2016 CAPA Asia Pacific Aviation Awards for Excellence


The CAPA Aviation Awards for Excellence have recognized strategic leadership in the aviation industry since 2002. The awards are not driven by customer surveys or sponsorship. They are independently researched by CAPA and Heidrick & Struggles and selected by an independent international panel of judges.

Initially limited to Asia Pacific and the Middle East, the awards were expanded by CAPA in 2012 to include all regions. This year the Aviation Awards of Excellence were presented at two gala dinners – one for the global industry in Amsterdam and one for Asia Pacific in Singapore.

The winners are…

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China Eastern Airlines, Asia Pacific Airline of the Year
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Spring Airlines (China), CAPA Asia Pacific Low Cost Airline of the Year
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Malindo Air (Malaysia), CAPA Asia Pacific Regional Airline of the Year
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Philippine Airlines, CAPA Asia Pacific Airline Turnaround of the Year
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Air New Zealand, CAPA Asia Pacific Innovation of the Year Award
  • Robert Martin, BOAC Aviation CEO – CAPA Asia Pacific Chief Executive of the Year
  • Mactan Cebu International Airport (Philippines) – CAPA Asia Pacific Regional Airport of the Year 
  • Zhang Xiuzhi, Spring Airlines founder & chairwoman – CAPA Legend Award.
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13 Airlines with the Best Looking Flight Crew (Migme, http://asia361.com/)


On 14 September 2015, Air India announced that they will ground 125 cabin crew if they fail to lose weight and reach the required Body Mass Index (BMI) range. According to TIME magazine, the airline claims that this is due to safety concerns, as they want to ensure the crew are fit enough to handle emergency situations. Male crew have to have a BMI of 18-25, while females are required to meet the range of 18-22.

This follows the 2014 guidelines from the Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation which states that overweight cabin crew have three months to lose weight or be declared unfit for duties for six months.

A user @susmitsenn on migme, a social entertainment platform, was happy that the “fat aunties will finally be out and make way for sexier air hostesses”, however he was shocked they would be sacked for being ‘fat’.

While Air India shapes up to meet safety standards, migme has put together a list of airlines with flight crew that are very fit— you know what we mean.

1. Emirates Airlines (Dubai, UAE)

Image Source: Emirates

Even though our list is not in order of merit, Emirates deserves to be mentioned first. They received unanimous votes in our casual poll in the migme office.

2. Singapore Airlines (Singapore)

Image Source: Singapore Airlines

Their tagline “Singapore Girl, you’re a great way to fly”, while being somewhat sexist, is not entirely wrong as the airline prides itself on high service standards.

3. Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi, UAE)

Image Source: Etihad Airways

Excuse me, I need to get an oxygen mask, because you take my breath away.

4. Virgin Atlantic (England, UK)

Image Source: Virgin Atlantic

You don’t need Vivienne Westwood to design your uniforms when you are looking like that.

5. Qatar Airways (Qatar)

Image Source: Qatar Airways

If there’s anything we’ve learnt from this list, it’s that the Middle Eastern airlines have a bunch of pretty good-looking crew.

6. China Eastern Airlines (China)

Image Source: China Eastern Airlines

If you didn’t know the Chinese word for elegance, now you do.

7. Lufthansa (Germany)

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Image Source: Lufthansa

Hi Marc, we want a selfie too! Yes, that is his real name. Don’t ask us how we know. *shifty*

8. EVA Air (Taiwan)

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Image Source: asia361.com, Kat Goh

As if the Hello Kitty Jet isn’t cute enough, the crew members are all pretty darn cute too.

9. Safi Airways (Dubai-based, Afghan-owned)

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Image Source: Safi Airways

Forgive me if I keep asking for assistance on the plane. I don’t really need water, I just want to look at your face.

10. Asiana Airlines (South Korea)

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Image Source: Asiana Airlines

Does an electronic boarding pass mean we get to see you sooner? Checking in online right now.

