Club News

Boeing Chief at Aviation Club

Article courtesy of https://www.btnews.co.uk/article/19121

With Farnborough coming up (begins Monday 18 July) The Aviation Club of the United Kingdom has invited Stan Deal, Executive VP of The Boeing Company and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, to the RAC London for its next lunch, Thursday 16 June.

Stan Deal has been Executive VP & CEO of The Boeing Company since 2019.The timing is perfect with Deal expected to attend the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Annual General Meeting which starts in Doha the following Sunday.

Described as a ‘fireside chat’ Deal, who has been at Boeing since 1986, will be interviewed by Club Chairman Karl Brünjes followed by a question-and-answer session from the floor.  The confirmation of a major IAG order for the Boeing MAX will no doubt be discussed.   

Since joining Boeing Deal’s broad range of positions has included leading integrated product teams for propulsion systems and structures on the 717 programme and serving as Programme Manager for the MD-11 Japan Airlines programme.  Stan was named in his current position in October 2019.  He is now responsible for delivering a family of super-efficient aeroplanes to worldwide customers and leading the growth of the company’s commercial aeroplane programmes.  

Aviation Club ‘Dublin Dinner’ doubles in size from previous edition

Some 150 guests, drawn from Aviation Club UK members and delegates attending the Airline Economics Growth Frontiers Dublin 2022 Conference gathered on Sunday 8 May at the intercontinental, Dublin for the third edition of the Aviation Club of the UK’s ‘Dublin Dinner’.  American businessman and industry figure head Steven Udvar-Hazy joined the gathering as guest of honour and spoke about discussed the present position of aviation leasing and shared his personal views on the current and short-term future of the market.  Previous events have welcomed guest speakers Willie Walsh and Gus Kelley, Aircap. 

‘The Dublin Dinner has established itself as a popular and important event on the Club’s annual events programme.  The pandemic meant a cancellation in 2021 and several date changes to this year’s event, but the increased attendance numbers of 150 from 85 in 2020, demonstrate the value in face-to-face networking and the appetite and appreciation for  the  much  welcomed return to physical events.’  Said club Chairman Karl Brunjes.  He went on to thank the generous  ongoing support of the Bank of China and Airline Economics, without whom the dinner would not be possible.  A recording of Steve Udvar-Hazy’s speech is available at  The Aviation Club UK Speakers.

The next Aviation Club lunch will be held on Thursday 16 June at the RAC, London, with guest speaker Stan Deal, President and CEO Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Tickets are available for members and their guests from the club website – www.aviationclub.org.uk.

Delta at the Aviation Club UK

Article courtesy of BTN, the Business Travel news. For this and other articles visit https://www.btnews.co.uk/article/18868

A packed Aviation Club lunch on Tuesday 15 March 2022 saw a return of Ed Bastian, CEO, Delta Airlines (he was also guest of honour in 2014) in what was termed a ‘fireside chat’ with Club Chairman Karl Brünjes. No fireside but a good chat. He said that the terrible war in Ukraine had no impact on US originating traffic, noting that 8 March had been the busiest in the airline’s history. “I have not seen a stronger demand day for travel in my career”, he said.

He added that the Russian invasion had prompted a brief drop in sales, but otherwise consumers were not being put off by the rise in the cost of living and other factors, including spiralling fuel costs.

Carriers had weathered the pandemic, he said. “It has been the worst period that companies and the industry has ever been through, but we are through”.

Bastian said he was “not at a point of nervousness” about rising fuel prices. “We have seen $100 (a barrel) for many years over time. We were quite successful when it moved over $100”.  He hinted at an impact on fares later in the year pointing out that Delta is not hedged “none of the US majors are, so we need to pass that on to the marketplace”.

He was optimistic. “In the US there is a lot of inflation, and fuel is at record levels, but the US consumer has savings. A lot of the spending has been on home improvements, etc, but there’s now a shift away from goods and services and that’s fuelling demand, not just at the moment, but for the summer”.

Airlines had a role to play in reuniting families and getting the corporate world moving, he said. “We realise the role we play and that is a noble role. Consumers will rally to our side and we are seeing just that”.

