COMMERCIAL AVIATION NEWS JANUARY 2007 EDITORIAL We take this opportunity to wish all our readers a bright and prosperous New Year – better than 2006, which was not so good in many respects. May you also be blessed with good health and happiness in a safe environment. Unfortunately there are a number of unresolved “carry-over” issues which need to be attended to and occupy most of our attention. One of these is the ever-present and ongoing saga of the arms deal kick-backs. A recent article that caught our eye in the print media referred to the multimillion rand bribes sweetening the purchase of the BAE Hawk trainer aircraft, and according to the South African correspondent for “Janes Defence Weekly”, the world’s most respected defence publication, the Hawk would be of precious little use in real air combat, and has not got the speed, power or tracking radar necessary to fly against enemy interceptors. The selection of the Hawk aircraft, - which incidentally was first conceived in 1968 and took to the skies in 1974, and developed into the successful aircraft that it is today – was in contention with the Czech Aero Vodochody Lisq and the Italian Aermacche MB 339FD as a lead-in fighter trainer (LIFT) aircraft and not necessarily an air defence or ground attack vehicle. The correspondent for Janes should bear that in mind instead of making a ludicrous statement to the effect that it would be “kinder to take the pilot behind the hangar and shoot him than put him in the seat of a Hawk”, That’s no joke! Why cannot the selection of military aircraft be left in the hands of the users – experts in the field – to make a selection, answerable to Parliament, and not have government officials involved in the process to see what they can screw out of the manufacturers in the form of “spin-offs” and personal sweeteners. It is interesting to read in today’s Star that Britain’s Serious Fraud Office is conducting an inquiry into contracts with South Africa, and has named senior executives of BAE Systems as suspects involved in the corruption. A newspaper cited a document requesting mutual legal assistance sent from London to South Africa which was leaked to the Mail and Guardian. The executives named are Mike Turner, CEO, former chairman Dick Evans, group marketing director Mike Rouse and deputy head of BAE’s secretive HQ marketing unit, Julia Aldridge. We await developments! From the desk of the CEO – Oliver Stratford Happy new year to all the CAASA members, fellow industry associations and all other business partners. May 2007 be a prosperous year for the entire aviation community. AAD Our congratulations and welcome goes to AMD’s new Executive Director – Mr. Simphiwe Hamilton. Simphiwe comes with great qualifications and a good track record in the defence related industry. CAASA looks forward to working with Simphiwe and his team as we head towards AAD 2008. AAD ’08 will be lead by AMD with CAASA again serving on all levels of the planning. I truly hope that the entire CAASA membership is behind me as we start strategising and planning the event for next year. CAA CARCom The meeting was held on the 14th of December 2006. The most crucial issue for the CAA is of course their readiness for the ICAO audit in July this year. Two issues were tabled that will be of interest to the membership. The first is the controversy around regulating air ambulances and the second being part 61. Air ambulances: Cor Beek assisted the meeting by adding that South Africa is only one of two countries that want to regulate air ambulances. The rest of the world issues recommendations. Part 61: John English, Progress Flight Academy, single-handedly dealt with this matter and achieved huge success by having all his recommendations incorporated into the new regulations. The government gazette has been issued for comment. Provisional dates for CARCom meetings this year: 28 February, 25 April, 27 June, 29 August and 24 October. AMOSA Carel Raath and I met last week and he pleaded with CAASA to assist him in the prevention of the grounding of aircraft due to outstanding “mods”. He says that some of these “mods” are outstanding from 2004. Carel is also planning an Avionics seminar for March/ April. CAASA and specifically AMOSA will certainly assist him in this matter. NASCom It would seem that the NASCom committee will be coming under immense pressure for the enforceability of transponders. Please air your opinion on this matter as urgently as possible. Disaster Management The Steering Committee for the Disaster Management Forum met on 31 January at the SAACA offices in Midrand for the first time again since April last year, and once again under a different chairman. At least, some progress was made this time due to a draft document for Technical Standards on Operators’ Disaster Plans being tabled for input by the committee during February. Optimistically, a follow-up meeting is provisionally