1.Etihad posted a massive $1.8 billion USD loss. They claim the restructuring is going well, they claim that cargo is strong despite the fact they’ve slashed the fleet by 70% and now only operate 777F’s. They’ve cancelled a huge swathe of their future aircraft orders, but at the same time still taken delivery of new 787-9’s and 787-10’s. Is the future bright? Murky, perhaps, but they should never have gotten into such a state in the first place. The axing of cargo capacity and loss of customers is still generally seen as a mistake as it was a good business and well respected.
2. Saudi Arabia’s Saudia is looking at 787’s or A350’s to bolster its growth and fill intermediate routes it wants to serve, where its 777-300ER fleet is too large. Having taken delivery of 82 aircraft in two years, and with pretensions of taking back much of the business its lost to Emirates and Etihad over the years, an order is expected this year, probably at the Paris Show.
3. ElAl Israeli Airlines announced a loss of $52 million USD, which isn’t too bad overall. Its fleet is getting younger, the 787’s have proven as ever, a success, and it’s planning on new routes to the US, starting with Chicago. It did though confirm that its 744’s will exit the fleet this year. ElAl is finally had to deal with stiffer competition from both Israeli based and European and North American airlines. the entry of easyJet, RyanAir and Virgin Atlantic to Ben Gurion International, along with more services from the US has finally pushed it out of its lethargy.
4. The Max-8 saga continues with the somewhat utterly unsurprising confirmation of “clear similarities from the data recorders to the incident involving the Lion Air crash”. A 12 year old with FR24 could have told you that a week ago.
5. Southwest began services to Hawaii. This may seem quite trivial, but this year the battle for Hawaiian customers takes on a whole new level of intensity. For years the islands mid-way out in the Pacific, have been served by Hawaiian and some low-level competition from US majors. Southwest getting in on the act is a result of more fuel-efficient aircraft, and growing customer base and they’re not the only ones to see it. Delta, United, American, Alaskan, even jetBlue, are either looking at starting services or introducing more new routes to and from Hawaii. It’s a major tourist hot spot, and this summer ANA start A380 operations from Tokyo, bringing even more.
6. At Heathrow the annual noise report was published, which is a big deal for most Londoners and has huge bearing on the future of the third runway. It saw BA come in second to Oman Air. Despite operating 744’s their numbers are in permanent decline and BA can only get better. Another big jump was made by Icelandair, from 40th to 11th. Working to stay on flight paths and change their operating habits, they’ve shot up the tables.