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Kozhikode airport, India to close to widebodies for 6 months

Saudia (SV, Jeddah) along with Air India (AI, Mumbai Int'l) and Emirates (EK, Dubai Int'l) will suspend their respective Kozhikode, India, operations for a period of six months beginning in May on account of the resurfacing of the airport's sole runway, 10/28.

Effective May 1 to October 31, all widebody aircraft will be forbidden from serving the airfield while narrowbody jets, such as those operated by Air Arabia, Air India, Air India Express, IndiGo Airlines, Jet Airways, Oman Air, ...

China's Jiangxi Airlines given provisional greenlight to launch

Jiangxi Airlines (Nanchang) has been given an initial go-ahead by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) to commence scheduled operations later this year. Last month, general manager, Wu Xiangyang pointed to a June 18 launch date with its initial network to include Beijing Capital, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai Pudong, and Shenzhen.

Flights will be onboard a fleet of five B737NextGens sourced from parent, Xiamen Airlines (MF, Xiamen).

Overall, Xiamen Airlines will invest CNY1200 ...

Bolivia's Aerocon suspends operations; to restructure business

Aerocon (A4, Santa Cruz El Trompillo) suspended all operations with effect from February 27 citing difficult market conditions. The Latin American AeroSpotter blog reports the Bolivian operator will use the downtime to restructure its operations with plans to introduce 'larger' aircraft into its fleet, which currently consists of four Metroliners. The carrier's market share has reportedly shrunk

The Bolivian regulatory authority (Autoridad de Regulación y Fiscalización de Telecomunicaciones ...

Alaska Airlines considering scheduled service to Paine Field, WA

Alaska Airlines (AS, Seattle Tacoma Int'l) is considering starting flights out of Everett, also known as Paine Field, after Snohomish County Council approved the construction of a two-gate passenger terminal at the airfield earlier this week. Once built, the terminal, which will be able to handle 23 flights a day, will be leased to Propeller Airports.

"The Snohomish County Council voted on March 2 to approve an option lease agreement with Propeller Airports that enables Propeller to begin ...

American, United studying nonstop US-New Zealand flights

American Airlines (AA, Dallas/Fort Worth) and United Airlines (UA, Chicago O'Hare) are studying the possibility of opening up direct flights between the mainland United States and New Zealand, Stuff magazine has reported.

Though the market is currently dominated by Air New Zealand (NZ, Auckland Int'l) with its Auckland Int'l to San Francisco, CA and Los Angeles Int'l flights, the magazine reports United Airlines is now weighing the potential of using B787s for its own San Francisco-Auckland ...

Portugal's Aero Vip leasing a Swedish Jetstream 31

Aero Vip (WV, Cascais) is leasing a Jetstream 31 from Sweden's Direktflyg (HS, Borlänge/Falun) for use on its Funchal to Porto Santo service. SE-LHG (cn 857) was recently spotted at Cascais sporting the Portuguese operator's livery. Aero Vip currently plies the 25-minute flight 17x weekly using a Do228.

A part of the 7 Air Group, Aero Vip also operates in the ACMI/charter market with interests in flight training.

Denmark's ES-air commences operations

ES-air (Esbjerg) commenced scheduled operations on March 2 with flights between Esbjerg and Copenhagen Kastrup.

The return flights, which operate 4x daily on weekdays and once on Sundays, are on-board an ATR72-500, OY-JZY (cn 540), chartered from Danish ACMI specialist Jet Time (JO, Copenhagen Kastrup). A second of the type, OY-JZZ (cn 548), is expected to be delivered during spring.

Chile's LAN Airlines to end A340 operations next month?

LAN Airlines (LA, Santiago de Chile Int'l) could be planning to end its A340-300 commercial services next month ch-aviation schedule data has revealed. Analysis shows CC-CQA (cn 359) and CC-CQC (cn 363) will have operated their last Santiago de Chile Int'l-Auckland Int'l-Sydney Kingford Smith-Auckland-Santiago de Chile Int'l rotations by April 17 following which the route will switch to the B787-9.

As the Chilean carrier has yet to issue any official confirmation on the move, the date remains ...

Sudan Airways leasing two Kenyan ERJ-135s

Sudan Airways (SD, Khartoum) has added its first Embraer (São José dos Campos) metal to its fleet with the lease of two Kenyan ERJ-135s Aerotransport has revealed. The jets are 5Y-BVY (cn 145599) and 5Y-BVZ (cn 145661) sourced from ALS - Aircraft Leasing Services (K4, Nairobi Wilson).

