A round-up of the latest news from the aviation industry this week.
Lufthansa approves €2.1bn aircraft order
Lufthansa’s board has approved an order of up to 16 additional valued at about €2.1bn.
The order includes two Boeing 777-300ER long-haul aircraft for SWISS, which are expected to supplement the existing SWISS fleet beginning in early 2020 and will be used to expand the route network. An additional two Boeing 777F will be ordered for Lufthansa Cargo.
The group’s supervisory board has also approved the order of up to 12 short- and medium-haul A320-type aircraft. This includes six delivery options for aircraft of the Airbus A320neo in 2022 that were converted to fixed orders.
Emirates profit more than doubles
Emirates Airline has reported a sharp increase in annual profit, helped by improving economic conditions and strong cargo performance.
Revenue increased by 9 percent to AED 92.3 billion ($ 25.2bn) in the year to 31 March 2018, compared with the previous 12 months. Profit rose to AED 2.8 billion ($ 762m), an increase of 124 percent.
Emirates received 17 new aircraft in 2017/18 comprising of eight A380s and nine Boeing 777-300ERs. At the same time, eight older aircraft were phased out, bringing its total fleet count to 268 at the end of March.
During the year, the airline also launched two new passenger destinations: Phnom Penh in Cambodia and Zagreb in Croatia.
United confirms Havana frequency increase date
United Airlines is to increase service between Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport and Havana's José Martí International Airport from 20 July.
Subject to government approval, it will operate the new daily service with either Boeing 737-800 mainline aircraft or Embraer E175 regional aircraft operated by Mesa Airlines as United Express.
“United's new daily service to Cuba will offer more opportunities to connect our customers traveling from Houston and the central and western United States directly to Havana," said Patrick Quayle, United's vice president of international network.
"Houston is United's gateway to Latin America and its convenient location offers customers easy access to connect to 44 destinations across our broad domestic network."
In April, the US Department of Transportation tentatively awarded United Airlines and Mesa Airlines authority to begin offering daily non-stop service.
Net profits rise at US passenger airlines
US scheduled passenger airlines reported an after-tax net profit of $15.5bn in 2017, up from $14bn in 2016, according to analysis by the US Department of Transportation.
The 23 carriers also reported a pre-tax operating profit as a group for the ninth consecutive year, although this fell from $25.4bn in 2016 to $21.4bn.
Total operating revenue was $175.3bn last year, with the airlines collecting $130.5bn from fares, 74.4 percent of total operating revenue. Operating expenses were $153.9bn. Fuel costs accounted for $26.2bn and labour costs for $53.6bn
Wizz hits passenger milestone
Central and Eastern Europe low-cost carrier Wizz Air has set a new passenger record, carrying more than 30 million over a rolling 12 month period. The carrier said it has also launched 34 new routes over the past eight weeks.
Sorina Ratz, acting head of corporate communications, said: “We continue to be one of Europe’s fastest growing airlines, with a strong and consistent double-digit growth every year, providing even more opportunities for our customers to travel at truly low prices.”