Airlines, Airports and Airliners 28 February 2024

Compiled by Willie Bodenstein

This Week in Airlines, Airports and Airliners

Celebrating the ICAO Air Navigation Commission's 75th anniversary.
IATA & The Weather Company to provide enhanced turbulence-related weather data to airlines.
Vietjet to order 20 A330neo widebodies.
Boeing, Thai Airways announce order for 45 787 Dreamliners to grow fleet and network.
Heathrow sees first small profit since 2019 - results for the year ended 31 Dec 2023.
SIA Group posts strong third quarter net profit of $659 Million with passenger capacity close to pre-pandemic levels.
Swissport and oneworld alliance open lounges at Schiphol.
Hydrogen to be a potential enabler to Singapore's aviation decarbonisation.
Worldwide Incidents and accidents.
Bonus video - Yak 55 Russian Aerobatic Monster


On 13 February 2024, a reception hosted by Canada launched ICAO's celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the organization's eminent technical body, the Air Navigation Commission (ANC).

Established on 1 February 1949, the Commission is composed of nineteen members who have "suitable qualifications and experience in the science and practice of aeronautics", as outlined in the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention). It considers and recommends Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) and Procedures for Air Navigation Services (PANS) for adoption or approval by the ICAO Council, in technical consultation with aviation operators and industry, labour groups, and other non-governmental organizations.

Although ANC Commissioners are nominated by specific ICAO Member States, and appointed by the Council, they do not represent the interest of any particular State or Region. Rather they act independently and utilize their expertise in the interest of the entire international civil aviation community.

"The Commission has benefitted from 287 brilliant and diverse technical minds since its inception, clearly portraying the depth of experience necessary in advancing aviation," declared ICAO Council President Salvatore Sciacchitano (pictured left). "In an era marked by rapid technological advancements and evolving operational challenges, the Commission has remained steadfast in its pursuit of innovation and excellence, continuously adapting to meet the needs of the aviation industry, while upholding the principles of sustainability and environmental responsibility."

On behalf of ICAO's host country, Ms. Annick Goulet, the Representative of Canada on the ICAO Council (pictured right) remarked that "the ANC is not just an expert body; it is the quiet force of this Organization. It is the very strength that unites us in our shared commitment to navigate the complexities of the ever-evolving aviation world."

"We have overcome numerous challenges and embraced transformative technologies to enhance the safety, efficiency, capacity and sustainability of global civil aviation," highlighted the President of the ANC, Mr. Junrong Liang (pictured centre left). "Looking ahead, the ANC faces new opportunities and challenges in an ever-evolving aviation landscape. Rapid technological advancements, emerging operational concepts, new entrants, and evolving regulatory frameworks require our collective attention and collaboration."

The celebrations were attended by ICAO Secretary General Juan Carlos Salazar and many representatives of ICAO Member States, staff, and the local and international aviation and diplomatic communities.

Coinciding with the yearlong celebrations of the 80th anniversary of the Chicago Convention and ICAO, several further activities to promote the ANC's past and future are foreseen to take place throughout 2024.


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is expanding the transmission of its Turbulence Aware data for use within industry-leading aviation solutions by The Weather Company, which serves a majority of North American commercial airlines and many others globally. With this enhancement, participating airlines will soon be able to access Eddy Dissipation Rate (EDR) turbulence data directly through Fusion™ and Pilotbrief® tools by The Weather Company.

Turbulence Aware will be enabled as an additional data layer within these tools, allowing pilots, dispatchers and flight planners to have needed turbulence observations integrated directly into their mission critical applications in one place rather than relying on multiple screens.

Turbulence can impact crew and passenger safety, route planning, arrival and departure times, customer satisfaction, equipment maintenance and more. Combining IATA Turbulence Aware observations with forecasts from The Weather Company, the world's most accurate forecaster, aims to better mitigate the impacts of weather and turbulence for contributing airlines globally.

