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Kinshasa officially launches Congo Airways initiative

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Congo Airways (Kinshasa N'Djili) has officially been launched by the Congo's Transport ministry at a ceremony held in the capital, Kinshasa, last week. In his address, Minister of Transport, Justin Kalumba, said Congo Airways would be distinct from LAC - Lignes Aériennes Congolaises (4V, Kinshasa N'Djili), which is currently undergoing liquidation.

Although he did not disclose any operational or fleeting plans, Kalumba said the carrier would operate "the latest generation aircraft" beginning ...

Germany's Lübeck Airport facing uncertain future

Ryanair (FR, Dublin Int'l) and Wizz Air (W6, Budapest) could be forced to abandon their Lübeck, Germany operations following reports the airport is now facing serious viability problems. Germany's NDR says Egyptian investor Mohamad Rady Amar has sold his shares in logistics and project management firm, 3Y Logistic und Projektbetreuung GmbH, which is responsible for running the facility. Amar is also alleged to have "disappeared".

3Y's parent firm, Yasmina Flughafenmanagement GmbH, itself is ...

PIA Pakistan to retire B747-300s following Hajj season

PIA - Pakistan International Airlines (PK, Karachi Int'l) is to ground its remaining four B747-300s following the conclusion of the Hajj charter season in late October.

Pakistani Minister of State for Cabinet Secretariat and Parliamentary Affairs, Aftab Sheikh, told parliament that following their grounding, the B747s would be put up for sale. The ch-aviation aircraft database lists the airline's B747-300 fleet as: AP-BFU (msn 23392), AP-BFV (msn 23534), AP-BFY (msn 23920) and AP-BGG (msn ...

Air Marshall Islands limps back into the air following grounding

Air Marshall Islands (CW, Majuro) has resumed limited domestic operations after both its aircraft - a Dash 8-100 and a Do228 - were grounded last week.

Marshallese newswire, Islands Business, says the Dash 8 was grounded by the country's Directorate of Civil Aviation (DCA) after it rejected another extension of time for the installation of a rudder-pressure caution indicator. Despite a cash crunch, the government-backed carrier was able to secure funding to buy the part thereby allowing the ...

Biman Bangladesh postpones New York flights to August

Biman Bangladesh Airlines (BG, Dhaka) has postponed the resumption of its flights to New York JFK from June to August after management failed to settle on a suitable ACMI provider.

The Dhaka Tribune reports that eight international operators responded to a tender issued last month namely: China Southern Airlines (CZ, Guangzhou), Omni Air International (OY, Tulsa Int'l), White (WI, Lisbon), Air Atlanta Icelandic (CC, Reykjavik Keflavik), Atlas Air (5Y, New York JFK), ...

Air France-KLM mulls exiting the dedicated freighter market

Air France (AF, Paris CDG) and partner KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KL, Amsterdam) could exit the dedicated-freighter sector as the Franco-Dutch carriers forge ahead with cost-cutting plans.

Quoting anonymous sources familiar with the carriers' operations, Bloomberg newswire says a decision on whether to exit the dedicated freight sector is to be taken at a board meeting later this month.

Despite reporting an operating profit of EUR130million (USD178million) in 2013, the Group's cargo ...

Canberra to court Emirates over possible Qantas investment

Emirates (EK, Dubai Int'l) will be courted as a potential investor for Qantas (QF, Sydney Kingford Smith) Australian Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Robb, has said. Al Arabiya News quotes Robb as saying he would personally raise the possibility of an Emirati investment in the Australian national carrier during high-level talks with Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed al-Maktoum, chairman of Emirates.

“In time, it’s the only solution to make sure that the Qantas brand and its viability remains ...

No plans to merge InterSky and Cityjet; InterSky future uncertain

InterSky (3L, Friedrichshafen) and Cityjet (WX, Dublin Int'l) will continue to operate as separate entities Intro Aviation president Hans Rudolf Wöhrl told journalists at the Luftfahrt-Presseclub in Berlin. Air France (AF, Paris CDG) and partner KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KL, Amsterdam) recently agreed to Intro aviation's offer for Cityjet and its subsidiary, VLM (VG, Antwerp), but did not disclose its value.

According to airliners.de, Wöhrl said the airlines could not be merged into a single ...

