ARC NEWS
Huge Qatar Airways loss worsened by Air Italy share
September 20, 2019
Qatar Airways Group has turned in a huge full-year operating loss, exceeding $500 million, exacerbated by a heavy share of losses at its Air Italy division. Group passenger revenues were up by 14% to QR34.1 billion and cargo revenues rose to just over QR10 billion for the year to 31 March. But fuel costs, in particular, hit the Middle Eastern carrier hard, surging by 36% to QR18.1 billion, the highest individual contribution to operating expenses of QR50 billion. This resulted in an operating loss of almost QR1.85 billion ($508 million), the company’s consolidated accounts show. Qatar Airways Group took a 49% interest in the parent company of Air Italy in September 2017. The accounts show that Air Italy generated a QR542 million ($149 million) loss for the financial year, of which the Qatar Airways Group share amounts to QR265.5 million. Air Italy’s revenues for the period reached QR1.2 billion. Losses from the Italian carrier were only partially offset by a QR50 million share in profits from participation in three other ventures, mainly relating to facilities management.
Qatar Airways Group claims it has “underlying robust financial health” despite the “continued illegal airspace blockade” from a number of states in the Gulf region. Group chief Akbar Al Baker says the company experienced a year of “achievement in the face of adversity” and “challenges that are unparalleled in the airline industry”. Qatar Airways Group posted a net loss of QR2.3 billion, which Al Baker describes as “disappointing”, blaming the withdrawal of mature routes, higher fuel costs, and currency exchange fluctuations.

Source: FlightGlobal


British Airways pilots cancel 27 September strike
September 19, 2019
Pilot union BALPA has called off a one-day strike by its British Airways members on 27 September, but is warning that further industrial action Is still possible unless the airline undertakes meaningful new negotiations. The union says it called off the strike in order to allow for a period of reflection, and to prevent the dispute escalating to the point of causing "irreparable damage" to BA's brand. Previous industrial action that took place on 9-10 September led to the cancellation of nearly all BA flights and caused significant customer disruption. Having "demonstrated the anger and resolve of pilots", BALPA says it hopes that BA will now change its approach and negotiate seriously to end the dispute. "Someone has to take the initiative to sort out this dispute and with no sign of that from BA the pilots have decided to take the responsible course. In a genuine attempt at establishing a time out for common sense to prevail, we have lifted the threat of the strike on 27 September," states BALPA general secretary Brian Strutton. "BA passengers rightly expect BA and its pilots to resolve their issues without disruption and now is the time for cool heads and pragmatism to be brought to bear. I hope BA and its owner IAG show as much responsibility as the pilots." BALPA says that in the absence of meaningful new negotiations it retains the right to announce further strikes.

Source: FlightGlobal


SAS offers passengers option to purchase biofuel
September 19, 2019
Scandinavian operator SAS is offering passengers the opportunity to purchase biofuel as part of the airline’s sustainability strategy. The initiative is a not-for-profit service, simply adding to biofuels already being bought by the airline. Customers will be able to purchase 20min “blocks” of flight time powered by biofuel, says SAS, on a per-passenger basis. The price is currently fixed at $10 or €10 for a block. Passengers will have the option of buying biofuel when booking tickets and subsequently in the run-up to departure.“The amount of biofuel will not necessarily be used on the actual flight the traveler has bought a ticket for,” the airline points out. “But it will be used to replace fossil jet fuel to the equivalent amount in SAS’s operations.” SAS states that volumes of biofuel being produced are “not enough” – and prices are three or four times higher than conventional fuel – and that it wants to “pioneer a large-scale and competitive market for biofuel” through the new ancillary product. “We are now inviting our travellers to be part of the transition to a more sustainable way of travelling,” says SAS executive vice-president, commercial, Karl Sandlund. SAS’s environmental policy includes a target of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 25% by 2030. “This product makes it easier for our customers to contribute to this development,” says Sandlund. “It also shows the additional costs of biofuel today and highlights the need for an increased supply of commercial biofuel.”

Source: FlightGlobal


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