SAUDIA to Expand its Fleet With Airbus A321 Neo Aircraft; Focus on International Growth

Radhika Bansal

04 Aug 2023

SAUDIA, the national flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, announced the expansion of its fleet with the addition of a new aircraft type, Airbus A321neo under the slogan “A neo-way of flying.” This feeds into SAUDIA’s expansion plans as the airline aims to add 20 more A321neo Aircraft to its fleet by 2026.

The A321neo aircraft is a narrow-body airliner part of the A320 family, the world’s most popular single-aisle aircraft family and airlines’ preferred choice with airlines around the world due to its reputation for high performance and superior comfort. The aircraft offers new levels of performance, seating 180 to 220 passengers in a typical two-class interior layout.

The main reason behind the purchase of the aircraft is its ability to run on much less fuel. The A320 family of aircraft have saved 20 million tons of Co2 since the A320neo came into service globally in 2016. By incorporating Sharklets, new fuel-efficient engines and the latest cabin innovations, the A320neo has also seen a 20% decrease in fuel burning and Co2 emissions, a 50% reduction in noise footprint, a 5% lower airframe maintenance costs and 14% lower cash operating costs per seat versus previous generation aircraft.

Captain Ibrahim Koshy SAUDIA CEO said: “We are excited to expand our fleet with the new Airbus A321neo aircraft. Our priority is to offer the best guest experience possible and to bring the world to Saudi Arabia and we will continue to purchase state-of-the-art aircraft from the world’s top manufacturers to deliver on that promise. We commend Airbus for continuously looking to improve the performance of their aircraft, which goes in line with SAUDIA’s ambition to provide the best guest experience possible while contributing to making aviation more sustainable.”

This partnership highlights the trust and historic relationship between SAUDIA and Airbus. It also feeds into the Saudi Aviation Strategy objectives which aim to turn Saudi Arabia into a leader in the global industry, by enhancing the customer experience, improving safety, and promoting environmental sustainability. The strategy aligns with SAUDIA’s expansion goals as the airline works towards bringing around 330 million visitors to the Kingdom by 2030.

By working with Airbus and expanding its fleet, SAUDIA is working towards its goal of becoming an industry-leading airline. expansion of SAUDIA’s fleet will also help create new job opportunities for pilots, cabin crew, and other operational positions.

Focus on International Growth

Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA) continues to implement its operational plan for Summer 2023 by providing over 7.4 million seats for domestic and international routes during July and August, a 10% increase compared to the same period in 2022. The airline will operate more than 32,400 flights, reflecting a 4% increase. These measures aim to meet high demand during peak seasons and ensure smooth operations, efficient reservations for scheduled and seasonal destinations, and streamlined processes at airports.

For international flights, SAUDIA is providing more than 4.2 million seats, achieving a 16% increase. Additionally, the airline is introducing over 14,800 flights, reflecting a 15% increase. On domestic routes, over 3.2 million seats will be available through 17,600 flights. The operational plan for the summer of 2023 is continuously monitored by a dedicated team from Saudia Aerospace Engineering Industries (SAEI) to evaluate its performance.

Earlier this year, SAUDIA Group announced the addition of 25 new international destinations, expanding its network to over 100 destinations. This expansion aims to provide more options for travellers and to connect the world with Saudi Arabia. As part of the global SkyTeam alliance, guests can access 1,000 destinations in 170 countries and enjoy over 790 first-class and business-class lounges worldwide.

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Go First Moves to Supreme Court Against Delhi HC's Order Granting Access to Leased Aircraft

Radhika Bansal

04 Aug 2023

The Resolution Professional (RP) of the Go First Airline informed the Delhi high court about their appeal to the Supreme Court against a division bench order. This order, upheld by the division bench, allowed lessors to inspect aircraft and rejected Go First’s plea. According to the RP, the Supreme Court hearing is expected on Friday or Monday, depending on scheduling.

The Delhi High Court has ruled that Go First cannot consider scheduled maintenance as the reason to fly its lessors’ aircraft. The court said that the resolution professional (RP) who is managing the airline’s insolvency proceedings has been unable to give compelling reasons to carry out these maintenance flights. Go First will have to abide by these orders about such non-revenue flights until further decisions can be taken on this.

