.4 million, up +3.4% from 2012), followed by Southwest Airlines (SWA) (115.3 million passengers, up +2.8% from 2012) and United Airlines (UAL) (90.1 million, down -2.4% from 2012).

For December 2013, Southwest Airlines (SWA) carried the most passengers systemwide (10.2 million, up +13.4% year-over-year), followed by Delta Air Lines (DAL) (9.9 million, up +9.9% year-over-year) and (UAL) (7.5 million, up +4.4% from December 2012).

In 2013, Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International was again the country’s busiest airport, with 44.6 million passengers systemwide, a -1% drop from 2012. Chicago O’Hare followed with 29.9 million passengers for the year, consistent with 2012’s numbers. Dallas/Fort Worth was third (28.5 million passengers, up +3.4% from 2012). Los Angeles International Airport (25.8 million passengers, up +3.6% from 2012) was fourth, trading places in the yearly rankings with Denver International Airport (25.2 million passengers, down -1.3% from 2012).

2013 domestic passenger traffic was busiest at Atlanta (40.3 million passengers, down -1.5% from 2012), Chicago O’Hare (27 million passengers, down -0.2% from 2012) and Dallas/Fort Worth (25.8 million, up +2.8% from 2012).

2013 international passenger travel was busiest at Miami International Airport, with 5.8 million passengers, up +3% from 2012. New York (JFK) International Airport followed (5.1 million passengers, up +2.5 % from 2013). Atlanta was third, with 4.3 million international passengers, up +3.4% from 2012.

December 2013 systemwide airport passenger travel rankings mirrored the annual rankings. Atlanta was on top with 3.7 million passengers, up +5.5% year-over-year. Chicago O’Hare was second (2.5 million passengers, up +7.3% year-over-year), and Dallas/Fort Worth was third with 2.3 million passengers, down -0.3% year-over-year.

There were two interrelated themes that emerged over and over again at the 2014 (IATA) (ITA) World Cargo Symposium (WCS) in Los Angeles this month: 1) Air cargo is hurting; and 2) the air cargo industry is shockingly behind much of the rest of the business world (including the passenger airline business) in terms of automation and electronic processing.

Even as there has been a slight uptick in air cargo traffic in recent months, yields have not improved. “We’re shipping more for less,” one airline cargo executive said. Everyone at the (IATA) (WCS) agreed that air cargo has lost market share to ocean transport. Increasingly, shippers are deciding to pay -10 times less to ship goods by other modes (particularly ocean, but also rail and road) rather than pay the premium price to move cargo by air. “Ocean transport has become more reliable with more sailing frequencies per lane offered by carrier alliances,” FedEx (FED) Chairman & (CEO), Frederick Smith explained. “Combined with improved shipment information, fuel-efficient slow-steaming container ships allow products to be landed at the destination port with great predictability.”

(IATA) Global Head of Cargo, Des Vertannes said bluntly, “Shippers believe they’re not getting premium service for the premium price of air cargo.” He noted that the average end-to-end time for air cargo consignments is around 6 - 7 days, which is exactly what it was in the 1960s. Ocean shipping may take 30 - 40 days, but with a little pre-planning, shippers can save a lot of money moving cargo by sea rather than air (and be reassured by ocean shipping’s improved reliability). Vertannes believes air cargo end-to-end delivery time needs to be cut by about two days by the end of this decade for air to regain its value proposition.

A big reason air cargo moves so slowly is that the whole process continues to be extremely overburdened by paper in an e-commerce age. Air cargo often sits idle, or gets held up, because of paperwork. The air cargo industry is struggling to automate even the most basic piece of paper (the air waybill, which is roughly the equivalent of a passenger air ticket).

The air ticketing process is now almost entirely paperless. Not so for air cargo, which achieved just 12% e-air waybill penetration in 2013, not even close to the global industry’s modest goal of achieving 20% penetration.

Part of the problem is that the air cargo industry (aside from the express operators) is made up of multiple players. Whereas the big integrated delivery companies (FedEx (FED), (UPS) and (DHL)) largely handle their express packages end-to-end, traditional air cargo is passed from shippers to forwarders to ground handlers to airlines and back to forwarders again at the arrival airport. As a result, everyone seems reluctant to invest the necessary money to transform paper processing to e-processing.

Henrik Lund, Director of Global Airfreight for forwarding giant, Hellmann Worldwide Logistics, said, “The goal for us is to have true e-freight end-to-end. What we want is a seamless e-cargo supply chain. The word ‘seamless’ has been used [in the air cargo industry] for about 15 years, but it hasn’t happened yet. It’s all about the players working together. It’s all about harmonized processes and messaging across the whole supply chain.”

Global Shippers Forum Secretary General, Chris Welsh said shippers are frustrated by the air cargo industry’s inability to move forward with e-freight. Paradoxically, this means many shippers are not investing in the necessary Information Technology (IT) to help streamline the air cargo process.

Forwarders and airlines would like shippers to “key in” reliable data that could accompany the shipment from the start of the whole process. But shippers point to the fact that airlines and forwarders haven’t even been able to manage making the air waybill electronic, casting doubt on whether data provided by shippers would even technically be allowed to remain in electronic form throughout the airfreight transport process.

“The frustration is that the [air cargo] industry hasn’t been able to grasp this when the benefits to everyone are so obvious,” Welsh said during a (WCS) panel discussion. “What’s advisable first is for airlines and freight forwarders to sort out the e-airway bill, to make sure that’s doable. Shippers are not going to invest in new [e-commerce systems and processes] until they know what the [air e-cargo] architecture is. They are waiting for signals from the [air cargo] industry to see what the architecture is.”

Vertannes said, “Once shippers see that we’ve been able to transform our infrastructure, then the value proposition [for air cargo] will become more obvious.”

For the second consecutive month, after 15 months of reported declines, full-time equivalent (FTE) employment at USA scheduled passenger airlines has registered a monthly increase year-over-year.

In January, USA scheduled passenger airlines employed 381,819 full-time workers, up +0.5% year-over-year, according to figures from the USA Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). The January count indicates +1,777 more (FTE) jobs among USA scheduled passenger carriers than in January 2013.

Among the USA major/network carriers, year-over-year increases in January (FTE) jobs were seen at US Airways (AMW)/(USA) (up +4.1%), Alaska Airlines (ASA) (up +2.9%), American Airlines (AAL) (up +0.4%) and Delta Air Lines (DAL) (up +0.3%). Only United Airlines (UAL) reported (FTE) job losses in January, losing -1% of its (FTE) positions year-over-year. Overall, the USA major/network carriers saw a +0.4% year-over-year increase in January (FTE) positions.

Hawaiian Airlines (HWI), a major carrier classified by (BTS) as an “other carrier” (airlines that operate within specific niche markets) reported a year-over-year January increase of +381 (FTE) positions, up +8.7%.

For the major USA low-cost-carriers (LCCs), overall (FTE) positions grew +0.3% year-over-year in January. Spirit Airlines (SPR)’s (FTE) positions jumped +20.5% year-over-year, to 3,604 (FTE) employees; Allegiant Air (WJE) also continued its (FTE) job surge, up +15% from January 2013. Increases were also seen at Virgin America (VUS) (up +5.2%) and JetBlue Airways (JBL) (up +4.2%). January (FTE) job losses continued at Frontier Airlines (FRO) (down -11.7%) and Southwest Airlines (SWA) (down -1.9%).

Sun Country Airlines (SCA), a national carrier/(LCC) classified by (BTS) as an “other carrier,” reported a year-over-year January increase of +192 (FTE) positions, up +20.3%.

Ranked by (FTE) workforce, the top 10 passenger airlines for January were: (UAL) (81,368 (FTE) employees), (DAL) (73,372), (AAL) (59,686), (SWA) (44,983), (AMW)/(USA) (31,574), (JBL) (13,119), American Eagle (11,017), SkyWest (9,816), (ASA) (9,517), and ExpressJet (9,178).

April 2014: Premium air travel demand slackened in February, increasing +4.1% year-over-year, but slowing from January’s +6.1% growth, according to (IATA)’s February Premium Traffic Monitor. “Although the demand backdrop for premium traffic remains broadly positive, rates of improvements in business conditions have slowed,” (IATA) said.

(IATA) cited weakening output in China as a significant factor for concern: “[Manufacturing] business activity has been contracting since January, and points to a potentially more pronounced and extended economic slowdown.”

February’s strongest premium traffic growth year-over-year was seen on Africa - Middle East routes (up +12.6%), Middle East - Far East routes (up +10.2%), Europe - Far East routes (up +8.6%), North America - Central America routes (up +8.5%) and South Pacific routes (up +7.6%).

Premium traffic demand declined on only three routes in February: Africa - Far East routes (down -10.7% year-over-year), routes within Africa (down -7.5%) and routes within South America (down -1.7%).

Contrasted by share of premium traffic, the top routes in February were: routes within Europe (17.9% of premium traffic share, 3.6% of premium traffic revenue), North Atlantic routes (13.8% of premium traffic share, 21.3% of premium traffic revenue), routes within the Far East (12.1% of premium traffic share, 8.3% of premium traffic revenue), Europe - Far East routes (9% of premium traffic share, 12.7% of premium traffic revenue) and North America - Central America routes (7.2% of premium traffic share, 1.8% premium traffic revenue).

Economy (Y) passenger travel grew +2.7% in February year-over-year, down 0.8 point from January. Economy t(Y) raffic growth was strongest on Africa - Middle East routes (up +11.9% year-over-year), Europe - Middle East routes (up +10.6%), North America - Central America routes (up +8.4%), routes within North America (up +7.9%) and Middle East - Far East routes (up +7.1%). The largest decreases in economy (Y) traffic were seen on Africa - Far East routes (down -11.5% year-over-year), routes within South America (down -4.5%) and routes within Africa (down -3.9%).

Asia-Pacific airlines saw boosts in international passenger and air cargo traffic in March for the first quarter. The region’s airlines carried a combined total of 21.2 million international passengers in March, +2.7% more than the same month last year when leisure travel demand experienced a boost from the earlier timing of the April Easter holiday period. International passenger traffic, in (RPK) terms, grew +2.1%.

Combined with a +5.8% expansion in available seat capacity, however, the average international passenger load factor fell -2.8 points to 76.7% LF for the month. For the first quarter, international passenger numbers grew +5.6% to an aggregate total of 62 million, as a result of generally positive business and consumer sentiment in most markets. During the same period, international freight markets saw a +3.8% growth in traffic, with further evidence of a pick-up in international trade, leading to stronger demand for Asian exports.

The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) said the region’s carriers registered a +6.7% increase in international freight demand in freight tonne kilometer (FTK) terms. Offered freight capacity grew by a measured +5.9%, and consequently, the average international air cargo load factor for Asia-Pacific carriers edged +0.5 points higher to 68.4% LF, the first increase seen in over a year.

(AAPA) Director General, Andrew Herdman said, “Asian carriers continue to face a challenging operating environment marked by increased competition pressuring yields, while on the cost side of the equation many carriers have been adversely affected by volatile currency markets. Nevertheless, the overall demand outlook remains broadly positive, driven by expectations of further improvements to global economic conditions, including a long-awaited recovery in international trading activity.”

(IATA) (ITA) has called on the aviation industry to “make a safe industry even safer” by developing a better way to track airplanes following the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight (MH370) on March 8.

Speaking at the (IATA) (OPS) conference in Kuala Lumpur, (IATA) Director General & (CEO), Tony Tyler said governments and industry should focus on partnerships, data analysis and runway safety. He also committed (IATA) to formulating a unified industry position on global tracking of airplanes.

Tyler announced (IATA)’s plan to convene a task force, including input from the (ICAO) to “examine all of the options available for tracking commercial airplanes against the parameters of implementation, investment, time and complexity to achieve the desired coverage.” The group will report its conclusions by December.

(MH370), a Boeing 777-200 with 239 people on board, was on a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The search for the airplane, believed to be in the south Indian Ocean off the coast of Perth, continues. “Accidents are rare, but the current search for (MH370) is a reminder that we can never be complacent on safety,” Tyler said. “In a world where our every move seems to be tracked, there is disbelief both that an airplane could simply disappear and that the flight data and cockpit recorders are so difficult to recover. AirFrance (AFA) 447 brought similar issues to light a few years ago and some progress was made, but that must be accelerated. We cannot let another airplane simply vanish.”

Tyler also said governments need to make more effective use of passenger data. “Airlines are not border guards or policemen,” Tyler said. “The checking of passports is the well-established responsibility of governments. The industry [ensures] that governments have reliable information about passengers before an airplane takes off [via] advance passenger information. Governments need to review their processes for vetting and using this data, such as Interpol’s stolen and lost passport database.”

Tyler said governments should “harmonize” passenger data collected by airlines utilizing (ICAO) standard elements; eliminate collecting passenger and cargo data via paper forms; and “create a single harmonized window through which airlines can submit electronic data to governments. Accident investigation will continue to play a key role in safety, but with fewer accidents, it becomes increasingly difficult to produce trend data which is so important in managing safety,” Tyler said.

By the middle of this month, (ICAO) had forged a consensus among its member states and the international air transport industry sector to make the tracking of airline flights a near-term priority. The decision follows a special meeting on global flight tracking of airplanes in the aftermath of the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight 370 (MH370), triggering an unprecedented international search effort that has so far turned up empty.

According to (ICAO), the meeting established a framework for industry contributions through an Aircraft Tracking Task Force (ATTF), which will be coordinated by (IATA), to help address the near-term needs for flight tracking. “Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370 has been an unprecedented event for aviation, and we have responded here in a similarly unprecedented manner,” (ICAO) Council President, Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu said.

In parallel with (IATA)’s task force work, (ICAO) said it will “begin developing a flight tracking concept of operations covering how the new tracking data gets shared, with whom, and under what circumstances. The United Nations (UN) aviation organization will also begin considering performance-based international standards, on a priority basis, to ensure broader adoption of airline flight tracking throughout the aviation system.”

(ICAO) also said the meeting recognized the challenges faced by states, when coordinating their search and rescue (SAR) efforts across national and regional areas of responsibility, stressing the usefulness of regularly run practice exercises to identify procedural or operational gaps. The strong levels of international cooperation and resource sharing on the MH370 (SAR) efforts demonstrated to date were also recognized.

“Cooperation is the key to everything we achieve in global air transport,” Aliu said. “This has been true since the first states came together and signed the Convention on International Civil Aviation seven decades ago in 1944, and it will remain true as we begin to address the doubling of traffic volumes projected for 2030.”

At the (IATA) Operations Conference 2014 held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO) Director General, Jeff Poole, laid out (CANSO)’s Vision for transforming Air Traffic Management (ATM) performance, and highlighted what (CANSO) and the (ATM) industry was doing to help airlines and its industry partners to achieve seamless airspace globally. He illustrated his speech with examples of the work (CANSO) was doing to implement (ICAO)’s Aviation System Block Upgrades (ASBUS), Performance-Based Navigation (PBN), and (ADS-B).

The Plenary of the European Parliament (EP) on April 10th decided that only intra-European flights would be affected by the controversial European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) through 2016. The compromise agreement, which was ditched in March by the environment committee, was restored by the parliamentary plenary session by a 458 - 120 majority. If the decision is endorsed by the Council of Ministers (regarded as a formality) later this month, the compromise will remain in force until (ICAO) unveils its scheme in 2016. The vote was met with relief by airline representatives, although tinged with reservations.

“Although the Association of European Airlines (AEA) welcomes that the (EP) has taken a realistic approach, which provides clarity for airlines for the next three years, we would have preferred legal certainty and planning stability until 2020, when the global market-based mechanism is due to come into force,” (AEA) (CEO), Athar Husain Khan said. The (AEA) represents around 30 carriers.

“The new scope puts an additional burden on airlines primarily serving intra-European routes, but by amending the aviation (EU ETS), the (EP) has paved the way for further progress at the international level. The (AEA) fully supports the (ICAO) process as it is the only way to ensure a global solution for a global problem.”

The decision was about as good as could have been hoped for, added Stefanie Erdmann, (AEA)’s Manager Environment & Airports. However, “In the end, it’s still an additional burden on entirely European routes.”

Nations outside the 27-nation bloc have reacted angrily to the prospect of charges being imposed on their airlines, even for those portions of international flights outside (EU) boundaries, regarding it as the (EU) over-reaching its powers.

The (ICAO) reached an agreement last October to develop a global market-based measures scheme for aviation emissions by 2016 that would be implemented in 2020. To a mix of bewilderment and fury, just days after the (ICAO) agreement, the (EU) announced plans to resurrect the levies on non-(EU) airlines while flying in (EU) airspace. These had been suspended under a “stop the clock” arrangement while (ICAO) deliberated on the issue.

Since then, the proposals have been wending their way through the (EU)’s parliamentary process, ending April 10th with the plenary decision.

There were two interrelated themes that emerged over and over again at the 2014 (IATA) World Cargo Symposium (WCS) in Los Angeles: 1) Air cargo is hurting and 2) the air cargo industry is shockingly behind much of the rest of the business world (including the passenger airline business) in terms of automation and electronic processing.

Even as there has been a slight uptick in air cargo traffic in recent months, yields have not improved. “We’re shipping more for less,” one airline cargo executive said. Everyone at the (IATA) (WCS) agreed that air has lost market share to ocean transport. Increasingly, shippers are deciding to pay -10 times less to ship goods by other modes (particularly ocean but also rail and road) rather than pay the premium price to move cargo by air. “Ocean transport has become more reliable with more sailing frequencies per lane offered by carrier alliances,” FedEx (FED) Chairman & (CEO), Frederick Smith explained. “Combined with improved shipment information, fuel-efficient slow-steaming container ships allow products to be landed at the destination port with great predictability.”

(IATA) Global Head of Cargo, Des Vertannes said bluntly, “Shippers believe they’re not getting premium service for the premium price of air cargo.” Vertannes noted that the average end-to-end time for air cargo consignments is around 6 - 7 days, which is exactly what it was in the 1960s. Ocean shipping may take 30 - 40 days, but with a little pre-planning, shippers can save a lot of money moving cargo by sea rather than air — and be reassured by ocean shipping’s improved reliability. Vertannes believes air cargo end-to-end delivery time needs to be cut by about -2 days by the end of this decade for air to regain its value proposition.

A big reason air cargo moves so slowly is that the whole process continues to be extremely overburdened by paper in an e-commerce age. Air cargo often sits idle, or gets held up, because of paperwork. The air cargo industry is struggling to automate even the most basic piece of paper (the air waybill), which is roughly the equivalent of a passenger air ticket.

The air ticketing process is now almost entirely paperless. No so for air cargo, which achieved just 12% e-air waybill penetration in 2013, not even close to the global industry’s modest goal of achieving 20% penetration.

Part of the problem is that the air cargo industry (aside from the express operators) is made up of multiple players. Whereas the big integrated delivery companies (FedEx (FED), (UPS) and (DHL)) largely handle their express packages end-to-end, traditional air cargo is passed from shippers to forwarders to ground handlers to airlines and back to forwarders again at the arrival airport. As a result, everyone seems reluctant to invest the necessary money to transform paper processing to e-processing.

Henrik Lund, Director of Global Airfreight for forwarding giant Hellmann Worldwide Logistics, said, “The goal for us is to have true e-freight end-to-end. What we want is a seamless e-cargo supply chain. The word ‘seamless’ has been used [in the air cargo industry] for about 15 years, but it hasn’t happened yet. It’s about all the players working together. It’s all about harmonized processes and messaging across the whole supply chain.”

Global Shippers Forum Secretary General, Chris Welsh said shippers are frustrated by the air cargo industry’s inability to move forward with e-freight. Paradoxically, this means many shippers are not investing in the necessary Information Technology (IT) to help streamline the air cargo process.

Forwarders and airlines would like shippers to “key in” reliable data that could accompany the shipment from the start of the whole process. But shippers point to the fact that airlines and forwarders haven’t even been able to manage making the air waybill electronic, casting doubt on whether data provided by shippers would even technically be allowed to remain in electronic form throughout the airfreight transport process.

“The frustration is that the [air cargo] industry hasn’t been able to grasp this, when the benefits to everyone are so obvious,” Welsh said during a (WCS) panel discussion. “What’s advisable first is for airlines and freight forwarders to sort out the e-airway bill, to make sure that’s doable. Shippers are not going to invest in new [e-commerce systems and processes] until they know what the [air e-cargo] architecture is. They are waiting for signals from the [air cargo] industry to see what the architecture is.”

Vertannes said, “Once shippers see that we’ve been able to transform our infrastructure, then the value proposition [for air cargo] will become more obvious.”

As tensions heighten in the Ukraine, (ICAO) has confirmed Ukraine’s exclusive right to provide air navigation services in international airspace over the Black Sea within the Simferopol flight information region (FIR). Ukrainian State Air Traffic Service Enterprise (UkSATSE) said (ICAO)’s position was confirmed during negotiations earlier in April between representatives of Ukraine and the Russian Federation on the issue of safety in the airspace over Crimea and the open seas. (UkSATSE) said the (ICAO) position also established that Russia had “no legal grounds to seize this airspace and interfere with the work of air traffic services in Ukraine.”

(UkSATSE) said: “Instances of Russia’s unlawful seizure of radio frequencies spectrum that belongs to the state of Ukraine, misuse of 121.5MHz emergency frequency, and unauthorized use by third parties of operational radio frequencies used at Odessa and Dnipropetrovsk (ACC)s are major threats to the safety of flights. Ukraine has officially condemned the Russian Federation for the violation of a number of international, multilateral and bilateral agreements,” including the European Air Navigation Plan and the Chicago Convention.
“Russia blatantly ignores the principles of establishment of boundaries of (FIR)s contained in the Chicago Convention and its Annexes,” (UkSATSE) said. “Such behavior from the perspective of international law is unacceptable and is classified as open terrorism not only against Ukraine, but also against the international aviation community.”

(UkSATSE) said the (ICAO) position sends “a crystal clear message that the decision on which center and which technical means shall be used for the provision of air navigation services in Simferopol (FIR) belongs exclusively to Ukraine.”

To that end, Ukraine has signed new Letters of Agreement (LoA) with the states of the Black Sea Region to reflect the loss of its facilities in Crimea. (UkSATSE) said it initiated the renewal of the (LoA)s following Russian occupation of its (ATC) Center, Aerodrome Control Tower and other air navigation facilities in Crimea. Therefore, it is delegating the provision of air navigation services in the Simferopol (FIR) to the (ATM) Centers at Dnipropetrovsk and Odessa, which were now signatories to the new (LoA)s.

(UkSATSE) said Russia is the only Black Sea state that has not signed a new (LoA) with Ukraine, but insisted it is still negotiating with Russia’s air navigation services provider, and “strongly recommends the Aviation Authorities of the Russian Federation to apply common sense and rules of international law when dealing with the subjects on air navigation safety.” It said the (ICAO) position gave (UkSATSE) grounds to expect (ICAO) support with regard to Russia’s “invasion of the Ukrainian jurisdiction in the area of Ukrainian airspace, which will have irreversible consequences for Russian air traffic control and Russian airlines.”

May 2014: The concept of using an aviation computing cloud to track flight data in real time gained traction at a two-day conference in Kuala Lumpur focused on improving airplane tracking following the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines (MAS)’ Flight (MH370).

Organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) (a United Nations (UN) agency for information and communication technologies), the two day conference was attended by avionics manufacturers, trade associations and representatives from civil aviation authorities to explore how current technology could facilitate the development of real-time tracking of commercial airplanes. The (ITU) coordinates the shared global use of radio spectrum, and will look to use its expertise in that field to help the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) introduce a new international standard for real-time tracking of airplanes.

(ITU)'s conference is the latest in a string of recent government-industry international gatherings in the wake of the MH370 incident. (ICAO) recently hosted the first meeting of the Airplane Tracking Task Force (ATTF), a panel of aviation industry experts organized by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The (ATTF) plans on presenting a high level concept of operations for a global airplane tracking service at the 2015 (ICAO) High Level Safety Conference (HLSC).

During the two-day meeting in Malaysia, the (ITU)-hosted "Expert Dialogue" focused on cloud computing technology as a leading element of the future global airplane tracking service that (ICAO) is seeking.
“Thankfully, the number of airplanes which disappear, are not many,” said Ahmad Cheek, Malaysia's Minister of Communication & Multimedia. “But having gone through the experience of (MH370), even one airplane disappearing, is one too many.”

Cloud computing describes the process of storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet, instead of using a computer's hard drive. Information Technology (IT) teams at various government agencies and businesses have adopted the cloud computing model over the last decade, as it essentially allows on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources.

Creating an aviation data cloud and permitting access to it for airlines, operators and Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs), is a huge undertaking that will require the (ITU) and the (ICAO) to identify the concept of the operation, and determine necessary spectrum requirements and telecommunication standards. British satellite service provider, Inmarsat recently proposed a "black box in the cloud" service, where certain in-flight trigger events, such as an unapproved course deviation, would stream flight data recorder information off an airplane in real-time to approved recipients.

According to the (ITU), participants at the meeting want the (ICAO) and the (ITU) to develop standards that will define requirements on the protection of flight data, information security, and the appropriate use of flight data and data ownership, for the use of an aviation cloud for real-time monitoring of flight data.

"The (ITU) has a long history of harmonizing the use of the radio spectrum and developing international telecommunication/(ICT) standards and is offering to bring this competence to assist aviation, in partnership with the (ICAO), to consider alternative ways of using technology such as cloud computing and big data, to provide these solutions," said Malcolm Johnson, Director of the (ITU)'s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau.

The (ITU) concluded the two day conference by stating that it would continue to study current and future spectrum requirements for global airplane flight tracking and "make appropriate allocations" at the 2015 World Radio-communication Conference.

“This experts’ dialogue provided an opportunity to establish clear actions going forward, in particular related to the (ITU)’s expertise in the fields of radio-frequency spectrum, satellites and the (ICT) standardization,” said Johnson. “It will help instigate an international effort to ensure that an event like flight (MH370) is not repeated.”

Satellite operator Inmarsat has offered to establish a global airplane tracking service over its existing satellite communications network following the loss of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight (MH370).

The Boeing 777-200, with 239 people on board, went missing March 8 during a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. No trace of the 777 has yet been found despite an extensive multinational search effort. However, information gained from satellite data and some pings detected, are believed to have been emitted by the 777’s flight data recorder (FDR), indicating the 777 could be deep on the sea floor in the south Indian Ocean off the coast of Perth.

The proposed system, which Inmarsat said it will offer as a free service, should enable tracking of some 11,000 airplanes equipped with a suitable satellite connection. “Because of the nature of existing Inmarsat aviation services, our proposals can be implemented right away on all ocean-going commercial airplanes using equipment that is already installed,” Inmarsat (CEO), Rupert Pearce said.

He said the use of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Contract (ADS-C) through the Inmarsat network could be offered “responsibly, quickly and at little or no cost to the industry,” and that it would address some of the issues that led to the still-unsolved disappearance of Flight MH370. Inmarsat said that “leading aviation safety partners” had already bought into the proposal.

It has also proposed what it calls a “black box in the cloud,” which could stream historic and real-time flight data recorder (FDR) and cockpit voice recorder (CVR) information to aviation regulators or safety authorities, if required. This would not be full time, but would see data uploads automatically start in the event of a range of “trigger events” such as an unapproved course deviation, or a sudden change in altitude.

Inmarsat said the (ADS-C) tracking/upload option should track most commercial passenger airplanes, which is close to 100% of the world’s long-haul commercial fleet.

(IATA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) have agreed to share safety information and joint analysis of safety trends to help identify important safety issues.

The analyses will primarily be based on the information derived from the (EASA) Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft (SAFA) program and the (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA).

The two organizations believe this collaboration could help improve the safety auditing process, including the Third Country Operators (TCO) assessments and authorization requirements of the European Union (EU).

(EASA) Executive Director, Patrick Ky said: “Partnering with (IATA) on data sharing is a major stepping stone towards our common goal to promote the highest possible level of safety in aviation. This close and pragmatic relationship with industry will, in particular, facilitate the demonstration of compliance to the new rules affecting non-(EU) airlines.”

(IATA) Director General & (CEO), Tony Tyler said: “Safety is aviation’s highest priority and (IOSA) is the global benchmark for airline operational safety management. Working together through this information and trend-sharing partnership will contribute to making aviation even safer, while offering the potential to optimize the audit processes.”

(IOSA) is a requirement of (IATA) membership, and a further 150 airlines that are not members of (IATA) also participate in the program. (SAFA) ramp inspections are random safety inspections on a given airplane and its crew, focusing on flight preparation and the technical condition of the airplane. Approximately 11,000 inspections are recorded every year.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has contracted Airbus (EDS) Defense & Space to conduct a study into the feasibility of using so-called “passive radar” technology for air traffic management (ATM).

Unlike conventional radar, which uses a rotating antenna to send out radio pulses and detect pulses reflected back from airplanes, passive radar emits no radiation, but instead analyses radiation reflections from other emitters, such as radio and television stations, to detect objects.

By measuring the differences between the original broadcast signal and the signals reflected from airplanes in the air, it can determine the position of an airplane. Because passive radar relies on signals already in the air, it does not need to create additional emissions in populated areas, releases bandwidth for other uses, and addresses the problem of misleading echoes from wind farms.

Passive radar is expected to be more reliable and cost effective than current systems in use in civil airports, and may also help to free up spectrum that could be used for an upcoming "5G" network.

Airbus (EDS) Defense & Space started to develop the passive radar solution in 2006 and has already demonstrated a working system, which can detect ultra light airplanes many km away, with accuracies down to 20 m, as well as detect larger airplanes 200 km away.

The new Airbus (EDS) division is hopeful that the application of this technology, which was originally conceived for military use, could help reshape the way that air traffic is managed in the future.

Transport Canada has cleared the use of portable electronic devices (PEDs) by airline passengers “during all phases of flight.” The decision by the Canadian government aviation authority follows a similar relaxation of the rules governing the use of (PED)s on commercial flights made last year by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the (FAA).

Transport Canada said passengers on Canadian airlines will be able to use devices such as smartphones, cameras, electronic games, tablets and computers, “while an aircraft takes off, climbs, descends and lands, provided the device is in non-transmitting, or flight mode, and that their airline has met certain safety conditions outlined by Transport Canada.”

Calgary-based WestJet (WJI) said it expects passengers will be able to use (PED)s gate-to-gate by “early this summer.”

Montreal-based Air Canada (ACN) said it is “finalizing measures to safely implement the new procedures so customers can enjoy greater use of their (PED)s.”

Canadian Transport Minister, Lisa Raitt said, “By collaborating with our aviation partners, we are able to offer airlines the tools they need to safely enable passengers to use portable electronic devices (PED)s on airplanes, while still maintaining the highest standards of aviation safety.”

Worldwide passenger traffic grew +3.1% year-over-year in March, down -2.5 points from February’s +5.6% growth, according to (IATA)’s Air Passenger Market Analysis. Despite the slowdown, 2014’s first-quarter +5.6% traffic growth remains stronger than last year’s overall +5.2% growth. March’s (RPK) growth is -2.8 points lower than the +5.9% growth recorded in March 2013.

Overall capacity in March increased +5.3% year-over-year, delivering a total market passenger load factor of 79% LF, up +0.9 point from February’s load factor but dropping -1.3 points from March 2013’s 80.3% LF passenger load factor. March’s capacity growth kept pace with February’s +5.2% increase, exceeding it by +0.1 point; compared to March 2013, capacity grew by +1.8 points.

“We are seeing a slowing of demand growth,” (IATA) Director General & (CEO), Tony Tyler said. “The strong performance of advanced economies nevertheless is likely to support the continued growth of traffic in the coming months.”

International passenger traffic worldwide increased +2.6% year-over-year in March (“a significant slowdown compared to the +5.4% increase in February),” (IATA) said. Overall international capacity grew +5.5%, resulting in a passenger load factor of 78% LF, up +1.2 points from February but down -1.9 points from March 2013.

Middle East airlines had the largest growth in international travel demand, up +10% year-over-year; capacity in the region grew +10.7%, creating a regional passenger load factor of 79.5% LF, up +0.6 point from February and down -0.2 point from March 2013.

International passenger travel in the Latin America region improved +4.7% in March, compared to +4.2% growth recorded in February. It is the only region to see an improvement in international travel demand for the month, (IATA) said. Capacity in Latin America was up +2.3%, resulting in a regional passenger load factor of 78.8% LF, down -0.2 point from February and up +1.9 points from March 2013.

Global domestic passenger travel (RPK)s increased +4% year-over-year in March, compared to +5.3% in February. Overall domestic passenger capacity was up +4.9%, leading to an overall domestic passenger load factor of 80.5% LF, up +0.1 point from February but down -0.4 point from March 2013.

Domestic travel demand in the Russian Federation continued to grow in March, as (RPK)s grew +12.8% year-over-year, building on February’s +10.5% increase. Capacity in the Russian market grew +14.6% in March, and the domestic passenger load factor came to 70.3% LF, up +3.1 points from February.

Additionally, the Brazilian domestic travel market showed significant improvement in March, with passenger demand up +12% as capacity increased by just +3.4%, resulting in a domestic passenger load factor of 77.9% LF, down -1.2 points from February but up +7.4 points from March 2013.

The Japanese domestic market also improved in March, as passenger demand grew +10%, compared to +4.9% in February. Capacity in Japan increased +7% for the month, leading to a domestic passenger load factor of 70.2% LF, up +5 points from February and up +4.4 points from March 2013.

Global air freight traffic grew +3.9% year-over-year in March, marking six consecutive months of improvement and a +1.3 point rise from February, according to Airports Council International (ACI). Air freight volumes grew +3.2% year-over-year in the first quarter, compared to a virtually stagnant worldwide cargo market in the year-ago quarter.

Worldwide airport passenger traffic increased +2.4% year-over-year in March, slipping -1.8 points from February’s +4.2% growth rate. “The recent revival in the air freight market is a direct by-product of the improvements in world trade and the recovery in advanced economies,” (ACI) Economics Director, Rafael Echevarne said. “Despite the fact that many Asian airports have performed well the downside risks and relative weakness in the Chinese economy continues to persist. The outlook for air freight in the short term should be viewed with cautious optimism.”

In March, the strongest passenger growth occurred at airports in the Middle East region (up +5.9% year-over-year) and the Latin America - Caribbean region (up +5.1%). Both regions also led in year-to-date passenger growth, with Middle East airports’ passenger traffic up +8.6% for the year, and Latin America-Caribbean passenger traffic up +7.9% for the year. Compared to February, passenger growth generally faltered in March in the world’s other regions, with Europe up +2.4% year-over-year, Asia-Pacific up +2.3%, North America up +1.9%, and Africa down -1.9%.

European airports exhibited the most significant air cargo performance in March, with total freight traffic up +6% year-over-year (the region’s domestic freight grew +8.6%; international freight increased +5.9%). Strong overall air cargo growth was also seen in the Asia-Pacific region (up +5.2%), mainly due to strong first-quarter freight traffic performance at Shanghai Pudong International Airport (up +6.9% year-over-year for the first quarter), Incheon International Airport (up +6.1%) and Hong Kong International Airport (up +5.6%). Total air freight tonnage in the Middle East region grew +4.3% year-over-year in March; North American air cargo increased +1.5%. Cargo volume fell in both the Africa region (down -1%) and the Latin America-Caribbean region (down -2.2%).

“Notwithstanding the recent short run slowdown in passenger traffic, [we continue] to be upbeat with respect to the opportunities and growth in key emerging markets,” Echevarne said, citing strong first-quarter and twelve-month-period passenger traffic growth at airports in Brazil, Russia, India, China, and Southeast Asia.

June 2014: UK air navigation services provider (NATS) said more efficient air traffic control (ATC) procedures, innovative new technologies, and better use of airspace, saved a record-breaking 190,000 tonnes of airplane carbon dioxide (CO2) in 2013.

In its corporate responsibility report, (NATS) said the savings equated to cutting -£38 million/-$64 million from airline fuel bills. The report charts the company’s progress during 2013 in reducing the environmental impact of aviation in UK airspace and cutting airline fuel costs. Continuous climbs and descents, as well as direct routes, helped save fuel and reduce emissions. Last year, (NATS) introduced +75 changes to airspace and procedures to allow for more efficient journeys, while new departure routes were introduced to allow airplanes to climb higher, more smoothly. The (NATS)-led "Topflight" project also pioneered optimized transatlantic operations, saving up to a half-tonne of fuel every flight.

(NATS) Head of Environmental & Community Affairs, Ian Jopson said: “This is our best year yet in terms of CO2 and fuel savings. It means that since 2006 we’ve cumulatively saved -£270 million worth of fuel for our airline customers, but we’ve still got more work to do. Our overall goal is a globally sustainable aviation industry, in a business and an environmental sense. We have a near-term target to cut -4% off Air Traffic Management (ATM)-related CO2 per-flight by the end of this year. We’re just over half-way there, and are now going all out to achieve the rest.” (NATS) is targeting a -10% cut in CO2 emissions per flight by 2020.

(NATS) has also made progress in minimizing its own environmental footprint. Just 4% of company waste now goes to the landfill, while its water use has halved since 2006, saving -40 million liters a year.
(NATS) Managing Director Operations, Martin Rolfe said the reductions prove that “environmental savings can go hand-in-hand with exceptional safety and delay performance.”

In 2008, (NATS) became the first air traffic management (ATM) provider in the world to set targets for itself on environmental performance.

Russia’s state Duma has amended its air code to allow carriers to compile a passenger “black list.” The amendment permits airlines to refuse to sell a ticket to passengers who have violated onboard rules during the previous five years, jeopardizing flight safety. The carriers also have the right to compile and publish the unruly passenger lists. The measure was introduced due to the growing number of drunk passengers who threaten cabin crews and other passengers.

(IATA) and (ICAO) have recently moved to clarify and tighten rules for dealing with unruly passenger behavior during flights. (IATA) said its airlines now handle some 300 incidents a week and the problem is growing.

(IATA) appointed Glyn Hughes as Global Head of Cargo, effective June 9. Glyn joined (IATA) in 1991 to enhance and expand the cargo accounts settlement service.

Air Malta (MLT) has renewed its (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) registration following a comprehensive audit carried out by a foreign (IATA)-approved audit organization. (IOSA) is an internationally recognised evaluation system designed to assess the operational management and control systems of an airline.

The audit covers all the airline's operational departments namely: Organization & Management System, Flight Operations, Operational Control & Flight Dispatch, Aircraft Engineering & Maintenance, Cabin Operations, Ground Handling Operations, Cargo Operations and Security Management. Each department is audited for the required documented policy and procedures, as well as the correct implementation.

(IOSA) is consequently the benchmark for global safety management in airlines. All (IATA) members are registered and must remain registered in order to maintain (IATA) membership.

Following concerns raised by a group of airlines at the (IATA) (AGM) in Doha, air transport communications and Information Technology (IT) specialist (SITA) has launched a governance review and named a new Chairman.

USA President Barack Obama will nominate Christopher Hart to be Chairman of the USA National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
Hart, (NTSB)’s Vice Chairman, has served as acting Chairman since former Chairperson, Deborah Hersman resigned from the board on April 25. Hart this month oversaw the (NTSB)’s public hearing releasing the board’s investigative findings on the Asiana Airlines (AAR) Flight 214 777 crash. He has been a member of the board since August 2009 and was also a member from 1990 - 1993.

Hart has previously served as the (FAA) Deputy Director Air Traffic Safety Oversight and as FAA Assistant Administrator System Safety. His term as an (NTSB) member runs to December 31, 2017. Hart’s nomination to be (NTSB) Chairman will have to be confirmed by the USA Senate.

July 2014: Improved global trade and stronger business activity has seen global air freight markets growing +4.1% for the first 6 months of 2014, according to (IATA). Carriers in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East have been the biggest beneficiaries of the inproved market conditions, but (IATA) warns that there are still a lot of risks out there (from conflicts and sanctions, to potential national defaults and the fear of the Ebola outbreak).

August 2014: Asia-Pacific passenger traffic in the first half, grew +5%, with regional airports seeing a +3.3% growth year-over-year. However, traffic in the region slowed in June, when political unrest, currency and fuel price instability, drove some major regional centers into negative growth.

Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport passenger numbers dipped -6.9% and Thailand’s Suvarnabhumi Airport saw a -12.1% drop in overall traffic. Both were impacted by increased costs from currency weaknesses, with Thailand’s recent coup, resulting in slumping international passenger arrivals, that added to Suvarnabhumi’s traffic decline.

Kuala Lumpur International Airport (which recorded a +21.5% growth in the year-ago period) saw a +3.8% increase in this year’s first half. Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad attributed the slowdown to factors such as the slump in China traffic, following the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370, political uncertainties in Thailand, increasing conflict in feeder markets across the Middle East, and capacity cuts by Singapore-based carriers, feeding into the hub.

However, the weakened performance of the Southeast Asia hubs was offset by North Asia traffic, with Hong Kong International (+4.0% growth) and Tokyo Haneda (+7.6% growth) and Seoul’s Incheon (+9.4% growth) bumping up overall figures.

Cathay Pacific Airways (CAT) General Manager Revenue Management, Patricia Hwang said the performance of the North Asian market had seen its July figures “off to an encouraging start,” signaling that Korea remains “a hot spot for leisure traffic from the Hong Kong market.”

(IATA) (CEO), Tony Tyler has warned the recent softening in passenger demand, although slowly dissipating, still posed “many risks in the political and economic environment, that need careful monitoring.”

At the 2014 half-year mark, global air freight markets registered a combined +4.1% increase in volume compared with the same period in 2013, according to (IATA’)s June air freight market analysis. The mid-year growth rate is “well above the 1.4% growth in 2013 overall,” (IATA) said. At this point in 2013, the air freight market year-to-date growth over the previous year stood at just 0.1%.

While June’s air cargo volumes increased +2.3% year-over-year for the month, a -2.4 point slide from May, “current freight tonne-kilometer levels are the highest they have been since mid-2010,” (IATA) said. “Demand conditions throughout 2014 have been strong enough to support these improved (FTK) levels.”

Yet sustained acceleration in growth has been absent in recent months. Freight volume growth has fluctuated: January’s total market (FTK) year-over-year growth was +4.5%; February’s was +2.9%; March’s +5.9%; April’s +3.2%; May’s +4.7%.

Air-cargo volumes faltered in June for the Latin America market (down -3.4% year-over-year); Europe was down -1.5% and North America was largely flat, declining -0.1%.

Air freight volumes in the Middle East grew +7% year-over-year in June, and by +10% year-to-date, primarily through “introducing services to regions of strong and developing trade activity, including Mexico and Uganda,” (IATA) said.

Asia-Pacific volumes were up +4.9% year-over-year for June and have risen +4.6% year-to-date. (IATA) noted a strong increase in China export orders in June, “suggesting the upturn in regional trade growth could be sustained in the months ahead.”

African airlines showed a +4.8% year-over-year growth in air cargo volumes; though year-to-date Africa’s cargo volume growth is +3.1%. “This is largely a result of economic slowdown in some major regional economies, including South Africa,” (IATA) said.

Total market (AFTK) capacity increased +2.6% year-over-year, resulting in a global freight load factor of 44.9% LF for the month, down -0.2 point from May. “At the half-way point of the year, it is clear that overall cargo demand is much stronger than in 2013,” (IATA) Director General & (CEO), Tony Tyler said. “Asia-Pacific and the Middle East have been the biggest beneficiaries of the improved market conditions.”

“[But] this may not, however, be a recovery as usual,” Tyler said. “There are a lot of risks out there (from conflicts and sanctions to potential national defaults and fear of the Ebola outbreak).”

(IATA) is calling for Vietnamese authorities to ensure there are appropriate regulatory structures in place to oversee an expected wave of airport construction and privatization.

(IATA) welcomes Vietnam’s efforts to improve its aviation infrastructure, (IATA)’s Director General & (CEO), Tony Tyler said during a speech in Hanoi. To accommodate projected traffic increases, the government has drafted an aviation master plan that includes a goal of having 26 airports by 2020. Expansion is being undertaken at the major Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City airports, and there are also plans for a new, much larger, international airport near Ho Chi Minh City to be completed by 2020.

However, Tyler stressed there should be “careful planning and industry consultation leading to a well-thought-out regulatory structure in advance of any change to the current structure and ownership of Vietnam’s airports.” In particular, (IATA) is recommending the establishment of an “effective independent economic regulator.” Such a step would help ensure “fair charging schemes aligned with (ICAO) policies.”

According to (IATA), Vietnam has signaled its intention to open its airports to foreign investment and management, and to privatize the Airports Corporation of Vietnam. While privatization would provide access to much-needed investment, Tyler said (IATA) has “seen enough spectacular examples of unintended negative consequences to urge caution.” Having a strong economic regulator would help “balance the market power of privatized airports.”

Rudy Quevedo, former Director of Global Programs, for the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) left the (FSF) to join the International Air Transport Association (IATA) as the Director of Safety.

September 2014: The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has restructured, in a move it says will enable it to engage more pragmatically with the aviation industry.

The changes, which became effective September 1, include the creation of a strategy and safety management directorate to promote a data-driven and performance-based approach to managing safety.

“All regulatory functions have been integrated across the different aviation domains, and more homogeneity has been introduced to better enable the agency to speak with one voice,” the (EASA) said.

The Nigerian Minister of Aviation, Mr Osita Chidoka, said that the Ministry of Aviation would collaborate with USA experts on safety and security, to ensure safety in air transportation. Chidoka made this known when the US Ambassador, Mr James Entwistle, visited him in his office in Abuja.

He said Nigeria and the USA had been cooperating in the areas of capacity building, and improvement in regulatory and commercial activities. "The key focus of the sector is on safety and security at our airports and we will be talking with USA experts on safety and security.

"In the USA Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Category One, we did a lot on safety and security standard at the airports. But now, we are going to deepen in that, to ensure that our system is of world class such that the (FAA) certification process will be just easy,'' Chidoka said.

Earlier, Entwistle said that the essence of his visit was to talk on crucial areas of cooperation in the aviation sector. He said that the USA Government was ready to work with the Nigerian aviation sector, noting that Chidoka would soon be discussing with some U.S. government agencies on safety and security.

On Ebola challenge, he commended the Federal Government and public health officials for implementing effective containment measures. "I visited your Emergency Operation Centre in Lagos and I must say I was impressed; they are doing a good job; and when the news of Ebola spread to Port Harcourt, the response was also quick that was remarkable.

"And the key to this is contact tracing, public information and isolation; you had all these things and your government is doing a good job. "The USA Government, especially the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is glad to help. The situation in Nigeria on Ebola is fundamentally different from the situation in Liberia and Sieore Leone.

"The important thing is that all the cases in Nigeria so far can be traced back to the original index case; that is good news because your contact tracing is doing a good job,'' Entwistle said. He said that when he flew into Abuja from Europe, he was impressed that everybody in the airplane was given a form to fill, including their seat number. "I believe this will help in case there is any challenge of one infected with the disease a contact can easily be traced.

AirFrance (AFA) pilots (FC) have now joined flight attendants (CA) in demanding the right to refuse to fly to destinations in the West African countries affected by Ebola.

The move threatens to further isolate three nations most ravaged by the disease - Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

According to "Le Monde" in Paris, François Hamant, a representative of the pilot (FC)'s union in France, filed an official government complaint. It demands a commitment from (AFA) management that any pilot (FC) or flight attendant (CA) not wanting to fly to the Ebola-impacted West African nations can refuse to make the flight without suffering any adverse consequences, either financial or disciplinary.

Julien Duboz, spokesman for the Syndicat des Pilotes d'Air France (AFA), the French union of airline pilots (FC), confirmed to "Le Monde" that while the union is aware of some (AFA) pilots (FC) who have refused to fly to West Africa, the defections are "rare."

As (WND) reported, the World Health Organization (WNO) recently warned that Ebola is "expanding exponentially" in West Africa, with the problem so severe in Liberia, that many thousands of new cases expected in country over the coming three weeks.

Last Friday, (WHO) reported in Geneva that one in 10 health-care workers treating Ebola patients in West Africa has become infected with the disease.

Nevertheless, (WHO) has repeatedly issued advisories contending airline pilots (FC) and crews are protected by rigorous screening to keep from flights any passenger showing symptoms of Ebola.

(WHO) maintains that while the incubation period for Ebola can be as long as 21 days, those infected with the disease who are not yet displaying symptoms represent no danger of transmitting it.

Duboz explained to "Le Monde" that (AFA) so far has not had a single incident of a member of the aircrew ((FC) - (CA)) or a passenger becoming infected with Ebola, despite a continuation of regularly scheduled (AFA) flights to West African destinations.

Dr Margaret Chan, the (WHO) Director General, has repeatedly insisted that disruptions in commercial air travel to West Africa will impede the efforts of international health organizations to contain and combat the disease. "We must be careful not to characterize Ebola as 'an African disease,'" Chan said.

She warned that the stigmatization of the disease with any racial classification would be detrimental to the UN effort to control it.
"This is an international issue, a global threat," she continued. "We need to make sure Ebola patients and Ebola-affected countries aren't stigmatized and isolated."

Global air passenger traffic demand grew +5.3% in July, up +0.6 point from June and up +0.3 point from July 2013, according to (IATA)’s July Air Passenger Market Analysis report. “July was another strong month of growth for air travel across all regions,” (IATA) Director General & (CEO), Tony Tyler said. “The overall sluggishness at the beginning of the year appears to be behind us with growth in China and other emerging economies offsetting recent deterioration in the Eurozone.”

As global (RPK)s grew +5.3% year-over-year in July, global capacity kept pace at the same +5.3% rate, delivering a total market passenger load factor (PLF) of 82.3% LF, unchanged from July 2013’s (PLF).

Global international passenger traffic grew +5.5% in July, as overall international capacity rose +6.2%, resulting in a (PLF) of 81.9% LF, up half a point from June but down -0.8 point from July 2013.

Middle Eastern airlines showed the biggest international travel gains for the month, with +9.2% year-over-year growth. Capacity grew +8.2%, sending the region’s (PLF) for the month to 78% LF, down -4.1 points from June, and down -0.3 point from July 2013. (IATA) cited strong regional economies and increased business-related premium travel, as reasons behind the region’s performance.

International travel growth in July for the rest of the world’s regions was: Latin America (up +6.7% year-over-year); Asia-Pacific (up +5.6%); Europe (up +5.3%); Africa (up +4.9%) and North America (up +2.9%).

“[The European] region reported a very high load factor of 85.1% LF,” (IATA) said. “While this is a robust performance, latest indicators show a weakening in key European economies such as Germany reflecting the impact of sanctions associated with the deepening Russia - Ukraine crisis.”

Overall domestic passenger travel demand grew +4.9% year-over-year in July, up +1.5 points from June, and slightly improving on (up +0.1 point) July 2013’s rate of growth. Capacity increased +3.5%, leading to a domestic travel (PLF) of 83% LF, up +1.3 points from June and up +1 point from last July.

Among the major domestic markets, Russian airlines exhibited the greatest July growth with a +9.9% year-over-year increase in domestic travel demand. (IATA) cited a “significant reduction in fares” as the reason, despite a slowdown in the Russian economy due to the Russia - Ukraine crisis. (IATA) also made note of India’s +6% year-over-year domestic travel improvement during the month, postulating it “could be an early sign of the success of the new government’s business-friendly stance.”

Domestic travel performances in July for the rest of the world’s major domestic markets were: China (up +8.8% year-over-year), Japan (up +4.6%); USA (up +3.9%); Brazil (up +0.7%) and Australia (down -1.6%).

The Chinese mainland will push for further liberalisation of its air cargo market because it is vital to facilitating trade flows and expanding its economy, the aviation authority (CAAC) said.

"China, as the biggest exporting country in international trade relies heavily on air cargo business. We are actually taking a pro-active attitude towards air cargo liberalization," said Han Jun, Director General International Affairs department of the (CAAC).

"We will follow the international trend of liberalization, particularly for cargo development," Han told an audience of industry leaders from around the world at the first Air Cargo Development Forum organized by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

International cargo traffic turnover accounted for nearly one third (21.07 billion ton kilometres) of China's total traffic turnover of 67.17 billion ton kilometres last year.

China's international cargo business soared between 1980 and 2008, before being hit by the financial crisis. It showed signs of recovery from stagnation since last year, when international traffic turnover recorded growth of +8.3%. Wang Zhiqing, a Deputy Administrator of the (CAAC), said China would seek to liberalize its cargo market in a "positive, gradual, moderate and secure manner".

"We will lower access requirements as appropriate and also encourage Chinese airlines to expand their international routes to more domestic service points, and work with foreign operators to create new international routes," Wang said.

According to Han, China has signed air service agreements with 115 countries and regions, of which 21 have introduced unlimited capacity entitlements for all cargo services.

"What is worth mentioning is the China - USA air traffic agreement. After its amendment in 2004, it has for the first time introduced the concept of air cargo hub operators," Han said.

"Cargo hub operators in China are entitled to the seventh freedom traffic right," he said, pointing to the right to operate between two points with neither being the airline's home country. "This is the only such arrangement we have reached with another authority."

Glyn Hughes, Global Head of Cargo at (IATA), said "air cargo is an enabler and facilitator of international trade" and that liberalization would lead to lower costs and higher efficiency.

Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) has launched a “carbon accreditation” program similar to the one that has been in place in Europe since 2009. (ACI-NA), announcing the program at its annual Conference and Exhibition in Atlanta, said it “independently assesses and recognizes airports’ efforts to measure, manage and reduce their CO2 emissions.”

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) has achieved accreditation, the first airport in North America to do so, according to (ACI-NA). (ACI) World Director General, Angela Gittens said, “North America’s adoption of the airport carbon accreditation program is exemplary of how airports the world over are working with their local communities, and within the larger global context, to prove that growth will not be achieved to the detriment of the environment.”