In addition to three in-house Fokker 50s, the Sudanese national carrier also leases an A320-200 from Ukraine's YanAir (YE, Kiev Zhulyany) as well as a B737-400 from Jordan Aviation (R5, Amman Queen Alia).

UAE freight specialist, Maximus Air, may order Antonov An-178s

Maximus Air (MXU, Abu Dhabi Int'l) could acquire an undisclosed number of An-178 twinjet freighters from Ukrainian manufacturer, the Antonov Design Bureau (Gostomel), with a firm order likely to be placed either this month or next. Should the order materialize, Maximus would be the launch customer for the type.

In late February, Mohamed Al Qassimi, the managing director of the Emirati freight specialist, signed a memorandum of cooperation with Antonov in which both firms pledged to promote ...

Flybe. to open Cardiff base this summer

Flybe. (BE, Exeter) has announced it will base two EMB-195s out of Cardiff during this coming summer season. The first 118-seater aircraft is scheduled to arrive in June and the second in September as the carrier plans to expand its existing Cardiff services from Belfast City, Dusseldorf, Geneva, and Jersey to include Cork, Dublin Int'l, Edinburgh, Faro, Glasgow Int'l, Munich, Milan Malpensa, and Paris CDG.

"We are delighted to launch these exciting new routes from Cardiff Airport," Saad ...

Ryanair to establish Berlin Schönefeld base this winter

Ryanair (FR, Dublin Int'l) says it will develop Berlin Schönefeld into its sixth German base during this year's winter season. On the back of a USD500 million investment, the Irish budget carrier will base five B737-800s at the airport from October 27 with plans to open up flights to sixteen new destinations including Alicante, Athens Int'l, Barcelona El Prat, Bari, Bologna, Bratislava, Brussels National, Glasgow Int'l, Madrid Barajas, Malaga, Palermo, Las Palmas, Riga, Rome Ciampino, ...

Mongolian carriers call for partnership with Lufthansa

MIAT - Mongolian Airlines (OM, Ulaanbaatar) and other Mongolian carriers have expressed a strong interest in setting up a partnership agreement with Lufthansa (LH, Frankfurt Int'l) German chancellor Angela Merkel has said.

"We want to talk to Lufthansa to call their attention to the potential cooperation and maybe there can be an intensification of the cooperation between Lufthansa and Mongolian airlines," Reuters quoted Merkel as saying.

Mongolia's President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj is ...

Indonesia AirAsia X secures go-ahead for Australian flights

Indonesia AirAsia X (XT, Denpasar) has secured its necessary permits from the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) ahead of its launch of flights from Bali to Melbourne Tullamarine on March 17.

"The Civil Aviation Safety Authority has issued an Air Operator’s Certificate to Indonesia AirAsia X. This means Indonesia AirAsia X now has CASA approval for flights between Melbourne and Denpasar," the regulatory body said in a statement.

Despite securing its Air Operators Certificate ...

Canada's WestJet to start widebody operations in December

WestJet (WS, Calgary) says it will début widebody operations in December this year with flights between Alberta and Hawaii. The routes are currently operated with B757-200s wet-leased from Thomas Cook Airlines UK (MT, Manchester Int'l) though this contract is set to expire later this month.

The Canadian budget airline said in a statement that its incoming fleet of four B767-300(ER)s will be deployed on flights from Calgary to Honolulu and Kahului, and from Edmonton Int'l to Kahului.

"These ...

Iberia in deal with Airbus to bring forward A330 deliveries

Iberia (IB, Madrid Barajas) says it has reached an agreement with Airbus Industrie (AIB, Toulouse Blagnac) paving the way for the early delivery of eight A330-200s ordered last year. The jets are firmed up options held by Iberia's parent, the International Airlines Group (IAG).

The Spanish carrier says the twinjets will now arrive between December 2015 and November 2016, 14 months earlier than initially planned, and will be used to replace its outgoing fleet of A340s.

"The new aircraft ...

China Southern to make mainland Africa debut this August

China Southern Airlines (CZ, Guangzhou) is to launch its first scheduled services to the African mainland on August 5 with a 3x weekly service from Guangzhou to Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya, operated onboard an A330-200. The route is currently operated as a codeshare with fellow Skyteam affiliate, Kenya Airways (KQ, Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta).

