Monday, October 27, 2014

Etihad, Lufthansa and EU Nationals Control

The LBA on 16 October 2014 reversed a decision to cancel 34 code share flights of Etihad and Airberlin that was taken a few days earlier. The reason for the earlier cancellation was that these code share flights violated the traffic rights agreement between Germany and the UAE. A meeting later in the month between both governments to discuss the bilateral will clarify things for the future. Lufthansa blames these code shares for the overcapacity on the Abu Dhabi route and called them unjustified.

Lufthansa has lobbied the EU to reexamine the control issues of foreign equity stakes in EU carriers and has lobbied for the courts to block Emirates Milan/JFK flights earlier in April 2014; those flights are now operated on a temporary authority pending an appeal's court decision.

Lufthansa has been more vociferous than most regarding the 3 Gulf carriers expansion into Europe. The EU now is examining whether Etihad controls Airberlin and Alitalia through its equity stakes and is also looking at the Delta/Virgin Atlantic deal. This has prompted the Swiss authorities to look at Etihad's control of Darwin Airlines now branded Etihad Regional.

The issue of foreign investors having control of EU carriers is  becoming a thorny issue. There is a needed balance required between control and the investment risk of bailing out a European carrier and preserving jobs and airline services to communities. The major EU legacy carriers are coming under pressure from EU LCCs and apparently from the Gulf carriers that they are not willing to invest more but are looking to cut costs and curtail services. Air France/KLM declined to increase its stake in Alitalia and Lufthansa was not interested in a minority stake. Etihad worked very hard to get the unions and the creditors to accept its terms for its USD 750 millions direct investment for a 49% equity stake in Alitalia. The problems of Lufthansa and AF/KL are compounded by the mega orders from the Gulf carriers for Airbus aircraft with the associated economic fallout of order cancellations.

Etihad will modify its agreements with its equity partners to comply with the EU and Swiss regulators control requirements. Etihad did the same in India when the regulators questioned its control of the Jet Airways board. Etihad will not jeopardize its strategy for expansion; one that is based on equity partnerships providing access to new markets, cost savings in aircraft acquisition, maintenance and other services and more traffic through its Abu Dhabi hub.

The airline industry is more global than ever; the EU has to balance its requirements and need of EU nationals control of its airlines and the foreign investment in these airlines. These investments preserve jobs and services in Europe at a time when its economies are under pressure and their own carriers are not willing to invest.


Friday, October 10, 2014

The Surplus Parts Market A Force Of Stability

In a recent article in AINonline "Surplus Parts Costs Forecast To Drop" it was suggested that prices will go down as more and more aircraft are parted out pushing "the current prices downwards making the already tense market even more competitive".

In principle, this is true to a certain extent.

Boeing and Airbus have both announced production rate increases on their current aircraft types.   Taking into consideration that as an aircraft type evolves and technology improvements are introduced; parts interchangeability is no longer maintained between the latest aircraft off the production line and an aircraft produced 2 or 4 years earlier. This is valid especially for avionics components, where software changes are the most common.

OEMs have to meet both the challenge of  supporting the production rate increases and that of supplying parts to support the industry with the latest and earlier component configurations; this will impose production pressures and supply difficulties.

As the number of retired aircraft increases to almost a 1000 aircraft per year in the next decade, so will the number of part-outs and the availability of surplus parts. However, these surplus components and parts will not support the latest and recent configurations of the active fleet, but will support the earlier and older configuration versions.

The availability of surplus parts for mature aircraft configurations of the popular fleets will tend to;

  • ease off the pressure for OEMs to support the earlier aircraft configurations; and
  • reduce prices in the aftermarket as a whole but remain competitive for avionics components and a variety of other parts.
The surplus market is detrimental in maintaining a stable components and parts supply for the mature aircraft.

Friday, October 3, 2014

DWC On The GO

Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Center (DWC) is set for major expansion to eventually accommodate up to 240 million passengers. DWC currently handles a few low cost airlines but is the home of Emirates SkyCargo in addition to a few more cargo airlines, creating one of the largest cargo hubs in the region.