planned for mid March, with SAACA hoping to put a final document to CARCom in April. The standards seek to provide guidance in the development of a Family and Crew Assistance Plan (also referred to as Aviation Disaster Emergency Response Plan and Airline Emergency Response Plan), aimed at rendering assistance to victims and families of victims in the event of a major civil aircraft accident involving trauma, loss of life or serious injury. Such Assistance Plans would become compulsory, initially, for Part 121 operators. CAASA is represented on the Steering Committee by Cor Beek. Aviation Sub-Sector Task Team 2010 The task team has grown in popularity and importance and at a meeting held on the 24th of January all the domestic airlines were represented as well as most of the affected airports. It is my opinion that CAASA’s role is to represent the interests of all its affected members; by this the airports and charter operations are directly affected and could benefit. Having said this I must point out that the airports are well represented and road shows will get the buy-in from the outlying airfields and airports. However having said this it is my opinion that the charter industry is a little bit of dark secret. At present the committee is analysing the potential demand over the world cup period, measuring that against the supply capacity of the airlines, ATNS and the identified airfields and airports. What I would like to do now is to create a data base of all the charter operations who intend offering their services around May, June, July and August 2010. In particular over above their regular charter but specifically for the WC 2010. with this data base I would be armed with the entire charter capability thus being able to defend the denial or partial denial of international charters or foreign airlines offering domestic charter. Please mail us all the necessary criteria if you wish to be a part of said data base. Helicopter Operators This is a plea to all operators to avoid low level flying over the Cradle of Humankind. Rhino have been reintroduced into the area and are still trying to adapt. These rhino were captured with the use of helicopters and low level flying is keeping them skittish. Confidentiality Confidentiality note: The CAASA newsletter and CEO report is intended for information purposes only. If you wish to use or republish anything contained herein I urge and encourage you to please contact myself or the President of CAASA for prior written approval. Regards Oliver Attached is the monthly Slipstream – a regular column on economic issues relevant to the Aviation Industry written by Dr Roelof Botha of the Gordon Institute of Business Science. Aerosud’s order book swells Local aviation company Aerosud, which already has long term contracts worth more than R4 bn, with key clients such as Airbus, Boeing and BAE Systems, is about to increase its order book as world airlines modernise and expand their fleets. Airbus’ local representative said that Aerosud would benefit from firm orders secured recently from Air Asia for 50 Airbus A320 aircraft and 20 from Singapore Airlines Leasing Enterprises, with options for 60 more between them. Aerosud is the sole supplier of some A320 parts, and shares production of others with a French company. Orders have risen steadily since 2001 when it started making Airbus parts, boosting the Centurion-based firm’s workforce from 160 in 2000 to about 500. Further growth is expected to boost staff numbers to 700. Aerosud is also active in developing a supplier base of small and medium enterprises that comply with black empowerment legislation, and is involved with the DTI in developing a sub-tier supplier park near its main factory. Paul Potgieter, the GMD, said that Aerosud has invested heavily in training and skills activities and have recently completed a new R4m innovation and training centre with the specific objective of ensuring their global competitiveness in the global supply chain. Qantas accepts $8.7 bn bid Qantas Airways has accepted an improved $8.7 bn buyout offer from a group led by Macquarie Bank and private equity firm Texas Pacific Group in the world’s largest airline takeover. The sale of the Australian icon has caused national resentment and reached the top levels of domestic politics, with the result that the bidders have stressed that the airline would remain majority Australian-owned. Swissair Board goes on trial Board members who oversaw the Sf 17bn (R99bn) bankruptcy of Swissair Group have gone on trial on charges related to the carrier’s collapse, Switzerland’s biggest corporate failure. The trial is scheduled to last until 9th March. Drop in world air crashes The number of air crashes around the world last year was the lowest in 53 years, making it one of the safest in aviation history. The year saw 156 crashes, compared with 178 in 2005, and the Aircraft Crash Record Office said that 