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Qatar Airways Expands Fleet with Wet-Leased B747 Freighter

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Qatar Airways Expands Fleet with Wet-Leased B747 Freighter

Qatar Airways Expands Fleet with Wet-Leased B747 Freighter. In a move to bolster its cargo operations, Qatar Airways has added a wet-leased Boeing 747 freighter to its fleet. The wet-lease agreement provides the airline with additional capacity to meet growing demand in the air cargo sector.

Virgin Australia IPO Delayed to 2024 by Majority Owners

The majority owners of Virgin Australia have postponed the airline’s stock market relisting until at least the first half of 2024. This decision comes after the airline reported its first annual profit in over a decade, with a net profit of AUD129 million for the year ending June 30, 2023.

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Bain Capital Ongoing Uncertainty Surrounding Virgin Australia’s IPO

Speculation about Virgin Australia’s initial public offering (IPO) emerged about a year ago and was initially planned for the first half of 2022. However, the date was subsequently pushed back, with Bain Capital, holding a 93% stake in the airline, refraining from committing to a firm IPO date. Virgin Australia’s CEO, Jayne Hrdlicka, has advised employees to focus on running the airline and leave IPO matters to Bain.

Australian Transport Minister Silence on Qatar Airways Decision

Despite the threat of airline executives facing potential jail time, Australia’s Transport Minister, Catherine King, has not been required to explain her decision to deny Qatar Airways additional flying rights to Australia. The decision stirred controversy, as the airline’s application had substantial local support. Qatar Airways remains limited to 28 round trips per week to Australia’s major airports, despite seeking an increase.

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Qantas Group Chairman Resists Calls to Resign

Qantas Group Chairman Richard Goyder is resisting calls for his resignation, citing support from major shareholders. These calls arose following criticism of the board’s oversight and the early departure of the former CEO. Qantas Group encompasses several airline brands, including Qantas, QantasLink, Jetstar Airways, and Qantas Freight.

Capital A Plans Widebody Aircraft Order for AirAsia Expansion

Capital A, the parent entity of AirAsia and its affiliated brands, is exploring a new aircraft order to facilitate network expansion. CEO Tony Fernandes indicated that the order is likely to involve Airbus aircraft and will support the growth of AirAsia’s operations. The size of the order is pending board approval, but Fernandes envisions a multi-hub route strategy within the ASEAN bloc, comparable in scale to major airlines like Emirates and Qatar Airways.

Read Also: Qatar Airways Reduces Airbus A380 Service to Bangkok

FAQs

Q1) Why did Qatar Airways add a wet-leased Boeing 747 freighter to its fleet?

Ans:- Qatar Airways expanded its fleet by adding a wet-leased B747 freighter to meet the growing demand in the air cargo sector. The decision was driven by the need to provide additional capacity for cargo operations.

Q2) What led to the delay of Virgin Australia’s IPO until 2024?

Ans:- Virgin Australia’s IPO has been postponed until at least the first half of 2024. The delay is attributed to the majority owners’ decision to hold off on relisting the company. This decision follows the airline’s first annual profit in 11 years.

Q3) Why did Australia’s Transport Minister deny Qatar Airways additional flying rights, and what were the implications of this decision?

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Ans:- Australia Transport Minister, Catherine King, declined to grant Qatar Airways additional flying rights to the country. Despite threats to hold airline executives accountable, she has not provided a clear reason for her decision. This has caused controversy, as the airline’s application had substantial local support, and Qatar Airways had requested an increase in its flight capacity.

Q4) What prompted calls for the resignation of Qantas Group Chairman Richard Goyder, and how did he respond to these calls?

Ans:- Calls for the resignation of Qantas Group Chairman Richard Goyder were prompted by criticism of the board’s oversight and the early departure of the former CEO. Goyder has stated that he has the support of major shareholders and resisted calls to step down. The situation has raised questions about the leadership of Qantas Group and its governance.