(ACI-NA) said “early adopters” of the carbon accreditation program in North America will include Montreal, Denver, San Francisco, and Portland (Oregon) airports.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has approved the use of portable electronic devices (PEDs) in transmitting mode through all stages of a flight, following a safety assessment process. The (EASA) said passengers will be able to use their (PED)s just as in any other mode of transport: on and connected throughout the trip.

The new guidance allows airlines to permit (PED)s to stay switched on, without the need to be in “Airplane Mode” or “Flight Mode,” further facilitating gate-to-gate telecommunication or Wi-Fi services.

(EASA) said it was up to each airline to decide whether to allow the use of (PED)s, and this would require an assessment process to ensure airplane systems were not affected in any way by (PED) transmission signals. For this reason, (EASA) said, “there may be differences among airlines whether and when (PED)s can be used.” It warned that, for safety reasons, “airlines may be more restrictive than the (EASA) provisions are,” and stressed that passengers should therefore at all times follow the instructions of individual airline crew.

This measure follows (EASA)’s decision in December last year to allow the use of (PED)s in non-transmitting mode through all stages of flight.

Equatorial Guinea is to reopen West Africa flights. Ceiba Intercontinental (CEL) will shortly resume scheduled flights to West Africa, which were suspended in mid-August owing to the current Ebola outbreak there. Equatoguinean President, Teodoro Obiang Nguema made the announcement during a recent meeting with the United Nations (UN) in which he revealed that since the suspension of flights, Equatorial Guinea had invested in medical equipment capable of detecting the virus and its symptoms.

The 2014 Ebola outbreak is the largest Ebola outbreak in history, and the first in West Africa. The current outbreak is affecting multiple countries in West Africa, including Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Senegal, and Nigeria with over >2,500 having now died from the deadly virus.

(CEL)'s West African network consists of flights to Cotonou, Dakar, Accra, Abidjan, and Lomé. Other Equatoguinean operators which also serve West Africa include: Cronos Airlines ((IATA) Code: C8, based at Malabo) (CRS) and Punto Azul ((IATA) Code: ZR, based at Malabo).

October 2014: News Item A-1: More than >7,400 people in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sierra Leone have contracted Ebola since March, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), making this the biggest outbreak on record. More than >4,000 have died so far (SATURDAY OCTOBER 10TH REPORT).

The USA Centers for Disease Control (CDC) & Prevention and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) unveiled a plan to implement health screenings of airline passengers arriving at five USA airports from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The “new layers of entry screening” are aimed at detecting passengers who may be infected with the Ebola virus, the (CDC) and the (DHS) said.

Screenings began October 11 at New York (JFK), where nearly half of the passengers arriving from the three Ebola-affected West African nations arrive in the USA. Ebola screenings are also implemented at Washington Dulles, Newark, Chicago O’Hare, and Atlanta airports.

According to the (CDC) and the (DHS), passengers arriving at the five airports from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are escorted to an area of the airport set aside for screening. “Trained [Customs and Border Protection] staff observe them for signs of illness, ask them a series of health and exposure questions, and provide health information for Ebola, and reminders to monitor themselves for symptoms,” the (CDC) and the (DHS) said. “Trained medical staff are taking their temperature with a non-contact thermometer. If the travelers have fever, symptoms or the health questionnaire reveals possible Ebola exposure, and they are being evaluated by a (CDC) quarantine station public health officer. The public health officer again takse a temperature reading and makes a public health assessment. Travelers, who after this assessment, are determined to require further evaluation or monitoring are being referred to the appropriate public health authority.”

The five airports where the screenings are taking place cover 94% of the passengers arriving from the three affected nations, the (CDC) and the (DHS) said, adding that the USA airport entry screenings complement exit screenings already taking place at airports in the three West African nations. “Today, all outbound passengers are screened for Ebola symptoms in the affected countries,” the (CDC) and the (DHS) said. “Such primary exit screening involves travelers responding to a travel health questionnaire, being visually assessed for potential illness, and having their body temperature measured. In the last two months since exit screening began in the three countries, of 36,000 people screened, 77 people were denied boarding a flight because of the health screening process. None of the 77 passengers were diagnosed with Ebola and many were diagnosed as ill with malaria, a disease common in West Africa, transmitted by mosquitoes, and not contagious from one person to another. Exit screening at airports in countries affected by Ebola remains the principal means of keeping travelers from spreading Ebola to other nations.”

Asked about the impact of the Ebola screening measures on USA airlines, Airlines for America association (A4A) President & (CEO), Nick Calio said (A4A) and its members were working with the (CDC).
Calio, who was speaking in Washington DC at the International Aviation Club, said, "It's a difficult problem, and people are alarmed about what's happening. Whether there is an impact or not [on airlines] I think is an open question. We think air travel is totally safe and people should keep flying."

According to (IATA) (ITA), only about 150 passengers a day arrive in the USA from the three West African nations that are subject to the extra screening.

The UK government is implementing screening at Britain’s two main gateway airports (London Heathrow (LHR) and Gatwick) for passengers traveling from Ebola-stricken Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

The decision follows advice from the Chief Medical Officer and comes a day after the USA Centers for Disease Control (CDC) & Prevention and the USA Department of Homeland Security unveiled a plan to implement health screenings of airline passengers arriving at five USA airports from West Africa.

Although the World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend entry screening for Ebola, UK Chief Medical Officer, Sally Davies said: “Although the risk to the UK remains low, in view of the concern about the growing number of cases, it is right to consider what further measures could be taken, to ensure that any potential cases arriving in the UK are identified as quickly as possible. These measures could include a further UK-based package of measures to identify and assess the health status of passengers arriving from the affected countries and to ensure that those individuals know what to do should they be taken ill while in the UK.”

The (WHO) recommends affected countries should conduct exit screening for individuals with unexplained illness consistent with potential Ebola infection.

Taking into account the (WHO) advice, the government had originally decided against entry screening at UK airports, but eventually succumbed to pressure for screening to be implemented following the US government’s decision to implement screening at five airports for passengers arriving from West Africa. The government’s green light to introduce screening at the two London airports, and at the Eurostar rail terminal, was in response to the Chief Medical Officer’s advice.

In a statement issued by Prime Minister David Cameron’s office, a Downing Street spokesperson said: “Airport screening at airports in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea has been in place for some weeks to ensure all passengers leaving affected countries are checked. Further screening has been kept under review throughout this period and the latest advice from the Chief Medical Officer is that enhanced screening arrangements at the UK’s main ports of entry for people traveling from the affected regions (Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea) will offer an additional level of protection to the UK.”

As a result, enhanced screening for people traveling from those countries will involve assessing passengers’ recent travel history, who they have been in contact with and onward travel arrangements, as well as a possible medical assessment, conducted by trained medical personnel, rather than Border Force staff. In addition, passengers will be given advice on what to do, should they develop symptoms later.

“As the Chief Medical Officer’s advice makes clear, these measures will help to improve our ability to detect and isolate Ebola cases. However, it is important to stress that given the nature of this disease, no system could offer 100% protection from non-symptomatic cases,” the Downing Street spokesperson said.

The USA Centers for Disease Control (CDC) & Prevention interviewed 132 passengers who flew on an October 13 Frontier Airlines (FRO) flight from Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth after one of the flight’s passengers tested positive for the Ebola virus.

The Dallas health care worker did not report symptoms until the day after she flew on (FRO) Frontier Flight 1143, but (CDC) said that “because of the proximity in time between the evening flight and first report of illness the following morning, public health professionals began interviewing passengers about the flight, answering their questions and arranging follow up. Individuals who were determined to be at any potential risk are being actively monitored.”

The (CDC) added, “The health care worker exhibited no signs or symptoms of illness while on Flight 1143, according to the crew ((FC) - (CA)). (FRO) worked closely with the (CDC) to identify and notify passengers who may have traveled on Flight 1143 on October 13.”

Frontier (FRO) said that it has been “notified by the (CDC) that a customer traveling on (FRO) Flight 1143 had since tested positive for the Ebola virus.” (FRO) added, “The flight landed in Dallas/Fort Worth at 8:16 pm local and remained overnight at the airport having completed its flying for the day, at which point the airplane received a thorough cleaning per our normal procedures which is consistent with (CDC) guidelines prior to returning to service the next day. It was also cleaned again in Cleveland.”

(FRO) also said the passenger who tested positive for Ebola “previously had traveled from Dallas/Fort Worth to Cleveland on Frontier Flight 1142 on October 10.”

(IATA) Director General & (CEO), Tony Tyler said (IATA) is “following the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines that effectively are saying that this disease is not infectious unless someone has symptoms, and if they have symptoms, they are unlikely to be well enough to travel, but clearly vigilance is needed.”

Asked what the airline industry has learned about these sorts of issues from the (SARS) crisis (in 2003, which had a severe impact on the travel industry in Southeast Asia), Tyler said: “What we have learned is to be rational and to keep calm. It’s important to monitor the situation and to follow professional medical advice.”

The USA, working to track down passengers on one flight that included a person who tested positive for Ebola, will pressure counterparts in several countries to step up efforts to help mitigate the outbreak’s reach, President Barack Obama said. Speaking after an emergency cabinet meeting called to review the USA response to the epidemic, Obama lauded some countries for “punching above their weight,” but said more must join in. “We have not seen other countries step up as aggressively as they need to,” the President said. “I’m going to be putting a lot of pressure on my fellow heads of state and governments around the world, to make sure that they are doing everything that they can to join us in this effort.”

No specific countries were named. Obama’s call came on the eve of a European summit called to discuss the region’s response.

Few details about the cabinet meeting were released, although a White House statement said “options to enhance airport screening” was on the agenda. The meeting which took place at the USA Center for Disease Control (CDC), resulted in all 132 passengers being contacted, whom had traveled on the Frontier Airlines (FRO) flight from Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth, after a health care worker on that flight tested positive for Ebola the next day.

While it may not have been useful policy, airlines are permitted to deny boarding to passengers based upon their symptoms and travel history. Julie Fischer, Associate Professor at the Milken Institute School of Public Health, said flight crews (FC)s should consider using that authority, even though they may end up refusing boarding to many passengers who only have the flu.

“That authority is there for a really good reason,” Fischer said. “Airlines and the crews can identify sick passengers and take proper steps to protect the rest of the traveling public. Obviously right now, people are very concerned about Ebola.”

The Eurocontrol Network Manager and the European Aviation Crisis Coordination Cell (EACCC) (set up by the European Commission (EC) and Eurocontrol to support coordination of the response to network crisis situations) said they are monitoring the evolution of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and its potential impact on European aviation.

Eurocontrol said the focus was on “coordinating as far as possible the actions of air traffic management partners and airports in support to the World Health Organization (WHO) and European health authorities.”

To date, there have been four meetings of the (EACCC), focusing on the Ebola outbreak, with the latest one held on October 15.

A high-level meeting of 21 European health ministers, co-organized by the Italian Presidency and the European Commission (EC), has failed to reach common ground on the issue of entry screening at Europe’s airports for passengers arriving from Ebola-affected countries.

The UK, France and the Czech Republic are the only European Union (EU) states following the USA lead in implementing entry screening at some airports. The rest of the region is following World Health Organization (WHO) and European Center for Disease Prevention & Control (ECDC) guidance that entry screening will have only limited effectiveness and that exit screening from the Ebola-affected regions is a more effective route to follow.

To that end, the (EC) has agreed with (WHO) to undertake an audit of exit screening systems in place in the affected countries to check their effectiveness and reinforce them as necessary.

The (WHO), Health Commissioner, Tonio Borg said the gathering sent a “clear message of member states that we need to reinforce screening at point of exit of affected countries.”

It highlighted the need for better information emanating from visa information systems and transport carriers, to make it possible to anticipate potential arrivals of diseases infection. All member states agreed on the need to reinforce information and awareness campaigns at all (EU) entry points addressed to passengers, crew ((FC) - (CA)), airport staff and first-line health care workers.

“Member states agreed with the need for better coordination of national measures at entry points, in particular for direct connections at airports and ports,” Borg said. “To this end, the (EC) will continue to work with the aim of arriving at common protocols and procedures, for example on questionnaires for passengers, common contact tracing forms and contact tracing procedures. In particular, we need to enhance information given to travelers from affected countries so that they know what to do and where to go at the first symptoms.”

The (EC) will convene a workshop November 4 to exchange best practice in infection control in health care settings based on the experience that member states have gained with the first cases appearing in the (EU).

The (EC) is also proposing a voluntary network of clinicians for the treatment of Ebola at the (EU) level, which will complement a similar network established by (WHO). “It is also safe to conclude that I felt an increased interest on the part of the member states to engage in a coordinated manner in medical evacuations,” Borg said. “The (EC) has already put a system in place [and] I hope that we can scale up this coordination with the assets of the member states.”

The (EC) is expected to sign a framework contract with the USA Department of State enabling the (EU) to use airplanes for medical evacuation of (EU) health care workers.

The (EC) will also explore the feasibility of joint procurement for protective gear and possible medical treatment, when available.

Public health authorities said Friday they hoped to begin trials of Ebola vaccines in disease-ravaged West Africa as early as December and could know around April whether they were effective, clearing the way for possible mass inoculations to stem the epidemic.

“Vaccine is not the magic bullet,” Dr Marie-Paule Kieny of the World Health Organization said at a news conference in Geneva. “But when ready, they may be a good part of the effort to turn the tide of this epidemic.”

Dr Kieny, Assistant Director General Health Systems & Innovation for the Geneva-based organization, spoke October 24th about the conclusions of a meeting the day before at which government officials, drug companies and others discussed how best to test and possibly deploy vaccines.

Ebola Facts: How many Ebola patients have been treated outside Africa?

Vaccine trials for ebola are being conducted in West Africa.

On October 23rd, 2014, police officers entered the building where Dr Craig Spencer lived in New York. Officials tracing the New York Ebola patient’s movements, while reassuring a wary city

On October 24th, 2014, police officers and members of the media were outside the apartment of Dr Craig Spencer on West 147th Street in Harlem, N Y. The Doctor in New York City was confirmed sick With Ebola.

Two vaccines to protect against Ebola could be available within weeks. Trials in December would be a month earlier than what Dr Kieny had indicated earlier. Manufacturers have committed to having millions of vaccine doses available in 2015, with hundreds of thousands ready by the first half of the year. "All previous plans are changing from week to week, and always to a greater involvement and a greater mobilization of all efforts to have more vaccine available more quickly,” Dr Kieny said.

Some health experts say that an effective vaccine might now represent the best hope, because it has been difficult to slow the spread of disease using only conventional public health measures like isolating patients and tracing their contacts. However, efforts are being made to intensify those conventional methods, such as by building new treatment centers to handle more patients.

Dr Kieny said a decision to start mass vaccinations later in 2015 would depend on whether one or more vaccines proved safe and effective, whether there would be enough vaccine available, and whether that strategy would be needed.

Two experimental vaccines are already being tested for safety in healthy volunteers in the USA and other countries outside the outbreak region. One is being developed by the National Institutes of Health and GlaxoSmithKline, and the other by the Canadian government and NewLink Genetics. At least five other vaccines could enter human testing in the first few months of 2015, Dr Kieny said.

If the two most advanced vaccines prove safe in initial testing, trials would begin in Liberia and Sierra Leone to see if the vaccines can actually prevent people from getting Ebola.

Dr Kieny’s announcement was light on details of the trials, which she said are still subject to change. But what she said was consistent with plans discussed Thursday by a United States government official, who requested anonymity.

Participants in the trials would include health care workers, who are at high risk of getting infected. But a trial in Liberia is also likely to include others at high risk, such as burial workers or family members caring for those with Ebola.

The study in Liberia would randomize volunteers to receive either the Glaxo vaccine, or the NewLink vaccine, or a vaccine for some other disease (essentially a placebo in terms of preventing Ebola). About 9,000 volunteers would participate in each of the three arms of the study, the federal official said.

In the Sierra Leone trial, everyone at a particular site, such as a treatment center, would be offered vaccination. But different centers would receive the vaccines at different times, allowing comparison of disease rates between sites where patients were vaccinated earlier and those vaccinated later. In that trial, no one would receive a placebo.

That trial, being planned by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) & Prevention, is expected to test the Glaxo vaccine but might be expanded to include others.

Dr Kieny said that at some point, there would also be a trial in Guinea, the third of the three countries most affected by the outbreak. But it is not clear yet what that trial would be.

Some critics have said it would be unethical to offer health care workers treating Ebola patients, a placebo. But others have argued that since it is not known whether the vaccine works, there is no advantage of getting the vaccine instead of the placebo.

“If you knew the vaccine works, I absolutely agree it’s unethical to randomize,” said Dr Ripley Ballou, who heads the ebola vaccine effort at GlaxoSmithKline.

He said a randomized trial against a placebo “gets a definitive answer as quickly as possible” about whether a vaccine is effective, which would be in the best interest of the community as a whole. After that, he said, the vaccine could be made more widely available.

The meeting also discussed how to pay for the trials and possible vaccine deployment. Dr Kieny said money could come from donor countries like the USA and Britain, from the World Bank, and others.

“We haven’t talked about figures for the time being but there is a broad understanding that money will not be an issue,” she said.

Dr Kieny said that discussions were also underway about indemnifying vaccine manufacturers, because the vaccines would be deployed with much less than the usual testing. That might be a fund to compensate people who suffer side effects from a vaccine, so that manufacturers would not bear that financial risk.

Conducting the trials in West African countries already devastated by the disease and with poor infrastructure could be a challenge. The vaccines need to be stored at minus 80 degrees Celsius, requiring special freezers.

Dr Paul Stoffels, the Chief Scientific Officer of Johnson & Johnson, who attended the meeting, said representatives of the affected countries told the participants that it would be hard for health care workers to do the administrative and record-keeping chores associated with a clinical trial. “They say please come with the capabilities to do it, because the people taking care of the patients today can’t do it; they don’t have the time,” Dr Stoffels said.

A commercial flight took off from Beijing for North Korea on October 24th, despite travel agencies saying they had been told N Korea would close its borders to foreign tourists over Ebola fears. The Air China (BEJ) flight departed Beijing Capital International Airport with 32 passengers on board. "My visa seems not to be affected," said German traveler, Arne Hothan as he waited to board, a day after three travel agencies said Pyongyang was closing its border to foreign tourists.

"The chance of people who travel to North Korea . . . have the virus is probably very very low, so I think that it's not really a good reason to cancel the visa." The travel agencies - - including two that are based in China - - issued statements informing clients that the country was closing itself to tourists until further notice because of the threat of Ebola.

The epidemic has killed nearly 4,900 people in West Africa, and countries have banned travelers and flights from Ebola-hit countries.

News Item A2: The overall on-time arrival performance for USA domestic scheduled flights in August was 77.7%, improving on July by +2.1 points, but falling below last August’s on-time performance by -1.1 point, according to the USA Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Air Travel Consumer Report and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).

On-time arrivals year-to-date stands at 74.8%, the sixth-lowest January - August period in 20 years of record-keeping, and the worst since 2008. Similarly, cancellation rates year-to-date (2.7%) are the fourth-highest in 20 years of record-keeping; the worst since 2001.

USA passenger airlines cancelled 1.2% of scheduled domestic flights in August – 5,949 out of 507,491 scheduled flights. The number of cancellations was generally consistent with July’s cancellation rate (down 0.4 point) and with August 2013’s rate (up 0.2 point).

News Item A3: The Association of European Airlines (AEA) Chairman, Temel Kotil used a keynote address at "The Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) Europe" meeting held in Madrid, to warn about the mounting dependency on original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for aftermarket support.

Kotil, who is also Turkish Airlines' (CEO), said airline - (OEM) relations need to be rebalanced. Costs need to come down, while maintaining quality and safety levels, especially in emerging markets.

He highlighted how the worldwide fleet is set to grow from 21,000 airplanes in 2013 to 42,000 by 2023. This will be led by growth economies like Asia and Africa, creating opportunities for the (MRO) sector, but Kotil cautioned that high-cost services could stifle this growth potential. “The Asian market, which is third in size today, will be the largest (MRO) market by 2024. The market is shifting from west to east,” he said. “There is a new market in Africa. There are billions of passengers waiting to fly.”

While in the past, there has been an even balance between (OEM)s, airline (MRO)s, and independent players, in supporting the worldwide fleet, Kotil predicts a shift in market power in favor of (OEM)s, fueled by the latest generation of airplanes coming into service. “In the long term, the (MRO) market will be dominated by (OEM) monopolies,” he said.

This could be partly addressed by regulators granting more widespread parts manufacturer approvals (PMAs), opening up the spares market beyond the (OEM)s, and cutting wait times for airplane parts.

The (AEA) Chairman also called on (EASA) to work for greater standardization with the (FAA), harmonizing regulation in areas such as aging airplanes. “We need a holistic approach to get rid of unnecessary regulatory burdens,” he said. One example of this would be using performance-based safety oversight, cutting down the number of inspections needed for mature maintenance operations.

Finally, Kotil flagged the issue of the looming skills shortage: “584,000 new Maintenance Technicians (MT) are needed to maintain the world fleet from now to 2023,” he said. “We need to double the number of Maintenance Technicians in 20 years, or find a better way to repair airplanes,” he said.

News Item A4: The following is from Air Transport World (ATW)'s Aaron Karp's blog in AirKarp:

"Gulf airlines take on ‘subsidy’ claim."

When asked at the "World Route Development Forum" in Chicago (1st week of October) for his advice to USA airlines concerned about the rise of the "Big 3" Middle East carriers, Emirates Airline (EAD) President, Tim Clark said, “Don’t worry about us. Get on with the job. Focus on what YOU’re doing.”

But airlines in the USA and Europe are indeed worried about Dubai-based Emirates (EAD), Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways (EHD) and Doha-based Qatar Airways (QTA), and complain that all three benefit from unfair state support from oil-rich governments. The “Big 3” Gulf airlines are aggressively expanding, adding more USA and European destinations, and trying to convince Americans and Europeans they can fly anywhere in the world one-stop via lavish Middle East hub airports on shiny, comfortable new airplanes with top amenities.

During a visit to Washington DC earlier this month, American Airlines (AAL) Chairman & (CEO), Doug Parker said, “The Gulf carriers are encouraged by their governments to grow, and are given everything they need to grow (perhaps by subsidies), but nevertheless, we have these regions with no home markets and relatively small economies with their airlines buying the most airplanes in the world and flying over cities to connect people.”

Emirates (EAD) currently serves nine USA airports and “there are more coming,” Clark said. The USA routes generate about 7% of (EAD)’s revenue. Etihad (EHD), meanwhile, flies to six USA airports, and will operate 45 weekly flights to the USA by the end of 2014 (Earlier this year, (EHD) celebrated the inauguration of Miami service with a gala dinner featuring a performance by the singer Gloria Estefan). Dallas/Fort Worth became Qatar (QTA)’s seventh USA destination over the summer.

Etihad (EHD) Chief Strategy & Planning Officer, Kevin Knight, also speaking at the Chicago conference, decried “a resurgence of protectionist sentiment, particularly here in the USS and Europe.”

(EAD)'s Clark asked, “Why would they [USA airlines] be concerned about something that’s good for consumers, good for the industry, good for the cities being served?”

He said USA and European airlines’ contention that United Arab Emirates (UAE) carriers Emirates (EAD) and Etihad (EHD) are heavily subsidized is “so far from the truth.” Yes, Clark acknowledged, the Dubai government gave Emirates (EAD) startup capital in 1985, but he said it told (EAD)’s management, “You must compete like everyone else.”

Emirates (EAD) operates “without any state government involvement at all, except that the government of Dubai is very proud of Emirates” and “recognizes the criticalities of what we do,” Clark said. And there, of course, is the crux of the dispute over whether (EAD) is subsidized. “If there is any subsidy (if you call it that), it’s because the [Dubai] government does the right thing by aviation,” Clark said. That means significant investments in infrastructure such as the $33 billion expansion planned for Dubai’s Al Maktoum International Airport. The expansion was approved this month (less than a year after Dubai’s second multi-billion dollar airport opened for passenger traffic).

Dubai believes nearly one-third of its entire (GDP) will be made up of aviation and aviation-related activities by 2020.

Airlines in the USA and Europe, which often fight for space at capacity-constrained airports and battle government regulations they believe hurt their profitability, are flabbergasted by the backing (EAD) receives from Dubai, even if, as Clark contends, it doesn’t come in the form of direct “subsidies.”

“Government support comes in many ways,” Clark said. “The government of Dubai and the government of Abu Dhabi and the government of Qatar understand what aviation can do” for an economy.

“Our industry is ferociously competitive,” United Airlines (UAL) Vice Chairman, Jim Compton said in Chicago, adding that Middle East carriers “benefit from positive, rather than detrimental national aviation policies.”

(EHD)'s Knight said that, beyond favorable aviation policies, Etihad (EHD) gets no direct benefits from being owned by the Abu Dhabi government. “We get no free fuel,” he said. “We pay for fuel at market rates just like everyone else.”

Brian Havel, the Director of the International Aviation Law Institute at Chicago’s DePaul University, said “open skies seems to have reached a peak, and a lot of the European carriers” are pushing the European Union (EU) to limit Gulf airlines’ market access. “If airlines want to ask for less regulation, then why are they also asking for the government to intervene, when they see competition from certain regions?” he asked. “It’s no wonder governments think they’re getting mixed signals from airlines.”

News Item A5: Nick Calio, (CEO) & President, Airlines For America (A4A) later launched an aggressive lobbying campaign ahead of next year’s (FAA) reauthorization debate in Congress, telling USA lawmakers they need to act to “level the competitive playing field” for USA airlines facing stiff competition from Middle East and Asian carriers. “Currently, our supposedly deregulated environment is dismal,” Calio said. He specifically pointed to rising competition from fast-growing Middle East and Chinese airlines expanding with flights to the USA. Citing the example of Emirates Airline (EAD), which operates to nine USA airports and plans further expansion in the USA, Calio said “the closely integrated Dubai aviation eco-system” provides (EAD) with an infrastructure and regulatory environment far more favorable than the one in which USA airlines operate.

“The closely integrated Dubai aviation sector strives for maximum throughput because costs for one segment [such as Dubai Airports] is revenue for another [such as Emirates (EAD)],” Calio said, noting he was “not being critical. I’m being clinical. This is brilliant.”

He added, “Whether these state-owned businesses are subsidized, I’ll leave for another day. I’m not going to suggest to you that the systems in place in the Middle East and China are practical here.” But, he said, the USA government could to do much more to promote a favorable environment for USA airlines facing competition from the likes of Emirates (EAD), noting that a “USA operated flight provides 60% more jobs than a foreign carrier flight. Differences caused by favorable foreign government financing and local policies should be in part neutralized by the USA government normalizing our aviation policies and taxes.”

The (FAA) reauthorization legislation next year should “address tax, regulatory and infrastructure challenges” impeding USA airlines, Calio said. “We are singled out among all of the modes of transportation” for a level of taxation and regulation that stifles the “free market” for USA airlines, he said.

The FAA reauthorization bill “needs to be transformative,” Calio said, noting that USA airlines are “investing about $1 billion a month back into the product” and deserve a freer regulatory environment. Key goals for the (A4A) in the (FAA) reauthorization include “no increases in taxes and fees, and continuing to roll back taxes and fees,” Calio said. He added that the USA is “clearly not where we need to be” in terms of implementing the satellite-based NextGen air traffic control (ATC) system and called on lawmakers to “seriously examine the status quo” of how USA (ATC) is structured.

The (A4A), he said, is currently working on “benchmarking” USA (ATC)’s performance compared to NAV Canada and other privatized or partially privatized (ATC) systems around the world. The (A4A) has so far not advocated a specific (ATC) reform proposal. “We want to develop the facts [regarding (ATC) performance] and let the facts lead to the conclusion,” Calio said.

He noted that the (A4A) has made progress in winning allies in Congress, conceding that “basically nobody” on Capitol Hill supported airlines’ agenda three years ago. “We now have members of Congress who understand airlines are more than just tax collectors,” Calio said, adding he was “heartened by House [of Representatives] action” earlier this year on airfare transparency legislation.

News Item A6: (IATA) (CEO) & Director General, Tony Tyler has called the USA Department of Transportation’s (DOT) proposed Consumer Rule III a “yesterday solution” and warned against regulation that can stifle air travel innovation.

Speaking October 15th at the (IATA) World Passenger Symposium in San Diego, Tyler said there was a “shadow" overhanging initiatives to deliver a revolution in the passenger experience.

“Government regulators are substituting their own judgment for that of the marketplace. Their continued interventions run the real risk of stifling the very initiatives we are pursuing for the second century of air travel. This particularly is a problem in the USA, I am sorry to say. A prime example is the so-called Consumer Rule III proposed by the (DOT). This aims to address marketplace problems that do not exist,” Tyler said.

“Among its provisions is one that would require each airline to allow any travel agent that sells its tickets, to display the airline’s core ancillary services and fees as well. What other industry is forced by regulation to market its products through channels it has not chosen?”

Tyler said the proposed rule would oblige airlines to display ancillary information on their own websites. “This begs the question of what problem the (DOT) is trying to solve? Nobody has suggested that consumers are unable to purchase ancillary services or to see how much they cost on an airline’s own website. If passengers can readily ascertain the information that is the subject of the proposed rule, where is the unfairness or deception that triggers the (DOT)’s regulatory authority?

“Even if the (DOT) had the legal authority to impose this requirement, the proposed rule is, at best, a “yesterday solution” to an issue that industry is well on its way to solving.”

Tyler said airlines are progressively signing bilateral agreements with global distribution system providers for the distribution of ancillaries, with more than >50 such agreements concluded. “So the marketplace is already doing what the regulation seeks to achieve (and I would add, much more efficiently). But even more significantly, the (IATA) New Distribution Capability (NDC) standard sets us all on a course to far greater transparency and granularity in the marketing of air transportation, than the (DOT) could even imagine today.”

Tyler added, “The industry not only respects regulation, it depends on it. But more is not necessarily better, and that is particularly the case, when it risks undoing the benefits of market liberalization and innovation.”

Accumulated worldwide air freight volumes continued to rebound this past August, expanding +5.8% year-over-year, according to Airports Council International (ACI). While domestic air freight shipping numbers remained weak (+2.1% year-over-year growth), international air freight tonnage was up a strong +7.5% worldwide. Approximately 5.1 million metric tonnes in air cargo were transported during the month.

The air freight business in the Middle East, in particular, took off as volume grew +20.5% year-over-year. (ACI) highlighted Dubai World Central (DWC) as “the Middle Eastern airport poised to surpass all other airports in terms of freight and passenger capacity [and] now a major contributor to overall growth in freight volumes for the region.” (DWC)’s August air freight volume total (over 80,000 metric tonnes) quintupled the total volume the airport processed one year ago.

Air freight volume growth was also significant in the Asia-Pacific region, up +8.2% year-over-year. August volume grew +8.6% at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), the world’s largest air freight hub, (ACI) said.

August’s global air passenger traffic was up +5.3% year-over-year, up one point from July and up two points from August 2013’s growth rate. August’s worldwide passenger total was approximately 453 million.

African airports showed a strong +10.8% year-over-year jump in passenger totals as Egypt’s Cairo International Airport (CAI) and Hurghada International Airport (HRG) reported passenger growth of +24% and +76.7% respectively, while airports in the Middle East saw passenger numbers grow by +9%. European airport numbers were up +7.4%. Despite political and social turmoil in the region, Russian and Turkish airports continue to propel European passenger travel growth. (ACI) reported that Moscow’s Domodedovo International Airport (DME) and Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO) both saw August year-over-year passenger growth exceeding +30%.

Passenger traffic in the Latin America-Caribbean region was up +4.5%; North American passenger numbers rose +3.9%; and Asia-Pacific passenger traffic increased by +3.3% year-over-year during the month.

“Despite some of the downside risks that have persisted in 2014, passenger traffic has remained relatively resilient,” (ACI) Economics Director, Rafael Echevarne said. “Notwithstanding, the Ebola outbreak, if not contained in the short run, may further depress traffic flows beyond the existing routes to and from the affected areas.”

News Item A7: USA Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Head, John Pistole will retire effective December 31, (TSA) announced. Pistole, formerly the number two official at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), has been the (TSA) Administrator since June 2010, overseeing a sprawling agency with 60,000 workers and the responsibility for security at more than >450 USA airports. “It has been an honor and a privilege to have served as (TSA) Administrator,” Pistole said. “No words can convey my deep gratitude for the hard work and dedication of the thousands of men and women committed to protecting the American public.”

During his tenure, Pistole worked to shift the focus of (TSA) from treating all airline passengers as equal risks to using intelligence and risk analysis when screening passengers. “John Pistole has been integral in leading (TSA)’s transformation to a risk-based, intelligence-driven counterterrorism agency dedicated to protecting our transportation systems,” USA Homeland Security Secretary, Jeh Johnson said.

Pistole implemented the Pre-Check expedited screening program. “It helps us do our job” to segment out large numbers of “known” passengers who give information to the (TSA), enabling the (TSA) to spend more time screening “unknown” travelers at airport checkpoints, Pistole explained last year. “It allows us to be more precise and tailored in our approach,” he said.

Pistole did face resistance to his “risk-based” approach, most notably when he unsuccessfully tried to rescind (TSA)’s prohibition on passengers carrying items such as pocket knives through airport security checkpoints.

News Item A8: In 20 years, China will be the world’s largest airline passenger market, the USA will have fallen to second place, and India will overtake the UK as the third-largest market, according to (IATA)’s new 20-year Global Passenger Forecast report.

(IATA)’s report analyzed passenger flows for 4,000 country pairs over the next two decades, producing future trends via an analysis of three demand drivers: living standards, population and demographics, and price and availability.

According to the report, the two largest air passenger markets for the 2014 - 2034 period will be the USA and China, with the USA remaining “the largest air passenger market until around 2030, when it will drop to number two, behind China,” (IATA) said. By 2034, the USA is expected to carry +18.3 billion more passengers (reaching 1.2 billion passengers per year by 2034, at an annual growth rate of 3.2%, or 559 million additional passengers per year compared to 2014). China will carry 16.9 billion more passengers by 2034 (1.3 billion passengers per year, at an annual growth rate of 5.5%, or 856 million new passengers per year compared to 2014). India will be carrying a total of 367 million passengers per year by 2034, followed by the UK (337 million passengers per year), Brazil (272 million passengers per annum), Indonesia (270 million passengers), Spain, Germany, Japan, and France.

Regional growth will be led by the Asia-Pacific region, with an annual average growth rate of +4.9% reaching an overall market size of 2.9 billion passengers by 2034, and by the Middle East region, also at +4.9% annual average growth, reaching a total market size of 383 million passengers by 2034. The Latin American region and the African region will both grow by an annual average of 4.7%; by 2034, Latin America’s total market size will be 605 million passengers and Africa’s will be 294 million passengers. North America’s annual average growth of +3.3% will lead to total market of 1.4 billion passengers by 2034, and Europe’s projected average annual growth of 2.7% will nonetheless produce a total market of 1.4 billion passengers by 2034.

China is expected to be the fastest growing domestic air passenger market by 2034, growing at +5.6% per year for a total of 1 billion domestic passengers per year by 2034 (an additional 691 million domestic passengers compared to today). The USA will have a domestic passenger market of 822 million passengers by 2034, after growing at a 3.2% rate per year (an additional 384 million passengers compared to 2014). In 20 years, India’s domestic passenger market will stand at 215 million, following a +6.9% annual growth rate (an addition of 159 million extra passengers compared to 2014). Brazil is projected to have 5.4% annual domestic market growth, for a total domestic market of 226 million passengers, or +147 million more passengers than today. Indonesia will become the fifth largest domestic market by 2034, growing at an annual rate of +6.4% to 191 million domestic passengers (an extra 136 million passengers contrasted to 2014). Turkey (at +5.3% annual growth), Philippines (+5.9%), Mexico (+4.6%), Colombia (+6%) and Vietnam (+6.2%) will round out the top ten domestic market projections for 2034.

“In the next 20 years more than twice as many passengers as today will have the chance to fly,” (IATA) Director General & (CEO), Tony Tyler said. “Air connectivity on this scale will help transform economic opportunities for millions of people. In 20 years’ time, we can expect aviation to be supporting around 105 million jobs and $6 trillion in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).”

News Item A9: Association of European Airlines (AEA) (CEO), Athar Husain Khan has pushed back against the suggestion that European airlines are protectionist, redirecting the focus onto other, less liberalized markets.

Speaking at the (AEA) Airline Leadership Summit in Istanbul, Husain Khan said he is “sick and tired” of being told Europe is protectionist. “Let’s turn the argument around. The only region in the world which has liberalized its airline market, is Europe. No other region of the world has done the same,” he said. “The Gulf is still strung together by old-fashioned bilateral air service agreements. So is Latin America. So is the Far East. So is Africa. The USA has a slightly different situation; they did liberalize, but that was just in their domestic market, so that is a totally different story.”

Husain Khan flagged the fact that Europe allows up to 49% foreign ownership into European airlines, compared with the 25% cap on USA carriers. “I can assure you if we went to a bank this afternoon and raised a couple of billion dollars, then went down to the Middle East and offered to buy 49% of any given Middle East carrier, we would not be allowed. The same goes for many of the carriers in the Far East. So my question would be: who is the protectionist one here? Certainly not Europe.”

He went on to say that non-European airlines should have to adhere to the same rules (such as governing traffic rights, ownership and control, and state aid) as European airlines.

“Why does the market function so well? It’s because there are rules that govern it. We invite everyone to tap into the benefits of the liberalized, open, free, European market, but (if you do) you need to play by the rules.”

News Item A-10: Delta Air Lines (DAL) pilot (FC) Captain Tim Canoll has been elected as the new President of the Air Lines Pilots Association (ALPA), the union representing more than >51,000 pilots (FC) at 30 airlines in the USA and Canada.

Captain Canoll succeeds outgoing (ALPA) President Captain Lee Moak, who did not seek reelection. Captain Moak was also a (DAL) pilot (FC). Captain Canoll, an MD-88 captain who will be (ALPA)’s tenth President, was elected to a four-year term starting January 1st. He has been (ALPA)’s Executive Administrator since 2011.

“Airline pilots (FC) in North America face many critical challenges today, while at the same time other challenges and opportunities are coming on the horizon,” Captain Canoll said. “Our union is strong and prepared to face them all."

(ALPA) this year has fought against the USA Export-Import Bank financing wide body airplane purchases and against Norwegian Air International (NAI)’s application to the USA Department of Transportation (DOT) for a foreign air carrier permit to operate flights between the European Union (EU) and the USA.

Airlines for America (A4A) President & (CEO), Nicholas Calio said, “(A4A) deeply appreciates the strong working relationship we have with (ALPA), which was forged under Captain Lee Moak’s leadership, and we look forward to working with Captain Canoll and his team on issues affecting the airline industry and our customers, including ensuring that next year’s (FAA) re-authorization legislation addresses the tax, regulatory and infrastructure challenges that impede USA airlines' ability to grow, create jobs and compete globally.”

News Item A-11: Heading into the busy holiday-travel period, the airlines expect even cheaper fuel, thanks to the nosedive in crude oil prices. The price of jet fuel, an airline's biggest single expense, has dropped by about one-fifth since mid-June.

Airlines are also benefiting from continued strong travel demand that allows them to push fares higher. Executives report strong bookings for holiday travel and say that Ebola headlines don't seem to be scaring away travelers.

The four largest USA airlines sold at least 83% of their seats in the third quarter. A decade ago, more than a quarter of seats went empty.

The results were there to see, as several leading airlines reported financial results for the third quarter, which includes the end of the heavy summer-vacation travel season:

- The world's biggest airline operator, the American Airlines (AAL) Group Inc, earned an all-time best +US $942 million profit in the June-through-September quarter, nearly double the amount that (AAL) and US Airways (AMW)/(USA) earned separately last year before their December 2013 merger. (CEO), Doug Parker predicted more records for fourth-quarter and full-year earnings.

- United Continental (UAL)/(CAL) Holdings Inc posted net income of +US$924 million, up from +US$379 million a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, adjusted profit was a record +US$1.1 billion.

- Southwest Airlines (SWA) Company said profit rose +27% to +US$329 million, and executives said November and December bookings looked good.

All three companies beat Wall Street expectations for earnings.

United (UAL) cut its fuel bill by -US$135 million compared with last year, and (SWA) saved -US$64 million (about -4% in each case).

And that is just the beginning. Those savings are based on what fuel cost in 2013 and don't include the big decline in prices since June. (SWA) paid US$2.94 per gallon in the third quarter but predicts it will spend between US$2.70 and US$2.75 per gallon in the fourth quarter.

Airlines for America (A4A), a trade group for the biggest carriers, estimates that every penny decline in fuel prices, saves the industry -US$190 million. That suggests the carriers could save more than >-US$10 billion, if fuel stays at current prices.

Airlines could share that windfall with passengers in the form of cheaper tickets, but that doesn't look likely, at least not yet. The big airlines just pushed through a modest fare increase (+US$4 for USA round-trip tickets).

(SWA)'s average one-way fare was US$160.74, an increase of just +US$1.35 over the same time last year but up nearly +US$50 in the last five years, a period in which mergers reduced the number of competitors and fuel prices climbed. (AAL) didn't give fare figures but said that the amount passengers paid to fly each mile (a figure called "yield" in the airline business), set a record.

(SWA) (CEO), Gary Kelly said he wanted to avoid raising fares if oil prices, which are volatile, turn higher. "What I would not want to do to customers is take them through this same volatile ride with fares (lower them one day, raise them the next day)," he said. "I think that that would be absolutely the worst thing that we could do."

(AAL) President, Scott Kirby said fuel savings will go straight to profit and won't be spent to add flights or cut fares. "Air travel remains a great bargain," Kirby said. "In a strong demand environment, we don't have plans to go out and just proactively cut fares."

Airline investors were spooked by the appearance of the first USA cases of the deadly Ebola virus, especially the news this month that a nurse had flown on two Frontier Airlines (FRO) flights shortly before testing positive. They worried that people might stop flying, and airline stocks fell. That fear started to subside last week, when the (CEO) of Delta Air Lines (DAL) Inc expressed confidence that authorities would prevent a USA outbreak; the stocks have rallied.

Kirby said (AAL) saw "a measurable impact" on bookings after a recent widely covered congressional hearing on Ebola, but they snapped back to normal after one day. (UAL) and (SWA) officials reported no effect.

JetBlue Airways (JBL) Corporation, which is about to change (CEO)s, reported net income of +US$79 million, but earnings and revenue fell short of Wall Street forecasts. Alaska Air (ASA) Group Inc's earnings beat forecasts.

In afternoon trading, shares of (AAL) jumped +US$1.91, or +5.2%, to US$38.95; (UAL) gained +US$1.34, or +2.7%, to +US$50.40; and (DAL) Inc, which reported last week that third-quarter net income fell due to one-time costs such as accounting losses on fuel hedging, rose +US$1.64, or +4.4%, to US$38.94.

(SWA)'s shares fell -94 cents, or -2.8 percent, to US$33.26; and (JBL) dropped -26 cents to US$10.92.

News Item A-12: (IATA) (ITA) has launched a set of tools that airlines, airports and air traffic management organizations can use to help identify, assess and reduce their chances of a cyber attack.

The Aviation Cyber Security Toolkit was announced at the (IATA) (AVSEC) World aviation security conference in Washington DC. “The aviation industry depends on essential Information Technology (IT) infrastructure functioning reliably. While the industry has put in place best practices to protect its (IT) infrastructure, the threat is ever-evolving. The Aviation Cyber Security Toolkit provides guidance to help airlines and their partners stay one step ahead of those with intent to do harm through cyber-attacks,” (IATA) Global Director of Aviation Security, Carolina Ramirez said.

The toolkit provides a detailed analysis of the current cyber threats and helps airlines and aviation security stakeholders identify ways to protect their critical (IT) infrastructures. These include reservation systems, departure control, airplane maintenance, crew planning, and flight management, as well as technologies for electronic flight bags (EFB)s, e-enablement of airplanes and air traffic management (ATM). The toolkit also includes practical guidance materials and videos.

(IATA) has also joined with (ICAO) and others, via the Industry High Level Group to coordinate cybersecurity activities and provide a common framework for the industry. “We have not had the cyber equivalent of a printer cartridge plot, but we are not waiting for one to occur before moving forward. Aviation relies on computer systems extensively in ground and flight operations and air traffic management (ATM), and we know we are a target,” (IATA) (CEO) & Director General, Tony Tyler said.

“It is vital that government and industry embrace collaboration to understand and identify any threats and devise strategies to combat them. We cannot afford information silos. Regulations should be outcome-focused, not prescriptive. This is a fast-evolving threat, that simply cannot be addressed with static, one-size-fits-all solutions.”

News Item A-13: USA Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx recently awarded $10.2 million (FAA) grants to six airports to reduce emissions and improve air quality through the (FAA)’s Voluntary Airport Low Emission (VALE) program.

(VALE) is designed to reduce all sources of airport ground emissions in areas of marginal air quality. The (FAA) established the program in 2005 to help airport sponsors meet air quality responsibilities under the Clean Air Act. Through (VALE), airport sponsors can use Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funds and passenger facility charges to help acquire low-emission vehicles, refueling and recharging stations, gate electrification, and other airport-related air quality improvements.

The airports include: Albuquerque International Sunport ($431,479: — to help the airport upgrade the infrastructure to low-emission technology by replacing four boilers in the airport’s central utility plant); Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International ($102,456: — to enable the airport to purchase two alternative-fuel garbage trucks and convert two passenger vans to cleaner burning fuel instead of diesel); Chicago O’Hare International Airport ($2 million: — to allow the airport to install an underground fuel-hydrant system, eliminating the need for diesel-powered fuel trucks); Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport ($2 million: — to help the airport install 12 electric gates at Terminal B and install and connect seven pre-conditioned air units for parked aircraft); Seattle-Tacoma International Airport ($2 million: — to allow the airport to install 43 charging units in Terminals A and B to support electric ground support equipment (GSE) such as luggage loaders and aircraft tugs); Yeager Airport in West Virginia ($3,678,168: — to fund both gate power units and pre-conditioned air units at seven of the airport’s gates).

“These grants will allow the airports to take advantage of the remainder of the construction season by beginning or completing the construction process,” (FAA) Administrator, Michael Huerta said. “The airports can continue to be good neighbors to residents in the surrounding communities.”

News Item A-14: NAV CANADA reported an efficiency initiative led by Canada’s air navigation services provider (ANSP) that has demonstrated the viability and safety of jet airplanes varying speeds and altitudes, while transiting the North Atlantic (NAT) in airspace beyond the range of conventional surveillance systems.

The "ENGAGE II" project was conducted in partnership with Air France (AFA) and in conjunction with UK (ANSP) (NATS), supported by the "Single European Sky" (ATM) Research (SESAR) Joint Undertaking (SJU) as part of its Atlantic Interoperability Initiative to Reduce Emissions (AIRE) Program.

The project was designed to promote the sustainable implementation and expand the scope of the concepts trialed during the first phase (ENGAGE I) completed in 2011. In addition to project partner Air France (AFA), four other international carriers: (KLM) Royal Dutch Airlines, British Airways (BAB), United Airlines (UAL) and Delta Air Lines (DAL) participated in the 210 flight trials in phase two.

(ENGAGE II) is paving the way for significant operational changes in the (NAT).

In June this year, the (ICAO) North Atlantic Systems Planning Group endorsed a Proposal for Amendment to the (NAT) Regional Supplementary Procedures to allow some airplanes to fly at variable speeds. The proposed amendment will now go to (ICAO) for formal processing and documentation.

(AIRE) was launched in 2007 by the European Commission (EC) and the (FAA) to reduce CO2 emissions and accelerate the pace of change by taking advantage of air traffic management (ATM) best practices and capitalizing on present airplane technology. It enables the implementation of environmentally friendly procedures for all phases of flight.

November 2014: News Item A-1: Global air passenger traffic demand grew +5.3% year-over-year in September, down -1 point from August’s adjusted +6.3% year-over-year (YOY) growth, according to (IATA)’s September Air Passenger Market Analysis report.

Year-to-date (YTD) growth through September 30 in international and domestic air passenger traffic (RPK)s stands at 5.9%. At the same point in 2013, overall (YTD) passenger traffic growth was at +5%.

“Passenger travel [demand] is growing in line with expectations,” (IATA) DG & (CEO), Tony Tyler said. “We saw, however, some shifting of the sources of that growth in September, largely driven by economic factors. The strengthening of the USA and Asian economies was offset by weakness in Europe and Latin America.”

Global capacity was up +5.1% (YOY), resulting in September’s total market passenger load factor (PLF) of 80.3% LF, down -3.6 points from August and matching September 2013’s 80.3% LF.

Global international passenger traffic grew +5.3% year-over-year in September; international capacity was up +5.7%, leading to an international (PLF) of 80.5% LF, down -3.7 points from August and down -0.4 point from September 2013.

Middle Eastern carriers continued to lead in international travel demand, with traffic growing +15.8% (YOY); capacity was up +14.9%, and the region’s (PLF) for September was 78% LF, down -5 points from August. International travel growth was more subdued in the rest of the world, largely slowing from August: Asia-Pacific (up +4.8% (YOY), 76.2% LF); Latin America (up +4.6% year-over-year, 79.9% LF); Europe (up +3.9% (YOY), 84.7% LF); North America (up +2.1% (YOY), 82.4% LF) and Africa (up +1.8% (YOY), 70.5% LF).

Europe’s international travel demand performance in September was a -3.1 point drop from August, “indicating the impact of the Air France (AFA) crew strike and a general weakening of European economic prospects,” (IATA) said in its analysis.

Worldwide domestic passenger travel demand worldwide was up +5.3% (YOY) in September, up +0.8 point from August. Domestic capacity was up +4% for the month, resulting in a global domestic travel LF of 80% LF, down -3.4 points from August.

The domestic travel market in India took a remarkable +26.3% year-over-year leap in September (contrasted to India’s August domestic growth of +7.4%). (IATA) cited market stimulation measures by local Indian carriers (i.e., lowered fares) as the incentive behind India’s spike. India’s domestic LF for the month came to 81.5% LF.

Russia’s domestic travel demand, at +5.6% year-over-year growth for September, took a +4.5 point hit from August’s 10.1% levels. The August numbers were largely a result of price stimulus measures introduced by Russian airlines. “[But] the impact of price stimulus wore off and the weakness revealed could be a first indicator of the economic impact of the Russia - Ukraine crisis,” (IATA) said. Russia’s domestic (PLF) for the month was 79.1% LF.

Domestic travel demand for the world’s other major domestic markets during September included: China (up +8.6% (YOY), 79.6% LF); Brazil (up +4% (YOY), 78.6% LF); the United States (up +3.6% (YOY), 82.6% LF); Australia (up +2.7% (YOY), 78.8% LF) and Japan (up +2% (YOY), 70.4% LF).

News Item A-2: November 3rd, 2014's starting US Gulf Coast kerosene-type jet fuel spot price was $2.417 per gallon, according to the US Energy Information Administration, a division of the US Department of Energy.

Contrasted to one month ago, on October 6th, 2014, when the jet-fuel spot price was $2,583 per gallon, this latest price is -6.4% lower. Compared to 3 months ago, August 4th, 2014, when it was $2.828 per gallon, prices have fallen -14.5%.

Compared to six months ago, May 5, 2014, when the price was $2.843 per gallon, prices have fallen -15%.

In the past year, prices have dropped -13%. One year ago, November 4, 2013, the jet-fuel spot price was $2.779 per gallon.

News Item A-2: Worldwide air freight markets exhibited a third consecutive month of significant demand growth in September as collective volumes rose +5.2% year-over-year, according to (IATA)’s September air freight market analysis. While the Middle East and Africa regions both showed double-digit year-over-year increases in traffic, the modest but encouraging comeback of Asia-Pacific and North American air freight markets are fueling global air cargo acceleration.

But the -1.6% year-over-year drop in European carriers’ air freight traffic (representing 25.8% of the overall market share) “is a worrying trend that reflects the general uncertainty in the European economy amplified by sanctions resulting from the Ukraine - Russia conflict,” (IATA) (DG) & (CEO), Tony Tyler said. (EU) sanctions resulting from the Ukraine - Russia crisis has “resulted in downward pressure on growth momentum in the region, including key economies like Germany,” (IATA) said in its analysis. “In addition, a 14-day strike by Air France (AFA) - (KLM) pilots (FC) reduced air freight capacity and we estimate lead to a -4% point reduction in the September year-on-year growth result for European airlines.”

Overall air cargo capacity grew +3.8% year-over-year in September, leading to a total market freight load factor of 45.5% LF for the month, up +2.1 points from August. The global air freight market’s overall growth for 2014 currently stands at +4.4%, +3.9 points higher than where the (YTD) market growth stood in September 2013 (+0.5%).

As in August, impressive cargo growth strides were seen in both Africa (up +11.5% year-over-year) and the Middle East (up +17%). The improving economy in South Africa and Middle Eastern carriers’ outreach to developing trade sectors in Africa and Central America were cited by (IATA) as performance drivers.

Asia-Pacific carriers’ freight volumes were up +5.7% year-over-year in September, and with 40.4% of the market share and a 55.5% freight load factor for the month, “the region is benefitting from a rebound in trade activity after a slowdown in (Q1),” (IATA) said. The September 6 release of the Apple iPhone 6 was responsible for a significant portion of China’s increased freight movement, (IATA) indicated.

North American cargo volumes continued their rebound as well in September, with (FTK)s up +5.4% year-over-year, reflecting increased trade and business activity following the weather-related poor performance of early 2014. Latin American airlines’ September volumes were relatively flat, at just +0.3% year-over-year growth, though (IATA) predicted better results are forthcoming as recent trade data is indicating an impending rise in exports and trade volumes for the region.

