Friday, 29 May 2015

Singapore Airlines A330 In Twin Engine Failure

A Singapore Airlines Airbus with 182 passengers and 12 crew on board reportedly fell 13,000 feet when it lost power to both engines en route to Shanghai.

The airline has confirmed the loss of power and is looking into the incident.

The Airbus A330-300 flight on May 23 “encountered bad weather at 39,000 feet about three and a half hours after departure” from Singapore, the airline said in a statement.

“Both engines experienced a temporary loss of power and the pilots followed operational procedures to restore normal operation of the engines.

“The flight continued to Shanghai and touched down uneventfully.”

It added that the Airbus A330-300 plane’s two Rolls-Royce engines “were thoroughly inspected and tested upon arrival in Shanghai with no anomalies detected”.

“We are reviewing the incident with Rolls-Royce and Airbus,” Singapore Airlines said.

In a Twitter post late Tuesday, industry portal Flightradar24 said the flight, codenamed SQ836, “lost power on both engines & 13,000 feet before power returned”.

In a subsequent post, it said the plane “lost both engines during the cruise” while flying through a “huge storm”, pinpointing an area in the South China Sea off China’s southern coast where the incident occurred.

SIA, Asia’s third largest carrier by market value, currently has 29 Airbus A330-300s in its passenger fleet.

It also has a fleet of 19 Airbus A380-800 superjumbos.

The airline, along with its subsidiaries SilkAir, Scoot, and Tiger Airways, flies to 119 destinations across 35 countries.

Last week, Airbus warned of a technical bug potentially affecting the engines of its A400M military planes that was discovered during an internal test after one crashed in Spain.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

QANTAS and China Eastern Alliance Receives Australian Government Support

The federal government’s Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development has called on Australia’s competition regulator to reverse course and give Qantas’s proposed alliance with China Eastern the green light.

In March, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said it a draft determination it intended to knock back the tie-up, arguing the partnership would give Qantas and China Eastern “an increased ability and incentive to limit capacity and/or increase airfares” on the Sydney-Shanghai route.

However, the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development said in a submission to the ACCC following the draft ruling, the proposed agreement was “positive for the Australian economy and is consistent with the Australian Government’s aviation policy settings”.

“The department sees no reason to deny the proposed coordination agreement,” the general manager for the Department’s aviation industry policy branch Stephen Borthwick said in the submission dated April 8.

“The benefits that will flow to Australia’s aviation industry, Australian consumers, the Australian tourism industry, and the Australian economy as a whole are exactly the benefits the Australian Government’s aviation policy is designed to support.”

In its draft determination, the ACCC expressed concerns that Qantas and China Eastern combined currently operated about 83 per cent of all seats between Sydney and Shanghai.

While Air China also flew between Sydney and Shanghai with a three times a week service, the ACCC said it did not believe the Star Alliance member would be an effective competitor against a combined China Eastern-Qantas entity and noted it had reduced its presence on the route over the past five years.

“The ACCC does not consider that Air China will sufficiently constrain Qantas and China Eastern in the event they decide to reduce or limit growth in capacity to increase airfares if the Proposed Conduct is authorised,” the ACCC said in its draft determination.

“The ACCC considers that the lessening of competition on this route that will arise as a result of the Proposed Conduct is likely to outweigh any of the public benefits likely to arise.”

In response, the Department said the ACCC’s draft ruling was “too narrowly focused on the Sydney-Shanghai route rather than the operations of the wider Australia-China market.”

It argued it was a “commercial reality” that in any given market a hub airline would have a significant market share on routes to or from that hub.

“This should not in itself prevent the formation of immunised alliances with the other carriers when consumer benefits can be showed to outweigh competitive impacts,” the Department’s submission said.

“The department also contends the ACCC has overstated the impacts on the Sydney-Shanghai route, particularly when considered in the context of the existing competition on the route and the availability of one-stop services in the broader Australia-China market.”

