Lufthansa's Innovative Feeder Airline Set to Transform Regional Travel

Abhishek Nayar

13 Sep 2023

In a groundbreaking development for the aviation industry, Lufthansa is gearing up for the launch of City Airlines, a new feeder airline that promises to connect smaller regions with major hubs.

This exciting news comes directly from the managing director of City Airlines, Marco Zenger, who shared an internal memo with employees on Tuesday, September 12, 2023. City Airlines, which laid its foundation last year, has been granted an operational license since June, marking an essential milestone in Lufthansa's ambitious plan to expand its reach and enhance regional air travel.

The Birth of City Airlines

City Airlines, the brainchild of Lufthansa, emerged as a concept last year and has been steadily progressing towards becoming a reality. With an operational license now secured, the airline is on track to redefine the way people travel between smaller regions and major international hubs.

A Vision for Improved Connectivity

One of the primary goals of City Airlines is to bridge the gap between underserved regions and Lufthansa's extensive network of international destinations. This vision aligns with Lufthansa's commitment to offering passengers seamless and convenient travel options.

By connecting smaller airports to major hubs, City Airlines aims to facilitate quicker and more accessible travel experiences for passengers, eliminating the need for time-consuming layovers and multiple transfers. "We remain on track and on the path to the operational launch of City Airlines," Zenger added.

Staff Recruitment in Progress

As part of the strategic rollout of City Airlines, Lufthansa is actively recruiting staff to fill various crucial positions within the airline. This recruitment drive is slated to continue throughout the year, and it is anticipated that City Airlines will provide numerous job opportunities, bolstering employment prospects within the aviation sector.

Lufthansa hopes that the new airline will reduce the cost of its existing feeder flight services, linking long-haul flights from its Munich and Frankfurt hubs. According to the memo, Lufthansa intends to arrange personnel transfers from its present Cityline division to the future City Airlines.

Building Alliances with Aviation Unions

Lufthansa recognizes the importance of collaboration with unions representing different segments of the air travel industry. In line with this, the airline is currently engaged in discussions with various unions to ensure that the launch of City Airlines is harmonious and mutually beneficial.

Ensuring Fair Working Conditions

Lufthansa is committed to upholding fair labor practices and working conditions for all employees, whether they are part of the main airline or the newly established City Airlines. These discussions with unions underscore Lufthansa's dedication to fostering a supportive and collaborative work environment within the aviation industry.


The impending launch of City Airlines by Lufthansa is a testament to the airline's unwavering commitment to improving regional air travel. With the operational license secured, staff recruitment underway, and dialogues with unions in progress, the stage is set for City Airlines to make a significant impact on how passengers connect with global destinations. This exciting development promises to bring convenience and efficiency to travelers while creating job opportunities in the aviation sector.

With Inputs from Reuters

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Capital A's AirAsia is "Very Bullish About the Indian Market"

Radhika Bansal

12 Sep 2023

Kuala Lumpur-based Capital A, which owns AirAsia, is "very bullish about the Indian market" and wants to bring in more tourists to that country, the company's chief executive officer Tony Fernandes said. Capital A (formerly known as AirAsia Group) sold its Indian airline subsidiary to Tata Group last year. "We are working with the Tata Group and hope to do a lot of work with the conglomerate," he said on the sidelines of the 21st Forbes Global CEO Conference.

Last year, Tata Group-owned Air India signed agreements to acquire a 100% stake in AirAsia India and has commenced the process of merging with Air India Express to form a single Indian low-cost carrier. The merger is expected to take around 12 months and is likely to be concluded by the end of 2023. The merger process also includes the integration of Air India Express, ultimately forming a unified Indian low-cost carrier.

"We are just flying in and bringing tourists into the country and flying Indian tourists out to other destinations," he told PTI. AirAsia has about 15 landing points in India, the latest being Amritsar which is connected to the Malaysian capital city. "We very much want to open up with other destinations in India linking with secondary and tertiary airports or T2 and T3," he said. "We will continue to provide more connectivity to India," he said, noting that India is setting up more airports. Fernandes said AirAsia was also getting a lot of traffic out of India.

60% of his airline's passengers on the Indian routes are from out of India and 40% are diaspora and tourists visiting India. "Indian market has been profitable," he added, staying confident about the airline's profit and revenue. Fernandes said AirAsia was also getting a lot of traffic out of India.

Capital A is an investment holding company with a portfolio of synergistic travel and lifestyle businesses that leverage data and technology, including AirAsia. Meanwhile, some 450 prominent business leaders from around the world are attending the two-day Forbes conference themed "Sea Change".

