Felix Airways is a low-cost start-up carrier based at Sana'a International Airport, Yemen. The LCC was established as a subsidiary of flag carrier Yemenia Yemen Airways by the Islamic Bank for Development in 2008, to tap into the growing market for low-cost travel in the region. Felix Airways has a second base at Aden on the southern coast of Yemen, and operates to domestic destinations, as well as international destinations in Oman, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Djibouti.
Location of Felix Airways main hub (Sana'a International Airport)
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The 163 aircraft ordered at last week's Dubai Airshow will keep the Middle East region with almost as many aircraft on order as in service. While the show was marked by Emirates' order for 50 B777s, adding to the carrier's all-widebody fleet, widebody aircraft currently comprise just over half the region's fleet but are set to grow. Widebodies comprise more than 70% of aircraft on order in the region.
Boeing and Airbus will see their market share increase, but Airbus more so, eventually accounting for more than half of all aircraft in the region and Boeing accounting for just over a third. These latest aircraft orders add to an already substantial order backlog by airlines in the region. Most of the orders are concentrated in the hands of the Gulf region’s three largest sixth-freedom airlines: Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways and Emirates. The 163 orders from the show were from airlines and leasing companies and had a combined total value at list prices of just under USD32 billion.
Oman Air reported another year of growth and development in 2010, as the carrier’s headline operational statistics all showed remarkable increases. Passenger traffic grew by 38%, passenger load factors jumped 11% and revenue increased by 51%. Cargo carried increased by 99% and air cargo revenue increased 238%.
20 new A380s are due to be delivered by Airbus this year, almost doubling the global A380 fleet. The next airlines due to join the family of carriers operating the aircraft are Korean Air and China Southern. While China Southern has remained quiet on its seating plans for the aircraft, Korean Air is continuing the trend of offering surprisingly low seat densities.
The announcement last week from Ryanair that it intends to include Larnaca, Cyprus in its list of destinations raises some interesting questions. Not least amongst them is, just how far can LCCs travel using the business model that is in place now? So far Ryanair has shied away from long haul (transatlantic) operations, which its management knows would require a significant adjustment to the short/mid haul model, though it still insists it will do it one day. It seems Ryanair (or Michael O’Leary) has spoken to airport management in the U.S., for example Niagara Falls airport, about hosting the first route. Now it appears though that Ryanair may be looking at tapping into the Middle East market, by using Larnaca as a base.
Since its launch in Oct-2008, Felix Airways has expanded its domestic network to cover most of the major routes across Yemen. The carrier now has a network of eight destinations in Yemen, operating more than 150 weekly domestic frequencies, with a fleet of three CRJ 700s and two CRJ 200s.
The global economic turmoil may have claimed 30 airline victims so far in 2008, but there are some new entrants that are braving the conditions.
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