Meanwhile, the National Tourism Alliance argued in its post-draft determination submission the alliance would allow both Australian and Chinese markets to “better and more efficiently serve secondary cities in China through a domestic Chinese hub”.

“The draft determination constrains the ability of Australian airlines to develop a strategic hub in China,” the Alliance’s April 8 submission said.

“The Australia-China market is highly competitive in terms of both direct traffic and indirect options through other Asian hub cities.

“We are concerned that the draft determination cements a competitive advantage for other carriers and these hubs, through the existing liberal air services agreements that China has with them, in addition to the arrangements that Australia has with these third countries.”

Qantas planned to relocate its operations Shanghai Pudong Airport to Terminal One, which is where China Eastern is based, as part of the alliance to improve transit times and share facilities, among other benefits.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Air Asia Flight Missing

A search is underway for an AirAsia plane carrying 162 people, that has gone missing in bad weather en route from Indonesia to Singapore in the third crisis for a Malaysian carrier this year.

Air traffic controllers lost contact with the Airbus A320-200 about an hour after it left Juanda international airport in Surabaya, east Java, at 5.20am local time.

It was scheduled to arrive in Singapore at 8.30am.

Shortly before disappearing, the plane asked permission from Jakarta air traffic control to track away from its flight plan and climb above adverse weather in an area renowned for severe thunderstorms.

The pilots requested "deviation due to en route weather before communication with the aircraft was lost while it was still under the control of the Indonesian Air Traffic Control (ATC)", AirAsia said in a statement on its Facebook page.

The airline said 156 of those on board Flight QZ8501 were Indonesians, with three South Koreans and one person each from Singapore, Malaysia and France also missing.

On board were 138 adult passengers, 16 children and an infant, in addition to the two pilots and five cabin crew.

The Indonesian air force said two of its planes had been dispatched to scour an area of the Java Sea, southwest of Pangkalan Bun in Kalimantan province.

"The weather is cloudy and the area is surrounded by sea. We are still on our way so we won't make an assumption on what happened to the plane," said Indonesian air force spokesman Hadi Cahyanto.

The aircraft was operated by AirAsia Indonesia, a unit of Malaysian-based AirAsia which dominates Southeast Asia's booming low-cost airline market.

With hard details few and far between, panicked relatives gathered at Singapore's Changi airport.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Indonesians descended on the Surabaya terminal hoping for news of the missing jet.

A 45-year-old woman told AFP that she had six family members on the plane.

"They were going to Singapore for a holiday," she said.

"They have always flown with AirAsia and there was no problem. I am shocked to hear the news, and I am very worried that the plane might have crashed."

Indonesia, a vast archipelago with poor land transport infrastructure, has seen an explosive growth of low-cost air travel over recent years.

But the air industry has been blighted by poor safety standards in an area that also experiences extreme weather.

AirAsia said the missing jet last underwent maintenance on November 16.

An official from Indonesia's transport ministry said the pilot asked to ascend 6000 feet to 38,000 feet to avoid heavy clouds.

"The plane is in good condition but the weather is not so good," Djoko Murjatmodjo told a press conference at Jakarta's airport, addressing reports of severe storms in the area where the jet went missing.

Murjatmodjo said search efforts were being focused on an area between Belitung island and Kalimantan, on the western side of the island of Borneo, about halfway along the flight's expected route.

The plane's disappearance comes at the end of a disastrous year for Malaysian aviation.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, carrying 239 people, vanished in March after inexplicably diverting from its Kuala Lumpur-Beijing course. No trace of the aircraft has been found.

Just months later another Malaysia Airlines plane went down in July in rebellion-torn eastern Ukraine - believed to have been hit by a surface-to-air missile - killing all 298 aboard.

AirAsia's flamboyant boss Tony Fernandes, a former record industry executive who acquired the then-failing airline in 2001, tweeted: "Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers. We must stay strong."

The co-pilot of the missing plane is a French citizen, an official said.

Indonesian Transportation Ministry spokesman JA Barata named the co-pilot as Remi Emmanuel Plesel.