About AirAsia

Capital A Berhad, operating as AirAsia is a Malaysian multinational low-cost airline headquartered near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is the largest airline in Malaysia by fleet size and destinations. AirAsia operates scheduled domestic and international flights to more than 165 destinations spanning 25 countries. Its main base is Klia2, the low-cost carrier terminal at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in SepangSelangorMalaysia. Its affiliate airlines AirAsia CambodiaThai AirAsiaIndonesia AirAsia, and Philippines AirAsia have bases in Phnom PenhBangkok–Don MueangJakarta–Soekarno-Hatta, and Manila–Ninoy Aquino airports respectively, while its sister airline, AirAsia X, focuses on long-haul routes. AirAsia's registered office and head office is at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

AirAsia India was the Indian affiliate of AirAsia. The airline was announced as a joint venture between AirAsia, Arun Bhatia, and Tata Sons on 19 February 2013. It commenced operations on 12 June 2014. The airline is headquartered in Chennai, with its primary hub at Kempegowda International AirportBangalore. In November 2020, AirAsia reviewed its India operations run in partnership with Tata Sons signalling a possible exit from the country. The airline was later sold to Tata Sons in 2022, making it a wholly-owned subsidiary of Air India Limited. The airline is set to be merged into Air India Express by 2023.

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Pratt & Whitney Engine Flaws Will Require Over 3000 Inspections of A320Neo Aircraft

Radhika Bansal

12 Sep 2023

RTX said on Monday, September 12 that an engine manufacturing flaw in its Pratt & Whitney unit that is forcing accelerated inspections will hit its pretax results this quarter by USD 3 billion and that hundreds of aircraft engines will need to be removed for inspections through 2027. Shares in Pratt & Whitney parent RTX Corp hit a two-year low as it took a USD 3 billion charge and told airlines hundreds of their Airbus jets would be grounded at any one time in coming years to check for a rare manufacturing flaw.

The warning comes on top of a spate of durability problems for Pratt & Whitney's Geared Turbofan series, which RTX -- then named Raytheon -- acquired through an industry merger in 2020. In July, RTX said a rare powder metal defect could lead to the cracking of some engine components and called for accelerated inspections affecting 200 engines by mid-September. Removing engine components for inspections will lead to backlogs in its repair facilities, RTX said. It is forecasted that it will take up to 300 days from when the engines are removed from the wings until they go back to airlines.

The company estimated an average of 350 Airbus A320 family planes per year will be grounded from next year through 2026. The company said it expects the issue to cost up to USD 7 billion. Pratt & Whitney has a 51% share in the GTF PW1000 engine program and the cost will be shared with its partners including Germany’s MTU

On Monday, it said it now estimates it will have to pull a total of 600 to 700 engines off its Airbus A320neo jets for lengthy quality inspections between 2023 and 2026. Repair work that CEO Greg Hayes had initially expected would take 60 days is now projected to last up to 300 days per engine. An average of 350 jets could be grounded per year through 2026, with as many as 650 jets sitting idle in the first half of 2024.

RTX shares fell 7.9% in late trading to USD 76.89 after hitting a low of USD 76.71. In Paris, Airbus shares fell 1.3%. Pratt & Whitney competes with GE-Safran joint-venture CFM to power the A320neo series, which competes with the exclusively CFM-powered Boeing 737 MAX.

Disclosing higher-than-expected gross costs of USD 6-7 billion for dealing with the problem, RTX said it expected an up to USD 3.5 billion pre-tax hit to profits over the next several years. It lowered its USD 9 billion free cash flow goal for 2025 to approximately USD 7.5 billion and decreased its projected reported sales figure for 2023 by USD 5.5 billion.

German partner MTU Aero Engines, which controls 18% of the GTF program, said it might have to bear 1 billion euros in extra costs but that it was too early to say how this year's financial goals would be affected.

Speaking to analysts, Hayes acknowledged the problem "will have a significant impact on our customers." Some have already been forced to park their A320neo-family jets to wait for spare engines following durability problems. Hungary's Wizz Air, one of Europe's largest low-cost airlines, estimated that its capacity could be reduced by 10% in the second half of 2024 by the powder issue. Germany's Lufthansa, which was first to introduce the GTF engine series, said it was evaluating the situation.

Of U.S. carriers, Spirit Airlines, JetBlue Airways and Hawaiian Airlines have the largest exposure to the GTF problem, according to Jefferies. None of the airlines responded immediately to a request for comment. Airbus said the problem is not expected to impact 2023 deliveries or the planned production ramp-up in 2024.

Industry sources said the new checks could exacerbate a tug of war for engines between airplane factories and repair shops, as airlines clamour for engines to be diverted from assembly lines and made available as spares to keep existing jets flying.