An investment of 32 Billion USDs has been set for this task, almost double the projected 18 Billion USDs projected earlier at the start of the decade.. The investment is to support the building of another 4 runways and 2 satellite buildings that will accommodate 120 million passengers annually and 100 A380s parked at any one time (click here for a look at the Master Plan). This phase will be completed in 6 to 8 years in time for Emirates to move out from Dubai International in the mid 2020s leaving Dubai International for the use of Flydubai and other operators. The airport design will allow Dubai Airports to add capacity in 20 million passengers increments to support the expansion plans of Emirates.

Dubai International is expected to handle 120 million passengers by 2020 in time for the 2020 Expo Trade Exhibition. The smooth expansion of Emirates depends on capacity at Dubai International. It is projected that Emirates will carry 93 million passengers by 2020.

Dubai sees the aviation sector as a major contributor to its economy and it is expected to generate 323,000 jobs and contribute 28% of GDP in 2020 compared to 250,000 jobs and 22% of GDP in 2011.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Pilot Shortage Myth, Maybe Not

Captain Lee Moak, President of ALPA, International in an Opinion titled The Pilot Shortage Myth  in the September 8, 2014 issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology argued that it is not a pilot shortage but a pay shortage. I agree with Captain Moak, that entry level pay for pilots at the lowest paying US airlines especially regionals is at the poverty level and this is driving young people from the profession among other factors. Airline management sometimes use the pilot shortage as an argument to roll back safety regulations (Pilot Fatigue and FO qualification and training rules) or cancel flights and curtail services.

I do not share the view that the shortage is a myth. It may be a myth today but it will be a reality in 15 to 20 years. US carriers are rolling over their older fleets and the capacity increases are derived more from larger aircraft than from fleet expansion, but that is now eventually the fleet will have to increase and so will pilot demand. The rapid expansion of airline fleets in Asia Pacific, MENA and Latin America, add to it the eventual recovery of European airlines and the industry will be looking at a global shortage.

As the fleet ages, so do pilots, in reality pilots aged 45 to 50 years now would be retired by then. Investment in human capital especially pilots, engineers and technicians is no longer a luxury it is a necessity for the survival of the industry. This has been a challenge a few years back (The New Challenges... Manpower and Training Oussama's Take 20 June 2011), still is and will be for a long time.  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Royal Jordanian, Uncertain Future

Royal Jordanian (RJA) is facing liquidation since its losses have exceeded 75% of its capital. For this reason, the airline has not issued its 2013 financial results or had its share holders general meeting yet. In reality, the government who is the major share holder will not allow its liquidation. It is a matter of national pride and to a certain extent national security. There are talks of restructuring and a government bail out, but this is a hot topic because of the economy and the deficit. It appears like a lot of political jockeying is going on.

The airline was listed in the Amman Stock Exchange in December 2007 and since then it had very mixed results. It sustained losses in 2008 (34.7 M USD), 2011 (81.6 M USD) and 2013 but had moderate profits in 2009 (40.3 M USD), 2010 (13.6 M USD) and 2012 (1.6 M USD).  

In all fairness to Royal Jordanian the geopolitical situation in MENA has not been very favorable and still is not; between fluctuating fuel prices, the Arab Spring, Libya and now ISIL, the airline had to indefinitely suspend lucrative routes like Damascus, Aleppo, Tripoli, Benghazi, Misrata and now Mosul; Cairo, Baghdad and Erbil were suspended on and off for security considerations. RJA also suspended flights over Syria which added almost an hour to an hour forty five minutes to the Beirut flight without an appreciable increase to fares. However, RJA has just announced a code share agreement with Middle East Airlines to start in mid October 2014, allowing RJA to cancel two of its four daily flights. But the most interesting reason cited is the aggressive competition from the Gulf three (Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways).

In an attempt to reduce its costs RJA inked code share agreements with Gulf Air, Oman Air and SriLankan to operate Amman to Bahrain, Muscat and Colombo  and has suspended or plan to suspend flights to what it terms as losing routes, like Delhi, Mumbai, Alexandria, Accra, Lagos, Brussels and Milan.

Not withstanding geopolitics, the airline did not react quickly enough. While canceling unprofitable routes is a good thing, overcapacity is not. It leaves part of the fleet idling while still incurring lease and loan payments. Rationalizing staff levels is not be the greatest option in a politically charged country with a very high unemployment rate. 