Accessing real-time, accurate turbulence information enables pilots and dispatchers to choose optimal flight paths, avoid turbulence and fly at optimum levels to maximize fuel efficiency and thereby reduce CO2 emissions. IATA Turbulence Aware was launched in 2018 to help airlines mitigate the impact of turbulence, which is a leading cause of passenger and crew injuries and higher fuel costs each year. The platform pools anonymized EDR turbulence data from thousands of flights operated by participating airlines. EDR is the official ICAO and WMO atmospheric turbulence intensity metric.

"As weather grows more impactful due to a changing climate, it's critical now more than ever for aviation leaders to incorporate accurate, real-time, globally scaled weather data and insights within decisions," said Ravi Vanmali, head of aviation for The Weather Company. "Reliable weather data and forecasts, combined with human expertise, can help airlines and pilots plan around inclement weather and turbulence, improve crew and passenger safety, and mitigate impact to the bottom line."

"It is our aim to make access to turbulence-related data as simple as possible. By collaborating with The Weather Company, IATA Turbulence Aware data will be available to pilots and dispatchers through existing flight deck and flight planning applications and tools, enhancing the decision-making process in turbulence mitigation and avoidance", said Frederic Leger, IATA's Senior Vice President Commercial Products & Services.

Managing turbulence is expected to remain challenging, as climate change continues to impact weather patterns. This has implications for both safety and efficiency of flight. Turbulence Aware provides a significant improvement in turbulence reporting and avoiding excess fuel consumption.

At present, 21 airlines participate in the IATA Turbulence Aware Platform with more than 2,000 aircraft providing data daily. In 2023, a total of over 380 million turbulence observations was generated. Thanks to the data provided by Turbulence Aware, over 700 million passengers* have enjoyed a safer and more comfortable travel experience.


Vietjet Air has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Airbus for the purchase of 20 A330-900 widebodies. When finalised, this will be Vietjet's first-ever widebody order. The aircraft will be operated on the carrier's growing long-range network, as well as on high-capacity regional services. They will replace the carrier's current fleet of leased A330-300s, as well as providing for network expansion.

Vietjet Chief Executive Officer Dinh Viet Phuong said, "The new A330neo aircraft is a strategic addition to comprehensively modernise Vietjet's fleet, enhancing operational capabilities to support our global flight network expansion plan. Its fuel-efficient new-generation design aligns with our sustainable development strategy and ESG goals, aiming for net-zero emissions by 2050. With the introduction of the A330neo, passengers can look forward to longer-range, well-equipped flights with excellent services at more competitive fares."

"We are excited to work with Vietjet on the next phase of the carrier's expansion," said Christian Scherer, CEO of the Commercial Aircraft business of Airbus. "The A330neo will enable the airline to achieve the lowest possible operating costs per seat and to continue to offer its customers the best possible value wherever they fly. It will also be the perfect complement to the A321XLRs already on order with the airline, as it spreads its wings to more far-flung destinations."

The A330neo features the award-winning Airspace cabin, which offers passengers a unique passenger experience, high level of comfort, ambience, and design. This includes more individual space, enlarged overhead bins, a new lighting system and access to the latest in-flight entertainment and connectivity systems.

Powered by the latest generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, the A330-900 is capable of flying 7,200 nm / 13,300 km non-stop. At the end of January 2024, the A330 Family had accumulated 1,771 firm orders from more than 130 customers worldwide.


Boeing [NYSE: BA] and Thai Airways announced today the flagship carrier placed an order for 45 787 Dreamliners as the airline looks to modernize and grow its widebody fleet and international network. Thai Airways selected the 787-9 to support its long-term strategy to renew and expand its fleet with more efficient jets, as well as open new routes to support high demand for air travel across Southeast Asia.

"To accomplish our company's and the national carbon neutral goals by 2050, the 45 new Boeing 787 Dreamliners will be equipped with GEnx engines, which are known for their cutting-edge technology and reduced environmental impact," said Chai Eamsiri, Thai Airways CEO. "Furthermore, we are confident that the acquisition of the 787 Dreamliners will ultimately benefit our customers and support the growth of our country's economy."

