Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAA) criticised the General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) for a breakdown in systems and poor organisation at Jeddah King Abdul Aziz International Airport, which has caused lengthy delays during the Umrah period (The Saudi Gazette, 19-Sep-2010). The carrier called for an urgent intervention into the issue to prevent a “complete collapse” of the airport’s systems. In addition to issues with the airport’s baggage handling, security and check-in systems, SAA also raised concerns regarding cargo, reservations, air-conditioning, cleaning, aircraft parking and sound systems. GACA responded stating it needs more time to reply to the carrier’s allegations. GE Aviation also criticised GACA’s management of the airport, stating GACA did not respond to their demands for necessary machinery, mechanisms and suitable infrastructure to allow to the airport to operate effectively.
Saudi Arabian Airlines and GE Aviation criticise GACA over Jeddah airport
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Project Hope: Malaysia Airlines outlook hinges on spinning off new high-density A380 charter airline
Malaysia Airlines is planning to set up a new airline to operate its A380 fleet on religious pilgrimage charters to Saudi Arabia. All six of the airline’s A380s will be reconfigured from 386 to up to 700 seats by the end of 2018, and transferred to a new operator's certificate.
Malaysia Airlines is hoping to attract a combination of foreign and local investors to take control of the planned new airline and all six A380s. The group is calling the plan “Project Hope” – an appropriate name given its current predicament with the A380 fleet.
The flag carrier’s A380 operation has been highly unprofitable and the aircraft is too big for operation to London – its only remaining long-haul route. Malaysia Airlines is now committed to acquiring six A350s, which will be used to replace the A380 on London. As selling or subleasing the A380s is not possible given the virtually non-existent demand for the type, establishing a new charter airline is the only sensible option – although still with some risk, given the need to find investors.