Air India secures $200mn in financing for three B787s

Air India (AI, Mumbai Int'l) has secured USD200million in funding from the State Bank of India and the Bank of India (BoI) for the purchase of three B787-8s from Boeing (BOE, Chicago O'Hare). As previously reported, once acquired, the Dreamliners will then be proffered to leasing companies on a sale and leaseback basis.

Quoting unnamed sources, the Times of India said Air India has also received a credit of USD288million from Standard Chartered Bank to pay off fuel debts as well as ...

Australia's REX completes purchase of 25 leased Saab 340Bs

REX - Regional Express (ZL, Wagga Wagga) has purchased eighteen Saab 340Bs following the expiration of their leases in late March. According to the carrier, these aircraft were part of a group of 25 turboprops it had leased previously. The other seven Saabs were purchased when their leases expired on July 1, 2013.

“Rex committed to leasing these aircraft in late 2006 as part of its fleet modernisation and expansion programme. Upon lease expiry we had the opportunity of purchasing them at ...

Australian operators welcome plans for new Sydney airport

Qantas (QF, Sydney Kingford Smith) and other Australian operators have welcomed government's decision to go ahead with a new AUD2.5billion (USD2.4billion) airport to compliment Sydney's existing international gateway, Sydney Kingford Smith. Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced the plan on Tuesday, saying he expects work at Badgerys Creek in Western Sydney, 60 kilometers from the city centre, to begin in 2016. The first flights are expected to launch in roughly ten years time.

“The role of ...

Russia's UAC disposes of stake in the Ilyushin Finance Co.

Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (Moscow Zhukovsky) parent, the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), has been given the go-ahead by the Russian government to dispose of a 48.4% stake in lessor the Ilyushin Finance Co.

The Kommersant says the buyer is another state-backed entity namely Russia's development bank, Vnesheconombank (VEB bank).

The exact value of the transaction has not yet been disclosed given that a current evaluation of the shares has yet to be undertaken. The Kremlin has instructed that ...

Indonesia's Lion Air to lease additional B737s from BOC Aviation

Lion Airlines (JT, Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta) is to lease four B737-800s and one B737-900(ER) from Chinese lessors, BOC Aviation. The aircraft are due for delivery during the course of this year and 2015.

"The demand for short-haul regional routes remains robust, both within and outside of Indonesia," said Rusdi Kirana, President-Director of Lion Air.

The two entities' relationship dates back to 2012 when the Bank of China subsidiary delivered six B737-800s and three B737-900(ER)s to the ...

Avianca disposes of its fleet of Fokker 50s

Avianca (AV, Bogotá) has sold its entire fleet of ten Fokker 50s to Amur JMW Aviation LLC, a joint venture between Amur Finance Company, Inc. and Jet Midwest, a full-service commercial aviation company specializing in the sale and lease of commercial aircraft, engines and parts as well as MRO services.

Under the terms of the deal, the turboprops will be ferried to Jet Midwest Technik's facilities at Kansas City Int'l. Following thorough checks and maintenance, the aircraft will be released ...

Corendon Airlines to lease four aircraft this Summer

Corendon Airlines (XC, Istanbul Sabiha Gökcen) has leased four additional aircraft for use on its upcoming Summer high season. Turkish aviation resource, trfleetnews, lists three of the jets as B737-800 WIN.s TC-TJO (msn 34253), and TC-TJP (msn 33022), and an A320-200, YL-LCL (cn 533) leased from SmartLynx Airlines (6Y, Riga). All three aircraft will be based out of Antalya.

Another B737-800, CS-TQU (msn 30464) , will be based out of Amsterdam for use by subsidiary ...

Rwandair to take over Entebbe - Kigali flights from Air Uganda

RwandAir (WB, Kigali) has taken over the Entebbe/Kampala to Kigali route previously operated by Air Uganda (U7, Entebbe/Kampala). Though the Ugandan carrier had previously suspended the flights, it has now opted to codeshare with the Rwandans as a means of maintaining its presence on the route.

“We thought that it was wise to operate through a code share agreement we signed with RwandAir last year and instead focus on other routes until we have sufficient aircraft for all the routes,” Rebecca ...

Gambia's Afrinat Int'l planning to launch transatlantic services

Afrinat International Airlines (Banjul) has once more outlined plans to launch international services, this time using a B747. AirlineRoute reports that the carrier has set a June 26 launch date for 4x weekly New York JFK to Accra and 3x weekly Accra to Harare Int'l flights.