“There were mixed messages in September’s freight performance,” Tyler said. “Overall, improvements in global business confidence have stagnated (which could mean a bumpy road ahead for air cargo.)”

News Item A-3: The Association of European Airlines (AEA) announced that Mildred Trögeler has been appointed to the post of General Manager Technical & Operations. She takes over from Vincent De Vroey, who is moving to the Aerospace & Defense Industries Association of Europe (ASD) as Director of Civil Aviation.

News Item A-4: The Airlines Electronic Engineering Committee's (AEEC) 2014 mid term session hosted by Eurocontrol in Brussels produced the adoption of four new (ARINC) standards and an update for an existing one. The newly adopted standards include new guidelines for the development of avionics systems and components. These standards will provide benefits to operators flying through USA and European airspace where Air Traffic Management (ATM) technology is being upgraded under the respective Single European Sky and NextGen programs.

(ARINC) standards affect new and evolving cockpit technologies such as advanced Synthetic Vision Systems (SVS) and touchscreen cockpit displays. More than >250 organizations participate in the development of (ARINC) Standards.

(ARINC) 485, a cabin management and entertainment system standard, was updated to include extended built in test messages for passenger seat actuation systems used with premium seats. This standard was updated to provide more of a definition for the way that the actuators on airplane seats report their built in testing mechanisms.

(ARINC) 620-8, the Data Link Ground System Standard & Interface Specification (DGSS/IS) standard, was adopted to support Aircraft Meteorological Data Relay (AMDAR) Version 6 as defined by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). (AMDAR) provides meteorological observations from sensors on more than >3,000 commercial jet airplanes from 39 participating airlines, according to Paul Prisaznuk, head of (ARINC) standards development and (AEEC)'s executive secretary.

"The data is downlinked via the (ACARS) communications protocol. This service complements conventional sources of upper air meteorological data derived from satellites and radiosondes. The real-time data is available to government agencies, such as (NOAA), in support of forecasting operations," Prisaznuk said. "The type of data includes: latitude, longitude, time, pressure (or altitude), wind direction, wind speed, water vapor and turbulence. Improved weather reporting is essential to NextGen and (SESAR) airspace initiatives."

(ARINC) 653, the Avionics Application Software Standard Interface, Part 5, Core Recommended Capabilities standard, was also prepared to describe avionics real-time operating systems used with Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA). The (IMA) architecture, which has become the standard avionics configuration on airframes over the last decade, replaces numerous separate processors and Line Replaceable Units (LRUs) with fewer, more centralized processing units. Prisaznuk said future work on (ARINC) 653 will include the "definition of software operating system services to support multi-core processors." (ARINC) 653 operating systems are part of the Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE), which is a government-industry software standard and business strategy designed to acquire affordable software systems that can rapidly integrate portable capabilities across government defense programs.

Last but certainly not least, (ARINC) 702A-4, a standard defining the advanced Flight Management Computer (FMC) system, was updated to add winds temperature definitions as required, to support 4D trajectory operations in NextGen and "Single European Sky" airspace environments.

"This update will enable airlines to meet Required Time of Arrival (RTA) accuracy requirements and in particular, arrival at metering point with an accuracy of ±10 seconds. This update provides a significant improvement to the accuracy of the airplane trajectory and it will reduce airline fuel consumption," Prisaznuk added.

News Item A-5: Mobile satellite communications specialist, Inmarsat has completed construction of the final four satellite access stations (SAS) for its Global Xpress (GX) fleet.

According to Inmarsat, GX will power GX Aviation, the world’s first global Ka-band high-speed satellite network, specifically designed for mobile assets, with airplanes a target market. It is scheduled for global commercial service introduction, early in the second half of 2015.

GX Aviation will deliver 50 Mbps broadband connectivity to both commercial and business airplanes. It is the only Ka-band network to provide consistent global coverage.

The new GX stations are located in Lino Lakes in Minnesota in the USA; Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada; with two sites near Auckland, New Zealand. Two further stations (in Fucino, Italy and Nemea, Greece) are already operational, servicing the first Global Xpress satellite that covers the Indian Ocean region. All six (GX SAS) will act as gateways between the broadband traffic routed via the three Inmarsat-5 (I-5) satellites and terrestrial fixed networks. Each (SAS) delivers full ground segment redundancy for (GX) services, delivering highest quality resiliency, reliability and availability, for example at times of adverse weather, and offering a powerful differentiator to traditional regional Ku-band networks.

“Completing our ground network is an important step in rolling out our global (GX) service, which is on course to be in service by early in the second half of 2015,” Inmarsat Aviation President, Leo Mondale said. “The in-flight connectivity market is growing rapidly, with passengers around the world, increasingly expecting to be connected when they are flying. And they want a comparable level of service to what they are used to on the ground. It is paramount airlines have access to high speed and high capacity connections, that provide the same reliable service, wherever they fly across the world. (GX) Aviation is the only global network that can provide seamless, high capacity Ka-band connectivity fit for purpose for airlines. The launch of (GX) globally in 2015 is perfectly timed to meet passenger and airline demand.”

The first satellite in the (GX) constellation, (I5F1) was launched in late 2013. The remaining satellites are expected to be launched early in 2015.

News Item A-6: The European Aviation Safety Administration (EASA) has warned airlines and regulators of a “significant risk” to civil airplanes operating through Egyptian airspace.

“Due to ongoing insurgent activity, operators of civil airplanes should be aware of the risk to flight operations safety in the Northern Sinai Governorate of Egypt deriving from possible use of small arms fire, rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and anti-airplane fire, including shoulder-fired man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS). The threat is considered to represent a significant risk to aviation overflying this area at or below FL260,” (EASA) stated in a safety information bulletin issued November 13th.

(EASA) did not lay down any mandatory requirements, but said that airlines operating “into, out of, within or over” the region should take this information into account when performing their risk assessments and routing decisions.

Around 340 airplanes from the European region overfly the Sinai Peninsula each day.

In July, a Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Boeing 777-200ER, operating as MH17, was shot down by a surface-to-air-missile, killing all 298 on board.

News Item A-7: Over the next two decades, China will become the world's largest air passenger market, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), who projects the country will surpass the United States by adding +16.9 billion new passengers. To accommodate for that massive growth in the number of airplanes flying into and out of China, the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) has implemented avionics equipage requirements for its domestic airlines, presenting big opportunities for well-established American and European avionics manufacturers. Airshow China in Zhuhai this month presented the opportunity for one of the industry's most active players in the region, Thales (THL), to discuss equipage requirements with airlines and also enter into new business opportunities with operators in the region.

In 2012, the (CAAC) published its "Head up Display Application Roadmap," requiring airlines to equip 10% of their fleet with Head up Displays (HUDs) by 2015, then increasing that to 50% by 2020 and finally equipping 100% of the fleet with the technology by 2025. Thales (THL) is the sole supplier of (HUD)s for the entire Airbus (EDS) airplane family, from the A318 to the company's latest model, the A350 XWB. The (CAAC) is making (HUD) technology a priority for its airlines, in order to improve safety and efficiency, Daniel Malka VP Avionics Services at Thales (THL) told Avionics Magazine.

"In China, you have more and more airplanes flying. They have a lot of difficulties managing the increasing number of flights into China. The airlines that have the (HUD)s installed, they will benefit from improved situational awareness and safety," Malka said. "Beijing for example has one of the world's most congested airports, causing very significant delays. I can remember one time having to wait four hours on the airplane for our flight to leave, and these delays are caused by the significant growth in the number of flights they've experienced recently. The (CAAC) is very concerned with improving that, so they started to ask for this (HUD), because one of the ways that you can safely get more airplanes into the airspace is by improving pilot (FC) perception and situational awareness with that technology."

According to an emailed statement from Thales, the company believes the HUD system allows smoother transitions for pilots (FC) between "eyes in" and "eyes out" flight operations. The technology also has the possibility of allowing for reduced landing minima on suitably equipped runways in China. Over the next five years, the (CAAC) has authorized the construction of 70 new airports in China to help accommodate for projected air traffic growth.

(Thales) (THL) will not be the only avionics company benefiting from (CAAC)'s (HUD) requirement either. Rockwell Collins is the supplier of (HUD)s for the Boeing 737, 777 and 787, thus, the Chinese carriers adding Boeing air transport airplanes to their fleets over the next decade will receive one of their displays. Through 2025, (IATA) expects one third of all new production aircraft from the major Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM)s to be delivered to Chinese operators. Malka also said that the (CAAC) will be requiring airlines to equip their airplanes with satellite communication systems to assist with communication between pilots (FC) and flight dispatchers.

"There is a request from the (CAAC) to install satcom on their airplanes and as more airplanes continue to be added by the airlines there, more will have to be equipped with both forward fit and retrofit installations in the future," said Malka. "There are also three stages in this recommendation from the (CAAC), which is in fact, in 2013, 20% of the fleet equipped with satcom. We will see between now and next year that they have to reach 70%, and the third stage, which is 2016, they have to reach 100% equipped with satcom."

One of Thales (THL)'s major competitors, Honeywell (SGC), is also seeing opportunities for growth in China as the country's civil aviation industry continues to develop and become managed, as it is in Europe and North America. Currently Honeywell (SGC) employs about 400 aerospace engineers in its research and product centers in China, with that number expected to increase to over >700 by 2017. In the past, Honeywell (SGC) engineers served mostly in a support role to Chinese carriers, but that focus has been shifting to a leadership role in domestic production and engineering development, said Thea Feyereisen, an engineering fellow in the Flight Safety Systems group of Honeywell (SGC)'s Aerospace Advanced Technology organization.

"Before, most of our in country engineers were more of a product support, and now they're becoming more involved in actual development of technology, and so they'll support our traditional product lines, though they also are creating new market space and new products specifically developed for the region," said Feyereisen.

One of the current projects Feyereisen is working on involves helicopter pilots (FC). Honeywell (SGC) engineers in China are currently working on a system that produces voice activated safety alerts in Mandarin for Chinese helicopter operators.

Thales (THL) is also showing interest in the Chinese helicopter industry, especially with the (CAAC)'s decision to relax its rules around low-level flying, leading to increased rotorcraft flight operations. During "Airshow China," (THL) announced a new partnership with Shanghai Avionics Corporation (SAVIC), to begin jointly developing avionics solutions for the country's growing helicopter market.

"Two-thirds of all new airports currently under construction in the world are in China. With the tremendous market needs and burgeoning demand, the rising presence and emphasis of China in aerospace appears as a forgone conclusion," Feyereisen said in a recent blog post. "China has the second largest economy in the world and the Chinese aerospace industry is just beginning to takeoff."

News Item A-8: The African Airlines Association (AFRAA) has named Fatima Beyina-Moussa as its new President at the close of its 46th annual general meeting in Algiers. She has been the Managing Director of ECAir, Equatorial Congo Airlines (ECA), since 2011 when it was created. She holds an (MBA) from the University of Ottawa, a postgraduate degree in International Economics at Sciences Policy in Paris, and became a consultant for Ernst & Young in Congo. She joined the Bank of Central African States, and worked for the United Nations Development Program before becoming an adviser to the Ministry of Finance, Budget & Public Portolio.

ECAir (ECA) in the Republic of the Congo will host the 47th (AFRAA) (AGM) next November in Brazzaville.

News Item A-9: The Asian airline industry is struggling to breakeven this year, despite higher passenger volumes, with excess capacity one of the major culprits.

Airlines from this region were collectively just below breakeven for the first half of the year, Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) Director General, Andrew Herdman said. Herdman said revenue did not keep up with volume growth, resulting in a -5% decline in yield and a drop in load factors. The demand increase was -1% to -2% points below capacity growth.

About four years ago, Asia-Pacific carriers accounted for about half the global airline industry’s collective profit, Herdman noted. But this time the USA airlines have led the industry as it emerged from its latest downturn, while for European and Asia-Pacific carriers, “profitability remains elusive.”

Herdman expects Asian airlines to see a slight improvement in the second half of the year, thanks in part to lower oil prices.

The region’s supply imbalance “reflects a misjudgment” of how much capacity was needed, Herdman said. However, he said, “We don’t have a glut, we just have a minor mismatch.”

Asian carriers are taking action to defer some deliveries or accelerate retirements, Herdman said. Anecdotal evidence suggests that “some of the enthusiasm for [new] airplanes has been trimmed.” Because of this, the industry’s supply dynamics will likely stabilize next year, and it “should see profitability start to recover a little.”

The macroeconomic outlook remains uncertain for Asia, but Herdman noted that this uncertainty has been typical in recent years, yet passenger numbers continue to increase regardless.

On the cargo side, airlines have been seeing welcome signs of demand recovery since last year, Herdman said. The upturn in volume should eventually lead to a full recovery, but it could still take years before surplus cargo capacity is absorbed and the supply/demand balance is restored. The increase in passenger service has contributed to freight capacity due to the greater availability of belly cargo space.

December 2014: News Item A-1: "For All of 2014's Heartbreaks, Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) Made a Brave Call on Ebola" by Air Transport World (ATW)'s Karen Walker's Blog:

2014 was a tough year for the air transport industry. The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flt MH370 777, the shooting down of (MAS) Flt MH17 777 and crash of Indonesian AirAsia (AWR) Flt QZ8501 A320 each have left flight numbers etched into airline history and families forever bereft.

The industry was also challenged by another human tragedy, the Ebola virus outbreak. That hit the headlines again right at the end of the year when a Scottish health worker was diagnosed with Ebola after returning from Sierra Leone to the UK via flights with Royal Air Maroc (RAM) and British Airways (BAB).

Although the chances of anyone else on those flights becoming infected are extremely low (practically negligible) there was the inevitable call for heightened screening processes.

But there’s another side to the Ebola story that has been far less told and which bears testimony to how life’s tragedies can bring out the best in many people (including those in this very people-focused airline industry).

It’s a little known fact that Belgium-based Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) is the only European carrier still serving the Sierra Leone capital of Freetown. Other carriers suspended services after the Ebola outbreak, but Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) has continued its twice-weekly Airbus A330-300 service, providing a rare and essential airplane conduit for medical equipment and transporting health workers between Europe and the stricken African country.

Why does Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) do this? “We feel it is our humanitarian duty,” (DAT)/(EBA)’s VP External Communications, Geert Sciot told journalists at (IATA)’s annual media briefing day in Geneva in mid-December.

(DAT)/(EBA)’s decision, Sciot admitted, has not been a good one from the airline’s business perspective. “If you look at it from a Marketing perspective, I think it would be better to stop flying because your brand will not become better from that,” he said. “You get a lot of respect and support from the countries, from the governments, but Marketing-wise and for your brand, it is not the best thing to do.”

Some people have avoided flying on (DAT)/(EBA) since it became known that it was continuing its Sierra Leone services and transporting health workers, so passenger numbers are down.

Compare that attitude with workers such as Margaret Ann Harris of the World Health Organization (WHO), who briefed us at that media day on the facts of Ebola. Harris showed slides of herself, colleagues and other aid workers (many of them volunteers) at work in those West African countries where there have been some 18,000 reported cases of Ebola and at least 6,000 deaths. They risk their lives daily, but they also understand the real risks and how to mitigate them.

Closing borders, suspending transport options and quarantining are neither necessary nor the solution, Harris said. For one thing, it drives people underground, makes people reluctant to report suspected cases, and cuts off critical economic drivers, when they are most needed.

She explained that Ebola can only be transmitted via direct contact, and for someone to be infectious, they would be so obviously sick and debilitated, that it would be highly unlikely they could get through the airport or board a plane. Therefore, the chances of anyone catching the virus while on a plane are practically zero.

“We’ve seen massive overreaction worldwide,” Harris said. “Closing borders, putting people in quarantine just makes people deny their symptoms, it makes people hide and once people hide a disease like that, that unfortunately is the very best way to spread.”

She said that much of the transmission of the virus in Africa’s affected nations has been due to very poor sanitation and to burial rituals that are extremely important within local cultures, but which involve a lot of handling of the corpses.

In a typical Western environment, those risks are mostly eliminated. And here’s the biggest point about Ebola: the most effective method of killing it, is with soap and water.

“Yes, soap and water. Wash your hands,” Harris emphasized. “It’s a virus that’s eminently killable.” And she demonstrated the correct way to thoroughly wash your hands in a way that destroys the virus: vigorous washing for at least 60 second, linking your hands together, fingers overlapped so that all parts of the hand and wrists gets a thorough cleansing.

(IATA) has worked closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) and regulatory authorities to ensure that airlines know the recommended precautions they should take. Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) has followed those guidelines and given crews the option not to participate in the Sierra Leone flights.

To date, no one has been infected on board a Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) flight.

That’s the industry’s true and most inspiring story of 2014.

News Item A-2: Air passenger traffic demand worldwide increased +5.7% year-over-year in October, building on September’s +5.2% rise “as improvements in economies in Asia-Pacific and the USA offset signs of weakness in the eurozone and China,” (IATA) DG & (CEO), Tony Tyler said in (IATA)’s October Air Passenger Market Analysis Report.

Year-to-date (YTD) growth through October 31 in international and domestic air passenger traffic (RPK)s stands at +5.8%. At the same point in 2013, overall (YTD) passenger traffic growth was +5.2%.

Global capacity was up +5.5% year-over-year, leading to a total market passenger load factor (PLF) of 79.1% LF for October, down -1.2 points from September and slightly improved over October 2013’s 78.9% LF.

While the Middle East region international travel demand continued to show strength (a +10.3% year-over-year rise in (RPK)s), it was the +5.8% growth shown for the European airlines that made the greatest impression in October, considering Europe accounts for 39.9% of the international travel market share. “Although there has been some slowdown in the Eurozone economy, travel on low cost carriers (LCC)s has remained robust and is helping sustain current results,” (IATA) said. European airlines’ international capacity grew +5% during the month; the subsequent (PLF) for the region was 81.9% LF, the highest among all regions.

The Asia-Pacific region also exhibited considerable growth in October as international travel demand was up +5.5% year-over-year, illustrating “stronger regional trade activity which encourages business travel,” (IATA) said, despite the recent slowdown in China’s economy.

Overall, international travel demand was up +5.5% in October, with overall capacity growing +6.4% year-over-year, leading to a global international travel (PLF) of 78% LF. Capacity in the Middle East region was up +13.5% year-over-year, with a (PLF) of 73.5% LF. Asia-Pacific’s capacity was up +7.4% (YOY), with a (PLF) of 74.9% LF. In Latin America, international travel demand was up +6.5%, with a (PLF) of 80.5% LF for the month, reflecting an improvement in regional trade volumes despite Brazil’s faltering economy. North America was up +1.8% for the month, with a (PLF) of 80.3% LF; and Africa’s international travel demand fell -1.6% year-over-year as capacity was largely flat and the region’s (PLF) came to 66.8% LF.

October domestic passenger travel demand worldwide was up +5.8% year-over-year, up +0.5 point from September. Domestic capacity was up +4% for the month, resulting in a global domestic travel (PLF) of 81.1% LF, up +1.1 point from September.

India’s domestic travel demand continued to expand dramatically, up +16.3% year-over-year, with capacity growing just +3.4%, leading to a domestic (PLF) of 77.4% LF (“market stimulation by local carriers”, aka big sale prices, contributed to India’s performance). China also showed exceptional domestic travel growth despite a weakening economy, as demand increased +10%, capacity grew +10.1% and the country’s domestic (PLF) came to 80.8% LF. Russia’s +6.1% (RPK) rise for the month showed further indication of a slowdown in the country’s domestic flying; both September’s (+5.6%) and October’s (RPK) growth are far below the heights of earlier this year (+13.2% in May, +12.8% in March, +12% in June) and fall sharply below Russia’s (YTD) +10.2% growth trend.

Domestic travel demand for the world’s remaining major domestic markets during October included: Brazil (up +8% (YOY), 81.1% LF (PLF); the USA (up +3.8% (YOY), 84.3% LF (PLF)); Australia (up +3.4% (YOY), 82.7% LF (PLF) and Japan (up +1.3% (YOY), 70% LF (PLF).

“With 2014 drawing to a close, the outlook for air travel remains positive falling oil process, if sustained, should provide a much-needed operating cushion for airlines,” Tyler said. “But sluggish demand for oil in key markets could indicate a broader economic slowdown [and] rising political instability is also a cause for concern.”

An estimated 3.2 billion passengers used air transport for their business and tourism needs in 2014, according to preliminary figures on scheduled services released by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The number of annual total passengers was up approximately +5% compared to 2013 and is expected to reach over >6.4 billion by 2030, based on current projections.

Airplane departures reached 33 million globally during 2014, establishing a new record and surpassing the 2013 figure by roughly one million flights.

The Asia-Pacific region was the world’s largest air travel market in 2014, with a 31% share in terms of world Revenue Passenger Kilometers (RPKs). The second and third largest air travel markets were Europe and North America, representing 27% and 25%, respectively. The Middle East Region, accounting for 9% of world (RPK)s, recorded the fastest growth rate at +12.8%. The Latin America and Caribbean Region increased by a solid +5.9%, while African growth registered in at 1.5%.

News Item A-3: Global air freight markets continued to surge for a fourth consecutive month as demand in October increased +5.4% year-over-year, according to (IATA)’s October air freight market analysis. The total air freight market grew +0.7% from September, bringing freight volumes to a new record monthly high, (IATA) said, of approximately 16.8 billion (FTK)s.

“The good results reflect the improvements in world trade and business activity evident since the summer,” (IATA) said. “[But while] world trade is growing steadily, supporting increased air cargo shipments, regional differentiation in performance is very apparent.”

Strong October volume growth was exhibited in both the Middle East region (up +13% year-over-year) and Africa (up +9.6%). (IATA) cited South Africa’s narrow avoidance from entering recession in the second-quarter and subsequent third-quarter +1.4% economic improvement as supportive of the African continent’s increasing air freight demand.

Year-to-date, the Middle East has shown the largest regional improvement in freight volume growth, up +10.4% compared to 2013. Total market year-to-date growth is currently at +4.5% for 2014; a significant improvement over where the total market’s (YTD) air freight growth stood at this point last year: 0.8%.

The Asia-Pacific region had +6.7% year-over-growth in demand in October, but (IATA) noted the region’s “demand backdrop contains some areas of weakness [as] latest indicators for business activity in China show that manufacturing and services growth is slowing, as are new export orders, which could dampen regional trade activity.”

The Latin America region bounced back in October, registering 4.1% year-over-year growth, “consistent with latest trade data, which show rising volumes, particularly exports,” (IATA) said. North America’s volume was up +3.1% for the month, and Europe continued to lag, at 1.4%, indicative of the region’s ongoing economic doldrums.

October’s overall air cargo capacity was up +4.4% year-over-year, resulting in a total market freight load factor of 47% LF for the month, up +1.5 points from September. “We are now back to levels of demand not seen since the 2010 post-recession bounce-back, but the industry is still in the hot seat and under pressure to improve its value offering,” (IATA) (DG) & (CEO), Tony Tyler said. “Shippers expect the efficiency of electronic processes that they experience in almost every other sector they expect quality from end-to-end.”

News Item A-4: (IATA) releases guide for safely transporting lithium batteries, by Air Transport World (ATW) Aaron Karp.

Lithium batteries are suspected to have played a role in three commercial freighter airplane fires between 2006 and 2011, and the ongoing concern about transporting the batteries by air has led (IATA) to issue a 56-page guide to mitigating the risks.

(IATA)’s “Lithium Battery Risk Mitigation Guidance for Operators” is available for free online and (IATA) hopes it will enable parties involved in shipping lithium batteries to have full access to best practices and guidelines. It also is aimed at helping airlines in educating passengers packing lithium batteries in baggage carried in airplane bellies.

“Lithium batteries are safe to transport, provided that they are designed, tested, manufactured and packaged in accordance with the global transport safety standards,” (IATA) Senior VP Safety & Flight Operations, Captain Kevin Hiatt said in announcing the guide’s release. “Developed with the input of leading industry groups specialized in the area of handling potentially dangerous goods, the [guide] represents an invaluable source of reference.”

The guide notes that “upwards of one billion lithium batteries are transported by air as mail, cargo or in passenger/crew baggage” annually, which “constitutes a safety hazard that must be managed in a clear and comprehensive manner.”

The guide points to three well-known cargo airplane fires: 1) The February 2006 incident in which a United Parcel Service (UPS) DC-8F freighter landed at Philadelphia International Airport on fire. During the descent, a fire broke out that substantially damaged the airplane; the two pilots (FC) survived but were treated for smoke inhalation. 2) The (UPS) 747-400F that crashed 50 minutes after takeoff from Dubai International Airport in September 2010 after attempting to return to the airport following its pilots (FC) reporting “smoke in the cockpit” owing to a main deck fire. Both pilots (FC) were killed. 3) The Asiana Airlines (AAR) 747-400F that crashed off the coast of South Korea in the East China Sea after the pilots (FC) reported an in-flight fire, killing both pilots (FC) and destroying the airplane.

“It is known that all three airplanes were carrying lithium batteries as cargo, some of which on the (UPS) Boeing 747-400F were subsequently determined to have not complied with the regulatory requirements,” (IATA) states in the guide. “However, the degree to which the lithium batteries were involved in these incidents (ie, whether they were the cause or aggravated the fire) could not be determined.”

(IATA) notes that lithium batteries are classified as “dangerous goods” by the United Nations (UN), subjecting the manufacturing and transport of the potentially flammable batteries to a host of requirements. “There remain, however, a number of systemic problems with lithium batteries,” the (IATA) guide says. “Their ubiquitous nature means that people who are completely unaware of the dangerous goods regulations and the requirements for lithium batteries are shipping them as cargo and in mail. Worse still, unscrupulous individuals are prepared to flout the requirements and put passengers and crew at risk. Many passengers are similarly oblivious to the potential hazards of lithium batteries. The result is that there are safety risks from lithium batteries in baggage, cargo and mail. This guide has been produced to assist operators in determining their strategies for mitigating these risks.”

(UPS) has been working on freighter aircraft fire mitigation technologies and procedures since the Dubai crash. In 2010, the (FAA) issued a safety alert on lithium batteries carried as air cargo.

News Item A-5: The European Commission (EC) has asked the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to investigate a series of near mid-air collisions involving European passenger airliners and military airplanes during recent months. (EASA) said these incidents had taken place over the sea at the border of the European Union (EU) and been reported by different (EU) member states. The transponders of the military airplanes were inactive and it was not possible to establish a radio contact with them, which may have caused an immediate safety hazard to civil aviation, (EASA) said.

(EASA) Executive Director, Patrick Ky said: “This is a very serious issue. We will consult and interview all the relevant civil and military bodies in order to gather the necessary information to complete our analysis.” The analysis, (EASA) said, would aim at “identifying the causes of the near mid-air collisions and provide recommendations on how to minimize the potential safety impact of these events on civil aviation.” (EASA) will deliver its recommendations to the (EC) in March 2015.

European Commission (EC) Director General Mobility & Transport, João Aguiar Machado said: “The support of (EASA) will be essential in further identifying appropriate solutions and follow-up measures to address such events at the European level.”

News Item A-6: The Aircraft Tracking Task Force (ATTF) set up in the wake of the disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Boeing 777-200 in March has issued a report with recommendations to improve continuous tracking of airliners.

(IATA) briefed journalists on the report December 10th at its Geneva headquarters. Flight (MH370) diverted from its scheduled flight path soon after taking off from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing. The airplane is believed to be on the seabed in the southern Indian Ocean, but ongoing search efforts have not yet located it. There were 239 passengers and crew on board.

The (ATTF)’s recommendations are not mandatory and they do not include any near-term advice to make airplane transponders tamper-proof. While the cause of MH370’s disappearance has not been established, it is known that the airplane’s transponder stopped working. How that happened is not known, but MH370’s disappearance has raised questions over whether transponders should be made tamper-proof.

Pilot (FC) unions, which were represented on the (ATTF), are against the idea of making it impossible to switch off any equipment, pointing out that in certain situations a pilot (FC) may need to use circuit breakers for safety reasons.

Tamper-proof transponders ultimately may be recommended, but that would be a longer-term move over the next three years. Captain Kevin Hiatt, (IATA) Senior VP Safety & Flight Operations and who chaired the (ATTF), said this was because more time was needed to address technology integration with (ADS-B) and other satellite-based systems.

The (ATTF) recommendations are general, and mostly aimed at ensuring that airplane operators, air navigation providers, and tracking plus communications service providers evaluate their tracking capabilities against baseline performance-based criteria and implement technologies that exist to fill any gaps in the global commercial airspace.

Operators that do not meet recommended tracking best practices are being advised to do so within 12 months. However, it is not known how many airlines have tracking capabilities that do not meet baseline performance-based criteria recommended by the (ATTF). While (IATA) surveyed airlines for this information, some did not want to divulge their status.

The (ATTF) report urges that any future (ICAO) airplane tracking standards are sufficiently broad so that industry can make best use of existing and emerging technologies appropriate to their operation.

The task force also asks (ICAO) to encourage states to conduct practice exercises for airline operation centers, air navigation service providers and rescue coordination centers to test and verify their ability to respond and coordinate their joint response when an airplane diverts from its flight path or disappears.

News Item A-7: Global mobile satellite communications services provider Inmarsat has confirmed that its second Global Xpress (GX) satellite (Inmarsat-5 F2) has arrived at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, in anticipation of its launch early in 2015.

Inmarsat-5 F2 is the second of three satellites that will form Inmarsat’s GX fleet, providing seamless, globally available, high-speed broadband services on land, sea and in the air. When in orbit, Inmarsat-5 F2 will cover the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean region.

The first GX satellite, Inmarsat-5 F1, was launched at the end of 2013 and began delivering regional commercial services over Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia in July 2014.

The third GX satellite, Inmarsat-5 F3, has completed its final testing and is now ready for shipping to Kazakhstan in early 2015. F3 will complete the Global Xpress constellation by providing coverage over the Pacific Ocean Region.

GX is scheduled to commence global commercial services early in the second half of 2015.

“The arrival of Inmarsat-5 F2 to the launch site in Baikonur demonstrates that we will be able to offer our high-speed Ka-band service, GX Aviation, early in the second half of 2015,” Inmarsat Aviation President, Leo Mondale said. “The ground networks are in place and Honeywell (SGC) will start transmission testing of the airborne satellite communications equipment imminently (we’re right on track to deliver this world-leading global network to our partners and airlines”).

News Item A-8: The European Commission (EC)'s new Transportation Commissioner, Violeta Bulc is taking major strides toward uniting the region's fragmented Air Traffic Management (ATM) system, making €3 billion/$3.7 billion in new funding available to help move the Single European Sky (SES) airspace reform project forward. The (EC) tasked a group or Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs), airports and airlines to jointly serve as the Single European Sky (ATM) Research (SESAR) program Deployment Alliance to use the new funding to implement common airspace modernization projects.

European operators, such as Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), want the new alliance to use the new funding to invest in (ATM) infrastructure that will allow them to take advantage of the on board avionics that they've invested in for their airplanes, (SAS) Manager Operational Regulatory Affairs & (ATM) Jan Eriksson said.

"(SAS) considers the agreement with the (SESAR) Deployment Alliance (SDA) consortium (ie the Deployment Manager) to be a big step in the right direction to establish a Single European Sky, especially if the (EU) makes $3.7 billion/€3 billion available in funding," said Eriksson. "(SESAR JU) should spend resources to support the (EC) to finalize the data link and surveillance mandates. Airspace users have invested in on board equipment, and it is important that they get a return on these investments."

The biggest goal of the (SES) project is to reduce the (EU)'s fragmented air traffic system. Currently, Europe features 29 different zones of major Air Traffic Control (ATC) centers, forcing pilots (FC) to fly routes that are much longer and less direct because they're constantly changing centers, which affect their flight profile, based on procedures and instructions from each center. Under the Functional Airspace Blocks (FABs) aspect of the program, the total number of national (ATC) centers would be reduced from 29 to nine.

Another major goal for (SES) deployment is the Pilot Common Project, which identifies six (ATM) functionalities, including extended arrival management and Performance Based Navigation (PBN) in the high density terminal maneuvering areas; airport integration and throughput; flexible airspace management and free route airspace; network collaborative management; initial System Wide Information Management (SWIM); and initial trajectory information sharing.

Overall, the (SES) program, now entering its 10th year, has been delayed, which affects the deployment of (ATM) infrastructure to support Controller Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC), as mentioned by Eriksson. Originally, Europe had mandated legacy airplanes flying above >28,500 feet in European airspace to be retrofitted with (CPDLC) avionics by February 2015. However, technical difficulties have delayed the finalization of that mandate, despite (SAS) and other operators investing millions in new on board equipment.

One way that the new alliance can ensure that the Pilot Common Project moves forward, is to use a significant portion of the new funding to support operators' investment in new technology and procedures, according to Eriksson. "In order to realize the Pilot Common Project and the six proposed technological deployments (ATM functionalities), funding should be directed to the airspace users, where needed as these operate in a competitive market which is not applicable to the Air Navigation Service Providers," he said.

Membership within the new alliance should allow them to do exactly what (SAS) and other airlines are seeking. Among the members is the A6 Deployment Manager Alliance, featuring five (ANSP)s: (DFS) (Germany), (DSNA) (France), (ENAIRE) (Spain), (ENAV) (Italy) and (NATS) (UK). Collectively, they manage more than >70% of the more than >27,000 flights that pass through European skies daily.

Also featured within the new alliance is the A4 Airlines (A4A) group, which includes Air France (AFA) - (KLM), EasyJet (EZY), the (IAG) and the Lufthansa (DLH) Group. Their mission under the alliance is to help accelerate operational improvements in (ATM), providing an airline perspective as new infrastructure and flight procedures are implemented.

The (SESAR)-related Deployment Airport Group (SDAG) includes a group of 25 airports among those represented by the Airports Council International that are within the scope of the Pilot Common Project.

As 2014 comes to an end, Bulc and the (EC) are looking for the new funding to lead to major progress with the deployment phase of the (SES) project in 2015, leading the region's air traffic system to reflect the unified structure that the USA uses. As the (EC) notes, "the USA air traffic management system is twice as efficient as that of the (EU); it manages double the number of flights for a similar cost from a third as many control [centers]."

News Item A-9: A group of five European airline associations is calling on the European Commission (EC) and member states of the European Union (EU) to reject a +16.6% increase in air navigation service charges proposed by Germany.

The European Regions Airline Association (ERA), the International Air Carrier Association (IACA), the European Low Fares Airline Association (ELFAA), the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), and the Association of European Airlines (AEA) say the (EU) should “send a clear message to air traffic control (ATC) providers that the performance scheme must be respected and reject the performance plans due to be submitted by Germany at the January meeting of the "Single Sky Committee.”"

German air navigation services provider (DFS) is planning to implement the charges increase (which the associations argue is almost 40x times the 0.4% rate of inflation recorded in the Euro area in November this year) on January 1, 2015.

The associations described the proposed price hike as “outrageous” and said it was “not acceptable to the airspace users’ community” and “completely at odds with the objective of the (EU) performance scheme, which aims to regulate and control the price increases of air traffic control (ATC) providers and the entire "Single European Sky."”

In a joint communication, the heads of the five associations said: “This price hike makes a mockery of the (EC)’s efforts to control the cost increases of (ATC) through the (EU) performance scheme. It is a clear case of a monopoly service provider abusing its dominant position. Airlines and, inevitably, the end user (the consumer) will be forced to pick up these costs with absolutely no associated increase or improvement in the level of service provided by Germany. This is a sad day for European competitiveness and the urgently needed efforts to improve the efficiency and lower the unjustified cost of European air traffic management (ATM).”

News Item A-10: Airlines for America (A4A) forecasted that passengers traveling on USA airlines on the average day during the upcoming holiday season will increase approximately +10% year-over-year to 2.37 million, a sign of the industry’s strength that is expected to continue into 2015.

“Conditions for 2015 look good,” (A4A) VP & Chief Economist, John Heimlich said, noting the profitable USA airline industry is investing in its product at the highest rate in 13 years (more than >$1 billion per month). He said (A4A) projects 2015 second-quarter seats departing USA airports per day to be up +102,000, a +3.8% increase over the 2014 second quarter.

For the 19-day period from December 17 to Januarey 4, which (A4A) defines as the "holiday" season, some 45 million passengers are expected to fly on USa airlines, (A4A) said. Load factor percentages are expected to be in the “low to high 80% LFs,” Heimlich said.

The three busiest USA airports during the holiday season will be Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International, Los Angeles International, and Chicago O’Hare International.

News Item A-11: Five leading international aviation organizations have agreed a common roadmap to align their respective actions on cyber threats.

The organizations comprise (ICAO,) (IATA), Airports Council International, the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization and the International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industry Associations.

Recognizing that the safety and security of the global aviation system is vulnerable to attacks from cyber criminals, the organizations signed a new cyber security agreement formalizing their common front against hackers, “hacktivists,” cyber criminals and terrorists focused on malicious intent, ranging from the theft of information and general disruption to potential loss of life.

(ICAO), Secretary General, Raymond Benjamin said: “Our common goal in developing this agreement is to work more effectively together to establish and promote a robust cyber security culture and strategy for the benefit of all actors in our industry.”

The cyber agreement signatories will be more proactive in sharing critical information such as threat identification, risk assessment, and cyber security best practices. They will also encourage more substantial coordination at the State level between their respective government and industry stakeholders on all cyber security strategies, policies and plans.

“As technologies rapidly evolve and become more readily accessible to all, cyber threats cannot be ignored,” Benjamin said. “This is an important new area of aviation security concern and our global community will ensure that it is met with a strong level of commitment and response.”

News Item A-12: The on-time arrival performance for USA domestic scheduled flights in October was 80%, down -1.1 point from September and 4.1 points from October 2013, according to the USA Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Air Travel Consumer Report and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).

According to (BTS), 1.1% of scheduled USA domestic flights were canceled in October (5,206 out of 491,011 scheduled flights). The month’s cancellations percentage improved slightly (dropping -0.3 point) from September, but was otherwise +0.5 point higher than in October 2013.

(BTS)’s report again mentioned the September 26 fire at the (FAA) Chicago En Route Center in Aurora, Illinois, indicating the incident “impacted flight operations until October 13 when the (FAA) successfully restored full air traffic service.”

No domestic flights reported a tarmac delay exceeding three hours in October. Just one international flight experienced a tarmac delay exceeding four hours during the month (an October 2 American Airlines (AAL) flight from London Heathrow that was diverted to George Bush Intercontinental Houston Airport, where it spent 241 minutes on the tarmac before flying on to its Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport destination. Severe thunderstorms and winds up to 90 mph blew through the Dallas metro area that afternoon.

Hawaiian Airlines (HWI) again claimed the best on-time arrival performance for the month, at 89.7% (however, it was the first time (HWI) dipped below <90% for on-time arrivals since July 2012 (when it fell to 89.6%). The next-best on-time numbers for October came from Alaska Airlines (ASA) (87.2%), Delta Air Lines (DAL) (86.8%), JetBlue Airways (JBL) (83.7%) and Virgin America (VUS) (83.6%). Envoy Air maintained its laggard status with a 66.2% on-time record for the month, followed by ExpressJet Airlines (75.4%) and United Airlines (UAL) (77.4%).

(DAL) reported October’s lowest cancellation percentage, with 17 of the carrier’s 70,676 scheduled flights canceled, or 0.024%. Virgin America (VUS) closely followed, with two of its 4,722 scheduled flights canceled during the month, or 0.042%. Hawaiian Airlines (HWI) came in at third place, with a 0.27% cancellation percentage for the month (17 out of 6,329 flights). Envoy Air had the highest cancellation record, with 4.7% of its October flights canceled (1,512 out of 32,010 scheduled flights), followed by ExpressJet Airlines (1,038 of 56,533 flights canceled, or 1.8%) and SkyWest Airlines (860 of 51,019 flights canceled, or 1.7%).

The bulk (6.9%) of October’s flight delays nationwide were due to late-arriving airplanes (ie, the previous flight with the same airplane arrived late, causing the present flight to depart late). (BTS) said 6.5% of the month’s flights were affected by national aviation system delays (ie, non-extreme weather conditions, airport operations, heavy traffic volume, air traffic control, etc); 5.1% of delays were caused by the air carrier (ie, circumstances within the airline’s control, such as maintenance or crew problems); extreme weather was responsible for 0.3% of the month’s delays; and 0.02% of delays were due to security reasons.

News Item A-13: Worldwide premium (PY) and economy (Y) passenger traffic picked up in October, rebounding modestly from September, as total traffic grew +3.6% year-over-year, according to (IATA)’s October Premium Traffic Monitor. September’s total traffic growth was +2.3% year-over-year.

In October, premium (PY) traffic was up +2.9% year-over-year (+0.6 point above September) and economy (Y) traffic grew +3.7% (up +1.4 points from September). Year-to-date, the total traffic growth trend is at +3.6%. Both economy (Y) and premium (PY) traffic growth year-to-date stand at +3.6% as well.

“Growth so far this year in premium and economy class air travel has equalized,” (IATA) said. “As a result, there has been no further increase in premium (PY)’s share of total traffic, which could suppress growth in premium yields and revenues.”

Compared to last October, overall traffic growth is down -0.9 point (from +4.5% year-over-year growth in October 2013); premium (PY) traffic growth is down -2.7 points (from +5.6%); and economy (Y) traffic growth is down -0.7 point (from +4.4%).

Routes within North America saw the greatest overall (combined premium (PY) and economy (Y)) traffic growth in October, up +13.2% year-over-year, followed by Mid Atlantic routes (up +11.2%) and Middle East-Far East routes (up +9.5%). The biggest combined traffic losses for the month continued to be on Africa - Far East routes (down -7% year-over-year), followed by routes with in Africa (down -4.2%) and South Pacific routes (down -3.8%).

October’s biggest surge in premium traffic movement occurred on Mid-Atlantic routes, which were up +18.3% year-over-year. Premium (PY) traffic also saw strong growth on Middle East - Far East routes (up +11.3%), Africa - Middle East routes (up +11.2%) and Europe - Middle East routes (up +8.2%). October premium traffic fell off most significantly on South Pacific routes (down -11%), Africa - Far East routes (down -8%) and North America - South America routes (down -5.2%).

Ranked by share of premium traffic, the top October routes were: routes within Europe (21.5% of premium (PY) traffic share, 6.9% of premium (PY) traffic revenues); North Atlantic routes (15.7% of premium (PY) traffic share, 25.6% of premium (PY) traffic revenues); routes within the Far East (14.6% of premium (PY) traffic share, 7.3% of premium (PY) traffic revenue); Europe - Far East routes (9.4% of premium (PY) traffic share, 14.2% of premium (PY) traffic revenue) and North and Mid-Pacific routes (5.4% of premium (PY) traffic share, 10.8% of premium (PY) traffic revenue).

The 14.3% year-over-year growth in economy (Y) traffic on routes within North America helped push the region to the overall traffic growth top performer position during the month. Strong economy (Y) traffic growth was also seen on Mid-Atlantic routes (up +10.4%), Middle East - Far East routes (up +9.3%), Europe - Middle East routes (up +5.8%) and North America - Central America routes (up +5.4%). Economy (Y) traffic continued to fall on Africa - Far East routes (down -6.9%); downward movement in economy (Y) traffic was also seen on routes within Africa (down -4.2%), North America - South America routes (down -2.6%) and South Pacific routes (down -2.5%).

News Item A-14: The travel industry generally, and airlines in particular, are in a world of pain. Volatile fuel pricing, intense competition, security concerns and a focus on the environmental impact of air travel have resulted in airline profitability taking a nosedive. Indeed the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts that global airlines will only see a +2.4% net profit this year. While that is better than the year before, it pales in comparison to the double digit margins enjoyed a generation or so ago.

Airlines have dabbled with both low budget (think Ryanair (RYR) and the other "pay for everything" budget airlines) and ultra premium (Singapore Airlines US$23,000 Singapore to New York suite-in-the-sky being a good example) services. But while these approaches have gone some way to stabilizing airlines fortunes, they haven't really moved the needle.

Increasingly airlines are looking to have a far more direct and real-time connection with their customers and prospective customers. This aim is shown both by airlines' increasing social media involvement, and their increasing propensity to partner with third party technology vendors.

Air New Zealand (ANZ) is a good example of an airline that has fostered a strong social media presence. Generally ranked in the top two or three of the Airline Industry Social Rankings, the company has leveraged New Zealand's clean, green image, as well as the fact that both the "Lord of the Rings" and "Hobbit" trilogies were filmed there to create a series of in-flight safety videos that have been the launch pad for intense social media chatter. From viral Instagram campaigns, to competitions offering fans a trip to Middle-earth filming locations, the Air New Zealand (ANZ) social hub is an exemplar for airline social engagement.

News Item A-15: The cross industry task-force established by (IATA) to evaluate airplane tracking safety technology and procedures following the tragic downing of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370, recently submitted its recommendations to close the gaps in airplane tracking capabilities to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The Aircraft Tracking Task Force (ATTF) submitted the report to be considered in (ICAO)’s development of a Global Aeronautical Distress & Safety System (GADSS). According to (IATA) (DG) & (CEO), Tony Tyler “recommends that airlines evaluate their current tracking capabilities against the performance criteria and close any gaps within a 12 month time frame.”

While the full report is not yet widely available, Tyler laid forth the following phases for airlines and operators to achieve complete, worldwide tracking capability:

* In the short term, make use of what is already available in their fleets and areas of operation.

* In the near term, look at the business case for upgrading equipment to meet the performance criteria.

* In the medium term, monitor new technologies, which will become available, including space-based systems.

* In parallel, work with manufacturers and other industry stakeholders to explore the possibility of making systems tamper proof.

These four phases serve to encourage rapid development in all areas of terrestrial airplane tracking technology in the short term, according to Don Thoma, President & (CEO) of Aireon. “The recommendations were really to use all available means to try to comply with a tracking capability both to their operation center, as well as to the Air Traffic Control (ATC) authority. It allows for technology upgrades that are occurring and clearly, when you read it, it covers everything from improved Aircraft Communications Addressing & Reporting System (ACARS) and Controller Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) data link type communications, to additional Automatic Dependent Surveillance - Contract (ADS-C) and space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance - Broadcast (ADS-B) in that case, once it comes forward.”

While improving current data link technologies will help close gaps now, in the long term both the task force and Thoma turn to space-based systems like the satellite (ADS-B) service that Aireon aims to provide. Aireon, a joint venture (JV) by Iridium Communications and Nav Canada, is building its tracking capabilities onto those technologies that North American and European operators must equip with, to comply with upcoming terrestrial (ADS-B) Out mandates. This will allow oceanic and global (ADS-B) tracking of airplanes without any additional cost or equipage to airlines, which Thoma feels is another advantage to the upcoming technology.

“The reality is that 2020 mandates for Europe and the USA, as well as Australia and Singapore are going to drive equipage for the majority of the fleet,” said Thoma, elaborating that further (ADS-B) mandates are expected to come out of Latin America soon and all new airplanes come with the capability already installed. “Our view on that is it’ll be pretty clear (since the mandates already exist) that a global tracking capability for a remote airspace will fall very nicely within the capabilities of a space-based solution like space-based (ADS-B).”

Terresestrial ADS-B systems ground infrastructure has already been put in place in North America and Europe, in many cases, but there are still gaps in oceanic coverage where radar can’t reach. This is where Aireon’s network comes into play, as it makes it possible to deliver complete surveillance data to Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) that purchase the service when it comes available in 2017. But those that don’t purchase Aireon’s service will also be privy to the tracking capabilities and information in emergency scenarios through the company’s Aircraft Locating and Emergency Response Tracking (ALERT) service. (ALERT) plans to provide “accurate and immediate location data for aircraft in emergency situations as a public service,” according to Aireon’s website.

“The [ALERT] service will provide information on any airplane that’s gone missing, that’s lost communication with the aircraft operator or with the air traffic control organization and provide that data in an authorized, secure manner to support any search and rescue or emergency contact ability that they would need to perform under their obligations as a search and rescue authority,” said Thoma. “Our view is that finding an occasional, very infrequent lost aircraft is not a business model. We think that’s just a public service we need to provide to our airline and air traffic control customers, if you will, and community as a whole given that the main purpose of our business is to improve efficiencies and safety for air traffic control organizations.”

Even with organizations like Aireon in place to provide the satellite ADS-B solution to operators as it comes available and, hopefully, cut prevent another tragedy such as MH370, Tyler warned that there is ultimately no panacea when it comes to safely, securely and unerringly tracking airplanes worldwide.

“The public should be aware that there is no silver bullet solution on tracking,” said Tyler. “The industry is working to improve, but some issues such as tamper proofing, will take time to address and implement.”

News Item A-16: Airlines for America (A4A) has named Melanie Hinton as Managing Director Airline Industry Public Relations (PR) & Communications.

January 2015: News Item A-1: Aviation Week's publication has named 2014 Person of the Year: Vladimir Putin!!! The publication stated the selection was based on a person or entity that has had a significant impact on the aerospace sector. Some years, the editors are deeply divided, plus opinions and debates are waged for weeks. The publication stated this year, "the consensus was near-unanimous." Readers, please check this out. I feel you will agree this might well be a real "stretch" of the true reaction!!!


News Item A-2: Finnair (FIN) and South African Airways (SAA) have become the first two airlines to achieve the highest level of (IATA) Environmental Assessment (IEnvA) certification. (IEnvA) Stage 2 is secured when airlines exceed their environmental obligations, identifying, monitoring and mitigating their impact.

“I would particularly like to commend Finnair (FIN) and (SAA) for being the first to complete the Stage 2 assessment. These airlines are among the pioneers in this critical new program,” (IATA) (DG) & (CEO), Tony Tyler said.

(FIN) is aiming to cut anti-icing fluid use -40% by 2016, slash -20% from its carbon dioxide emissions over the period 2009 – 2017, slim its corporate energy use -10% between 2007 and 2016, reduce non-(EU) waste per passenger -10% by 2016, and narrow its noise footprint -40% by 2017. “Environmental performance is like safety (it is something that all airlines benefit from with sector) wide cooperation,” (FIN) (COO), Ville Iho said.

(SAA) secured its Stage 2 assessment in record time, six months prior to the two-year deadline. “The initiative will ultimately be good for business and is a step toward ensuring future-proofing of aviation,” (SAA) Acting (CEO), Nico Bezuidenhout said. Last year, (SAA ) launched the first African biofuels project, based on transforming tobacco oil to jet fuel, and introduced more fuel efficient (RNP-AR) approaches.

Finnair (FIN) and (SAA) both reached (IEnvA) Stage 1 in June 2013, as part of a small pilot group of airlines.

On top of the two Stage 2 awards, Icelandair (ICE), Qatar Airways (QTA) and SriLankan Airlines (LNK) have just completed their Stage 1 certification, which means they comply with all legal requirements and have set a framework for environmental management. They join Air Transat, Kenya Airways (KEN), (LATAM), (LATAM) Cargo, and Malaysia Airlines (MAS), which already have their (IEnvA) Stage 1.

(IEnvA) covers air quality, emissions, noise, fuel consumption, operational efficiency, recycling, energy efficiency, sustainable procurement, and biofuel utilization. There are plans to expand the scheme to include catering, ground operations and maintenance, repair and overhaul.

“The (IATA) Operational Safety Audit has done much to help improve airline safety and we expect that the (IEnvA) will do the same for environmental standards,” Tyler said.

In 2009, the industry agreed to cap emissions through carbon-neutral growth from 2020, and cut net emissions -50% (compared to 2005) by 2050.

News Item A-3: 2015 is a huge year for the European Commission (EC)'s attempt to unite its fragmented airspace and more efficiently manage more than >30,000 flights per day. More organized airways, satellite-based approaches and landings, plus data link messaging between pilots and Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) are among the technological and procedural advancements Europe is trying to implement.

With the (EC) recently making more than >$3.7 billion available to move Single European Sky (SES) deployment ahead at full speed, a collaborative effort between manufacturers, civil aviation authorities, Airspace Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs), pilots (FC) and more will need to continue. But more importantly, there will also need to be increased input from the more than >30 air carriers that serve Europe's commercial air transportation market. During his keynote speech at a European regional airline event in October, International Air Transportation Association (IATA) DG & (CEO), Tony Tyler said that the achievement of the fuel reduction, safety improvement and flight efficiency benefits of the Single European Sky (SES) remains as far away as ever. "Each year it fails to be implemented, means around 8 million tonnes of carbon wasted, and more than >EUR11 billion of unnecessary costs loaded onto airlines, their passengers and the European economy,” he said.

The Avionics Magazine has reached out to the industry to take a look at six things airlines would like for the newly formed (SESAR) Deployment Alliance Committee to focus on in 2015 and beyond:

1. Functional Airspace Blocks (FABs): This is the top need for the improvement of Air Traffic Management (ATM) efficiency in Europe. The (EC)'s task is to reduce the number of national Air Traffic Control (ATC) centers in Europe from 29 down to 9. This is a difficult task, asking independent nations in Europe to give up management of their airspace in favor of a central unified structure such as that of the USA is a huge request.

"(FAB)s suffer from a fundamental governance deficit because all progress depends on the approval of all members States involved in a (FAB)," Michael Nachtigaellar, Head of (SESAR) for Lufthansa (DLH), told the Avionics Magazine. "Accordingly, if an airspace optimization projects brings benefits for the (FAB) as a whole, but results in disadvantages for an individual state participating (eg less service units for its (ANSP)), that state tends to oppose the project or to demand compensation. This blocks progress in terms of flight and cost efficiency. (FAB) governance structure need to be amended correspondingly." More about the (FAB)s can be read in the October 2014 issue of Avionics Magazine.

