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Lufthansa Group posts a nine-month operating profit of EUR 849 million ($1.07 billion)

Lufthansa Group (Frankfurt), despite the on-going pilot strikes at Lufthansa (Frankfurt), remains confident its can maintain its profitability of 1 billion euro for the year. The Group today issued this report:

The Lufthansa Group remains confident of achieving its profit targets for 2014 – despite experiencing a difficult third quarter, and despite strike action eroding EUR 170 million from its earnings results. The Group expects to post an operating profit of around EUR 1 billion for the year, excluding the impact of any further strike action between now and year-end. The projection has been strengthened by favorable results for the first nine months: the Lufthansa Group achieved an operating profit of around EUR 849 million for January-to-September 2014, a EUR 186 million improvement on the same period last year. Adjusted for non-recurring restructuring and project costs, this represents an operating profit of some EUR 1 billion for the first-nine-month period. Third-quarter operating profit amounted to EUR 735 million, up EUR 145 million on the prior-year period.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 747-830 D-ABYO (msn 37841) with Fanhansa titles departs from Los Angeles International Airport.

Lufthansa: AG Slide Show

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Ryanair selects Copenhagen as its new Danish base

Ryanair (Dublin) has announced it will open its second Danish base (70 in total) at Copenhagen in March 2015 with up to four based Boeing 737-800 aircraft and starting with three new routes to London, Milan and Warsaw, with an additional 10 more new routes to be announced in the New Year. Ryanair will base its first Boeing 737-800 in Copenhagen from March and 3 more units later in 2015.

Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8AS EI-DAD (msn 33544) lands at the EuroAirport.

Ryanair: AG Slide Show

 

Fuzhou Airlines commences operations today

Hainan logo

Fuzhou Airlines (Fuzhou, Fujian Province, China) today (October 30) launched scheduled passenger operations between Fuzhou and Beijing with Boeing 737-84P B-5503 (msn 36782) leased from Hainan Airlines (Haikou and Beijing). The new airline is a joint venture between Hainan Airlines and Golden Resources Investment Group which is a state-owned asset investment company.

The airline received its AOC on October 17.

 

VLM Airlines signs LOI for two Sukhoi Superjet LR aircraft, will take delivery in April 2015

VLM logo

VLM Airlines (Antwerp) under its new management ownership group has issued this statement:

VLM Airlines and aircraft lessor Ilyushin Finance Company (IFC) (Moscow) have signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) that will see the airline become the first European operator of the long-range Sukhoi Superjet 100 LR (SSJ100 LR) regional aircraft (below).

VLM Superjet 100 (Flt)(VLM)(LR)

Image: VLM Airlines. This new image confirms VLM Airlines will go back to a basic version of its colorful dark blue 2004 livery.

VLM Airlines has selected the SSJ100 LR to spearhead the company’s launch of regional scheduled services in 2015, with details of its route network to be announced.

Under the terms of the LOI, VLM Airlines will take delivery of two SSJ100 LR aircraft in April 2015 under a 12-year operating lease, with options for two further aircraft. The deal also includes purchase rights for ten aircraft.

Arthur White, CEO of VLM Airlines, says: “While VLM Airlines will continue offering ACMI and charter services with our Fokker 50 fleet, we see an exciting opportunity as a niche scheduled operator. The Sukhoi Superjet 100 LR fits our new strategy perfectly, with its exceptional efficiency and performance, advanced fly-by-wire technologies and spacious cabin.

“We looked at a number of aircraft types in the 100-seat range to see which would give the best passenger experience, flexibility in short-to-medium range destinations and low operating costs – the SSJ100 LR won hands down. It has been great working with IFC and Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company and I am looking forward to a mutually profitable long-term relationship.”

Alexander Rubtsov, CEO of IFC, comments: “This is a significant deal for IFC and the Sukhoi SSJ programme, as it represents our first customer in Europe, which we are delighted about. After intense competition and a detailed review, we are extremely pleased that VLM Airlines has chosen to base its future operation on the SSJ100 LR. We believe the aircraft will not only enable VLM Airlines to exceed its growth plans but will also give Europe a live insight into the excellent capabilities and passenger appeal of the Sukhoi SSJ, which represents a truly cost-effective regional aircraft solution.”

The SSJ100, Russia’s first serially manufactured passenger airliner, is a 103-seat regional jet designed and manufactured by Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company in partnership with Alenia Aermacchi. The aircraft performed its maiden flight in 2008 and entered into service in 2011. The operating range of the long-range variant joining the VLM Airlines fleet is 2,470 nm (4,578 km), while the standard aircraft’s operating range is 1,645 nm (3,048 km). The SSJ100 is powered by two SaM146 turbofan engines manufactured by PowerJet, a joint venture between Snecma and NPO Saturn. There are currently over 40 SSJ100 aircraft being operated successfully around the world and the type is certified by a number of regulatory authorities including EASA.

