94 at a glance

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What will 1994 be remembered for? Many carriers saw a return to profit. Some received major state aid approvals. It was the year when competition from an ever-growing Southwest, plus low-cost entrants led by ValuJet, finally shook the US majors into action. The employees took control of United, and the German and Malaysian governments ceded control of Lufthansa and Malaysia Airlines. Many new alliances were launched. The Venezuelan and Zambian governments closed money-losing carriers. Osaka's new airport opened, Denver's didn't. Mark Odell presents a synopsis of the major events of 1994.

 

January

USAir launches low-cost operation High Ground.

Osaka/Kansai's proposed charges outrage airlines amid claims that operating at the new airport will cost 40 to 60 per cent more than at Tokyo/Narita - the world's most expensive gateway.

The Malaysian state announces it will cut its stake in Malaysia Airlines from 42 to 10 per cent in a deal that leaves Malaysian Helicopter Services in effective control with a 32 per cent holding.

The European Commission takes the first definite step towards regulating ground handling at EU airports with the circulation of a consultation document.

Qatar Airways starts operations: three of the four Gulf Air shareholders now have their own flag carrier.

The GE-powered Airbus A330 enters service with French carrier Air Inter.

 

February

The Comité des Sages publishes its report of 100 recommendations for the future of the European air transport industry.

Air Canada ends all litigation over the Gemini CRS, leaving Canadian Airlines' parent PWA free to conclude a deal with AMR.

US President Clinton announces Saudi Arabian Airlines will order at least 50 US-built aircraft, split between Boeing and McDonnell Douglas.

US lifts trade embargo on Vietnam.

SAS sells its 42 per cent stake in LanChile, leaving the Cueto family and Boris Hirmas with 62 per cent of the airline between them.

KLM and Northwest launch a joint business class product.

India repeals the 1953 Air Corporation Act, clearing the way for air taxi operators to apply for scheduled status and opening up the possibility of a partial sell off and merger of Air India and Indian Airlines.

Southern Links, the only example of true regional cooperation in southern Africa, is closed down.

 

March

German cabinet votes to allow its stake in Lufthansa to drop below 50 per cent.

The French government promises Air France a FFr20 billion ($3.5 billion) state capital injection.

Air France sells its stake in CSA to Czech state-run Konsolidacni Bank.

Airbus joins the 600-800 seat aircraft study group, comprising the European consortium's four partners and Boeing, in an advisory role.

The US Department of Transportation approves a year long extension of the BA-USAir multiple codeshare alliance, ending the threat of US renunciation of the bilateral.

The Indian government publishes guidelines for air taxi operators seeking scheduled status.

 

April

The European Commission decides traffic distribution rules restricting access to Paris/Orly must be lifted on routes to Toulouse, Marseille and London. The French government vows to appeal the decision.

An Argentine federal tribunal clears the way for Iberia's $500 million injection into flag carrier Aerolineas Argentinas, taking the Spanish flag's stake in the carrier up to 85 per cent.

Canadian International signs a 20-year services agreement with AMR, while American Airlines' parent takes a 33.9 per cent stake in the Canadian carrier for C$246 million ($180 million).

Flitestar, South Africa's largest independent carrier, pulls out of the market.

Delta Air Lines and UK carrier Virgin Atlantic announce a marketing alliance based on a planned codeshare between the US and London/Heathrow.

A group of 16 Latin American carriers meet in Miami to discuss a joint frequent flyer programme.

Galileo withdraws computer reservations services from non-participating carriers.

 

May

Delta Air Lines announces cost savings of $2 billion through a 20 per cent workforce reduction over the next three years.

Lufthansa unions approve a plan to take the carrier out of the state run pension scheme, clearing the final hurdle for a rights issue which will dilute the German government's stake to below 50 per cent.

United and Iberia and Continental and Alitalia sign commercial agreements.

US transportation secretary Federico Peña proposes to corporatise the country's air traffic control system.

The opening of Denver International Airport is delayed indefinitely after more problems with the automated baggage system.

The Australian government proposes to privatise the country's 23 airports.