2. Controller Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) Mandate: Under the original timeline of the Single European Sky (SES) project, operators would have been required to retrofit their airplanes with (CPDLC) avionics, that enabled text messaging between an airplane's Flight Management System (FMS) and (ATC) computer screens by February. The (EC) has indicated that this deadline will be moved in order to ensure the reliability of the data link communications that will occur as a part of this aspect of the (SES). Airlines invested heavily in onboard avionics to meet the mandate, according to Jan Eriksson, Manager Operational Regulatory Affairs and (ATM) at the Scandinavian Airline System (SAS).

"The (SESAR) JOINT UNDERTAKING (JU) should spend resources to support the (EC) to finalize the data link and surveillance mandates. Airspace users have invested in onboard equipment and it is important that they get a return on these investments," Eriksson told the Avionics Magazine.

One can read more about the tweaks needed to improve (CPDLC) deployment in Europe in this month's issue of the Avionics Magazine.

3. Pilot Common Project: In 2014, the (EC) adopted a regulation that requires the implementation of the Pilot Common Projects, which is the first set of (ATM) functionalities that have been identified by the European aviation community as being ready for wide scale coordinated deployment. The (SESAR) (JU) lists the following six (ATM) functionalities for the Pilot Common Projects derived from its Research & Innovation Solutions group: extended arrival management in the high density terminal maneuvering areas of airspace; airport integration & throughput; flexible airspace management & free route concepts; network collaborative management; Initial System Wide Information Management (iSWIM) & Initial Trajectory Information Sharing (i4D). All of these different (ATM) infrastructure functionalities can help to reduce flight times, fuel and carbon emissions, while also increasing flight safety and situational awareness for pilots (FC).

"We expect that, because of the common projects, the European airlines will have the opportunity to be more punctual, more profitable and therefore more competitive," Biuro Prasowe, a spokesperson with (LOT) Polish Airlines told the Avionics Magazine. (LOT) wants the (SESAR) Deployment Alliance to use the $3.7 billion recently made available to them by the (EC) "as a financial push enabling a real start of the projects aimed at increasing the European airspace capacity, enhancing current air safety standards and improving performance of the European (ATM),” he added.

4. Performance Based Navigation (PBN): (PBN) procedures are the most effective way to improve flight efficiency and safety for airlines. (PBN) refers to a redesigning of air routes into, out of and around airports and airport systems that rely less on legacy ground-based runway navigation aids and more on satellite-based procedures that take advantage of modern (GPS), auto pilot and (FMS) navigational avionics. "Deployment should focus on steps, which lead to better quality of service and higher flight efficiency: reduced delays, no holdings, fuel-efficient routings, high predictability," Nachtigaellar told the Avionics Magazine.

5. Single European Sky 2+ ((SES) 2+): This is another critical regulatory aspect of the (SES) initiative that airlines want to see as a focus for (SES) deployment in 2015. The European Parliament has approved the ((SES) 2+), which is an update of the (SES) rules that provide the regulatory framework for the shift from (ATM) entities independently run by European states, to the previously mentioned (FAB) model. The (SES) 2+) frame work features a performance scheme and a performance review body, a network manager in charge of centralized Eurozone-wide (ATM) management as opposed to the current independent states model and, most importantly, full organizational and budgetary separation between national authorities and the (ATC) organizations that they oversee.

"The most important issue in relation to the relaunch of ((SES) 2+) is the requirement that the (EU) member states stick to what their transport ministers once have signed. An independent economic regulator for European air navigation performance must be respected. Applying strict targets in the performance scheme will have a substantial effect on the results of the airlines," said Eriksson.

6. Future Oriented (ATM) Structure: This was one of the key aspects that Europe's largest airline, Lufthansa (DLH), expressed as a need for (SES) deployment. "2015 requires the successful setup of an effective deployment manager organization, establishing an efficient implementation program management structure and prioritized realization of Quick-Wins," Nachtigellar said.

Lufthansa (DLH)'s head of (SESAR) deployment wants the deployment phase of (SESAR) in 2015 to support de-fragmentation in Europe and improve the efficiency of the (ANSP)s by standardizing working positions and working processes (eg inside virtual centers, with common controller cockpits) and by "realizing the synergy potential of improved business models by using latest technology. (EASA) and Eurocontrol shall accompany the process. The deployment requires a future oriented architectural design of the (ATM) system. This should be developed based on 'unbundling' of Air Navigation Services (ANS) towards centralized (ATM) services and data services enabling (ATC) from virtual centers,” he added.

News Item A-4: Global air passenger traffic demand grew +6% in November, driven substantially by surging +6.9% year-over-year domestic travel growth, particularly in China (up +15.4% year-over-year) and India (up +14.2% (YOY)), according to (IATA)’s November Air Passenger Market Analysis Report. November’s passenger growth built on October’s +5.7% (YOY) rise; additionally it surpasses the 10-year average growth rate of +5.6%.

Total market capacity was up +5.4% year-over-year, leading to an overall passenger load factor (PLF) of 76.7% LF for November, down -2.4 points from October and bettering November 2013’s 76.3% LF overall (PLF).

Year-to-date (YTD) growth through November 30 in international and domestic air passenger traffic (RPK)s holds at 5.8%. At the same point in 2013, overall (YTD) passenger traffic growth was +5.1%.

November’s +6.9% (YOY) boost in domestic travel demand exceeded October’s rate by +1.1 points. Global domestic travel capacity rose +4.5%; the resulting (PLF) came in at 79.3% LF, down -1.8 points from October.

International travel demand globally grew +5.4% (YOY) in November, as international capacity increased +5.9% leading to a global international travel (PLF) for the month of 75.1% LF, down -2.9 points from October. “With international travel volumes subdued, the upward trend in global travel in the latter months of 2014 was instead driven almost entirely by domestic traffic,” (IATA) said in its report. “Two-thirds of the increase can be attributed to a pick-up in the Chinese domestic market in spite of ongoing signs of a slowdown in the Chinese economy and industrial activity.”

Domestic travel in China grew +15.4% (YOY) in November; its capacity increased +11.3% and the (PLF) for domestic travel within the country came to 79.7% LF for the month. India again had a strong domestic travel performance, with demand increasing +14.2% (YOY) and capacity rising at a very low +2.4%; the domestic (PLF) for the country was 80.3% LF for the month. “Market stimulation by local carriers” continued to shape India’s results.

November domestic travel demand in the world’s other major domestic markets included: Russia (up +8% (YOY), 69% LF (PLF)); Brazil (up +7.7% (YOY), 81.2% LF (PLF)); the USA (up +3.6% (YOY), 81.4% LF (PLF)); Japan (up +2.6% (YOY), 70.2% LF (PLF)) and Australia (up +0.3% (YOY), 78.9% LF (PLF)).

November’s international travel demand growth of +5.4% (YOY) is below the category’s 10-year average growth rate of +6.3%. According to (IATA), the main downward influences in international travel over the past few months have come from Asia-Pacific and African carriers. In Asia, (IATA) points to signs of a slowdown in regional production activity, despite strong trade volumes. In Africa, (IATA) faults “adverse economic developments in parts of the continent, not least its largest economy, Nigeria, which is highly reliant on oil prices.”

Middle Eastern carriers posted their fourth consecutive month of double-digit growth for international travel, rising +11.7% (YOY) (with capacity growth of +13.9% and a 70.1% LF (PLF)). European carriers also had a good month for international travel as low-cost carriers (LCC)s dominated; demand in the region was up +5.6% (YOY), capacity grew +4.9%, and the (PLF) came in at 77.7% LF.

In Latin America, international travel demand was up +4.9%, with a (PLF) of 78.8% LF, continuing to reflect improving regional trade volumes despite Brazil’s stagnant economy. Asia-Pacific’s international demand was also up +4.9% (YOY), with a 74.6% LF (PLF), but traffic has been “broadly flat over the past four months or so,” (IATA) said. North American international traffic grew by just +2% (YOY), with a (PLF) of 76.8% LF, despite an improving economic outlook for the region. Africa’s international traffic demand fell -2.5% during the month, with a 63.8% LF (PLF).

“November demand was healthy, but the overall picture is mixed,” (IATA) DG & (CEO), Tony Tyler said. “Strong traffic performance within China and India has not carried over into international demand for Asia-Pacific carriers. While lower oil prices should be positive for economic activity, softening business confidence is having a dampening effect on international travel.”

News Item A-5: The worldwide air freight market grew +4.2% year-over-year in November, largely delivered by carriers in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions, according to (IATA)’s November Air Freight Market Analysis. While November’s figures represented a slowdown from October’s +5.4% year-over-year (YOY) growth, the total air freight market nonetheless grew +0.8% from October, bringing freight volumes to approximately 16.9 billion (FTK)s.

Asia-Pacific year-over-year volume growth, measured in (FTK)s, was up +5.9%, and Middle East region carriers showed +12.9% growth (YOY) in November. Combined, the two regions accounted for 93% of the month’s volume increase. The two regions combined also make up 53% of the total market share. Air freight among African airlines also grew significantly in November, up +10.5% year-over-year, yet the region carries only 1.7% of the world’s air cargo.

European carriers, which make up 26% of the market, posted only +0.9% (YOY) growth in November, a “flatline” according to IATA), “affected by renewed concerns over the euro and Russian sanctions.” Air cargo volumes contracted for carriers in North America (down -0.3%, at 13.3% of the market share) and Latin America (down -0.7%, at 3.2% of the market share). North American carriers are reducing capacity and bettering load factors as a result, but volumes remain stagnant, (IATA) said. Latin America’s air cargo lapses are clearly reflecting the struggling economies of Brazil and Argentina.

“A strong growth trend in cross-border trade emerged over the second half of 2014 which has had a positive impact on air cargo volumes,” (IATA) said. “Air freight is closely linked to world trade (by value about a third of goods traded internationally are shipped by air).”

“More goods are being traded internationally and that is fueling the growth in air freight most of that growth is being captured by carriers in the dynamic and relatively business-friendly Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions,” (IATA) DG & (CEO) Tony Tyler said. “This year, we expect air freight markets to expand by +4.5%, outpacing projected growth in world trade (4%).”

As of November 30, the total air freight market’s year-to-date volume growth for 2014 stands at +4.4% year-over-year. Last year at this same time, the total market’s year-to-date growth stood at +1.4% (YOY).

News Item A-6: Following a circular from France’s Direction Générale de L'aviation Civile (DGAC) banning French operators from flying below FL240 in Pakistan airspace (Lahore and Karachi (FIR)s), the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has issued a safety information bulletin (SIB) advising all operators to exercise “extreme caution” when planning to fly into, out of, within, or above Pakistan airspace.

The (SIB) says that national aviation authorities are reporting an increased risk to the safety of international civil flights due to potential terrorist attacks in Pakistan.

(EASA) says national aviation authorities should ensure that operators under their oversight are aware of such information. And it urges all operators to monitor all relevant information, including (NOTAM)s.

News Item A-7: Global mobile satellite communications services provider, Inmarsat has confirmed that its second Global Xpress (GX) satellite (Inmarsat-5 F2) is scheduled to launch February 1 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. It is expected to provide broadband (GX) services covering the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean.

Inmarsat is investing $1.6 billion in the delivery of Global Xpress, which it said will “create the world’s first globally available, high-speed mobile broadband service, delivered through a single network operator.”

The first Global Xpress satellite (Inmarsat-5 F1) was launched in December 2013 and entered regional commercial service in July 2014, covering Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Following the launch of the third Global Xpress satellite (Inmarsat-5 F3), which is scheduled for the second quarter of 2015, Inmarsat said it is planning to commence global commercial GX services early in the second half.

Inmarsat (CEO), Rupert Pearce said: “Global Xpress is a truly transformational technology and, as we complete its global roll-out, 2015 promises to be one of the most significant chapters in our company’s history. Through Global Xpress, the world can move forward from the ‘Internet of Everything’ to the ‘Internet of Everywhere,’ in which high-speed, reliable and secure connectivity is available anywhere and at any time (even in the most inaccessible regions) for customers on the move or to fixed locations.”

According to Inmarsat, each of the three satellites in the initial GX fleet has 89 beams and six steerable high-power spot beams for multi-regional coverage. The GX satellite weighs 6,100 kg at launch with a wingspan wider than a Boeing 737. All three have a design life of 15 years.

The (I-5 F2) will be launched by (ILS) onboard a Proton Breeze M rocket.1

News Item A-8: The UK airline industry is uniting behind the British Air Transport Association (BATA) to call for air passenger duty (APD) to be abolished across the UK during the next Parliament.

February 2014: News Item A-1: Worldwide air passenger traffic grew +5.9% year-over-year in 2014, exceeding the 10-year average growth rate (+5.6%) and besting 2013’s (YOY) growth performance (+5.2%), according to (IATA)’s December Air Passenger Market Analysis report. Global air passenger capacity grew +5.6% (YOY) in 2014, resulting in a total passenger market load factor of 79.7% LF, up +0.2 point from 2013.

“Demand for the passenger business did well in 2014 overall. A record 3.3 billion passengers boarded airplanes this year (some +170 million more than in 2013),” (IATA) (DG) & (CEO) Tony Tyler said.

December’s total air passenger volume growth of +6.1% (YOY) helped fuel the year’s overall results, as December’s (RPK)s bested November’s volumes by +1.4%. December capacity increased +6.2%, delivering a monthly passenger load factor of 78.7% LF, up +2 points from November and matching December 2013’s 78.7% LF.

Middle East carriers showed the largest (RPK) rise for the year, up +12.6% (YOY), as the region “benefitted from solid trade growth, which supported expansion in business-related international air travel [up +13% (YOY)],” (IATA) said. Middle East capacity grew +11.5% (YOY), and the region’s (PLF) came in at 78.4% LF.

Asia-Pacific carriers saw a +7.1% (YOY) rise in volume during the year, driven by a strong end-of-year push in Chinese domestic travel, which grew by +11% (YOY) in December (and +15.4% (YOY) in November). Asia-Pacific capacity grew +7.5%, and the region’s full-year (PLF) came to 77.2% LF.

North America carriers reported the year’s highest regional passenger load factor (83.6% LF). North American passenger volumes grew +2.7% (YOY) as capacity increased by +2.4% (YOY).

International passenger travel volume in 2014 grew +6.1% (YOY); overall international capacity increased +6.4%, resulting in a 79.2% LF for international travel for the year (nearly identical with 2013). However, (IATA) noted that 2014’s performance fell below international travel’s long-run average of +6.3% growth. “Moreover, the level of [international] traffic has broadly tracked sideways since August,” (IATA) said.

Worldwide domestic passenger travel (RPK)s increased +5.4% (YOY) in 2014; domestic capacity was up +4.3% (YOY), leading to a total domestic passenger travel (PLF) for the year of 80.6% LF, up +0.7 points from 2013. “With weakness in international air travel volumes during the latter parts of 2014, the upward trend in global travel was driven almost entirely by domestic traffic,” (IATA) said, adding that strong growth in the Chinese domestic market was a key factor.

News Item A-2: Worldwide combined premium and economy international traffic was up +3.7% year-over-year (YOY) in December, finishing 2014 with three months of consistent growth, according to (IATA)’s December Premium Traffic Monitor. For the full-year, global international traffic increased +3.6% (YOY), up +0.1 point from 2013’s +3.5% annual growth increase. “The profile for air travel growth (with a strong second half in 2013 and relatively slower growth during the earlier months of 2014) has been driven by wider economic developments,” (IATA) said, citing the slowdown of world trade and industrial production during the 2014 first quarter. “[In] the second half of the year, however, there has been another pick-up in world trade activity, mainly in emerging Asia.”

“[But] looking at international air passenger volumes reveals a flattening in the growth trend in both economy and premium passenger numbers over the recent past,” (IATA) said.

For the full year, premium traffic volume worldwide grew +3.4% (YOY), down -0.8 points from 2013; economy traffic globally increased +3.7% (YOY), up +0.2 point from 2013. December’s premium traffic growth was +2.8% (YOY), up +0.6 point from November; economy (Y) traffic in December was +3.8% (YOY), up +0.2 point from November.

Middle East - Far East routes had the biggest rise in overall (combined premium and economy (Y)) traffic in 2014: +9.3% (YOY), up +3.5 points from 2013; followed by North America - Central America routes (+8.1% (YOY), up +5.9 points from 2013) and Europe - Middle East routes (+7.5% (YOY), down -2.8 points from 2013). Overall traffic on Africa - Far East routes took the steepest fall in 2014, down -4.7% (YOY), reversing the route’s +5.6% growth in 2013; traffic also declined on routes within South America (down -2.7% (YOY), reversing 2013’s +4.3% growth) and routes within Africa (down -2.6% (YOY), falling from a flat performance in 2013).

Full-year premium traffic growth was strongest on Mid Atlantic routes, up +12.6% (YOY), reversing the route’s -1.2% decline in 2013. Africa - Middle East routes also grew strongly over the year (up +10.5% (YOY), a +1.3 point gain from 2013), as did Middle East - Far East routes (up +10.1% (YOY), a +5.9 point gain from 2013). Premium passenger volume fell most sharply in 2014 on routes within South America, which slid -8.2% (YOY), reversing the route’s +3.9% growth in 2013.

Economy traffic demand in 2014 was strongest on Middle East - Far East routes, rising +9.3% (YOY), up +3.4 points from 2013. Significant economy (Y) traffic growth was also seen on North America - Central America routes (up +8.3% (YOY), a +2.4 point gain on 2013), Europe - Middle East routes (up +7.5% (YOY), a -1.4 point fall from 2013), and Africa - Middle East routes (up +7% (YOY), a +1.2 point gain from 2013). Economy (Y) traffic routes within Africa and routes within South America had the biggest declines for the year, sliding -2.5% and -2.4% (YOY), respectively.

“The outlook for international air travel remains positive overall,” (IATA) said. “But further acceleration (particularly on some markets) is now unlikely.”

News Item A-3: Global mobile satellite communications services provider, Inmarsat launched its second Global Xpress (GX) satellite (Inmarsat-5 F2) on February 1st. It is expected to provide broadband GX services covering the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean. See attached "ITA-2015-02 - INMARSAT-5 F2 LAUNCH."

News Item A-4: (ICAO) is proposing that airlines begin taking responsibility for knowing the whereabouts of their airplanes in oceanic areas by late 2016. Member states began debating the plan for normal tracking, distress tracking and new data recorder standards today as part of the High Level Safety Conference in Montreal.

Based on analyses by several working groups, the plan calls for completing guidance for advanced implementation of normal tracking procedures by August 31, which includes an airline having position reports from an airplane at intervals of 15 minutes or less, when in oceanic airspace. The standard would apply to airplanes weighing more than >27,000 kg and having more than >19 seats. Preliminary plans call for sending a letter to member states by March, adopting the new standards by November, and the standards becoming “applicable” by November 2016.

For distress tracking, which involves an airplane sending out higher rate data to once a problem is detected on board (for the purposes of locating a crash site to within 6 nm), (ICAO) would like to see the capability built into new airplanes from 2021.

Automatically deployable flight recorders, which an (ICAO) working group has proposed as a method of quickly finding a crashed airplane and retrieving data, would be recommended for new airplanes by 2019 and required of new airplanes by 2021. As an alternative, operators could use an alternate technology for the same purpose (locating an accident site to 6 nm) as an option on all airplanes from 2016 as an incentive for early adoption.

Groups, including the international arm of the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) are cautioning against “prescriptive” solutions to the issues, including deployable recorders.

News Item A-5: The (FAA)’s $15.83 billion budget request for Fiscal Year 2016 (FY16) seeks to patch holes created by chronic under-investment and the 2013 sequestration, while funding what the (FAA) calls a “continued, but measured” path forward.

The overall budget, a slight decrease from (FY15)’s enacted level, includes requests of $9.9 billion for Operations, $2.85 billion for Facilities & Equipment (F&E), $166 million for Research, Engineering, & Development (RE&D), and $2.9 billion in Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants.

“After years of underinvestment in sustainment, this modest increase puts us on a slow path to recovery,” according to the (FAA)’s budget request document. “However, real progress on the backlog will require sustained support over several years, complemented by divestiture and decommissioning of infrastructure where feasible.”

The (F&E) budget request is +10% above (FY15)’s level, driven by a +23% increase in facility-related maintenance funds, to $464 million.

“The funding appropriated to (F&E) over the past few years has forced the (FAA) to choose between deferring maintenance of current infrastructure and keeping NextGen progress on track,” the (FAA) explains. The (FY16) request “allows for maintenance of the existing infrastructure as well as forward movement on NextGen, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and commercial space transportation.”

Proposed NextGen funding totals $956 million, distributed among (F&E) programs ($845 million), (RE&D) ($61 million), and Operations activities ($51 million). The total amount is a +12% increase (about $99 million) over (FY15)’s enacted level.

“The budget request prioritizes and funds NextGen program segments such as en route and terminal automation platforms, which are foundational requirements to deliver advanced flight capabilities and decision support tools,” the (FAA) said. “It also requests funding for en route Data Communications segment 1 and for Time Based Flow Management, which is a necessary underpinning program that enables the performance based navigation program to maximize traffic flow into and out of the busy metropolitan airspaces and corresponding airports.”

As expected, the (FAA) is again proposing to reduce the (AIP) grant pool from its $3.35 billion annual level in exchange for more local revenue-generation ability by boosting the passenger facility charge (PFC) cap from $4.50 to $8. Similar proposals in each of the last two years failed to survive Congressional scrutiny.

“We are disappointed that while this proposal modernizes the PFC, it appears to do so at the expense of (AIP),” Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) president and (CEO) Kevin Burke said. “A significant cut like this in (AIP) funding ultimately hurts medium- and small-sized airports that depend the most on this grant funding for necessary capital improvement projects.”

The (FAA)’s Aviation Safety Office (AVS) would get a +3% bump, or about $21.3 million, and 85 additional full-time equivalents (primarily safety inspectors and certification services engineers. The (FAA) cited the ramping-up of efforts to craft rules for civil (UAS) operations as part of the justification for the (AVS) boosts.

The budget also seeks to introduce additional flexibility. “This new authority requested in the budget will allow the (FAA) to transfer up to 10% of any appropriation across accounts, provided that no account is increased by more than >10%,” the budget document stated.

The proposal has 8.6% of the (FAA)’s total budget coming from the general fund, and the balance coming from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund. The (FAA)’s (FY15) enacted budget received 7.2% of its balance from the general fund.

News Item A-6: Representatives of the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) believe the new European Commission (EC) lacks a vision for the continent’s airline industry.

European Union (EU) elections last year led to a swathe of new commissioners taking office in November, with the transport portfolio going to Michael Cramer, a Green politician from Germany.

The (EC) is the policy-originating body of the (EU).

Cramer, whose previous accomplishments include establishing a 160 km cycle path in Germany (with slogans that include “Change transport, not the climate”) has already refused to meet with several trade associations representing the transport industry, the (ERA) representatives said at a media briefing in London.

Transport was not featured among the priorities set down by (EC) President, Jean-Claude Juncker, noted (EU) policy analyst, James Sibley of political intelligence organization De Havilland (EU). Very little detail was known of a proposed “aviation package” (“If there is a vision for aviation, we don’t know it yet,”) Sibley said.

However, (ERA) Director General, Simon McNamara said this gives the (ERA) an opportunity to try to shape future European airline policies.

Regional aviation, and the issues facing it, were not well understood by (EU) lawmakers, and the industry was perceived negatively by many politicians, he said. There is an opportunity now to start fresh and put forward issues facing the industry.

Regional aviation is essential to act as a lifeline for areas on the fringe of the continent, and to spur economic development, (ERA) President, Boet Kreiken said. It is important that both national governments and the (EC) recognize the value of regional airlines and airports: “Emirates (EAD) will never land in Nuremberg, or Cathay Pacific (CAT) in Trondheim,” he said, adding it is European regional carriers that keep such airports open.

News Item A-7: Details of a conflict zone risk tool is takung shape at (ICAO). (ICAO) will have to boost its budget by +3% to pay a Web-based information database to provide airlines, air navigation service providers and member states, a source of safety information about the risks to flights over and within conflict zones.

News Item A-8: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released full-year air cargo data for 2014 showing +4.5% demand growth compared to 2013 measured by freight tonne kilometers (FTKs). That is a significant acceleration from the +1.4% recorded in 2013 over 2012.

Air cargo market expansion gathered momentum as 2014 progressed. The year finished on a positive note, with growth in December accelerating to +4.9%, compared to December 2013. The vast majority of the growth in 2014, however, was in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions, which respectively contributed 46% and 29% of the expansion in (FTK)s. Growth was recorded in all other regions, but was particularly weak in Latin America. "After several years of stagnation, the air cargo business is growing again. This is largely being driven by the uptick in world trade over the second half of 2014. Recent concerns over the health of the global economy and a corresponding fall in business confidence have not yet impacted air cargo. But it is a downside risk that will need to be watched carefully as we move through 2015,” said Tony Tyler, (IATA)’s DG & (CEO).

Dec 2014 vs Dec 2013 - - - FTK Growth - - - AFTK Growth - - - FLF
International - - - - - - - - - - - - - -5.1% - - - - - - - - 5.6% - - - - - - 49.8
Domestic - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 3.8% - - - - - - - - 0.8% - - - - - - 33.1
Total Market - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 4.9% - - - - - - - - 4.6% - - - - - - 46.4

YTD 2014 vs YTD 2013 - - - - FTK Growth - - - AFTK Growth - - - FLF
International - - - - - - - - - - - - - 4.8% - - - - - - - - 4.2% - - - - - - 49.2
Domestic - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 2.8% - - - - - - - - 1.8% - - - - - - 31.1
Total Market - - - - - - - - - - - - - 4.5% - - - - - - - - 3.7% - - - - - - 45.7

Regional Analysis:

Performance varied widely by region with the most significant growth being recorded by airlines in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. All regions, with the exception of Latin America, reported a strengthening of demand in December.

Asia-Pacific carriers grew +5.9% in December compared to December 2013, and +5.4% for 2014 as a whole. Volumes have benefitted from increasing import demand in addition to continuing manufacturing strength. Japanese and Chinese markets were particularly important contributors. Overall in 2014, capacity expanded +5.7% leading to a slight fall in load factor to 55.4% LF, although this remains the strongest load factor of any region.

North American airlines reported demand growth of +2.8% in December and +2.4% for 2014 as a whole. After a slow, weather-affected start to the year, growth accelerated, driven by import and export demand. Carriers in the region cut back capacity in 2014 by -0.5%, helping to underpin the load factor (35.3% LF).

European airlines saw (FTK)s expand +2.3% in December, and by +2.0% in 2014 overall. The Eurozone remains weak and close to recession, with the effects of Russian sanctions also having an impact. Load factors also fell in 2014 as capacity expanded +3.0%.

Middle Eastern carriers enjoyed the strongest growth of any region, expanding +11.3% in December and +11.0% for the year as a whole. Airlines in the region have extended their networks and grown capacity by +11.1% to make the Middle East a hub for freight traffic. In fact they have been responsible for over >37% of the total increase in global freight capacity in 2014.

Latin American airlines reported (FTK)s falling -4.5% in December. This was the only region to report a decline. The picture for 2014 as a whole was growth of +0.1%. Latin American volumes have been affected by economic slowdown across the region, particularly in Brazil and Argentina. Capacity grew by +0.3% in 2014.

African carriers expanded (FTK)s by +12.2% in December and +6.7% for the year as a whole. Although major economies Nigeria and South Africa underperformed during parts of 2014, regional trade activity held-up, supporting demand for air transport of goods. Capacity rose just +0.9% for the year as a whole, helping to strengthen the load factor.

Cargo Innovation in Shanghai:

“Despite the improving growth trend, big challenges remain. Yields declined for the third straight year in 2014, with no immediate prospect of improvement. Cargo revenues remained basically unchanged at $62 billion, some $5 billion below their 2011 peak. To move forward, the industry is focusing on providing a stronger value proposition to meet evolving customer needs. That’s what is driving efforts such as cutting shipping times, ensuring high-quality handling of temperature-sensitive goods, or benchmarking quality to improve customer transparency. It’s all about delivering value as a supply chain with a strong vision of the future,” said Tyler.

This focus on value is delivering change. For example, in 2014 electronic air waybill penetration reached 22% and airlines are targeting 45% penetration by the end of 2015. An initiative to encourage further industry innovations will take center stage at the World Cargo Symposium in Shanghai on March 10 - 12 with the launch of the Air Cargo Innovation Awards. “If you have a stake in air cargo, the World Cargo Symposium is the place to be in March, as we lay the foundations to energize the sector, recapture market share and grow revenues,” said Tyler.

News Item A-9: Marion Blakey will be leaving her post as the President & (CEO) of the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) to take the position of President & (CEO) of Rolls Royce (RRC) North America. Blakey served a seven-year tenure at (AIA) following her previous five-year term as the (FAA) Administrator.

During her tenure with the (AIA), the organization's support of the advancement of and implementation of different aspects of the (FAA)'s NextGen program was widely recognized by the industry and government officials.

“I’m very proud of (AIA)’s record of achievement these last seven years,” said Blakey. “I’d like to thank (AIA)’s executive committee, board of governors and the entire staff for their guidance, hard work and commitment. I strongly believe we’ve strengthened the (AIA) and better positioned the organization and our member companies to inform and influence the debate on key issues facing our country and our industry in the coming years.”

News Item A-10: Air traffic surveillance and tracking specialist Aireon, which has developed a space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS–B) global air traffic surveillance system, is to base its planned global emergency tracking service in Ireland.

Aireon said its Aircraft Locating & Emergency Response Tracking (ALERT) service would be managed from the Irish Aviation Authority’s (IAA) North Atlantic Communications Center in Ballygirreen on the West Coast of Ireland.

Aireon has already committed to providing the Aireon (ALERT) service free of charge to the aviation community.

The (IAA) (CEO), Eamonn Brennan said: “Aireon (ALERT) is a crucial airplane tracking service, which will greatly assist airlines, aviation authorities, air navigation service providers (ANSPs) and search-and-rescue (SAR) agencies during emergency situations. At their request, on a 24/7 basis, we will be able to provide users with the immediate ‘last known’ location of airplanes with tremendous accuracy through Aireon’s global space-based air traffic surveillance system. This is something that’s clearly lacking today as we’ve witnessed in recent times.”

He said that the Aireon (ALERT) offered the sort of service currently being mooted by (ICAO) to help locate missing airplanes as quickly as possible.

Aireon President & (CEO), Don Thoma said: “Recent events further highlight the importance of having a system that offers real-time, global surveillance of airplanes to be able to provide quick, accurate information to search & rescue teams in emergency situations.”

The Aireon global space-based (ADS-B) surveillance capability is expected to be fully operational in 2017, providing direct air traffic controller visibility of flights operating in all of the world’s flight information regions (FIRs). Focused on improving efficiency and safety, it will create a platform capable of tracking (ADS-B) equipped airplanes around the globe in real time. Some 90% of the world’s commercial airplane fleet is expected to be (ADS-B) equipped in the near future.

The Aireon (ALERT) service will be available soon after Aireon’s full deployment, giving pre-authorized users access to historical track data soon after controller communications are lost with an airplane. The system can also provide real-time tracking of airplanes in distress, provided (ADS-B) transmissions are still operational.

Aireon and its partners will be working with aviation stakeholders, including (ANSP)s, (ICAO), (IATA) and search and rescue authorities over the next two years to coordinate the operational implementation of the service.

In other news, Aireon has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) to deploy space-based (ADS-B) in the Singapore (FIR).

At present, some remote oceanic areas of the Singapore (FIR) do not have surveillance coverage, meaning controllers must provide greater separation between airplanes, reducing airspace capacity. Space-based (ADS-B) will facilitate surveillance coverage over the entire (FIR) allowing for reduced separation between airplanes and thereby increasing airspace capacity.

(CAAS) Director, General Yap Ong Heng said: “This new space-based (ADS-B) capability represents the next level of surveillance capability and together with the right operational procedures, can potentially enhance flight efficiencies and help reduce fuel costs for airlines.”

News Item A-11: (ACSS), an L-3 (ESM) & Thales Company (THL), announced that Boeing (TBC) has certified its NXT-800 Mode S transponder for Boeing 767 airplanes. The (NXT-800) offers the most advanced level of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out transmission, which will be required to meet the approaching global mandates for (ADS-B) Out capability.

News Item A-12: Russian airlines carried 93.2 million passengers in 2014, up +10.2% year-over-year. Several regional airlines carried +20% more passengers last year.

March 2015: News Item A-1: "(IATA) Safety Report: 2014 Was a Year of Contrasts" by Linda Blachly, March 9th 2015.

Last year was a year of contrasts, “safe but with some tragic events,” (IATA) said in its 2014 Safety Performance report released Monday.

As measured in hull losses per million flights of Western-built jets, the global accident rate in 2014 was 0.23, which was the lowest rate in history and the equivalent of one accident for every 4.4 million flights, (IATA) said. “This was an improvement over 2013 when the global hull loss rate stood at 0.41, and also an improvement over the five-year rate (2009 - 2013) of 0.58 hull loss accidents per million flights,” (IATA) said.

According to (IATA), there were 12 fatal accidents involving all airplane types in 2014 with 641 fatalities, compared with an average of 19 fatal accidents and 517 fatalities per year in the five-year-period. “Any accident is one too many, and safety is always aviation’s top priority,” (IATA) Director General & (CEO), Tony Tyler said. “While aviation safety was in the headlines in 2014, the data show that flying continues to improve its safety performance.”

(IATA) said in its report that “2014 will be remembered for two extraordinary and tragic events [Malaysia Airlines flights] MH370 and MH17.”

MH370, a Boeing 777, disappeared March 8 last year, while on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. It was tracked deviating from its course to fly back toward Malaysia, and was believed to have flown off course for several hours over the southern Indian Ocean. It was carrying 239 people on board, including crew.

MH17, also a 777, was shot down July 17 over Ukraine by a surface-to-air missile, while on a scheduled flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. All 298 onboard were killed.

(IATA) said that, although the reasons for the disappearance and loss of MH370 are unknown, it is classified as a fatal accident (one of 12 in 2014).

Since the disappearance of MH370, (IATA) said the aviation industry has welcomed the (ICAO) proposal to move toward the adoption of a performance-based standard for global tracking of commercial airplanes, supposed by multi-national operational assessments to evaluate impact and guide implementation.

However, (IATA) said the destruction of MH17 by anti-aircraft weaponry is not included as an accident under globally recognized accident classification criteria. The four airplanes in the events of "9/11" were treated in the same way.

“The shooting down of MH17 took with it 298 lives in an act of aggression that is by any measure unacceptable,” Tyler said. “Governments and industry have come together to find ways to reduce the risk of over-flying conflict zones. This includes better sharing of critical information about security risks to civil aviation. And we are calling on governments to find an international mechanism to regulate the design, manufacture and deployment of weapons with anti-aircraft capabilities,” he said.

“To the flying public, an air tragedy is an air tragedy, regardless of how it is classified. In 2014, we saw a reduction in the number of fatal accidents (and that would be true even if we were to include MH17 in the total). The greatest tribute that we can pay to those who lost their lives in aviation (related tragedies is to continue our dedication to make flying ever safer). And that is exactly what we’re doing,” Tyler said.

News Item A-2: "Search for Malaysia Airlines (MAS) 777 Flight MH370 Could End Soon" by Air Transport World (ATW) Jeremy Torr, March 2nd, 2015.

Australian Deputy Prime Minister, Warren Truss has said the country’s search for missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 “cannot go on forever.” Truss added that talks on a cessation of the search are currently underway.

The (MAS) Boeing 777 disappeared on March 8 last year, while on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. It was tracked deviating from its course to fly back toward Malaysia, and was believed to have flown on for several hours off course, over the Indian Ocean.

Despite a multi-million dollar search involving multinational military and navy staff, and equipment across several regional oceans, no trace has been found of the airplane or the 239 passengers and crew. Late last month, the Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia Director General, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman officially reported the disappearance as “an accident,” citing Chicago Convention standards.

The latest phase of the search covering some half-million square miles off the west coast of Australia, is estimated to have cost Malaysia and Australia (the two key nations involved in the search) around $40.5 million to date.

The current phase of the search, operated by a fleet of commercial Dutch survey vessels, is due to end in May. “We want to do everything that’s reasonably possible to locate the airplane, but clearly we cannot keep searching forever,” Truss said.

Truss said the decision to stop searching will have to made before May, if no sign of the airplane or wreckage is found. He said the possibility of the search being called off had already been discussed between the authorities of nations representing the majority of passengers and crew (Malaysian, Chinese and Australian).

In a related matter, Australian air navigation services provider (ANSP) Airservices Australia will put on trial, a new tracking system with satellite operator Inmarsat that could offer improved commercial flight tracking.

The trial, which will potentially apply to all commercial airline flights to and from Australia, will use Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Contract (ADS-C) systems to track non-military airplanes over Australia’s ocean territories.

The move follows an (ICAO) resolution to work on the adoption of a 15-minute interval tracking standard for all commercial operators, primarily as a result of the MH370 disappearance. Initial trials will be run in association with Qantas (QAN) and Virgin Australia (VOZ). "This is an important step in improving international airline safety,” Inmarsat (CEO), Rupert Pearce said.

News Item A-3: Rockwell Collins is putting an airliner flight tracking service on the market via (ARINC), the communications and integration specialist it acquired in 2013.

(ARINC) MultiLink will be available this spring and merges six different data sources to provide a flight tracking solution for airlines, the company said. SEE ATTACHED - - "ITA-2015-03 - ARINC MULTILINK MAP."

Continuous global tracking of airliners has become an industry focus after the disappearance of (MAS) MH370, a Boeing 777-200, a year ago. The 777, with 239 people onboard, veered significantly off its scheduled flight path from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Although the airplane is believed to be at the bottom of the southern Indian Ocean, extensive and ongoing search efforts have so far failed to find any trace of wreckage.

An (IATA)-led Aircraft Tracking Task Force was set up last year to look at ways in which airliners could be tracked continuously in-flight. The task force issued a set of recommendations at the end of 2014, many of which rely on leveraging or adapting existing technologies and capabilities.

(ARINC) MultiLink brings together multiple data sources to reliably report the location of an airplane anywhere in the world. These sources include (ADS-C); high-frequency data link (HFDL) performance data; (ADS-B); USA Aircraft Situation Display to Industry (ASDI) radar data; EUROCONTROL position information; and Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) position reports. The system has been developed with the ability to incorporate future third-party data sources which may include position data.

Rockwell Collins said it uses a proprietary algorithm to merge the data sources to provide more accurate and higher fidelity position reporting. In addition, the use of multiple sources means an airplane’s position can be reported more frequently. The service can also notify airlines when an airplane unexpectedly has stopped reporting positional data, or when the airplane has deviated from its expected path, the company said.

“In today’s global aviation environment, no single source of data is sufficient to track airplanes globally,” Rockwell Collins Senior VP Information Management Systems, Jeff Standerski said “By merging multiple data sources, many of which airlines already receive, we can automatically select the right combination of data feeds to allow airlines to pinpoint an airplane’s location anywhere in the world, in the most economical way.”

A key and differentiating element of (ARINC) MultiLink is its ability to incorporate (HFDL) network performance data via Rockwell Collins’ global air/ground data link network. Airplanes equipped with (HFDL) automatically deliver network performance data directly to Rockwell Collins. This data can be used in conjunction with other data sources to provide highly accurate and cost-effective airplane tracking everywhere around the globe.

“Using the unique propagation characteristics of (HFDL) enables (ARINC) MultiLink to communicate with properly equipped airplane operating in remote regions and over the oceans,” Rockwell Collins Director, GLOBALink Programs, Tim Ryan said.

During a Webinar press conference, Rockwell Collins executives gave additional information about the system, saying they were talking to about six airlines directly and that it would typically be operational within a month or two, depending on an airline’s current data capabilities.

Ryan and Rockwell Collins VP Aviation & Network Services, Dave Poltorak said the system was highly scalable and affordable, using technologies that all exist today.

A key differentiator, they said, was the incorporation of (HFDL), performance data unique to Rockwell Collins and which 130 airlines use today.

The system has not yet been demonstrated to the (ATTF). “We wanted to give [(IATA) and (ICAO) task force members] a lot of room to do their job and they are doing it very well,” Poltorak said. “”We didn’t want to interfere. But with the launch of the [MULTILink] service today, we will be able to share test data with them going forward.”

News Item A-4: Global air freight volumes grew +4.7% year-over-year (YOY) in 2014, up +3.7 points from 2013, as approximately 71 million metric tonnes of cargo were shipped by air (an increase of +4 million metric tonnes from 2013, according to preliminary data from Airports Council International (ACI)).

Worldwide air freight volume growth slowed to +3.2% year-over-year (YOY) in January, as the market for air cargo shipments declined in Latin America, Europe and North America, according to (IATA)’s January Air Freight Market Analysis. January’s growth rate was down -0.5% from December’s +4.9% (YOY) growth, or -1.7 points. Freight volumes for the month were at approximately 16.8 billion (FTK)s.

“This is a relative slow start to the year when compared to the +4.5% growth in 2014 overall,” (IATA) said. “But this change is well within normal volatility in (FTK)s, so it is too early to say that we are seeing the first signs of weakness in air freight.” In January 2014, global air freight posted an overall +4.5% (YOY) growth increase.

January’s largest total market statistical growth was in the Middle East, in which (FTK)s were up +9.2% (YOY). Air cargo carriers in the Asia-Pacific region reported a +6.9% (YOY) increase in volume during the month. Combined, the two regions account for 53.4% of the total air-freight market. Africa had +5.2% (YOY) growth in January, but carried just 1.5% of the total air freight market.

Air freight volume in North America was down -1% (YOY) in January, with a 20.7% market share. (IATA) downplayed the region’s January performance, saying it was “likely due to a particularly strong January 2014 result. [North American] trade—both exports and imports has continued to show robust growth.” Air cargo volumes fell -6.4% (YOY) in Latin America (with a 2.8% market share). European airlines’ cargo volumes were down -1.2% (YOY) in January (at 21.6% of the market share).

“Airlines in Europe face strong economic headwinds with the European Central Bank (ECB) having to resort to quantitative easing in order to support growth,” (IATA) said. “Conditions are made that much more challenging by developments in Russia, where there are sanctions and its economy is already in recession.”

“It is difficult to be too optimistic, given the economic headwinds in Europe and growing concerns over the Chinese economy,” (IATA) DG & (CEO), Tony Tyler said. “Add to that the continuing trends of on-shoring production and trade protectionism, and 2015 is shaping up to be another tough year for air cargo.”

News Item A-5: Global air passenger traffic increased +4.6% year-over-year (YOY) in January, slowing from December’s +6.1% (YOY) growth, according to (IATA)’s January Air Passenger Market Analysis report. Worldwide air passenger capacity was up +5.2% (YOY) during the month, creating a total passenger market load factor of 77.7% LF, down -1 point from December and down -0.4 point from January 2013.

Noting the 2% contraction in January’s passenger volumes from December, (IATA) said the “relatively small decline [is] within normal volatility in [RPKs] (the slower start to 2015 does not necessarily imply the beginning of weakness in the otherwise robust growth trend).” Global air passenger traffic grew +5.9% in 2014, exceeding the 10-year average growth rate by +0.3 points.

Collectively, global domestic travel grew just +3.2% (YOY) in January, down -2.6 points from December’s growth rate. “Much of the slowdown in the industry growth rate and contraction in travel volumes was due to domestic demand,” (IATA) said, noting that the timing of the Lunar New Year this year (which falls in February) contributed to China’s tepid +2.1% (YOY) growth in January. China is responsible for 23.8% of the world’s domestic travel market. USA domestic travel (which makes up 40.6% of the world’s domestic travel market) was up +2.7% (YOY) in January.

January domestic travel demand in the world’s other major markets included: India (up +17.9% (YOY), 84% LF, 3.2% domestic market share); Russia (up +9.3%, 66.3% LF, 3% market share); Brazil (5.6% (YOY), 84.6% LF, 5% market share); Japan (up +3.3% (YOY), 61.1% LF, 3.4% market share); and Australia (down -0.3% (YOY), 76.2% LF, 3.3% market share).

International travel demand globally grew +5.4% (YOY) in January, as international capacity increased +6% leading to a global international travel LF for the month of 78% LF, down -0.3 point from December. “International (RPK)s have been broadly flat since August (except for a spike in volumes in December),” (IATA) said, noting that January’s volume remains below international travel’s 10-year average growth rate of +6.3%. International travel in the Middle East region continued to grow, rising +11.4% (YOY) in January, achieving a passenger load factor (PLF) of 79.7% LF. The Latin America region also showed a spike in international travel in January, rising +5.6% (YOY) and reaching a PLF of 81.2% LF.

“January traffic did not maintain the rate of growth attained in 2014,” (IATA) (DG) & (CEO), Tony Tyler said. “Nevertheless, we are seeing healthy albeit slightly slower growth in the demand for air services we cannot look ahead without seeing some significant risk factors in the macro-economic and political environment.”

News Item A-6: Scheduled USA domestic flights had a 76.8% overall on-time arrival rate in January, up +1.5 points from December. This was a marked improvement on January 2014’s 67.7% rate, according to the "March Air Travel Consumer Report" released by the USA Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).

USA carriers canceled 2.5% of their scheduled domestic flights in January (12,031 out of 469,968 scheduled flights) up +1.1 point from December, and up +4 points from January 2014, when 30,852 flights were canceled.

Five USA domestic flights experienced tarmac delays exceeding three hours in January, three of which were flights delayed from departing Chicago O’Hare (ORD) on January 5 following a snow storm. The longest domestic delays in January occurred on January 11, when two Southwest (SWA) flights bound for Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) were diverted to Jackson-Evers International Airport (JAN), in Jackson, Mississippi. The flights were delayed on the (JAN) tarmac for 212 and 210 minutes, respectively. The (DOT) is investigating the circumstances behind the delays. No international flights reported a tarmac delay on USA soil exceeding four hours in January.

Delta Air Lines (DAL) had January’s best on-time arrival performance, with 86.1% of its scheduled flights arriving on time. Hawaiian Airlines (HWI) was second, with an 85.5% on-time arrival rate, followed by Alaska Airlines (ASA) (84.6%), Virgin America (VUS) (82.2%) and Southwest Airlines (SWA) (79.1%). Envoy Air again had January’s worst on-time arrival rate, with 60.4% of its flights arriving on-schedule, followed by Frontier Airlines (FRO) (67.1%).

Hawaiian Airlines (HWI) registered January’s lowest percentage of flight cancellations (0.4%, or 26 out of Hawaiian (HWI)’s 6,440 scheduled January flights were cancelled. (ASA) had a similarly good record, with 0.5%, or 64 of its 13,257 scheduled flights cancelled. On the mainland, (DAL) narrowly edged out Spirit Airlines (SPR) (in its first month of required data-reporting to (DOT)) for the best performance. (DAL) had 1.05% of its flights canceled in January (678 out of 64,421 scheduled flights), compared to (SPR)’s 1.12% cancellation rate (98 out of 8,743 scheduled flights). Envoy Air had January’s highest percentage of cancellations (7.7%, or 2,288 out of 29,900 scheduled flights) followed by JetBlue (JBL), with 5.1% of its January flights canceled (1,102 out of 21,623 scheduled flights).

Late-arriving airplanes (i e, the previous flight with the same airplane arrived late, causing the present flight to depart late) were responsible for most of January’s delays nationwide (7.3%). National aviation system delays (i e, non-extreme weather conditions, airport operations, heavy traffic volume, air traffic control (ATC), etc) were responsible for 6.4% of all delays during the month; 6% of delays were caused by the air carrier (i e, circumstances within the airline’s control, such as maintenance or crew problems); extreme weather was the cause for 0.7% of delays; and 0.03% of delays were due to security reasons.

News Item A-7: In February, 16 USA domestic flights experienced tarmac delays exceeding >3 hours and 8 international flights reported a tarmac delay on USA soil exceeding >4 hours, according to the April Air Travel Consumer Report released by the USA Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).

Of the delayed USA domestic flights, 9 were temporarily prevented from departing Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) during a February 27 snowstorm, with delays ranging from 181 minutes to 225 minutes. Two additional flights were delayed upon landing at (DFW) that day, with tarmac delays on each flight just exceeding >3 hours. Snowy weather also plagued the Northeast USA on February 21, causing excessive tarmac delays for three flights, including one US Airways (AMW)/(USA) flight bound for Salt Lake City stuck on the tarmac at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) for 271 minutes.

Winter weather in the New York City region on February 2 was the reason for the month’s most excessive tarmac delay, involving a Lufthansa (DLH) flight bound for Frankfurt. Unable to depart amidst a wintry mix and sub-freezing temperatures, the airplane was delayed 420 minutes on the (JFK) International Airport tarmac. Two international flights incoming to (JFK) were also caught up in the storm that day: an (EVA) Air flight from Taipei, after landing, spent an additional 286 minutes on the (JFK) tarmac; and a Norwegian Air Shuttle (NWG) flight from Copenhagen spent an additional +273 minutes on the (JFK) tarmac. Another particularly egregious international flight delay involved a Frontier Airlines (FRO) flight from Cancun on February 21, diverted to Pueblo, Colorado, Memorial Airport (PUB); the flight spent 318 minutes on the (PUB) tarmac waiting out a snowstorm in Denver, the flight’s destination.

The (DOT) is investigating the circumstances behind the numerous delays.

USA carriers canceled 4.8% of their scheduled domestic flights in February (20,517 out of 429,191 scheduled flights), up +2.3 points from January, but down -0.7 point from February 2014, when 23,719 flights were canceled. Hawaiian Airlines (HWI) and Alaska Airlines (ASA) again posted the month’s best cancellation records, with 0.1% and 0.9% of all flights canceled. Frontier Airlines (FRO) had the next-best record for the month, with 1.9% of its flights (108 out of 5,809) canceled. Envoy Air had the worst cancellation record, as 14.4% of its February flights were canceled (3,887 out of 26,940 flights).

USA domestic flights had a 72.8% overall on-time arrival rate in February, down -4 points from January, but up +2.1 points from February 2014. Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Hawaiian Airlines (HWI) were on top in this category as well, with 85.1% and 82.2% of their respective flights arriving on time. Next-best for the month were Delta Air Lines (DAL) (78% on-time) and Southwest Airlines (SWA) (77.5% on-time). Envoy Air had the month’s lowest on-time rate, with 53.3% of its flights landing on-time.

Additionally, in February, nearly 15,000 customers who had purchased discounted tickets from United Airline (UAL)’s Denmark website on February 11 wrote in to the (DOT)’s Office of Aviation Enforcement & Proceedings asking that “(UAL) be required to honor these fares based on the Department’s rule against post-purchase increases of scheduled air transportation.” (UAL) admittedly published “mistaken” air fares on the Danish site, and news of the discounted fares quickly made the round on the internet. In the April Air Travel Consumer Report, the (DOT) announced its determination regarding the complaint, saying it would not take action against (UAL) for not honoring the tickets. Noting that the mistaken fares appeared on a website that was not marketed to consumers in the USA, the (DOT) Enforcement office issued an additional admonishment to the complainants.

“The office is concerned that to obtain the fare, some purchasers had to manipulate the search process on the website in order to focus the conversion error to Danish Krone by misrepresenting their billing address country as Denmark when, in fact, Denmark was not their billing country,” the (DOT) said. “This evidence of bad faith by the large majority of purchases contributed to the Enforcement Office’s decision.”

News Item A-8: A series of winter storms streaking across the USA resulted in a staggering 17,400 flight cancellations and 52,650 delays between February 21 and March 4, as snow and ice crippled major airport hubs, from Dallas and Chicago to Atlanta.

The extreme winter weather, which included multiple ice storms in Dallas and snow and sleet in Atlanta (two of the world's busiest airports) helped influence airline and airport on-time rankings for the month of February.

Southwest Airlines (SWA) was the top on-time performer of all of the major USA airlines during the month, according to "FlightView," while Alaska Airlines (ASA) occupied the top spot in on-time performance for North America. Both Southwest (SWA) and Alaska Airlines (ASA) have extensive route networks throughout the American West, where the weather was unusually placid and mild during February. (ASA) also flies throughout the Frontier State, which saw record warmth and a lack of snow in February.

The flight delays reflect a slight shift in the weather pattern during February that brought snow and ice to a wider area, rather than confining most of winter's misery to southern New England, as happened earlier in the month. Instead, sprawling areas of low pressure and wintry precipitation formed and slowly moved across the USA during the second half of February, affecting nearly every major airline hub from Denver to Detroit.

To put the delays and cancellations into perspective, there are about 23,000 scheduled flights in the USA on an average winter weekday, "USA Today" reported. This means that the two-week delay total was equivalent to about three full days of USA flights.

The delays and cancellations this year far outpaced figures for a similar period last year, according to "FlightAware." The USA saw just 9,003 cancellations between February 22 and March 7, 2014, along with 47,824 total USA flight delays.

News Item A-9: Asian airlines saw a welcome rise in international passenger traffic for the first two months of 2015 (passenger numbers rose by +8.2% year-on-year, according to figures from the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA)).

“The demand outlook for Asian carriers remains broadly positive,” said (AAPA) Director General, Andrew Herdman. However, warned Herdman, Asian airlines will still have to “carefully match capacity growth with actual demand, while coping with increased currency volatility” despite some respite from a broadly downward trend in fuel prices.

February saw a total of 21.8 million international passengers on Asian airlines, which (although a significant 11.9% increase) was skewed slightly by the annual Chinese New Year festive period travel surge. Demand was up +9.9%, measured in (RPK)s, which overshot the +8% growth in seat capacity across the region. This led to slightly higher load factors (up +1.3%) to a solid 78.1% LF.

Air cargo also saw an increase in February, with a +20.5% jump in (FTK)s across the region. Again, a slower increase in available capacity (+12.6%) saw the cargo load factor increase to 65.2% LF, a rise of +4.2% over the previous year’s figures.