RJA has already returned 2 A321s and with the B787 deliveries it is planning to rationalize the fleet composition by the end of 2014 to include the following:
B787, 5 operating aircraft;
A340, completely phased out (4 aircraft) ;
A330, 2 operating aircraft down from 3;
A321, 2 operating aircraft down from 4;
A320, 6 operating aircraft down from 7;
A319, 4 operating aircraft, no change;
E195, 4 operating aircraft down from 5;
E175, 3 operating aircraft, and
A310F, 2 operating aircraft, no change.
A net change of 5 passenger aircraft all of them single aisle aircraft, but with a more fuel efficient and modern fleet.

In a nutshell, the airline board and management acted, just like in the old days, like a government entity. This has caused the share price to go down from a high of 4.09 JOD {5.76 US$} on 16 March 2008 to 0.38 JOD {0.53 US$} on 15 September 2014. RJA would have certainly benefited of the equivalent of a Chapter 11.

RJA needs to act in a more agile and proactive manner, after all that was the reason the airline was privatized. The plans for the fleet and route reductions were too late and too little. There is a need to come up with innovative solutions that increase revenue and not only reduce cost. After all, cost reduction is subject to the law of diminishing returns but with revenues, the sky is the limit. 

While RJA may have not lacked leadership, it requires a different kind of leadership. One that not only looks at fleet and routes but one that looks at the management structure and how management approaches risk assessment and especially mitigation. A management that looks at new opportunities for expansion amid the chaos. If this means replacing senior managers, then so be it.

Royal Jordanian has survived for 50 years among the geopolitical chaos; the dilemma today is how to survive and thrive in the same chaos as a publicly listed company. This is a totally different set of rules that RJ may not be yet equipped to handle.




Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Beyond Emirates' A350 Order Cancellation

This blog first appeared in Bangalore Aviation under the title of Analysis: Emirates Banks on 777X with A350 XWB Order Cancellation jointly authored by Devesh Agarwal and Oussama Salah

On June 11, 2014 Emirates and Airbus announced the cancellation of the A350 order 50 A350-900 and 20 A350-1000 as a result of a fleet requirements review. The order cancellation was downplayed by Airbus as "not good news commercially" but not "bad news financially". It must have been a disappointment to lose 9% of the A350XWB order book by one of the most prominent Airbus customers. Emirates deliveries would have started in 2019 giving Airbus ample time to recover. However, it sends the message that B777X can easily perform the missions of the A350XWB.

I am certain the fleet requirements review went beyond the A350 cancellation, Emirates has emphasized that the passenger growth forecast has not been changed which makes one wonder what the fleet composition will eventually be?

The cancellation has many advantages for Emirates:

  • Rationalizing the fleet back to two (2) types; A380s and B777s currently the fleet consists of  (A380/A340/A330 and B777);
  • Removing the financial and human resources burden of entry into service of a new fleet (maintenance facilities, simulators, parts, training and hiring etc..);
  • An improved cash flow due to reduced pre delivery payments; and
  • Less financing requirements in the tune of Sixteen (16) Billion USD.
The only disadvantage at this time, there is no aircraft to cover the 230 to 300 passengers requirement which is now covered by the A330/A340 and some of the B777-200, in other words their thinner routes. One can argue that with the newer standards of first and business seats, cubicles and apartments the passenger loads of the aircraft will automatically be reduced. 

Emirates wants an A380neo which Airbus is starting to look at, however the A330neo is still their priority. Emirates is an influential customer and very persistent, remember the B777X so eventually Airbus will develop the A380neo. In the meantime Emirates and Boeing are discussing the B747-8i which has slightly lower passenger load than the current A380 configuration but the same range capability and as the latest reports intimate a slightly better fuel consumption on a seat/mile basis. Whether Emirates will accept the B747-8i fuel efficiency argument and actually buy the B747-8i or it is only meant to pressure Airbus towards the A380neo, remains to be seen.

In any case, the Farnborough Air Show is just round the corner.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

ADAT, Moving Forward or ...

In early May 2014, Etihad Airways acquired or took over Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies (ADAT), formerly Gulf Aircraft Maintenance Company (GAMCO), from Mubadala except for the Engine Shop.

