The Week in brief
India's largest low-cost carrier, IndiGo, is to order 180 Airbus A320 aircraft of which 150 will be A320neo’s and 30 will be A320s.
- The A320neo, available from 2016, delivers fuel savings of up to 15 percent — equivalent to 3,600 tonnes of CO2 annually per aircraft. “This order for industry leading fuel-efficient aircraft will allow IndiGo to continue to offer low fares,” said Rakesh Gangwal and Rahul Bhatia, co-founders of IndiGo, in a statement. “Ordering more A320s was the natural choice to meet India’s growing flying needs. The opportunity to reduce costs and to further improve our environmental performance through the A320neo were key to our decision.”
- General sales and service agent ECS Group is to open five more offices in Asia and India and expand its presence in Africa this year. Adrien Thominet, senior vice president, Sales & Marketing, commented: “We expect to see some decrease in yields on certain routes like the Far East due to carriers adding additional capacity back into their networks. To boost Europe’s airfreight business to the level of growth in other areas, we would like to see more work being done on bilateral exchanges with China and other Far East countries.”
- Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (Hactl) said tonnage throughput in December rose 7.4 percent year-on-year; for the fourth quarter, traffic increased 9.5 percent over the same period in 2009. For 2010 as a whole, tonnage hit a record 24.8 percent rise over the previous year. “The growth in airfreight demand had continued all the way throughout 2010, although we saw a milder growth in the third and fourth quarter due to the higher base effect in the second half of 2009,” said Lilian Chan, executive director of Hactl. “2010 has been an extraordinary year of roller coaster recovery from the global economic downturn.”
- Aeronautical Engineers said its conversion programs for the B737-300SF and B737-400SF have been approved by the Interstate Aviation Committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The approval will allow leasing companies and CIS airlines to import and operate AEI B737 freighters into Russia. Robert Convey, vice president of sales and marketing, said the approval will provide an economical replacement for 100 or more ageing AN12 freighters currently in service. "Based upon our analysis, the CIS countries will surpass China in the number of registered 737 classic freighters by 2013. Unlike China, the CIS demand will be driven by the need for replacement of existing freighters rather than the organic growth currently being experienced in China."
- The Canadian Tire Corporation, one of Canada's most-shopped general retailers, has selected Descartes as its Customs Self Assessment (CSA) service provider to help manage its CSA and non-CSA imports. Descartes is providing Canadian Tire with a Web-based portal to manage its Customs filings and a comprehensive audit trail to improve the accuracy of import data. The CSA program is designed for low-risk, pre-approved organizations to forward trade data and to report and pay monthly taxes and duties to their own financial institutions. Descartes said this self-assessment option can represent significant cost savings because importers don’t have to pay at the time of each shipment.
- Saudi Arabian Airlines is to join SkyTeam in 2012. The airline will be the alliance's first Middle East member, adding 35 new destinations to the network including Alexandria, Aden, Colombo and Islamabad. The airline is in the process of modernizing its infrastructure, restructuring its domestic and international network, and implementing a fleet modernization plan. Leo van Wijk, chairman of SkyTeam, said: “Saudi Arabian Airlines is a significant player in the Middle East and covers a considerable part of the Arabian Peninsula and the Indian subcontinent. Its membership in SkyTeam will enable us to compete more efficiently within the region.” In 2010, China Eastern and its daughter company, Shanghai Airlines, China Airlines, Garuda Indonesia and Aerolíneas Argentinas all confirmed their membership in SkyTeam.
- Lufthansa Cargo reported an 18.2 percent year-on-year increase in cargo and mail traffic in 2010 to 1.79 million tonnes. Karl Ulrich Garnadt, Lufthansa Cargo’s incoming chairman and CEO said: "After the 2009 crisis year, Lufthansa Cargo has come back with outstanding results on the back of an impressive team performance. We are taking that momentum into 2011 in order to make the most of growth opportunities in the international airfreight industry." The airline reported the biggest gain in the Americas, where tonnage rose 24.9 percent year-on-year, followed by Asia/Pacific growth of 20.6 percent. During 2010, the company raised capacity by 7.6 percent, which included reactivating MD-11 freighters parked in the desert, the delivery of new AeroLogic B777 freighters, and the integration of Austrian Airlines' cargo capacity. Sales climbed by 19.9 percent to 8.9 billion revenue cargo tonne-kilometres.
- LAN Cargo reported a 9.9 percent increase in cargo traffic in December due mainly to a rapid increase in imports throughout Latin America, particularly Brazil, where in June last year the company launched domestic cargo operations to Recife and Fortaleza through its subsidiary ABSA. Cargo capacity grew 12.3 percent during December as one B767 freighter was added to the fleet.
- TNT is to sell De Belgische Distributiedienst, its Belgian mail operation, and its unaddressed mail business in Italy, RSM Italia, to management and NPM Capital N.V. The Belgian business handles the distribution of unaddressed mail and daily newspapers. In 2009, revenues for both companies were €100 million and €38 million, respectively. Subject to government approvals, the sale is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2011.