• MALAYSIA’S FIRST EMBRAER LEGACY 500 AT PENANG AIRPORT. PIC/SHUKOR YUSOF
    Aviation

    On board Malaysia’s first Legacy 500

    Would you step into an aircraft with “666” as part of its registration – the number of the beast for those who are superstitious – let alone fly in it? Malaysia’s first Embraer Legacy 500, a midsize business jet made by Brazil’s Embraer, arrived at Senai International Airport in Johor Bahru (JHB) after a long ferry flight from São José dos Campos around mid-March. With triple sixes in the aircraft’s registration, the USD20 million private plane is the first medium cabin business jet with digital flight controls, based on fly-by-wire technology. It can fly at 45,000 feet and is powered by two Honeywell HTF7500E engines, touted as the “greenest” in…

  • Aviation

    Why Cathay Pacific loses money, according to John Slosar

    Dear John, we are going to break something to you, as gently as we can. What we are going to say may upset you and your colleagues at that most august of airline abode in Hong Kong – Swire Pacific. Anyway, here it goes: the airline business has changed, Hong Kong has changed and Cathay Pacific Airways has not, from the look of it, embraced change. Swire Pacific, the airline’s parent company, appears averse to change. The chairman of Hong Kong’s flag carrier, John Slosar, on March 14 attributed Cathay Pacific’s consecutive annual losses – its first since the airline was formed in 1946 – on over-capacity and declining yields which, he lamented,…

  • GREAT HAND JOB. THE TIGER LIVERY ON THE E190-E2, PAINTED BY EMBRAER’S CLODOALDO QUINTANA.
    Aviation

    Will there be saudade if Boeing buys 51% of Embraer?

    Does Dennis Muilenburg know what saudade mean? The Boeing CEO should, or at least people around him must acquaint their boss with saudade, given that the company he leads is said to be keen to buy 51% of Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer. Saudade is not easily translated into English, but to a Brazilian and of course, to a Portuguese, it’s a word that evokes a sense of yearning, a longing for a thing or a person. Embraer’s employees – in São José dos Campos and around the world – are currently deep in saudade, not knowing what to expect or what will become of the company, the world’s third biggest plane-maker. We know Boeing is after Embraer…

  • MESSAGE TO BOEING: YOU CAN’T NEGOTIATE WITH A TIGER WHEN YOUR HEAD IS IN ITS MOUTH. PIC/SHUKOR YUSOF
    Aviation

    The tiger (air)show

    A tiger show without stunts involving darts, ping-pong balls and beer bottles? You bet! The Singapore Airshow (from Feb 6-9) has been devoid of any major aircraft deals, save for a USD120 million ATR contract from Bangkok Airways for four turboprop planes from the Italian manufacturer and two orders from Malaysia’s Berjaya Hotels & Resorts. It’s not a big deal. Really. There was a smaller but significant deal: US-based HondaJet struck a deal with France’s air taxi company Wijet for 16 planes. The company showcased its 7-seater business jet, each with a catalogue price of USD4.9 million, at the Changi Exhibition Centre. But back to the tiger show… Brazilian plane maker Embraer brought its hard-nosed “tiger”…

  • A CHINA AIRLINES (CAL) A330 AT TAOYUAN AIRPORT. PIC/SHUKOR YUSOF
    Aviation

    A dragon looms in the year of the dog

    There is a good chance that Tsai Ing-wen has read Immanuel Hsu’s brilliant tome, “The Rise of Modern China”, a book that describes China’s transformation from a traditional empire into the modern, technologically advanced, global power that it is today. Taiwan’s president shouldn’t mess with Beijing. It isn’t good for her and especially for the 23 or so million people on that island just 180km off the southeastern coast of mainland China. Since Tsai took office in May 2016 relations between Beijing and Taipei have soured. That’s because Tsai refused to acquiesce to Beijing’s demand that Taiwan accept the “1992 Consensus” and along with it, the “One China” principle. This…

