A few years ago, the major US carriers were accusing common enemy Emirates of benefiting unfairly from government subsidies as its market share in their backyard grew ever bigger. Now one of them, United Airlines, has broken from its domestic rivals to sign a code-sharing partnership with the Dubai operator. Emirates chief executive Tim Clark says the alliance “is going to terrify our competitors”.
While Emirates is not joining Star Alliance, the tie-up will open some 100 cities served by Emirates and sister airline Flydubai to United customers, while offering single-ticket connections to dozens of North American destinations to passengers departing Dubai. Bosses at American Airlines and Delta Air Lines have not said publically what they think about the about-face by their fellow US carrier.
The continuing chaos at Amsterdam’s Schiphol has claimed a significant victim – the airport’s boss. Dick Benschop announced this week he will step down, after a summer of flight cancellations and long passenger queues outside the terminal building blamed on shortages of security and other staff. In a resignation statement, he insisted: “I have done my best.”
Another under-fire chief executive is Alan Joyce of Qantas. The Australian airline has also struggled operationally since the recovery began in earnest this year, with a deluge of complaints about cancelled services and lost baggage. However, chairman Richard Goyder defends his colleague, arguing: “This is what happens when you shut down an entire sector for more than two years.”
It has been a good week for sustainable propulsion pioneers. After July’s Farnborough Airshow saw a spate of commitments for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) platforms from the likes of Embraer spin-off Eve, Lilium and Vertical Aerospace, it was the turn of the more conventional fixed-wing developers to make the news.
US carrier Global Crossing intends to buy 50 examples of Eviation’s nine-seat, all-electric Alice, to offer carbon-neutral services from Florida to the Caribbean. Meanwhile, Sweden’s Heart Aerospace has replaced its original planned 19-seater with a 30-passenger version, the ES-30, which it hopes to have in service by 2028. Air Canada and Saab are among those with minority stakes in the business.
Canada’s De Havilland is proceeding apace with a hybrid version of the Dash 8, formerly the Bombardier Q400. Powering it will be an all-new electric motor Collins has developed in the UK, and is shipping this month to fellow Raytheon business Pratt & Whitney, which will carry out the powertrain integration.
However, there was disappointment for an operator planning another novel method of air travel. Tailwind Air was on the verge of launching a seaplane service from New York harbor to Washington DC. However, federal authorities – always nervous when it comes to the airspace over the capital – have raised security concerns. Tailwind faces a delay of at least 45 days while a review takes place.
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