 

June

The US Department of Transportation refuses to approve the Delta-Virgin alliance after the deal receives clearance from the US Department of Justice and the UK Department of Transport.

The United Airlines-

Lufthansa codesharing agreement starts.

The Boeing 777 makes its maiden flight.

Worldspan and System One follow Galileo in withdrawing computer reservation services from non-participating airlines.

China sets the level of foreign ownership permitted in any existing or new airlines at 35 per cent.

Singapore Airlines and Tata Industries announce plans for a joint venture domestic carrier in India.

France certifies the Airbus A330 with PW4000 engines.

 

July

The European Commission clears a triple round of state aid applications for Air France ($3.7 billion), Olympic Airways ($2.3 billion) and TAP Air Portugal ($1.1 billion).

The employee takeover of United is approved.

Airbus announces the formation of its own financing subsidiary, Airbus Finance Co.

Thai-US bilateral talks stall over fifth freedoms.

 

August

The French government appeals the European Commission's April decision to open Paris/Orly airport.

British Airways and Qantas apply to pool their marketing spend and share profits on the Kangaroo route.

Taiwan launches an official study into opening direct air and sea links with China within a year.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) imposes a freeze on new aircraft orders.

A compromise is reached over the Osaka/Kansai cost dispute, with the airport authority agreeing to roll back proposed fees by 9 per cent.

American announces a $1 billion cost reduction programme.

America West Airlines emerges from Chapter 11.

 

September

Lufthansa starts trials of its 'improved walk-on, no-frills' Express product on six domestic routes and proceeds with its issue of new shares, reducing the state holding to around 35 per cent.

The European Commission joins the US Department Of Transportation and General Accounting Office in launching a study into codesharing.

Three separate appeals are promised against the Air France state aid approval from a group of six European airlines, UK independent British Midland, and the UK government.

Osaka/Kansai airport opens.

American and LOT Polish Airlines sign a cooperation agreement set to come into effect from January 1995.

Boeing launches its 737-800, claiming more than 40 orders from four unnamed customers.

The United Nations agrees to re-establish airlinks with Serbia and Montenegro.

The Venezuelan government winds up Aeropostal after failing to find a buyer.

 

October

KLM takes an extra 5 per cent stake in Northwest Airlines Corporation, raising its total holding to 25 per cent.

United launches its Shuttle product in the Californian market.

American and Qantas start codesharing on 12 weekly Los Angeles-Sydney flights.

Southwest completes the integration of Morris Air.

Northwest and Asiana start a commercial agreement, including codesharing and a linked FFP.

Lufthansa and Thai International sign a commercial agreement.

Australia suspends the implementation of the trans-Tasman single aviation market with New Zealand.

Five Indian air taxi operators receive scheduled status: East West Airlines, Jet Airways, Modiluft, Damania and Archana Airways.

The Fokker 70 receives US and Dutch certification.

 

November

UK and China sign an agreement on Hong Kong's Chek Lap Kok funding.

USAir becomes the US partner of the 12-carrier LatinPass FFP, scheduled for a January 1995 launch.

The sale of Air Jamaica is completed with the government retaining a 25 per cent stake.

British Airways adds Manx Airlines Europe and GB Airways to its list of franchising partners.

Lufthansa, KLM and Lauda Air complain to the European Commission over refused access to Paris/Orly.

US offers open skies to nine smaller European countries.

Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand agree to set up the region's first multilateral aviation pact covering the Growth Triangle.

FAA certifies McDonnell Douglas MD-90.

 

December

The Danish government joins the UK in appealing Air France's state aid approval in the European Court.

The French government agrees to open Paris/Orly to all intra-European traffic from January 1995. The state is also ordered to open two domestic routes out of Orly to competition.

Government orders Zambia Airways to cease operations.

The launch of Alliance Airways, the African Joint Air Services carrier, is announced for March 1995.

The privatisation of Embraer starts with the sale of a 55.4 per cent stake.

The European Commission publishes its long-awaited directive on ground handling at European airports.

The Airbus A330 powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 receives JAA certification.

The deal under which US and local investors are to take a 51 per cent stake in BWIA fails to close on time at the end of December.