In other news, Red Wings Airlines will lease three Sukhoi Superset 100s. The aircraft will be delivered by the end of 2014.

Red Wings plans to operate the SSJ100 from Moscow to Ufa, Makhachkala, Chelyabinsk, Sochi and Mineralnye Vody.

VLM Airlines Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Video:

Frontier Airlines to start Miami-Washington Dulles flights on December 21

Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) has announced plans to add twice-weekly service between Miami International Airport (MIA) and Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) beginning in December according to Miami International Airport. The new service announcement comes less than one month after the domestic low-cost carrier revealed that it would be launching 38 weekly departures from MIA to four additional domestic destinations.

The new nonstop Miami-Washington D.C. service is scheduled to begin on December 21, the same day that Frontier will launch nonstop flights from MIA to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Flights to Washington Dulles will operate on Thursdays and Sundays, using the carrier’s 168-seat Airbus A320 aircraft (above). On December 20, Frontier will launch nonstop service from Miami to Denver, Philadelphia and New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

Previously in September, Frontier announced it was coming to Miami starting on December 20 with new routes operating to Chicago (O’Hare), Denver, New York (LaGuardia) and Philadelphia. Washington Dulles is a new addition to the original announcement.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 N227FR (msn 6184) with Grizwald, the Bear, arrives in Washington (Reagan National) in the new 2014 livery.

Frontier Airlines (2nd): AG Slide Show

Delta honors its top 100 employees into the Chairman’s Club

Delta logo

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) has issued this announcement:

Delta will welcome 100 employees Thursday (October 30) into the Chairman’s Club, its most prestigious corporate recognition program. Chairman’s Club recognizes employees who embody the airline’s values through their contributions and exceptional service to customers and their communities. Delta will honor the 2014 Chairman’s Club members at its 18th annual gala at the newly renovated Delta Flight Museum in Atlanta.

“This is shaping up to be another exceptional year for Delta thanks to the hard work and dedication of our people,” said Delta Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson. “Our Chairman’s Club honorees are not only the best at doing their jobs, they are the people you want to work alongside and learn from every day. We are grateful for the example they provide all of us on how to do and be the best that Delta has to offer to our customers and as coworkers.”

Nearly 10,000 Delta employees were nominated for the Chairman’s Club this year. The honorees were named following a rigorous review and selection process by business-unit committees made up of frontline and management employees.

This year’s honorees represent 27 Delta stations in four countries and have nearly 21 years of service on average. Two of the most experienced honorees have been at Delta for 40 years. Many of the honorees are heavily involved in fundraising efforts in their communities through Delta’s Force for Global Good program, which includes the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Habitat for Humanity home builds, Relay for Life, AIDS walks in various cities and other charitable causes.

The annual Chairman’s Club gala allows Delta’s senior leaders to individually recognize honorees for their service. The night will begin with a walk down the red carpet to the cheers of their colleagues outside the Flight Museum. Once inside, honorees will be treated to a cocktail reception with drinks and hors d’oeuvres crafted by members of Delta’s culinary team, chefs Linton Hopkins and Michelle Bernstein, who will both be on hand. Additionally, master sommelier Andrea Robinson will provide a wine tasting experience, followed by a multi-course dinner, an award ceremony and an after dinner celebration with music and dessert.

 

American Airlines’ first Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner emerges from the Boeing paint shop

American 787-8 N800AN (13)(Name)(American)(LR)

American Airlines‘ (Dallas/Fort Worth) first Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner (N800AN, msn 40618) emerged from the paint shop this morning at Boeing’s Everett facility. American has released these photos.

American 787-8 N800AN (13)(Tail)(American)(LR)

N800AN will be delivered in December. The first 787-8 is scheduled to enter revenue service in early 2015 initially on domestic routes.

American has 42 Boeing 787s on order including 16 787-8s and 26 787-9s, with 58 options. The airline is scheduled to take delivery of two 787s this year, 11 in 2015, 13 in 2016 and nine in 2017.

American will replace some of its older Boeing 767-300s with the new 787s.

In other news, US Airways has repainted its Airbus A319-112 N744P (msn 1287) (below) in the 1974 Piedmont Airlines (1st) (Winston-Salem) livery now with American titles. US Airways is gradually repainting all of the legacy jets with American titles.

American-US Airways A319-100 N744P (14-Piedmont 74)(Grd)(American)(LR)

All Images by American Airlines (except the slide show by AirlinersGallery.com).

American Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

Piedmont Airlines (1st) Aircraft Slide Show:

Dynamic Airways to restart New York JFK-Georgetown, Guyana flights

Dynamic (2nd) 767-300 (Nose)(Dynamic)(LR)

Dynamic Airways (2nd) (Greensboro, NC) is planning to restart scheduled passenger services from New York (JFK) to Georgetown, Guyana (GEO) on November 22.

Schedule: CLICK HERE

Bill Gray, COO of Dynamic Airways said “in past months our team has worked diligently on restarting air service to Guyana. With the help of authorities from both countries as well as our partners we were able to prepare the type of service we believe is long overdue in this market.”

Dynamic Airways’ Sales Agent Network, which includes long established travel industry leaders such as Roraima Airways, Bobbie Travel, Sunita Travel, and many others, has been greatly enhanced by the addition of TravelSpan, Inc. from Queens, NY. TravelSpan’s block seat agreement as well as PSA Agreement allows Dynamic Airways to significantly expand its passenger base and market penetration.

The flights will depart from JFK’s Terminal One at 1 AM (0100) and departing from Georgetown at 4 PM (1600) every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. Dynamic Airways offers both Business and Coach Class seats.

Images: Dynamic Airways.

Dynamic Airways LLC Logo

BBC Video: A pilot’s view video of the descent and landing into Paro Airport in Bhutan

Druk Air-Royal Bhutan Airlines (Paro) operates regularly scheduled flights into its mountainous home country of Bhutan. The unique report by the BBC shows the approach into Paro Airport while the captain explains the unique approach. This approach is not for the faint of heart.

BBC Video: The Travel Show: Carmen Roberts reports from the cockpit as a pilot guides his plane into what has been known as one of the world’s most dangerous airports: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com (all others by Drukair). Drukair operates three Airbus A319s and a ATR 42-500 into and out of Paro Airport.

Photo Below: Drukair. The ATR 42-500 began operations with Drukair in June 2011. It flies to the nearby cities of Kolkata, Kathmandu, Guwahati, Gaya and Bagdogra. The ATR is a 48 seater, all economy, but can also be converted into 8 VIP seater and a 22 economy seat configuration, available for charter and mountain flights.

Drukair ATR 42-500 (04)(Grd) Paro (Drukair)(LR)

Map of Bhutan:

Bhutan Map-1

Drukair logo-1

Drukair Route Map:

Drukair 10.2014 Route Map

Drukair Aircraft Slide Show:

Video: Another video by it4dev of the approach:

Al Maha Airways’ first Airbus A320 is painted at Toulouse

Al Maha Airways (subsidiary of Qatar Airways) (Riyadh) will soon take delivery of its first Airbus A320. The first A320 has been painted at Toulouse pending delivery. The new domestic carrier of Saudi Arabia will launch operations “soon” according to its website. Previously the new subsidiary was expecting to enter the Saudi market in November.

Al Maha means “Oryx” in Arabic, the symbol of Qatar Airways.

Copyright Photo: Eurospot/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 F-WWBV (msn 6347) departs from Toulouse today (October 29) on a test flight. Green is the national color of the Kingdom. The first Airbus A320 will become HZ-ALA on delivery.

Air Malta halves its yearly loss to $20.3 million

Air Malta (Luqa) has been working hard to turn around the company. The airline cut its yearly loss by half and issued this report:

Air Malta halved its losses during the financial year ending March 2014 and is projecting to maintain its position for the year ending March 2015, despite several major setbacks such as the closure of the Libyan routes and increased competition in the peak summer months.

Audited figures announced during the Air Malta Annual General Meeting showed that the airline posted a loss of €16 million ($20.3 million) for the year ending at the end of March 2014, compared to €31 million ($39.4 million) loss registered during the financial year ending at the end of March 2013.

The numbers show that Air Malta is moving in the right direction according to its Restructuring Plan, although it did not manage to reach the more ambitious annual targets of a €15 million loss in 2013 and a profit in 2014.

Air Malta chairperson Maria Micallef said the current financial year had been directly hit by the closure of the Libyan routes (losing the airline around €1 million per month, including incremental revenue from transit business) and a 20% increase in seat capacity of other airlines in the peak months.

“We were informed that our revenues would be hit by 10% and the bottom line was forecasted to be a loss of €25 million, unless immediate preventive actions were taken. We set ourselves a target that under these circumstances we try and target a bottom line of a loss of €16 million for Year ending March 2015,” said Ms Micallef, who was appointed chairperson in July.

Ms Micallef also highlighted the importance of thinking about the long term strategy of Air Malta, beyond the restructuring plan.

“In the longer term, it remains clear to me that the realities of the industry are such that the airline’s profit margins will always remain wafer thin unless we rethink our business model to truly ensure viability. We need to get out of restructuring mode and start thinking of long-term sustainability beyond 2016. We will need the economies of scale that we can never achieve with our size,” she said.

