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News Roundup – 14th June 2017. A Summary of Airline News from the Past Week

News Roundup – 14th June 2017. A Summary of Airline News from the Past Week

News Roundup – 14th June 2017. A Summary of Airline News from the Past Week

This week there was speculation that Emirates would bolster its own fleet and aircraft manufacturer Airbus’ fortunes by ordering a further 20 A380 aircraft.  Unfortunately, while Emirates says it regularly “engages with aircraft manufacturers”, it doesn’t plan to place a new order just yet.

In more news for the Airbus A380, engineers are exploring the possibility of adding 5 meter long ‘winglets’ to the end of the wings – this should help reduce fuel burn by 4% and make the aircraft more economical for airlines.

Elsewhere, the Chief Executive of Lufthansa has said an extended Laptop Ban would cause “chaos”, Etihad has abandoned a plan to create a new European leisure airline and El Al has unveiled a much improved Business Class seat.

A full summary continues below.

Is Emirates About to Save the Airbus A380 Project with a Big New Order?  The Airline Says ‘No’

09th June 2017 – Courtesy CH-Aviation

Even though Emirates has agreed with Airbus to postpone the delivery of several A380 aircraft, a rumour still emerged earlier this week suggesting the Dubai-based airline was planned to order a further 20 super-jumbos.

The news was seen as a potential lifeline for the A380 project with Airbus otherwise set to slash production over the next 12 months.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the deal, which would have seen the new aircraft joining the Emirates fleet from 2020 is going to go ahead.

Instead, Emirates has simply said in a statement to Reuters, that it “regularly engages with aircraft manufacturers for product updates and enhancement of current and future aircraft.”  Not quite the grand announcement people were expecting.

Only recently, Tim Clark, the President of Emirates said he wanted to see Airbus develop an A380Neo version of the aircraft.  Airbus, however, is reluctant to commit to such an expensive project as new orders for the flagship aircraft dry up.

 

Airbus Looks to Improve A380 by Adding Winglets to Reduce Fuel Burn

10th June 2017 – Courtesy Skift

However, in other news, Airbus is looking to at least make some changes to the A380.  A few weeks ago, the European aircraft manufacturer unveiled concepts for a new front staircase that would allow more seats to be squeezed into the existing structure.

Airbus has also suggested that airlines could configure the economy cabin with five centre seats, instead of the standard four, as another way to make the sums add up.

The 'New Forward Stairs' option would allow room for an extra 20 passengers. Photo Credit: Airbus
The ‘New Forward Stairs’ option would allow room for an extra 20 passengers. Photo Credit: Airbus

Now, engineers are looking to add curved ‘winglets’ to the end of the A380’s wings – each measuring up to 5 metres in length – with the potential to reduce fuel burn by 4%.  Didier Evrard, Airbus’s commercial programs chief has admitted the current wingtips “are not the most optimal part of the A380.”  However, he explained:

“Ten or fifteen years ago we were not able to design winglets with the right balance or drag

 

Etihad Abandons Deal to Create New European Leisure Airline

08th June 2017 – Courtesy Reuters

Here’s a strange one – Etihad Airways has abandoned a deal to create a new European leisure airline in partnership with German tour operator, TUI Group.  The deal was to be based around a move by Etihad to spin off Austrian airline, Niki from its parent company, Air Berlin.

The Gulf carrier owns a 30% stake in Air Berlin but has been making significant changes to the business in an attempt to turn its ailing fortunes around.  The plan was for Etihad to buy Niki and then combine it with TUI’s in-house airline, TUIfly.

According to Reuters, a source familiar with the situation said: “The deal didn’t work out because it didn’t make sense for Niki, it didn’t add up”.  However, Etihad has already paid 300 million Euros for Niki – a fact that was confirmed in Air Berlin’s annual report.

Etihad has said that Niki will continue to operate as Air Berlin’s leisure division with further details to be announced in due course.

 

Lufthansa CEO Criticises Potential Laptop Ban that Might Spread to Europe

09th June 2017 – Courtesy Skift

Is the U.S. Electronics Ban going to be extended beyond the Middle East?  Will it affect European airports?  Could it even include U.S. airports?  Who knows – the rumours just keep on coming but no final decisions have yet to be made.

However, Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr has shared his opinion about what an extended Laptop Ban would do to the aviation industry.  At the International Aviation Club luncheon in Washington D.C., Spohr commented: “Security is for governments, safety is for [the airlines].”

But if it were to happen, the German industry heavyweight didn’t mince his words: “the industry is prepared, but it’s going to be a huge mess… I think it was close that it would have happened a few weeks ago [sic].”

Spohr has also suggested everyone in the industry is now talking about possible solutions to prevent an extended Electronics Ban: “I think people are now engaging so we can find the best solution. Of course, we in the industry are not prepared to trade security for safety. Batteries in the belly, as we know, could have been a much bigger threat than the other one, which we take quite seriously.”

And if it were to be extended?  Sphor’s opinion: “I think in the end, [the ban] probably has to be global.”

 

Israeli Airline, El Al, Gets Major Upgrade with All Aisle Access Business Class Seats on New Boeing 787 Aircraft

12th June 2017 – Courtesy The Points Guy

El Al has unveiled the proposed interiors of its new Boeing 787 fleet and it’s set to be a major upgrade for the Israeli flag carrier.  For its Business Class cabin, the airline has selected the Recaro CL6710 seat which will offer direct aisle access for all passengers in a 1-2-1 configuration.

The new El Al Business Class seats convert into a 78 inch long fully flat bed. Photo Credit: El Al
The new El Al Business Class seats convert into a 78 inch long fully flat bed. Photo Credit: El Al

Each aircraft will be equipped with 32 fully lie-flat seats with 28 seats in the brand new Premium Economy cabin and 222 seats in Economy.  El Al will initially deploy the 787’s on its flagship New York and London routes.  The airline takes delivery of its first Dreamliner this August.

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