easyJet stated (15-Apr-2011) it is making progress on its AVOID (Airborne Volcanic Object Identifier and Detector) system and called upon the aviation industry to work together to avoid further disruption in European airspace from future volcanic activity. The LCC's call comes a year after the Apr-2011 ash cloud crisis, which closed European aerospace for a week. The AVOID system is a weather radar for ash. AVOID uses infrared technology that is fitted to aircraft to supply images to pilots and an airline’s flight control centre. The images enable pilots to see an ash cloud, up to 100km ahead of the aircraft and at altitudes between 5000ft and 50,000ft, thus allowing them to make adjustments to the plane’s flight path to avoid any ash cloud. On the ground, information from aircraft with AVOID technology would be used to build an accurate image of the volcanic ash cloud using real time data. This would open up large areas of airspace that would otherwise be closed during a volcanic eruption, which would benefit passengers by minimising disruption. The technology is awaiting approval from the European Aviation Safety Agency and easyJet is also hoping to be given financial support by the European Commission. [more]
easyJet update on volcanic ash AVOID system
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Europe summer 2017 airline capacity outlook: fifth successive summer of above trend seat growth
Airline seat growth from Europe in summer 2017 is set to stay at almost 6% for the third successive summer, according to data from OAG. This rate had not previously been reached since 2010, although this will be the fifth straight summer of growth ahead of its 10 year average rate. The summer 2017 season started on 26-Mar-2017 and, although always subject to further change, the data give a fairly clear picture.
Seat capacity on routes from Europe to Africa will grow the fastest, as the region recovers from a terrorism related drop in demand in North Africa. There will also be above trend growth in almost every other region from Europe (including intra Europe). The only exception is Europe-Middle East, where the newly cautious Gulf airlines' growth is slowing this summer.
On the North Atlantic, always important for the profitability of Europe's leading legacy airlines, growth will be faster than its 10 year trend, but it will at least be a little slower than in the past summer. The loss of market share from the immunised North Atlantic JVs to newer and smaller competitors, including LCCs, is set to continue. As ever, the OAG capacity data provide a window into the changing structure of the airline markets from Europe.
Vienna Airport: "too expensive" for Ryanair, but Eurowings & easyJet lead LCC driven growth
Passenger numbers at Vienna Airport grew by 2.5% in 2016 – a modest rate, but its highest since 2012. Restructuring by the Lufthansa owned Austrian Airlines, the airport's biggest airline, and a reputation for high fees, have constrained Vienna's passenger growth rate. Ryanair has called the airport "too expensive".
Nevertheless, the growth in traffic in 2016 was mainly driven by LCCs, particularly Eurowings (another Lufthansa Group company) and easyJet, more than offsetting reduction of its presence by the airport's number two airline, NIKI. LCC share at Vienna remains low by European standards, but it is growing.
The restructuring of airberlin, the airport's number three airline and effectively in operational control of NIKI, leads to uncertainty over the capacity plans of these two airlines in 2017.
However, another year of growth looks likely for Vienna, mainly driven by European routes (although the airport has ambitions to develop its long haul offer. Austrian is to return to more significant levels of capacity growth, particularly in Europe, and both Eurowings and easyJet are also planning further increases this year. Eurowings established its first non German base at Vienna only in Oct-2015, and could become the airport's number two carrier in 2017.