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The New Zealand Air Line Pilots' Association Newsletter.

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Virgin Australia CEO attributes financial loss largely to accounting adjustment

Virgin Australia recorded an AUS$653.3 million loss in the last financial year, with CEO John Borghetti saying this was due to accounting issues which saw AUS$451.9 million in deferred tax assets that have been de-recognised.

Borghetti said the accounting adjustments were made as the airline follows opportunities in the Asian aviation and loyalty markets.

However, Business News Australia reported, the airline’s underlying profit was the highest for 10 years at AUS$109.6 million compared to a loss of AUS$3.7 million in the previous year. There was also a 2.8 per cent increase in passenger numbers.

"The underlying profit was driven by record earnings in our core domestic business, which represents two thirds of our revenue base, and supported by significant improvements in our cash and leverage results," said Borghetti.

"Other factors driving our domestic performance included growth in the corporate and leisure markets, the strength of our ancillary products, improved fleet utilisation, the exit of loss-making routes and disciplined capacity management."

Qantas had earlier announced a 14 per cent growth in underlying profit before tax to reach AUS$1.6 billion, along with AUS$332 million share buyback scheme.

Business News Australia also reported Virgin’s claim that the airline was outperforming its biggest competitor, Qantas, on the punctuality of flights.

Full story HERE.


ALPA airs concerns about ‘flags of convenience’ in ATW editorial

Tim Canoll, President of the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), recently penned a cautionary editorial on so-called ‘flags of convenience’ in leading industry publication Air Transport World (ATW). Canoll said foreign airlines establish flags of convenience business models to skirt tax, labour and safety regulations and to “gain an unfair advantage over US airlines and workers.”

This was a threat to the global aviation system and has the potential to destroy thousands of existing jobs and billions of dollars’ worth of the United States’ GDP, warned Canoll. In response to this threat, airline workers have joined together to support Section 530 of the US House Bill H.R. 4—the current iteration of FAA reauthorisation. “This would help ensure that all carriers have a fair and equal opportunity to compete in the international marketplace,” he explained.

Canoll used the example of the maritime shipping industry as what could also happen to aviation, where US companies have lost 23 percent of the global market share and 87 percent of jobs since flag of convenience shipping companies became predominant.

“It is not hard to imagine a similar fate for US pilots, flight attendants and mechanics if this business model successfully grafts itself onto our airline system,” said Canoll.

“Until recently, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) had effectively protected against this model by making a public interest finding in its foreign air carrier permit proceedings. The current public interest test written by Congress balances 16 different criteria, including air safety, competition among carriers, fair wages and working conditions and consumer concerns.

“Since 1946, DOT and its predecessor have conducted this test in every application for a foreign air carrier permit with just two exceptions: Norwegian Air International and Norwegian Air UK—the only two flag-of-convenience operators to apply.

“ALPA and others are asking for a level playing field for all global airlines that serve the US,” he concludes.

Read the full editorial HERE.


Microburst cause of Aeromexico crash?

ATW has also reported that a microburst was likely to be a major factor in the accident involving an Aeromexico Embraer E190 that went down as it was departing Durango, Mexico at the end of July.

Investigators have not found any mechanical anomalies or obvious errors made by the aircraft's pilots.

Mexico's Directorate General of Civil Aeronautics (DGCA) said investigators found evidence of a microburst above the airfield as the aircraft, operating as Aeromexico Connect Flight 2431, prepared for its scheduled departure to Mexico City.

A short-duration storm moved in as the aircraft was taxiing out, changing the airfield's conditions rapidly.

The three-person flight crew — which included a first officer in training who was sitting in the right seat and serving as the pilot flying — was not given any weather information that would have prompted them to consider delaying its departure, investigators said.

The DGCA expects to have its final report out by December, but more information on what the investigation has found so far can be found HERE.


Saudi women finally awarded pilot licences

Following changes in kingdom law of Saudi Arabia know allowing women to drive, five Saudi women pilots have obtained licences by the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) that allow them to work as captains on Saudi Arabian Airlines aircraft, Gulf News has reported.

Issuing licenses to Saudi women is part of GACA’s drive to empower Saudi women to work in the aviation sector in line with the objectives of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

The newspaper reported, that although around 500 Saudi women are employed by the kingdom’s national carrier, they work mainly in finance, IT and reservations, none of them are pilots.

In 2014 Yasmeen Mohammad Al Maimani became only the second Saudi woman to receive a commercial pilot license from GACA, and hoped to fly for Saudi Arabian Airlines. In the meantime Yasmeen said that she received an offer from a US flight academy to be their representative in the Arabian Gulf.

She said that her family had supported her dream to become a pilot. She attended a private aviation academy in nearby Jordan.

“I obtained my private pilot licence after one year and went back home to Saudi Arabia where my attempts to get recruited by an airliner failed. I took up an administrative position in Rabigh Wings Aviation Academy and I became the head of pilots, but I did not fly any plane,” she said.

In 2014 Yasmeen Mohammad Al Maimani became only the second Saudi woman to receive a commercial pilot license from GACA, and hoped to fly for Saudi Arabian Airlines. In the meantime Yasmeen said that she received an offer from a US flight academy to be their representative in the Arabian Gulf.

She said that her family had supported her dream to become a pilot. She attended a private aviation academy in nearby Jordan.

“I obtained my private pilot licence after one year and went back home to Saudi Arabia where my attempts to get recruited by an airliner failed. I took up an administrative position in Rabigh Wings Aviation Academy and I became the head of pilots, but I did not fly any plane,” she said.

Read the full story HERE.


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