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Canada’s Bombardier moves to direct sales

Montreal – Bombardier announced Wednesday the end of a nearly 40-year partnership with Tag Aeronautics to sell its aircraft in the Middle East and North Africa, saying it will now sell directly to customers. The breakup was described as amicable, but the related restructuring of several customer deals resulted in the cancellation of orders for 24 business jets worth US$1.75 billion and options for 30 more. As well, Bombardier will take a special charge of US$278 million in its 2015 fourth quarter financial results. ''We are adapting our business model to capitalize on growing market opportunities around the world and will focus on direct interaction with our customers,'' chief executive Alain Bellemare said in a statement. The move is part of an ongoing restructuring at the beleaguered Canadian manufacturer, as it struggles to get …

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Airbus beats Boeing in 2015 order race, lags on deliveries

Paris – European planemaker Airbus beat Boeing in the race for new business last year, swelling its total order book to a record $1 trillion, but remained behind on deliveries as Boeing extended its lead as the world's largest jetmaker. The planemaking division of Airbus Group grabbed 1,036 net plane orders after cancellations, it said, down 29 percent from 2014, compared with Boeing's tally of 768, a fall of 46 percent. Both planemakers experienced a slowdown after two years of heavy orders, and amid concerns over the impact of economic jitters and low oil prices on demand for fuel-saving jets. Despite that, deliveries of popular models grew, reflecting industry forecasts of persistent growth in traffic. Airbus hit a company record of 635 deliveries and predicted over 650 in 2016, with new orders again exceeding …

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IATA reports strong passenger traffic demand

Despite some softening in economic growth, global passenger traffic results for November, 2015 showed continued strong traffic growth above the 10-year average rate of 5.6%, largely due to falling fares, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Total revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) rose 5.9% compared to the year-ago period. Although below the October rate of 7.1%, this was due to the impact of factors that are expected to be short-lived, including Transaero, Russia’s second largest carrier, stopping operations as well as labor strikes at Lufthansa. Data for the first ten months of the year show a 5% decline in average fares in currency-adjusted terms. November capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) increased by 4.2%, and load factor rose 1.3 percentage points to 78.0%. “Consumers continue to benefit from lower fares, which are spurring …

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Uber gets nearly $2-B Chinese investment

Hong Kong/Beijing – Uber Technologies, Inc. said it has received almost $2 billion in funding from Chinese investors, some as part of a recent fundraising round that valued the US firm's Chinese unit at $7 billion. Uber's main global entity received the rest of the money, though the company did not specify how much each unit got. The details were reported by Chinese media on Wednesday and confirmed by an Uber spokeswoman. Previously unreported Chinese investors include China Minsheng Banking Corp, real estate developer China Vanke Co Ltd and China Broadband Capital. Other investors include HNA Group Co Ltd, parent of Hainan Airlines Co Ltd, China Taiping Insurance Holdings Co Ltd, China Life Insurance Co Ltd , Guangzhou Automobile Group Co ltd and CITIC Securities Co Ltd. Uber's Chinese unit was valued at $7 …

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MAAP marks 18th anniversary today

Asia’s leading maritime institution – Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific (MAAP) –  celebrates in “simple” rites its 18th founding anniversary today  in Kamaya Point, Barangay Alas-asin, Mariveles, Bataan. MAAP President  VAdm.  Eduardo Ma. R. Santos AFP (Ret.) leads the ceremonies that highlight the service awards to faculty members, personnel and other workers, including those who have served the academy for five, 10 and 15 years,  said academy administrator Cdr. Gerlo Elchico. The program will open with the singing of Philippine national anthem followed by a celebration of holy mass, and singing of Academy hymn, “Cradle of Destiny” by cadets, added  Elchico.” MAAP, which was established in 1998 and opened its door to its first batch of graduates in 1999,  has so far produced over 2,600 graduates who turned professional marine …

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Decline in air freight may be over soon – IATA

The decline in cargo demand may be bottoming out, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced yesterday. Global air freight markets showed air cargo volumes (measured in Freight Tonne Kilometers) fell 1.2% in November 2015, compared to November 2014. However, total cargo volumes grew compared to October 2015. In fact, they were higher than the low point in August. “The freight performance in November was a mixed bag,” explained Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO. “Although the headline growth rate fell again, and the global economic outlook remains fragile, it appears that parts of Asia-Pacific are growing again and globally, export orders are looking better.” The negative year-on-year comparisons occurred across all regions, with the exception of the Middle East. Of the major markets that together comprise more than 80% of total trade, Europe was …

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FAA fails to ensure pilots’ manual flying skills – report

Washington – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)is failing to ensure that airline pilots maintain their flying skills so they can safely take control of an aircraft from automated systems during an unexpected event, according to a US Transportation Department report. The report by the department's Office of the Inspector General concludes that the FAA cannot determine how often pilots fly manually and has not ensured that airline training programs adequately focus on manual skills. Airline pilots typically fly planes manually on landings and take-offs, leaving the aircraft under the control of automated technology 90 percent of the time. While automated systems have generally improved aviation safety, experts say the practice and the growing complexity of automated technology have raised concerns about flying skills. The government watchdog also found that the US aviation regulatory …

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Terror costs Air France-KLM $76 million

PARIS  – Air France-KLM SA said the November Paris terror attacks cost the Franco-Dutch airline operator EUR70 million ($76 million) in lost revenue. The commercial impact of the atrocity, which left 130 people dead and hundreds injured in the French capital, eased in the second half of the month with bookings back on the rise last month. "Booking trends in December were in line with a progressive recovery," the company said. All the group's airlines flew a total 6.72 million passengers in December, the same number as in December 2014. A return to normality at the group--whose operating units include Air France, KLM and Transavia--follows a sharp decline in air travel and hotel bookings in the aftermath of the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris which is one of the top five travel destinations …

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United Airlines sales also hurt by Paris attacks

United Airlines said  its passenger unit revenue may have fallen more than expected in the fourth quarter just ended, after the November attacks in Paris shook traveler demand and sharply lower oil prices hurt sales to the Houston hub carrier's energy clients. Passenger unit revenue, which compares ticket sales to flight capacity, fell between 5.75 percent and 6.25 percent in the fourth quarter from a year ago, United Continental Holdings Inc said in a regulatory filing. That compares to an earlier forecast for a drop between 4 percent and 6 percent for the October-December quarter. The forecast may suggest continued turbulence for US airlines, which suffered from steep unit revenue declines in 2015. The Paris attacks' impact on demand is "concerning," said Sterne Agee CRT analyst Adam Hackel, adding that hotel bookings were down …

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Shipyards face closure as China loses appetite for consuming iron ore

The weakening yuan and China’s waning appetite for raw materials have come around to bite the country’s shipbuilders, raising the odds that more shipyards will soon be shuttered. About 140 yards in the world’s second-biggest shipbuilding nation have gone out of business since 2010, and more are expected to close in the next two years after only 69 won orders for vessels last year, JPMorgan Chase & Co. analysts Sokje Lee and Minsung Lee wrote in a Jan. 6 report. That compares with 126 shipyards that fielded orders in 2014 and 147 in 2013. Total orders at Chinese shipyards tumbled 59 percent in the first 11 months of 2015, according to data released Dec. 15 by the China Association of the National Shipbuilding Industry. Builders have sought government support as excess vessel …

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