Airline Finance News - Asia / Pacific.

New York (AirGuideBusiness - Airline Finance News Asia / Pacific) Mar 4, 2012

Airlines take luxury to new heights to draw premium fliers To win over premium passengers, major airlines are one-upping one another with luxurious perks that include pajamas, slippers, bed turn-down service and five-course chef-created meals washed down with fine wines personally selected by a sommelier. "Korean Air travelers ensconced in its first-class Kosmo Suites dine on fine tableware, nary a plastic fork in sight, their private pods enhanced with sleek wooden accents," Jennifer Brett writes. Mar 1, 2012

Sensor Systems, Inc. Delivers Best Option for U.S. Business Jets to Meet International Emergency Locator Transmitter Standards With most countries in the world mandating 406 MHz as the international standard for emergency locator transmitters (ELTs), the U.S. is not far behind. The Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) announcement in January 2012 that it will cancel the Technical Standard Order (TSO) governing the manufacturing of ELT equipmentNmost likely by the end of this yearNwill halt the production of units that broadcast on 121.5 MHz. For business jet owners who wish to fly international, upgrading from an existing 121.MHz to a 406 MHz ELT is mandatory. As the market continues to grow, the best option available for high-speed aircraft is Sensor Systems, Inc.'s S65-1231-1 ELT antenna. "The phase-out of 121.5 MHz frequency monitoring by satellites in 2009 rendered older ELTs ineffective outside the range of ground stations," said Sensor Systems, Inc. Vice President and CEO Si Robin. "The European Union requires 406 MHz ELTs for commercial operations and many countries, such as Russia and Japan, mandate installation in general aviation aircraft. Corporate and commercial aircraft in the U.S. must meet these requirements to fly across our borders. Plus, air crew and passengers benefit from dramatically improved search and rescue services provided by the new distress frequency." The S65-1231-1 ELT antenna is Cospas-Sarsat approved and meets all EUROCAE ED-62 requirements. Installed on the aft fuselage, it is capable of transmitting on the emergency frequency of 406 MHz. It is also the first all-aluminum, DC-grounded antenna available for aircraft with speeds up to Mach 1.5. The antenna is ruggedly constructed, consisting of a one-piece casting designed to DO-160C specifications for lightning protection. It features a hermetically sealed aerodynamic blade, ideal for fast aircraft, with a form-fit-function replacement for all ELT antennas. The unit is certified and available for installation on corporate, military and commercial fixed-wing aircraft and is reasonably priced. It is field-serviceable by local avionics and maintenance facilities. In September 2009, the International Cospas-Sarsat SystemNthe international authority responsible for monitoring emergency distress signalsNceased monitoring 121.5 MHz signals due to the superior capability of the 406 MHz alerting system. The digital 406 MHz frequency offers many advantages over the older analog frequency, allowing the position of distress to be relayed more quickly, reliably and accurately. The transition has also substantially reduced the number of false alerts and increased the amount of owner contact information available through an international database. The cancellation of the 121.5 MHz ELT TSO is an indication that the FAA may commit to the new international standard of 406 MHz in the near future. While all existing 121.5 MHz units can legally be used in the U.S., they provide extremely limited assistance if an aircraft crashes, especially in a remote location. Feb 29, 2012