GAMCO was founded in 1987 as a partnership between the Government of Abu Dhabi and Gulf Air who owned a 40% stake, primarily to undertake the existing wide body and new technology aircraft (L1011, B767, A320, A330 and A340) fleets of Gulf Air. As Gulf Air's financial situation deteriorated in 1997, GAMCO expanded its third party business and aircraft maintenance capabilities beyond the Gulf Air requirements. As a result GAMCO expanded to become one of the top 15 MROs globally and number 1 in MENA (between Europe and Singapore) with more than seventy (70) customers ranging from North America through Europe and MENA all the way to the Far East. In early 2006, Gulf Air pulled its maintenance from GAMCO following the 2005 withdrawal of the Abu Dhabi Government from Gulf Air. The relationship between Gulf Air and GAMCO was at best very uneasy.

As a result the Abu Dhabi Government acquired Gulf Air's 40% share in GAMCO and turned it over to Mubadala, a government investment arm in the aerospace and technology sector. In 2007 Mubadala rebranded GAMCO as ADAT.

When Etihad was formed in 2003, GAMCO was entrusted with the total maintenance and support of Etihad's expanding fleet. Fast forward to the present; a decade later Etihad has withdrawn and brought inhouse a substantial amount of services leaving ADAT to perform airframe heavy maintenance and components/engines repair and overhaul activities.

Beyond the press releases and the great sentiments of moving forward there is an underlying desire for Etihad to take total control of its total maintenance activities for several reasons (punctuality, quality etc..) and to improve the synergies with its airline equity partners. The next step will be to bring in maintenance from Airberlin, Jet Airways, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles and who knows Alitalia in the future in order to reduce cost and safeguard its investment. As Etihad tightens the reins and demands more and more attention to its fleet and its partners fleets, other customers will shy away. The region has never been known for balanced relationship.

Whether this is really moving forward or a case of Deja Vu, only time will tell






Thursday, April 24, 2014

EX-IM Bank Again...

EX-IM Bank is again in the news; Delta, A4A and ALPA are adamant about defunding it because it stifles competition by providing export facilities to competing airlines especially the Gulf carriers. The fact that Korean, a SkyTeam partner of Delta or GOL obtained an EX-IM guaranteed bond financing to support its engine work at Delta TechOps is of no consequence. Delta's assertion is; EX-IM Bank allows carriers like Emirate, Qatar and Etihad cheaper financing therefore allowing them to offer cheaper fares which creates unfair competition. Hence the defunding campaign, regardless of the requirements of any other economic sector such as Aerospace,Nuclear energy, etc. It would have been better for Delta to lobby for tighter rules on guarantees for aircraft purchases.

EX-IM Bank and Boeing have maintained that defunding is akin to unilateral disarmament. Airlines will just buy from Airbus and utilize whatever the European credit agencies have to offer. Defunding will not change the level of competition, just the type of aircraft used.

Delta has been risk averse when it comes to buying new technology aircraft. Delta's CEO is on record for the "preference of proven technology". They feel that buying at the end of the development and production cycle allows them to purchase aircraft at lower prices. Others, including the Gulf carriers prefer to be launch customers with all the technology risks and possible delays this entails. Being a launch customer allows an airline a greater say in the aircraft design, aircraft mission requirements and most importantly a much lower price ever.

Delta's acquisition and/or lease of older aircraft like the MD80s and B717 provides them with lower asset costs, their use on short and low utilization sectors offsets the fuel price and when maintenance is due the aircraft is parted out or retired. The preference to refurbish older aircraft with the latest interior and cabin IFE and Wi-Fi in Delta's thinking provides an equal level of comfort to newer technology aircraft and most importantly better profitability. This maybe true in the short term but cabin noise levels, ability of the aircraft systems to support modern IFE and  new ATM requirements and overall reliability will eventually catch up.

To put the unfair competition of Gulf carriers in perspective, out of the 180 million international passengers that travel to and from the USA approximately 6 million (3.33%) hail from the Middle East of which 2.4 million (41%) are carried by US carriers and 3.6 million (59%) are carried by International carriers. There are seven carriers that operate non stop services to the USA; Etihad, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Saudia, Egypt Air, Royal Jordanian and Royal Air Maroc. Out of these, four are members of an alliance, but all of them code share with a US carrier for travel within the USA.
- American code shares with Etihad, Qatar Airways and Royal Jordanian (the latter two are members of
  OneWorld);
- Saudia code shares with Delta (a SkyTeam alliance member);
- Egypt Air code shares with United (a Star alliance memeber); and
- Emirates, Etihad and Royal Air Maroc code share with Jet Blue.
They bring revenue to the cities they serve in terms of employment, tourist traffic, use of the airport facilities (dedicated lounges) and most importantly better connections to the rest of the world.