  • THERE’S ONE JUST LIKE THIS IN TIANJIN. PIC/SHUKOR YUSOF
    Aviation

    China gets an offer, India makes one

    Airbus makes China an offer that it can (and should) refuse Fresh from his China tour with the French president in early Jan., outgoing Airbus COO & President Commercial Aircraft Fabrice Brégier said his company has outsold Boeing in 2017. The Toulouse-based aircraft maker said on Jan. 15 it had surpassed its 2017 target by delivering 718 planes to customers, compared to Boeing’s 763. Orders were up 52% to 1,109 last year, against Boeing’s 912 . But we are obliged to point out that Boeing remains the world’s largest airplane manufacturer – for the sixth consecutive year – and made considerably more money in 2017 than its European rival. Check it out here.…

  • THE LATEST ITERATION OF EMBRAER’S E-JETS: THE E190-E2. ENTRY INTO SERVICE IN THE FIRST HALF OF 2018. PIC/SHUKOR YUSOF
    Aviation

    Boeing-Embraer tie-up: É melhor esperar sentado*

    There is a steakhouse in downtown Seattle appropriately named The Grill from Ipanema and it serves caipirinhas to complement the exotic Brazilian dishes and the mesa de frios. Apparently Brazilian fare is quite popular in that part of Washington state and our friends in Seattle (to paraphrase John Leahy) certainly seem to have acquired an appetite for Brazilian products, notably its airplanes. On Dec. 21, 2017 The Wall Street Journal reported that Boeing was keen to buy Embraer, the Brazilian aerospace company and the world’s third biggest aircraft maker, for USD3.7 billion. Both companies confirmed the WSJ article. Why is Boeing interested in Embraer? Few people out here in Asia know Embraer (or have…

  • ARTWORK AT AIRBUS. TAKE A GUESS – IN TOULOUSE OR HAMBURG? PIC/SHUKOR YUSOF
    Aviation

    Airbus loses its elan

    Forget about Macron vs. Merkel or Les Bleus vs. Die Mannschaft. Franco-German rivalry goes back a long, long way, well before European aircraft manufacturer Airbus was born. France and Germany each has an 11.1% stake in Airbus, a giant aerospace company created in 1970 as a European industrial initiative to compete with Boeing. On the surface cooperation between the two appears cordial. In reality it is anything but that. Whenever there’s an industrial dispute or production issues, old enmities come into play. In 2006 when the A380 production delays resulted in major financial woes, the French (under Noel Forgeard) blamed the Germans allegedly over problems at its Hamburg plant. Rubbish,…

  • HOW WILL AIRLINES FARE IN 2018? PIC/SHUKOR YUSOF
    Aviation

    What’s in store for airlines in 2018?

    There’s an air of optimism in the Asian airline industry following the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) proclamation that airlines in this region will make a profit of USD9 billion in 2018. IATA expects 2018 to be the fourth consecutive year of sustainable profits with a return on invested capital (ROIC) of 9.4%. This figure exceeds the industry’s average cost of capital of 7.4%. Collective net profit for all airlines is expected to rise to USD38.4 billion in 2018 (from USD34.5 billion projected in 2017). Here’s IATA’s industry economic performance. According to IATA passenger market conditions vary across Asia Pacific. IATA’s latest figures also corroborate what we have seen – intense…

  • IS HE INDISPENSABLE? AIRBUS COO-CUSTOMERS JOHN LEAHY. PIC/SHUKOR YUSOF
    Aviation

    Being John Leahy

    Eleven or so years ago John Leahy took a 13-hour flight from London to Singapore, arrived on schedule and was briefed over breakfast by the local Airbus team. Before lunch he had met the media and proceeded after that to his main mission – a critical meeting with the Singapore Airlines (SIA) chief executive. By midnight Leahy was on a plane back to Europe, mission accomplished. He successfully reassured SIA over delays in the delivery of the A380 (the airline was the aircraft’s launch customer) and even convinced it to add another nine to the 10 superjumbos already on order. According to people who were privy to the negotiations, Leahy…

  • A QATAR AIRWAYS BOEING 777-200LR. PIC/SHUKOR YUSOF
    Aviation

    There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s Qatar Investment Authority.