Air Australia Refunds to passengers of Air Australia likely to "be nil''. There are fears some passengers will never get their money back after the revelation collapsed budget airline Air Australia owes creditors up to $90 million. The grounding of the airline earlier this month left 4000 people left stranded in Hawaii, Phuket and Bali and another 100,000 who bought tickets appear to be at the back of the creditor's queue. Approximately 50,000 passengers have applied for refunds through various means so far, a KordaMentha spokesperson said. The remaining 50,000 or so have not yet applied for refunds or have already received them. Passengers who used a travel agent to book their trip may or may not be able to get a refund, depending on the relationship with the agent, while those who paid for their flight with cash are "not so well off". Those who paid via credit card will be able to get their money back from the banks. Administrators for the airline met about 100 creditors at The Greek Club in Brisbane today. The meeting heard a Federal Government scheme would cover some of the 300-plus employees' unpaid wages, but limited payouts to $118,000. Only $5 million of the $8 million owed in unpaid wages would be paid by the scheme. Mark Korda, a partner at administrator KordaMentha, said the return to creditors was likely to "be nil''. "Our prognosis is the airline is not saleable, but we have had four expressions of interest for the sale of the engineer business,'' Mr Korda said. "Because the company leases its buildings, leases its planes, leases its equipment, you don't have a lot of assets. "There's not a lot to sell.'' He said $1 million could be made from the assets with some possible returns from superannuation. ANZ, the biggest creditor, was owed more than $20 million while other creditors included aeroplane lessors, catering companies, cargo companies, spare-parts suppliers and maintenance companies. Air Australia founder and chief executive Michael James, who has gone to ground since the collapse, did not attend the meeting. Mr Korda told creditors the company would most likely go into liquidation. Air Australia was previously known as Strategic Airlines but relaunched in November 2011 to cash in on under-serviced routes. "I think their strategy was to start up a low-cost airline and in my experience that is a very difficult undertaking,'' Mr Korda said. Thousands of passengers were stranded when the airline collapsed this month. Source: Feb 29, 2012

Air China, CFM, FLY Leasing Aircraft News. Air China has taken delivery of an Airbus A321-200 Feb. 29, as part of its re-fleeting and investment program. This aircraft is part of a mandate to finance six A321-200s under a French optimized lease structure combined with ECA loan, with Natixis as arranger of the French lease structure and ECA agent and KfW IPEX-Bank and Natixis as arrangers of the ECA debt. CFM International has letter agreements from International Lease Finance (ILFC), CIT, AerSale, and GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS), to include their engines in the TRUEngine program. More than 6,990 in-service CFM56 engines are enrolled in the TRUEngine program, over 40% of the in-service CFM56 commercial fleet worldwide. FLY Leasing Ltd. has acquired two Boeing 737-700 aircraft on lease to GOL Airlines. It now has a fleet of 111 commercial aircraft on lease to 54 airlines in 29 countries. Mar 2, 2012

AirAsia X AirAsia X has revolutionized air travel in many ways. The airline has the knack of understanding its customersO pulse and continues to score when it comes to customer-service delivery. EyeforTravel spoke to Azran Osman-Rani, CEO of AirAsia X, about the airlineOs business model and relevant issues. For a group that describes itself as a passionate low-cost travel loyalist, AirAsia says it always listens to its guestsO needs for lower fares and fees. Running an airline in todayOs uncertain economic climate is a daunting task but AirAsia stands for its resilience. AirAsiaOs low-cost, long-haul affiliate, AirAsia X, continued its growth trajectory in the fourth quarter of 2011, carrying 0.64 million passengers, an increase of 7.3 percent over the same quarter in 2010, with the same aircraft fleet. In all, the total number of passengers carried last year touched 2.5 million (up 31.5 percent from 1.9 million passengers in 2010), and it also recorded its highest ever full year load factor of 80.1 percent (up 3.6 percentage points from 2010). AirAsia X was able to achieve positive load factor growth and average fare growth at the same time, on all of its routes that it has operated for at least a full year. With both load factor and average fares growing positively, the carrier was able to achieve a total revenue of RM1.9 billion in 2011, a 45 percent growth over 2010. This performance, according to Azran Osman-Rani, CEO of AirAsia X, demonstrates the resilience of the low-cost, long-haul model, and underpins AirAsia XOs recently announced 2012 route network strategy to focus on building a stronger presence in its core markets. The plan will see AirAsia X increase its flight frequencies on existing routes and look at expanding its network further across Asia Pacific. In an interview with EyeforTravel.comOs Ritesh Gupta, Osman-Rani mentioned that the key to the success of AirAsia X lies in its business model: - A strong globally-recognized brand that has received wide acceptance. - An unrivaled regional network across Southeast Asia with the highest frequencies and connectivity from our Kuala Lumpur hub. - WorldOs lowest unit cost and at the same time offer affordable fares. - Disciplined execution to deliver world-class engineering reliability and on-time performance (88 percent in 2011) with new...

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