On November 9, 2018: AirAsia X might not be bringing its A330neos fleet to 100 planes; Lufthansa posts a profit decline, blames rise of costs (and Eurowings); while Ryanair makes peace with one of its many unions, union situation is heating up for Virgin Atlantic.

Lufthansa posts profit drop, reduces planned growth for 2019

Lufthansa Group posted a 7.7% profit drop within the first nine months of 2018, earning €2.4 billion (adjusted EBIT). The airline attributes falling profit  to increasing fuel prices, higher maintenance expenses, costs of flight delays & cancellations, and Eurowings integration. “We expect to see our full-year costs increase by more than EUR 1 billion in 2018 due to fuel costs and the extra expenses incurred from delays and cancellations alone,” Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Executive Board & CEO of Deutsche Lufthansa, is quoted in a statement as saying.

AirAsia X considers less A330neos, more narrow-bodies

Air Asia X berhad is considering to switch its provisional order of 34 Airbus 330neos to include more A321neos, Reuters reports quoting the airline CEO. Air Asia X announced a firm order of 66 A330-900 and option for 34 more during Farnborough airshow, in July 2018. The low cost carrier is the largest A330neo customer and with the provisional order was looking to have a 100 of the planes in its fleet.

Non-isolated incident

The crashed Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX 8 had faulty airspeed readings not on one, but - four last flights, according to National Transportation Safety Committee, Bloomberg reported on November 6, 2018.

Brewing union trouble at Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic is facing possible strike action. While the airline is negotiating benefit deal with its pilot union BALPA, another pilot union - the Professional Pilots Union (PPU) - is claiming the airline excludes it from negotiations and is preparing to ballot members over strike action in response.  PPU claims it represents an “overwhelming majority” of VA’s staff. The airline claims it is “in principle” willing to work with PPU, but would not follow other demands (derecognition of BALPA), according to a statement obtained by the Independent.

Air Asia axing Auckland routes

Air Asia is consolidating capacity on its Auckland, New Zealand (AKL) routes, starting January 29, 2019.  The carrier is cutting service from seven weekly flights to four, preparing to axe it completely from February 11, 2019, to improve “operational efficiency”, according to the airline statement. The flights to Australia to remain unaffected.

Ryanair moving towards peace with German, Italian unions

Ryanair signed collective labour agreement with German cabin crew union,, after agreeing to apply German labour law (as opposite to Irish that Ryanair prefers) and increase pay and other benefits. While the German cabin crew is yet to vote on this agreement, the italian cabin crew has accepted Ryanair agreement with three unions from this country, the low cost carrier has announced.