Taken together with a slower January, the two-month air freight demand still increased by +12.8%, buoyed principally by “robust demand for Asian exports, particularly to North America,” Herdman said.

News Item A-10: The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the United Nations (UN) aviation body's governing council, elected Fang Liu, a veteran of China's aviation authority, as its new Secretary General on Wednesday March 11th, the first woman to hold the position in (ICAO)'s 70-year history.

Ms Liu, who has worked at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) since 2007, is Director of its Bureau of Administration & Services. She ran against candidates from Australia, India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Ms Liu will start her three-year term on August 1, replacing Raymond Benjamin of France.

(ICAO)'s Secretary General oversees the Montreal-based (ICAO)'s secretariat, acting as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), and reports to its 36-member, governing council, which is currently led by Nigeria's Olumuyiwa Bernard Aliu.

From 1987 to 2007, Ms Liu held a series of positions at the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC)'s international affairs department, which works with (ICAO).

Educated in China and the Netherlands, Ms Liu worked for China's Civil Aviation Authority (CAAC) before joining (ICAO) in late 2007. In addition to Chinese, she speaks English and French.

(ICAO) is under pressure to improve safety in the airline industry after the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 and the downing of another (MAS) airliner in Ukraine last year.

At a major safety conference last month, (ICAO) member states endorsed a plan to track airplanes flying outside radar, and a proposal to build a website, where states can share information about risks to planes in conflict zones.

The (ICAO) agency is not a regulator, but its standards typically become regulatory requirements in its 191 member states.

News Item A-11: The USA Senate has unanimously confirmed Christopher Hart as the new Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) by a 97-0 vote. Hart was nominated by USA President, Barack Obama in June 2014.

Hart, (NTSB)’s Vice Chairman, has served as acting Chairman since former Chairperson, Deborah Hersman resigned from the board April 25, 2014. Hart last year oversaw the (NTSB)’s public hearing releasing the board’s investigative findings on the Asiana Airlines (AAR) flight 214 crash. He has been a member of the board since August 2009 and was also a member from 1990 - 1993.

Hart has previously served as (FAA) Deputy Director Air Traffic Safety Oversight and as (FAA) Assistant Administrator System Safety. His term as an (NTSB) member runs to December 31, 2017.

National Air Transportation Association President & (CEO), Thomas L Hendricks issued a statement commending the confirmation. “As a general aviation pilot (FC), Chairman Hart’s training and personal experience will be critical to advancing aviation safety initiatives such as supporting pilot professionalism in training, promoting proactive safety information reporting programs, and ensuring that automation continues to improve safety. Chairman Hart addressed our members on these issues late last year, and we look forward to continuing these conversations and working with him in the future.”

The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) said: “Mr Hart’s long history of championing proactive aviation safety programs and preventing accidents through improved data sharing, reflects a deep commitment to using safety information voluntarily shared every day by thousands of (ALPA) pilots (FC).”

News Item A-12: Improving its safety record must be the top priority for the Indonesian aviation industry, according to (IATA).

In a March 12 speech in Jakarta, (IATA) (DG) & (CEO), Tony Tyler said Indonesia has had at least one hull loss every year since 2010, and it has faced restrictions imposed by the European Union (EU) and USA due to safety concerns.

Tyler said an increased use of the (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) would help improve safety practices. Of the 62 Indonesian airlines operating scheduled or charter flights, only Garuda (GIA) is on the (IOSA) registry. An (IOSA) audit should be compulsory for an airline to gain an air operators certificate (AOC) in Indonesia, Tyler said.

Airport capacity is another challenge identified by (IATA). While many new airports are planned in Indonesia, capacity in Jakarta is the most pressing problem. Tyler said there is potential to grow Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, although “a major redevelopment” of the terminal areas would be needed, along the lines of the “super-terminals” that have been built in Beijing, Hong Kong, and Seoul.

(IATA) also identified improved slot management practices and air traffic management (ATM) modernization as necessary to help alleviate capacity headaches.

Indonesia needs to reform its aviation regulations in several areas, Tyler said. He cited examples such as the excessive regulation of airline pricing and airport ticket sales, and a mandate for a 2% biofuel content in jet fuel that is set to take effect in 2016.

News Item A-13: "European Union (EU) Seeks Mandate for Talks with Gulf States Over Subsidies by (ATW)'s Aaron Karp, March 18, 2015.

Citing “distortions in the market,” European Union (EU) Transport Commissioner, Violeta Bulc said she will seek a new mandate from (EU) countries to open talks with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar and Saudi Arabia over “unfair subsidies to airlines.”

Bulc said the request for talks with Gulf states was initiated by France and Germany. She pointed to the study recently issued by major USA airlines, alleging more than >$40 billion in state aid to Gulf airlines over the last decade. “Gulf carriers compete with Europe’s airlines on international flights,” Bulc said. “The subsidies they receive, create distortions in the market, denting the competitiveness of (EU) and USA carriers, critics say. According to the [USA airlines’] study, Gulf airlines received interest-free loans, free land and low airport charges, among others.”

French Secretary of State for Transport, Alain Vidalies and German Transport Minister, Alexander Dobrindt said in a joint statement, “European airlines are losing market share against the Gulf companies because of their unfair competitive practices, and in particular because of the significant public subsidies and guarantees they enjoy.” The two ministers said they want the European Commission to develop a “common strategy on controlling foreign airlines’ operations with traffic rights in the (EU).” They said the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, and Austria support their position.

Bulc said the mandate she is seeking to “curb market-distorting state aid to airlines” could also extend to China, Brazil, and Turkey.

Emirates Airline (EAD) President, Tim Clark, speaking to reporters in Washington DC, said his company will issue a “line by line response” to the USA carriers’ report. “We will do it in a very methodical, clinical manner,” he said.

Responding to Lufthansa Group Chairman & (CEO), Carsten Spohr announcing his support for the USA airlines’ campaign against Gulf carriers, Clark said, “Once we have disproved the allegations against us, then let’s have a talk about who is saying what. We have been dealing with the question of subsidies for many, many years in the European area and other parts of the world, and we have successfully dealt with that.”

News Item A-14: "FedEx: Don’t ‘Capitulate’ to USA Passenger Airlines on "Open Skies" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, March 19th, 2015.

FedEx Corporation (FED) is pushing back hard against major USA passenger airlines that, in the cargo giant’s view, are trying to get the USA government to alter "Open Skies" agreements with Middle East states that are integral to FedEx (FED)’s business.

American Airlines (AAL), United Airlines (UAL) and Delta Air Lines (DAL) have accused the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar of providing more than >$40 billion in state “subsidies” to Emirates Airline (EAD), Etihad Airways (EHD) and Qatar Airways (QTA) over the past decade, and appear to want the USA government to limit those airlines’ access to the USA by revisiting "Open Skies" agreements with the (UAE) and Qatar signed in 1999 and 2001, respectively. (EU) transport minister Violeta Bulc cited the USA airlines’ allegations when announcing she is seeking a new mandate from (EU) countries to open talks with the (UAE), Qatar and Saudi Arabia over “unfair subsidies to airlines.”

FedEx (FED), however, said "Open Skies" deals with Middle East states are crucial to its air cargo business and is urging the USA government not to “capitulate to the interests of a few carriers who stand ready to put their narrow, protectionist interests” ahead of the USA’s broader economic interests. (FED) is especially concerned about potential restrictions to its air cargo hub in Dubai.

Speaking to analysts, (FED) President & (CEO), David Bronczek said, “Our view is very simple. We believe in "Open Skies" and free trade, and we’ve been doing this for decades now. We base our whole business model on "Open Skies." We have a lot of business in the Middle East, a lot of business in Asia, and around the world. And of course for us, competing in an "Open Skies" environment is critical for us.”

In a letter recently sent to USA Secretary of State, John Kerry, Bronczek said, “Retrenchment in any way from "Open Skies" by the USA would jeopardize the economic growth benefits that air cargo provides. Retrenchment would result in higher fares and fewer options for flying passengers. Retrenchment benefits only a very few.”

Specifically, Bronczek said the "Open Skies" agreements the USA has with Middle East nations “are very valuable” to FedEx (FED), noting the Memphis-based express delivery operator’s Dubai hub was enabled by the USA - (UAE) "Open Skies" accord signed in 1999. “FedEx (FED) flights from the USA crisscross with our flights from India and Asia [at the Dubai hub] in order to move USA products into local markets,” he wrote. “This hub also acts as our gateway to Africa.”

Bronczek said (AAL), (UAL) and (DAL) “believe they have little to risk by limiting foreign carrier access to USA markets. What they want is for the USA government to protect them from competition from able, attractive new entrants.” He noted that “FedEx (FED) alone operates almost two-thirds more flights to the Middle East than all the USA passenger carriers combined. Modifications to [the USA - (UAE) "Open Skies"] agreement might spell the end of these opportunities.”

FedEx (FED) Founder, Chairman & (CEO), Frederick Smith told analysts this week that (FED) remains “very much in support of continuation of "Open Skies” and said the USA passenger carriers’ effort is part of a “very concerning trend” globally of “protectionism over the last several years.”

April 2015: News Item A-1: Air passenger traffic increased +6.2% year-over-year (YOY) worldwide in February (a significant improvement over January’s +4.5% (YOY) growth) according to (IATA)’s February Air Passenger Market Analysis report. While the timing of the Lunar New Year, which this year occurred in February, helped to inflate the month’s numbers, “the underlying trend in volumes confirms robust expansion in air travel,” (IATA) said. Global air passenger capacity was up +5.6% (YOY) during the month; the total passenger market load factor was 78.5% LF, up +0.8 point from January and up +0.4 point from February 2014.

International passenger traffic was up +6.8% (YOY) in February, with international capacity growing +5.7% (YOY), leading to a total passenger load factor for international travel of 77.4% LF, down -0.6 point from January, but up +0.6 point from February 2014. The Asia-Pacific region, particularly affected by the Lunar New Year and the leisure travel associated with the holiday, showed a +10.4% (YOY) rise in international (RPK)s in February. International traffic in the Middle East region (up +8.7% (YOY)) and Latin America (up +7.4%) was strong as well. Europe, despite its current weak economic expansion, showed +4.8% (YOY) growth in international traffic during the month. North American airlines reported +3.5% (YOY) growth, as “recent gains in trade volumes bode well for business-related travel [in the region],” (IATA) said.

Collective world traffic on domestic routes was up +5.3% (YOY) in February, up +2.1 points from January’s growth rate (a rise assisted by Chinese leisure travel (up +8.4% (YOY)) associated with the Lunar New Year), and Brazilian travel (up +9.2% (YOY)) associated with Carnival. Domestic travel in India had the month’s biggest bounce, up +14.8% (YOY), “likely owing to market stimulation by local carriers as well as notable improvements in economic growth,” (IATA) said. The Japanese domestic travel market was up +3.6% (YOY), showing an ongoing emergence from the country’s 2014 recession, according to (IATA)’s analysis. Capacity on the world’s domestic routes was up +5.3% (YOY) in February; the total passenger load factor for domestic travel was 80.4% LF.

“Millions of people traveled for Lunar New Year [reminding] us of the vital role that aviation plays in connecting in our world, doing that safely is the industry’s top priority.”

News Item A-2: Full-time-equivalent (FTE) employment at USA scheduled passenger airlines grew +1.8% year-over-year (YOY) in February, to a total (FTE) count of 388,983 personnel, according to the USA Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).

News Item A-3: The worldwide air freight market saw an impressive but temporary spike in February, as collective cargo volumes jumped +11.7% year-over-year (YOY), up +8.5 points from January, according to (IATA)’s February Air Freight Market Analysis. Total market air freight capacity was up +7.4% (YOY), up +3.3 points from the previous month; the total market freight load factor came in at 46.5% LF, up +1 point from January.

The leap in volume was largely the result of combined factors affecting both the Asia-Pacific and North American markets: the Lunar New Year, which this year fell in February, plus the ongoing labor conflict hamstringing shipping ports on the USA West Coast (which is prompting Japanese auto manufacturers to ship parts across the Pacific by air). Freight volumes for the month were at approximately 11 million metric tonnes.

“Japanese car manufacturers, including Toyota and Honda, have had to recall millions of vehicles [in the USA] due to faulty parts, including air bags, which are now being shipped by air to destinations in the USA,” (IATA) said. “The port congestion problem has also benefitted North American carriers [but] these benefits are likely to subside once the port congestion is resolved.”

The Asia-Pacific region registered February’s largest total market statistical growth, as (FTK)s rose +20.8% (YOY) (contrasted with January, when the region’s growth was +6.9% (YOY)). Traffic in the Middle East was up a strong +17.6% (YOY). North American traffic rose +8.7% (YOY) during the month (a striking difference compared to January, when North American (FTK)s fell -1% (YOY)). African airlines’ air cargo traffic rose +8.3% (YOY). European air freight continued to struggle with +1.1% (YOY) growth during the month. And air freight movement faltered in Latin America, as (FTK)s dropped -9.6% (YOY) in February.

“[While] a combination of factors made February the strongest month in a very long time for air freight, nobody expects growth to continue at this pace,” (IATA) (DG) & (CEO) Tony Tyler said.

News Item A-4: Asia-Pacific airlines recorded a +11.3% increase in international passengers in March, according to the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA). However, many of the region’s airlines are still posting losses. “Restoring profitability is the key to sustaining continued investment,” (AAPA) Director General, Andrew Herdman said.

The region’s airlines collectively carried 23.3 million passengers in March, up +9.4% on last year at almost double the growth in the year-ago period.

“During the same period, Asian airlines also saw international air cargo demand grow by +8.4%,” Herdman said, “partly attributable to the recent USA West Coast seaport dispute and strikes.”

International demand, in (RPK)s, saw another gain with +11.1% growth. Passenger load factor also rose +2.7% to 78.4%. In the cargo sector, however, average load factor dropped to 68.3% LF, down -0.4% year-over-year.

Despite increases in passenger numbers and load factors, industry-wide price cuts and introductory offers pushed down overall yields, creating further pressure on operating costs. In many cases, the better figures did still not bring operators back into the black. Reports indicate that some 80% of Southeast Asian carriers (including low-cost carriers (LCC)) are currently operating at a loss.

“In aggregate, the region’s airlines were operating at close to breakeven in 2014, despite recording solid growth in both passenger numbers and cargo volumes, as yields remained under competitive pressure,” Herdman said.

News Item A-5: Canadian and European aviation authorities are looking to impose the most-stringent navigation and position-reporting standards ever on jetliners, including many flying long overwater routes, according to industry and government officials.

Some proposals are prompted by the still-unsolved 2014 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight 370, while others aim to provide air routes that are more flexible (and entail closer spacing between commercial airplanes) as they cross the Atlantic.

No final decisions have been made, and some concepts are likely to take months to resolve. But satellite operators such as Inmarsat and Iridium Communications Inc, along with service providers (SITA) and the (ARINC) unit of Rockwell Collins Corporation, are maneuvering to pick up business as a result of the prospective changes.

If the proposals pan out, they would revamp busy air corridors in the northern Atlantic and rewrite some long-standing procedures air-traffic controllers have relied on to keep track of jet airplanes in other parts of the world. Specifics, however, would depend on the capabilities of onboard systems.

The moves also come as new details emerge about the source of earlier airline opposition to less-stringent voluntary tracking standards.
Possible changes being discussed by European Union (EU) policy makers could require planes to automatically report their position as frequently as every three minutes, outside ground-based radar coverage.

That compares with 15-minute tracking intervals proposed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the air-safety arm of the United Nations (UN), and minimum 10-minute intervals used for certain planes by USA air-controllers over portions of the Atlantic they oversee.

A European safety official said deliberations are ongoing, the situation is "blurry," and the timing of any decision is uncertain. The European Commission (EC), the block's executive arm, has said it is "committed to take action quickly on the basis of the results" of interaction with (ICAO).

At least one satellite operator, however, has been asked by (EU) officials to provide technical and cost data related to a potential three-minute standard, according to one industry official. The (EU) wouldn't comment on internal deliberations.

A global 15-minute standard for routine flight initially was proposed by a task force headed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the industry's leading trade group. But late last year, (IATA) reversed course, dropped swift implementation plans, and said some member airlines opposed the proposed one-year phase-in period as too onerous.

Now it turns out the opposition was led by British Airways (BAB), according to three people involved in the discussions. One person said some of (BAB)'s older 767 jets would have had difficulty complying with the proposed standard.

(BAB) said "we comply fully with current requirements and will meet the revised requirements using equipment already installed on our fleet." The company promised to work on development and implementation of new requirements.

In February, (IATA) and (ICAO) agreed to work together on demonstration efforts for the proposed 15-minute standard.

As part of a different initiative, British and Canadian air-traffic control officials are planning demonstration flights later this year across portions of the North Atlantic they supervise, that would slash the minimum lateral separation between certain planes.

During those validation flights, planes would be permitted to come as close as 25 nautical miles to each other (of within half a degree of latitude) versus current minimum spacing of double that distance, according to Ron Singer, a spokesman for Nav Canada, which owns and operates the country's civil navigation network.

The goal is to shorten flight times, take better advantage of favorable winds, and reduce fuel burn.

At the same time, airliners flying the Atlantic that are equipped with some of the most modern electronics, this year began using data links in some airspace that enables position reports every 14 minutes, compared with the current 18-minute standard that Canada, Britain and partners rely on, said Andy Smith, head of operational strategy for Britain's air-traffic services provider, (NATS).

The computer link will allow controllers to more closely space airplanes, he said, giving airlines greater operational flexibility. The link also can alert controllers when airlines deviate from their approved course.

The upgrade will particularly benefit airlines that are flying some of the most advanced models with sophisticated satellite systems, such as Boeing (TBC) 787 Dreamliners and Airbus A380 superjumbos. Eventually, airlines that refuse to upgrade will be shut out from some of the most attractive flight paths between Europe and North America.

With an estimated 11,000 jetliners around the globe equipped with satellite-communication and related systems, capable of meeting proposed 15-minute tracking requirements, other regions are planning their own test flights. In portions of Asian airspace, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) already sets 14-minute reporting intervals for the best-equipped planes.

News Item A-6: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) will be the first airline to go live with global flight tracking technology using (SITA) OnAir’s (AIRCOM) FlightTracker this summer.

(MAS) has already conducted extensive testing of the technology, which is essentially a ground-based software upgrade to existing equipment that allows airlines to track airplane positions and identify any unexpected deviations or gaps in position reports.

Because it uses existing equipment and re-purposes air traffic control (ATC) data (it works using the (AIRCOM) Server (ACARS) message handling system), it does not require airlines to invest in new equipment.

(AIRCOM) FlightTracker uses multiple sources of data to guarantee tracking intervals of at least every 15 minutes for every flight, although airlines can optionally configure it for intervals of less than <15 minutes. In addition, it enables an airline to proactively obtain Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Contract (ADS-C) tracking data immediately, if it detects a gap in data from other sources. It can also obtain one-off position reports from the Flight Management computers on short-haul airplanes that do not have (FANS) data link avionics.

(SITA) OnAir (CEO), Ian Dawkins said: “We have designed the solution so airlines have straightforward access to (ATC)-like tracking data. For those airlines already using our (ACARS) messaging, we can deploy it very quickly. Following the recent (ICAO) discussions, we are also working on the definition and development of a new system to detect and report unusual situations. We are also investigating new airplane solutions that are independent of airplane power or systems.”

(SITA) said (AIRCOM) FlightTracker had an “important role to play in providing improved tracking and detection of unplanned movements, without requiring modifications to the airplane. It is simply an extra software layer on top of (SITA) OnAir’s existing (AIRCOM) Server (ACARS) message handling system, which is already used by over 90 airlines around the world.”

Dawkins said that, in the event of an emergency, (AIRCOM) FlightTracker position reporting would be provided free of charge to (SITA) member customers.

“(AIRCOM) FlightTracker will request emergency positioning reports if it identifies that a flight has left its normal route for an unknown reason, and we will waive charges for that reporting until the emergency ends,” he said.

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 777-200, disappeared on March 8, 2014 during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 227 passengers and 12 crew on board. No trace of the airplane has been found after an extensive search in the southern Indian Ocean where the airplane is believed to have gone down after changing course. In December 2014, an Aircraft Tracking Task Force (ATTF) was set up and has issued a report with recommendations to improve continuous tracking of airliners.

On January 29, the government of Malaysia, citing Chicago Convention standards, “officially” declared MH370 “an accident,” stating that “all 239 of the passengers and crew on board MH370 are presumed to have lost their lives.”

News Item A-7: Media reports: German government Warned of Dangers before MH17 Shootdown" by Karen Walker, (ATW) Editor April 28th, 2015.

The German government had intelligence indicating the danger of surface-to-air missiles in the Ukraine region where Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH17 was shot down last year, according to German media reports.

Flight MH17, a Boeing 777, crashed July 17, 2014 during a scheduled flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. All 298 people on board were killed. Damage found on the airplane wreckage indicated there were impacts from a large number of high-energy objects from outside the airplane, according to a Dutch Safety Board accident report.

The Dutch report also said that three other airliners were in the area when MH17 crashed; one of them, a Boeing 777, was following MH17 on the same track and altitude.

Several German TV channels today released an investigative media reports claiming that German intelligence officials were concerned about the shooting down of an Antonov military jet just three days before the MH17 crash and made those concerns known to the German government. The intel officials believed the Antonov incident had potential safety implications for airliners that regularly flew routes through that same area, over a war-torn region. German media said the officials warned the German government of the potential hazard to airliners.

The need for greater collaboration and information-sharing, over where it is safe to fly has been a key focus area of the (ICAO) task force that was created in the wake of the MH17 shoot-down. The task force wants to find better ways for government and intelligence organizations to share critical information that could help prevent another similar event and has drafted 12 proposals, including one calling for a global (NOTAM) system.

But getting governments and defense agencies round the world to provide that information is a difficult task. USA Director National Intelligence, General James Clapper said last year at the (AVSEC) conference in Washington DC that he strongly supported the concept of multiple intelligence agencies working jointly together as well as vertically with organizations such as the (FAA), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and the aviation industry. He has created a dedicated staffer reporting directly to him who is responsible for aviation security liaison. But he also warned that protecting intelligence agents and their technologies was essential.

New, sophisticated intelligence tools and greater cooperation across intelligence agencies is helping to get information on threats sooner. Clapper pointed out that it was these sorts of tools that enabled USA intelligence to know within hours what had happened to MH17.

However, Clapper added, “We also have to protect our people and the sources of our trade craft in order to keep using them. Our adversaries go to school on the lessons of our transparency.”

So, he explained, while he understood the call by the aviation industry for faster, even instantaneous information in the light of MH17, intelligence integration would be “a perpetual journey rather than a destination.”

News Item A-8: (EASA) Proposes New (PBN) Regulation, by Avionics Today's Woodrow Bellamy III, April 6th.

European aviation safety officials have proposed changes to existing regulations surrounding Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) safety rules. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is offering modifications to existing regulations that (EASA) views as financially and administratively burdensome to jet airplane operators.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) defines (PBN) as the performance requirements for airplanes navigating on an Air Traffic Services (ATS) routes, terminal procedure or in a designated airspace. (PBN) is comprised of Area Navigation (RNAV) and Required Navigation Performance (RNP) flight procedures, each of which describe an airplane's capability to navigate using performance standards. (RNAV) enables airplanes to fly any desired flight path with the coverage range of ground- or space-based navigational aids. (RNP) is (RNAV) with the addition of onboard avionics-enabled performance monitoring and alerting capabilities.

According to an Opinion released by (EASA) on modernizing PBN-related safety regulation, (EASA) performed a risk assessment and concluded that most (PBN) operations are considered to be a normal airplane navigation mode for today's commercial and non-commercial air operators. (EASA) is looking to reflect this in its regulation of (PBN) operations, and remove the administrative burden caused by the requirement for Specific Approval (SPA) procedures for (PBN).

During a recent interview with "Avionics Magazine," Chris Baur, President & (CEO) of Hughes Aerospace, said that operators all over the world are seeing the benefits of (PBN), though most of the regulations associated with (PBN) are geared toward commercial air carriers.

"Today (PBN) implementation and regulation is a bit more centric to the airlines than it is to general aviation and commercial business aviation, but I see that will probably change," said Baur.

(EASA) specifically notes in its newly proposed rules that the overall modernization of (PBN) regulations are particularly "beneficial for General Aviation operators."

The Opinion specifically states that (EASA) is proposing to remove the need for (SPA) for the "vast majority of existing (PBN) applications." Among the proposed changes, there are four specific objectives, including the following:

1. (EASA) will propose new rules on pilot (FC) training, which are an essential requirement to removing the red tape of (SPA) for some (PBN) operations.

2. Eliminate the specific operational approval for most (PBN) operations for commercial air transport, Specialized Operations (SPO), Non-Commercial Operators of Complex (NCC) and Other-than-Complex (NCO), motor-powered operators.

3. Incorporate the latest developments around (PBN) flight technology, including (RNP) 2, advanced (RNP), and (RNP) 0.3 in the fourth edition of (ICAO) Document 9613.

4. Introduce necessary changes for matters "other than (PBN)," including transportation of dangerous goods, cockpit upper torso restraints and privileges for pilots (FC) with Instrument Ratings (IR).

While the new regulatory approach was developed for European flight operations, (EASA) also states within the Opinion that the newly proposed rules are harmonized with the (ICAO) subgroup on (PBN)'s (PBNSG) recent discussions around modernizing (ICAO)'s regulatory approach toward (PBN) operations. (ICAO) is also looking at changing its own requirements that prohibit certain (PBN) operations without obtaining (SPA).

(EASA) did not respond to inquiries to comment on when the newly proposed rules would become official regulations adopted by the European Commission (EC), however, the Opinion states that it is "harmonized with the parallel (ICAO) initiative and both should become applicable in 2016. This will significantly reduce resources spent for non-safety-related tasks by the industry and authorities."

News Item A-9: "Honeywell Technology is Key to China’s First Precision Landing System Demonstration" reported by Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO), April 29, 2015.

Using Honeywell Aerospace (SGC)'s SmartPath precision landing system at Shanghai Pudong International Airport, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) and Air Traffic Management Bureau completed its first flight demonstration of next generation (GPS)-based precision landing capabilities. This demonstration highlighted how (GPS)-based precision landing systems, called Ground-Based Augmentation Systems (GBAS), can improve the safety and efficiency of airplane operations, especially throughout poor-weather conditions. Precision landings utilize both lateral and vertical information of an airplane's position to provide the most accurate approach and landing.

SmartPath is the world's only (FAA)-certified precision landing system. This cost effective system will increase airport capacity, decrease air traffic noise, reduce weather-related delays, and reduce operating costs for both airplane operators and air navigation service providers for one of the busiest airports in the world.

"China's air traffic has grown exponentially over the years, driven by domestic and international travel," said Brian Davis, VP Airlines, Asia Pacific at Honeywell Aerospace (SGC). "The adoption of (SGC)'s SmartPath at Shanghai Pudong International Airport marks a milestone for the modernization of air traffic management (ATM) in China, where this new technology can ease airplane delays, reduces emissions and improves airport efficiencies in one of the fastest growing economies in the world."

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), China will have 415 million fliers annually by 2016, second only to the USA in domestic passenger volume. The upsurge in passengers makes modernization of air traffic management (ATM) a critical issue for China's major hubs.

As a response to growing passenger demand, SmartPath is an important investment to meet demand, drive productivity and ensure airports are better equipped to service airlines and passengers. Combined with performance-based navigation procedures, a twin-engine, single-aisle jet airplane can save per flight approximately 82 kg of fuel and 104 kg of carbon emissions with a reduction of -4 minutes of flying time. This potential for efficiency improvement addresses China's "battle of conserving energy, reducing emissions and improving the environment," which was raised as a national concern by Premier Li Keqiang.

(SGC)'s SmartPath is the only (GBAS) to have achieved operational certifications from regulatory authorities in the USA, Australia, Germany, Spain, and Switzerland. SmartPath overcomes many of the technological limitations of Instrument Landing Systems (ILS), which are the legacy systems used to support precision landings. By utilizing Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), SmartPath provides a highly accurate position based on digital data, which enables airplanes to fly flexible approach paths that support more efficient terminal operations, while also avoiding common interference issues that are inherent with the analog (ILS) technology. This is imperative especially for airports where terrain, obstacles or restricted airspace limit the optimum use or installation of (ILS).

Honeywell (SGC) partnered closely with Hughes Aerospace Corporation to develop procedures for the trial at Pudong International Airport. "As (SGC)'s partner in performance-based navigation, Hughes worked closely with (SGC), the (CAAC) and the airlines to develop the first (GNSS) Landing System instrument approaches in China," said Chris Baur, President & (CEO), Hughes Aerospace Corporation. "These approaches use the most advanced technology, featuring both curved paths and variable geometric glide paths, delivering advanced precision navigation."

News Item A-10: "Inmarsat, China Signs Agreement for Global Xpress Service" by (ATW)'s Linda Blachly, April 6, 2015.

Global mobile satellite communications services provider, Inmarsat has signed four new Value Added Reseller (VAR) agreements with Beijing Marine Communication Navigation Company (MCN), paving the way for Global Xpress in China.

The agreements (which were signed by Inmarsat (CEO), Rupert Pearce and (MCN) VP Sales & Marketing, Song Zhen) cover maritime, aviation, enterprise and Chinese government markets.

“From emergency first responders to those delivering remote education (e-learning) services, Global Xpress will bring the benefits of seamless, superfast connectivity to every region in China, while ensuring that Chinese companies (from airlines to shipping fleets) can enjoy the same high capacity service, wherever they are in the world,” Rupert said.

“China is one of the biggest markets for Inmarsat’s mobile satellite-based voice and broadband services, delivering double digit growth in the last five years and we are confident that there will be significant demand for Global Xpress,” he said.

Inmarsat is investing $1.6 billion to build the Global Xpress network, which will initially comprise three Inmarsat-5 satellites in geostationary orbit above the equator. Global Xpress is the world’s first superfast, globally available satellite communications network to operate in the Ka-band spectrum. Global Xpress services are designed to integrate seamlessly with Inmarsat’s L-band network, and will enable users across the aviation, maritime, enterprise and government sectors, to have reliable and assured access to high-throughput communications.

The second Global Xpress satellite was launched February 1. The third satellite is scheduled for launch in 2nd Quarter (Q2) 2015 and global commercial services are on track to be introduced earlier in the second half of this year.

News Item A-11: (IATA) (DG) & (CEO), Tony Tyler said. “Words cannot express the shock and sadness that we all feel over the Germanwings (RFG) tragedy. The best tribute that we can pay [the victims’ family and friends] is to make flying even safer. A thorough air crash investigation is imperative to help guide the industry forward.”
While not criticizing French authorities for their handling of the Germanwings (RFG) Flight 4U9525 A320 crash investigation, (IATA) (DG) & (CEO), Tony Tyler said it has been “highly unusual” and “shouldn’t set a precedent for the future.”

News Item A-12: The European Commission (EC) has approved three state aid schemes for the French aviation sector on the basis of new Guidelines on state aid to airports and airlines adopted in February 2014.

This is the first time the (EC) has granted such approval. It said the three schemes would “promote regional connectivity without causing undue distortion of competition in the single market.” The schemes will enable France to grant individual aid that complies with the criteria laid down in the guidelines without further intervention by the (EC).

Competition Policy Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager said: “The three aid schemes just approved will enable more sustainable support to the European aviation sector, thereby improving the mobility of citizens.”

The three French aid schemes fall within the three main types of aid governed by the new Guidelines, namely investment aid and operating aid to airports and startup aid for new routes. The (EC) said it took the view that the schemes, which have been approved for a period of 10 years, and the monitoring arrangements put in place by the French authorities, would ensure that France complies fully with the new guidelines.

“The schemes will provide a clear and effective legal and economic framework for aviation operators, while promoting the coherent use of public funds for the benefit of the various stakeholders,” the (EC) said. “The aid will therefore help to improve regional connectivity, combat air traffic congestion and facilitate regional development.”

The new guidelines on state aid in the aviation sector offer member states a degree of flexibility in granting investment aid for regional airports. In addition, operating aid may be granted for a transitional period of 10 years to airports handling fewer than three million passengers a year. Airports with up to 700,000 passengers may benefit from operating aid regardless of any transitional period.

The (EC) said the objective of the guidelines was to maintain the accessibility of regions and promote regional economic development, while avoiding duplication of unprofitable airports, waste of public resources and undue distortion of competition.

The new guidelines also ensure greater legal certainty concerning the financial relationships between airports and airlines. They clearly stipulate that, where an airport concludes an agreement with an airline, it must ensure that the likely costs generated by the agreement are covered by expected revenues. If that is not the case, the airline enjoys an unjustified advantage which, in principle, constitutes state aid incompatible with the internal market.

The guidelines are part of the (EC)’s strategy to modernize (EU) state aid policy.

News Item A-13: USA airlines expect that the (FAA) will allow a five-year “grace period” for full compliance with the (FAA)’s 2010 mandate that carriers’ airplanes be Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out capable by January 1, 2020.

Speaking at the Aviation Week Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) Americas conference in Miami, Airlines for America (A4A) Managing Director Maintenance & Engineering, Bob Ireland said airlines have been working with the (FAA) to find a solution to logistical problems with equipping thousands of airplanes with (ADS-B) Out avionics by 2020. He said the (A4A) filed a petition with the (FAA) this month that “we expect” to be accepted, and that would allow airlines to file a plan with the FAA detailing how they will achieve full compliance with the (ADS-B) Out mandate by 2025. An airline’s plan for compliance, if approved by the (FAA), would allow the carrier to be in accordance with the (ADS-B) Out rule.

The (A4A) believes a “five-year transition period” after the January 1, 2020 deadline is needed because of the number of airplanes that need to be retrofitted (4,800 to 5,800) with hardware that in some cases won’t be available by 2020. However, Ireland said, “There is still the expectation that transponders [able to communicate with (GPS) satellites] will be in place [on airplanes] by 2020.”

But the transponders would be able to be wired to older (GPS) units than the (FAA) mandate requires, as long as an airline has an (FAA)-approved plan to have the level of avionics the (ADS-B) Out rule mandates by 2025.

(FAA) Avionics Maintenance Branch Manager, Tim Shaver, also speaking at (MRO) Americas, noted that the (FAA) has done its part by installing over 630 (ADS-B) ground stations in the USA. But he acknowledged that, in terms of equipping the entire USA airline fleet, “it’s not that much time before 2020 will be upon us.” He conceded the (FAA) won’t initially enforce the (ADS-B) Out rule with a “hammer.”

United Parcel Service (UPS) has been at the forefront of (ADS-B) equipage, installing (ADS-B) transponders on more than >200 airplanes, and (UPS) Airlines advanced Flight Manager, Christian Kast said the cargo operator has identified potential problems with the 2020 mandate. For example, under the (FAA) rule, an airplane wouldn’t be allowed to take off if a transponder fail light is illuminated in the cockpit.

But the failure may not be the airline’s fault, Kast pointed out. “It could in fact be that the (GPS) signal is not available,” he said, noting that a tall building near where an airplane is parked could block the signal or there could be GPS jamming occurring in a given area.

“This could be a bad thing,” Kast said. “The transponder fail light might be illuminated and you can’t go.” The (FAA) is “working on resolving that issue before 2020,” he added.

News Item A-14: "Will Alitalia (ALI) be next to leave the Association of European Airlines (AEA) fold?" by Karen Walker in (ATW) Editor's Blog, April 21st, 2015.

With news that now airberlin (BER) is leaving the Association of European Airlines (AEA) in the spreading dispute over what is “fair” competition by the major Gulf carriers, the question is whether Alitalia (ALI) will be next out of the (AEA) door?

Etihad Airways (EHD) purchased a 29% stake in airberlin (BER) in December 2011; as such, (BER) is one of constellation of equity partner airlines that Abu Dhabi-based (EHD) has created. Other equity partners include Aer Lingus (ARL) (2.9%), Air Serbia (JAT) (49%), Air Seychelles (ASY) (40%), India’s Jet Airways (JPL) (24%), and Virgin Australia (VOZ) (22%).

Alitalia (ALI) joined the constellation in August 2014 when (EHD) acquired a 49% stake in the Italian flagship.

(ALI) is an (AEA) member, but it may now be under pressure to leave. British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE) both quit (AEA) in March over the same issue; Qatar Airways (QTA) has a 10% stake in their owner, (IAG).

In the USA, Airlines for America (A4A) has so far taken a neutral stance, even though three of its members, American Airlines (AAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL), and United Airlines (UAL), are the carriers that started the whole anti-Gulf carrier campaign. They commissioned a report alleging that Emirates (EAD), Etihad (EHD) and Qatar (QTA) benefit from more than >$40 billion in state subsidies. But some (A4A) members (most notably and publicly FedEx (FED)) are against the campaign. JetBlue Airways (JBL) has also said that for small carriers like itself, partnerships with the Gulf carriers provide important feed and allows them to extend their networks internationally in a way that would not otherwise be possible.

It’s all building up to what could be a very interesting association event (indeed the biggest association event of them all) the (IATA) (AGM) in June. The meeting will be in Miami this year (the first time in many years that it has been staged in the USA (last year it was in Doha and Qatar Airways (QTA) was an excellent host). Of course, there is nothing on the preliminary (AGM) agenda or media program related to the Gulf carrier dispute, but without question this is bound to surface in one form or another, and be a topic of conversation in private meetings and during networking breaks. But (IATA), you can be certain, will maintain a highly diplomatic and neutral stance even as some of its most prominent member airlines duke it out.

I can’t wait.

News Item A-15: Airlines for America (A4A) named Captain Jeffrey Miller as Managing Director Flight Operations. He joins (A4A) from Ameriflight, where he was VP Operations.

News Item A-16: The Sabre Corporation has started selling ancillary services for Flybe (BEE) using industry technology standards developed by (ATPCo) and (IATA) (ITA). This allows travel agents to shop and book the carrier’s ancillary services, such as baggage, carriage of sports equipment and unaccompanied travel, at the same time they book airfares in the Global Distribution System (GDS).

May 2015: News Item A-1: Global air passenger traffic grew +7.4% year-over-year (YOY) in March as Asia-Pacific holiday travel related to the Lunar New Year continued beyond February, according to (IATA)’s March Air Passenger Market Analysis report. Global air passenger capacity increased +5.6% (YOY) in March; the total passenger market load factor for the month was 80% LF, up +1.5 points from February.

Despite the temporary boost in traffic provided by the Lunar New Year holiday, March figures showed a +0.5% expansion in traffic volumes compared to February, a result which “confirms that growth remains robust,” (IATA) said.

Combined total market traffic in the Asia-Pacific region was up +13.5% (YOY) in March; capacity in the region increased +8.9% (YOY), passenger load factors were at 79.4% LF and the region took 33% of the total market share for the month. The North American region had the highest total market passenger load factor for the month (84.1% LF) as traffic in the region grew +2.9% (YOY), capacity increased +2.5% (YOY), and the region captured 26% of the total market share.

Combined world traffic on domestic routes grew +8% (YOY), up +2.7 points from February’s growth rate. As Lunar New Year travel continued into March, Chinese domestic traffic exhibited a +22% (YOY) increase. Domestic travel in India, reflecting the country’s improving economy and local carriers’ low airfares, was up +17.9% (YOY). Capacity on the world’s domestic routes increased +6% (YOY) in March; the total passenger load factor for domestic travel was 82% LF.

Collective global international passenger traffic increased +7% (YOY) in March, led by +11.1% (YOY) traffic growth in the Asia-Pacific region. Yet the region’s gains may be short-lived, as “the trend in air travel on Asia-Pacific carriers is likely to be weaker than the (Q1) results suggest,” (IATA) said in its analysis. “Regional trade activity appears to be reversing after strong gains in late 2014, which could be eroding demand for business-related air travel.”

Elsewhere, international traffic in the Middle East region had a good +9.8% (YOY) rise during the month. The European region saw a +5.4% increase despite the weak Eurozone economy, as “outside the Eurozone, nations like Turkey continue to record strong growth,” (IATA) said. Overall, international route capacity grew +5.4% (YOY) in March and the total passenger load factor for international travel came to 78.9% LF.

Worldwide economy traffic, boosted by falling fares, was up +4.6% (YOY) in March, (IATA) said. International economy (Y) class traffic made its strongest March improvements on Far East - Southwest Pacific routes (up +12.9% (YOY)), followed by routes within the Far East (up +11.6% (YOY)), North and Mid Pacific routes (up +8.7% (YOY)) and Europe - Middle East routes (up +7.4% (YOY)). The weakest international economy (Y) class routes in March were Africa - Far East routes (down -7.4% (YOY)), North America - South America routes (down -6.8% (YOY)), and routes within Africa (down -6.3% (YOY)).

News Item A-2: As expected, growth in the global air freight market returned to modest levels in March, with a cumulative +1.6% year-over-year (YOY) increase in traffic, according to (IATA)’s March Air Freight Market Analysis.

(IATA) revised February’s (YOY) rise in air cargo traffic to +12.2%, a temporary spike reflecting the result of Lunar New Year traffic combined with the since-resolved labor dispute affecting 29 USA West Coast shipping ports, which caused Asian auto manufacturers to ship parts to the USA by air. A tentative labor deal was reached on February 20 and the USA ports resumed operations to unclog the bottleneck the following day.

March’s global air freight capacity increased +3.2% (YOY); worldwide, the month’s freight load factor was 47.9% LF, down -0.8 point from March 2014.

In March, the Asia-Pacific region accounted for 40% of the global air freight market, followed by Europe (at 23% market share), North America (20%), the Middle East (13%), Latin America (3%) and Africa (1%). By freight load factor (FLF), the Asia-Pacific region posted the best use of its collective capacity, with a March (FLF) of 57.3% LF, followed by Europe (49.6% (FLF)), the Middle East (46% (FLF)) and Latin America (40.3% (FLF)). Traffic, measured in (FTK)s, grew most significantly in the Middle East (rising +10.6% (YOY)) but dropped off in Latin America (down -6.4% (YOY)) and Europe (down -2.4%). Only minimal traffic growth was seen in Africa (up +2.4% (YOY)), Asia-Pacific (up +2% (YOY)), and North America (up +0.8% (YOY)).

For the first-quarter, year-to-date air freight traffic growth was +5.3% (YOY), surpassing the +4.5% growth (IATA) predicted in its December outlook statement. The three-month result is +0.9 point improvement over the 2014 March quarter.

“The air cargo industry is on a solid but unspectacular growth trend,” (IATA) DG & (CEO), Tony Tyler said. “And there is little evidence today that would point towards acceleration, as the year goes on.”

News Item A-3: Airlines across the Asia Pacific region saw a significant drop in 2014 operating profits despite a slight increase in revenue, according to the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA).

Although (AAPA) member airlines in the region saw an aggregate net profit of +$2.2 billion in 2013, last year they only operated “at close to breakeven,” (AAPA) said. The airlines’ overall operating margin fell nearly -50% to 1.6% in 2014 from 2.3% in 2013.

The 16 (AAPA) carriers saw a rise of +1.9% in operating revenues to $176.6 billion for 2014, slightly higher than the $173.4 billion recorded in 2013. Passenger revenue also increased +1.4% to $135.4 billion on the back of increasing passenger numbers, but was accompanied by a fall in overall passenger yields to trim already tight margins.

International passenger numbers grew +4.7% year-on-year, but this was accompanied by corresponding growth in operating expenses to $173.8 billion, +2.5% higher than in 2013. (AAPA) attributed the higher expenses to “a +4.5% increase in non-fuel expenditure, higher airplane lease expenses and higher landing fees and enroute charges.”

“Asia-Pacific carriers faced a number of significant challenges in 2014, with capacity growth . . . outpacing market demand, leading to intensely competitive market conditions across all segments of the industry,” (AAPA) Director General, Andrew Herdman said.

One bright spot was cargo traffic (cargo revenue rose +2.7% compared to 2013, to a combined total of $20.8 billion for the year).

“The operating environment [in Asia-Pacific] remains highly competitive, even though airlines have been carefully reviewing route networks and matching capacity with the expected growth in demand,” Herdman said.

News Item A-4: International passenger traffic in the Asia-Pacific region has increased +10% to 23 million in April, according to the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA). However, it said yields are not keeping pace.

The (AAPA) April figures show a +9.6% increase in passenger traffic, accompanied by a +8.2% jump in (RPK)s and a +1.8% rise in average load factor to 78.1% LF.

Cargo figures also rose by +3.7% in (FTK)s, although cargo load factors slowed by 0.6% to 63.5% LF.

However, as pointed out by (AAPA) (DG), Andrew Herdman, the majority of the region’s airlines were still operating at close to breakeven in 2014, despite the positive traffic figures, posting a net loss across all carriers of -$500 million for the year.

This compared to a net profit of +$2.2 billion made by the industry in 2013.

Regional operating margins were also down in 2014; the average margin fell some -60% across all Asia-Pacific carriers to 1.6% in 2014 from 2.3% in 2013, leading to what (AAPA) described as a “thin margin” that was aggravated by a strengthening USA dollar, changing travel patterns and an increasing burden of dollar obligations.

“The growth in demand for air travel has maintained strong momentum,” Herdman said, adding that although passenger numbers were increasing “positively,” the outlook for air freight demand in coming months is more uncertain, and will depend on the pace of recovery in world trade being maintained.

News Item A-5: The funding and governance structure of the (FAA) needs to change and air traffic control (ATC) operations should be removed from the (FAA), United Airlines (UAL) Chairman, President & (CEO), Jeffrey Smisek told the USA Senate.

News Item A-6: (IATA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) are publishing new training requirements for airline pilots (FC) in a bid to prevent loss of control in-flight (LOC-I) situations.

Known as Upset Prevention & Recovery Training (UPRT) requirements, they will prepare pilots (FC) to face unexpected events that could potentially leading to a loss of control of the airplane.

(EASA) Executive Director, Patrick Ky explained: “A number of accidents in recent years have demonstrated that loss of control remains a major area of concern for aviation safety and should be tackled with the highest priority.”

The (UPRT) requirements are based on (ICAO) standards and recommended practices (SARPs) and have been developed by (EASA) in consultation with industry experts. All European airlines and commercial business jet operators are required to implement these provisions by May 2016.

(IATA) (DG) & (CEO), Tony Tyler said: “Although (LOC-I) events are rare, 97% of the (LOC-I) accidents over the past five years involved fatalities to passengers or crew. Partnering with (EASA) on this important initiative based on global standards and best practices will reduce the likelihood of such events in future.”

(IATA)’s Pilot Training Task Force is developing detailed guidance material to help its European members meet the implementation deadline.

News Item A-7: (ICAO) has completed a series of five Global Aviation Dialogues (GLAD)s on Market-based Measures (MBMs) and their potential role in mitigating CO2 emissions from international aviation.

The aim of the multi-region, two-day (GLAD)s sessions was to share information on (MBM)s and provide a progress update on development of (ICAO)’s global (MBM) scheme. In October 2013, (ICAO) committed to developing by 2016 a global (MBM) scheme covering aviation emissions, for implementation in 2020. This was in response to proposals by the European Commission (EC) to include international aviation in the region’s emissions trading scheme (ETS).

Covering all (ICAO) regions, this first round of (GLAD)s attracted 350 participants from 79 countries, and provided an opportunity for feedback and discussion among member states and relevant organizations.

(ICAO) Secretary General, Raymond Benjamin said: “Promoting discussion and dialogue of this nature amongst governments is essential to determining practical consensus on a global (MBM) scheme for international aviation at the upcoming 2016 (ICAO) Assembly.”

The five sessions were held in Peru, Kenya, Egypt, Singapore, and Spain last month, and attracted participants from many states not represented on the (ICAO) Council (the organization’s governing body of 36 countries that is progressing (ICAO)’s (MBM) work).

(ICAO) Council President, Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu said: “The structure and format of the (GLAD)s was designed specifically to inform and engage non-Council states on the basics of (MBM)s, as well as the potential role of an international aviation (MBM) to complement the basket of emissions mitigation measures (ICAO) is already pursuing.”

Dialogue sessions focused on environmental integrity, the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of a global scheme, the need for differentiation without discrimination, and the goal of avoiding excessive cost or administrative burdens.

The Secretary General’s Directeur de Cabinet, Daniel Azema said: “Perhaps most importantly for us, the states who attended these first (GLAD)s discussions left looking forward to the second round, when a concrete proposal for a global (MBM) scheme is expected to be on the table.”

(ICAO) will host a seminar in September on Global Aviation Partnerships on Emissions Reductions, at its Headquarters in Montréal, which will include more specific discussion on carbon markets.

News Item A-8: UK-based environmental lobby groups Transport & Environment, & the Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) are calling on (EU) states to take action to ensure all airlines operating within the European Economic Area (EEA) comply with the region’s emissions trading system (ETS).

News Item A-9: "Qatar Airways (QTA)’s (CEO) Fires Back at Anti-Gulf Carrier campaign" by (ATW) Editor, Karen Walker, May 13th, 2015.

The USA campaign against the major Gulf carriers is a “transparent attempt to block competition and reduce customer choice,” the (CEO) of Qatar Airways (QTA) said May 13th at a media briefing in Washington DC.

Group (CEO) Akbar al Baker came to DC to give his first full response to the campaign, headed by American Airlines (AAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL), United Airlines (UAL) and some USA labor groups, that alleges state-owned Qatar Airways (QTA), Emirates Airline (EAD) and Etihad Airways (EHD) have benefited from government subsidies totaling $42 billion. (QTA), according to a report commissioned by the USA carriers, has benefited from about $17 billion in subsidies and loan guarantees.

The USA carriers are seeking government-to-government consultations on the "Open Skies" agreements between the USA and the (UAE), which owns Dubai-based (EAD) and Abu Dhabi-based (EHD), and between the USA and (QTA). They say their report proves that those "Open Skies" treaties are being abused by the Gulf carriers, which are bringing unfair competition and over-capacity into the market. A USA government review of the complaints is under way, with comments being sought by the Departments of Commerce, State & Transportation.

Al Baker countered the allegations by saying that the USA - Qatar treaty, signed in 2007, was “a very balanced agreement” and that none of the three USA carriers was really serving the Indian sub-continent, African, or Middle East markets that (QTA) serves via its Doha hub.

He added that USA carriers let their European partners serve these markets via congested airports such as Frankfurt and Paris, while Hamad International Airport allows quicker, easier and more comfortable connections to 12 points in India, seven in Pakistan and to other places like Bangladesh that the USA carriers do not serve.
“Our service is lawful and pro-competition,” al Baker said. “(QTA) offers convenient, one-stop service to unserved destinations.”

Al Akbar also accused the three USA carriers of “tightly controlling capacity in their country to keep prices high. Why stop us from putting capacity into places where they are reducing capacity? We offer key competitive benefits,” he said.

Al Baker said "Open Skies" was a “win, win for customers, airports and businesses” and he cited the business that had been brought to USA companies, including $19 billion worth of Boeing airplanes in (QTA)’s fleet and +$50 billion more on order.

He said he did not think government talks were necessary. “We are operating within the permissible parameters of this air service agreement,” he said. And he denied that the airline receives subsidies or government handouts. “(QTA) has received equity and it’s within the right of any state owner to invest equity [in its airline]. From there on, we are independent. We finance our airplanes through the financial community. We are absolutely independent in the way we run our company,” he said.

Asked why he believed the USA carriers were campaigning now, even though the Gulf carriers have been in the USA market for several years, al Baker replied, “First, because they are making more profit, so they have got greedy.” He added that they had also completed their industry consolidation. “They have reduced capacity to allow them to keep prices high and at the same time provide "crap" service,” he said.

(QTA), a five-star carrier, is the only one of the major Gulf carriers to be part of a global alliance. (QTA) joined the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance in 2013, and was sponsored by British Airways (BAB). (QTA) now owns a 10% stake in (BAB) parent, the (IAG), and (IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh has pulled both (BAB) and Iberia (IBE), another of its airlines, from the Association of European Airlines (AEA) because of what he feels is its “protectionist” stance against the Gulf carriers.

(AAL) is also a member of the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance, but al Baker denied that there was any friction between him and (AAL) (CEO), Doug Parker. “We are above these allegations and I will respect our commitment to our partner,” he said. “I think my dear friend Doug Parker has been misled by an individual. I will have a chat with him in Miami at the (IATA) (AGM) [in June]. I think it will be an interesting (IATA) (AGM).”

Video clip: The (MSNBC) news program looked at the Gulf carrier subsidies dispute:

News Item A-10: The European Commission (EC) has accepted and made legally binding, commitments put forward by SkyTeam (STM) Alliance members, Air France (AFA)/(KLM), Alitalia (ALI) and Delta Air Lines (DAL) to address competition concerns relating to their joint venture (JV) operations on three transatlantic routes.

In 2009 and 2010, (AFA)/(KLM), (ALI) and (DAL) signed agreements establishing a transatlantic (JV). However, the (EC) felt that cooperation in terms of profit-sharing (the joint management of schedules, pricing and capacity) could result in higher prices for all passengers on the Amsterdam - New York and Rome - New York routes, and for premium passengers on the Paris - New York route, in breach of European Union (EU) antitrust rules.

It was also concerned that “considerable barriers to entry and expansion” would have made it difficult for new and existing competitors “to challenge the ability of the (JV) to set and maintain prices above the level that would exist in a competitive market.”

As a result, in January 2012, the (EC) began a formal investigation into the passenger operations of the (JV) airlines on routes between Europe and North America.

In a bid to address the (EC)’s concerns, the airlines proposed a range of commitments, which included making slots available to competitor airlines at the airports in question, allowing them to sell tickets on their flights (“fare combinability” agreements), frequent flyer program cooperation and full cooperation transparency.