During the hearing in the high court on Thursday, August 3 in the aircraft’s de-registration case, senior advocates Mukul Rohatgi and Arun Kathpalia, representing the lessors, invoked aircraft regulations, the Cape Town Convention, and IBC provisions.  On Thursday, the lessors informed HC that future aircraft leasing would be jeopardised if the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) fails to de-register aircraft whose leases have been terminated.

What Lessors Have to Say?

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing one of the lessors, said the involuntary retention of their aircraft reflects negatively on the Indian aviation sector. He also noted that while the civil aviation regulator has not outrightly rejected their deregistration request, it has been placed in abeyance due to the ongoing moratorium. A moratorium is a period during which most, or certain, legal actions against a debtor are suspended. It commences once a company enters insolvency or bankruptcy proceedings.

The lessors argued that, under the Irrevocable Deregistration and Export Request Authorisations (IDERA), the DGCA is obligated to deregister the aircraft upon their request. They previously told the court that, according to Rule 30(7) of the Aircraft Rules, 1937, the Central government could cancel the registration of an aircraft in India, to which the Cape Town Convention applied, without needing the aircraft holder's permission, if an IDERA holder (lessors) applied for lease cancellation.

The lessors maintained that the DGCA should uphold the IDERA convention, regardless of whether a company is under a moratorium. They argued that international conventions should supersede the national law in the present case. The lessors who have approached the high court are - Accipiter Investments Aircraft 2 Limited, EOS Aviation 12 (Ireland) Limited, Pembroke Aircraft Leasing 11 Limited, SMBC Aviation Capital Limited, SFV Aircraft Holdings IRE 9 DAC Ltd, ACG Aircraft Leasing Ireland Ltd and DAE SY 22 13 Ireland Designated Activity Company.

Previous Judgements

The case’s hearing will resume on Friday before the single bench. Go First ceased operations on May 3, and its request for voluntary insolvency was approved by the NCLT on May 10, initiating the moratorium period. On May 10, the principal bench of the NCLT in Delhi accepted Go First's voluntary plea to initiate an insolvency resolution process. As a result, the tribunal appointed an Insolvency Resolution Professional (IRP), suspended the board and imposed a moratorium on the airline's financial obligations.

On July 12, the court allowed lessors to conduct inspections of 30 aircraft and their parts at regular intervals. The court upheld the decision of the single judge granting permission to the lessors to carry out inspections regularly. The court, however, permitted Go First to continue maintaining the aircraft.

On July 5, a single-judge bench of the Delhi High Court granted permission to the lessors to inspect and perform maintenance work on their 30 leased aircraft and their parts twice a month. The order also prohibited Go First's resolution professionals and employees from removing, replacing, or taking out any part or component of the leased aircraft without the explicit permission of the lessors.

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Lufthansa Group Reports Record Pre-Tax Earnings for the Second Quarter

Preet Palash

04 Aug 2023

On August 3, 2023, the Lufthansa Group, a prominent player in the aviation industry, released its financial results for the second quarter of the year. The data revealed an exceptional performance for the German flag carrier and its partners, with pre-tax earnings reaching an all-time high of almost €1 billion.

Overview of the Second Quarter Financial Results

The Lufthansa Group's financial report for the second quarter showcased remarkable growth, as evidenced by its adjusted profits before interest and tax, which soared to €1.085 billion ($1.185 billion). This figure represents an impressive 177% year-on-year increase when compared to the corresponding quarter of the previous year. It also marks a significant surge from Q1 of the current year, which recorded profits of €812 million, showcasing the group's sustained expansion trajectory.

The group's overall net profit for the second quarter of 2023 reached a new high of €881 million ($962 million). This constituted a huge increase over both the first quarter of this year, when the amount was €414 million, and the second quarter of 2022, when it reached €259 million.