All these MENA carriers come from relatively small countries with little or no domestic travel and have always relied on transit traffic that caters to holiday traffic, visiting friends and relatives and yes to the immigrant communities in the USA. For some reason US carriers do not pay much attention to the rising numbers of immigrants from MENA, India, Pakistan and Asia. these groups constitute the bulk of the traffic carried by these carriers, especially the Gulf Carriers. They compete on service, advanced entertainment systems and passenger amenities, high technology aircraft with high fuel efficiency and ultra long flights (12 to 16 hours/sector) that lower the asset cost per flight hour and most importantly very few or no ancillary fees.

US carriers have gained profitability in the last few years by:
- exercising capacity control (a 2% growth at best) while the Middle East was expanding at double digit
   rates (10% to 15%);
- lowering their labor costs, sometimes at the expense of customer service on ground and in flight;
- utilizing older aircraft (it was not until the last three to five years that US carriers embarked on fleet
  renewals, Delta not as much, and cabin upgrades); and of course
- escalating ancillary fees.

Hardly the stuff of fierce competition.

The Gulf carriers will expand into the USA by virtue of the open skies regimes they have with the USA and their global presence. They will compete with Delta and others; whether they use Airbus or Boeing aircraft is not an issue for them.





Saturday, April 5, 2014

Malaysian MH370

Malaysian MH370 disappeard on March 7, 2014 and the search continues and no one is the wiser. This will not be the first aircraft crash whose wreckage may not be found. In the meantime the relatives of the passengers suffer the uncertainty and lack of closure. Our prayers and thoughts are with them.

The Media and CNN in particular has made this into a 24 hours a day drama, with experts upon experts speculating on what may have been; not that other networks were any less guilty.

The aircraft made a turn and headed back and then it was lost from the radar and satellites. The whole incident/accident questions what a lot of us in aviation took for granted:
  • if an aircraft does not report to the next ATM center or disappears from the radar someone will raise an alarm; or
  • if an unidentified aircraft shows up on a radar screen, someone would try to raise the flight or scramble an aircraft to have a look see. But for someone to assume and do nothing on the premise that if an airliner turns back it must have an ATC clearance is ridiculous.
However, some of the theories brought forward to explain the disappearance of MH370 are literally out of this world. The sad part was, they were seriously discussed on TV and social media, and these include:
  • a black hole type disturbance in the atmosphere sucked the aircraft into space or another dimension;
  • the flight was hijacked by US and Israeli agents because it carried some ultra secret technology on its way to the Taliban or North Korea; 
  • there was mention of a cyber attack on the aircraft systems;
  • the plane was destroyed by a Texas company because it had four Chinese engineers holding semi conductor patents worth billions of dollars. The patents will revert to the company in case of their death; and/or
  • the pilot has gone suicidal because he had a failed love affair or was an Islamic zealot.
One good thing came out of this accident; countries were ready to cooperate to locate the aircraft, contributing resources from maritime surveillance aircraft, ships, satellites and underwater equipment capable of locating the pulses of the CVR and DFDR locators in a search effort that moved from one area to the other as investigators refined the flight path of the missing aircraft.   

When AF447 was lost in June 1, 2009 over the South Atlantic, it took two years to recover the DFDR and CVR and sadly we are facing the same problem. The calls to extend the battery lives of the DFDR/CVR came to nothing. There were even suggestions of floatable black boxes.

However, the solution must be a better aircraft tracking regime utilizing the available technology in               e-Enabling and connectivity in addition to the extended locators batteries operational life. A solution to switching off the ATC Transponders and ACARS in flight must be found.

As of today April 5, the Chinese news agency reported that one of its ships have detected a pulse at 37.5KHz which is the DFDR/CVR locator frequency and their pilots have photographed a debris field. 

We remain hopeful that this may be the successful end of the search.







Tuesday, February 4, 2014

RAK Airways, Full Circle.

