IATA dismisses risk of airline staff shortages and strikes
June 05, 2023
IATA director general Willie Walsh is confident that airports and airlines around the world have largely completed their efforts to staff up from the pandemic and should not represent a capacity crunch point this summer. Walsh told the association's AGM in Istanbul that few airlines now complained that they lacked staff, a view shared by airports. "Speaking to airline chief executives, I have to say there are very few expressing any concern about the levels of resources they have available," he says. This stands in stark contrast to 2022, when a shortage of staff caused massive disruption to the industry that had "underestimated the pace of recovery". Earlier this year, several industry figures identified a wave of strikes hitting airlines and airports as threatening disruption this summer, but so far this appears not to have materialised. "The system continues to function," Walsh declares. He is far more concerned about air traffic control constraints, particularly in France, where industrial action has routinely impacted services to and from the country and across the wider European airspace. Airlines should "prepare for the disruption being forced upon them" by these capacity issues, adds Walsh. "I don't think its fair to be critical of airports and airlines this year when the cause of their problems they encounter is completely outside their control."
American Airlines to appeal court's halting of Northeast Alliance
June 02, 2023
American Airlines intends to file an appeal of a US district court judge's ruling on 19 May that the US major and JetBlue Airways must terminate their "Northeast Alliance" (NEA). "We've got a legal system that allows for an appeal, and we're going to do that," American's chief executive Robert Isom said on 31 May during the Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference in New York. "The judge said the NEA has to wind down… In the meantime, we're going to work with the DOJ and JetBlue." Isom adds that the NEA was launched to provide benefits for consumers and more competition in the New York region. "We entered into it for all the right reasons," he says. Judge Leo Sorokin of the Massachusetts district court permanently enjoined American and JetBlue from continuing, and restrained from further implementing, the NEA codeshare, effective 30 days from the 19 May court order. The US Department of Justice's lawsuit, filed in September 2021, accused the airlines of reinforcing consolidation in Boston and New York City because American is the world's largest commercial carrier by fleet size and because it will diminish "JetBlue's incentive to compete with American elsewhere".
Boeing partners RSB to study scaling SAF output in Southeast Asia
June 02, 2023
Boeing and environmental non-profit Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) will conduct a joint study on scaling sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production in Southeast Asia. "Phase one of the study will evaluate whether SAF production could scale sustainably in Southeast Asia based on the availability and sustainability of feedstocks across the region," the manufacturer says. The study will also assess the sustainable feedstock policy environment, as well as the technical and economic viability of main SAF production pathways. Findings and recommendations will be published in the first quarter of 2024, it adds. While the current global SAF supply accounts for only around 0.1% of jet fuel consumption, the Asia-Pacific region can play a crucial role in SAF production with a potential of 40% of global feedstock supply, according to Boeing. Boeing and RSB have established an advisory group of key stakeholders including policymakers, companies and environmental and financial institutions to provide subject matter expertise. Additional stakeholders will be consulted as the study progresses, it adds. This project builds on the long-standing partnership between Boeing and RSB to explore SAF feedstock opportunities in different regions of the world including in Ethiopia, South Africa and Brazil.