Conclusion

In this aviation news roundup, Qatar Airways enhances its cargo capabilities, Virgin Australia postpones its IPO, Australia’s Transport Minister faces questions over Qatar Airways’ flight rights, and Qantas Group’s Chairman resists calls for resignation amid corporate challenges and scrutiny.

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Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways Plans to Offer Complimentary Starlink Internet Details Yet to Be Disclosed

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Qatar Airways Plans to Offer Complimentary Starlink Internet Details Yet to Be Disclosed

Qatar Airways Plans to Offer Complimentary Starlink Internet Details Yet to Be Disclosed. In a recent development, Qatar Airways, a long-standing user of Inmarsat-now-Viasat Global Xpress (GX) Ka-band satellite-based inflight connectivity service, has indicated its intention to offer SpaceX’s Starlink Aviation onboard Internet to its passengers on a complimentary basis. This offering will be accessible to passengers with a simple “one-click” process.

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Rollout on Specific Aircraft and Routes

According to an official press release from Qatar Airways, the low-latency In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) service will be introduced on “specific aircraft and routes.” The airline has also mentioned that they are currently in the pre-launch phase of the rollout strategy in collaboration with Starlink. SpaceX Vice President of Starlink Commercial Sales, Jonathan Hofeller, has expressed that Starlink is “set to support the entire Qatar Airways fleet.”

This news emerged following the APEX/IFSA Global EXPO event in Long Beach, where Qatar Airways Group’s Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award. During this event, Starlink executives met with airline representatives in a nearby hotel.

Changing Landscape in In-Flight Connectivity

The Qatar Airways-Starlink collaboration signifies a shift in the in-flight connectivity landscape. Traditional GEO satellites are being challenged by Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellations like SpaceX’s Starlink. For example, Flexjet has announced plans to replace the Viasat hardware on some of its aircraft with Starlink.

Viasat acquisition of Inmarsat, coupled with these changes, has led to some Inmarsat value-added resellers reevaluating their positions. SITA, a service provider to Qatar Airways, has already disclosed its intention to exit the cabin connectivity market by January 2025.

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Read Also: Qantas Loyalty Chief Olivia Wirth Resigns Amidst Ongoing Leadership Transition and Controversies

Seeking Clarity from Qatar Airways

Runway Girl Network reached out to Qatar Airways to seek clarification on several points. They inquired about:

  • Qatar Airways plan regarding the replacement of Inmarsat (now Viasat) GX inflight connectivity hardware with Starlink.
  • Whether Starlink will be deployed across Qatar Airways’ entire fleet.
  • Commencement dates for supplemental type certifications and Starlink installations.
  • Which aircraft type will be the first to receive the new hardware.
  • The impact of SITA’s decision to cease being a GX value-added reseller on Qatar Airways’ decision to select Starlink.
  • Qatar Airways’ plans for continuing to roll out Inmarsat GX on its 787-9s.

Qatar Airways Response

In response to these queries, a Qatar Airways spokesperson stated via email that they would keep Runway Girl Network updated on any future operational developments. In a follow-up exchange, when further clarity on the deal was sought, the spokesperson requested the removal of a specific phrase from their press release.

Implications and Future Plans

In the absence of comprehensive details, it seems logical for Qatar Airways to consider introducing Starlink initially on its 787-8s. This fleet has seen recent in-seat In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) upgrades but still lacks true broadband connectivity.

Once Starlink is operational on Qatar Airways aircraft, passengers can anticipate complimentary access to ultra-fast Wi-Fi speeds of up up to 350 Mbps, which can be used for various Internet-based services including video streaming, gaming, web browsing, and more. In contrast, the airline presently charges $10 for inflight access to its ‘Super Wi-Fi.

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Read Also: Qatar Airways Elevates In-Flight Connectivity with Starlink Partnership

Conclusion

Qatar Airways, in its press release, also proudly asserts its position as “the largest airline to collaborate with Starlink.” Other notable Starlink customers include Part 135 operator JSX, Hawaiian Airlines (launch delayed until early next year), airBaltic, and ZIPAIR.

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