11. All Nippon Airways (Japan)

ANA
Image Source: ANA

Notice me, senpai!

12. Garuda Indonesia (Indonesia)

Image Source: Garuda Indonesia

You’ve learnt a Chinese word already, so now we will teach you the Bahasa Indonesia word to describe the crew – ‘cantik‘. That means beautiful.

13. Cebu Pacific Air (The Philippines)

Image Source: Cebu Pacific

Bright uniforms and an even brighter smile? You set our pre-flight jitters at ease.

Source: Migme, asia361.com

Asia-Pacific LCCs Prep For Bigger MRO Needs


Source:  Elyse Moody, Aviation Week & Space Technology

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Skyrocketing numbers of narrowbody aircraft orders have turned attention to Southeast Asia—and its burgeoning low-cost carriers (LCC), in particular. Twenty-seven percent of the world’s narrowbody aircraft—half the global fleet—are operated in the Asia-Pacific region, estimated Lufthansa Technik Philippines in the first quarter of fiscal 2013. More than 37% of the total commercial fleet will soon be based there, many of them in service with low-cost carriers (LCC), it also projects.

Such statistics and the aircraft orders supporting them have brought these LCCs prominence on the global stage. The Wall Street Journal noted in late August that Indonesia’s Lion Air was “little known internationally until it surprised the industry last year with record-setting orders.” The airline signed commitments for 230 Boeing 737s in February 2012 and for 234 Airbus A320s in March 2013. But Lion Air is hardly the only carrier in the region making notable additions: AirAsia, the world’s largest operator of A320s, ordered 100 more in December 2012, on top of the 200 it secured in 2011. And Jetstar Airways, part of the Qantas Group, will have access to its parent company’s order for 110 A320s, including 78 A320neos, in addition to the 14 Boeing 787s it expects to receive soon.

Beyond these carriers, Cebu Pacific Air has more than 50 A320-family aircraft on order and TigerAir has signed for 20 A320s.

This run on the order books reflects projected growth in air travel. The Asia-Pacific region stands to see that demand grow 6.4% annually through 2031, according to Bloomberg News projections. Lion Air CEO Rusdi Kirana says in Indonesia specifically he expects a 20% growth in traffic this year.

Those increases in demand and aircraft numbers mean airlines and independent MRO providers alike must figure out how to absorb them. Where will all those aircraft go? As deliveries roll out, maintenance organizations must propose attractive solutions.

As a Singapore Airlines Engineering Co. (Siaec) spokesperson puts it, “The positive outlook for air-traffic demand, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, where the LCC market will continue to grow and fuel the traffic growth, and its buoyant fleet-renewal market, has the attention of most MROs in the region.” In other words, a big new fleet is ripe for the capturing.

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In the past, total outsourcing was the default mode of doing business for Asia-Pacific’s LCCs, especially smaller airlines, but some say that model is being replaced.

“The market has shifted,” says Brian Hogan, a principal with XSQ Consulting who worked at Philippines-based Cebu Pacific when it established its first joint venture, Aviation Partnership (Philippines) Corp. for line maintenance, with Siaec. “All these organizations should do their own line maintenance themselves and then make a decision on the C checks or the heavy checks, depending on their critical mass, or whether or not they can make an MRO profitable.”

Sticking to the essential core-business approach, some carriers continue to send all of their maintenance to third-party providers. TigerAir, for example, outsources both its line and base maintenance, says Chief Operating Officer Ho Yuen Sang—and he does not anticipate adding in-house capabilities. “Our MRO provider has the capability and capacity to undertake the additional maintenance work for the growing fleet.”

But Ho notes that the increased numbers of aircraft operated by TigerAir and its peers certainly will have an impact on the region’s MROs. “[The] higher volume of work could translate to higher productivity and lower unit cost of maintenance,” he says. This would benefit airlines like his that depend on the total-outsourcing strategy.