Thai Airways flies widebody jets - including 777s and 787s - to nearly 60 domestic and international destinations, including the Middle East, Asia and Europe. With more 787-9s in their fleet, the airline will operate more efficiently, as the Dreamliner family reduces fuel use and emissions by up to 25% compared to the airplanes it replaces.

"Thai Airways' strategic investment in the 787 Dreamliner builds on our long-standing partnership and signifies the airline's commitment to operate a modern, efficient and flexible fleet," said Brad McMullen, Boeing senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing. "This order will support Thai Airways' ability to meet demand, foster tourism and trade, and create further opportunities for this carrier."

The order, which was finalized in December 2023, was listed as unidentified on Boeing's Orders & Deliveries website. Boeing's 2023 Commercial Market Outlook for Southeast Asia projects that the region's widebody fleet will see a three-fold increase over 20 years, with growing demand for nearly 800 airplanes including passenger jets such as Boeing's 787 Dreamliner family and 777X, as well as freighter models.

At 20 feet (6 meters) longer than the 787-8, the 787-9 will enable Thai Airways to fly nearly 20% more passengers farther and build on routes first opened by the 787-8. Since revenue service began in 2011, the 787 family has launched more than 390 new nonstop routes around the world.

Boeing's partnership with Thai Airways and support of the country's aviation industry span more than 60 years. Boeing's presence in Thailand includes offices in Bangkok and support for important causes including STEM education, programs for people with disabilities and sustainable livelihood through permaculture methods.


UK's hub flies high in 2023 with much improved service and strong growth - 2023 was a strong year for Heathrow, with passenger numbers recovering to 79.2 million, the third highest year in Heathrow's history. The UK's hub outperformed all other European hubs by being rated as the "best airport in Europe", claimed the title of the world's "most connected" hub and broke into the top five largest airports in the world. These achievements are a great credit to the teamwork and commitment of colleagues across Team Heathrow and set a strong foundation for 2024 as we attempt to welcome a record 81.4 million - more passengers than ever before.

Small adjusted profit recorded for the first time since 2019 - A strong Q4 performance helped us reach our first adjusted profit in four years with £38 million adjusted profit before tax. Our balance sheet remains strong, with gearing below pre-pandemic levels and £3.8 billion of liquidity. Airport charges were reduced by 20% in real terms at the start of 2024 in line with the CAA's H7 settlement, which means maintaining even a small profit will require us to close a £400 million gap with efficiencies and investment trade-offs over the next three years. We are finalising a refreshed business strategy, which will be shared in the months ahead. No dividends were paid in 2023, and none are currently forecast for 2024, although it is plausible subject to financial performance. We will continue to review optionality through the year.

New investments to improve service and boost resilience - Behind-the-scenes investments are underway across the airport to boost passenger experience and operational resilience. We are upgrading 146 security lanes as part of our £1 billion investment in next generation security equipment, and we have appointed a lead contractor to replace the T2 baggage system.

Sustainability remains at the heart of Heathrow - Significant strides were made towards our Heathrow 2.0 commitments, including launching the Giving Back Programme which will deliver activities to nearly 100,000 local people. Record amounts of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) were used at Heathrow during 2023, including powering the inaugural 100% SAF transatlantic flight, and we committed to incentivising the use of up to 155,000 tonnes of SAF in 2024.

Ministers should use the Spring Budget to stand up for Britain - UK consumers will pay more to travel in the future if Ministers do not speed up the delivery of a domestic SAF industry, and the Chancellor makes the UK a magnet for international tourism spend by levelling the playing field with the UK's European rivals and bringing back tax-free shopping. The Spring Budget should not miss the chance to deliver change on both of these key issues for the economy.

Heathrow CEO Thomas Woldbye said:

"2023 was a good year for Heathrow from a challenging start to a great finish - We delivered much improved service for our customers, and managed to turn a small profit after three consecutive years of losses. That's a great platform to build on, although in 2024, we are expected to deliver even further improved service to more passengers, but with airport charges cut by 20% in real terms. We will have to pull every lever to become more efficient and make tough choices on where we spend and invest our money to overcome the huge cost challenge set by the CAA and remain profitable over the next three years."