The (EC) determined the commitments adequately addressed competition concerns and has made them legally binding on (AFA)/KLM, (ALI) and (DAL) for a period of 10 years. An independent trustee will monitor compliance.

Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager said: “Airlines can cooperate to enlarge their network if it makes them more efficient and allows them to better serve their passengers. With today’s decision, I want to ensure that passengers flying from Paris, Amsterdam or Rome to New York continue to benefit from competitive prices and choice. We have now concluded our reviews of the three major worldwide airline alliances — and are one step closer to a genuine level playing field in transatlantic aviation markets.”

Any breach of the commitments by any of the airlines involved could result in a fine of up to 10% of the companies’ total annual turnover without the (EC) having to find a violation of the (EU) competition rules.

The (EC) had previously accepted and made binding commitments provided by members of transatlantic (JV)s within Oneworld (ONW) Alliance (July 2010) and Star (SAL) Alliance (May 2013) to ensure competition on transatlantic air passenger markets.

News Item A-11: Gulf Air (GUL) has completed its biennial (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA), keeping (GUL) on the (IOSA) registry until May 2017.

News Item A-12: Ural Airlines (URL) has become a member of (IATA) (ITA), which will allow (URL) “to optimize costs of international audit which the airline is required to pass, to get the information on the airline business new technologies and implement them,” (URL) said.

Yekaterinburg-based Ural Airlines (URL), the sixth largest carrier in the country, has become the 13th Russian carrier to join (IATA) (including Aeroflot (ARO) and its member airlines (Donavia (DAU), Orenair (ORB) and Rossiya Airlines (SDM)), Transaero (TRX), S7 Airlines (SBR), UTair (TYU), Nordwind (NWD), Nordavia (AEN), Yakutia (SYL) as well as cargo carriers Volga-Dnepr (VDA) and AirBridgeCargo (ABC).

(IATA) members include nearly 250 airlines from 117 countries and represent 84% of total traffic. Ural Airlines (URL), which launched operations in 1993, carried 5.16 million passengers in 2014, up +16.8% year-over-year.

News Item A-13: The European Commission (EC) has referred Germany to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for failing to regularly monitor all aviation security measures at some German airports.

The (EC) said that, on inspection, some security measures were not adequately monitored by the national authorities and that Germany did not comply with the minimum frequency and scope of controls required under (EU) legislation.

It said these controls were “necessary to quickly detect and correct potential failures in the implementation of security measures, and to make sure that airports, airlines and other entities are in line with common (EU) standards.”

However, it also stressed that the referral “does by no means imply that German airports did not take adequate security measures,” but related instead to the (EC)'s concerns about “the way Germany exercises the controls required under (EU) legislation.”

The (EC) said that it had it had requested Germany to ensure compliance with (EU) legislation during the various stages of the infringement procedure. “However, Germany did not take the necessary steps and is therefore unable to ensure that potential security shortcomings are swiftly detected and corrected at all German airports,” the (EC) said.

Germany’s Federal Ministry of the Interior said the (EC) action was related to an inspection conducted in 2012, which reviewed “the quality control, rather than the quality of the controls themselves.” The inspection highlighted shortcomings in Germany’s implementation of quality control measures in line with (EU)-wide aviation security standards, and the Ministry said “measures were taken to remedy the situation immediately.”

The Ministry statement went on to say the referral to the (ECJ) did not contain any allegation “that the security measures at German airports were not performed correctly,” or that “German airports have failed to take adequate security measures.”

However, it said it could not ascertain on what basis the (EC) had made the referral to the (ECJ) until it had seen the writ.

News Item A-14: Billy Nolen, has been assigned as Senior VP Safety, Security & Operations for Airlines for America. Billy joins (A4A) from American Airlines (AAL), where he was Managing Director of Corporate Safety & Regulatory Affairs.

June 2015: News Item A-1: USA Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx will deliver a keynote address at the (IATA) (AGM) in Miami this month. Foxx’s address, on June 8, the opening day of the (AGM), opens the possibility of him raising the issue of the ongoing fight between the three major (USA) carriers and the three largest Gulf carriers. The USA government is reviewing claims by American Airlines (AAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL) and United Airlines (UAL) that Emirates Airline (EAD), Etihad Airways (EHD) and Qatar Airways (QTA) have been heavily subsidized by their (UAE) and Qatar state owners, and that these alleged subsidies contravene those countries "Open Skies" agreements with the USA.

Deadline for submitting comments on the issue to the USA departments of Commerce, State & Transportation closed at the end of May. It is not yet known what happens next, or whether government-to-government talks will be held, as requested by the USA carriers.

The agenda for the 71st (IATA) (AGM) does not include any panels or discussion on the topic. Although the (CEO)s of all six USA and Gulf carriers involved in the dispute are expected to attend, none of the USA (CEO)s are scheduled to speak. (EHD) President & (CEO), James Hogan is listed to join the opening day’s (CEO) panel, joining the (CEO)s of Alaska Airlines (ASA), Lufthansa (DLH), Malaysia Airlines (MAS), and (TAM) Airlines (TPR).

(AAL) is a co-host of the event, along with FedEx Express (FED), (UPS), and the USA airline lobbying association, Airlines for America (A4A). (FED) and (UPS) are against the USA airline campaign, fearing a roll back of USA "Open Skies" policy. Some USA smaller carriers, notably JetBlue Airways (JBL) and Alaska (ASA), are also concerned about the potential negative impact that the USA campaign could have on their businesses. (A4A), with members on both sides of the debate, has remained neutral.

Up to 1,000 delegates are expected to attend the (AGM), the largest gathering of airline (CEO)s and senior executives.

News Item A-2: "Tyler: (IATA) ‘Not the Bbattleground’ for USA vs Gulf Dispute" by (ATW) Karen Walker, June 8, 2015.

(IATA) Director General, Tony Tyler broke his silence on the acrimonious subsidy dispute between the three major USA carriers and the three largest Gulf carriers, saying during his opening address at the association’s AGM in Miami that IATA did not have a mandate to take a position on the issue.

Addressing the issue at the end of his keynote, Tyler said it was no secret there was “an underlying tension in our industry”—a reference to a campaign by American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines in which they allege that Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways have benefited from $42 billion in subsidies from their government owners and which the US carriers say contravene the terms of US Open Skies agreements with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar.

The dispute has at times turned ugly, with claims and counter claims. The US government is conducting a review of the US airline complaints, but it is not yet clear whether there will be government-to-government talks on the Open Skies air serve agreements, as the US carriers are requesting.

The issue has divided industry. Some US carriers—notably FedEx Express and UPS and smaller carriers such as Alaska Airlines and JetBlue Airways—are concerned about the potential for a roll back of air service liberalization. In Europe, Lufthansa and Air France-KLM support the US majors’ campaign, but British Airways parent company IAG does not.

On the eve of the (IATA) (AGM), there were reports of a disagreement during a meeting of (CEO)s in the Oneworld (ONW) global airline alliance. (AAL), (BAB) and (QTA) are all Oneworld (ONW) Alliance members and some reports said Qatar Group, (CEO), Akbar Al Baker warned the group that the Qatar government might order the airline to leave the (ONW) alliance because of the dispute.

At the end of the opening (AGM) session, Al Baker made a statement saying that it was an (IATA) issue, because it was about protectionism and could lead to a roll-back in liberalization.

In his address, however, Tyler made clear that (IATA) was not going to take up the issue. “Regardless of your viewpoint, (IATA) is not the battleground on which any resolution will be achieved. You, our members, have not given us a mandate to take a position on such issues,” he told the assembled airline (CEO)s.

Tyler did comment that different parts of the industry viewed the issue differently. “It is often described as a rift between state-owned airlines and those owned wholly by private shareholders. Others see it in terms of government protectionism. Some interpret it as a clash between aviation business-friendly countries and those less focused on maximizing the economic and social benefits of connectivity,” Tyler said.

At a press conference immediately following the opening session, (AAL) Chairman & (CEO),L Doug Parker also commented on the issue. He is (AGM) President and (AAL) is a co-host of the event.

Parker said he wanted to be respectful that this was an (IATA) meeting, but he fielded some questions on the issue. He said he and Al Baker had had “a nice talk” two days earlier and that (QTA) and Etihad (EHD) were good code share partners.

News Item A-3: "(EPA) Airplane Emissions Findings May Result in Tighter USA Standards" by (ATW) Graham Warwick, June 10, 2015.

The US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed findings that airplane emissions contribute to climate change and endanger public health has launched a regulatory process that could culminate in the USA adopting a tighter carbon-dioxide standard for airplanes than those currently under discussion by (ICAO).

The proposed endangerment finding, made in response to a petition and lawsuit filed by a coalition of environmental groups, is a necessary first step toward rulemaking that will enable the USA to adopt the international CO2 standard, which is scheduled to be finalized by February 2016.

But key aspects of aviation’s first CO2 standard remain to be agreed, including its stringency level, when it will take effect, and whether the standard should apply to new in-production airplanes, as well as new airplane types.

In parallel with the proposed endangerment finding, the (EPA) has issued an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking that seeks public input on the effective dates, stringency levels and applicability of the international CO2 standard.

Public input will be factored into the stance the USA takes in discussions on the CO2 standard within (ICAO)’s Committee on Aviation Environment Protection. The USA has yet to take a position on stringency and applicability, said Chris Grundler, Director of (EPA) Office of Transportation & Air Quality.

Critics point out other (ICAO) environmental standards, such as noise limits, have followed rather than forced technology improvements, setting a minimum floor to prevent backsliding rather than incentivizing industry to improve performance.

“The only position the USA has taken so far is that the standard should be meaningful, that it should result in emission reductions that otherwise would not take place in its absence,” he said. “The standard should drive innovation and reductions beyond business as usual.”

“Today’s action reconfirms the (EPA)’s commitment to the (ICAO) process for achieving a global CO2 standard for new airplanes,” said Nancy Young, VP Environmental Affairs at Airlines for America (A4A).

But Congressman, Lamar Smith, Chairman of the House Space, Science & Technology Committee, accuses the (EPA) of opening the door for new regulations that will increase airfares and harm domestic USA carriers.

Environmental groups welcomed the first step toward regulation, but “given the magnitude of airplane’s contribution to climate change, the tentative approach that the (EPA) is considering is not up to the task,” said Sarah Burt, Attorney for Earthjustice, which leads the environment coalition.

“Instead of using its Clean Air Act authority to reduce these harmful emissions, (EPA) proposes to follow the lead of the International Civil Aviation Organization and set a ‘business-as-usual’ standard that will lock in emissions increases for decades to come,” she argued.

Grundler said the (EPA) Administrator plans to make a final endangerment ruling by early 2016. This would be followed by a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) and another round of public comment. “The earliest we would be in position for the (NPRM) for the CO2 standard is 2017, leading to a final rule a year later in 2018.”

News Item A-4: "New (IATA) Initiative Adresses Carry-on Bag Dilemma" by (ATW) Linda Blachly, June 10th, 2015.

(IATA) has announced a new initiative “IATA Cabin OK” to optimize the accommodation of carry-on bags given differing carry-on bag sizes and airline policies. The new initiative was announced at its (AGM) in Miami.

“Working with airline members of (IATA) and airplane manufacturers, an optimum size guideline for carry-on bags has been agreed that will make the best use of cabin storage space. A size of 55 x 35 x 20 cm (or 21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5 inches) means that theoretically everyone should have a chance to store their carry-on bags on board airplanes of 120 seats or larger,” (IATA) said.

An “(IATA) Cabin OK” logo would signify to airline staff that a bag meets the agreed size guidelines. A number of major international airlines have signaled their interest to join the initiative and will soon be introducing the guidelines into their operations.

“The development of an agreed optimal cabin bag size will bring common sense and order to the problem of differing sizes for carry-on bags. We know the current situation can be frustrating for passengers. This work will help to iron out inconsistencies and lead to an improved passenger experience,” (IATA) Senior VP Airport, Passenger & Security, Tom Windmuller said.

(IATA) is working with baggage tracking solutions provider Okoban to manage the approval process of bag manufacturers. Each bag meeting the dimensions of the specifications will carry a special joint label featuring (IATA) and Okoban as well as a unique identification code that signals to airline staff that the bag complies with the optimum size guidelines.

Several major baggage manufacturers have developed products in line with the optimum size guidelines, and it is expected bags carrying the identifying label will start to reach retail shops later this year. Recognition of the (IATA) Cabin OK logo is expected to grow with time as more airlines opt-in to this (IATA) initiative.

Click on for a video interview with Windmuller on the (IATA) Cabin OK initiative to optimize the accommodation of carry-on bags given differing carry-on bag sizes and airline policies. This interview was filed during the (IATA) (AGM), June 7-9, in Miami, Florida. Courtesy, (IATA).

News Item A-5: "IATA" Announces New Distribution Capability (NDC) Pilots & Deployments, by (ATW) Linda Blachly, June 10, 2015.

(IATA) announced further growth in the number of airlines participating in pilots (FC) and live deployments to test and evaluate the New Distribution Capability (NDC) schemas at its (AGM) in Miami.

Avianca (AVI) will engage in an (NDC) pilot during 2015; China Southern Airlines (GUN) plans to complete a live deployment of the (NDC) standard covering shopping, booking, and ticketing in the second half of 2015; Brazil’s (GOL) (GOT) plans to embark on an (NDC) pilot with its passenger services system provider, Navitaire, in June; Hong Kong Airlines (CRY) will launch an (NDC) pilot in the second half of 2015; Insel Air (INS) will complete a live (NDC) deployment in the same time frame, selling their flights and ancillaries to corporate users and travel agents; Lufthansa (DLH) will realize an (NDC) pilot by the end of the year, which will focus on the dynamic bundling of products; Qantas (QAN) is launching an (NDC) pilot to distribute their "Chauffeur Drive" product in a third party channel environment in cooperation with an Australia-based industry partner; Swiss International Air Lines (CSR) plans to launch a live deployment of the (NDC) standard covering shopping during 2015; Ukraine International Airways plans to launch the implementation of (NDC) shopping during 2015.

Including these latest developments, 24 airlines have participated in (NDC) pilots/deployments or announced their intent to do so.

“We welcome the participation of these airlines as well as their travel agent and technology partners in helping to test and implement the (NDC) Standard. (NDC) will modernize the way that airline products are presented through travel agents as well as help to promote efficiency and innovation. (NDC) is a pro-consumer move that is unleashing innovation. With (NDC), travelers shopping through agencies will be able to compare the full product offering (tailored to their specific requirements),” (IATA) (DG) & (CEO), Tony Tyler said.

News Item A-6: "Inmarsat Creates 4th Full-service L-band Region for Middle East, & Asia" by (ATW) Linda Blachly June 10th, 2015.

Global mobile satellite communications services provider, Inmarsat has confirmed it will be flying its Inmarsat-4 F2 (I-4 F2) communications satellite to a new orbital position above the Indian Ocean, creating a fourth full-service L-band region, which will offer enhanced connectivity capacity for customers in the Middle East and Asia (MEAS).

“The MEAS region is scheduled to commence commercial services by the end of 2015 and will address increasing demand in the fastest growing region for Inmarsat’s L-band services,” Inmarsat said.

The announcement follows the successful transition of Inmarsat’s L-band voice and broadband data services for the (EMEA) region from I-4 F2 to Alphasat, the largest European telecommunications satellite.

“Alphasat has already significantly enhanced our L-band capabilities across our highest traffic region of (EMEA),” Inmarsat (CEO), Rupert Pearce said, “adding both additional capacity and providing us with a platform for delivering new and enhanced services.

“Now, with Alphasat in full service, we can move I-4 F2 to provide additional capacity in our highest growth, the Indian Ocean region. By creating a fourth region, we are making optimum use of what is a now a uniquely powerful and capable, four-satellite, global L-band fleet.”

News Item A-7: UK Lobby Group Calls on (EU), USA to Push for Tighter Emissions Regulations" by (ATW) Anne Paylor, June 11, 2015.

UK-based environmental lobby group Transport & Environment has called on Europe to work more closely with the USA to beef up global regulation of aviation emissions following the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) findings that emissions from airplanes are harmful to human health.

The (EPA) finding, which was issued in response to a lawsuit filed by a number of USA environmental groups, means the (EPA) will now have to regulate this source of emissions. Although the (EPA) had already found that greenhouse gases from cars and power plants were harmful to public health because of their climate impact, aviation emissions remained completely unregulated in the USA, Transport & Environment said.

It said the (EPA) could regulate aviation emissions by adopting the standards currently being drawn up by the (ICAO), but argued that “on current plans, [these] are likely to be largely ineffective and only regulate 5% of the global fleet in 2030.” Transport & Environment said that rather the (EU) and USA either needed to “step up cooperation at (ICAO) to ensure an environmentally effective standard” or “draft their own standards, which would be much more effective at reducing emissions from the sector.”

Transport & Environment Aviation Policy Manager, Bill Hemmings said: “Europe should work with the USA to ensure that the (ICAO) standards, which are in the final stages of development, are greatly improved. If that fails, the (EU) should join forces with the USA to introduce stricter standards for the European and USA markets, which are over half of the global aviation market.”

News Item A-8: "Tim Clark: Search for Missing MH370 May Soon End Without Results" by (ATW) Kurt Hoffman, June 11, 2015.

Emirates Airline (EAD) President, Tim Clark told journalists on the sidelines of the (IATA) (AGM) in Miami that it is only a matter of time before the search for Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 will end. “I think the Australians did allocate more funding to it this year; when that is exhausted and the 777 hasn’t been found, I think it will end, frankly.” Clark said so far, there are no solutions, explanations or reasons for the disappearance of the 777.

The (MAS) 777 disappeared March 8 last year while on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. It was tracked deviating from its course to fly back toward Malaysia, and was believed to have flown on for several hours off course, over the Indian Ocean. Despite a multi-million dollar search involving multinational military and navy staff and equipment across several regional oceans, no trace has been found of the airplane or the 239 passengers and crew (FC - CA).

“I know where my planes are all of the time. You don’t lose an airplane for seven hours. When one of our airplanes doesn’t communicate with us at the right time, bells go up.” He said the tracking capability of the entire (EAD) fleet is totally OK.

Clark said today’s technology can track taxis, “but we lose a Boeing 777 for seven hours and we don’t know where it is? I’m asking, how could that be, because it doesn’t make sense to me.”

(EAD) is the world-largest 777 operator with more than >100 777s, including 777-200s/200LRs/300s/300ERs and 777Fs. Last July it finalized a deal for 150 777Xs.

“The MH370 tragedy will be part of the great mysteries of aviation. We lost it. Somebody knows more about it, but is not prepared to say something. That’s all I want to say,” Clark said, responding to an question about what he thinks happened to the missing airplane.

Clark pointed out that the families of the MH370 passengers are still waiting for answers. “They are stuck with this and have no closure. The least the industry can do is to give them some explanation. But nothing [has come] out of it.”

In other news, global mobile satellite communications provider Inmarsat announced that Hawaiian Airlines (HWI) is now the first commercial airline to fly with its SwiftBroadband Safety service on its Boeing 767-300 fleet. The first flight took place June 3 after the Supplemental Type Certificate for the service was awarded.

Inmarsat said SwiftBroadband Safety will provide an enhanced version of its Classic Aero service, enabling air navigation service providers and air traffic management to receive and transmit data and messages, such as “Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Contract” and “Controller Pilot Datalink Communications,” faster and more efficiently. More than >10,000 commercial airplanes currently use Inmarsat Classic Aero services for secure communications.

News Item A-9: Aeroflot (ARO) (CEO), Vitaly Saveliev was elected to the (IATA) Board of Governors for the third time, running through 2018.

News Item A-10: The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) has named David Melcher as its President & (CEO), effective June 8. Melcher is well known in Washington and to (AIA) member companies. Most recently, Melcher was (CEO) and President of Exelis Inc. In this role, he served four years as a member of (AIA)’s Executive & Finance Committees.

(AIA) Chairman & President and (CEO), (GE) Aviation (GEC), David Joyce called Melcher “an exceptional leader who, with his balance of corporate and military experience, brings an outstanding record of executive achievement to the (AIA).” He added, “With Dave’s guidance, (AIA) will continue to champion the aerospace and defense industry and its ability to advance innovation in civil aviation, space and defense.”

Melcher said, “Our nation currently faces a number of critical global challenges and we must have a strong, vibrant aerospace and defense industry to keep our men and women in uniform safe and successful on the battlefield, ensure that more than >2 million airline passengers travel safely and efficiently every day, and enable humankind to explore the frontiers of space.”

News Item A-11: Three more airlines (Singapore Airlines (SIA), Royal Brunei (RBA), and Norwegian Air Shuttle (NWG)) have signed up for (SITA) OnAir’s flight tracking system, and AIRCOM FlightTracker. These carriers will join Malaysia Airlines (MAS), Oman Air (OMR) and 10 other unspecified carriers that use the system.

(AIRCOM) has been developed by (SITA), working with a number of airlines to use equipment already fitted to the airplane to provide a tracking solution. No additional hardware is required, just an additional layer of software that can be installed and activated in a matter of days.

The system “meets and exceeds the flight tracking requirements defined by (IATA) and (ICAO),” (SITA) OnAir (CEO), Ian Dawkins said at the (SITA) Air Transport Information Technology (IT) Summit in Brussels.

(AIRCOM) FlightTracker harnesses the communications links already installed on most modern airliners to download position data to an airline's operational center, using Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) and (ATC) radar data as a tracking tool, while the aircraft is over land and switching to (ACARS) and (FANS) in the oceanic environment.

Dawkins pointed out that 14,000 airplanes in the global fleet are already equipped with some element of (SITA) OnAir, operated by 400 customer airlines. More than >95 of these are equipped with the (AIRCOM) server, meaning that the software upgrade can be deployed in days. (SITA) has also created a cloud solution for airlines that do not have (AIRCOM).

Norwegian (NWG) (COO), Geir Steiro said: “Norwegian Air Shuttle (NWG) has a strict selection process for every new solution we introduce. (SITA) OnAir’s Flight Tracker is the most complete solution available. Using multiple sources of data, we can track all our aircraft at 15 minute intervals or less. It also provides the most accurate data, using “smoothing' to combine position sources. A bonus feature is the unique way it integrates (ATC) data into our systems. It will give us valuable insight into operations and how we can improve them.”

A total of 15 airlines are currently using (AIRCOM) FlightTracker and seven have also signed up for an option that issues an alert if an aircraft deviates from track. A refined version of the deviation alert system will be integrated into the next version of the system due for release later this year. This will define an operating corridor for the aircraft, incorporating (ATC) data link communications, to ensure that legitimate and approved deviations do not automatically trigger an alert.

(AIRCOM) FlightTracker forces the aircraft to communicate its position at a regular interval,” Dawkins said. “It guarantees regular flight position updates.”

(SITA) is also conducting trials with a major European airline testing the feasibility of streaming black box data from aircraft in the event of an emergency. Dawkins said that if the trials are successful, this capability could be incorporated into (AIRCOM) FlightTracker as early as the end of this year.

“Having immediate access to flight data can help to improve flight safety,” he said.

(SITA) OnAir said it would provide flight tracking and position reporting services free of charge to (SITA) members in the event of an emergency.

July 2015: News Item A-1: (IATA): European Passenger Rise Drives May 6.2% Global Traffic Growth" by (ATW) Mark Nensel, July 31, 2015.

International passenger traffic grew globally +6.2% year-over-year (YOY) in May, increasing from April’s +3.8% (YOY) improvement and due largely to accelerating traffic within the European market, according to (IATA)’s May Premium Traffic Monitor. Approximately 409 million passengers passed through the world’s airports in May.

International premium traffic was up +4.1% (YOY) in May and accounted for 5.9% of May’s total traffic and 27.9% of the month’s total revenue.

May’s largest growth in premium passenger travel occurred on Africa - Middle East routes (up +22.8% (YOY)), followed by routes within the Far East (up +9.5% (YOY)), routes within North America (up +8.4% (YOY)), Middle East - Far East routes (up +8.3% (YOY)) and South Pacific routes (up +8.1% (YOY)). Routes where premium traffic fell-off most significantly during May included Africa - Far East routes (down -27% (YOY)), North America - South America routes (down -7.7% (YOY)) and routes within Africa (down -6.9% (YOY)).

May’s economy traffic numbers continued to reflect the incentives of ongoing lower fare pricing for economy (Y) leisure class travel worldwide. Economy (Y) traffic was up +6.4% (YOY) in May, accelerating from April’s +4.2% (YOY) growth.

International economy (Y) class traffic made its strongest May improvements on routes within North America (up +15.4% (YOY)), Africa - Middle East routes (up +14.3% (YOY)), routes within the Far East (up +14.1% (YOY)) and Europe - Middle East routes (up +9.9% (YOY)). May economy traffic fell primarily on Africa - Far East routes (down -13.9% (YOY)), North America - South America routes (down -5.4% (YOY)) and routes within Africa (down -4.9% (YOY)).

(IATA) identified the within-Europe market as the “key driver of … faster growth in international air travel. In May, the market was up +5.1%, nearly double the rate of growth seen year to date,” (IATA) said, adding that reported gains in business confidence “confirm that the economic recovery is on track.”

News Item A-2: Major USA airlines have been asked by the USA Department of Justice (DOJ) to provide information on communications they’ve had with one another, shareholders and financial analysts regarding capacity planning.

The "Associated Press," citing a document it had obtained, broke the news July 1st that the (DOJ) is conducting an antitrust investigation into whether airlines had illegally colluded to keep capacity growth down and fares up. The (DOJ) has confirmed the probe, but provided no details. “We are investigating possible unlawful coordination by some airlines,” (DOJ) spokesperson, Emily Pierce said.

United Airlines (UAL), American Airlines (AAL) and Southwest Airlines (SWA) have publicly confirmed receiving letters from the (DOJ) this month. The three major full-service USA airlines ((UAL), (AAL) and Delta Air Lines (DAL)) have all been publicly vocal about their desire to maintain capacity discipline.

“We are confident that the Justice Department will find what we know to be true: our members compete vigorously every day, and the traveling public has been the beneficiary, as domestic fares are actually down thus far in 2015,” Airlines for America (A4A) said. “It is customers who decide pricing, voting every day with their wallets on what they value and are willing to pay for.” (A4A) added that “capacity is at a post-recession high with USA airlines increasing the number of available seats by +4.6%, or +126,000 per day, during the summer travel period (June 1 – August 31) to accommodate the growing demand for air travel.”

USA Senator, Richard Blumenthal (Democrat, Connecticut) sent a letter to the (DOJ )in June following the 2015 (IATA) (AGM) in Miami, saying public talk about capacity discipline among “competitors” at the meeting was “highly troubling” and demanded an investigation.
In the letter, Blumenthal cited several quotes at the (AGM) by major North American airline executives regarding capacity, stating, “At best, these remarks reflect participants in an overly consolidated market aligning supracompetitive fares. At worst, they may be a strategic attempt to coordinate behavior (specifically designed to encourage Wall Street to punish smaller rival airlines that have announced plans to expand capacity and cut prices).”

He added, “I therefore urge the (DOJ) to conduct a full and thorough investigation of anticompetitive, anti-consumer conduct and misuse of market power in the airline industry, evidenced by recent pricing patterns, as well as remarks made at the (IATA) conference. Consumers are paying sky-high fares and are trapped in an uncompetitive market with a history of collusive behavior.”

(AAL) and US Airways (AMW)/(USA) reached a settlement with the (DOJ) in 2013 after the department filed an antitrust lawsuit seeking to block the carriers’ merger.

News Item A-3: The European Commission (EC) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) have issued the first single air safety authorizations, which are valid throughout the European Union (EU), to 22 third-country operators (TCO).

By November 2016, all non-(EU) airlines flying to the (EU) will be required to hold a (TCO) safety authorization, which certifies their compliance with international safety standards. (TCO)s introduce a formal single (EU)-wide safety assessment process for foreign airlines flying to the (EU).

(EASA) said the aim of the (TCO) safety authorization is to cut red tape by replacing the existing “maze of national authorizations with a single document,” and to enhance aviation safety in Europe. (EASA) manages the assessment process on behalf of the (EC) and said it would in future be the “one-stop shop” for airline safety authorization in Europe.

The 22 (TCO) carriers include: Aeroflot (ARO), AeroMexico (AMX), Air New Zealand (ANZ), All Nippon Airways (ANA), Delta Air Lines (DAL), El Al Israel Airlines (ELA), Emirates Airline (EAD), Etihad Airways (EHD), Sun Express (SNS), Japan Airlines (JAL)/(JSA), Korean Air (KAL), MNG Airlines Cargo (MHK), Nippon Cargo Airlines (NCA), Oman Air (OMR), OrenAir (ORB), Pegasus (PGS), Qantas (QAN), Qatar Airways (QTA), Singapore Airlines (SIA), South African Airways (SAA), (TAM) (TPR), and United Airlines (UAL).

(EU) Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc said: “The new safety authorization scheme has a clear European added value. It will take the safety of Europeans one step further by ensuring that third country operators flying to Europe match the highest safety standards, comparable to those the (EU) requires from European carriers. The ‘one-stop-shop’ approach means cutting red tape and reducing administrative costs for airlines.”

A total of 700 foreign air carriers from more than >100 countries have already applied to be authorized to fly in the (EU).

(EASA) said the new system complemented the two existing (EU)-wide tools to prevent unsafe airlines from operating in the (EU): the air safety list, which was updated June 25, and the system for airplane ramp inspections Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft (SAFA).

The new authorization system does not apply to (EU) airlines, which are still subject to safety oversight and certification by national aviation authorities on the basis of (EASA) standards.

News Item A-4: "Airlines on Defence Amid Threat of Cyber Warfare: (IATA)" By Jamie Freed, "The Sydney Morning Herald" July 10, 2015.

Airlines are facing "close to an asymmetric warfare" from cyber attackers given the difficulty of defending systems when the threat continually evolves, said (IATA) (CEO), Tony Tyler.

"No business is immune, but aviation is a specific target for those intent on doing cyber mischief and theft - or worse," he said in a speech at the "Civil Aviation Cyber Security Conference" in Singapore on July 9. "Airlines are the highest value target for fraudsters and close to 50% of all phishing attempts are made against airlines and airline passengers, according to one security firm we work with."

(IATA)'s membership includes most of the world's biggest airlines, including Qantas Airways (QAN) and Virgin Australia (VOZ) Holdings, and the group operates financial systems through which flow US$388 billion of annual air travel related revenues.

The potential loss of passenger data including passport numbers and credit card information would be damaging for an airline, but hacking also could compromise the physical security of passengers or force airlines to ground planes.

"What we are facing is close to an asymmetric warfare in which it is easier to attack than defend," he said.

There has been increased scrutiny on the security of airline systems following an apparent cyber-attack on (LOT) Polish Airlines computers issuing flight plans in Warsaw last month. And this week, United Airlines (UAL) grounded its USA fleet, reportedly after a faulty computer network router disrupted its reservation systems. There was no indication it was a cyber attack, but it showed how vulnerable airlines are to technology failures.

Mr Tyler said the cost of successful cyber attack in any major industry could run into the "hundreds of millions of dollars" and leave a company's reputation in tatters. But in aviation, an attack could also paralyse operations or result in thousands of stranded passengers.

Airlines have increasingly turned to computers and outside contractors for tasks like payload calculations, which used to be done by pilots (FC) in the cockpit. Mr Tyler said the outsourcing of the task freed the pilots (FC) to focus on other pre-flight activities, and there was little double a computer could do the job faster and with at least as much accuracy. But he warned every automation brought a new challenge of securing the information it relied upon.

"The number of entry points into systems is increasing steadily," he said. "The more systems we automate, the more vendors we have and the more interfaces we have that can be targeted for attack."

Mr Tyler said it was important that governments, which have resources and access to intelligence that could never be replicated in the private sector, helped support the airline industry's efforts to protect against cyber threats.

"Today, constraints of national classification systems and ambiguities around the legal rights and mechanisms for sharing information across borders are particularly challenging," he said. "However, the significant risks of not sharing information demand more progress in this area. It is not acceptable that one airline may have access to information and best practices regarding appropriate cyber measures and potential vulnerabilities, while another carrier does not, simply because it is based in a different country."

News Item A-5: "Greek Crisis, Chinese Stock Fluctuations Could Affect Global Aviation Industry: (IATA)" By Chloe Wang, "Channel NewsAsia" July 10, 2015.

The debt crisis in Greece and the fluctuations in Chinese stocks are major risks that could affect the performance of the global aviation industry.

This is according to (IATA) DG & (CEO), Tony Tyler, who was speaking at an industry event in Singapore on Thursday (July 9).

Just last month, (IATA) had raised its forecast for the global aviation industry for 2015, saying it is expected to generate +US$29.3 billion/+S$39.6 billion in net profit.

Asia-Pacific carriers are seen contributing about one-sixth of the total, while being dragged down by the weakness in the air cargo segment.

However, (IATA) said that Singapore will continue to thrive as an aviation hub, with increased capacity from upcoming terminals at Changi Airport.

Said Mr Tyler: "Singapore has an excellent track record, fantastic history of growth and development in aviation. I think the Singapore Government understands the value of aviation to driving the economy of Singapore. "Asia is still a fast growing region with economies which are developing fast and Singapore is geographically very well situated to capitalise on that."

News Item A-6: "(IATA) Repeats its Call for Cuts to Indian Red Tape" by Flight International Aaron Chong, July 21, 2015.

(IATA) Director General & (CEO), Tony Tyler has repeated calls for the Indian government to reduce the regulatory and tax burdens that airlines in India face. He said that despite robust growth and some airlines returning to profit in 2015, the sector is still expected to report an aggregate loss of $1 billion this year.

"Onerous regulation and processes, debilitating taxes and expensive infrastructure are holding back the industry's ability to deliver greater economics to India," Tyler told attendees at an industry conference in New Delhi.

Tyler identified three priority areas for the government to assist the aviation sector - cutting taxes, more competitive fuel pricing, and greater independence for the nation's Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA).

(IATA) said India should work harder to lower taxes on jet fuel, which in some Indian states was up to 30%. "The decision to introduce competition in jet fuel supply at key airports needs to be followed up with open access to the pipelines that get fuel to the airport," said Tyler.

The (AERA) needs greater freedom to "do its work," said Tyler, noting recent legal challenges that have prevented the authority's recommendation of a 78% reduction in New Delhi's airport charges from being implemented.

"Regulation is also holding back the development of the sector. Well-intentioned regulations, but which are inconsistent with global standards, make doing business in India very difficult for the airlines," added Tyler.

Speaking at "Aviation Day India," organized by (IATA), together with India's Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and the Confederation of Indian Industry, Tyler said the country is poised to become the world's third-largest aviation market by 2029, when 280 million people are expected to fly to, from and within India.

"Already aviation and aviation-related tourism support 7 million Indian jobs and US$23 billion of India's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The healthy growth of the sector has the potential to expand these benefits tremendously," Tyler said. "But there are immense challenges which must be overcome (as seen in the sector's financial performance). While demand growth is robust and some airlines are generating profit, sector-wide losses for India are still expected to exceed -US$1 billion this year."

News Item A-7: "Thai Airlines Face Flying Ban to USA" in
"Bangkok Post" July 18, 2015.

The Minister said the government is also taking action to ease the so-called significant safety concerns raised by (ICAO). The shortcomings identified by the (ICAO) during an audit of the (DCA) earlier this year centered on (DCA)'s failures to meet aviation safety standards in regards to regulating aviation businesses and granting air operator certificates (AOC)s.

There was also a lack of sufficient oversight to ensure the effective implementation of (ICAO) standards, the organization said after its audit.

Regarding (DCA) staff shortages, ACM Prajin said the department was recruiting new staff to carry out inspections and certification of airlines. They need time to receive training before they can start work, he added.

ACM Prajin also said that work on two manuals, the Flight Operating Inspector Manual and Air Operating Certification (AOC) Requirement, was now complete. Staff will receive training on the safety manuals to carry out inspections and certifications of 28 new airlines that provide international flight services.

The Minister said Thai Airways (TII) has already come up with a solution if the outcome of the (FAA)'s final audit is unfavorable to Thailand.

(TII) plans to transfer its customers to airlines who are fellow members of the Star (SAL) Alliance.

As for a plan to carry out certification of new airlines, ACM Prajin said the plan had been postponed several times due to staff shortages, and a lack of safety manuals. But now the manuals were ready, and staff were being trained, he said.

However a suitable date for the certification had not yet been fixed as the (DCA) had to wait for the (ICAO) experts to visit, he said.
"We don't know when the (ICAO) staff are ready, so we cannot fix the date, but the certification may not be completed by this year. It may have to begin next year," ACM Prajin said.

News Item A-8: "(ALPA): Mandate Collision Avoidance Technology on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV)s" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, July 22, 2015.

The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) is calling for Traffic Collision and Avoidance Systems (TCAS) technology to be mandated on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Speaking Wednesday, July 22, 2015 at the "(ALPA) Air Safety Forum" in Washington DC (two days after a Lufthansa (DLH) Embraer EMB-195 reported a near-miss with a (UAV) on approach to Warsaw) (ALPA) President, Tim Canoll said language requiring that (TCAS) or similar technology be installed on (UAV)s should be included in (FAA) re-authorization legislation that USA Congress is expected to take up later this year. “It’s important that active collision avoidance [technology] be mandated on [UAVs], otherwise these aircraft are invisible to our pilots (FC),” Canoll said, adding that (UAV)s must be required to “use the same rules as we do.”

USA Representative, Peter DeFazio (Democrat-Oregon), delivering a keynote address at the (ALPA) conference, also called for (UAV) regulations to be included in the (FAA) bill. DeFazio is the ranking Democrat on the House of Representatives Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and a key player in the upcoming (FAA) re-authorization debate.

“Basically, you should say nobody should fly a drone that isn’t pre-programmed to avoid restricted airspace,” DeFazio said. “We should register [UAVs] so we can track them back [to owners and operators]. We need to institute a system of meaningful fines and penalties for people who do operate them in restricted airspace.”

DeFazio said there are “a lot of legitimate uses” for (UAV)s, but he expressed concern about the impact unmanned aircraft will have on the safety of commercial aircraft. He said he has requested that the (FAA) do tests on (UAV)s “being sucked into aircraft engines” similar to bird ingestion tests, and has been informed the (FAA) will conduct these tests in the near future.

News Item A-9: Airlines for America (A4A) named John Illson as Managing Director of Safety. Illson joins (A4A) from (ICAO), where he was Chief of Operational Safety.

August 2015: News Item A-1: "(SITA) OnAir Flight Tracking Technology Enters the American Market" by Juliet Van Wagenen
"Avionics Today," August 21, 2015.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is preparing to finalize its recommendations for 15-minute aircraft flight tracking standard, which is focused on providing performance-based rather than prescriptive measures for operators. (SITA) OnAir’s Aircom FlightTracker technology has been introduced as a solution that is looking to help airlines meet the proposed tracking guidelines without breaking the bank through significant aircraft modifications.

“I think the International Air Transportation Association (IATA) and the (ICAO) are hesitant to require aircraft carriers and manufacturers to spend a lot of money in the cockpit on avionics to equip for the upcoming aircraft tracking recommendations,” SITA OnAir Commercial Director for the Americas, Larry Thomas said. “Any kind of method that effectively provides aircraft tracking in another way will be of interest to industry.”

At the High Level Safety Conference in February, (ICAO) member states recommended a standard for commercial airlines in which aircraft flying in remote areas not covered by air traffic radar surveillance are required to report their position every 15 minutes. To comply with this standard, airlines can use existing communications technologies already onboard the majority of the aircraft they operate today, such as the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) datalink, Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), and the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Contract (ADS-C) application of the Future Air Navigation System (FANS), that airlines use for oceanic Air Traffic Control (ATC) communications.

(SITA) OnAir’s Aircom Flight Tracker combines these multiple data sources, as well as air traffic control radar data, terrestrial and satellite feeds, and an airline’s flight plans in order to provide real-time aircraft position monitoring over remote and oceanic regions.

“By adding (ADS-B), (ADS-C), (FANS), (ACARS) position reporting and with air traffic control, the system gives you a much clearer, precise picture of where the aircraft actually is. That helps you not only with the location of the aircraft and the ability to know where it is at any time, but it also helps an operator to manage flight paths for efficiencies and weather avoidance,” explained Thomas.

The system works by using the (ACARS) as the transportation medium for aircraft messaging and expands on (ADS-C) reporting capabilities, which are traditionally in the hands of air traffic control who can set up the reporting contract to alert them if an aircraft deviates in altitude, vertical speed, or several other different parameters. In the case of Flight Tracker, airlines can also access the (ADS-C) reporting information to set up parameters of their own, if an aircraft deviates from the pre-determined flight path.

“This doesn’t require any kind of additional avionics in the cockpit at all. If you’re flying long-haul flights, you’re already typically flying (FANS)-equipped aircraft,” said Thomas, indicating that most of the necessary avionics should already be installed to equip for this solution. “If you’re flying just in the USA, then (FANS) may not be a necessity and you probably don’t need this precision of reporting. If you’re flying across the oceans or you’re flying across the Brazilian jungles, this is a different matter.”

Several airlines in Europe and Asia are showing interest in the technology, most notably Malaysia Airlines (MAS), whose notorious MH370 aircraft disappeared from air traffic control radar in March 2014, launching many of the international initiatives surrounding flight tracking.

“The initial reaction was in Asia Pacific, as you can imagine. We’ve seen a lot of activity and interest there as well as some interest in Europe. We’re seeing the beginnings of interest in South America now. We’ve got two or three airlines that we’re in discussions with presently,” said Thomas.

Most recently, the tracking system has made headway in the Americas with Brazil’s Low Cost Carrier (LCC) Azul (AZL), who activated the service on August 1. As (AZL) was already equipped with (SITA) OnAir’s Aircom technology, enabling FlightTracker involved only a simple software upgrade to the ground-based server. (AZL), which operates a fleet of 130 aircraft, including Embraer EMB-190s and EMB-195s, ATR72-600s and Airbus A330s, has equipped more than >70 aircraft so far, and is on its way to 100% fleet coverage.

As the adoption of flight tracking technology begins to swell, it is likely new solutions will arise as well, that will work to enhance aircraft safety and flight planning in a host of new ways.

“In five years you will not see an operational center of an airline without flight tracking capabilities. All of them will have a source of aircraft tracking and a way to meet the (IATA) and (ICAO) recommendation,” said Carlos Vianna, Senior Business Development Manager of South America, at (SITA) OnAir. “We’re going to see an adoption of flight tracking by the industry (that’s a given). I think in that time, more and more sophisticated systems will emerge. It’s just a growth model.”

News Item A-2: "Inmarsat to Launch 3rd Global Xpress Satellite on August 28" by (ATW) Linda Blachly, August 17, 2015.

See attached - - "ITA-2015-08 - 3rd Inmarsat Satellite.jpg."

Global mobile satellite communications services provider, Inmarsat confirmed the 3rd satellite in its Global Xpress program (Inmarsat-5 F3) will launch August 28. It is scheduled to be deployed at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 12:44 pm (BST).

The third Global Xpress satellite to be launched, (I-5 F3), will cover the Pacific Ocean region and will, together with Inmarsat-5 F1 (I-5 F1) and Inmarsat-5 F2 (I-5 F2), create the world’s first globally available, high-speed mobile broadband service, delivered through a single provider.

Inmarsat’s fifth generation satellites have all been built by Boeing (TBC) Satellite Systems in California. The launch is being undertaken for Inmarsat by International Launch Services (ILS) using a Proton launch vehicle.

According to Inmarsat, Global Xpress will deliver broadband speeds “around 100 times faster than the company’s fourth generation (I-4) constellation. It will offer new opportunities for customers, in both the public and private sectors, to significantly enhance their connectivity and to access bandwidth-hungry applications, even in the remotest and most inaccessible regions of the world.”

Inmarsat (CEO), Rupert Pearce said: “The completion of the Global Xpress constellation will be a significant milestone for our organization and is fundamental to the delivery of a new era in mobile satellite communications, which will change the future for us all.”

The first Global Xpress (GX) satellite (I-5 F1) was launched in December 2013 and entered commercial service in July 2014, covering Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. This was followed by the launch of (I-5 F2) on February 1, 2015, which covers the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean; it will enter commercial service later in August.

Following the successful launch of (I-5 F3), Inmarsat expects to commence global commercial (GX) services by the end of the year.

News Item A-3: "European Airports see Positive (1H) Yearly Growth in Passenger Traffic" by (ATW) Anne Paylor, August 7, 2015.

Passenger traffic at Europe’s airports grew +4.5% in the first six months of this year, according to figures released by the European arm of the Airports Council International (ACI) Europe.

First-half freight traffic across the European airport network grew just +0.5%, while airplane movements were up +2.0%, reflecting additional airline capacity in the market.

(ACI) Europe Director General, Olivier Jankovec said: “The first half of this year has seen solid passenger traffic growth for the European airport industry. However, where as recently as 18 months ago, non-(EU) airports were propping up weaker passenger traffic growth at (EU) airports, we are now through the looking glass. The situation has flipped, and (EU) airports now lead the growth—reporting +5.1% during the first half of the year, compared with +2.3% at non-(EU) airports.”

Jankovec said this “reversed trend in passenger traffic growth” was likely to continue for the rest of this year, “mainly due to continued weakness in the Russian economy as well as the impact of lower oil prices on the Norwegian economy.”

Against that, (EU) economies are improving, with the former bailed out economies of Ireland, Spain and Portugal making particular progress.

“Geopolitical instability and renewed terrorist threats in North Africa are also redirecting some leisure traffic to (EU) destinations. As for freight, the situation in Russia as well as slower growth in emerging markets, is likely to keep constraining traffic performance,” Jankovec said.

For the first half, airports handling more than >25 million passengers per year saw average growth of +3%, with Madrid (+11.4%), Istanbul Ataturk (+6.4%), London Gatwick (+5.4%), Amsterdam (+5.0%) and Barcelona (+4.8%) seeing the highest growth.

Airports handling between 10 and 25 million passengers a year, reported average growth of +5.5% with Athens (+23.3%), London Stansted (+16.9%), Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen (+16.6%), Dublin (+15.1%) and Lisbon (+13.0%) reporting the highest growth.

Passenger traffic at airports handling between 5 and 10 million passengers a year grew +6.3%, with Milan Bergamo/Orio al Serio (+32.1%), Porto (+16.8%), Glasgow (+13.8%), Bucharest Henri Coanda (+12.6%) and Budapest (+11.8%) enjoying the highest growth.

Airports handling less than 5 million passengers per year reported average growth of 5.5 %, with Santorini (+33.2%), Sibiu (+32.3%), Cluj (+30.5%), Astrakhan (+29.5%) and Ponta Delgada (+29.1%) reporting the strongest growth.

News Item A-4: "European Air Traffic up +2.1% in July" by (ATW) Anne Paylor, August 12, 2015.

The average daily traffic in Europe in July exceeded >31,000 flights a day for the first time in five years, according to the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation, "Eurocontrol." This represents a +2.1% increase over the same month last year, and is in line with the baseline forecast.

Eurocontrol said traffic avoiding Ukraine “distorted flows, making more work for air traffic control (ATC) centers in Budapest, Bratislava, and Belgrade,” while traffic to and from Tunisia was down by over a third, following the terrorist attack there on June 26.

Recurrent capacity problems at both Istanbul airports accounted for 12.8% of the total Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM) delays in July. Also, heavy traffic loads, combined with staffing issues, led to significant (ATFM) delays in Greece and Cyprus.

Seasonal weather compounded the situation, resulting in a +37.1% increase in (ATFM) delays in July, compared to July 2014. Enroute (ATFM) delays increased +29.8% and airport (ATFM) delays increased +51.4%.

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) recorded its busiest day so far this year on July 9, handling 1,931 flights in Irish airspace and at the main state airports (Dublin, Cork, and Shannon).

Total flights in Irish airspace increased +3.7% in July, compared to the same month last year, averaging 1,775 daily flights during the month.

Air traffic at Dublin exceeded the pre-downturn record of July 2008, with an average of 604 daily commercial movements (a total of 18,732 compared to 18,416 in 2008).

In Hungary, meanwhile, air navigation services provider, HungaroControl reported handling 100,856 aircraft in July, beating “all previously measured records.” Of these, 74,558 were flights transiting Hungarian airspace, setting a new record and up almost +11% on July 2014. July also saw the Budapest center handle the highest number of arrivals and departures since November 2011, and on July 26, Hungarian controllers handled a record 3,644 flights in one day.

HungaroControl acknowledged, however, that “the cause behind this traffic increase goes beyond the seasonal effects” and was “primarily the result of the restructuring of the aviation routes due to the Ukrainian events in 2014, as well as the remote services provided in the upper airspace over Kosovo.”

HungaroControl said that 9,599 aircraft flew across the Kosovo (KFOR) Sector in July, an increase of +27.48% compared with the same month last year, and the highest monthly figure since the re-opening of the five transit routes in April 2014. On July 4, a record 392 flights transited Kosovo airspace, remotely controlled from the Budapest center.

HungaroControl said that the introduction of Hungarian Free Route Airspace (HUFRA) in February this year had also contributed to the growth.

News Item A-5: "Asia-Pacific Passenger Growth Up, Cargo Demand Weakens in July" by (ATW) Jeremy Tor, August 31, 2015.

Asia-Pacific airlines carried a record 23.7 million international passengers in July, up +6.5% year-over-year, according to the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA). “For the first seven months of 2015, Asian carriers carried a combined total of 159.3 million international passengers, +9% more than the same period last year,” (AAPA) Director General, Andrew Herdman said.

Cargo was not so buoyant, with a -2.2% drop in tonnage compared to July 2014; cargo load factor also dropped to a new low of 62.1% LF.

However, passenger load factor rose +1.8% to an average of 80.9% LF for the month of July. This boosted revenue in (RPK)s, which grew +8.6%, up +2.4% from 81,857 (RPK)s in July 2014.

Herdman said all these numbers are improvements over the 2013 - 2014 period, and show a continuing growth in both international and regional passenger business.

However, while the figures continue to show broad growth, Herdman warned about the number of carriers vying for available passengers across the region. “There are too many airlines and aircraft competing with each other at the moment. If you go to any airport in Europe, the USA, there may be two airlines flying one route in competition with each other. In this part of the world, there could be as many as six.”

Herdman warned that consolidation could happen in coming months or years, noting that carriers like Tigerair had closed some operations, and other operators had recently canceled aircraft deliveries.

“[As the figures show] there is plenty of business, but at the moment, not many carriers are making good revenue,” he said.

News Item A-6: "Pacific Rim Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSP)s Implement 14-minute Oceanic Flight Tracking" by (ATW) Anne Paylor, August 27, 2015.

Pacific Rim air navigation services providers (ANSPs) Airservices Australia, Airways New Zealand and the (FAA) are now using Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Contract (ADS-C) technology to track aircraft across the Pacific Ocean every 14 minutes.

This more than halves the previous tracking interval of every 30 - 40 minutes, and brings the region into compliance with (ICAO) recommendations for tracking oceanic flights every 15 minutes or less. The new (ADS-C) tracking procedures were implemented at the end of June, maximizing the use of existing aircraft equipment to improve safety standards.

Airservices Australia began testing more frequent satellite flight tracking with an initial proof-of-concept trial in late January. The 14-minute standard was extended to all Australian airspace by the end of May, when it was also rolled out by Airways New Zealand in New Zealand airspace. The (FAA) adopted the enhanced tracking standard in USA Pacific airspace at the end of June, completing the coverage across the Pacific.

Airservices said that, in addition to improved safety benefits, more frequent tracking would allow controllers to provide a higher level of service to flights, including more efficient routing around poor weather, to minimize passenger delays and reduce fuel consumption as well as emissions.

Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation has recently implemented more frequent aircraft tracking within its airspace, using the same technology, and Airservices said it would “continue to work closely with our near neighbors such as Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia to continue building satellite tracking coverage in the Pacific region.”

News Item A-7: "(EC) refers France to Court of Justice for Violation of State Aid Rules" by (ATW) Anne Paylor, August 3, 2015.

The European Commission (EC) has referred France to the European Court of Justice for failing to recover incompatible aid, received by Ryanair (RYR) and its subsidiary Airport Marketing Services (AMS) for using Pau, Nîmes and Angoulême airports, and Transavia (TAV) for using Pau airport.

In July last year, the (EC) gave France four months to recover close to €10 million/$11 million worth of incompatible state aid from (RYR) and (TAV) because, through various contractual and marketing arrangements with the airports, the airlines paid less than the additional costs linked to their presence at the airport. The (EC) found the airlines had therefore benefitted from an undue economic advantage, which had to be recovered to remedy the resulting distortion of competition.

Although the French authorities sent out the required recovery orders, they had been unable to execute them under national law, because they are under appeal by the beneficiaries. Under a provision of French law, recovery orders are automatically suspended in case of appeal. However, this goes against established European case law which prevents national courts from applying such provisions when deciding on appeals against recovery orders.

(RYR) has appealed the (EC)'s decisions relating to Pau and Angoulême before the (EU) General Court. These appeals also do not have a suspensory effect under (EU) law, meaning that France continues to be under an obligation to recover the incompatible aid.

The (EC) said that, to ensure its state aid decisions were fully implemented, it had therefore decided to refer France to the European Court of Justice for violation of (EU) state aid rules.

News Item A-8: "USA Airlines Earn $8.7 Billion, (1H) 2015 Net Profit"
by (ATW) Aaron Karp, August 18, 2015.

USA airlines more than doubled their collective net profit for the first half of 2015 to approximately +$8.7 billion, according to Airlines for America (A4A).

The collective six-month net income, which includes earnings results from 10 publicly traded mainline USA passenger airlines, was a significant improvement over a net profit of +$3.9 billion recorded by the carriers in the first half of 2014.