Already grappling with fractured supply chains, Airbus has so far been reluctant to soften delivery targets to release engines to the spare pool. The quality issue relates to a "rare condition" in powder metal used to manufacture engine parts, such as high-pressure turbine disks and high-pressure compressor disks, that could result in micro-cracks and fatigue.

During a production ramp-up in 2015, a microscopic contaminant was introduced into the powdered metal made by RTX subsidiary HMI in Clayville, New York, which could not be detected by previous inspection methods, Hayes said. "At last count, there have been nine changes to the process to ensure the purity of the powder," said Hayes who added he is "confident" the problem is resolved.

(With Inputs from Reuters)

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The Most Punctual Airlines of August 2023

Abhishek Nayar

12 Sep 2023

In the fast-paced world of aviation, on-time performance (OTP) is a key metric that both airlines and passengers hold in high regard. Timeliness can make or break an airline's reputation and significantly impact the passenger experience. To keep you informed about the latest developments in the aviation industry, we present the Global On-Time Performance Report for August 2023, which is predicated using Cirium analytics. In this report, we'll dive into the top-performing airlines across various regions and categories, offering you insights into who's keeping travelers on schedule.

Global Category

Avianca (AV) - Back on Top

Avianca (AV) has reclaimed its throne in the global category this month with an impressive OTP of 86.86%. After briefly losing the top spot to LATAM last month, Avianca has bounced back, ensuring travelers can rely on their punctuality.

Qatar Airways (QR) - A Close Second

Qatar Airways (QR) takes a close second in the global category, boasting an OTP of 85.77%. The competition at the top is fierce, with Qatar Airways maintaining a high standard of punctuality.

Iberia (IB) - A Steady Performer

Iberia (IB) secures the third spot among the top-performing global airlines, achieving an OTP of 85.76%. Iberia consistently delivers on-time flights, enhancing its reputation in the industry.

Azul (AD) - Back in the Spotlight

Azul (AD) returns as a top performer in the global category this month with an OTP of 85.37%. Travelers in the Asia-Pacific region can count on Azul for timely arrivals.

APAC Category

AirAsia India (I5) - Rising to the Top

AirAsia India (I5) rises to the top rank among APAC carriers with an OTP of 86.33%. This airline is making waves by keeping passengers on schedule.

Indigo (6E) - A Consistent Runner-Up

Indigo (6E) maintains its second-place spot with an OTP of 84.98%. While not at the very top, Indigo remains a reliable choice for travelers in the APAC region.

Air New Zealand (NZ) - Claiming the Third Spot

Air New Zealand (NZ) secures the third spot with 82.81% of its flights arriving on schedule. This airline offers a solid option for those flying to or from New Zealand.

Garuda (GA) - Returning to the Top

Garuda (GA) returns as a top performer this month, taking the fourth spot with an OTP of 82.60%. This resurgence is a testament to Garuda's commitment to punctuality.

North America Category

Delta Air Lines (DL) - Regaining the Lead

Delta Air Lines (DL) is back in the lead this month in the North American category with an OTP of 82.80%. After briefly ceding the top spot to Alaska (AS), Delta has come back strong.

United Air Lines (UA) - A Close Second

United Air Lines (UA) follows closely with an OTP of 81.61%, securing the second spot. The competition among North American carriers remains intense.

Alaska Airlines (AS) - Holding Strong

Alaska Airlines (AS) may have slipped to the third spot, but it still maintains a respectable OTP of 81.52%. Travelers in North America continue to rely on Alaska Airlines for on-time arrivals.

Europe Category

Iberia (IB) - Leading the Way

Iberia (IB) continues to lead the region with an OTP of 85.76%. European travelers can trust Iberia for timely departures and arrivals.

Norwegian Air Shuttle (DY) - Climbing to Second Place

Norwegian Air Shuttle (DY) climbs to second place with 84.61% of its flights arriving on time. This airline's ascent in the rankings is notable.

Austrian (OS) - Finishing Third

Austrian (OS) finishes third with an OTP of 81.09%. Austrian Airlines maintains a competitive edge in the European market.

Air Europa (UX) - A New Entrant Among Top Performers

Air Europa (UX) makes its debut this year among the top performers with an OTP of 80.42%. This newcomer is making a significant impression.

Latin America Category

Copa Airlines (CM) - Unwavering Dominance

Copa Airlines (CM) continues its dominance at the top spot in the Latin America category with an impressive OTP of 89.78%. Copa's commitment to punctuality remains unmatched.

