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Portuguese socialists claw back control of TAP from Gateway

The Portuguese state is set to resume control of TAP Portugal (TP, Lisbon) following the signing this past weekend, of a Memorandum of Understanding with Atlantic Gateway, the US/Brazilian-Portuguese consortium which won a tender to acquire a 61% stake in the airline last year.

Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa said in a statement issued Saturday that after tough negotiations, Atlantic Gateway had agreed to sell the state a 16% shareholding in TAP for EUR1.9 million (USD2.12 million) ...

SeaPort Airlines files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

SeaPort Airlines (K5, Portland Int'l, OR) says it has voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a Federal Bankruptcy Court in Oregon.

In a statement, the carrier blamed its woes on an ongoing shortage of qualified flight personnel brought on by new US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations which require First Officers to have a minimum of 1,500 hours ATP experience to operate for a Part 121 airline.

"The announcement comes after the airline took a number of ...

Nationwide drags SAA to court for anti-competitive practices

Nationwide Airlines (CE, Johannesburg O.R. Tambo) is suing South African Airways (SA, Johannesburg O.R. Tambo) for ZAR325 million (USD20.36 million) in damages. According to Johannesburg High Court papers seen by BusinessDay, Nationwide‚ now in liquidation‚ is basing its case on a 2010 Competition Tribunal finding that SAA did indeed abuse its dominant market position to divert customers from competitors.

Nationwide alleges that SAA, from June 2001 to March 2005, had violated the terms of the ...
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Japan's Vanilla Air now eyeing Okinawa as potential base

Vanilla Air (JW, Tokyo Narita) has revised its base operational plans for 2016 with Okinawa Naha now being touted as the location for the ANA - All Nippon Airways (NH, Tokyo Haneda) subsidiary's first base outside its Tokyo Narita hub.

According to the ZipanguFlyer blog, the LCC's is looking to serve more leisure-oriented markets such as Guam Int'l, Saipan, and the Philippines, including cities which have yet to be served by the ANA Group. It is also looking at entering the Chinese market to ...

flydubai begins shifting hub ops from DXB to Dubai World

flydubai (FZ, Dubai Int'l) Chairman and CEO Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum has confirmed the LCC is planning to transfer its main hub of operations from Dubai Int'l to Dubai World Central.

“We’re slowly moving flydubai to that side,” he told Gulf News without giving timelines.

As of October 25, 2015 flydubai has been operating several routes of Dubai World Central including Amman Queen Alia, Beirut, Doha Hamad Int'l, Kathmandu, Kuwait, and Muscat.

Sister carrier ...

Boeing to deliver MAX 8s ahead of schedule?

Boeing (BOE, Chicago O'Hare) is reportedly on track to deliver its first batch of B737 MAX 8 aircraft ahead of schedule. Southwest Airlines (WN, Dallas Love Field), the type's launch operator, is officially expected to take delivery of its first MAX 8s during the third quarter of next year.

However, industry sources who spoke to The Wall Street Journal on condition of anonymity said the US manufacturer has been telling customers the twinjet could arrive a full six months earlier than ...

Shuttle Landing Facility welcomes first commercial service

FedEx Express (FX, Memphis Int'l) has become the first commercial carrier to serve the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) located at the John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) on Merritt Island in Florida.

The logistics specialist says the arrival of one of its B757-200(F)s at the facility in December last year signified the start of a new collaboration between FedEx and the space industry.

“What we’re going through now is the privatization of space,” said Carl Asmus, FedEx Vice President of ...

Siberia's Angara Airlines secures Transneft ESPO contract

Angara Airlines (2G, Irkutsk) has secured a two year-long charter contract from AK Transneft OAO in support of the Eastern Siberia–Pacific Ocean (ESPO) oil pipeline.

Under the agreement, Angara Airlines will operate An-24 and An-26 passenger flights on a charter basis to locations along the line.

The 4,188km-long ESPO exports crude oil from fields in Tomsk Oblast and the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug in Western Siberia to Japan, China and Korea.

Uzbekistan Airways eyes New York direct with B787s

Uzbekistan Airways (HY, Tashkent Yuzhny) says it will take delivery of its only two B787-8s - msn 38363 and 38364 - on order from Boeing (BOE, Chicago O'Hare) during the third and fourth quarters of this year.

In a statement announcing the opening of a new MRO centre, the Uzbek national carrier said the aircraft would arrive in September and November of this year and would be used on ultra-longhaul flights.

Among the routes considered is Tashkent Yuzhny-New York JFK direct which at ...

AirAsia increases stake in FF programme owner

AirAsia (AK, Kuala Lumpur Int'l) has increased its shareholding in Think BIG, the firm that manages and owns the Malaysian LCC's BIG loyalty programme.

In a filing with the Malaysia Bursa, AirAsia says it has signed a share sale agreement to acquire a 25.8% stake in Think BIG from Tune Money International Sdn Bhd for MYR101.5 million (USD24.77 million) in cash. Once the transaction is completed, AirAsia will control 71.9% of Think BIG, up from its current 46.1%.

"Acquiring the remaining ...