In answer to a question from BTN’s Malcolm Ginsberg he made it quite clear that Delta was firmly now established at Heathrow, offered a summer series to Edinburgh and was working closely with partner airline Virgin Atlantic.

www.delta.com

FAA Administrator Steve Dickson will resign next month

The New York Times Online    02/17/2022

Authors: Madeleine Ngo and Chris Cameron

Steve Dickson, Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, speaks at the UK Aviation Club about the Boeing 737 MAX, in London, Britain, February 6, 2020. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

In a letter to staff, Mr. Dickson said it was “time to go home” to his family after a tumultuous period of more than two years leading the agency.

WASHINGTON — Steve Dickson, the administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, will resign at the end of next month, the agency said on Wednesday night.

The announcement by Mr. Dickson, who was appointed by President Donald J. Trump, cut short a five-year term after what had been a tumultuous period for the F.A.A. In a letter to staff, Mr. Dickson said it was “time to go home” to his family after 43 years in the aviation industry and more than two years leading the agency.

“Over the past several years, my family has been a source of tremendous encouragement, strength and support,” Mr. Dickson said. “Nevertheless, after sometimes long and unavoidable periods of separation from my loved ones during the pandemic, it is time to devote my full time and attention to them.”

He said the F.A.A. was in a “better place” than it was two years ago, adding that the agency had reinvigorated its safety culture, overcome some of its toughest challenges and “built a stronger, more collaborative, inclusive and open culture.”

Mr. Dickson had sometimes come under heavy criticism from lawmakers as he responded to a series of challenges at the agency, but on Wednesday night, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg praised him as “the F.A.A.’s steady and skilled captain.”

“His tenure has been marked by steadfast commitment to the F.A.A.’s safety mission and the 45,000 employees who work tirelessly every day to fulfill it,” Mr. Buttigieg said in a statement.

Mr. Dickson, a former pilot who rose to become senior vice president of flight operations at Delta Air Lines and a U.S. Air Force Academy graduate, took charge of the F.A.A. as the agency was reeling after two deadly crashes that grounded Boeing ’s 737 Max jet for almost two years.

Congress and safety experts condemned the agency for lapses in oversight that helped lead to the crashes, which killed 346 people. Mr. Dickson, who took over the agency months after the Max was grounded, oversaw revisions to the aircraft that allowed the fleet to eventually resume commercial flights .

He then had to navigate a cascade of disruptions to air travel from the Covid-19 pandemic, including new airline safety regulations , travel restrictions, a severe decline in commercial air traffic and a surge in unruly passengers that has led some airline executives to call for a federal no-fly list for those convicted of disrupting flights.

The agency had to confront concerns that a nationwide expansion of 5G cellular networks could interfere with sensitive aircraft instruments. The F.A.A. negotiated a compromise with cellular providers in January to partly delay the implementation of 5G service near airport runways.

Mr. Dickson was confirmed in an unusually divided Senate vote in July 2019 after some Democrats raised concerns about his involvement in a whistle-blower case at Delta. The agency had been without permanent leadership for more than a year and a half before his confirmation.

Representative Peter A. DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat and the chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said that although he “didn’t always see eye to eye” with Mr. Dickson, he thanked him for his leadership during a challenging time for the agency.

“President Biden must now nominate a new leader committed to the highest standards of aviation safety,” Mr. DeFazio said in a statement.

Air Arabia Land at the RAC

Article courtesey of BTN – The Business Travel News https://www.btnews.co.uk/article/18716

Guest of Honour at last week’s UK Aviation Club lunch at the RAC London, Air Arabia boss Adel Abdullah Ali was in a positive state of mind. He said that the airline was profitable for the first nine months of 2021, after a loss-making prior year, and the carrier would shortly unveil its full-year performance, which Ali says “should be good”.

Asked by BTN’s Malcolm Ginsberg whether London was a possibility he said the route was on the airline’s wish list, the carrier already serving Gatwick via Morocco.  Sharjah International Airport is less than 20 miles from Dubai International with currently nine flights to London, all wide-bodied. 

UK educated, and with British Airways at the start of his airline career, Mr Ali made it clear that the airline’s future was with the Airbus A320 series, which were easily obtainable on lease, and the long-range A321LR already in the fleet.

