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Fuel costs -- Aviation Week sees increased travel demand and rising fuel costs putting carriers with the right mix of equipment having the advantage.  Carriers with deep pockets have already begun hedging on fuel prices but that benefit will likely fade in a year. Being able to put the more fuel-efficient equipment on long hauls provides the needed flexibility. This may spell future problems for airlines deploying large numbers of the jumbo Airbus 380, leaving those with more twin-engine wide bodies (777, 787, A330, A350) better positioned. The mid-east carriers may be the first to feel the pain. Qatar is also hampered by the on-going air space restrictions enacted by neighboring states, leaving it with a narrow access corridor across the Persian Gulf between Doha and Iran.


World Cup impact -- Many tourists are choosing to stay at home for the duration of world cup fever.


Excerpts from Bangkok Post


Pongpanu Svetarundra, permanent secretary of the Tourism and Sports Ministry, said on Monday the low season, Ramadan and World Cup were among the negative factors weighing on growth.

Of all visitors last month, a majority of 2 million hailed from East Asia, followed by Europe, South Asia, America, Oceania, Middle East and Africa, he said.


“We believe the growth will start accelerating in August, bringing in 3 trillion baht in revenue as targeted,” he said.



Germs on planes -- Consumer Reports health newsletter reports that seat back tables and belt buckles harbor the greatest source of germs and are more effective in spreading bacteria than circulating air. It recommends using alcohol swipes to disinfect. Although it didn't mention remote controls, those are commonly cited as the most contaminated items in hotel rooms.


Visions from the air -- CNN has posted photo array that will be of interest to aviation enthusiasts, including many "boneyard" pics.



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Air carriers in Vietnam are modernizing and expanding their fleets, according to the current issue of Aviation Week magazine.


Discounter VietJet, one of the world's top 10 fastest growing carriers, has hubs in Hanoi and HCMC. It has already started accepting delivery of some 121 new generation Airbus 321 Neo's and expects to receive its first of as many as 100 Boeing 737-Max aircraft late next year. VietJet is also looking at adding international routes.


Vietnam Airlines has 20 321 Neo's on order along with Airbus 350's and Boeing 787-9's.


Both VietJet and Vietnam Airlines use BKK for Bangkok flight operations.


Bamboo Airways, a new low cost carrier, is expected to makes it debut in early 2019 with a fleet of  A321's and B787-9's. It is a subsidiary of conglomerate FLC Group.






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From Bangkok Post (15 Feb.)

Vietnamese airlines get access to US for first time

WASHINGTON: Vietnamese airlines will be able to fly to the United States and codeshare with American carriers after the US Federal Aviation Administration declared the country complies with international safety standards.

The US aviation safety agency said in a statement late on Thursday that it was awarding Vietnam a “Category 1” rating, two weeks after Reuters reported the decision was expected.

“It’s recognition by a very developed aviation authority which requires a very high standard of safety and security,” Vietnamese Deputy Transport Minister Nguyen Ngoc Dong told Reuters on Friday.

There are currently no non-stop flights between Vietnam and the United States, despite a large market catering to tourism and visits by friends and relatives. Vietnam Airlines, Bamboo Airways and VietJet Aviation desire to fly to the United States.

Bamboo Airways chairman Trinh Van Quyet said Bamboo was considering destinations such as Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco, with the first route to open in late 2020 or early 2021. His airline has ordered 20 Boeing Co 787s for long-haul flights.

Capa Centre for Aviation chief analyst Brendan Sobie said the FAA rating was important for Vietnam symbolically and politically.

But he said Vietnamese airlines could struggle to make US flights profitable because of the lack of demand from high-paying business travellers.

“For Vietnam Airlines, launching routes to the US is our political responsibility as a national airline. Whether or not the route is commercially feasible depends quite a lot on technical issues and aircraft,” the airline said in a statement.

Vietnam Airlines said it was in talks with Airbus and Boeing about potential jet purchases for the US route, but the earliest they were expected to arrive was in 2022. In the meantime its existing codeshares with Delta Air Lines could be expanded after the rating.

Budget carrier VietJet said it plans to purchase wide-body jets capable of non-stop US flights and believes its experience in keeping costs down will give it an effective business model.

“We plan to open routes to cities with Vietnamese communities living in the United States such as in California, serving the large travelling and commercial demand from customers,” VietJet’s vice president To Viet Thang said in a statement.

The FAA last year sent a team to Vietnam to conduct a safety assessment.

Vietnam’s rapidly growing aviation market saw traffic increase 16% on average each year from 2010 to 2017, government data shows.



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From CNN (14 Mar.)

The world's longest passenger plane is here -- the Boeing 777X

The longest passenger jetliner in the world just made its debut.
On March 13, the very first Boeing 777X was presented to company employees, inside the airframer's main wide-body manufacturing facility in Everett, Washington.
Boeing had planned to unveil the jetliner on Wednesday, but delayed the debut following the crash of its aircraft in Ethiopia. The event was simplified to respect the recent loss of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a Boeing 737 MAX 8.
At 252 feet, the 777X is longer than its predecessor, the 777-300ER, and the super-stretched Airbus A340-600.
It'll even be longer by a nose than the current record-holder, the 747-8, the latest version of Boeing's own "Queen of the Skies" whose aviation-changing ancestor flew 50 years ago.
With its maiden test flight expected later this spring, the 777-9 is the larger of the two 777X models that make up Boeing's jetliner program.
continues with photos



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