"Whether on the ground, in the cockpit, in the cabin, or in our maintenance hangars, it was our employees worldwide who made reliable flight operations and the financially best second quarter in our history possible," stated Lufthansa Group CEO Carsten Spohr. Our unwavering commitment to stability has proven to be the best option for our customers, employees, and shareholders."

Factors Contributing to the Record-Breaking Performance

Several factors have contributed to the Lufthansa Group's exceptional financial performance in the second quarter. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the airline industry has witnessed a steady recovery in demand for air travel. The group's strategic initiatives, coupled with prudent cost management, have positioned it to capitalize on this uptick in travel.

Rebounding Travel Demand

With global vaccination efforts gaining traction and travel restrictions easing in various regions, consumer confidence in air travel has rebounded. As a result, the Lufthansa Group and its partners have experienced increased passenger numbers, leading to higher revenue streams during the second quarter.

Fleet Optimization and Network Expansion

The Lufthansa Group's continuous efforts to optimize its fleet and expand its network have contributed significantly to its financial success. By deploying modern, fuel-efficient aircraft and enhancing route offerings, the group has managed to cater to changing passenger preferences and seize new market opportunities.

Cost Management and Efficiency Measures

During a period marked by uncertainty and fluctuating demand, prudent cost management has been crucial for airlines to maintain profitability. The Lufthansa Group has implemented various efficiency measures, including workforce optimization, operational streamlining, and fuel hedging strategies, to mitigate financial risks and improve overall cost structures.

Cargo Business Boom

Apart from passenger travel, the Lufthansa Group's cargo business has been a notable driver of its financial performance. The surge in e-commerce and the global demand for cargo transportation has presented the group with lucrative opportunities, resulting in increased revenue from its cargo operations.


The Lufthansa Group's second-quarter financial results, which unveiled a record-breaking pre-tax earnings figure of almost €1 billion, highlight its remarkable resilience and ability to adapt to challenging circumstances. As the aviation industry continues to recover, the group's strategic initiatives, efficient cost management, and commitment to enhancing passenger experiences have positioned it for sustained growth and success in the future. However, with uncertainties still lingering, the Lufthansa Group will undoubtedly remain focused on agility and innovation to navigate the evolving landscape of the airline industry.

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Cathay Pacific Close to Finalizing Deal to Lease 18 Airbus A321neo Aircraft

Abhishek Nayar

04 Aug 2023

Cathay Pacific, one of Asia's leading airlines, is on the brink of finalizing an agreement that will substantially augment its fleet. The airline is set to add 18 leased Airbus A321neo aircraft, according to reliable sources cited by Bloomberg. This strategic move comes as Cathay Pacific aims to bolster its operational capabilities and cater to the ever-growing demand for air travel.

The Lease Agreement

As per information from Bloomberg, Cathay Pacific's deal to acquire 18 Airbus A321neo aircraft is expected to be executed between 2025 and 2027. This acquisition represents a significant step for the airline, demonstrating its commitment to modernizing its fleet and adopting more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly aircraft.

The Airbus A321neo

The Airbus A321neo is a popular and versatile narrow-body aircraft that has garnered attention from airlines worldwide due to its superior performance and increased fuel efficiency. With its enhanced range and passenger capacity, the A321neo is well-suited for both short-haul and medium-haul routes, making it an ideal addition to Cathay Pacific's existing fleet.

Cathay Pacific's Current Fleet Status

Cathay Pacific operates a fleet of 11 Airbus A321neo aircraft, showcasing the airline's previous interest in this advanced model. Additionally, the carrier has deployed one additional A321neo with its low-cost subsidiary, HK Express, in a bid to optimize resources and cater to diverse market segments. According to statistics from, five of the 12 are owned, while the other seven are leased from Bocomm Leasing, a subsidiary of Bank of Communications located in Hong Kong.

The airline, which is set to release its complete H1 2023 report on August 9, 2023, anticipates strong performance for the time. Lavinia Lau, the company's Chief Customer and Commercial Officer, stated in early June 2023 that the Cathay Pacific Group, which includes HK Express and cargo airline Air Hong Kong, had seen significant improvements compared to H1 2022 "in light of the removal of quarantine requirements in late September 2022 and the progressive increase in the Group's capacity since that time."