Ali also spoke of a new Pakistani joint-venture carrier to commence around mid-year.  Called Fly Jinnah.  It is being established with conglomerate Lakson Group and will be based in Karachi.  He said the airline would be flying around “June time” and that it would initially operate domestically for a year.  “Domestic Pakistan is good business”, he said.

Founded in 2003 Air Arabia today flies 58 aircraft and operates 179 routes.  Its largest overseas base is Casablanca where it serves 17 destinations.

The next Aviation Club lunch is Tuesday 15 March with guest speaker Ed Bastian, CEO Delta Air Lines.

Further articles on this event can be found at:

Routesonline.com – https://bit.ly/3rNoaSx

Qatar Airways Chief at Aviation Club

Reported by BTN – Malcolm Ginsberg:

Speaking at the Aviation Club in London last week Qatar Airways’ CEO Akbar Al Baker said that Airbus needs to admit it had a problem with flaws on the surface of its A350 jets and ruled out buying freighter planes from the European aircraft manufacturing company.

BTN’s Editor in Chief made a presentation to His Excellency. Having spent 23 years as Qatar Airways CEO Al Baker is now the longest serving CEO of a major airline.

“They acknowledge that they are working to find a solution, which means they don’t have a solution, and they don’t have a solution because they don’t know why it is happening.”  Al Baker compared the issue with the production and quality issues Boeing has with the 787, saying: “Boeing’s problems with the 787 are ‘dwarfed’ by that at the A350.”

Al Baker confirmed that Qatar Airways had grounded 20 of the long-range A350 jets in a month-long dispute over paint and other surface damage that has also prompted the airline to halt further deliveries.

“Qatar Airways cannot sit with its arms folded and legs crossed. We need to solve it. Airbus has made a very large dent in our widebody operations,” Al Baker said.

“It is a serious matter; we don’t know if it is an airworthiness issue; we also don’t know that it is not an airworthiness issue. The real cause of it has not been established by Airbus. Now they have, at last, accepted that there are other airlines, several of them that have the same condition.”

An investigation done by Reuters showed that the Qatar Airways issue over the A350 is not an isolated case. A private maintenance message board used by Airbus and A350 operators and reviewed by Reuters showed that as early as 2016, Finnair had raised concerns over paint and reported in October 2019 that damage had spread below to the anti-lightning mesh.

According to the investigation, Air France, Cathay Pacific, Etihad and Lufthansa also complained of paint damage.

The response to His Excellency’s discourse was given by Malcolm Ginsberg, Editor-in-Chief Business Travel News (BTN), who said that Al Baker sought every opportunity to promote Qatar and his airline.  “I might as well add a certain Michael O’Leary who also took the same route, but with far less civility.  I know which airline I would prefer to fly on!”

Other stories can be found at the following links:

Aerotime Hub: https://bit.ly/3IRoLZO

www.qatarairways.com

IATA Chief at Aviation Club

The Aviation Club UK

Article courtesy of BTNews: The Business Travel News. For your free subscription visit BTNews: The Business Travel News

Willie Walsh, Director General of Air Transport Association (IATA) was in fine form when he addressed the Aviation Club of the United Kingdom at a packed luncheon held at RAC Club last week.

Willie Walsh was in fine form at the RAC. Answering a question from BTN he said that the double whammy with domestic UK flying where travellers pay departure tax for internal return flights was still very much on the agenda.  “It’s something we are mindful of.”

In a speech laced with some amusing anecdotes inevitably his main target was the proposed increase in airport charges by London’s main airport. “It’s time for Heathrow’s shareholders to step up. They have enjoyed steady returns for years. Instead of expecting the travelling public to be covering excessive returns, it’s time for them to invest. All eyes will be on the CAA to ensure they are doing their job in protecting the consumer by pushing back on the airport’s outrageous behaviour,” said Walsh.  Also sitting on the top table London City Airport boss Robert Sinclair pointed out that all airports were faced with rolling infrastructure costs that were the same however many aircraft movements took place.

The recent IATA Annual General Meeting in Boston agreed its members should achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. “For aviation, net zero is a bold, audacious commitment. Achieving it needs all stakeholders – including governments – to play their part. Together we can make sustainable aviation a reality. In doing so, we will secure the freedom to fly for future generations,” said Walsh.