1292 people died in crashes last year, while air travel increased by 4% to about 2,1 bn passengers. A VIP air passenger John F Kennedy Airport was recently geared to honour the 100th million passenger of 2006, with he or she being about to set a record for the combined Kennedy, Las Guardia and Newark airport networks. Together the three airports logged just under 100 million travelers’ last year and are on track to handle 104 million by the end of this year, an increase of more than 28% in four years. General Electric to buy Smiths Aerospace An announcement this week revealed that GE had agreed to buy Smiths Group’s aerospace unit for $4.8 bn as rising demand for travel drove record sales of commercial aircraft by Boeing and Airbus. The purchase would broaden GE’s offerings for aviation customers, including flight management systems, power management and airborne computing systems, said the world’s biggest jet engine manufacturer. Shares of the London-based Smiths surged after the company said it planned to return £2.1bn (R30 bn) to shareholders. The share price rose as much as 14.42% in London. With a work force of more than 11 000, Smiths Aerospace recorded $2.4bn in sales last year. The GE CE, Jeffrey Immelt, said that Smiths aerospace business was “much smaller” as measured by sales than the Honeywell acquisition bid blocked by the Eu in 2001. “We focus investments where we can take leading positions in growth markets,” he said. He added that the Smiths acquisition was “largely complementary technology. We view this as additive, not consolidating,” when asked whether jobs would be cut. GE employs 10 000 people in the UK. Smiths is developing computer systems and equipment for Airbus’ A380 super jumbo, and Boeing’s fuel-efficient 787 model and its 767 military refuelling tanker. Smiths also makes military airframes and components, including some of the top aerospace manufacturer Lockheed Martin’s F35 plane. Overweight passenger in a flap Air France has been sued after telling an overweight passenger that he was too fat to fit into one seat and had to pay for a second one. A French scriptwriter weighing 160 kgs said he felt humiliated by Air France staff who had measured his waist in public at New Delhi airport. A lawyer representing Air France told a court that the company had a clear policy of asking obese passengers to pay for two seats, but the passenger in question said that he had flown numerous times on other Air France flights without ever being asked to pay more. He is seeking about R73 000 in damages and R4600 reimbursement for the cost of the extra ticket. A verdict is due on 20th February. End to the cussing queues? Passengers on SAA domestic flights have been promised quick and hassle-free travel with the introduction of a quick check -in facility at OR Tambo Airport. Yesterday SAA and ACSA introduced ten common-use self-service kiosks – known as Cuss – at domestic departures, with the aim of cutting out long queues for people flying to local destinations with only hand luggage. “The facility will have huge benefits in terms of convenience and flexibility and passengers will now have total control over their travel,” promised Phillip Bekker, SAA’s GM for global passenger services. The facilities were already used internationally and in Africa by Kenya Airways. To check in using Cuss, passengers would either use their reference number, e-ticket, Voyager membership number or passport number (if noted on the booking). They would be able to allocate their own seats, and a boarding pass would be issued, with the whole transaction taking 15 - 20 seconds. Cuss kiosks are soon to open in Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth. Tough plan for UK drivers Please bear with us while we go off on a non-aviation tack! We read that Britain is considering tougher driving tests in a bid to cut the number of deaths in road accidents. The proposals include learner drivers having to complete a minimum period of practice before being allowed to take their test, and lessons on road responsibility are to be made part of the school curriculum. The authorities are very concerned because more than 3000 people are killed and about 30 000 seriously injured in road accidents annually in the UK. They would be horrified to learn that during this past holiday period more than 1600 people died on our roads, of which almost half were pedestrians! We wonder what proportion of the drivers involved in these accidents had bought their licences, and how many accidents involved taxis that were criminally un-roadworthy. Alcohol also played a big part and it is time that drivers here became wary of being caught with a blood alcohol level above the legal limit. In the UK the majority of drivers make alternative transport arrangements after enjoying an occasion when they may have drunk more than they should, rather than risk having their licences confiscated.