Rationale for Expansion

Cathay Pacific's decision to lease 18 more Airbus A321neo aircraft can be attributed to several strategic reasons. Firstly, the aviation industry is gradually recovering from the impacts of the global pandemic, and the demand for air travel is expected to grow substantially in the coming years. By expanding its fleet, the airline is positioning itself to capitalize on the anticipated surge in travel.

Furthermore, the Airbus A321neo's fuel efficiency and reduced emissions align with Cathay Pacific's commitment to sustainable practices. As the aviation industry strives to reduce its carbon footprint, adopting more eco-friendly aircraft is a crucial step for airlines like Cathay Pacific to contribute to global environmental initiatives.

Cathay Pacific transported 7.8 million passengers in the first six months of 2023, a 2,230% increase over the same period in 2022, on 18,101 flights (137.9% more than in H1 2022). "We are pleased to see that our travel business continued to perform well in June," Lau remarked of the H1 2023 passenger figures. On June 25, we topped 60,000 passengers transported in a single day for the first time since the outbreak.


Cathay Pacific's imminent addition of 18 leased Airbus A321neo aircraft signifies the airline's determination to evolve and thrive in the post-pandemic aviation landscape. The move underscores the airline's foresight in meeting future travel demands while also demonstrating its dedication to sustainable aviation practices. As the airline industry continues to recover and evolve, Cathay Pacific's strategic expansion is expected to solidify its position as a key player in the highly competitive Asian aviation market.

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Embraer Deliveries Increase by 47% in 2Q23

Abhishek Nayar

04 Aug 2023

In the second quarter of 2023, Embraer, a leading aerospace manufacturer, demonstrated impressive growth in aircraft deliveries. With a total of 47 jets delivered during this period, the company continued to expand its presence in both the commercial aviation and executive jet markets.

Overview of Q2 2023 Deliveries

During the second quarter of 2023, Embraer delivered a remarkable total of 47 jets, signifying a substantial boost in its delivery volume. Among these, 17 were commercial aircraft, catering to the needs of various airlines, while 30 were executive jets, including 19 light jets and 11 midsize jets, catering to discerning private customers.

Yearly Deliveries

The year 2023 has been a period of consistent growth for Embraer, with a total of 62 aircraft delivered throughout the year up until Q2. Out of this, 24 were commercial aircraft, and an impressive 38 were executive jets, further solidifying the company's position as a key player in the executive aviation market.

Remarkable Growth Compared to 2022

The second quarter of 2023 witnessed a remarkable 47% increase in deliveries compared to the same period in 2022. This significant surge in output showcases Embraer's dedication to continuous improvement and its ability to meet increasing demand.

First Half of 2023 vs. 2022

The first half of 2023 marked a substantial 35% rise in delivery volume when compared to the same period in 2022, where Embraer had delivered 46 jets. This growth is indicative of the company's resilience and adaptability in a constantly evolving market.

Segment-wise Growth

In Q2 2023, both the Commercial Aviation and Executive Jet segments experienced noteworthy growth. Commercial Aviation deliveries surged by 55% compared to the same quarter in 2022, while Executive Jets deliveries saw an impressive 43% increase during the same period. This balanced growth in both segments demonstrates Embraer's prowess at catering to diverse markets.

Order Backlog

At the conclusion of the second quarter of 2023, Embraer reported an order backlog of US$ 17.3 billion. This strong backlog indicates sustained interest in Embraer's aircraft offerings and bodes well for the company's future prospects. The commercial aviation backlog had solid infilled orders for 271 aircraft as of June 30th, 2023, including 173 E195-E2s, 16 E190-E2s, and 82 E175s. The E2 family's performance reflects its expanding popularity and Embraer's growing acceptability in the Asia-Pacific market.

Embraer stated in its second-quarter earnings report that it received orders from American Airlines, Binter, SKS Airways, Scoot, and Royal Jordanian Airlines, some of which entailed contracts with aircraft lessors. American Airlines has placed an order for seven E175s, which will be operated by its subsidiary Envoy Air and begin delivery in 4Q23. Envoy Air's fleet of E-Jets will total more than 141 aircraft by the end of next year.

