Friday, 26 July 2013

Air France A330 Grounded

An Air France A330-200 (MSN 519 | F-GZCL) operating as flight AF547 from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso to Paris CDG via Niamey, Niger, has been grounded in the Nigerien capital since Thursday after a dead body, believed to have fallen from the aircraft as it approached Diori Hamani International Airport's runway 09R/27L, was discovered in one of the city's arrondissements.

According to the Agence de Presse Africaine (APA) newswire, corresponding blood stains have also been discovered on the aircraft's port side wing.
"We have identified a body (...) in all likelihood it had to have fallen or was dumped from the Air France aircraft (...) there are blood stains on the left wing of the aircraft," said the Nigerien Minister of State for the Interior, Mr Abdou Labo Minister, during a press conference.

"A forensic examination of [tissue] samples, DNA testing will be done and compared with the bloodstains found on the plane. We do not know if it is a passenger or a stowaway," said Minister Labo.
Air France, in a statement quoted by AirJournal, has confirmed the incident and the grounding stating:

"According to preliminary information we have, it appears to be a stowaway who had hidden away onboard the plane. He would have fallen from the forward landing gear bay on July 24."

The Nigerien authorities are currently investigating the incident.

Air France-KLM Unveils Plan For Cost-Cutting

Air France-KLM said on Friday it planned to introduce major new cost-cutting measures as Europe's weak economy thwarts efforts to turn around its medium-haul and cargo businesses.
The airline said the plan would include voluntary departures as well as industrial and commercial initiatives.
Air France-KLM had already renegotiated pay and conditions with airline staff, cutting 5,122 jobs and restructuring its network to cope with high fuel costs, a worsening cargo business and tough competition from Gulf and low-cost carriers.
"The measures already taken have enabled medium-haul and cargo to improve their operating results but not sufficiently in view of the weak economic conditions," it said in a statement.
The airline said it aimed to improve its operating result in the second half in line with the first and reduce its net debt by year-end.
Air France-KLM posted an operating profit of EUR€79 million (USD$104.56 million), reversing last year's loss, helped by lower fuel bills and staff costs.
Revenue rose 1.2 percent to EUR€6.58 billion in the three months to June 30, a level described by the company as "below target at this stage".

United's Profit Rises On Lower Costs

United Continental on Thursday posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit as costs at the airline fell and it raised airfares.
United said second-quarter revenue rose 0.6 percent to USD$10 billion, the highest ever for that period. The average airfare rose 3.5 percent to USD$289.46.
United has been working to win back customers who turned to rivals after technology problems hurt customer service last year. The company made a number of changes to integrate as one carrier following the 2010 merger of United and Continental, including converting to a new computer reservation system.
In a fast consolidating industry, analysts are looking out for signs that United has moved beyond its merger related issues to make progress in revenue and profits.
Rival Delta has moved ahead after its merger with Northwest and said in May it plans to return USD$1 billion to shareholders over the next three years. American and US Airways are in line to merge pending government approval.
United Continental's passenger revenue per available seat mile increased one percent.
Net income was USD$469 million for the quarter, up from USD$339 million a year earlier.
Operating costs fell 1 percent, with fuel expenses falling 10 percent.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Delta Quarterly Profit Up As Fuel Costs Drop

Delta Air Lines reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday as fuel costs fell and it held down other expenses.
The carrier said "solid" travel demand trends would help it expand profit margins.
Delta is expanding in high-growth markets and has upgraded aircraft seats and food options to entice passengers to spend more. It recently bought a stake in British carrier Virgin Atlantic that will give it more access at London's Heathrow Airport, an important international business market.
The airline, which in May announced its first dividend in a decade and a USD$500 million share buyback programme, bought a Pennsylvania refinery last year to try to gain more control over its fuel costs. The refinery had a loss of USD$51 million in the second quarter because of costs related to US renewable fuel standards. But Delta added it was reducing fuel costs.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Bombardier Delays CSeries First Flight Again

Bombardier delayed the first flight of its CSeries jet for a third time on Wednesday, promising the flight "in the coming weeks" instead of July, a move likely to rattle airlines that have ordered the new plane.
"This might make people a bit jittery... This is a new market for them. A lot depends upon the confidence of customers," said aviation industry expert Richard Aboulafia, a vice-president at consulting firm Teal Group.
The delay casts new doubt on Bombardier's ambitious mid-2014 entry-into-service target for the CSeries. Aboulafia expects entry-into-service sometime in the first half of 2015.
The first flight will be the culmination of a five-year, USD$3.4 billion development programme for the CSeries.
Bombardier hopes eventually to corner 50 percent of the lucrative 100- to 149-seat airliner segment with the plane.
The Montreal-based company has announced 177 firm CSeries orders, far short of its target of at least 300 firm orders by the middle of next year. It failed to firm up new CSeries business last month at the Paris Air Show, which saw splashy news and big orders from its competitors.
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