This week in aviation news: Emirates 777 crashes on runway in Dubai, PEMCO delivers 100th 737-300 freighter converted aircraft, HNA Group obtains Azul Airlines stake, Allegiant Air orders A320ceos
On Wednesday, Emirates flight 521 crash-landed on the runway at Dubai International Airport, resulting in several minor injuries among passengers. While all 300 passengers and crew members on board were evacuated from the Boeing 777-300 safely, a firefighter was killed battling the resulting flames. Although the investigation is ongoing, images taken of the destroyed aircraft show that the landing gear may have collapsed, causing the airplane to skid across the runway and burst into flames. The airport was closed for approximately six hours following the incident, resulting in numerous delays and cancellations. Boeing reported that, under the direction of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, it will support the investigation lead by the United Arab Emirates General Civil Aviation Authority, serving as technical advisor.
On Tuesday, cargo conversion company Pemco World Air Services (PEMCO) reported the delivery of its 100th 737-300 freighter converted aircraft. The aircraft was converted for Chinese delivery services company S.F. Express. The aircraft is PEMCO’S 16th 737-300/400 conversion for S.F. Express’ parent company S.F. Airlines, and three more deliveries are planned for later this year. VP of SF Airlines Liang Xi said, “Since inducting the first B737 Classic in 2011, SF now operates 13 Classics all converted under PEMCO’s STC. We’re very grateful for PEMCO’s excellent STC program and continued support. By the end of the year, we expect the B737 Classic to surpass the B757 to become the largest SF fleet.” PEMCO began converting Boeing 737-300s in 1991, and has delivered the converted freighters to customers worldwide, including China Postal Airlines EMS, Kahala Aviation, Swiftair, TNT Express, and Yangtze River Express Airlines.
HNA Group, headquartered in Haikou, China finalized a $450 million deal last week for a 23.7% stake in Brazil’s Azul Airlines. The part owner of Hainan Airlines, HNA Group also has stakes in Africa World Airlines, Aigle Azur, Comair and MyCargo Airlines. The deal will result in HNA Group gaining three seats on Azul’s board of directors. HNA Group Vice Chairman and CEO Adam Tan said, “In addition to bringing more choice and convenience to Hainan Airlines’ customers traveling to and from Brazil, we view Azul as a strong and lasting partner for HNA to explore further expansion and capital investment in Latin America. We look forward to working together to create a seamless travel experience between Latin America and China and to deliver further choice, value and excellence to worldwide travelers through our future cooperation.” Azul Airlines accounts for a third of Brazil’s air transport market, operating more than 800 flights daily to 109 destinations. Its fleet of 149 aircraft consists mostly of Embraer E195s and ATR72-500/600s.
Last week, low-cost, Las Vegas-based carrier Allegiant Air signed a firm agreement for 12 Airbus A320ceos, the “ceo” standing for current engine option. The airline’s first purchase of brand new aircraft, the deal signifies Allegiant’s forthcoming shift to an all-Airbus fleet. The aircraft will be installed with CFM56 engines, and will see delivery through 2019. Maury Gallagher, Chairman and CEO of Allegiant Travel Company said, “As we continue to transition to an all-Airbus fleet, this purchase will allow us to accelerate that process, reduce complexity in our fleet and provide our passengers with an ever-improving experience.”