    At HKD5,162,266,000 (USD662 million) or HKD12.35 per share, Qatar Airways felt the 378,188,000 shares of Cathay Pacific Airways it bought from Hong Kong-listed Kingboard Chemical Holdings were value for money. Indeed they were, and the Qataris now own a 9.6% stake in one of Asia’s (if not the world’s) top carriers – for a song. The Qataris are astute and smart investors, a lot smarter than their Gulf brethren at Etihad who, as part of ex-CEO James Hogan’s ill-thought “equity investment strategy”, bought into now bankrupt Air Berlin and perennially loss-making Alitalia. Etihad also made other foolish equity investments in Air Serbia, Jet Airways and Air Seychelles. What’s behind Qatar’s…

  • GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN. A MAS B777-200ER ABOUT TO LAND.
    Aviation

    Does Malaysia need a national airline?

    Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is once again in the centre of a maelstrom following the departure of Peter Bellew, its second expatriate chief executive in as many years. The airline has had a chequered past, marked by persistent losses (over MYR20 billion or USD4.8 billion, in two decades), mismanagement and most recently the loss of over 500 lives on board two of its aircraft. In view of the debate currently raging in Malaysia over the future of MAS, which unfortunately has spilled into the political arena, it is timely to ask if some countries actually need a national airline. Consider this: Malaysia has injected billions into MAS since the late 1990s,…

  • THE FOUR MUSKETEERS. L-R: PIERRE BAUDOIN (BOMBARDIER CHAIRMAN), TOM ENDERS (AIRBUS PRESIDENT & CEO), ALAIN BELLEMARE (BOMBARDIER PRESIDENT & CEO), AND FABRICE BREGIER (AIRBUS COO & PRESIDENT COMMERCIAL AIRCRAFT). PIC/AIRBUS
    Aviation

    The French Connection

    Apart from AirAsia, at least two Southeast Asian carriers are believed to have expressed interest in Bombardier’s CSeries planes after Airbus announced it would take 50.01% control of the troubled programme on October 17. It is understood informal talks have started. Although details are sketchy, the carriers are exploring acquiring between 20 and 30 planes. So far in Asia Pacific, only Korean Air has placed orders, for 10 CS300 aircraft. In August this year AirAsia co-founder and CEO Tony Fernandes visited Mirabel in Montreal and said his company was keen on both the CS100 and CS300 variants. In spite of Bombardier’s widely reported funding problems with the CSeries, the aircraft itself has…

  • READ MY LIPS: MALAYSIA IS THE MOST WONDERFUL COUNTRY…
    Aviation

    The greatest turnaround flop?

    Ravi’s Banana Leaf Restaurant in Mont Kiara, located in a leafy, upmarket suburb in Kuala Lumpur, is about to bid farewell to a loyal customer. Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) CEO Peter Bellew has done a U-turn. He is leaving his job after just a year as boss of the beleaguered airline and is heading back to Ryanair and to Ireland, his homeland. But what made Bellew’s departure intriguing was this: apparently his employer was unaware of it until news of his move was made official by Ryanair via the London Stock Exchange. To say the MAB board and stakeholder were left with red faces is an understatement. Barely a month ago Bellew…

  • DISCUSSING BIG DATA. L-R: STEPHEN LEUNG (LAZADA), VENKY PAZHYANUR (UNISYS), ENDAU ANALYTICS, LUQMAN AZMI (MASKARGO) & DIDIER LENORMAND (PHOENIX AERO CONSULT)
    Aviation

    Big Data

    What’s big data analytics and how can this be used to drive profits in the aviation industry? That was the big question posed in one of the sessions at the Payload Asia Conference on Oct 12 in Singapore. Endau Analytics was invited by the organiser, Payload Asia (a publication focusing on the global airfreight industry), to moderate the discussion on big data. According to Google big data is a “buzzword to describe a massive volume of both structured and unstructured data that’s so large it’s difficult to process using traditional database an software techniques.” Big data itself essentially is a high volume of data stream that originates from multiple sources…