Despite the fact that it has not yet been added to the backlog, Spanish carrier Binter has placed a definite order for six E195-E2s, bringing the carrier's fleet of E2 aircraft to 16 when deliveries conclude. Malaysia's SKS Airways is adding 10 E195-E2s, while Singapore Airlines subsidiary Scoot is adding nine E195-E2s as well.

Royal Jordanian Airlines is likewise excited to see what the E2 has to offer when its aircraft arrive in the fourth quarter of this year. The Middle Eastern carrier has agreed with lessor Azorra to add eight E190/195-E2s to its fleet. In Executive Aviation, Embraer inked a contract with NetJets for the procurement of up to 250 Praetor 500 aircraft options in a transaction worth more than $5 billion, with deliveries set to begin in 2025.


Embraer's performance during the second quarter of 2023 reflects its continued commitment to excellence in the aerospace industry. With a remarkable increase in aircraft deliveries, particularly in the commercial aviation and executive jet segments, the company has established itself as a prominent player in the market. As demand for its aircraft continues to grow, Embraer's strong order backlog further reinforces its position as a leading global aerospace manufacturer. Looking ahead, the company appears well-positioned to maintain its growth trajectory and further solidify its reputation for innovation and reliability.

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DGCA Issued 993 Pilot Licences Till July 2023

Radhika Bansal

04 Aug 2023

A total of 993 commercial pilot licences have been issued this year till July 24, the government said on Thursday, August 3. Minister of State for Civil Aviation V K Singh informed the Lok Sabha that currently, there are 36 Flying Training Organisations (FTOs) operating at 57 bases. According to data provided as part of a written reply, 993 Commercial Pilot Licences (CPLs) and 407 Airline Transport Pilot Licences (ATPL) have been issued this year till July 24.

In 2022, a total of 1,165 CPLs and 720 ATPLs were issued. According to data provided as part of a written reply, 993 Commercial Pilot Licences (CPLs) and 407 Airline Transport Pilot Licences (ATPL) have been issued this year till July 24. In 2022, a total of 1,165 CPLs and 720 ATPLs were issued.

An individual is eligible to apply for CPL after completing at least 200 hours of flying and fulfilling other conditions. Besides, the individual has to clear theory papers and once successful, the CPL is given for five years subject to complying with various requirements. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issues three types of licenses -- CPL, Air Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) and Private Pilot Licence (PPL). While CPL allows a pilot to start flying as a co-pilot, ATPL permits a pilot to be the commander. PPL is issued for operating private planes.

"The estimated supply of engineers from DGCA-approved AME Training Institutes is around 3,500 per year to cater to the demands of the aviation industry," Singh said. Singh, in another written reply, said that as on July 28, a total of 8 Indian scheduled operators with 649 aircraft are operating commercial passenger services in the country.

Airfare and Air Travel Safety

To queries about airfares, he noted that ticket prices are fixed by the airlines keeping in mind the market, demand, seasonality and other market forces. "Airline ticket prices are determined by the demand and supply theory and are governed under the competition laws (Competition Act, 2002). Anti-competitive practices are kept in check by the Competition Commission of India (CCI)," he added.

The minister also said DGCA has taken various steps to enhance the safety of operations and ensure the safe travel of passengers. These include airlines being directed to increase their engineering capabilities at all airports where they operate to ensure the availability of spare and qualified manpower. Further, the watchdog has increased its spot checks on aircraft of airlines and has directed carriers to ensure adequate availability of spares. In a separate written reply, Singh said the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) is probing 11 accidents and 4 serious incidents.

The minister also said that investigations in progress are regularly reviewed and efforts are made for their timely completion. "Timelines differ from case to case based on the complexity of the case, number of stakeholders involved, requirement for component testing etc. Hence no specific timelines can be assigned for the completion of the investigation," he added. Serious incidents are those involving circumstances indicating that there was a high probability of an accident associated with the operation of an aircraft.