Carry on: More kiosks at Auckland, A380 orders delayed and Iran’s big discounts

The weekly business travel roundup also includes extra Air New Zealand flights to Bali next year.

Two more airlines, American Airlines and Cathay Pacific, now have self-service check-in kiosks to ease congestion at Auckland Airport’s international terminal.

The airport’s general manager – aeronautical operations Judy Nicholl says the 45 battery-powered, movable kiosks can be readied for use by any participating airline.

Existing kiosks, such as those used by Air New Zealand, are in fixed positions.

“The kiosks are both mobile and fully-customisable, meaning we can put them out anywhere, and at any time, to meet customer demand,” she says.

“Upstairs in the international terminal we are currently expanding and upgrading our departure lounge and security processing to accommodate increasing passenger numbers.

“However, this mobile technology will help us to continue to manage the check-in process for passengers within our existing footprint.”

The kiosks each have a 12-hour rechargeable battery life and enable passengers to check in themselves, print boarding passes and bag tags and then just drop their bags off at the counter. See the kiosks in action here.

Auckland Airport is now handling more than 16 million passengers a year, diivided equally between domestic and international travellers.

Emirates delays A380 orders
End-of-year upheavals in the aviation world include major order cancellations and delays as well as Iran confirming huge purchases from Airbus and Boeing.

For the second time this year, Airbus is cutting production plans for its flagship A380 superjumbo after an agreement with Emirates to delay six deliveries planned for next year to 2018 and another six from 2018 to 2019.

In July, Airbus said it was cutting production to just 12 A380s a year starting in 2018, down from the 27 it built last year. It had planned to build around 20 of them next year.

Despite Emirates’ commitment to the large four-engined aircraft, their future looks in doubt long-term. Boeing has also had to cut production for its 747-8 jumbo jet owing to slack demand.

Delta Air Lines confirmed this week it would cancel an order for 18 B787 Dreamliners. Delta inherited the order via its 2008 merger with Northwest. The first of the 18 787s – initially ordered in 2005 – were due to arrive in 2008 but production delays pushed deliveries back by several years.

Meanwhile, Boeing has delivered the 500th Dreamliner, a 787-8, to Brazil’s Avianca. Since entering service in 2011, Boeing has sold the 787 to 48 operators, including Air New Zealand.

Iran earns big discounts
Airbus and Boeing have confirmed major orders from Iran to renew that country’s commercial fleets with the lifting of sanctions. Airbus has a firm contract for 100 aircraft to Iran Air, while Boeing has an order for 80 aircraft, also with Iran Air.

Iran has said it got the Boeing aircraft at haklf the $US16.6 billion list price billion. The Airbus order was said to be worth $US18-20 billion but Iran Air has said the contract wouldn’t exceed $US10 billion. Iran Air is also buying 20 ATR turbo-props for domestic services with options for another 20. ATR is co-owned by Airbus and Italy's Finmeccanica,.

A321 engine problems cause delays
Still on aircraft orders, Qatar Airways is in talks with Airbus to convert its order for up to 80 A320neos to the larger A321neo. Qatar has refused to accept four A320neos so far this year over performance issues with the aircraft's new-generation Pratt & Whitney GTF (geared turbofan) engines.

Hawaiian Airlines has coincidentally announced a three-month delay on a delivery of its A321neos, now expected in the final quarter of 2017. The delay is also linked to delivery problems with the GTF engines, which require extra time for cooling before restarting under some circumstances.

Some versions of the A321 now come equipped with rival CFM’s LEAP-1A engines. CFM is a joint venture of General Electric and Safran of France (SAF.PA), expected to reach customers in early 2017.

Lufthansa receives first A350 aircraft
The Lufthansa Group has taken delivery of the first of its 25 Airbus A350-900s on order. The A350s will initially be used on long-haul routes from Munich to Delhi and to Boston. The aircraft are equipped with Lufthansa’s latest cabin products including new seats, an all-new inflight entertainment system and, for the first time, inflight connectivity. Airbus has recorded a total of 810 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 43 airlines.

Qantas-Air Niugini expand codeshare
Qantas Airways and Air Niugini have expanded their codeshare partnership, after securing regulatory approval for the recently revised operation between Australia and Papua New Guinea. New codeshare routes are Brisbane-Melbourne,
Brisbane-Perth,
Brisbane-Port Moresby,
Sydney-Melbourne and
Sydney-Perth, operated by Qantas; and
 Port Moresby-Brisbane and 
Port Moresby-Sydney, operated by Air Niugini.

Route news of the week
Air New Zealand will expand Auckland-Denpasar (Bali) service with a third weekly flight on Tuesdays from June 27 to July 29 and September 17-October 14, 2017 using a Boeing 787-9. Jetstar will cease its Wellington-Melbourne route from March 1, citing lack of deamnd. Thai AirAsia X has ceased its Bangkok Don Mueang-Tehran Imam Khoemini route. The three times weekly service to Iran was introduced on June 22 using an A330-300 aircraft. Thai AirAsiaX is also ending its three-times-weekly Bangkok Don Mueang-Muscat route on January 14. Cathay Pacific will end its Hong Kong-Riyadh service on March 4. This route is operated four times a week using A330-300 aircraft.

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