Cebu Pacific continues the joint-venture approach that Hogan helped establish. The airline added a second joint venture with Siaec, a base maintenance facility at Clark International Airport in the Philippines, although Cebu Pacific also has partnered with Vaeco in Vietnam for its ATR aircraft; with Haeco in Hong Kong for its A330s; and with General Electric, Rolls-Royce and SR Technics for engine maintenance.

The joint-venture arrangement continues to make sense for the airline, says Chief Executive Adviser Gary Kingshott, because “the scale of Cebu Pacific’s maintenance profile requires a large proportion of an MRO’s total capacity, and so a joint-venture arrangement with an accredited organization willing to invest remains a viable strategy for Cebu Pacific.”

The region’s largest LCCs, AirAsia and Jetstar Asia, tackle line maintenance in-house or through shareholding partners. AirAsia has received 127 of the 211 A320s and 264 A320neos it has on order and it has grown accustomed to adding a minimum of 24 new aircraft annually. Performing its own line maintenance is a matter of reputation as well as economy of scale.

“Wherever we go, wherever our new [air operator’s certificates]—AirAsia India or AirAsia Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia—we have our own team carry out all of the line maintenance requirements,” says group engineering head Anaz Ahmad Tajuddin. “We would rather have that in-house. Then we have full control, because the AirAsia brand is important to us. We need to have full control of the brand, especially in line maintenance, where daily activities more or less interface with the customers.”

AirAsia sends the bulk of its base maintenance work to a neighbor, Sepang Aircraft Engineering (SAE), a company part-owned by EADS, but it also patronizes Siaec, Garuda Indonesia and Thai Airways, Tajuddin says.

More than 85% of the carrier’s A320s go to SAE for base maintenance, and SAE plans to nearly double its workforce and add new hangars, including ones for A330 maintenance, this year in hopes of drawing more business from its biggest partner.

But Tajuddin emphasizes that flexibility remains vital; he looks for agreements of only 2-3 years. “When you have long-term [contracts], you do not have the ability to go out to the market, especially in the airframe business,” in which he says maintenance unit costs may be volatile when man-hours drop.

When asked if AirAsia might consider adding capabilities beyond line maintenance via a partnership or an independent investment, Tajuddin says, “We are actively looking, because our base load with the number of aircraft sometimes justifies our having our own maintenance infrastructure.”

Given that AirAsia took delivery of its first aircraft in 2005, landing gear overhauls will soon start to come due in volume. “We have asked ourselves, ‘Should we invest in a landing gear shop?’” he says. “We do not have any firm idea yet, but we are actively looking.” He notes that he would rather pair up with an independent provider than an airline-affiliated MRO to ensure his fleet has priority.

Jetstar Airways applies a common approved maintenance program across its two main branches, in Australia and New Zealand, as well as its low-cost offshoots in Singapore, Vietnam and Japan. A new affiliate is anticipated to kick off operations soon in Hong Kong, subject to regulatory approval.

In launching Jetstar Japan, which started receiving A320s in April 2012, the group has stuck to that common maintenance philosophy. “Where appropriate, we develop amendments to satisfy local national airworthiness authority regulatory requirements,” says Chris Snook, Jetstar executive manager for group engineering. “This allows for common fleet technical management and configuration control across the fleet. It also maximizes our opportunities to apply insights gained from across the organization to improve safety, reliability and direct maintenance costs.”

But, like AirAsia, Jetstar considers line-maintenance control particularly important. Jetstar Japan performs its own line maintenance in partnership with Japan Airlines Engineering Co.; along with Mitsubishi Corp. and Century Tokyo Leasing Corp. JAL Engineering conducts A checks for Jetstar Japan at Narita International Airport.

The Hong Kong business will be a joint venture between China Eastern Airlines, Shun Tak Holdings and the Qantas Group. Snook says line maintenance for it will be conducted by its MRO partner in Hong Kong. “Heavy maintenance requirements will be combined with other group activity to leverage economies of scale,” he says.