In terms of specific support from the UK Government, airlines would like to see policies for greater investment in sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) through capital grants, production incentives, government-backed loans and ‘green bonds’.

“An emphasis on incentives to establish a thriving UK SAF industry would show this off to the world as a global best practice that will help states avoid a patchwork of different regulations or market distortions. The goal should be energy self-sufficiency for sustainable connectivity. And that would come with the added benefit of creating thousands of well-paid jobs,” said Walsh.

Read Willie Walsh’s Speech

Other articles include:

The Guardian: https://bit.ly/3BVR1XA https://bit.ly/3pdYnSO

FlightGlobal: https://bit.ly/3vAboqZ

The Independent: https://bit.ly/3DRTQcB

The Telegraph: https://bit.ly/3jchJ6Z

TTG Media: https://bit.ly/3DUm1HI

MSN.com: Airline association boss Willie Walsh slams ongoing PCR testing ‘rip-off’ (msn.com)

Tornos News (Greek travel Market): https://bit.ly/3DSbTzi

In Memoriam. Mike Sanders: 1943 – 2021

The Aviation Club UK

The Club is saddened to hear of the death on 2nd April of a long-time supporter and friend of the Club, Mike Sanders.  For one so closely involved with the development of Concorde it is apt that he was laid to rest on 9 April directly under Concorde’s flight path on final approach to Toulouse-Blagnac Airport, that date also marking the 52nd anniversary of Concorde’s maiden flight,

Born on 1943 in Chipping Sodbury, England, Mike attended Filton Technical College and went on to join British Aerospace in 1963 where he stayed until 1979. Mike rose to the role of lead flight test engineer on the Concorde project, spending countless hours on board with pilot and good friend, Brian Trubshaw. Embarking on long months of route-proving around the world, his wife Sheila and children Paul and Julie would revel in the excitement of receiving postcards from Dad’s travels to far flung places they could then only relate to in an atlas.

Seconded by BAe to Airbus in Toulouse in 1979, Mike moved his family to France, driving from the UK on their adventure in Mike’s newly-acquired Citroen. After becoming a direct employee of Airbus, Mike spent months in the US and across Europe promoting the A320 aircraft family and ultimately sold the first A320 aircraft to a US lessor, namely GATX.  Shortly after GATX hired Mike to help them lease out those early A320s!

Following the sale of GATX to Macquarie, Mike spent time in the Dublin office (not everyone had one of those back then) and could never quite get used to his noisy neighbour – a certain upstart called Bono from U2.

In time Mike joined Kuwaiti-lessor, ALAFCO, once again based in Toulouse and continued to teach the leasing business to anyone who wanted to learn.

Adel A. Albanwan, CEO of ALAFCO commented “We at ALAFCO were fortunate to have Mike work with us for over thirteen years.  Mike was passionate about his job and the aviation industry.   He was a humble man and a good teacher and very well-liked and respected by everyone who worked with him.  In short, Mike was an encyclopedia of aviation. We will miss him personally and professionally.”

Latterly in his career, Mike consulted for several parties, including UK leisure airline, jet2.com. Founder and Executive Chairman, Philip Meeson, spent a lot of time with Mike discussing the industry and fleet plans and recalls that “Mike was incredibly experienced and very wise. He helped us in many negotiations, including with both Airbus and Boeing and was always calm under pressure and very good company. His contribution was always significant and remains very much appreciated”.

Aviation Club greets Lundgren

Article from www.btnews.co.uk

EasyJet boss Johan Lundgren was Guest of Honour at an Aviation Club virtual lunch last week.

With overseas leisure travel expected to be permitted for people in England from 17 May as part of the next easing of coronavirus restrictions he said that popular destinations such as Spain, Portugal and Greece should be placed in the lowest risk category with an announcement as soon as possible.

“The success of the UK vaccine rollout has broken the link between cases and hospitalisation.

“It is the same success that allows for the domestic reopening.

“And as we get into May and June we expect the situation to improve because of the progress of the vaccination programmes.

“So, we have demonstrated through the scientific analysis it is safe for much of Europe to be categorised as green.”

EasyJet commissioned research by leading epidemiologists Dr Jeffrey Townsend and Dr Alison Galvan from the Yale School of Public Health in the US.  