Founded in 2002 by a group of West African businessmen, Afrinat has hoped to fill the vacuum left by Air Afrique (RK, Abidjan) by offering flights from New York JFK to Banjul in the Gambia, Accra in Ghana, Abidjan in the ...

Air Arabia to start Ras al Khaimah flights from May

Air Arabia (G9, Sharjah) will begin flying from Ras al Khaimah on May 6 marking the airline's maiden operations as the emirate's official flag carrier. The LCC signed an agreement with the government of Ras al Khaimah in February allowing it to use the airport as its hub.

Despite its proximity to Air Arabia's Sharjah hub - just 80kms away - Chief Executive Adel Ali said Ras al Khaimah was still a viable business option.

"It's (RAK) a growing market and we are all seeing its financial ...

Canadian North, First Air begin merger talks

Canadian North (5T, Yellowknife) and First Air (7F, Carp) could merge should talks between the airlines' respective parent firms, NorTerra Inc. and Makivik Corporation, succeed.

The potential merger is intended to create a single airline entity that builds on the strengths and identities of the two companies. The newly merged entity would then improve the sustainability of the two Inuit birthright enterprises and would also create better air services and new economic development ...

UAE's Rotana Jet eyes more regional flights after Sri Lanka

Rotana Jet Aviation (RG, Abu Dhabi Bateen) has gone regional with the launch of scheduled commercial flights to Sri Lanka on April 10. The route's maiden flight from Abu Dhabi Bateen to Colombo Int'l via Hambantota had on board Shaikh Ahmed bin Saif Al Nahyan, Chairman of Rotana Jet; Dr. Mahinda Balasuriya, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the UAE; along with a high profile delegation.

The airline will use an Airbus A319-100 configured with both business and economy class seats.

Services are ...

China's Hainan Group to begin services to Melbourne Avalon

Hainan Airlines (HU, Haikou) is set to operate commercial passenger and freight services to Melbourne Avalon airport following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Linfox Group and China’s HNA Group in Australia last week.

The MoU will allow the two parties to commence formal planning for the flights between China and Australia, expected to begin in the next eighteen months, as well as to explore other opportunities.

Avalon Airport’s Chief Executive Officer, ...

Egypt's Air Cairo to begin year-round flights to Germany

Air Cairo (SM, Cairo Int'l) has announced it will operate year-round scheduled flights from the German cities of Dusseldorf, Stuttgart Echterdingen and Hanover to the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Hurghada using its fleet of four A320-200s.

Speaking to the Egyptian press, Air Cairo chairman, Yasser El Ramly, said the flights will mark the airline's transition from a charter specialist into a hybridized low cost carrier.

"These routes will begin on May 3, 2014, with 3 weekly flights from ...

South African LCC, Kulula, inks codeshare with Kenya Airways

Kulula Air (MN, Johannesburg O.R. Tambo) and Kenya Airways (KQ, Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta) have signed a codeshare agreement which will see Kenya Airways placing its code (KQ) on all kulula's domestic South African routes - Cape Town, Johannesburg O.R. Tambo, Durban King Shaka, East London and George - while the South African LCC will place its "MN" flight code on Kenya Airways services between Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta and Johannesburg O.R. Tambo.

Stuart Cochrane, Executive Manager Business Process ...

Maldivian mulls acquiring an A330 to expand international network

Maldivian (Q2, Malé) is considering acquiring an A330 later this year as it looks to expand its international network. In its report, aviation resource CAPA said prior to that, the Maldivian airline will initially dry-lease an A321-200 from July onwards in a bid to exploit the lucrative Chinese market.

Using its only A320-200, Maldivian will launch services to Wuhan in June with the A321 and A330 likely to be used in opening up the north China market - Beijing Capital in particular. The push ...

American, US Airways to begin crossfleet operations from June

American Airlines (AA, Dallas/Fort Worth) will begin cross-fleet operations with US Airways (US, Phoenix Sky Harbor) as the two carriers move to integrate their respective fleets. Airline Route reports that with effect from Summer 2014, the two carriers will begin using each other's aircraft on each other's routes and vice versa.

Effective June 1, the following AA routes will be entirely operated using US Airways metal namely: Charlotte to Chicago O'Hare and Miami Int'l; and Los Angeles Int'l ...