Airline Finance News - Europe.

New York, Geneva (AirGuideBusiness - Airline Finance News Europe) Jan 22, 2012

Economic woes taking toll on premium traffic Demand for airline premium cabins is continuing to weaken as economic turmoil in the eurozone takes its toll on global trade, according to the latest global figures from IATA. The association said that while premium passenger numbers grew by 0.6% in November compared to October, demand has been dropping from the peak seen in spring 2011 [ETH] NovemberOs total premium passenger numbers were down 2.6% on May 2011. IATA added that Oeconomy travel has generally been stronger than premium travel over the past six or more monthsO. OOn some markets, premium travel is weak because a contraction or slowdown in economic activity has reduced business travel,O said IATA in its monthly Premium Traffic Monitor for November 2011. OIn other markets, business travel continues, often linked to export business, but business travellers have switched from premium to cheaper economy seats.O The report said that business passengers seemed to be switching to economy on flights within Europe with a 0.3% fall in premium traffic in November while economy numbers Oremained relatively robustO. The key North Atlantic route between Europe and North America also saw its second month of Oweak year-on-year performanceO on premium sales with growth of only 0.4% in November 2011 compared to the same month in 2010 which follows a drop of 1.5% in October. OA route that had previously shown strength despite a weak European economy is now starting to slow,O said IATA. OExport momentum from German and northern European countries across the Atlantic has been slowing for some time now, and that could be translating to weaker premium travel performance.O The report also shows a slowdown in premium travel within the Far East with November only seeing an increase of 0.4% year-on-year after recording growth of 4.1% in October and 13.9% in September. OIt appears the impact of the eurozone crisis is now manifesting itself in the Far East,O said IATA. OCredit conditions are now also starting to tighten in Asia, and policymakers are reverting from tightening policies to constrain inflation, to looser policy positions that indicate a readiness to stimulate activity if necessary.O Jan 19, 2012

Airbus, Middle East Airlines Airbus delivers 5000th A320 aircraft. Airbus Industries has announced at the Bahrain Air Show that they have delivered the 5,000th aircraft of the hugely successful A320 family today to Middle East Airlines, with the aircraft now enroute to Beirut for the official handover ceremony to the buyer. The Airbus with serial number MSN5000 completes the delivery of a total order of 7 such aircraft by MEA. MEA operates another six A319 and four A330-300 aircraft. Airbus celebrates the 25th anniversary an A320 family member aircraft first flight in 1977 and has now reached over 8.300 orders overall, today flying with over 350 airlines and owners worldwide. Successor model, the A 320 NEO, has also been an instant hit with airlines, with orders piling in thick and fast, as airlines are preparing to introduce the next generation aircraft offering substantial savings in operating cost and improved reliability, while either offering an additional range of 500 nautical miles or extra 2 tons payload. Jan 20, 2012

ATR ATR sets new order record in 2011. ATR booked sales for 236 aircraft in 2011, comprising 157 firm orders and 79 options, in a record-breaking year, giving it a dominant position in the 50- to 90-seat regional aircraft market. It reports firm sales for 13 ATR 42s and 144 ATR 72s. Four undisclosed customers booked 41 aircraft and at least two of these orders will be formally announced at the Singapore Airshow next month, CEO Filippo Bagnato said at a Wednesday briefing in Paris. ATR delivered 54 planes (compared to 51 in 2010) and had total revenue of USD1.3 billion. The turboprop manufacturerOs backlog at year end stood at a record high of 224 aircraft (compared to 159 in 2010 and 195 in 2007, its previous record year), which ensures three years of production and takes into account this yearOs production ramp-up. Production will increase to 72 this year, to Oat leastO 80 in 2013 and at least 85 in 2014, according to Bagnato. With the ramp-up of its delivery schedules, ATR should see its turnover reach USD2 billion in the near future. The Toulouse-based manufacturer will reach another milestone May 3 when it hands over its 1,000th aircraft. The backlog has been adjusted for the orders of financially struggling Kingfisher Airlines. Bagnato said ATR decided to cancel KingfisherOs 38 aircraft following the carrierOs failure to make the pre-delivery payments. Bagnato described 2011 as Oexceptional year for ATR for many reasons,O foremost because the fact that the manufacturer, which is 50% owned by EADS and 50% by Finmeccanica Group, became the Onew referenceO in the 50- to 90-seat regional aircraft segment. ATR booked more than 80% of all sales in this segment last year and Oholds 70% of the order book [jets holds 23% and Bombardier has a 7% market share with its turboprop families]. This success was borne of a continuous improvement policy, economic performance and the comfort of our airplanes. Today, this success has led to a remarkable change in the perception of our turboprop aircraft amongst regional airlines and their passengers,O Bagnato said. Commenting on his outlook for 2012, Bagnato said he preferred to remain cautious and Oideally, I like to achieve a similar backlog to the one of today.O The company will stop production of the -500 series this year and start discussing the launch of a larger model version with its shareholders this year, Bagnato said while stressing that Ono decision should be expected soon.O The ATR 72-600 upgrade was certified in May 2011. ATR aims to have the ATR 42-600 certified by mid-spring with entry into service in August. Bagnato confirmed the company raised its list prices 3% this year to USD23.4 million for the ATR 72-600 and EUR19.5 million for the smaller ATR 42-600. Jan 19, 2012

Bmi, Bmibaby, Lufthansa, International Airlines Group Bmi in talks with 'several parties' to sell Bmibaby. Bmi has confirmed that it is in talks with Oseveral interested partiesO who could buy its no-frills subsidiary Bmibaby. Lufthansa, which currently owns Bmi, is looking to sell Bmibaby before it completes the UKP172.5 million deal to offload the loss-making airline to British AirwaysO owner International Airlines Group. IAG is only interested in the main Bmi airline due to its slots at Heathrow and Lufthansa is in the process of selling both Bmibaby and its other subsidiary Bmi Regional. It has already completed a deal to sell Bmi Regional to an unnamed UK buyer, subject to conditions. A Bmi spokeswoman said: "With respect to Bmibaby, there are several interested parties and we are in the process of identifying the preferred buyer and aim to conclude a purchase agreement as soon as possible." Bmibaby flies from the UK to European destinations [ETH] primarily from East Midlands, Birmingham and Belfast. If the no-frills carrier is not sold by May 2012, then Lufthansa has to pay compensation to IAG to Ocover costs of an orderly exitO, which effectively means shutting down the airline. According to reports, one of the interested parties in buying Bmibaby is German aviation turnaround specialist Intro Aviation which has been involved in the restructuring of former BA unit Deutsche BA and German carrier LTU. IAGOs deal to buy Bmi is expected to be completed by the end of March but it still has to clear regulatory hurdles with the European Union and possibly UK competition authorities, who can ask for jurisdiction to look at the potential impact of the...

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