The analysis, based on data from 12 April, found that opening UK borders to travellers from much of Europe would increase hospital admissions by less than 4%.

If Spain – the most popular overseas destination for UK holidaymakers – was on the green list, only an additional four people per week would require hospital treatment due to coronavirus, the study found.

The researchers also claimed the 10-day quarantine period for people returning from amber countries is longer than necessary.

Dr Townsend said: “Travel quarantines have been a cornerstone of efforts to prevent infectious disease prevention since the 14th century.

“We’ve determined that appropriate, shorter quarantines and judicious testing can facilitate travel, in cases where they are needed to prevent unsafe levels of transmission.”

Asked about easyJet and Heathrow, the only major European airport it does not operate into. Mr Lundgren said it was not a no.  “It’s something we are always monitoring”.  As for Eilat (Israel), he was less fulsome in spite of incentives from the Israeli Government (see in this week’s BTN).  “We already operate to Ben Gurion from three UK airports.  They are some of our most successful routes.  The status quo remains.

https://aviationclub.org.uk

www.easyjet.com

Johan Lundgren (left), easyJet chief executive, and Karl Brünjes, Aviation Club chairman.

Additional coverage can be reviewed at:

The Guardain: Easyjet urges UK to put most of Europe on ‘green’ Covid travel list | easyJet | The Guardian

Yahoo! Finance: EasyJet urges UK government to put Europe on ‘green list’ (yahoo.com)

Mail Online: Coronavirus: Brits could safely travel to most of Europe without quarantine, easyJet study claims | Daily Mail Online

Evening Standard: EasyJet boss wants summer hotspots on green list due to ‘minimal’ impact | Evening Standard

The Independent: easyJet boss calls for opening up travel due to vaccine success | The Independent

Belfast Telegraph: EasyJet boss wants summer hotspots on green list due to ‘minimal’ impact – BelfastTelegraph.co.uk

Express & Star News, Kent News Online, Suffolk News: EasyJet boss wants summer hotspots on green list due to ‘minimal’ impact | Express & Star (expressandstar.com)

CAA Chair Speaks to Aviation Club UK

Report from BTNews.co.uk

Using the classic words of Flight International magazine in its heyday Sir Stephen Hillier, Chair of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), came across as a “total aviation man” at a webinar hosted by the Aviation Club of the UK last week.

Sir Stephen Hiller has been chair of the Civil Aviation Authority since August 2020. Sir Stephen introduced himself by stating that whilst a former Marshal of the Royal Air Force he started as a mere Private Pilot Licence (PPL) holder, a licence he still held.   For his prepared discourse it was clearly refreshing to know that in the appointment was somebody who had a fine knowledge of the industry he was now serving.  In a new civil aviation role he saw the way ahead.

Safety was the major point he emphasised, returning to the subject again and again, but he also covered topics as varied as the handling of refunds during the Covid-19 pandemic, the environment and airspace.  He said the CAA looks to beef up its powers to improve consumer protection with regard to the Air Travel Organiser’s Licencing (ATOL) scheme.  Sir Stephen pointed out that the CAA is represented on the travel taskforce “and has an important part to play”.  On the technical front the management delays associated with Covid-19 has meant delays in giving approval extensions, something the CAA is monitoring.

Pilots with a licence from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which the United Kingdom is not now part of, can fly within the UK but this has not been reciprocated.  The CAA is working on this issue.  “We are doing what we can and aware of the situation. This is the same for engineers,” he noted.  Regarding EASA, decisions were made not in his time “and was taken at a higher level”.  He pointed out that the CAA had the advantage of a solid foundation and only required 25 people to upgrade the UK system from what already existed in the way of skills needed.  “No risks were flagged up”.  He pointed out that the Boeing MAX had been approved by both Authorities.

Questioned about slots he noted it was not a CAA responsibility.  

And asked what was the best aircraft he has flown during the final Q&A, Sir Stephen made it clear rather, like himself, the now RAF retired Tornado was his favourite, and that he had pulled rank to fly one in a final sortie two years ago.  He also flew in the RAF Memorial Flight Avro Lancaster, “a memorable experience”.  His first solo was in a Leicester Flying Club Cessna 152 at the age of 17.

For the full interview go to this page.

www.caa.co.uk