Carry on: Air NZ signs wi-fi deal, first B787-10, SAA's new fleet and more
Air New Zealand signs wi-fi deal
The global mobile satellite communications company Inmarsat has signed a contract with Air New Zealand to provide Global Xpress (GX) broadband for its entire fleet. GX for Aviation will be integrated with the Panasonic Inflight Entertainment system and the first aircraft to be equipped are expected to begin proving flights in the second half of 2017. The wi-fi will progressively be available on Tasman, Pacific and long-haul fleets from the end of next year. It is anticipated that domestic routes will be added to the connected fleet from 2018. Other airlines to have chosen GX, include Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and Singapore Airlines.
Global passenger demand moderates
International Air Transport Association (IATA) figures for October show demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometres, or RPKs) rose 5.8% compared to the same month last year. Capacity grew 6.3% and load factor slid 0.4 percentage points to 80.1. This is down on the 7.1% year-on-year growth rate recorded in September. However, traffic in the Asia-Pacific region rose 7% in October compared to the year-ago period. Capacity rose 7.1% and load factor dipped 0.1 percentage point to 76.9%.
Hawaiian switches to Airbus
Hawaiian Airlines will bring forward the retirement date of its remaining Boeing 767 fleet with the addition of three aircraft to its fleet plan. The airline has indicated it will buy another Airbus A330-200 and lease two extra A321neos. This will allow it to phase out its B767s by the end of 2018, compared with the previous target of 2022. The A330 will boost its fleet of this type to 24 by the fourth quarter of 2017.
Boeing starts B787-10 model
Boeing has begun final assembly on its largest Dreamliner variant, the 787-10, at its manufacturing plant in North Charleston, South Carolina. The 787-10 is the longest of the three Dreamliner models at 224ft compared with 186ft for the 787-8 and 206ft for the 787-9. The extra-long fuselage increases two-class seating capacity to 330 in the 787-10, up from 242 in the 787-8 and 290 in the 787-9. The twin-engine, long-haul 787-10 is expected to enter service in 2018. Boeing makes Dreamliners in Everett, near Seattle, but the North Charleston 787 plant will be the exclusive final assembly line for the 787-10.
SAA expands with A330s
South African Airways (SAA) has taken delivery of the first of five new Airbus A330-300 aircraft in a bid to expand its route network and improve efficiency. The remaining four aircraft are due to be delivered later this month and early next year. They will join 10 A320s delivered last year. SAA plans to expand its route network in Africa and beyond. The first 222-seater A330 will operate daily on the Johannesburg- Victoria Falls route from March 1, replacing a 138-seater A320.
Changi expands to Vladivostok
A consortium led by Singapore’s Changi Airports has signed an agreement to acquire shares in Vladivostok International Airport from Sheremetyevo airport. The consortium also includes Basic Element and the Russian Direct Investment Fund. The group will own 100% of Terminal Vladivostok company, which owns and operates the airport terminal building, and 52.16% of International Airport Vladivostok company, which holds the airport licence. From January to June Vladivostok Airport handled 781,844 passengers, up 3.9% year-over-year. Its capacity allows it to handle 3.5 million passengers a year.
Route news of the week
Qatar Airways will offer daily non-stop Doha-Dublin service from June 12. It will use Boeing 787s Dreamliners on the route in two classes, business with 22 seats and 232 in economy. Korean Air will launch its Seoul Incheon-Barcelona route on April 28. The airline previously announced its intention to launch this scheduled operation last month. Barcelona will be served by Boeing 777-200ER aircraft three times a week.