The carrier already serves Africa with a 2x weekly Shenzhen-Mauritius service which launched in June 2014.

Later this year, ...

Latvia's Air Baltic to issue sale/leaseback RFP for CS300s in 4Q

Air Baltic (BT, Riga) CFO Vitolds Jakovlevs has confirmed recent Latvian media reports that his airline is to issue a Request For Proposals (RFP) involving the sale/leaseback of its fleet of thirteen CS300s, currently on order from Bombardier (BBA, Montréal Trudeau).

Speaking to CAPA earlier this week, Jakovlevs said the tender would be issued some time in or before the last quarter of this calender year.

Following lengthy delays, the CS300 made its maiden flight late last month with ...

Greenland Express to resume flights in May using Billund hub

Greenland Express (Aalborg) is to resume operations on May 11 this year using Billund as its primary base CEO Gert Brask has told Denmark's aviation news portal.

In his interview, Brask said flights from the western Danish town to Kangerlussuaq and Narsarsuaq in Greenland would operate through to the end of October when the summer season ends. While most flights will operate direct, some will operate via Copenhagen Kastrup.

"We have chosen Billund Airport based on an assessment ...

Real Tonga ends MA-60 operations

Real Tonga Airlines (RT, Tongatapu) has ended MA-60 operations after the Tongan government terminated its lease contract with the airline early last month. The termination came after the Tongan government, on February 8, passed legislation making New Zealand Civil Aviation Rules (NZCAR) the de-facto standard by which the country's aviation community is to be governed.

However, in order for the MA-60 to operate under the new NZCAR, it must first undergo Type Certification with the Tongan ...

Finland's Blue to offload B717 fleet to Volotea, Delta

Blue 1 (KF, Helsinki Vantaa) has secured sales agreements with Spanish budget operator Volotea (V7, Palma de Mallorca Son Sant Joan) for four of its outgoing B717-200s Flygtorget has reported.

"Demand for used machines is good," Michael Wångdahl, Blue 1's CEO said. "The first four have gone to Volotea in Spain and there will not be any problem in getting rid of the five we have left."

The Swedish aviation news site claims the Finnish operator's remaining five B717s will end up with ...

Pleiku, Vietnam to close for runway upgrade works

Vietnam Airlines (VN, Hanoi) will suspend operations out of Pleiku from March 15 until October 25 on account of the airport's closure. The carrier currently connects the south Vietnamese town with Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Da Nang.

A statement to stakeholders says the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (Cục Hàng không Dân dụng Việt Nam - CAAV) is undertaking a VND945 billion (USD44.4 million) phase expansion programme which will see the airfield's runway, taxiway and other facilities ...

Ryanair orders three more B737-800s

Ryanair (FR, Dublin Int'l) has ordered three more B737-800s from Boeing (BOE, Chicago O'Hare) bringing its total backlog to 174 B737-800s and 100 737 MAX 200s. The order, previously listed as 'unidentified' under Boeing's Orders & Deliveries, is valued at USD280 million at current list prices.

"We are pleased to announce the purchase of three more Boeing Next-Generation 737-800 aircraft, which will be delivered in early 2016, bringing our total recent orders to 183 737-800s, in addition to ...

KLM signs cooperation agreement with China's Xiamen Airlines

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KL, Amsterdam) has signed a memorandum of cooperation with Xiamen Airlines (MF, Xiamen) and the City of Amsterdam in a bid to strengthen collaboration and accessibility between the Netherlands and China. Present during the ceremony was KLM CEO Pieter Elbers, Amsterdam mayor Eberhard van der Laan, and Xiamen Airlines’ Chief Operating Officer Zhao Dong.

"I’m pleased that signing this memorandum takes cooperation between KLM and Xiamen Airlines to an even higher level," ...

Qatar Airways no longer interested in C-Series says al Baker

Qatar Airways (QR, Doha Hamad Int'l) is no longer interested in Bombardier's C-Series CEO Akbar al Baker has stated. According to Reuters, al Baker said the programme's constant delays had forced Qatar Airways to consider other options.

"We have completely forgotten about it because you cannot wait indefinitely," he said in an interview on the sidelines of the ITB travel fair in Berlin.

The Qataris reportedly put talks with the Canadians about the possible purchase of C-Series jets on hold ...