Avianca (AV) - A Strong Contender

Avianca (AV) secures the second spot with an OTP of 86.86%. This airline consistently delivers on its promise to passengers.

Azul (AD) - Maintaining Excellence

Azul (AD) takes the third spot with an OTP of 85.37%. Azul's commitment to timeliness is commendable.

Middle East and Africa Category

Safair (FA) - Leading the Region

Safair (FA) leads the Middle East and Africa region once again this month with an OTP of 93.13%. Safair sets the bar high for on-time performance.

Oman Air (WY) - Sliding to Second Place

Oman Air (WY), the five-month reigning leader, slides to second place with an OTP of 90.39%. While no longer at the top, Oman Air remains a reliable choice.

Etihad Airways (EY) - Third Place Honors

Etihad Airways (EY) secures the third spot with an OTP of 87.23%. This airline continues to provide passengers with timely flights.

Low-Cost Carrier Category

Safair (FA) - A Double Win

Safair (FA) also leads the Low-Cost Carrier (LCC) category with an OTP of 93.13%. This airline's stellar performance extends to both regional and budget-friendly travel.

Iberia Express (I2) - Claiming Second Place

Iberia Express (I2) secures the second spot among LCCs with an OTP of 88.70%. Budget-conscious travelers can trust Iberia Express for on-time arrivals.

Spring Airlines Japan (IJ) - A Strong Contender

Spring Airlines Japan (IJ) claims the third spot with an OTP of 86.76%. This LCC remains a competitive choice for travelers.

Concluding Thoughts

In August 2023, the aviation industry showcases a dynamic landscape of on-time performance across the globe. Avianca, Qatar Airways, Azul, Delta Air Lines, Iberia, Copa Airlines, Safair, and Safair among LCCs are among the leaders in their respective categories, setting the standard for timeliness in the skies.

Travelers can take comfort in knowing that these airlines prioritize on-time arrivals and departures, ensuring a smooth and reliable journey.

Data from Cirium

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Air India Rolls Out 'Project Abhinandan' for Personalised On-Ground Passenger Experience

Radhika Bansal

12 Sep 2023

Air India rolled out 'Project Abhinandan' to provide a personalised and hassle-free on-ground experience to passengers, said the company in a press release. As part of the project, Air India has deployed specially trained Service Assurance Officers at 16 major Indian airports, who will offer on-ground assistance across airport touchpoints to Air India guests who may require it – at check-in area or lounges, near the boarding gates, during transit, or at the arrival hall.

Air India’s Service Assurance Officers will be placed at strategic touchpoints to proactively engage with guests, provide support, or troubleshoot any issues. They are also trained to address unforeseen issues such as missed flights, delayed baggage delivery and misconnections at airports, among others.

Rajesh Dogra, Chief Customer Experience & Ground Handling Officer, Air India, said, “Airport experiences can be daunting for many air travellers, despite how frequently one travels. ‘Project Abhinandan’ is our sincere effort to simplify the airport experience for our guests and make a meaningful difference to their overall travel experience, and more broadly, to make them feel at ease and welcomed when they fly with us.” “Flying is a wonderful experience, and we want our guests to enjoy it in the most seamless ways possible. We are constantly evaluating new ways to enhance that experience in our effort to transform Air India into a truly world-class airline. ‘Project Abhinandan’ service is a step in that direction,” Dogra added.

They will be available at airports in addition to the other Air India and ground handling agencies’ staff. Air India has already recruited and deployed over 100 such officers across airports, as per the statement, and they will assist any Air India guest, regardless of the cabin class one is booked in.

Air India’s Service Assurance Officers at airports will assist any Air India guest, regardless of the cabin class one is booked in, requiring airport assistance at Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Calicut, Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Varanasi and Vishakhapatnam.

The development comes as the airline has been taking proactive measures to redefine, rebrand, and reimagine all aspects of its service, from physical appearance and logos to guest experience. This is especially important to Tata Sons as the conglomerate is working to merge Air India with its other full-service carrier Vistara post the acquisition of the former from the government.  

Premium Lounge Network Expansion

Air India is working quite hard to elevate the travel experience for its premium customers. Air India has expanded the coverage of lounge access from 16 to 26 airports in the country as part of its ambitious 5-year transformation strategy, Vihaan.AI. The airline has successfully established strategic alliances with airport lounges in important cities including Dibrugarh, Indore, Jammu, Lucknow, Madurai, Mangalore, Nagpur, Patna, Srinagar, and Vadodara.

To expand its premium hospitality, the airline has deliberately partnered with top-notch food courts at 11 airports where dedicated lounges were not available. This step further ensures that Air India’s premium passengers can enjoy top-class services at lounges or food courts at an impressive 37 airports across India.

