Aviation Wrap: Boeing starts 737 MAX compo, Emirates’ New Year special, Airbus unveils Aston Martin Edition helicopter + MORE!

To celebrate our first Aviation Wrap of the year, we’re reporting from a private jet on our way to a beach party in Ibiza. Just kidding – it’s the first week back and we’re three down on a batch brew of cold coffee.

Boeing begins 737 MAX grounding paybacks to Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines has reportedly reached a partial agreement with aircraft manufacturer Boeing for compensation due to damages caused by the grounding of the 737 MAX.

The airline currently has 12 737 MAX jets (with another 63 reportedly on order), and said the agreement attained between it and Boeing covered a “certain portion of the losses” attributed to the jets, according to The Australian.

The airline did not disclose financial terms of the agreement. However, Boeing estimates it will pay some $8 billion (US$5.6 billion) in compensation to airlines for damages associated with the international grounding of the 737 MAX in March.

Emirates welcomes the New Year with competitive fares across all classes

Australian travellers have the chance to see the world for less in 2020 with a range of competitive fares across economy, business and first class flights on offer with Emirates in January.

Emirates’ Fly Better flight offerings will be available when booked between 6 January 2020 and 20 January 2020, with both long, mid and short haul fares on sale.

Economy class passengers can enjoy return fares starting from $1,149 to Dubai, $1,319 to Manchester, $1,329 to Barcelona, $1,389 to Johannesburg, $1,999 to New York and $1,849 to Mexico City.

In addition to these special fares, Australian passengers who book during the promotional period will be able to enjoy Dubai with special two-night stay offers for two.

These include meet and greet services, breakfast and a variety of transfer options in Grand Hyatt, Aloft Palm, JW Marriot, Mövenpick Ibn Battuta, Arabian Courtyard and Centro Barsha starting from $227.

Airbus ends book deal, launches Aston Martin Edition helicopter

Image: Supplied by Airbus

Airbus has announced that it has formally ended the ‘Airbus: The First 50 Years’ book project, announced in May 2018, which was due for release in 2019.

The text’s manuscript was written by former New York Times journalist Nicola Clark, and was set to be published by Urbane Publications on-time in January 2019.

Airbus said the decision reflects a shift in its communication content goals, and said that it acknowledged the quality of the finished manuscript.

In a separate announcement, the aircraft manufacturer unveiled the ACH130 Aston Martin Edition helicopter, the first offering from the recently-announced partnership between Aston Martin Lagonda and Airbus Corporate Helicopters.

The stylish new aircraft (pictured above) was revealed on 3 January at Courchevel in the French Alps.

Qantas expands Exmouth fares in bid to boost tourism

The West Australian Government and Qantas will triple the number of seats available on the weekend fares program to Exmouth during an extended six-month period in 2020.

Qantas will provide almost 300 special fares each weekend (from Friday through to Monday) for selected flights between Perth and Exmouth (Learmonth Airport) between April and October 2020.

Hyundai Development Co acquires Asiana Airlines

Hyundai Development Co and Mirae Asset Daewoo have agreed to acquire a controlling stake in loss-making carrier Asiana Airlines Inc. for more than $3 billion (KRW2.5 trillion).

Aurojyoti Bose, lead analyst at GlobalData, said the acquisition, which also includes Asiana’s subsidiaries and low-cost carriers Air Busan and Air Seoul, will be a breather for the company.

“The deal will help Hyundai benefit from the synergies as it has been expanding into hotel business and news is also doing the rounds of its likelihood of foraying into inflight duty free sales,” Bose said.

“At the same time, HDC intends to help lower Asiana’s debt-to-equity ratio, improve profitability by streamlining routes and enhancing cost effectiveness.”

Asiana Airlines has in recent years encountered financial hardship as a result of a decline in demand for trips between Japan and South Korea, due the “trade war” between both countries, according to Global Data.

Air New Zealand reduces fares to the Cook Islands

The kiwi national carrier has reduced the cost of tickets to the Cook Islands, with direct return flights in economy class between Sydney and Rarotonga available for $529 per person.

Agents can take advantage of these sales from now until 29 January, with reduced fares also available for connected Brisbane and Melbourne departures through Sydney’s direct service.

Premium economy fares during the sale period start from $1089 per person, while business class seats start from $1569 per person return.

Many properties on Rarotonga are also on sale up to 29 January, including Air New Zealand’s seat sale through Spacifica Travel.

South African Airways signs up to protect South Africa’s wildlife

South African Airways (SAA) has joined the fight against the illegal wildlife trade by taking part in the Illegal Wildlife Trade module of the IATA Environmental Assessment (IEnvA).

​The IEnvA program is an evaluation system designed to independently assess and improve the environmental management of an airline, set up as a voluntary program by IATA.

IATA predicts the illegal trade in wildlife is worth at least $19 billion annually, with transnational criminal gangs exploiting the increasingly interconnected air transport system to traffic illegal flora and fauna.

Finnair participates in synthetic fuel plant feasibility study

Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology in Finland and a group of companies, including Finnair, have begun a feasibility study for a synthetic fuels pilot production plant.

The intended industrial scale pilot facility is based on power-to-x technology – which converts recycled hydrocarbons into methanol and can be further turned into synthetic fuels – with the target to produce carbon neutral fuels for transportation, according to Finnair.

The pilot plant, which would be in Joutseno, Eastern Finland, would use CO2 and excess hydrogen as main raw materials, which can be brought together in a synthesis process, giving synthetic methanol as a result, according to Finnair.

The LUT university has reportedly piloted the production of hydrocarbon to replace fossil fuels in a laboratory setting since 2017.

In a separate announcement, Finnair also revealed it that the renovation and extension of its business class lounge at Helsinki airport has been completed, which you can view below.

The Blueberry Bar at Finnair’s Business Lounge, Helsinki Airport (Mikko Ryhänen)
The Relax Area of Finnair’s Business Lounge at Helsinki Airport (Mikko Ryhänen)

Featured image: ACH130 Aston Martin Edition is the first from the recently-announced partnership between Aston Martin Lagonda and Airbus Corporate Helicopters (Airbus)


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