(A4A) said the 10 airlines (Alaska Airlines (ASA), Allegiant Air (WJE), American Airlines (AAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL), Hawaiian Airlines (HWI), JetBlue Airways (JBL), Southwest Airlines (SWA), Spirit Airlines (SPR), United Airlines (UAL), and Virgin America (VUS)) reported an after-tax net margin of 11.2% for the six months. That more than doubled the 4.9% margin reported in the first half of 2014 and, according to (A4A) VP & Chief Economist, John Heimlich, means USA airlines are “finally realizing profit margins that are on par with the (S&P) 500 average, a barometer of USA corporate performance.”

Heimlich noted the average net profit margin of an (S&P) 500 company was 8.9% in the first half of 2015. USA airlines’ 2015 first-half net profit margin was “just shy of Chipotle and well behind McDonald’s,” Heimlich said. Chipotle’s first-half 2015 net profit margin was 11.5%, while McDonald’s was 16.2%.

(A4A) stated that the “year-over-year improvement [in net profit and profit margin] was driven almost entirely by lower fuel costs, which fell -34%, outpacing a substantial +10% increase in wages and benefits.”

The 10 airlines’ first-half operating revenue was “essentially flat,” (A4A) said, noting that average fares fell -3% year-over-year in the six-month period while passenger traffic increased +3%. Falling expenses “saved the day,” Heimlich said. According to (A4A), first-half operating expenses for the 10 carriers decreased -8.1% year-over-year.

“The threats [to USA airlines’ strong profitability] that would be paramount of course would be a slowdown in the USA economy or a reversal of fuel prices,” Heimlich said. “The first six months’ results were not the result of higher revenues, but of lower costs driven by lower fuel prices [Fuel prices rising] is a constant threat and no question [low fuel prices] were a significant driver of this six-month period of improved profits.”

USA airlines continue to see exceptional profits, as oil prices remain low and the four-largest USA carriers report July traffic outpaced capacity growth.

News Item A-9: Copa Airlines (COP) Chairman, Stanley Motta has asked the Venezuelan government to convert USD470 million of unrepatriated revenue still tied-up in the country, into long term bonds. “I am trying to find something that makes sense to both sides,” he told "Bloomberg" news in an interview. “If they take that debt and say this is the same as having public bonds out there, and this is how we will pay it over time, and this is the institution involved, I literally think that’s the best thing for Venezuela.”

Copa Holdings said in its first-quarter report that the USD470 million, or 41%, of its cash, short-term and long-term investments were still in Venezuela, pending repatriation.

Despite promises, President Nicolas Maduro's socialist government has failed to decisively deal with Venezuela's outstanding foreign currency debt to airlines, which (IATA) now estimates to stand at USD3.7 billion.

"The blocked money was generated from airline ticket sales in Venezuela and is being withheld in breach of international treaties," (IATA) said in a statement in June. "Venezuela's difficult economic situation is not an excuse to delay addressing the issue, which is unfair to airlines and inconvenient to passengers."

Venezuela has a complex system of currency controls in place which dictate when and how much revenue, airlines can repatriate from the country.

While international thinktanks have blamed Maduro's populist policies (a carry over from predecessor Hugo Chavez) for the country's economic woes, Maduro himself has blamed a right-wing conspiracy fomented by the USA.

Venezuela is due to hold parliamentary elections in December.

News Item A-10: Syphax Airlines (SYA) has temporarily suspended all flights to and from Tunisia as of July 30, following the “sudden and surprising decision” by (IATA) to suspend it from the (IATA) Billing & Settlement Plan (BSP).

(IATA) said the Tunisian airline had been suspended from the (BSP) due to “non-compliance with the Passenger Agency Conference Resolutions concerning payment of outstanding overdue balances.” (IATA) said it was “regrettable that we had to take this decision, which is in accordance with the rules established by (IATA) member airlines.”

On its website, (SYA) said it is doing all possible to minimize disruption, especially in view of the summer holiday season, and said it would keep passengers informed of developments.

News Item A-11: (IATA) (CEO) & Director General, Tony Tyler will retire in June 2016 after serving five years in the position. Tyler’s retirement was announced August 28 and the search for his successor has begun.

“After five years as Director General & (CEO) of (IATA), I believe it will be time for me to retire and leave the organization. It is a great privilege and responsibility to lead (IATA), and I am proud of what the (IATA) team is achieving during my term of office. I greatly appreciate the support I receive from the board of governors and the membership at large, and from my colleagues. I remain fully committed to leading (IATA) until my successor is appointed in June next year,” Tyler said.

(IATA) Board of Governors’ Chairman & AeroMexico (AMX) (CEO), Andrés Conesa said Tyler was “a very effective leader, who is achieving much in his role as (DG) & (CEO). I regret that he will be leaving (IATA), but respect his decision to retire next year after a long and successful career in aviation.”

Conesa said that the search will now start for a successor to be appointed at the next (IATA) (AGM) in Dublin in June 2016.

Before joining (IATA) in 2011, Tyler was (CEO) at Cathay Pacific Airways (CAT), from where he also served as (IATA) Chairman from June 2009 to June 2010. He succeeded Giovanni Bisignani as (IATA) (DG).

Tyler has proved a popular and highly-respected leader, both within the (IATA) airline membership and among the many industries, agencies and government bodies with which (IATA) works.

A passionate believer that airlines and aviation are a force for good in the world, he has championed many issues and initiatives, including passenger rights legislation that is fair and reasonable on airlines; smarter, more efficient and less-obtrusive security screening processes; global, equitable eco-aviation standards; and a new framework (New Distribution Capability) - - to enable modern distribution system practices.

He has also overseen a major internal restructuring of (IATA) to improve the association’s organizational effectiveness.

But Tyler’s work and travel schedule is also grueling. He told staff that while he enjoyed working with everyone in “this great organization,” he had decided that “five years will be long enough for a lifestyle, which is demanding in terms of both time and travel”.

He added, “I’ll always love the airline business, but after nearly 40 years in it from next June I’ll be loving it from a distance!”

September 2015: News Item A-1: Worldwide international passenger traffic improved in July, rising +6.8% year-over (YOY), up from June’s +3% (YOY) growth, according to (IATA)’s July Premium Traffic Monitor.

While the July figures were skewed somewhat by the timing of Ramadan (which last year occurred in July), airline travel to date in 2015 is showing a “broadly positive trend,” (IATA) said. Premium traffic is growing +4% (YOY) year-to-date; economy traffic year-to-date is growing by +4.7% (YOY). Approximately 444 million passengers passed through the world’s airports in July.

Continued improvement in economy (Y) class traffic reflects the fall in oil prices, which has resulted in lower fares. But slow growth in the Far East persisted for a second consecutive month, as economy (Y) traffic on routes within the Far East fell -o.6% (YOY) in July and premium traffic grew only +3.8% (YOY), “well below the 7.2% trend so far this year,” (IATA) said. The recent slump in Chinese exports has weakened manufacturing, (IATA) said, reducing business-related premium travel in the region. “Various metrics suggest that growth [in China] has slowed and this is not a good sign for air travel in the region,” (IATA) said.

Overall, economy (Y) traffic was up +6.6% (YOY) in July, outpacing June’s +3.2% (YOY) growth. Europe - Middle East routes had the strongest economy traffic growth in July (up +22.1% (YOY)), followed by South Pacific routes (up +19.4% (YOY)), Africa - Middle East routes (up +15.3% (YOY)), Middle East - Far East routes (up +13.1% (YOY)), and routes within North America (up +14.2% (YOY)). The steepest decreases in economy traffic for July were seen on Africa - Far East routes (down -9.7% (YOY)) and routes within Africa (down -5.2%).

International premium traffic was up +8.5% (YOY) in July and accounted for 5.8% of the month’s total traffic and 27.6% of July’s total revenue.

July’s biggest increases in premium passenger travel occurred on Europe - Middle East routes (up +26% (YOY)), Africa - Middle East routes (up +23.5% (YOY)), South Pacific routes (up +21.6% (YOY)), Middle East - Far East routes (up +16.9% (YOY)) and routes within Europe (up +14% (YOY)). July premium traffic decreased most significantly on Africa - Far East routes (down -8.9% (YOY)) and routes within Africa (down -5.6% (YOY)).

(IATA) released data for global air freight markets showing a fall in air cargo demand in July compared to the same month last year. Air freight volumes measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTK) fell -0.6%, in line with weaker global economic growth.

News Item A-2: Asia-Pacific airlines reported international load factors of 83% LF in August, the highest level recorded this year, according to the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (APPA). (AAPA) Director General, Andrew Herdman said the widespread availability of affordable airfares contributed to the record figures.

Asia Pacific airlines carried 24.9 million international passengers in August, up +7.2% year-over-year. From January - August, the increase was +8.7% year-on-year with 184.2 million international passengers carried by Asia Pacific airlines in the first eight months.

A +5.7% year-over-year expansion in seat capacity was overtaken by a +8.2% growth in (RPM)s to give a +1.8% load factor growth compared to August 2014. “Looking ahead, the outlook for air passenger markets remains positive, with competitively priced fares underpinning robust consumer demand,” Herdman said.

However, cargo (FTK)s dropped -0.3% in the Asia-Pacific region, which compounded issues from a freight capacity growth of +3.3% year-on-year. This drove down cargo load factors -2.2% to 61% LF.

The total growth in cargo January - August 2015 across the region was only +3%, Herdman said, due to uncertain air cargo markets.

News Item A-3: Air passenger traffic in Venezuela fell -8.5% year-over-year in 2014, according to an (IATA) report released September 22. The figure contrasts noticeably with annual growth reported in other major Latin American economies. Brazil, Mexico and Colombia all saw annual passenger growth exceeding >6% in 2014; Argentina and Chile had annual growth of more than >3%; Peru was at >2.5%, and the Dominican Republic saw growth of nearly +12%.

“This decline outpaced the 3.0% Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contraction in Venezuela during the same period, reflecting the growing impact of draconian government policies on airlines,” (IATA) said.

Government-imposed currency controls have restricted airlines from repatriating revenue previously generated in Venezuela; (IATA) estimates that $3.8 billion in airlines’ revenue remains blocked.

“Foreign carriers are forced to pay for fuel in USA dollars instead of Venezuelan bolivars, going against the non-discriminatory spirit of the Chicago Convention, which Venezuela has signed,” (IATA) said. Several airlines serving Latin America have subsequently cut back on service to Venezuela.

“The Venezuelan government’s policies are crippling the air transport sector and depriving its people of the economic benefits that it could bring,” (IATA) Director General & (CEO), Tony Tyler said. “Air travel options in Venezuela are diminishing, while the country’s citizens and businesses pay more to travel due to the negative impact of government policies.”

Tyler called on the Venezuelan government to establish a “single and fair” bolivar exchange rate for tickets sales, airline fees and airline charges; commit to consultation with airlines before the imposition of any new taxes or regulations that may affect them; and to implement a “realistic and achievable” repayment schedule to airlines owed funds still blocked in the country.

“Venezuela’s economic woes should not be an excuse for inaction,” Tyler said. “The government needs to take steps to re-orient the operating environment for air carriers to prevent an even deeper deterioration in the country’s connectivity to global markets and international trade.”

News Item A-4: The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has announced the launch of its new centralized online information area for aircraft tracking developments.

The new aircraft tracking information area, available on the (ICAO) Public Website, provides a detailed timeline and all supporting reports and documentation relating to the call for and realization of the world's first global aircraft tracking requirements.

(ICAO) Member States recommended the adoption of a new 15-minute aircraft tracking Standard during discussions amongst the over >850 participants to the United Nations (UN) specialized agency's 2015 High-Level Safety Conference (HLSC) in February of this year.

The new information area aggregating the documentation and developments on aircraft tracking responds to calls from the (HLSC) to lead the conduct of a Normal Aircraft Tracking Implementation Initiative (NATII) using existing technologies. A (NATII) Steering Committee, with global participation, was formed and the Asia/Pacific Region was selected as a representative area of operations for the initiative.

The recommended Standard is expected to be adopted at the end of 2015.

News Item A-5: Inmarsat has published the results of evaluation trials conducted earlier this year with Australia’s air navigation services provider (ANSP), Airservices Australia, to demonstrate oceanic flight tracking using Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Contract (ADS-C) to meet (ICAO)’s new global standard of a minimum 15-minute reporting interval from the end of 2016.

The evaluation trials involved commercial flights operated by Qantas (QAN) and Virgin Australia (VOZ) to and from Australia using existing satellite communication capabilities. The results, Inmarsat said, “provide important guidance to the global aviation industry on ways to meet the flight tracking requirements outlined by (ICAO) in February this year.”

(ICAO)’s new 15 minute reporting interval will replace the current 30 - 40 minute standard, and the Inmarsat/Airservices Australia operations reduced that still further to 14 minutes “to allow for a reduced separation standard, while maintaining a good balance between system limitations, costs and monitoring requirements during normal operations,” Inmarsat said.

It said the reduced interval was “designed to ensure air traffic control has a more accurate view of aircraft positions and can respond to potential incidents in a timelier manner.”

At the end of January this year, trials began to demonstrate that existing (ADS-C) technology could meet (ICAO)’s normal tracking requirements in oceanic airspace without impacting airline communications costs or operational efficiency. (ADS-C) is routinely used over oceanic or remote areas to provide information such as an aircraft’s position, speed, altitude and direction of flight to controllers on the ground.

The trials were initially conducted over oceanic airspace in parts of the Brisbane Flight Information Region (FIR), with roll out to all of northern Australia and neighboring Honiara and Nauru in April. Airways New Zealand joined the evaluation in May, with coverage expanded to include the Melbourne (FIR).

By the end of the trial in June, aircraft were being tracked using (ADS-C) across all oceanic airspace in Australia and New Zealand, with the USA (FAA) also signing up to implement the 14-minute reporting standard.

Inmarsat said the evaluation had met (ICAO) requirements and regulatory performance criterion.

Inmarsat Safety & Operational Services division VP, Captain Mary McMillan said: “Ongoing monitoring of the Inmarsat satcom network continues to confirm that the increased message frequency has had negligible impact on the network and total (ADS-C) messages. This represents a neutral or minimal cost impact and at the same time, we have not experienced any deterioration in (ADS-C) communication performance.”

Inmarsat said that the successful results of the Australian trial had persuaded other (ANSP)s to launch their own evaluations.

News Item A-6: The European Commission (EC) has given the go-ahead for (GKN) Aerospace to acquire the Fokker Technologies Group. (GKN) Aerospace announced it planned to buy Fokker Technologies from Arle Capital for €706 million/$780 million on July 28. The deal has been quickly cleared under the European Union (EU)’s simplified merger review procedure. “The (EC) concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, because the overlaps between the companies’ activities are very limited.”

UK-headquartered (GKN) manufactures civil and military engine components and aerostructures, including fuselage, wings and empennage parts. It is also active in repair and maintenance services. Fokker is also an aerostructures manufacturer, producing landing gears and electrical systems for civil and defense aircraft.

Following the transaction, Fokker Technologies will become a (GKN) Aerospace operating unit, run by its existing management team from its Netherlands headquarters. Fokker Technologies will also continue with its Netherlands-based (R&D) and manufacturing.

(GKN) is acquiring Fokker Technologies to further strengthen its engineering capabilities and geographical reach. The acquisition is expected to complete in the fourth quarter of 2015.

News Item A-7: (IATA) has made two senior management appointments: Gilberto Lopez Meyer as Senior VP Safety & Flight Operations and Nick Careen as Senior VP Airports, Passengers, Cargo & Security Safety & Flight Operations (APCS).

Lopez Meyer, who will take up the roll October 19 in the Montreal headquarters, succeeds Kevin Hiatt who left (IATA) in July. He joins (IATA) from the Mexican Civil Aviation Authority, which he has twice led as its Director General (2003 - 2008 and from 2014 to the present).

Careen’s appointment takes effect October 1. He succeeds Tom Windmuller who retired from (IATA) in August after nearly a quarter century of serving the industry. The (APCS) role, which was created during a 2013 reorganization, is being shifted from the executive office in Geneva to (IATA)’s Montreal headquarters. Careen will oversee a team with a significant presence in both Montreal and Geneva.

Prior to (IATA), Careen built his career in Air Canada (ACN) and its subsidiary Jazz, where his last role was as (ACN) VP Airport, Call Centers & Customer Relations.

(IATA) DG & (CEO), Tony Tyler said, “These appointments add new strength to (IATA)’s management team as we pursue our mission to represent, lead and serve the airline industry. Aviation is a team effort. Nick and Gilberto’s broad experience covers many of our key partners: airports, service providers, regulators and of course airlines. I welcome them to the (IATA) team and look forward to the significant contributions, they with their teams of industry experts will make towards an ever safer, more efficient, sustainable and profitable global aviation industry.”

News Item A-8: Airlines for America (A4A) announced that American Airlines (AAL) Chairman & (CEO), Doug Parker will become the Chairman of the (A4A) board of directors, effective immediately. He succeeds former United Continental Holdings (UAL) Chairman, President & (CEO), Jeffery Smisek. Also joining the (A4A) board will be newly appointed (UAL) (CEO) & President, Oscar Munoz.

News Item A-9: "(EU) Parliament Group Hosts High-level Discussions on (EASA) Future" by (ATW) Sep 18, 2015 Anne Paylor, September 18, 2015.

The European Parliament’s Sky & Space Intergroup (SSI) is holding high-level discussions on the future of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The meetings include Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), European Union (EU) institutions and senior industry representatives.

The (EASA) Basic Regulation is being revised, and the (MEP) and (SSI) President, Monika Hohlmeier said the (EASA) had a crucial role in supporting civil aviation’s contribution to the (EU) economy.

“There are over >18 million direct and indirect jobs depending on commercial aviation in the (EU), with the civil aviation manufacturing sector investing over >€7 billion/$8 billion per year in research. In this context, the role of (EASA) is all the more crucial,” Hohlmeier said.

(EASA) Executive Director, Patrick Ky highlighted the safety challenges facing aviation and said: “(EASA) does not necessarily need new resources. We need the flexibility to adapt them to the market needs, even more since more than >70% of (EASA)’s budget comes from the fees and charges paid by the industry.”

Finmeccanica (CEO), Mauro Moretti, who is also President of the Aerospace & Defense Industries Association of Europe (ASD), said that close cooperation between the European Parliament, (EU) Institutions and industry was essential. “The European aerospace industry’s strong record of technological innovation and exports should not be taken for granted, since our industry competes on a global level with established players as well as new players, who compete under different conditions,” he said.

Airbus (EDS) Executive VP Engineering, Charles Champion pointed out that “Europe is today one of the safest places in the world to fly,” but he stressed that “(EASA) is also key to our competitiveness and it is essential that (EASA) has the resources necessary to deliver on Europe’s industrial ambitions.”

Rolls-Royce (RRC) Director Engineering & Technology, Civil Large Engines, Chris Barkey argued that the first 10 years of (EASA) had been a success and urged consolidation of that success in the update to the regulation. He said this should be done “through securing adequate (EASA) resources, increasing its international reach, evolving its regulatory approach, and acting on understood risk) so Europe continues to be at the forefront of a safe global aviation sector.”

The European Commission (EC) is due to publish its proposals on the update to the (EASA) Basic Regulation, later this year.

The (SSI) is an informal cross-party, cross-nationality network of (MEP)s. The Brussels-based (ASD) represents 15 major European aerospace and defense companies and 26 member associations in 19 countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the UK.

News Item A-10: The UK airline industry has rejected government air passenger duty (APD) proposals and is calling for the (APD) to be eliminated.

News Item A-11: Wang Zhiqing, Deputy Chief of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) (CAC) met with Ms Fang Liu, Secretary General of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on September 29 in Beijing - see photo "IAT-2015-09 - CAAC meets ICAO.jpg."

During the meeting, the two parties exchanged in-depth views, strengthening cooperation between the (CAAC) and (ICAO).

October 2015: News Item A-1: "The (FAA) is to Require Registration for Unmanned Aircraft" by (ATW) Linda Blachly, October 19, 2015.

The (FAA) will create a task force to develop recommendations for a registration process for unmanned aircraft vehicles (UAV)s, USA Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx and (FAA) Administrator, Michael Huerta announced on October 19, 2015.

According to an (FAA) statement, the task force will be composed of 25 to 30 diverse representatives from the (UAV) and manned aviation industries, the federal government, and other stakeholders.

“The group will advise the department on which aircraft should be exempt from registration, due to a low safety risk, including toys and certain other small (UAV)s,” the (FAA) said, adding the task force also will explore options for a streamlined system, that would make registration less burdensome for commercial (UAV) operators.

The task force may also make additional safety recommendations. Foxx directed the group to deliver its report by November 20.

“Registering unmanned aircraft will help build a culture of accountability and responsibility, especially with new users who have no experience operating in the USA aviation system,” Foxx said. “It will help protect public safety in the air and on the ground.”

The (FAA) said that every day it receives reports of potentially unsafe (UAV) operations. Pilot (FC) sightings of (UAV) has doubled between 2014 and 2015. The reports ranged from incidents at major sporting events and flights near manned aircraft, to interference with wildfire operations.

“These reports signal a troubling trend,” Huerta said. “Registration will help make sure that operators know the rules, and remain accountable to the public for flying their unmanned aircraft responsibly. When they don’t fly safely, they’ll know there will be consequences.”

While the task force does its work, the (FAA) said it will continue its aggressive education and outreach efforts, including the “Know Before You Fly” campaign and “No Drone Zone” initiatives with the nation’s busiest airports. The (FAA) also will continue to take strong enforcement action against egregious violators. At the same time, it will continue working with stakeholders to improve safety to ensure further integration and innovation in this new segment of aviation.

The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) President, Tim Canoll said (ALPA) “fully supports Secretary Foxx’s decision to create a task force that will recommend procedures and a policy for creating a national registration database for all (UAV)s. We look forward to engaging in discussions with this task force in developing the procedures necessary to ensure we maintain the highest levels of safety of our aviation system.”

News Item A-2: "Discharge Petition Forces USA House Vote on Ex-Im Bank" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, October 9, 2015.

A rarely used legislative maneuver will force the USA House of Representatives to vote on the long-stalled re-authorization of the USA Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) this month.

A bipartisan majority of the House’s members has signed a discharge petition favoring consideration of Ex-Im re-authorization, which means the House must vote on it. The Ex-Im has been unable to extend loans on export purchases since its authorization expired June 30. Boeing (TBC) has been sharply critical of Congress for allowing Ex-Im’s authority to lapse, saying the agency’s loans help support 1.4 million USA aerospace jobs.

But a contingent of conservative House Republicans is fiercely opposed to Ex-Im, arguing that export financing is an improper government activity. Among them is Representative Jeb Hensarling (Republican-Texas), Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, who calls Ex-Im “unfair and harmful corporate welfare.” Under normal House procedure, Ex-Im re-authorization would have to first clear the Financial Services Committee before coming up for a vote in the full chamber, but Hensarling has not allowed that to happen.

Some 40 House Republicans who favor Ex-Im re-authorization joined with the House’s minority Democratic party on October 9 to garner the needed 218 signatures on a discharge petition, a tactic that is almost never deployed. The move “discharges” the Financial Services Committee of its Ex-Im duties and forces the House to have a vote on the legislation, which is likely to occur by October 26. If all 218 members who signed the petition vote for Ex-Im re-authorization, it would move the matter to the Senate.

Representative Steve Fincher (Republican-Tennessee) explained why he broke with his party to lead the charge on the discharge petition, which he called a “procedure to stand up to Washington’s broken system, that is killing thousands of American jobs and jeopardizing thousands more.” He added, “Our constituents expect us to fight for them and get the job done, but Congress has failed to even hold a vote to reform and re-authorize the Ex-Im Bank. We refuse to look any more hardworking Americans in the eye and say, you lost your job because Congress refused to hold a vote.”

Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) President & (CEO), David Melcher said “We are delighted with today’s passage of a discharge petition on Representative Fincher’s bill reauthorizing [Ex-Im]. So far, American companies have lost three space payload orders, billions of dollars in American commercial airplane sales are at risk, and several companies are talking about moving operations overseas (all because Ex-Im Bank financing has not been available since July 1. Enough is enough) Congress must hold the vote and reauthorize the Export-Import Bank.”

Newws Item A-3: Asia-Pacific airlines saw an overall passenger growth of +6% in September year-over-year, but lackluster numbers from the regional cargo sector, according to the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA).

(AAPA) associate airlines carried 22 million international passengers in September 2015, an (RPM) growth of +7.4%. The (AAPA) said the figures reflect “broad support on both short- and long-haul routes” for regional airlines. This, combined with a +6.2% expansion in available seat capacity, saw the average international load factor rise fractionally by +0.8% to 77.2% LF for the month.

The (AAPA) Director General, Andrew Herdman said the increase is consistent with buoyant leisure travel markets, which continues to drive demand growth, although the overall market remains “challenging.”

“The operating environment [for Asian airlines] is complicated by the effects of slowing economic growth in emerging markets, and associated exchange rate volatility,” he said. “However, the continued growth in travel demand and lower oil prices has been a positive factor, helping to keep air fares affordable.”

The (AAPA) said an overall growth of +8.3% was registered by member airlines during the previous nine months to September 2015, with a combined total of 206.1 million international passengers carried.

However, regional cargo markets dropped -1.1% year-on-year compared to September 2014, despite a temporary +4.5% increase in figures during (1H) 2015. Herdman said the slump had dragged down overall cargo growth figures for January - September, 2015 to +2.6%, compared to the same period last year.

“Air cargo markets have weakened in recent months following the slowdown in world trade. [But] overall, Asia-Pacific airlines’ profitability is showing modest improvement in an intensely competitive market,” he said.

News Item A-4: Thailand’s low-cost carrier (LCC) Thai Lion Air (TLM) has achieved (IATA)’s Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certification following an assessment of its operational management and control systems.

(TLM) is the only Thai (LCC) to be granted (IOSA) registry status. Bangkok Airways (PGB) and flag carrier, Thai Airways International (TII) are the only full-service carriers to hold that level of certification in Thailand.

Thai Lion Air (TLM) said it had applied for more than >900 standards audits across eight disciplines, including aviation legislation, operations oversight, safety, qualification & training, and staff & procedures certification.

The new certification (which means (TLM) could eliminate audit redundancy, reduce costs and scheduled audit resource requirements (helps to raise the overall level of compliance across the Thai aviation industry). It also allows (IOSA) inspectors to undertake regular unspecified random audits over the next two years to ensure continuing compliance.

In June 2015, (ICAO) revised Thailand’s overall national rating downward to “red flag” status, citing “significant safety concerns” across both airline and infrastructure sectors nationwide. As a result, several (LCC) and charter operators’ flight schedules were frozen, or the airlines themselves canceled planned launches of new routes.

Thai Lion Air (TLM) (CEO), Aswin Yangkirativorn said securing (IOSA) certification “will definitely boost trust and confidence among customers. Currently, (TLM)’s parent, Lion Air (MLI) carrier, based in Indonesia, does not have (IOSA) certification.

(TLM) has a 17-strong Boeing fleet, with 13 737-900ERs and four 737-800s operating to nine domestic destinations, plus a recently launched flight to Singapore. Following the (IOSA) rating, (TLM) plans to add more domestic and international destinations.

News Item A-5: "(IATA) Chief Warns Changes Needed to Cope with Forecasted Airline Passenger Growth" by (ATW) Karen Walker, October 20, 2015.

The global airline industry is on a path toward financial sustainability, but will need to become more efficient and use new processes if it is to cope with the forecast doubling of passengers carried annually in 20 years, the head of (IATA) warned on October 20.

Addressing the (IATA) World Passenger Symposium in Hamburg October 20, (IATA) Director General, Tony Tyler said the association expects to see a 2015 industry net profit of +$29.3 billion on revenues of $727 billion, for a net profit margin of +4%, generating a return on capital of 7.5%.

“For the first time, the industry on average will be creating value for its equity investors, Tyler said. Passenger growth is also expected to continue: airlines will carry 3.5 billion passengers this year, and that figure is expected to more than double in 20 years.

“The task before us is how to work together to accommodate that growth, while upholding customers’ expectations for their air travel experience,” Tyler said. “One thing is certain: we cannot accommodate a doubling of passengers through airports in the next 20 years using today’s processes and procedures, without an unacceptable increase in customer inconvenience and loss of productivity at our airports. We’ve simply got to find more efficient ways to manage this challenge.”

Tyler pointed to examples in Europe of countries not addressing the infrastructure challenges that this growth poses.

“In the UK, the decades-long debate about airport capacity drags on with London Heathrow (LHR) still edging only very slowly towards getting a third runway. The continuing delays to the opening of Berlin’s new airport are a huge setback for the third-most-visited city in Europe. With the latest postponement until late 2017, cost estimates have risen from 4.3 billion euros to 5.4 billion euros, compared to the initially planned cost of 2 billion euros.

Furthermore, in more bad news for passengers, figures show that the airport will be operating over-capacity on the day it opens,” he said.

Night-flight bans at Frankfurt Airport create “huge inconvenience” for airlines and passengers when aircraft have to reschedule a flight because it was a few minutes outside of the curfew. “Meanwhile, air travelers must endure nearly 18 million minutes of annual flight delays owing to the lack of progress on the Single European Sky,” Tyler said.

The (IATA) Chief said passengers will demand more connectivity and timely information about any changes in their travel arrangements.

“I want the ability to be connected throughout my journey and I want to get updates from my travel providers that will affect my travel plans. And I’m not alone. According to our Global Passenger Survey, 35% of travelers prefer receiving their e-boarding pass over their mobile phone and over >90% of travelers expect to be notified proactively of changes to flight status,” he said.

“As an industry, we need the ability to engage with our customers in real time via text message, email or social media, to update them on their flight status, gate changes, wait times at security and immigration, even what traffic is like to and from the airport. We also need to be able to communicate with other travel providers pro-actively so that, for example, car services and hotels are automatically informed when a customer is delayed or rerouted.

“We call the concept Travel Communication. To get there, we must move from a model of centrally-controlled, closely-guarded access to data, to a social media model of widely available, open and transparent communication of useful information.”

News Item A-6: "Delta to depart (A4A); (ATC) Policy Differences Cited" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, October 27, 2015.

Delta Air Lines (DAL) will leave Airlines for America (A4A), the group that lobbies on behalf of the USA airline industry, in 2016.

The move by the world’s and USA’s second largest airline in terms of revenue, which will take effect April 26, 2016, is a blow to (A4A)’s mission of presenting a united front of USA carriers as it lobbies Congress and the White House on major industry issues.

(A4A) said that (DAL)’s departure “was not unexpected, as (DAL) has not been aligned with other (A4A) members on a few key industry positions, including the need to modernize and improve the nation’s air traffic control (ATC) system.”

(A4A) has pushed for “a commercialized, non-profit type governance structure” for USA air traffic control (ATC).

(A4A) President & (CEO), Nicholas Calio said that (DAL)’s departure “will not distract (A4A) and its members from the continuing work of fighting higher taxes and unnecessary regulations while pushing for updated infrastructure, along with the vast array of technical and regulatory issues that (A4A)’s councils and committees regularly address.”

(DAL) said, “The $5 million that (DAL) pays in annual dues to (A4A) can be better used to invest in employees and products to further enhance the (DAL) experience, and to support what we believe is a more efficient way of communicating in Washington on issues that are important to (DAL) customers and employees.”

American Airlines (AAL) Chairman & (CEO), Doug Parker, who is serving as (A4A)’s current Chairman, said US airlines “have been and will continue to be more effective as an industry advocating for our customers and employees with a unified voice in Washington, and we are committed to working with (A4A) to achieve reform at the highest levels, including air traffic control (ATC).”

The split comes amid the debate over (FAA) re-authorization; the (FAA)’s authority has been temporarily extended to March 31, 2016, and Congress is expected to take up the issue early next year. “With (FAA) re-authorization, we have an opportunity to address [flight] delays that cost $30 billion annually and implement transformational change to the air traffic control (ATC) system that would mean greater efficiency and a better travel experience,” Calio said.

Although not referenced by (A4A), (DAL) or (AAL)’s Parker, there has also been a split among (A4A) member airlines on the issue of "Open Skies" and state subsidies for airlines. (DAL) & (CEO), Richard Anderson led the campaign to get the alleged subsidies of Emirates Airline (EAD), Etihad Airways (EHD) and Qatar Airways (QTA) exposed and to get the USA government to investigate whether those Gulf-based airlines are abiding by the fair competition rules of the "Open Skies" agreements between the USA, the (UAE) and Qatar.

Although (AAL) and (UAL) joined (DAL) in the campaign, other USA carriers are against it. (A4A), like (IATA), has taken no stance on the issue.

News Item A-7: "A4A’s Board Votes to Make Delta’s Exit Immediate" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, October 30, 2015.

Airlines for America (A4A) has expedited Delta Air Lines (DAL)’s departure from the organization, which is now effective immediately.
(DAL) gave the lobbying group a required six-month notice of its exit October 27, and it was announced (DAL) would depart April 26, 2016. But (A4A)’s board of directors has voted unanimously to waive the notice period and cut ties with (DAL) right away.

(A4A) said that the group’s remaining members have agreed to maintain its current budget and “cover the dues (DAL) had been paying.” (DAL) said earlier that it had been paying dues of $5 million annually to (A4A).

American Airlines (AAL) Chairman & (CEO), Doug Parker, who is the current (A4A) Chairman, issued a statement reiterating the “unanimous” support of (AAL) and (A4A)’s other members for the group’s agenda. “We will continue to be most effective as an organization with unanimity and alignment on key issues,” he said, adding that “the board believed an immediate departure [by (DAL)] was in the best interest of the association.”

(A4A) President & (CEO), Nicholas Calio said (DAL)’s immediate exit “will eliminate any confusion externally on (A4A) positions on key industry issues, including air traffic control (ATC) reform and modernization.”

(DAL)’s logo has already been removed from the membership page on (A4A)’s website. In addition to (AAL), (A4A)’s members include Alaska Airlines (ASA), Atlas Air Worldwide (TLS), FedEx Express (FED), Hawaiian Airlines (HWI), JetBlue Airways (JBL), Southwest Airlines (SWA), United Airlines (UAL), and (UPS) Airlines. Air Canada (ACN) is an associate member.

News Item A-8: "(IATA) (NDC) Continues Development Path, Welcomed by Travel Agents" by (ATW) Karen Walker, October 20, 2015.

(IATA) is making “strong progress” toward implementing the New Distribution Capability (NDC) initiative that is developing a set of common standards for presenting and distributing airline tickets and products, with the first set of (NDC) messages approved.

Speaking at the (IATA) World Passenger Symposium in Hamburg on October 20, (IATA) Director General, Tony Tyler said some 24 airlines were involved in (NDC) pilot programs or implementation efforts.

“A major milestone was achieved at the beginning of September when the first official set of (NDC) messages were approved by the (IATA) membership, with a second version to support interlining expected before year end,” Tyler said.

“(NDC) has also inspired us to look more deeply into other out-of-date or legacy processes that are ripe for re-invention. An example is the order process that dates back to the era of paper tickets and that was never updated when the industry moved to e-tickets. One Order is an industry-led initiative intended to modernize the multiple and rigid booking, ticketing, delivery and accounting methods with a single, flexible order management process. The basic concept is a single customer order record holding all data elements required for order fulfilment across the travel cycle.

“One Order will greatly simplify the passenger experience, as travelers will no longer need to juggle between different reference numbers and documents. All they will need is their order reference number to be easily recognized and served by all. Airlines and travel agents will also benefit from simplification, greater efficiency and reduced complexity, resulting in significant cost savings. It also has the potential to facilitate greater inter-operability between traditional and ticketless carriers, bringing further benefits to air travelers in terms of network opportunities.”

In a joint study (IATA) conducted with members of the World Travel Agents Associations Alliance, travel agents revealed that on average, 76% of agencies book airline ancillary products and services, and most have to go to individual airline websites to get that product information.

“The study bears out that the travel agent channel as currently situated, is not able to efficiently meet all the needs of air travelers. (NDC) will address this gap by enabling efficient access to content that currently is available only on airline websites,” (IATA) Senior VP Financial & Distribution Services, Aleks Popovich said.

News Item A-9: "BTS: USA Passenger Airlines Achieved 7-year Employment Peak in August" by (ATW) Mark Nensel, October 21, 2015.

In August, full-time equivalent employment at USA scheduled passenger airlines reached a seven-year peak, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). Full-time equivalent employment (FTE) grew +3.3% year-over-year (YOY) in August, to a total (FTE) count of 397,007 personnel. August was the 21st consecutive month of overall rising employment at USA airlines and the highest monthly total since September 2008.

(FTE) calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) is a division within the USA Department of Transportation.

The (BTS) August figures showed USA scheduled passenger airlines employed +12,529 additional (FTE) employees compared to August 2014, and +504 additional (FTE) positions compared to July 2015. For USA major/network carriers, August (FTE) employment was up +3.7% (YOY), to 265,567 total (FTE) positions, and accounted for 66.9% of the total USA passenger airline workforce. For USA low-cost carriers (LCC)s, August (FTE) employment grew +5.8% (YOY) to 75,549 total (FTE) positions, 19% of the workforce. At USA regional airlines, August (FTE) employment was 49,320, down -2.7% (YOY) and made up 12.4% of the total workforce.

Alaska Airlines (ASA) continued to post the largest increases in employment, with its workforce growing +9.6% (YOY) in August to 10,925 (FTE) employees. American Airlines (AAL)/US Airways (AMW)/(USA) combined showed +6.1% (YOY) growth in its workforce of 96,719 (FTE) positions; Delta Air Lines (DAL) was up +4.5% (YOY), to 79,126 (FTE) positions; and (UAL)’s workforce declined -0.6% (YOY) to 78,796 (FTE) employees. Hawaiian Airlines (HWI), a major carrier classified by (BTS) as an “other carrier” (airlines that operate within specific niche markets) reported (FTE) job growth of +3.1% (YOY) to 4,951 positions.

At the major USA low-cost-carriers (LCCs), Spirit Airlines (SPR) showed +16.9% (YOY) growth in its workforce, rising to 4,410 (FTE) employees; Allegiant Air (WJE)’s workforce grew +16.5% (YOY) to 2,620 (FTE) employees. JetBlue (JBL)’s workforce count was up +10.5% (YOY) to 14,872 (FTE) employees. Frontier Airlines (FRO) continued to downsize, as its (FTE) workforce shrank -27.6% (YOY) to 2,776 employees.

Among the USA regional carriers, (PSA) Airlines continued to post consistent significant workforce growth, with its August total of 2,296 (FTE) employees, up +49.1% (YOY). SkyWest, the largest of the regionals, showed +1.6% (YOY) growth to 10,057 (FTE) employees; Envoy Air’s workforce dropped -10.8% (YOY) to 9,645 (FTE) employees.

Ranked by (FTE) workforce, (BTS)’ top 10 USA passenger airline employers for August 2015 are: American Airlines (AAL) (96,719 employees), Delta Air Lines (DAL) (79,127), United Airlines (UAL) (78,796), Southwest (SWA) (48,169), JetBlue (JBL) (14,872), Alaska Airlines (ASA) (10,925), SkyWest (10,057), Envoy Air (9,645), ExpressJet (7,708) and Spirit (SPR) (4,410).

Total August employment, full time plus part time, of all USA scheduled passenger, charter and cargo airlines combined was 606,298 personnel, nearly equal to the combined August 2014 total of 606,350.

Employment at major carriers (defined by (BTS) as airlines earning over >$1 billion annual revenue) was up +2.6% (YOY) to 570,158 total employees, 94% of the total workforce. Employment at national carriers (those with annual revenues between $101 million and $1 billion) was up +7.3% (YOY) to 31,687 total employees, or 5.2% of the total workforce. Employment at large regional carriers (those with annual revenues between $20 million and $100 million) grew +61.4% (YOY) to 3,706 total employees, or 0.6% of the total workforce).

News Item A-10: The (FAA) has upgraded airlines in the Republic of Nicaragua to a Category 1, as it now complies with (ICAO) safety standards.

The (FAA) said it first assessed the Republic of Nicaragua in 1994 and found it did not meet international standards. “While under a Category 2 rating, the country either lacked laws or regulations necessary to oversee air carriers in accordance with minimum international standards, or its Civil Aviation Authority (a body equivalent to the (FAA) for aviation safety matters) was deficient in one or more areas, such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record-keeping, or inspection procedures,” it said.

The (FAA) said the Category 1 status is based on a June 2015 (FAA) assessment of the safety oversight provided by the Nicaraguan Institute of Civil Aviation. “During a September 2015 follow on visit to the Republic of Nicaragua, the (FAA) verified the necessary corrective actions,” the (FAA) said.

November 2015: News Item A-1: "(ICAO), (EASA) Clarify Advice on Conflict Zones" by (ATW) Alan Dron, November 3, 2015.

(ICAO) has clarified the legal framework governing the roles and responsibilities of states, airlines and international organizations relating to risks to civil aviation.

The (UN)’s agency for international civil aviation said it was issuing the clarifications following several misinterpretations that surfaced after the release of the final report into the downing of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH17 over Ukraine by a surface-to-air missile.

The various European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) advisories (mainly revisions of previous warnings regarding potentially unsafe airspace) were issued prior to the October 31 crash of Metrojet (KLV)’s Airbus A321 over Sinai, Egypt.

Among the (ICAO) clarifications:

* Under the Convention on International Civil Aviation (the Chicago Convention), only states maintain sovereign authority over their airspace, with responsibility to issue risk advisories regarding any threats to the safety of civilian aircraft operating in their airspace.

* States also have authority to close their airspace where safety threats may require it.

* Aircraft and airline operators are responsible for assessing global airspace risks communicated by States, and/or third parties, before deciding where they fly.

* (ICAO) does not possess the authority to over-ride sovereign States in order to close their airspace or reroute airline traffic.

* With respect to conflict zone risk specifically, recommendations to assist states and airlines with a more effective means of sharing risk information were already proposed by the 2014 conflict zone risk task force which (ICAO) established, immediately after the loss of MH17.

(EASA)’s recommendations include circumnavigating the Simferopol (FIR) in eastern Ukraine.

They also advise of potential danger to aircraft flying below 25,000 ft in the Karachi and Lahore (FIR)s of Pakistan due to presence of dedicated anti-aircraft weaponry.

Operators are advised not to enter Yemeni airspace due to anti-aircraft weaponry in the country, with the exception of three specific airways; and aircraft should maintain heights of not less than 26,000 ft over Somalia.

News Item A-2: "Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA): Asia Pacific Needs Harmonized Operations and Safety Policy" by (ATW) Jeremy Torr, November 12, 2015.

Asia Pacific lacks a set of harmonized guidelines for safety and regulatory practices, according to Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) Technical Director, Martin Eran-Tasker.

Speaking at the (AAPA) Assembly of Presidents 2015 conference in Bali, Eran-Tasker said, “We definitely need to revisit security following the [Metrojet (KLV) flight 9268] crash,” he told media.

The Metrojet (KLV) Airbus A321 crashed October 31 in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula shortly after takeoff from Sham el-Sheikh airport, en route to St Petersburg, killing all 224 passengers and crew members. The crash, possibly caused by a bomb explosion, is causing a lot of airlines and airports to review security measures.

Eran-Tasker said one of the issues faced by airlines, and especially in the Asian region, is to improve on a common operations and security template. He added that most regional airlines currently make their own decisions concerning operational aspects of safety.

“In this region, we have plenty of other things such as volcanoes that erupt, bad weather and difficult conditions,” he said, noting that some airlines have extensive and comprehensive contingency plans.

“Some carriers, like [Indonesian flag carrier] Garuda (GIA) have done lots of planning for the impact of things like eruptions and bad weather,” he said. However, Martin Eran-Tasker said this is not a problem attributed to airlines, but rather a regulatory and oversight issue.

“It’s not the airlines that are the problem — - it’s the regulators,” he said. He added that attempts had been made by some proactive regulators (such as those in Singapore) to help promote a widely accepted and used set of safety and operations guidelines.

“Singapore consulted with the industry and came up with an excellent template,” he said. “But it’s not easy to get other [jurisdictions] to accept any of them. “There is definitely some opposition when it comes to helping other jurisdictions to accept similar guidelines — and they sometimes need them,” he added.

News Item A-3: "Asia Pacific sees +6.5% Passenger Growth in October"
by (ATW) Jeremy Torr, November 30, 2015.

The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) figures for October 2015 indicate that growth is continuing, with a +6.5% rise in international passengers year-on-year.

Demand across the region in (RPK)s outpaced available capacity (at 8.7% and 6.4%, respectively), leading to a slight increase in load factors, up +1.6 points at 76.9% LF. Total international passengers for October stood at 23.2 million.

“Robust demand for leisure-related travel boosted air passenger markets in October. However, premium travel demand is beginning to show some signs of moderation, possibly a reflection of the slowdown in emerging market economies,” (AAPA) Director General Andrew Herdman said.

Nonetheless, Asia-Pacific international passenger growth for the first nine months of 2015 was significant, up +8.2% year-on-year to 229 million.

Despite relief from lower fuel prices, air cargo demand was down -0.7% against October 2014, leading to a -2.2% drop in cargo load factor to 64.2% LF. (AAPA) said the poor figures were primarily due to “continued weakness in export-import activities in major regional economies, including China, India, and Japan.”

Herdman warned the challenge for Asian carriers is “how to capture growth in passenger demand . . . while achieving improvements in still thin margins.”

News Item A-4: "Southeast Asia Carriers Opt for In-flight Tracking"
by (ATW) Jeremy Torr, November 19, 2015.

Southeast Asian regional carriers are increasingly choosing to implement in-flight tracking systems following the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) MH370 in March 2014.

MH370, a Boeing 777-200, disappeared on March 8, 2014 during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The only part of the airplane wreckage that has been found was a wing flaperon that washed up on the shore of France’s Reunion Island in September 2015.

Information Technology (IT) specialist, (SITA) Aircraft Solutions Senior Manager, George Hitchins said the effect of MH370’s disappearance had been to make airlines “realize they had a hole in their reporting” once aircraft were in the air.

Hitchins said major flag carriers (such as Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Malaysia Airlines (MAS)) had signed up for (SITA)’s (AIRCOM) composite flight tracking tool, but many smaller airlines were also opting for similar systems. “We have seen some 20 - 30 airlines take up [AIRCOM] so far, and the (ICAO) mandate for regular time-stamped reporting next year will only push that number,” he said.

Hitchins said systems that rely on existing technology already on board the aircraft (such as (ACARS), (FANS-1/A), (ADS-B), and (VHF)) and also linked to outside sources of information (such as radar feeds, and even Google Maps and weather reports) were seeing good take-up.

The system also offers the ability to sound alerts if an aircraft deviates from its planned path either in altitude or flight path terms, Hitchins said. Lion Air (MLI) is evaluating the system for its 100-plus airplanes.

“The plus is that small, turboprop operators can use this kind of tracking just as easily as the big operators can,” he said. “Unfortunately it took the tragedy [of MH370] to make us see the need for this kind of technology.”

News Item A-5: "(IATA): Global Air Freight Market Improved Marginally in September" by (ATW) Mark Nensel, November 6, 2015.

World air freight volumes grew marginally in September, rising +1% year-over-year, according to (IATA)’s Air Freight Market Analysis. While a modest uptick over August, “the global trend is fragile, and the improvement is narrowly based,” (IATA) (DG) & (CEO), Tony Tyler said, noting that trade and business confidence remain weak in key regions. Year-to-date, the global air freight market has improved +2.4% over the same period in 2014.

Tyler said a “+2.8% growth reported by European carriers reflects positive trends in trade with Central and Eastern European economies, as well as a general improvement in [eurozone] manufacturing, but the largest air cargo region, Asia-Pacific, was only just in positive territory [+0.3% growth year-over-year], held down by weak regional trade.”

Air freight volumes in the Middle East were up +7.5% year-over-year (YOY), a fall-off from the region’s +10.5% (YOY) August performance. Europe’s 2.8% (YOY) growth was indeed an improvement on its +0.7% (YOY) growth for August, “a performance [that] looks more impressive considering that volumes for the year to date have been flat,” (IATA) said. Cargo volume in Africa rose +2.5% (YOY) for the month, as regional trade “has held up and generated increases in air freight volumes,” (IATA) said. However, freight volumes in North America were down -3.3% (YOY) for the month and Latin American carriers saw a -6.4% (YOY) fall as “worsening economic and political conditions in Brazil have led to regional trade activity falling -7% between July and August,” (IATA) said.

“The weakness in air cargo markets largely tracks anemic growth in trade,” (IATA) said in its bottom-line analysis. “Trade is the path to prosperity,” Tyler said. “We have high hopes that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will deliver its promised benefits to participating economies with air transport (cargo and passenger) playing its role as one of the catalysts for growth.”

News Item A-6: "Foxx Touts NextGen (ATC) Progress, - Calls for Stable (FAA) Funding."

USA Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx said the (FAA) is making significant progress modernizing air traffic control (ATC), but continues to be hampered by a lack of stable funding.

News Item A-7: "(SITA) (CEO) to Step Down in Second Half of 2016"
by (ATW) Linda Blachly, November 5, 2015.

Information Technology (IT) specialist, (SITA) has announced that (CEO), Francesco Violante will step down in the second half of 2016 after more than >13 years at the helm. (SITA) said a global search for a successor is under way.

(SITA) said that under Violante’s leadership, it has undergone a “dramatic transformation, merging previously separate entities into a single company that delivers award winning (IT) solutions to the air transport community, touching every aspect of the travel journey with airlines, through airports and on board aircraft.”

According to (SITA), Violante’s vision was to strengthen its position at the heart of the (ATI) by promoting solutions to address community issues, as well as specific customer needs. “He is credited with transforming (SITA) from a pure network based company to one that provides a complete portfolio of (IT) solutions for airlines, airports and government agencies across the globe. During his tenure, (SITA) has achieved a solid financial position with practically no debts and consolidated revenues of $1.7 billion in 2014, achieving year-on-year incremental growth, despite some challenging times over the last decade in the aviation sector,” (SITA) said.

(SITA) has internally promoted David Lavorel to become (CEO) of (SITA) OnAir, effective January 1, succeeding Ian Dawkins who is stepping down to pursue other opportunities.

Lavorel, who has been (SITA) Senior VP for Corporate Development & (CEO) office since 2012, joined the Information Technology (IT) firm in 2000 and has since held roles including Head of the France Telecom partnership management and VP Mergers & Acquisitions.

In his most recent remit, Lavorel has played a leading role in the company’s strategic programs and helped develop (SITA)’s 2020 vision and strategy.

“Under David’s leadership, (SITA) OnAir will continue its strategic focus on growing revenues and helping airlines realize the full potential of the connected aircraft. He is well positioned to lead the organization in its next phase of growth,” (SITA) (CEO), Francesco Violante said.

Violante also thanked Dawkins for his five years leading OnAir. “Ian has grown the company and positioned it as a leading provider of nose-to-tail connected aircraft solutions,” he said.

OnAir became a fully owned (SITA) Group subsidiary three years ago, leading to the creation of (SITA) OnAir in January 2015.

News Item A-8: "(IATA) (DG) Tyler: Brazil’s Airlines in ‘Dire’ Financial Situation" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, November 16, 2015.

Airlines in Brazil, not long ago a global air transport bright spot, are in a “dire” situation requiring urgent government action, (IATA) (DG) & (CEO), Tony Tyler said.

Speaking at the Latin American & Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA) Airline Leaders Forum in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Tyler said Brazilian airlines lost a combined -$500 million in just the first half of 2015. “The problems facing Brazil’s carriers are threefold: the economy is in deep recession with rising unemployment; the real has lost more than a third of its value against the USA dollar in the last 12 months; and most importantly, government policies impose crippling costs on the industry,” he told the conference, calling for “immediate action to protect the benefits of aviation connectivity, by granting relief from high taxes, exorbitant fuel costs and onerous regulation.”

Following his formal remarks, Tyler said, “Clearly what we’ve had in Brazil is a weak economy. When the economy is strong, all boats rise. When economies are weak is when you see what the structural policy weaknesses are.”

He said action on aircraft fuel pricing should be the Brazilian government’s top priority in providing relief to airlines. Brazil’s import parity pricing formula “overprices fuel massively” and costs Brazilian airlines $400 million a year, Tyler said. “Fuel costs [airlines] as much as +50% more in Brazil than in other places,” he said. “That has a huge impact on airline bottom lines.”

Echoing Tyler, (ALTA) Executive director Eduardo Iglesias told reporters “there are a lot of things the Brazilian government could do” to help airlines. “Brazil has one of the highest tax rates on fuel in the region,” he explained. “By lowering those taxes, they could really improve the well-being of airlines.”

Iglesias said the collapse of the real vs the dollar has had “an immediate effect on [air traffic] demand,” adding, “Many places around the world are now having empty flights” going to Brazil.

“Aviation is one of the first areas where you feel the effects of political or economic instability, and that is the case with Brazil,” Iglesias said. “These reports [of Brazilian airlines’ poor earnings performance] are telling us that something must be done in Brazil.”

Aeromexico (AMX) (CEO), Andres Conesa, the current (ALTA) Chairman, said currency devaluation has wiped out the gains of lower fuel prices for airlines throughout Latin America. He doesn’t expect relief anytime soon for the real or other Latin American currencies. “Probably what you can expect, is there will be further volatility in 2016, some more depreciation of currencies against the dollar,” Conesa told reporters.

News Item A-9: "United Nations (UN) Allocates Radio Spectrum for Global Flight Tracking" by (ATW) Victoria Moores, November 16, 2015.

A United Nations (UN) agency has designated the 1087.7 - 1092.3 MHz frequency band for worldwide Earth-to-space aircraft tracking, following the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370.

