Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Mega Maldives Airlines To Suspend Operations Today, May 2

Mega Maldives Air (LV, Malé) has officially announced it will suspend all commercial flight operations with effect from Tuesday, May 2, 2017.

In a statement, the Maldivian operator said the move was part of its restructuring and recapitalization efforts which began last year. As part of the plan, Mega Maldives will pursue what it termed, "new investments", which will bring about changes to its ownership structure.

“We are well aware of our customer and tourism stakeholder expectations of us," George Weinmann, CEO, said. "The Board of Directors and Executive team felt that it was necessary to focus on the restructuring and improving our product and service. We will look forward to returning to flying very soon with a renewed fleet that can service established, under-served and emerging markets.”

As such, while no flights will operate for the duration of its dormancy, the company's other management and administrative functions will continue as before.

Mega Maldives operates a single B767-300(ER), leased from AerCap, but has supplemented its operations with occasional B737 and B767 wet-leases.

The carrier has been especially vulnerable to fluctuations in the Chinese tourism market given the only two remaining cities it connects its Malé hub to are Shanghai Pudong and Beijing Capital.

Spirit Airlines Suspends A320neo Deliveries In 2018

Spirit Airlines (NK, Fort Lauderdale Int'l) has confirmed it has abandoned plans to take delivery of any more A320neos until 2019.

The Ultra low-cost carrier said in an SEC filing on Friday, April 28, that of the four A320neo it had intended to take delivery of in 2018, two have been converted to A320ceo (for delivery this year) with the remaining two now deferred until 2019. The renegotiated contract was finalized during the first quarter of the year, it said.

As it stands, Spirit's A320neo delivery schedule will see fourteen deliver from Airbus (AIB, Toulouse Blagnac) in 2019, sixteen in 2020, and eighteen in 2021. The carrier has already taken delivery of five A320neo all of which are Pratt & Whitney PW1127G-powered variants. The aircraft have, however, been subject to recurring technical glitches with two - N901NK (msn 6833) and N905NK (msn 7334) - now inactive since March.

Oman's SalamAir To Change Dubai Operations

SalamAir (OV, Muscat) is planning to switch its Dubai operations from Dubai World Central to Dubai Int'l the budget carrier's Chief Executive Officer Francois Bouteiller has told Arabian Business.

Speaking during an interview last week, Bouteiller said the decision to change came after passengers requested the service be switched to Dubai International Airport which, in their opinion, is more centrally located and more prestigious.

“It’s only an impression that DWC is too far out and is not as ‘prestigious’ as DXB," he said. "But, in fact, it is a lot more efficient and a much better airport in terms of operational capability."

However, Bouteiller added that while SalamAir has managed to secure slots at the increasingly congested Dubai International Airport, the launch of flights may not occur until unspecified restrictions at the airfield's Terminal 2 have been resolved.

“He [Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths] is working on a solution," he said. "They are just over capacity.”

SalamAir currently connects Muscat with Dubai via a 2x daily return service. The LCC also serves Salalah locally as well as Jeddah and Madinah regionally.

Arik Air board takes legal action over AMCON takeover

An objection has been filed in the Federal High Court in Lagos about the take over of Arik Air (W3, Lagos) by the state-owned Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON). The objectors claim that there is a conflict of interest in the appointment of the receiver manager.

The action comes just a week after the airline was effectively shut down by employees who accuse the new management of being hostile to unions.

Arik Air was placed into the hands of lawyer Oluseye Opasanya after its take over by AMCON in February, and an injunction was secured to prevent any interference in Opasanya's management of the airline. The objection claims that Opasanya, who works for law firm Olaniwun Ajaya LP, is acting in an unprofessional manner.

The conflict of interest apparently arises from the fact that the lawyer who is representing AMCON, Kayinsola Ajayi, also works for the same firm.

Ajayi has rejected the claim, stating that there is a distinction between a lawyer, and the law firm for which they work. He also claims that the four objectors – which includes the chairman of Arik Air's board, its managing director, CEO and another director – are interlopers and not party to the suit.

Meanwhile, relations between Arik Air's employees and Opasanya are also strained. Union members claim they have been treated in an uncivilised manner with Opasanya walking out on meetings. News site Naij reports that union representatives were escorted out by bodyguards.

Members of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers staged a protest on Thursday March 23, saying that the airline's management had failed to reinstate sacked staff.

One employee who contacted ch-aviation said that staff on international services were effectively retrenched on February 20, however no information about a retrenchment package has been communicated to them. "We were never paid for February," the informant said. "No retrenchment letters have been issued to the staff."

The case regarding the conflict of interest has been adjourned until May 15.