The demand for air travel remained robust in the three months to 31 December 2023, led by a rebound in North Asia as China, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, and Taiwan fully reopened. SIA and Scoot carried 9.5 million passengers, up 29.4% year-on year. Passenger traffic grew 19.1%, outpacing the capacity expansion of 17.9%.

As a result, the Group passenger load factor (PLF) improved by 0.8 percentage points to 88.2%. Revenue rose $236 million (+4.9% year-on-year) to a quarterly record of $5,082 million, going past the $5,000 million mark for the first time in the Group's history.

Passenger flown revenue rose by $398 million (+10.6%) to $4,165 million, despite a 7.4% decline in passenger yields. Cargo flown revenue fell $303 million (-35.1%) to $559 million. While cargo loads increased by 3.9% due to strong year-end demand from the e-commerce segment, cargo yields were 37.4% lower year-on-year. Nevertheless, yields remained 32.1% above pre-pandemic levels1.

Expenditure increased by $382 million (+9.3%) to $4,473 million. This comprised a $261 million increase (+9.5%) in non-fuel expenditure, and a $121 million increase (+9.1%) in net fuel cost. The rise in net fuel cost was mainly due to the higher volume uplifted (+$176 million) and a lower fuel hedging gain (+$109 million), partially offset by a 6.6% decrease in fuel prices (-$114 million). The increase in non-fuel expenditure was in line with the 11.1% increase in overall passenger and cargo capacity.

As a result, the Group recorded a third quarter operating profit of $609 million, a decrease of $146 million (-19.3%) from the previous year. The Group's net profit improved by $31 million (+4.9%) to $659 million. This was mainly due to a lower tax expense (+$124 million)2, a share of profits versus a share of losses of associated companies the previous year (+$35 million), a surplus on disposal of aircraft, spares, and spare engines versus a loss the year before (+$21 million), a higher net interest income (+$11 million), and partially offset by the lower operating profit (-$146 million).


Swissport and oneworld® alliance have opened the doors of their new lounges at Schiphol. Both lounges are located in Lounge 2 at the airport and offer travellers flying to a non-Schengen destination a luxurious place to relax.

With this opening at Schiphol, the oneworld® alliance is introducing its first European lounge. The luxury lounge is 473 square metres and offers a wide choice of stylish seats in a bright and contemporary setting. The design by D/DOCK features a fully branded oneworld environment, featuring features a subtle reference to Amsterdam. An example is the lighting - the lights are inspired by the street lanterns luminous half round bridges along Amsterdam's iconic canals.

"We've developed a contemporary, premium lounge experience with a design, features and furnishings that pay tribute to life in the Netherlands. This luxury lounge experience makes travelling simple, relaxing and enjoyable. Jochem Straatman, D/DOCK Art Director„

The oneworld Lounge, located in the non-Schengen area, is ideally situated just a ten-minute walk away from the gates used by alliance member airlines. Aspire Executive Lounges, Swissport's airport lounge brand, is responsible for the day-to-day running of the space.

In addition to being responsible for the daily management of the oneworld Lounge, Swissport has also upgraded and opened its Aspire Lounge. This lounge can be booked by anyone flying to a non-Schengen destination. To make things more efficient, both lounges share a kitchen where top chefs prepare fresh meals.

The design of the Swissport lounge also includes subtle references to Amsterdam and the Netherlands. Guests are welcomed by eye catching, and impactful gestures, with subtle nods to the Amsterdamse School design character and the basalt stones of the Dutch dykes. Swissport has expanded workspace options for business travellers. In addition, with sustainability being an important basic principle, the new lounge contains reused furnishings from the old lounge.


