Argentina liberalises domestic fares
Argentina will remove a minimum fare rule from 15 August, paving the way for low-cost carriers to price their fares freely.

Argentina's first low-cost carrier Flybondi has been a driving force behind the change, as it routinely lobbied against minimum prices.

"I would like to sell tickets for Ps200 pesos ($7), but until now the law forced me to sell them for no less than Ps500 ($17) [on short routes]," says Flybondi CEO Julian Cook, welcoming the domestic fare liberalisation.

Norwegian Air Argentina, which has not announced the date of its first flight, also welcomes the change.

"This is excellent news for everyone, as it will contribute decisively to the development of Argentina's aviation market, particularly contributing to the development of the country's interior," the airline's chief executive Ole Christian Melhus says.

The minimum fare rule was originally imposed to protect long-haul bus operators from airlines undercutting their fares. However, high inflation rates combined with the lack of changes to the minimum fares for four years, have rendered the minimum fare rule irrelevant.

Opening up Argentina's skies has been a top priority for the liberal Macri administration, which came into power in late-2015. The domestic Argentinean aviation market has evolved in little more than two years from thoroughly protecting flag carrier Aerolineas Argentinas against local competitors to a now completely free market.

Despite its large area, Argentina has traditionally been one of the countries with the lowest penetration of air transportation among its inhabitants, compared with other more open Latin American countries.

Airbus touts A330neo flexibility in quest to replace 767s
Airbus claims that the flexibility of the Airbus A330neo makes it a strong candidate to replace the aging fleet of Boeing 767s and other widebodies at US carriers.

Airlines can customise the A330neo family, which includes the -800 and -900, to have lower maximum takeoff weights (MTOW) or a lower thrust rating that, while also reducing the range of the aircraft, reduces the operating costs, says Peter Finn, A330 family product marketing manager for customer affairs at Airbus, speaking with FlightGlobal onboard the US leg from Chicago to Atlanta of the A330neo's global route proving tour.

"If you combine lower takeoff weight with the thrust, you can lower the cash operating cost by 5%," he says.

Trent 1000 checks force ANA to cancel over 100 flights
Qatar Airways is intending to have a strong presence at next month's Farnborough air show, with a five-jet line-up including the A350-1000 and a Boeing 747-8 freighter.
All Nippon Airways will cancel 113 domestic flights of Boeing 787s between 6-12 July in order to carry out additional checks on Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines.

FlightGlobal Schedules shows that ANA plans to operate 316 domestic services with 787-8s and -9s during the period, meaning that the engine checks will cancel over one third of ANA's 787 domestic flights.

Against ANA's total of 3,241 domestic services, however, the 787 cancellations are negligible.

"Over the last two years, we have been working very closely with Rolls Royce and the regulatory authorities," says ANA.

"However, due to the additional mandatory inspections that were announced by the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau on [14 June], which involve twice as many engines to be inspected, we are cancelling a limited number of flights."

The new inspections relate to Trent 1000 Package B engines, says ANA.

Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that ANA operates 64 787s comprising 36 787-8s and 28 787-9s. ANA is the largest operator of Boeing 787s powered by the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 Package B engines, which have been newly included in the UK manufacturer's inspection regime to deal with durability issues.

Half of that fleet is equipped with Package B engines, while the balance uses either the Package C variant or Rolls-Royce's latest standard model for the 787, the Trent 1000-TEN.

Rolls-Royce disclosed in early June that intermediate compressor blade cracking had been found on a "small number" of "high-life" Package B engines; previous statements and inspection requirements had related to the later Package C variant.
AirAsia's Fernandes hints at possible additional Airbus orders
AirAsia Group chief Tony Fernandes has hinted at possible additional Airbus orders ahead of discussions at the airframer's Toulouse headquarters.

Fernandes described the A321 as a "great" aircraft on his social media feed, and pointed to considerations of a further order.

The carrier agreed to take 100 A321neos at the Farnborough air show two years ago. It has yet to take delivery of its first.

Fernandes also reiterates his interest in the higher-weight A330neo. Airbus is developing a 251t maximum take-off weight variant which, says Fernandes, "can reach London".

Long-haul arm AirAsia X has 66 A330neos on order, all A330-900s. The current version is based on a 242t airframe.

Airbus expects the 251t version to increase range by 650nm to a total of 7,200nm.

While AirAsia X already has A330neo orders, Fernandes says that, to "finally confirm it", the carrier must "make sure" that the price, performance, engine and other aspects are "right".

If it meets these criteria, he says, it will be the aircraft "we dreamt of and fought for", and suggests the carrier "can order more".

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Aquila Chryseatos Consulting was established in Yerevan, Armenia in 2012 and has since grown steadily. We have provided lease and asset management services to a number of financial institution who value our expertise in the operational technical and financial aspects of aircraft leasing. In our team, we have individuals who have held senior position with airlines, international law firms, aircraft manufacturers, lessors, banks and financing arrangers.


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