For their part, the region’s independent MROs are making plays to accommodate the new work volume, too. The joint venture with Cebu Pacific is only one of 25 that Siaec operates in nine countries, with the aim of offering better cost efficiencies to low-cost carriers, says a Siaec spokesperson. And Lufthansa Technik Philippines recently underwent an organizational restructuring with the aim of capturing more of the Airbus base maintenance work in which it specializes.

Space Jam

Tons of new aircraft and no place to put them? MROs and airlines have been adding maintenance capacity to house new deliveries as work comes due. Perhaps the biggest news is Lion Air’s late-August announcement of its intention to build a $250 million maintenance hub on the Indonesian island of Batam, angled to rival the established MRO hotbed of Singapore. Lion Air CEO Rusdi Kirana has designs for his own airline’s Lion Technics MRO arm to handle internal needs as well as those of other carriers only a 45-min. ferry ride from Singapore’s busy Changi International Airport (see page MRO14).

The campus reportedly will consist of four hangars, each able to accommodate three narrowbody aircraft at once. Two hangars are set for completion by year-end and the remaining two will follow by next summer. The site would complement a smaller one it is building in Manado, Indonesia, as well as its existing facilities at Surabaya.

Partners Cebu Pacific and Siaec are completing a long-planned second hangar at their maintenance campus at the former Clark AFB in the Philippines, which will be able to house aircraft as large as the Boeing 777. And while maintenance activity in Australia tends to be cost-prohibitive, Jetstar is leasing a widebody hangar at Melbourne Airport to undertake Boeing 787 and A320/A321 line maintenance, including A checks and triage, Snook says. About 35 technical and support staff initially will be employed there, he adds.

But new investments seem likely. “It’s not going to be easy for the market to absorb a thousand planes in the next 10 years,” says XSQ Consulting’s Hogan. He points to the possibility of new hangars being built by either independent investors or joint ventures in underdeveloped regions such as Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia—or even Myanmar, Bangladesh and Vietnam. He notes that this growth will be extended once China opens up further.

Snook concurs that these countries are “all establishing credible MRO options.”

As Hogan puts it, “it’s a huge problem, but it’s a huge opportunity.”

Another Chinese Carrier to Mount Philippine Flights Next Month


Source: Business World Online

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SHANGHAI-BASED China Eastern Airlines Corp. Ltd. will start direct flights to Manila next month, a move the carrier said in a statement yesterday forms part of continuing expansion of its overseas service network.

“This new service further strengthens China Eastern’s overall route network and provides additional options for its customers… from its Shanghai hub with the addition of daily service between Manila and Shanghai,” China Eastern said, referring to its maiden flight to Manila scheduled on Oct. 19.

The Manila-Shanghai flight departs at 4:55 a.m. and arrives at 8:15 a.m., while the Shanghai-Manila flight departs at 11:55 p.m. and arrives at 3:40 a.m.Flight will use 146-seater A320 aircraft.In the same statement, the carrier also announced a $20 round-trip (Manila-Shanghai-Manila) promo rate, excluding taxes, for Web bookings from Oct. 19 to Nov. 30. Reservation and purchase should be done 14 days before departure, it added.

China Eastern, which the statement said has a fleet of more than 430 aircraft for long- and short-haul operations, bagged a permit last April from the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) to operate for a year.

China Eastern started operation in 1957, according to the company’s Web site. In 1997, China Eastern became the first Chinese airline listed simultaneously on the New York, Hong Kong and Shanghai stock markets, it added.

As one of the three major airlines in mainland China, it operates in 50 overseas and 11 domestic hubs, the company said.

The company also “holds controlling shares of over 24 subsidiaries, including Shanghai Airlines, China Eastern Yunnan Airlines, China Cargo Airlines Co. Ltd. and China United Airlines,” it said.

China Eastern joins two other China-based carriers already operating in the Philippines, namely: Air China Ltd. and China Southern Airlines Co. Ltd.

Including the Chinese carriers, 39 foreign airlines were operating in the Philippines as of end-2012, according to CAB records.