1087.7 - 1092.3 MHz is currently used to send Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) transmissions from aircraft to terrestrial stations. However, the messages will now be sent via satellite instead, without the need for aircraft retrofits.

This has been made possible through the deployment of a new satellite constellation, capable of capturing (ADS-B) reports from aircraft worldwide.

The agreement was reached during the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15) in Geneva. The (ITU) is the specialized (UN) agency for information and communication technologies.

“This extends (ADS-B) signals beyond line-of-sight to facilitate reporting the position of aircraft equipped with (ADS-B) anywhere in the world, including oceanic, polar and other remote areas,” the (ITU) said.

(ICAO) will now develop flight tracking standards and recommended practices, as well as the performance criteria for satellite reception of (ADS-B) signals.

“Safety is aviation’s number one priority and (ICAO) is therefore very much encouraged by the positive support our global tracking position has received at (WRC-15). The allocation of frequencies enabling satellite-based (ADS-B) provides a very important piece in the global flight tracking solution which (ICAO) and the aviation community have been working toward, and will now help it to become a practical and cost-effective reality over remote and high seas airspace,” (ICAO) Secretary General, Dr Fang Liu said.

Flight tracking became topical following the loss of MH370, which was operating between Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board when it disappeared on March 8, 2014.

News Item A-10: "Technology Gap" by (ATW) Victoria Moores in Need I say Moores Blog, November 20, 2015.

African airlines largely skipped internet distribution and went directly to mobile, but they have to get the basics right, before adding more frills. I’ve just got back from the African Airline Association (AFRAA) annual general meeting in Congo-Brazzaville, where 500 delegates (including several airlines (CEO)s) largely went without WiFi for a week.

There is no small irony that one of the panel sessions at the conference was about the “strategic and tactical use” of Information Technology (IT). On the plus side, everyone had to pay attention, because their devices weren’t connected.

Interestingly, Congo-Brazzaville has 140% mobile phone penetration ( the highest in the world) so unsurprisingly, the use of mobile phone apps for service, distribution and ancillaries was a hot topic.
“Africa has the scope to own mobile money,” one panelist said. I agree. With Africa’s lack of credit card penetration, mobile phone payments are a must.

However, the discussions about adding technological frills, such as ancillaries, jarred with my recent experience of African air travel and (IT). Surely, it’s more important to prioritize the basics (like online check-in) first?

At the beginning of October, I was traveling back from an African airport. I was at the airport one hour before departure. I was checked in on my mobile phone and, as a back-up, I had a printout of my boarding card. When I tried to pass through security, I was refused and told that I needed an endorsement stamp on my boarding card (I have no clue how this works for mobile check-in).

The airline’s customer service desk sent me to check-in, which closed an hour before departure. By the time I got there, check-in was closed and when I returned to the customer service desk, that was shut too. I was stuck on the wrong side of security, checked in, well ahead of the minus -30-minute gate closure, because technology hadn’t kept pace with airport procedures.

Fortunately, I guessed that the airline used a handling agent. I went to the desk of a rival airline using the same handler, and they gave me the stamp. But how would a “normal” passenger know this?

Airlines need to see the journey through the passengers’ eyes. Either fix the process, explain the extra requirements to the passenger, or don’t offer the facility in the first place.

The panel in Brazzaville correctly stated that (IT) is simply a tool which should make passengers’ lives easier. Leaving passengers in technological limbo, while discussing the next step, is not progress.

News Item A-11: "(IATA) to Install Ticket Financial System in Cuba"
by (ATW) Karen Walker, November 25, 2015.

(IATA) plans to start operating a Billing & Settlement Plan (BSP) banking system in Cuba in 2016, helping to facilitate ticket transactions between airlines and travel agents.

The (BSP) system would be an important step in the gradual opening up of Cuba’s travel and tourism business, as relations between Cuba and the USA thaw. Ultimately, a bilateral air agreement is expected to be formed, enabling direct scheduled air links between the two countries.

Although no timing has been set for a bilateral, (IATA) (DG), Tony Tyler announced during a visit to Havana, the plan to operate a (BSP) system in Cuba next year. He also pledged (IATA)’s support and expertise as the country adapts its aviation infrastructure to cope with the anticipated large increase in air traffic and passengers.

Tyler’s visit also marked the 70th anniversary of (IATA), which was created in Havana at a meeting in the Hotel Nacional, where he hosted a celebratory dinner with the (CEO) of Cubana, the USA and Canadian ambassadors to Cuba and the head of Cuba’s civil aviation authority.

(IATA)’s (BSP) system is a critical enabler for airlines, facilitating financial transactions through travel agents via a standardized agreement and settlement mechanism.

Cuba has four accredited agents with over >100 branches across the country, but no (BSP) system. “Direct scheduled air links are a much anticipated outcome of the thawing of relations between the USA and Cuba. That will certainly create opportunities for growth. Establishing an (IATA) (BSP) in Cuba will be an important facilitator for growth in outbound ticket sales,” Tyler said at a press conference in the Hotel Nacional.

“Cuba’s air transport industry has tremendous potential. Even in my brief visit, I have come to realize that aviation could be contributing much more to Cuba. Look at tourism. Cuba welcomed a record 3 million tourists in 2014. But the Dominican Republic attracted 5 million. They are both amazing countries, but even just looking at Cuba’s size compared to the Dominican Republic indicates that it should be able to accommodate a much larger tourism industry than it does today.”

Tyler said that (IATA) estimates there were about 300,000 departures from Cuba in 2014 (outbound travel) a relatively small number for a country with over >11 million people. “We did a projection to 2034 and conservatively see the potential for one in four Cubans to be traveling by air at that time. Even if the population were steady (an obviously unrealistic expectation) that would see a market of 10 times the size of today in less than two decades,” Tyler said.

Tyler also pledged that (IATA) will assist Cuba as it tackles the major airport terminal and airfield upgrades that will be needed to cope with the increase in air and passenger traffic.

“(IATA) is not in the business of building or upgrading airports. But we do help airports and governments plan infrastructure developments. By bringing deep knowledge of airline and passenger needs we can ensure that the infrastructure investments deliver maximum benefit,” Tyler noted.

“Cuba has the potential to leapfrog to become a model in the region for modern air transport infrastructure.”

News Item A-12: (IATA) is warning the USA Senate that a plan to divert airline security fees to fund surface transportation needs could violate international aviation agreements.

News Item A-13: Aeroflot (ARO) subsidiary, Aurora Airline (AAZ) has achieved (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certification following an assessment of its operational management and control systems.

(AAZ) (CEO), Konstantin Sukhorebrik said, “(IOSA) certification is a mandatory standard for airlines operating in the world market. Aurora (AAZ) is a part of the Aeroflot Group, which has very high safety standards. Passing the audit successfully, we have confirmed our competence, experience and work quality.”

Aurora Airline (AAZ) was created by merging Vladivostok Avia (VLK) and (SAT) Airlines (SKH); for a short period it was known as Taiga Airline. (AAZ) operates domestic and international flights. It plans to double its number of passengers and fleet in the next three years.

December 2015: News Item A-1: "(IATA): Air Cargo Volumes ‘Basically Flat-lined’ in October" by (ATW) Mark Nensel, December 2, 2015.

Global air cargo volumes stagnated in October, rising just +0.5% year-over-year (YOY), according to (IATA)’s Air Freight Market Analysis.

(IATA) pinned the decline on European carriers, which in October showed only a +0.2% (YOY) rise on the region’s total market cargo movement. In September, European carriers had total market cargo growth of +2.8% (YOY).

“The outlook for air cargo continues to be very difficult,” (IATA) Director General & (CEO), Tony Tyler said. “While there was some optimism from third quarter growth, it has all but disappeared as the industry basically flat-lined early signs of improvement in export orders may bode well for trade and air cargo, but this is unlikely to prevent air cargo [from] finishing 2015 on a low note.”

Year-to-date, the worldwide air freight market has improved +2.6% over the same period in 2014. Yet October’s total market numbers (measured in (FTK)s) among the world’s regions were fairly dismal.

“European carriers have driven recent improvements in air cargo growth, but they ran out of steam in October,” (IATA) said. However (IATA) added that the region’s better performance in the preceding months “is expected to continue with improvements in eurozone manufacturing and export orders likely to support air freight demand.”

North American carriers showed a -2.4% (YOY) decrease in air cargo volume. “When looking at the most recent manufacturing and export order readings, they have fallen back into contractionary territory,” (IATA) said, predicting the trend will not bode well for trade to/from the region, as well as North American air freight carriers, in the near-term.

Air freight volume on Latin American carriers dropped -8.1% (YOY) in October, “[mirroring] the weakening consumer sentiment in the [region’s] key economies,” (IATA) said.

Carriers in the region with the largest share of global air cargo (Asia-Pacific) reported cargo volume growth of just +0.3% (YOY) in October, the same level as in September. “Conditions in the region remain fragile . . . China and other key export economies, including South Korea and Chinese Taipei, continue to record disappointing trade growth,” (IATA) said. However, (IATA) noted a large spike in export orders for China reportedly came in October. “Typically, this would indicate an acceleration in exports in the coming 2 to 3 months,” (IATA) said.

Air freight volumes in the Middle East were up +8.3% year-over-year (YOY), improved over the region’s +7.5% (YOY) September performance.

News Item A-2: The (FAA) has downgraded Thailand’s aviation safety rating, a move widely expected, following audits of the Thai regulator by the (FAA) and (ICAO).

The downgrade means Thailand is rated as Category 2 instead of Category 1 under the (FAA)’s International Aviation Safety Assessment program. Such a rating reflects oversight deficiencies with national aviation authorities rather than problems with specific airlines. However, airlines are most affected as they are not allowed to introduce new service to the USA.

A team from the (FAA) visited Thailand to conduct its audit in the week of July 13, and found oversight concerns. The Thai government was given a set period of time to attempt to address these issues.

Thai Airways (TII) was the only Thailand-based carrier serving the USA, with a route to Los Angeles, but it canceled that flight in October. However, the (FAA) was well into its audit when the route cut was announced.

Safety issues were first identified by (ICAO) in March, after a scheduled audit of Thailand’s Department of Civil Aviation (DCA). (ICAO) identified what it categorized as significant safety concerns (SSCs) mainly relating to how the state certifies its airlines. These concerns range from staffing levels to manuals and procedures.

After the (DCA) was informed, it was given 90 days to resolve the (SSC)s. While it took some measures that would allow it to start recertifying all of its airlines, it did not do enough to meet the deadline. So in June, Thailand became the 13th nation to be “red-flagged” on (ICAO)’s aviation safety list.

The red flag status does not in itself impose any restrictions, but it serves as a guide to national aviation authorities. Japan was among the first to respond, blocking most charter flights and preventing Thai carriers from starting new services. Others, including Korea, took similar steps.

News Item A-3: "Tentative Deal Reached in Congress to Reauthorize Ex-Im Bank" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, December 2, 2015.

Members of the USA Congress said they have reached a bipartisan agreement on surface transportation legislation that includes a provision to reauthorize the USA Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im).

Republicans and Democrats in both the House of Representatives and the Senate expressed confidence that the five-year highway bill, which is expected to provide about $300 billion in funding for USA surface transportation needs, would be passed within days by both chambers, sending the bill to President Barack Obama for his signature. A significant byproduct of the legislation would be the revival of Ex-Im, which had its authorization lapse June 30 and has been unable to extend export loans (including on commercial aircraft and engines) since. It also would clear the decks for the relevant transportation committees in Congress to move on to the (FAA) reauthorization legislation.

House speaker, Paul Ryan (Republican, Wisconsin) and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (Republican, Kentucky), who have both been vocal opponents of Ex-Im reauthorization, appear willing to support the highway legislation, despite the Ex-Im reauthorization provision. Ryan said there would be “very good majority support” for the surface transportation bill in the House.

Both chambers have previously voted in large majorities to reauthorize Ex-Im; the Senate did so over the summer in an earlier version of the highway bill and the House did so this autumn in a standalone Ex-Im vote in October, and again in November in its version of the highway bill. But the surface transportation bill that has now been agreed upon following House-Senate negotiations, if passed, would mark the first time both chambers have cleared an identical bill reauthorizing Ex-Im to send to President Obama to sign into law.

News Item A-4: "Congress Reauthorizes Ex-Im Bank Through 2019" by (ATW) Aaron Karp December 4, 2015.

The more than five-month lapse of the USA Export-Import Bank’s (Ex-Im) authority was brought to an end by the USA Congress, which has overwhelmingly voted to reauthorize Ex-Im through 2019.

Ex-Im’s authority lapsed June 30, and it has been unable to extend export credit loans since; Boeing (TBC) and other USA aerospace manufacturers were highly critical of Congress for allowing the 81-year-old agency to lose its authorization. After months of legislative wrangling (during which a group of Congressional Republicans were able to keep the agency unauthorized despite wide bipartisan support for re-authorization) the Ex-Im was revived late December 3, when both the House of Representatives and Senate passed a $300 billion surface transportation bill that included an Ex-Im re-authorization provision.

The House voted for the highway bill, including Ex-Im re-authorization by a 359 - 65 margin. The Senate followed with an 83 - 16 vote. President Barack Obama is expected to quickly sign the bill into law, putting the Ex-Im back in business.

“By reopening the Export-Import Bank, Congress has taken strong action enabling American exporters and the skilled workers they employ, to compete successfully in tough global markets,” Boeing (TBC) President & (CEO), Dennis Muilenburg said. "We commend the bipartisan majorities in both the House and the Senate that recognized the Ex-Im Bank’s value to the USA economy by voting several times in recent months to reauthorize.” He added that the Ex-Im helps support “1.5 million workers at nearly 15,000 USA companies that help Boeing (TBC) design, make and support America’s aerospace exports.”

USA Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) President & (CEO), David Melcher said he was “relieved and delighted that the [highway] bill served as a vehicle for a four-year re-authorization of the Export-Import Bank of the USA. The Ex-Im Bank is a valuable tool supporting exports in the aerospace industry (the leading export industry in the USA manufacturing sector with a trade surplus of nearly $62 billion.”

But Melcher noted that “one last item remains for the Ex-Im Bank to become fully functional again.” He said the Ex-Im currently lacks “the required number of directors on their board to approve any transaction over >$10 million,” adding, “Filling the other seats requires the cooperation of the USA Senate and the White House. We urge President Obama and Senate leadership to nominate and confirm new members to the Ex-Im board expeditiously.”

Representative Stephen Fincher (Republican - Tennessee), who led the fight in the House to reauthorize Ex-Im, said, “Since June, the future of the Ex-Im Bank has been in limbo. While other countries have been securing large export deals, American companies have been placed at a competitive disadvantage (forced to compete globally with one hand tied behind their back. [The Congressional] vote puts us one step closer to ensuring our exporters have a seat at the table and are able to compete on a level playing field with other nations).”

Senator Marco Rubio (Republican - Florida), a candidate for USA President, vowed to continue working “to end the Export-Import Bank,” calling Ex-Im’s reauthorization “especially offensive to taxpayers, who want to end corporate welfare handouts and let the free market finance overseas investments by American companies.”

News Item A-5: "USA Customs May Expand USA Global Entry to Foreign Nationals" by (ATW) Madhu Unnikrishna, December 3, 2015.

Citizens of the UK will soon be allowed to join the "USA Global Entry" expedited screening program as the USA explores ways to expand the program.

German citizens are likely to follow the UK, and the USA is in talks with Japan and South Korea on expanding Global Entry to citizens of those countries, John Wagner, Customs & Border Protection (CBP) Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Office of Field Operations, said at the Airports Council International) North America International Aviation Seminar in Washington DC.

The advantages of expanding Global Entry to select foreign countries are many, Wagner said. The program allows the (CBP) to add biometric data—fingerprints and facial photographs—to its database. And expanding the pool of trusted travelers will reduce the amount of time (CBP) officers spend processing foreign travelers, allowing them to focus on travelers not in the database.

To illustrate, Wagner pointed out that there are now 3.8 million USA citizens enrolled in Global Entry, which has been deployed at 59 airports in the country. Global Entry members collectively took 18 million trips last year, and each Global Entry screening saves “at least one minute” of office processing time. Wagner estimates this saved “18 million minutes” of (CBP) personnel time, allowing officers to focus on passengers that may need additional screening.

Global Entry uses spikes on Fridays, with an average of 27,000 passengers using the kiosks, Wagner said.

A second prong to enhance security is adding more airports to the preclearance program, Wagner said. Now, 15 foreign airports have preclearance facilities, and (CBP) is looking to expand the program to countries such as Japan, Sweden, the Dominican Republic, and the UK. The facilities, staffed by (CBP) officers, allow the USA to collect biometric data and screen passengers and their belongings before they board the aircraft. “The expansion of preclearance is critical to national security,” Wagner said.

News Item A-6: "USA-Mexico Air Services Agreement may be Approved in (1Q) 2016" by (ATW) Madhu Unnikrishnan, December 3, 2015.

The USA government has approved the liberalized USA - Mexico air services agreement, but the Mexican Senate must ratify it before it can go into effect, a top USA Department of Transportation official has said. “Once the Mexican Senate ratifies the agreement, it will start the process for it to enter into force,” Susan Kurland, Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Aviation & International Affairs, told (ATW)’s sister publication, "Aviation Daily" at the Airports Council International, North America International aviation seminar. All that remains on the USA side are executive branch signatures, Kurland said, adding, “It’s in [Mexico’s] hands.”

It is widely thought the necessary Mexican approvals will not occur before January 1, which is the date the agreement was originally slated to enter into force. But industry sources say the agreement will be approved in the first quarter of 2016.

One reason for the delay is that the Spanish-language translation of the original treaty did not match the English-language original, a person familiar with the matter said. This cost several months as both countries worked to reconcile the two versions.

The USA - Mexico agreement was initialed last year and does away numerical limits on the number of carriers that can serve routes between the two countries. Now, per the agreement first signed in 1960 and amended in 2005, each country can designate two or three airlines to serve a particular route.

Separately, Kurland said the USA and Japan are wrapping up two days of formal consultations (negotiations provided for under the "Open Skies" deal. These are the first consultations since the "Open Skies" deal went into force in 2010. Although negotiations will cover a wide range of issues, the main topic of discussion was improving access to Tokyo Haneda airport, Kurland said. Japan earlier this year proposed giving USA airlines daytime slots for service to the US; however, the USA has long pushed for more slots (USA airlines currently have four slot pairs at Haneda) at the airport.

News Item A-7: "(IATA)’s Tony Tyler Issues Defiant Anti-terrorism Message" by (ATW) Mark Nensel, December 4, 2015.

Tony Tyler, (DG) & (CEO) (IATA) had a defiant anti-terrorism year-end message for the aviation industry. “This year’s [holiday] celebrations will be juxtaposed against the somber reality of recent terrorist activity in the Middle East and Europe. This, by all indications, also includes the downing of Metrojet (KLV) Flt 9268 with the loss of all aboard,” Tyler said. “Acts of terror, whether they occur on a city street or at 30,000 feet, will not get the better of us, or succeed in limiting the possibilities of our world. The most important response to acts and threats of terrorism is to show that we will not let the terrorists change our lives. That extends to aviation and tourism. Over >100,000 flights will bring a million people together today because of the efforts of 8.7 million people—aviation professionals. These efforts will create opportunities for business and leisure and for greater understanding among people and cultures. By doing so, flying is a force for good in our world. As we look to 2016 and beyond, it’s a reality that should continue to inspire us all.”

Tony Tyler will retire as head of (IATA) in June 2016.

In October, global passenger traffic grew +7.5% year-over-year, bolstering the year’s strong demand levels, according to the Air Passenger Market Analysis. Year-to-date (YTD) passenger demand has grown +6.8% year-over-year (YOY), outpacing growth demand at this point last year ((YTD) growth was at +5.8% (YOY) in October 2014).

Lower fares, especially for leisure travel, have stimulated passenger demand. “For the first eight months of the year, there has been a -5% fall in average fares, in currency adjusted terms,” (IATA) said, estimating that the fare decrease has sparked an approximate +3% rise in passenger traffic (YTD).

“In most parts of the world, we see strong demand for travel (exceeding the growth in capacity, load factors are averaging over >80% LF,” (IATA) (DG) & (CEO), Tony Tyler said. “[But] there are some weak spots; for example the Brazilian air transport sector is caught in a perfect storm of a deepening recession, high costs and a weak currency.”

Global capacity grew +5.7% (YOY) in October, down from September’s capacity rise of +6.6% (YOY); the total market passenger load factor was 80.5% LF, down slightly from September’s 80.7% LF. Load factors in July and August were 83.6% LF and 84.7% LF, respectively.

All regions showed overall growth in October.

Passenger traffic in the Middle East was up +9.7% (YOY), with a load factor of 79.8% LF; the region holds 9.1% of the total market. The Middle East was the only region to have its load factor decline for the month.

Asia-Pacific passenger demand grew +9.2%, with a 78.5% LF load factor and 31.4% of the total market, the world’s largest share. “Significant declines in trade activity to/from emerging Asia and slower than expected growth in the Chinese economy, do not appear to be impacting on passenger demand,” (IATA) said. Domestic traffic in India and China was up +17.6% (YOY) and +12.8% (YOY), respectively.

Passenger travel in Europe increased +6.9% (YOY), with an 83.2% LF load factor and 28.1% of the market. According to (IATA), an ongoing economic recovery in the Eurozone is driving international travel; while October domestic travel in Russia grew +10.3% (YOY).

North American passenger traffic was up +6% (YOY), with a load factor of 85% LF and a global passenger market share of 23.9%. Domestic USA passenger traffic grew +6.9% (YOY) in October and is “related to acceleration in capacity additions,” (IATA) said. Year-to-date, USA domestic capacity is up +4.2% (YOY); at this point in 2014, USA domestic capacity was up only +0.8% (YOY).

Latin America traffic grew +4.9% (YOY), down from September’s +5.8% (YOY) growth. The region’s load factor was 79.8% LF, and the region carries 5.3% of the global passenger market. Domestic traffic in Brazil dropped -6% (YOY), but international traffic for the region grew +10% (YOY) in October. “Solid trade activity has provided a boost to business-related international travel,” (IATA) said, “notwithstanding economic weakness in Brazil and Argentina.”

Passenger traffic in Africa increased +5.6% (YOY) in October, with a load factor of 68.7% LF and a global market share of 2.2%. Passenger demand has been on the increase in Africa now for four consecutive months. “Over the past few months, exports from Africa have held up better than during earlier in the year,” (IATA) said. “This could be helping boost international air travel on the region’s carriers.”

News Item A-8: "(IATA) Forecasts Record 2015, 2016 Airline Profits, but Cautions on Regional Disparity" by (ATW) Editor, Karen Walker, December 10, 2015.

The world’s airlines are set to post a collective record net profit of +$33 billion for 2015 and are forecast to post another record net profit of +$36.3 billion in 2016, according to (IATA).

Briefing journalists at (IATA)’s Geneva headquarters December 10, (IATA) Chief Economist, Brian Pearce gave the latest financial forecasts for the airline industry. The overall picture is positive, with the 2015 collective net profit outlook further increased from $29.3 billion forecast in June to the $33 billion now forecast.

However, the good-news picture is not uniform. North American carriers account for more than half of the global net profit forecast for both 2015 and 2016, while carriers in Latin America and Africa are expected to post collective small net losses.

North American carriers are forecast to post a net profit of +$19.4 billion for 2015 and +$19.2 billion for 2016. Pearce said the main reason for the slight drop in year-over-year profitability was that the financial benefit of fuel price drops will have been absorbed by 2016, but their predicted net margin of 9.5% for each year will be the best performance by far, relative to other world regions. Overall, the global net margin of airlines is forecast to be 4.6% in 2015 and 5.1% in 2016.

“North American airlines are well out ahead of the pack,” Pearce said. “We are seeing some improvement in Europe, but improvements are not widespread. There are backward steps in Latin America and Africa especially.”

Latin America has become a major region of concern. A deepening economic crisis in Brazil, anti-airline regulation, coupled with heavy taxes and fees in many countries (especially Argentina and Venezuela) have made the region one of the world’s most difficult and most expensive for airlines to operate in, (IATA) Regional VP, Americas, Peter Cerda noted.

As a result, the region is expected to end 2015 with a net loss of -$300 million, recovering to a +$400 million profit in 2016.

Another concern, especially for Europe, and which could affect the numbers next year, is whether the terrorist attacks in Paris could prompt a drop in tourist travel.

Pearce acknowledged industry concern and said there had been a “sharp fall” in travel, particularly from Asia, after the Paris attacks in November. But he added that previous experience, with events such as the "9/11" attacks had shown that air travel does rebound.

(IATA) (DG) Tony Tyler added, “People who go on holiday will still go on holiday. It doesn’t take them long to put their fears behind them.”

By region, today’s (IATA) forecast puts North America 2015 net profit at +$19.4 billion and 2106 net profit at +$19.2 billion; Europe at +$6.9 billion and +$8.5 billion; Asia-Pacific at +$5.8 billion and +$6.6 billion; Middle East at +$1.4 billion and +$1.7 billion; Latin America at -$0.3 billion and -$0.4 billion; and Africa at -$0.3 billion -$0.1 billion.

“The industry’s results are good, but they are not outstanding, when compared to the profits that are generated in other parts of the global economy,” Tyler noted. “There is no ‘easy money’ profitability that is sustainable for any business. The airline industry has strengthened its profitability to an ordinary, not an extraordinary level. The core of that success is primarily in North America. Large parts of the industry are still struggling.”

News Item A-9: "(IATA) is Confident of Carbon Emissions (MBM) Agreement in 2016" by (ATW) Editor Karen Walker, December 11, 2015.

(IATA) is confident that a global aviation emissions agreement will be reached in 2016 regardless of United Nations (UN) climate talks in Paris, an (IATA) Environment Director said.

(ICAO) is working to develop a global market-based measures (MBM) system to address CO2 emissions from aviation. At the 2013 (ICAO) Assembly, governments agreed to develop the aviation (MBM) by the time of the 2016 (ICAO) Assembly so that it can be implemented in 2020.

Two working groups are progressing that (MBM) framework. At a media briefing in Geneva on December 10, (IATA) Director, Aviation Environment, Michael Gill said the process was long and complex, but he believed the working groups has achieved significant progress.

“We are impressed by the quality of the discussions and note the willingness of governments from all regions of the world and on all sides of the debate to engage in these discussions,” he said. “Let’s not forget that this is the first time that agreement on such a global measure has even been attempted.”

In parallel, a significant development on the policy side has been taking place during government meetings in Paris this week at the Conference of Parties to the (UN) climate change convention (or "(COP) 21 Paris." This is the largest single meeting of heads of state and government ever to take place on carbon emissions and climate change.

Gill, who was attending the talks, said there was a belief that an agreement in Paris was possible and that whatever the outcome, it would not impede progress towards a global aviation (MBM).

“We believe the stars are aligned and there will be a successful outcome at the (ICAO) Assembly,” Gill said.

He cautioned, however, that the political side was much more sensitive than the technical side, where work was “well advanced.”

Sticking points on the political side, Gill noted, included how obligations on each individual airline would be determined and shared, and how to take into account, the economic development of each geographical region. “That’s politically charged and much discussion needs to be done,” he said.

News Item A-10: "Fire & Fumes Incidents Prompt (IATA) Scrutiny of Hoverboard Carriage" by (ATW) Editor Karen Walker, December 11,2015.

A number of fumes and small fire incidents involving lithium-battery-powered hoverboards loaded on to airliners has prompted (IATA) to develop industry guidelines for handling the new-fad gliding vehicles.

Several airlines are banning the carriage of hoverboards over concerns they pose a fire hazard.

In a media briefing in Geneva on December 10, (IATA) officials said that hoverboards and balance boards powered by lithium ion batteries have recently prompted inquiries from airlines about their safe carriage and prompted “extensive discussions.”

The devices are considered personal electronic devices (PED)s, not mobility aids, and are becoming widely available in stores worldwide, including airport airside shops, (IATA) Senior VP safety & Flight Operations, Gilberto Lopez Meyer said. “There have been some incidents of fumes or small fires,” experienced with the devices on board aircraft, Meyer said.

(IATA) is therefore developing guidance on how to manage what it described as an “emerging issue”, although no timelines were given.

Some airlines, meanwhile, are already banning the devices. American Airlines (AAL), British Airways (BAB), Delta Air Lines (DAL), and United Airlines (UAL) are among those taking pre-emptive action to keep them off their aircraft.

Lithium ion batteries first drew wide attention in the airline industry after some fire and fumes incidents involving Boeing 787 Dreamliner airplanes, which uses the lightweight batteries in its design. Boeing (TBC) subsequently redesigned the system to prevent another uncontained fire occurring. Airbus redesigned its A350 XWB, which at the time had not yet entered service, so that lithium ion batteries were no longer used and were replaced with nickel cadmium batteries.

News Item A-11: "(EASA) Acts on Medical Fitness after Germanwings (RFG) Crash" by (ATW) Victoria Moores, December 9, 2015.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is finalizing a series of proposals after holding an aircrew (FC) medical fitness workshop, as part of the Germanwings (RFG) crash action plan.

On March, 24, a Germanwings (RFG) Airbus A320 was on a scheduled flight from Barcelona to Düsseldorf when it crashed, killing all 150 people aboard. A preliminary report revealed that co-pilot (FC) Andreas Lubitz, alone on the flight deck, switched the selected altitude from 38,000 ft to 100 ft (the minimum value possible on an Airbus A320) and increased the speed of the aircraft, setting in motion an intentional fatal descent into the French Alps.

“We need to act quickly if we want to minimize the risk of a catastrophe such as the (RFG) accident to happen again,” (EASA) Executive Director, Patrick Ky said.

In July 2015, an (EASA)-led task force came up with a series of recommendations following the Germanwings (RFG) crash. During the workshop, which was held on December 7 - 8 in Cologne, (EASA) outlined how it planned to implement these recommendations. Around 150 people attended the meeting, including representatives from airlines, labor bodies, medical experts and regulatory authorities.

(EASA) has proposed tighter alcohol, drug and psychological testing; stronger medical oversight; improved support and reporting systems, and a new European repository of pilots (FC)’ aero-medical data.

“(EASA) will now finalize its proposals, including the feedback received at the workshop for all of the above areas, and will present a mix of regulatory and non-regulatory proposed measures. These papers will undergo focused consultation with the affected stakeholders in early 2016 and can be expected to be implemented in the course of 2016,” (EASA) said.

Recently, the European Cockpit Association joined forces with the European Society of Aerospace Medicine, and the European Association for Aviation Psychology to strengthen the relationship between aviation medical examiners and pilots (FC).

News Item A-12: "Cuba & USA Reach Historic Air Agreement to Restart Scheduled Flights," by (ATW) Editor, Karen Walker, December 16, 2015.

Cuba and the USA have reached a bilateral arrangement to establish scheduled air services between the two countries, the USA State Department said. American Airlines (AAL), United Airlines (UAL) and JetBlue Airways (JBL) were among the first USA carriers to say they will seek approval to begin scheduled services as soon as possible.

The agreement, reached late December 16, means that charter operations can continue between the USA and Cuba and scheduled services can begin, although no timeline was given. The opening up of scheduled services is expected to be phased in slowly to allow Cuba to build the infrastructure that will be needed to accommodate the extra flights and passengers and to ensure Cubana’s future in the new aviation environment.

USA law will still prohibit tourist travel to Cuba by American citizens, but State said that “a stronger civil aviation relationship will facilitate growth in authorized travel between our two countries, a critical component of the President’s policy toward Cuba.”

(AAL) Chairman & (CEO), Doug Parker issued a statement welcoming the agreement. “Today’s announcement is great news for our customers as it brings us one step closer to connecting the USA and Cuba with scheduled air service,” he said. “We look forward to establishing scheduled service to Cuba in 2016, from Miami and other (AAL) hubs.”

(AAL) said it expects to submit a USA - Cuba service proposal to the Department of Transportation and hopes for timely approval of its proposal to enable (AAL) to introduce scheduled service as soon as possible in 2016.

(UAL) described the agreement as “historic” and said it looked forward to offering service between our global gateways and Cuba “as soon as we have approval to do so.”

“We hope the next dot on our Caribbean route map will be Havana, and possibly even other destinations in Cuba,” JetBlue (JBL) Senior VP Airline Planning, Scott Laurence said. “Cuba is the perfect addition to the (JBL) network.” (JBL) said it is “eager” to offer scheduled service to Cuba.

The bilateral is a major step forward in the resumption of normal relations between Cuba and the USA, a move that began a year ago with an announcement by USA President, Barack Obama of policy changes and the lifting of some travel restrictions to Cuba by USA citizens. Since then, the USA has reopened its embassy in Havana, but little else has changed.

Scheduled commercial airline services have been suspended for decades, since relations between the two countries broke down during the Cold War era. But that does not mean there have been no USA commercial flights to Cuba. Charter flights abound and are a particularly important connector, particularly from Florida, where many Cuban Americans reside. In December, (AAL) launched a regular charter from Los Angeles to Havana. USA citizen travel to Cuba is said by USA officials to be up by some +60% in 2015 over 2014, with more than >100,000 Americans visiting the country between January and September.

There is huge potential for growth in Cuba’s aviation and tourism markets, but also many constraints, primarily in ground and airport infrastructure, and in Cuba’s concerns to protect its only major airline, Cubana (CUB), which has just 26 aircraft, most of them Russian. (CUB), in its present form, would easily be outweighed by the USA carriers that are eager to start service to Cuba, including (AAL), (JBL) and (UAL).

The new bilateral is therefore expected to be phased in slowly. The airline is merging with regional carrier Aero Caribbean, which has a fleet of four ATR72s and three ATR42s and which operates domestic flights as well as services to some other Caribbean islands, including the Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, and Haiti. Cubana (CUB) is restricted to owning aircraft with no more than >10% USA-made content; essentially compelling it to use Russian-made Antonov AN-24s, Ilushin IL-96s and Tupolev TU-204s, although it does also lease four A320s from Avion Express, using those aircraft for Canadian routes.

Speaking informally during a recent dinner in Havana to mark the 70th anniversary of (IATA) (which was created in the Cuban capital) Cuba’s Head of Civil Aviation, Mayda Molina Martinez, said that any new air agreement with the USA would be phased in slowly and in such a way that would allow (CUB) to grow and adapt to the USA market.

Cuba’s air traffic management system is well positioned to handle the anticipated increases in commercial airliner movements under a more open aviation agreement. Cuban aviation authorities already liaise with the (FAA) on Air Traffic Control (ATC) issues and are recognized as being expert and efficient. In addition to the large number of USA charter flights that Cuba’s (ATC) system handles, the island nation manages well more than 70 over-flights a day.

The pain points will be on the ground, in airport terminal infrastructure and air side. Cuba has 10 international and 15 domestic airports. While the international airports are equipped with long runways, much development work will be necessary if Cuba’s airports, especially Havana, are to manage large increases in aircraft and passenger traffic. New technology will be necessary air side and on the terminal side, and there will be a need for far more automation. Self-serve check-in kiosks are non-existent and the checked baggage delivery system from plane to carousel can be hours-long.

“We have offered the government our assistance and to send people here to make a plan for what needs to be done,” (IATA) (DG), (CEO) Tony Tyler said in Havana. “We want to avoid mistakes that others have made, when they build too much, too quickly. We can help them draw up a plan so that the right infrastructure is in the right place at the right time.”

(IATA) announced in November plans to start operating a Billing & Settlement Plan (BSP) banking system in Cuba in 2016, helping to facilitate ticket transactions between airlines and travel agents.
The (BSP) system would be an important step in the gradual opening up of Cuba’s travel and tourism business, as relations between Cuba and the USA thaw. (IATA)’s (BSP) system is a critical enabler for airlines, facilitating financial transactions through travel agents via a standardized agreement and settlement mechanism. Cuba has four accredited agents with over >100 branches across the country, but no (BSP) system.

News Item A-13: AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) has renewed its (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certificate for a further two years following a five-day inspection by independent auditors.

According to (ABC), the three-stage audit comprises: preparation, audit and deficiencies rectification. Inspectors reviewed (ABC)’s flight performance, operating control, maintenance and ground handling, aviation security and quality management.

(ABC) said it continually conducts the first stage on a daily basis as part of a focus on safety standards. An (IATA)-accredited French audit company conducted the second stage. During the audit, inspectors checked (ABC)’s compliance with more than >800 (IOSA) standards and sent the final results to (IATA).

“(IOSA) is a global air industry benchmark for quality and safety,” (ABC) Executive President, Denis Ilyin said. “This certificate is a further demonstration of AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC)’s commitment to providing reliable cargo services to its international customers.”

(ABC) first became (IOSA)-certified in 2012.

News Item A-14: "(IATA)’s Tyler Named Air Transport World (ATW) 2016 Leadership Excellence Recipient" December 16, 2015.

News Item A-15: "New European Airline Association Takes Shape" by (ATW) Victoria Moores, December 22, 2015.

Final preparations are underway to create a new European airline association, called Airlines for Europe (A4E), which is expected to launch around the third week of January 2016.

In June 2015, Europe’s five largest airline groups (Air France (AFA) - (KLM), easyJet (EZY), the International Airlines Group (IAG), the Lufthansa (DLH) Group, and Ryanair (RYR)) joined forces to lobby on European aviation policy.

At the time, the airlines indicated they were considering how to take this partnership forward. (A4E) will be formally launched around January 20, 2016. The exact date of the (A4E) announcement will depend on the availability of (A4E)’s airline (CEO)s.

The Netherlands will hold the six-month revolving (EU) Presidency in the first half of 2016 and the (A4E) unveiling has been timed to coincide with an Aviation Summit, hosted by the Dutch presidency, in Amsterdam on Januray 20 - 21, 2016. The summit will be used as a forum for the European Commission (EC)’s new aviation strategy, which was released by European Transport Commissioner, Violeta Bulc on December 7.

The five (A4E) Founders represent half of all passenger journeys in Europe, but once the new body has been formally established, it will be open to new members.

There are currently four main associations representing European airlines: The Association of European Airlines (AEA) acts for the continent’s network airlines, the European Low Fares Airline Association (ELFAA) is the low-cost carrier (LCC) body, the International Air Carrier Association (IACA) is the voice of the leisure carriers, and the European Regions Airline Association (ERAA) represents the regionals.

Speaking at the recent (AOA) conference, (IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh said: “I am pro-European, but my experience of working directly with the (EC) shows it is in huge need of reform.”

Referring to the (A4E) without using the body’s name, Walsh acknowledged that the partners do not share the same viewpoint on some issues, such as the Gulf carriers. Therefore the (A4E) will focus on areas where it can find common ground, such as airport charges, the "Single European Sky" and the environment.

When the (A4E) airlines met with the (EC), Walsh says the (EC) was keen to focus on the areas where the group disagrees. “What we’ve recognized from having multiple associations speaking on behalf of the industry is that politicians like to identify areas where we don’t agree. We will agree a position and be very loud on it. We will be very, very focused,” Walsh said.

(A4E)’s committee, which is made up of representatives of each of the five airlines, is still seeking someone to lead the organization, although the launch could go ahead even without a Chief in place.

In the meantime, the body has hired former Lufthansa (DLH) and airberlin (BER) executive, Aage Duenhaupt as its Brussels-based, Head of Communications.

Duenhaupt, who was hired by the (A4E) from December 2015, began his aviation communications career with Lufthansa Technik (DLH) (LTK) in 2002, before moving on to several senior airline Public Relation (PR) roles with Lufthansa (DLH). Most recently, he was Senior VP Communications for airberlin (BER).

News Item A-16: "(IATA): Global Passenger Travel Market Growth at 4.7% Year-to-date" by (ATW) Mark Nensel, December 24, 2015.

Global international passenger traffic increased +4.5% year-over-year (YOY) in October, according to (IATA)’s October Premium Traffic Monitor. Economy class (Y) traffic growth was up +4.6% (YOY) in October; premium traffic ((F)/(B)/(PY)) increased +3.9% (YOY).

Year-to-date, premium ((F)/(B)/(PY)) travel has increased +4% (YOY); economy (Y) traffic has grown +4.8% (YOY). Total traffic growth is up +4.7% (YOY) as of October 31. At the same point last year, the total traffic market had grown +3.6% for the year, compared to 2013.

The airline travel trend in 2015 has thus far “been broadly positive in both travel classes, and in fact growth in economy (Y) class has been relatively stronger,” (IATA) said in its analysis, citing recent low fares as a boon for economy (Y) travel and weakness in business confidence as a drag on premium ((F)/(B)/(PY)) travel.

“However, weakness in air travel [within the] Far East market [has] been placing downward pressure on the industry growth trend,” (IATA) said. “Slower than expected growth in China and weak trade activity have translated to declines in international air travel growth in the region.”

Routes within North America had the strongest economy (Y) traffic growth in October (up +20.9 (YOY)), followed by North America - Central America routes (up +11.2%), Mid-Atlantic routes (up +9.6% (YOY)), South Pacific routes (up +9% (YOY)) and North and Mid-Pacific routes (up +(7.7)% (YOY)). Declines in October economy (Y) traffic were seen on Africa - Far East routes (down -12.9% (YOY)) and Middle East - Far East routes (down -1.3% (YOY)).

International premium traffic accounted for 5.5% of October’s total traffic and 25.4% of the month’s total revenue.

As with economy (Y) travel, routes within North America showed the biggest increase in premium ((F)/(B)/(PY)) travel, rising +11.9% (YOY). “It is not clear if the USA economy has recovered adequately from the recession to tolerate an increase in interest rates,” (IATA) said. “[But] indicators continue to suggest that improvements are on track, which bodes well for air travel demand.”

Other significant increases for international premium passenger travel in October were seen on South Pacific routes (up +10.4% (YOY)), Europe - Middle East routes (up +7.6% (YOY)), North Atlantic routes (up +6.9% (YOY)) and routes within Europe (up +6.4% (YOY)). October declines in premium traffic occurred on Africa - Far East routes (down -18% (YOY)), South Atlantic routes (down -2.7% (YOY)) and routes within Africa (down -1.5% (YOY)).

News Item A-17: "2015 was the Safest Year Ever, According to Aviation Safety Network (ASN) Data" December 28, 2015.

The Aviation Safety Network (ASN) released the preliminary 2015 airliner accident statistics showing a record low total of 16 fatal airliner accidents, resulting in 560 fatalities.

Despite several high profile accidents, the year 2015 turned out to be a very safe year for commercial aviation, Aviation Safety Network (ASN) data show.

Over the year 2015, the (ASN) recorded a total of 16 fatal airliner accidents, resulting in 560 fatalities. This makes 2015 the safest year ever by number of fatal accidents and the 5th safest year ever in terms of fatalities. Most accidents involved passenger flights (7). Given the expected worldwide air traffic of 34,000,000 flights, the accident rate is 1 fatal passenger flight accident per 4,857,000 flights.

The worst accident this year happened on October 31, when a Metrojet (KLV) Airbus A321 crashed in the Sinai Desert, killing all 224.

The low number of accident airplanes comes as no surprise, according to (ASN) President, Harro Ranter: "Since 1997, the average number of airliner accidents has shown a steady and persistent decline, for a great deal thanks to the continuing safety-driven efforts by the international aviation organizations such as (ICAO), (IATA), the Flight Safety Foundation, and the aviation industry."

Two out of 16 accidents were operated by airlines on the European Union (EU) "black list."

Statistics are based on a selection of worldwide fatal accidents involving civil aircraft with a minimum capacity of 14 passengers.

News Item A-18: "On the Rise: The 2015 Air Traffic Breakdown" by Juliet Van Wagenen, Avionics Today Magazine, December 28, 2015.

See attached - "ITA-2015-12 - World Air Traffic Increase.jpg."

Throughout 2015, commercial aviation has seen a global rise in air traffic and profitability, according to preliminary figures released on December 22 by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The global aviation organization released numbers that reflected a +6.4% worldwide increase in the total number of passengers carried on scheduled services over the last year.

Despite sluggish economic growth in advanced economies and most emerging markets, air traffic still saw a boost in profitability thanks to a nearly -40% decline in the average 2015 jet fuel price. This gave air carriers a bit of wiggle room to lower airfares and help stimulate this increase, leading to a total airline operating profit of +$60 billion in 2015, as opposed to +$45 billion in 2014.

With 3.5 billion passengers flying on commercial aircraft this year and airlines generating record profits, the numbers differ sharply across the globe. Here’s how each region stacked up in 2015:

* The Middle East

The Middle East saw the most growth over the last year, according to (ICAO), with a +12.1% increase in 2015 compared to the year before. The region currently carries 14% of the world’s Revenue Passenger-Kilometers (RPK)s, and this number is anticipated to grow. According to Boeing (TBC)’s latest Current Market Outlook (CMO), released in November, airlines in the Middle East are forecasted to require 3,180 new airplanes over the next 20 years, with rapid fleet expansion in the region driving an estimated 70% of that demand.

"Traffic growth in the Middle East continues to grow at a healthy rate and is expected to grow +6.2% annually during the next 20 years," said Randy Tinseth, VP Marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA). "About 80% of the world's population lives within an eight-hour flight of the Arabian Gulf. This geographic position, coupled with diverse business strategies and investment in infrastructure is allowing carriers in the Middle East to aggregate traffic at their hubs and offer one-stop service between many city pairs that would not otherwise enjoy such direct itineraries."

* The Asia-Pacific

Despite recent economic volatility, China is the poster child for growth in the aviation industry and (alongside growth in India) has much to do with the +8.2% bump in air traffic enjoyed by the Asia-Pacific region in 2015. Domestically, the region saw an even larger increase, marking growth of +10.3% in domestic air traffic, according to (ICAO), and accounting for 39% of world domestic scheduled traffic.

Low Cost Carriers (LCC) are contributing full sail to this upturn, with (LCC)s in the Asia Pacific representing 31% of total (LCC) passengers carried worldwide, according to (ICAO). These low-cost options, coupled with the dropping price of airfare, which has come down roughly -48% since 1990, are catering to the country’s rising middle class.

“Traveling is cheaper and is becoming more ubiquitous and more available, especially as the wealth rises in upcoming populations,” Tom Captain, VP & USA Aerospace & Defense Leader for Deloitte, told Avionics Magazine in an earlier interview. “It’s probably a good bet that the continued growth of air travel will exceed global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by a factor of +40 to +50%.”

* Latin America

Carriers in Latin America and the Caribbean managed 4% of world (RPK) traffic and recorded +7.9% growth in 2015. Current and future growth is hampered by economic difficulties across the continent, however, spurred by an economic downturn in Brazil.

“The deepening recession in Brazil is dragging down the industry across the continent,” Tony Tyler, (DG) and (CEO) of International Air Transportation Association (IATA) remarked during Global Media Day in Geneva earlier this month. “Earlier this year, we projected that Latin American airlines would make a +$600 million profit and now we see a -$300 million loss in 2015. The situation is being made worse by government policies, which inflate fuel prices and other critical infrastructure costs.”

* Europe

Europe accounts for the largest share of international (RPK)s at 37% and enjoyed an increase of +5.5% over 2014 numbers this year. With aviation sitting as an important pillar to the European economy, the European Commission (EC) also recently announced its adoption of a new aviation strategy for Europe: an initiative to boost the continent's economy, strengthen its industrial base and reinforce its global leadership position. This plan aims to build on the success of the current industry, which is appreciating a +6.9% jump in profits according to (IATA)’s latest year-end report.

“Breakeven load factors are highest in Europe, caused by low yields due to the competitive open aviation area, and high regulatory costs,” said Brian Pierce, (IATA)’s Chief Economist & Director said in (IATA)’s year-end economic report released December 10. “Net profits are forecast to rise to $8.5 billion next year.”

(IATA)’s Tyler calls for Europe to look ahead, however, and spur further development with the increased implementation of "Single European Sky."

* North America

North America recorded +3.3% growth in 2015. The region is also home to the world’s largest domestic market with 43% share of the world domestic scheduled traffic. Moreover, the aviation industry experienced around 4.7% growth in 2015, spurred largely by the popularity of by (LCC)s in the region.

While North American aviation represented just 14% (RPK) share in 2015, the region’s carriers generated more than a third of world airline profits. Looking forward to 2016, a further decline expected in oil prices, coupled with an improving economic scenario, should see passenger traffic and profits continue their upward trend both in the region and worldwide.

* Africa

Africa is the weakest region for air traffic, as it stands today and, most likely, going into next year. African air traffic grew at a rate of +0.6% in 2015, according to (ICAO), but a recent (IATA) report finds that African carriers may have seen a loss of an estimated -$300 million this year.

“Breakeven load factors are relatively low, as yields are a little higher than average and costs are lower. However, few airlines in the region are able to achieve adequate load factors, which average the lowest globally at 56% in 2015 and 2016,” said (IATA)’s Pierce in the organization’s year-end report.

While Pierce notes that “performance is improving, but slowly,” 2016 doesn’t look much better for the continent, with (IATA) predicting collective losses of approximately -$100 million for carriers in the region next year.

News Item A-19: "2015’s Big Aviation Moments; What 2016 Could Bring"
by Karen Walker in her (ATW) Editor's Blog, December 31, 2015.

As we welcome in a new year, I thought I would give a personalized recap on some of the most significant moments in the global air transport industry through 2015; and give a few thoughts on what to watch for in 2016.

* What Happened?

Gulf Wars III. For commercial aviation journalists, this was the gift that kept on giving through 2015. As the three major USA carriers, American (AAL), Delta (DAL) and United (UAL), ramped up their campaign to put a cap on the growth of the three major Gulf carriers, Emirates (EAD), Etihad (EHD) and Qatar Airways (QTA), the public exchanges became more heated, nasty and personal. As each accused the other of billions of dollars of disallowed subsidies within the USA - UAE and USA - Qatar "Open Skies" frameworks, all spent millions on legal assistance, public relations support and campaign ads. The topic overwhelmed the (IATA) (AGM) in Miami, even though the (CEO)s of (DAL) and (UAL) scarpered, before the annual meeting proper, even began. And despite (IATA) (DG) & (CEO), Tony Tyler’s guidance that (IATA) does not have a mandate on this dispute. Where did all this hot air, finger pointing and money get to everyone? Pretty much the same place as they were in 2014. The USA partnership did not achieve its stated goal of having government-to-government talks on the "Open Skies" agreements. The Gulf carriers are continuing their successful strategies of growing networks based on their geographically-perfect hub locations in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Qatar. And, for that matter, (AAL), (DAL) and (UAL) are posting some of their best financial results ever, and some of the best in the global air transport industry.

Where do I think this will go in 2016? The USA coalition has had some of the wind taken out of its more absurd rhetoric. (UAL) was dealt a double blow, when (CEO), Jeff Smisek abruptly resigned under a cloud related to the "New Jersey Ports" scandal. Then replacement (CEO), Oscar Munoz had emergency heart surgery and will be on leave until sometime in the first quarter of 2016. We hear he is recovering well and wish him all-speed. But Smisek’s departure has allowed (UAL) to refocus on much more pressing and close-to-home issues than the Gulf carriers: its poor labor relations, and even poorer customer service. It seems to me that (AAL)’s Doug Parker, meanwhile, developed a distaste for the Gulf campaign, when it became nasty. He was the one (CEO) of the three, who stayed throughout the (IATA) (AGM) (well Parker was the (AGM) Chair) and he did a fantastic job of fielding the never-ending questions on the Gulf dispute, while politely returning to the other subjects on the (AGM) agenda. Parker’s much bigger priority is the continued (so far seamless) integration with US Airways (AMW)/(USA).

That leaves (DAL)’s Richard Anderson, who is widely perceived to have started this fight, but who also made himself ineligible as campaign spokesman after his remarks on (CNN) News that appeared to try to link the Gulf carriers with the "9/11" terrorists. Anderson won’t give up this fight. But the Gulf carriers wisely avoided joining forces and that’s a strategy that has so far paid off with this.

Some token government talks may happen in 2016, but it’s my prediction that they won’t accomplish much more than they did in 2015 (certainly nothing like the curtailment that the USA carriers were seeking. In the end, I see this very expensive campaign fizzling in 2016.

(AAL) & US Airways (AMW)/(USA) became one airline. In what has to have been the smoothest and most remarkable airline merger in history, (AAL) reached a major milestone on October 17, when it successfully cutover US Airways (AMW)/(USA)’ reservations system to (AAL)’s Sabre system, ending the "US Airways" brand. President, Scott Kirby reported an 89.4% on-time performance and 99.5% completion rate following the cutover.

(AAL) thus became the world’s largest airline and is sharply focused on restoring the brand to that of its "Crandall heyday." My opinion is they will achieve this in 2016 and beyond. The company has a long-standing, close-knit and superb executive team, that has stuck meticulously to its transition plan. With the nuts and bolts in place, this airline will, I think, demonstrate a lot of innovation and creativity going forward and become a fiercesome global competitor.

The economy was sluggish, but many airlines did OK. As (IATA) Chief Economist, Brian Pearce said, the results were decidedly patchy with North American carriers faring far better than most. But still, a forecast collective record net profit of +$33 billion for 2015 and +$36.3 billion in 2016 is a much better outcome than the world’s airlines have seen in the past. It speaks to smarter management, better capacity and yield control, more efficient aircraft and, of course, a continuing and growing demand for air travel. That’s a positive trend that bodes well for 2016 and beyond.

The (FAA) stepped up to the "small" Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) problem. And did so remarkably swiftly and with the right balance of enticement and enforcement. If you live in the USA and received a (UAV) in your Santa stocking (get it registered. It’s the law!).

The USA signed air agreements with Cuba and Mexico. These two historic agreements, sealed at the end of 2015, herald a new era in air transport freedom and competitiveness. It’s remarkable that, given all the "Open Skies" agreements the USA has forged, a