The Singapore Hydrogen Cooperation Committee sees hydrogen fuel playing a potential role in the state's aviation decarbonisation journey. The working group was formed following the signing of the Cooperation Agreement by Airbus, Changi Airport Group, Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), and Linde in February 2022. Since then, the committee has examined regional and local market demand and supply for hydrogen, the hydrogen supply chain and infrastructure requirements, and the potential considerations for establishing a successful hydrogen ecosystem for aviation in the city-state.

The technology to use liquid hydrogen to power aircraft is currently under development and will only be applied on future generations of large commercial aircraft. The early technical feasibility study undertaken by the committee is useful to ensure that when the technology becomes mature and feasible, Singapore will be well prepared to incorporate liquid hydrogen as part of its aviation decarbonisation strategy.

"Stakeholders in the Asia-Pacific region are increasingly taking greater interest in making significant investments into hydrogen, developing new technologies and establishing supply chains. Together with our partners, we recognise the potential of hydrogen becoming a longer-term decarbonisation pathway for aircraft operations, complementing sustainable aviation fuel, in support of our transition towards net zero by 2050," said Sabine Klauke, Chief Technology Officer, Airbus.

As part of the study, the committee has identified infrastructure scenarios that could support the progressive deployment of a large-scale supply of liquid hydrogen for aviation at Changi Airport in the longer-term future. Singapore's aviation sector may consume up to 50 tonnes of liquid hydrogen daily from the 2040s, and up to 600 tonnes per day beyond 2050. These scenarios are based on future hydrogen aircraft with capacities of 100 to 200 passengers, operating range of 1000 to 2000 nautical miles, entering service between 2035 and 2040 in Singapore.

While a 2,000 NM range from Singapore's Changi Airport would allow an aircraft to reach about 74 airports in 20 Asia-Pacific countries and territories, the committee highlighted that other key factors such as the hydrogen readiness levels at potential destination airports and airlines' commercial considerations would also be important to realise the eventual hydrogen-powered flights between Changi Airport and other airports in the region.

Mr Han Kok Juan, Director-General of CAAS, said, "The International Civil Aviation Organization Member States have adopted a collective long-term global aspirational goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. While the near-term focus is on the wider adoption of sustainable aviation fuels in aircraft operations, hydrogen can potentially play a complementary role as a sustainable energy fuel in the longer term. CAAS has shared some of the key findings from the study with relevant government agencies for longer-term national planning for demand of hydrogen and will continue to monitor signposts around the development of hydrogen technology for aircraft operations."

Ms Poh Li San, Senior Vice President, Terminal 5 Specialised Systems, Changi Airport Group said, "Hydrogen technology is still in its nascency, with many uncertainties and the industry is working hard to study aspects such as operations, safety, regulation and economics. These need to be examined further. As the aviation industry progresses on its sustainability journey, it is prudent to take a phased approach as air hubs study how best to support the use of hydrogen by aircraft."

"Hydrogen has a key role to play in the global clean energy transition. In aviation, hydrogen shows promise on two fronts: reducing aircraft emissions in the air, and decarbonising airside ground activities," said John Panikar, EVP and CEO APAC, Linde. "Linde has over 100 years of experience with hydrogen. Our business spans the entire global hydrogen value chain and we look forward to leveraging our capabilities to further develop the promise of hydrogen in aviation."

Thailand, South of Bangkok: A Thai AirAsia flight Airbus A320-214, was en route from Bangkok to Nakhon Si Thammarat when a passenger's cell phone power bank suffered a thermal runaway. Smoke was seen emanating from the overhead luggage bin and contained the smoking battery using a fire extinguisher.

USA, San Francisco International Airport, CA (SFO/KSFO): A United Boeing 757-224, diverted to Denver International Airport (DEN), Colorado, after pieces from the inner leading-edge slat of the right-hand wing had broken off.

USA, New York-John F. Kennedy International Airport, NY (JFK/KJFK): A Delta Air Lines Boeing 767-332ER, experienced severe turbulence injuring flight attendants and a passenger. The flight continued to the destination, Bogota (BOG). The return leg was cancelled and the aircraft was ferried to Atlanta (ATL) on February 20, 2024.

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