But Air India‘s commitment to excellence doesn’t end within the borders of India. The airline has gone above and beyond to provide an unparalleled lounge experience to its premium customers at all 41 destinations in its international route network. By collaborating with the finest lounges at multiple international airports, Air India has achieved 100% lounge access coverage for its elite travellers.

The airline’s lounge network has been expanded to include some renowned international lounges. Passengers can now enjoy the Swissport Lounge at Chicago, the SAS Lounge at New York-Newark Liberty, and Japan Airlines’ Sakura Lounge at Tokyo Narita. In addition, Air India has transitioned to the Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge in Bangkok and the Balaka Executive Lounge at Dhaka airports, further enriching the premium travel experience.

Air India takes pride in offering its signature lounges at two prominent locations – Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (Terminal 3) and New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. These signature lounges epitomize luxury and comfort for discerning travellers.

The lounge services are exclusively available to guests travelling First or Business Class and eligible members of Air India’s frequent flyer program, Flying Returns, as well as those from other Star Alliance member airlines. With its unwavering dedication to providing a world-class travel experience, Air India continues to soar to new heights, captivating the hearts of its premium clientele across the globe.

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Bangladesh Shifts to Airbus with Ten Aircraft Deal

Abhishek Nayar

12 Sep 2023

In a significant development, on Monday, September 11, 2023, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that Bangladesh has committed to ordering ten aircraft from Airbus, marking a pivotal moment as the South Asian country shifts away from its Boeing-dominated fleet.

The Airbus Deal - A Game Changer for Bangladesh

Breaking Away from Boeing

Bangladesh's decision to opt for Airbus aircraft signifies a remarkable departure from its historical reliance on Boeing. For years, the country's aviation sector has primarily been under the influence of Boeing planes, but this new contract could reshape the industry landscape.

The A350 Widebody Jets

The acquisition primarily centers on the A350 widebody jets, known for their fuel efficiency, cutting-edge technology, and passenger comfort. These aircraft are set to enhance Biman Bangladesh Airlines Ltd.'s fleet significantly.

Benefits of the A350

The A350's advanced features bring several advantages, such as reduced carbon emissions, lower operating costs, and increased passenger capacity. These benefits align with the global aviation industry's growing emphasis on sustainability and efficiency.

Biman Bangladesh Airlines Ltd. - Key Player in the Deal

The National Flag Carrier's Role

Biman Bangladesh Airlines Ltd., as the country's national flag carrier, plays a pivotal role in this aircraft acquisition. The airline is expected to utilize the A350s for expanding its international routes and improving its services. Biman Bangladesh, which is 51 years old, has a fleet of more than 20 Boeing planes, more than half of which are widebodies, and some Dash-8 turboprops.

Strengthening Global Presence

The addition of Airbus A350s to Biman Bangladesh Airlines Ltd.'s fleet is expected to bolster the airline's international presence, allowing it to tap into new markets and enhance connectivity.

The Significance of This Agreement

Economic Implications

This agreement is not just about acquiring new aircraft; it carries significant economic implications. The deal with Airbus is expected to boost economic ties between Bangladesh and France, potentially opening doors for further collaborations in various sectors.

A Shift Towards Sustainability

As the world increasingly prioritizes sustainability, Bangladesh's choice of the environmentally friendly A350 aircraft underscores its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and contributing to global climate goals.

The Road Ahead - Finalizing the Deal

Finalizing the Contract

While the announcement has been made, the finer details of the agreement are yet to be finalized. This includes aspects like delivery schedules, financing terms, and the specific configurations of the A350s.

Navigating Complex Negotiations

The negotiations between Bangladesh and Airbus are expected to be intricate, given the scale of the deal. Both parties will need to address various logistical and financial challenges to bring the deal to fruition.


"I appreciate your confidence in the European aerospace industry." And this commitment for ten Airbus A350s is significant," Macron said in a media conference following a meeting with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Bangladesh's junior minister for civil aviation, Mahbub Ali, stated that the initial purchase will be for two Airbus jets.

"We have requested ten aircraft in phases." The technical committee is currently assessing. These planes will operate on both new and old routes. Each country's fleet includes Airbus and Boeing. But we only have Boeings, not even a single Airbus," Ali explained.


Bangladesh's decision to order ten Airbus A350 widebody jets marks a transformative moment in the country's aviation history. This shift from Boeing to Airbus represents not only an upgrade in the airline's fleet but also a commitment to sustainability and economic growth. As the agreement between Bangladesh and Airbus is finalized, we can expect to witness significant changes in the nation's aviation landscape.

With Inputs from Reuters