Airservices Australia has opened a new A$20 million combined air traffic control tower and aviation rescue fire station at Broome Airport (pictured) as part of its campaign to enhance safety in the north west of the country, in the face of a rapid increase in aircraft movements related to the resources boom. The new tower is the first that Airservices has opened in 15 years.


Virgin Australia has launched sales of its new codeshare services with Virgin America, which will mean seamless connections from Los Angeles to Portland, Washington, Boston, Dallas, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Philadelphia and Seattle. Virgin Australia already codeshares on a range of other routes in the US with alliance partner Delta Air Lines.


Qatar Airways says it is in talks with Qantas re a “strategic partnership”. CEO Al Baker told a press conference in Perth yesterday that a codeshare deal between the two airlines would have significant mutual benefits. He also said that there were further talks set for next week. It would be wise to keep in mind that, while such a proposal is possible and may be even probable, Al Baker has a reputation for talking from the hip.


The Western Australian Police Air Wing fleet has taken delivery of a new specially configured fixed wing GA8 Airvan, fitted with a range of electronics to be used to facilitate surveillance needs, including operational equipment focused for drug searching, photography tasks, flood/cyclone relief drops, search and rescue and special missions.

IATA’s May figures show “a general downward trend in line with deteriorating global economic conditions”. While passenger demand was 4.5 per cent ahead of May 2011, growth was virtually flat compared to April. Capacity increased by four per cent and load factors stood at 77.6 per cent, below the historically high levels recorded in April. All regions, except the Middle East, saw slowing growth in international passenger demand in May. Asia-Pacific carriers showed a 5.5 per cent expansion in demand over the previous year period, ahead of capacity expansion of 3.1 per cent, pushing load factors to 75.4 per cent.


Airbus has announced that it will establish a manufacturing facility in the US to assemble and deliver A320 Family aircraft. Construction of the facility in Mobile, Alabama, will commence mid 2013 and assembly is planned to start in 2015. First deliveries should be in 2016. Airbus anticipates the facility will produce between 40 and 50 aircraft per year by 2018.


Etihad this week announced first half 2012 revenues of US$2.24 billion, with passenger numbers climbing to 4.89 million in the half year, thanks to increased overall capacity and improved seat factors. Available seat kilometres rose 25 per cent to 15.2 billion in Q2 as the fleet grew to 67 aircraft; while revenue passenger kilometres rose 33 per cent to 11.8 billion. The average seat factor rose 4.6 percentage points 77.6 per cent. It must be so nice to be able to release financials that don’t include a bottom line.


In the US, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) has just released an unmanned aircraft system operations industry code of conduct. This is a set of guidelines to provide AUVSI members (and those who design, test and operate UAS for public and civil use) with recommendations for their safe, non-intrusive operation. If you want the detail click here.


The seventh World Cargo Symposium will be held in Doha, Qatar, from 12-14 March 2013. The event will explore the theme of ‘Action for Sustainability’.


Boeing has inducted Australian engineer Shane Arnott as the company's first international Senior Technical Fellow, the highest ranking Boeing technologist outside of the US. Arnott, who is based in Brisbane with Boeing Defence Australia, is the company's chief engineer of international experimentation for Phantom Works, Boeing's advanced research and development organisation for defence programs. He has technical responsibility over Boeing's modeling and simulation facilities outside of the US, including the UK, Australia, India, Korea, Japan and Saudi Arabia.

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