25 April 2010

Russia questions status of Austrian Airlines

On 24 March 2010 Austrian Times carried a report that the Russian Government was questioning the nationality of Austrian Airlines following involvement by Lufthansa and that this issue has been the subject of ongoing talks.

Comprehensive article on air services liberalisation published in Airline Business

On 22 April 2010 FlightGlobal published a comprehensive article from Airline Business by David Knibb entitled Liberalisation: Breaking the bilateral web on progress on air services liberalisation.

The article would have benefited by also examining the research work done by the World Trade Organization in this area.

Unfortunately the Knibb article is spoilt by some factual inaccuracies concerning developments in the South West Pacific.

"MALIAT remains open for others to join, but none have."

Actually, although they are not major, four other countries have joined: the Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga and Mongolia (cargo only)(see http://www.maliat.govt.nz/country/index.shtml).

"A Pacific Islands Air Services Agreement and Single Caribbean Sky are still only proposals."

Actually the Pacific Islands Air Services Agreement (PIASA) has been in force since 13 October 2007 and this month Australia and New Zealand became eligible to join (see http://www.forumsec.org/pages.cfm/economic-governance/economic-growth-work-programme/aviation-1/aviation.html UPDATED).

I do not claim detailed knowledge of the current situation in the Caribbean but I am also left wondering what the relationship of the article reference to "Single Caribbean Sky" is to the agreement that came into force in 1998 (see previous post).

"Open skies" policy debated in Sri Lanka

On 18 April 2010 the Sunday Times from Columbo reported comments by the Sri Lankan President on the impact the previous government's "open skies" policy was having on Sri Lankan airlines, SriLankan and Mihan Air. The article suggests that there is a need to balance the interests of the airline industry with those of the tourism industry.

On 31 March 2010 the Daily Mirror reported on problems in the Sri Lanka-Qatar air services relationship while on 25 October 2009 the Sunday Times reported on problems in the Sri Lanka-Oman relationship.

Israel reaches "open skies" agreement with the United States

On 23 April 2010 the US Secretary for Transportation, Ray LaHood, announced the negotiation of an "open skies" agreement between the United States and Israel. Israel becomes the USA's 97th "open skies" partner.

A slightly out of date list of those countries that now have "open skies" relationships with the USA, arranged by geographic region, is available here on the Department of Transportation web site. The US Department of State list, which is in chronological order, is more up to date.

It has got to the point where a more interesting list would be of the countries that do not have "open skies" agreements with the United States. Notable absentees include Brazil, China, Colombia, Egypt, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey and Vietnam. A 13 April 2010 article in BTNonline.com quotes John Byerly, State's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Affairs, commenting on the next negotiating priorities for the United States.

21 April 2010

The impact on aviation of the volcanic eruption in Iceland

I have been trying to monitor the impact on aviation of the 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland and the virtually unprecedented shutdown of European airspace. This post links to some of the resources that I have been using. Some of the web sites are enjoying unprecedented popularity and their performance is suffering accordingly. I have also found Twitter (I use the free program TweetDeck) useful - search for #ashtag.

The eruption itself can be seen on three webcams set up in Iceland. Of course, this is daylight and weather dependent.

Maps with live air traffic over Europe (the advice is use any web browser except MS Internet Explorer) can be seen at:
The official news about airspace availability can be seen on the web sites of:
Specific information on the ash cloud is released by the UK Met Office Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre.

On 19 April 2010 IATA commented on the situation and released an assessment that the likely daily revenue loss to airlines of being grounded would be in excess of US$200m per day. ACI Europe and CANSO have made similar estimates for the daily financial impact on airports and air traffic control providers respectively.

Because of the uncertainty about the event, scenario analysis provides useful way of thinking about the impacts. A series of articles from Reuters by Peter Apps are the best I have seen so far:
This truly is a "Black Swan" event (see previous post) and may prove to be a real test of concern about safety versus concern about the economic survival of the European airline industry.

10 April 2010

Fuel prices through to March 2010

Around nine months ago I posted graphs of the Singapore spot prices converted to New Zealand dollars of aviation jet fuel and residual fuel oil (RFO) used in ships. The updated graphs through to March 2010 that follow illustrate how these spot prices have been changing in recent months and give an indication of how fuel prices in the first decade of the 21st century.

Again I have used monthly data from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand for the foreign exchange rates and from the US Energy Information Administration for the fuel spot prices.