On January 1, 2014 RAK Airways suspended operations for the second time, citing rising costs, the conditions of the aviation industry and geopolitics. The airline indicated that the board will review the state of the airline and decide whether the airline will resume operations.

As usual things move fast in MENA. On February 2, 2014 Ras Al Khaimah Directorate of Civil Aviation signed an agreement with Air Arabia, designating it the National Carrier of Ras Al Khaimah. This morning February 4, 2014 Adel Ali, Air Arabia Group CEO confirmed to Dubai Eye that Ras Al Khaimah will be the airline's fourth hub and will be basing its aircraft there to operate to destinations in the Middle East and the Indian Sub Continent.

RAK Airways was founded in 2006 as the fifth UAE national carrier based in Ras Al Khaimah. It started operating in 2007. By 2009 the airline suspended operations. It announced the resumption of operations in 2010 but actually restarted in 2011. The second time around the airline was more organized and operated to ten (10) cities  (Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Jeddah, Doha, Amman, Peshawar, Lahore, Islamabad, Calicut and Katmandhu) using two A320s in two (2) class configuration 8 Business and 160 in Economy.  RAK Airways operated to Abu Dhabi and had a code share with Etihad to London Heathrow, Manchester, Dublin, Geneva and Bangkok.

RAK Airways never had a defined business plan, other than the usual rhetoric of development of tourism and aviation in Ras Al Khaimah, and if it did it was never published. The airline had 7 CEOs in as many years.

Ras Al Khaimah is emerging as a tourist destination with 1.2 million visitors last year and global hotel chains like Hilton, Waldorf Astoria, Crowne Plaza, Rotana and others opening hotels and resorts in the emirate. These tourists preferred to fly to Dubai, since the majority of them came from destinations not served by RAK Airways.

Ras Al Khaimah government realized that going it alone in the Northern Emirates with their 800,000 inhabitants is not going to work out. Developing tourism using limited regional destinations does not work when most of the tourists hail from Europe and North America.

The question that raises itself now is how would Fujairah react to all of this, if at all? The emirate is developing into an important oil terminal with oil related industrial activities after the inauguration of the pipeline from Abu Dhabi to Fujaira. It boasts tourist areas like Khor Kalba, Massafi and the proximity to Khor Fakkan, the Sharjah resort on the Gulf of Oman. It is linked by a modern super highway to the major cities of the UAE, reducing travel times.

Another interesting issue will be the Ajman International Airport (under construction) which is in close proximity to Sharjah International Airport and Dubai International Airport and is raising ATM concerns within the UAE.

We wait and see






Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Saga of Abu Dhabi's CBP Pre-Clearance Facility

Finally on Friday, 24 January 2014 the US Customs and Border Protection Pre-Clearance facility opened in Abu Dhabi International Airport. A4A, Pilots' Associations and of course the ever present Delta spearheaded the opposition to open the facility. So the UAE government, more likely the Abu Dhabi Government, paid up 85% of the cost includingy the salaries of US CBP officials. There were a lot of reasons cited opposing the facility; the investment could have been used to alleviate congestion in US international gateways and unfair competition to US carriers, who by the way do not serve Abu Dhabi.

Personally, I would have preferred the facility in Dubai, where there are more flights to the USA including Delta and United.

To put things in perspective approximately 180 million international passengers pass through US International Airports of which 58% are carried by US carriers and 42% by international carriers. Of these passengers 6 million come from the Middle East of which 41% (2.4 million) are carried by US carriers and 59% (3.6 million) by international carriers. At this time Etihad operate to JFK, IAD and ORD. 2014 will see a double daily to JFK and operation into LAX and DFW. All things considered Etihad will probably carry around 750 thousand passengers who will go through the pre-clearance facility, out of a total of more than 90 million passengers, less than 1%. The investment in the facility is minimal and will hardly dent the congestion problem.

Delta and others screamed about unfair competitive advantage, well they do not operate to Abu Dhabi, and it is unlikely that anyone will travel from Europe or Israel to fly Etihad just to avoid congestion. If anything Emirates, Qatar Airways and maybe Royal Jordanian, Saudia and Kuwait Airways should have lobbied against the facility. They are more affected by it than any US carrier.

The CEO of Norwegian lately said US carriers are afraid of competition, I tend to agree, but then this is another story.

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