Finland's Air100 resumes operations

Air100 (Pori) has resumed operations with domestic flights between Helsinki Vantaa and Pori. The flights, which launched on February 1, are operated using a Saab 340A - ES-LSF (cn 144) - chartered from Estonian ACMI/charter operator, Airest (AEG, Tallinn Lennart Meri).

Additional flights to Kittila from Pori and Tampere are expected to commence later this spring.

The Finnish virtual carrier suspended operations in September 2014 after then partner Central Connect Airlines (3B, Ostrava) ...

Ryanair launches €800mn share buyback drive

Ryanair (FR, Dublin Int'l) has announced a share buyback drive to reacquire EUR800 million (USD867 million) worth of its own stock. The initiative is set to commence on Friday, February 5 and will last nine months, subject to market conditions.

Adding to its claims of 'rising profitability and improving cashflow', Ryanair says it expects to register profit after tax of between EUR1.175 billion (USD1.315 billion) to EUR1.225 billion (USD1.372 billion) for the full year.

Finnair begins Niki lease operations

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British Airways to exit London City if charges raised

British Airways (BA, London Heathrow) has warned it would consider leaving London City airport should any new owner raise service charges to cover the GBP2 billion (USD2.915 billion) asking price.

In August last year, the airport's majority shareholder, Global Infrastructure Partners, put the airport up for sale with several entities - Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings, Atlantia Spa, Macquarie Infrastructure Corp. and two other consortia - having now submitted bids.

"If the owners ...

Chile's Latin American Wings commences operations

LAW - Latin American Wings (Santiago de Chile Int'l) commenced revenue operations on Thursday, January 28 with flights from Santiago de Chile Int'l to Punta Cana via Quito Int'l. Operations are on-board a B737-300 - CC-ADZ (msn 24634).

Additional future destinations include: Asuncion, Montevideo, Santa Cruz Viru Viru and Porto Alegre.

Air Méditerranée's future hangs in the balance

The future of Air Méditerranée (ML, Lourdes/Tarbes) hangs in the balance after a Commercial Court in Tarbes, France postponed its final decision on the airline's prospects from January 18 to February 15.

France's Tourmag magazine reports the deferral was made after the only candidate to submit a proposal, failed to pay the mandatory deposit of EUR2.3 million (USD2.52 million) by February 1.

To secure approval, the candidate, which is composed of ex-AOM French Airlines (IW, Paris Orly) ...

Andorra Airlines eyes early 2Q launch with regional flights

Andorra Airlines (Montferrer) has announced plans to commence scheduled passenger operations from April of this year. Using a fleet of ATR42/72 turboprops, Andorra Airlines plans to serve Madrid Barajas, Palma Son Sant Joan, Porto, and Paris CDG initially before expanding to Germany, Belgium, Italy, and Holland.

The CEO of the company is Jorge Soriano while the Vice President is Heloisa Oliveira.

The start-up will operate out of Montferrer airport which, while used by the principality of ...

Cook Islands readies itself for new start-up

Captain Cook Airline (Rarotonga) is a start-up looking to take on local incumbent Air Rarotonga (GZ, Rarotonga) in the Cook Island domestic market. Spearheaded by local property development tycoon Tim Tepaki, the carrier plans to source funding from China. Initial island-hopping operations will be on-board an unspecified wet-leased aircraft.

Air Rarotonga currently holds a monopoly on the inter-island market employing a single Saab 340A (currently in Hamilton undergoing maintenance) and ...

Lufthansa considering Brussels Airlines' future

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Qatar Airways nears deal for stake in Italy's Meridiana

The Aga Khan Foundation, through its Alisarda unit, has reached a tentative agreement concerning the proposed sale of a minority stake in Meridiana to Qatar Airways (QR, Doha Hamad Int'l).

"The two parties have agreed upon the pillars of the business proposition, which envisages a reinforcement of Meridiana with the objective of making it a solid player in the very competitive European aviation industry," a statement said.

Earlier this week, Meridiana fly (IG, Olbia) president Marco ...

Somalia to suspend Somaliland flights as tensions grow

African Express Airways (XU, Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta) as well as Jubba Airways (Kenya) (3J, Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta) and other carriers plying flights between Mogadishu and Hargeisa, the capital of the autonomous Somaliland region in northwestern Somalia, have been ordered to suspend their respective operations with effect from February 22.

The head of Somalia's Department of Immigration and Naturalization, Abdullahi Gafow Mohamud, said in a directive that the move was in response to Somaliland ...

Egypt's Air Leisure signs MOU for 4+6 SuperJets

Air Leisure (AL, Cairo Int'l) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (Moscow Zhukovsky) for four SSJ 100-95s with options for six more. Russia's Minister of Industry and Trade, Denis Manturov, said the first aircraft would be delivered by the end of the year.

The deal reportedly includes the possibility of establishing a joint-venture with an undisclosed third party which would see Air Leisure acquire up to forty-five SuperJets over a three-year span to transport ...

Garuda Indonesia to set up new company for non-core units

Garuda Indonesia (GA, Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta) is planning to establish a new holding company to contain subsidiaries that do not contribute to its core business.

Airline president Arif Wibowo told the Asia Nikkei newspaper that the plan has already secured shareholder approval - including that from the Ministry of Transportation - with a proposal set to be submitted to the Ministry of State Enterprises in the middle of the year.

"We hope this will increase the company's leverage, as each ...