“If we are to make this work – and I am confident we will – we need everyone’s support. In some cases, this means holding back. That is my message to politicians, both Government and Opposition. The same applies to all the representatives of the various stakeholders, who for the first time have been invited to this AGM.”

“The reality is that this is Air Malta’s last chance for long term survival. We have 17 months left to get this right,” she concluded.

Meanwhile, newly-appointed CEO Philip Micallef outlined his vision for the airline and highlighted a number of initiatives being taken to bring the airline to profitability by 2016.

“One of the key missions of this new management team is to work much more closely with Malta Tourism Authority and other key stakeholders. MTA and Air Malta have a joint responsibility to attract tourism to the Maltese islands. In the past, the two entities complemented each other’s work but did not combine their resources as effectively as they could. We are holding joint meetings with tourism operators in various markets as Air Malta seeks to intensify its presence in foreign markets. We have entered into a new era of positive collaboration,” he said.

Similar joint initiatives are happening with Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) and Federated Association of Travel & Tourism Agents (FATTA).

“Our approach has been particularly successful with German tour operators, where committed seats have increased by 300% in winter 2014/15. Similar encouraging results are already being achieved on our Amsterdam and Brussels routes. Our code-share with Air France is doing even better, with a ten-fold increase in passenger revenue,” Mr Micallef told the AGM.

“At the end of summer we launched an aggressive promotion with a 25% discount, for travel from November 2014, to get early bookings for winter. In aggregate, early bookings for winter strongly indicate that we could start to mitigate the losses in passengers from Libya and slow-down in Russia through increased sales on other routes,” he said.

Mr Micallef said Air Malta now needed to improve its IT systems to facilitate customer experience and increase revenue by providing a more attractive pricing system for passengers.

“In the face of increased supply on some of our core routes during the peak summer months, we must respond by taking advantage of additional revenue streams. We are starting with generating ancillary revenue pre-flight through product enhancements and the right technology to promote the sale of these products. We are also looking at developing ancillary products while on board,” he said.

Copyright Photo: Jacques Guillem/AirlinersGallery.com. Air Malta Airbus A320-214 9H-AEO (msn 2768) in the special Valletta – European Capital of Culture 2018 color scheme taxies at Paris (Orly).

Air Malta Aircraft Slide Show:

Korean Air decides to move ahead with its investment in Czech Airlines

Czech Airlines-CSA (Prague) has issued this statement concerning its new investor partner Korean Air (Seoul):

Czech Airlines management engaged in intensive negotiations with all company shareholders regarding their potential investments in the company immediately after the Czech Airlines shareholders unanimously approved a Czech Airlines restructuring plan at the beginning of September.

There has been a significant shift in negotiations with Korean Air. Czech Airlines management has received a letter from Korean Air confirming the company’s decision to become financially involved in the Czech Airlines stabilization process and a proposal of its capital contribution to Czech Airlines.

Czech Airlines management has been reviewing Korean Air’s proposal thoroughly and will present it to Czech Aeroholding management at the earliest date possible. Czech Aeroholding has promised to review Korean Air’s proposal and is also ready to provide Czech Airlines with a capital contribution in the capacity of a private investor.

Czech Airlines appreciates the decision made by Korean Air and views it as a demonstration of strong support by a private shareholder and a positive signal regarding Czech Airlines’ future. Czech Airlines management is convinced that this important move will help stabilize Czech Airlines in the immediate future.

Korean Air has conditioned its capital contribution to Czech Airlines by implicit execution of all measures outlined in the company’s restructuring plan. Czech Airlines management will negotiate additional strategic investments in Czech Airlines with all shareholders upon completion of the entry of Travel Service into Czech Airlines.

Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner/AirlinersGallery.com. Czech Airlines’ ATR 72-212A (ATR 72-500) F-GRPK (msn 727) with the special 90 Years – 1923-2013 emblem blocks at the gate.

Korean Air: AG Slide Show

Czech Airlines: AG Slide Show

Airberlin celebrates 25 years of the fall of the Berlin Wall with special flights over Berlin on November 8, will cut another 200 jobs

Airberlin (airberlin.com) (Berlin-Tegel) is planning to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall with three Bombarider Q400 special flights over the city of Berlin on November 8:

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Airberlin is offering three sightseeing flights over Berlin during the evening of November 8, tracing the course of the former Wall. The flights are being conducted using a Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) with a seating capacity of 76 and will operate between 5.30 p.m. and 8.30 p.m. from Berlin-Tegel Airport. They are accorded flight numbers AB 1989, AB 1990 and AB 1991, thus evoking the year of the fall of the Wall, the year of reunification, and the year of the relaunch of Airberlin as a German airline following the watershed events. From the particularly low flying altitude of approximately 1,000 meters (3,000 feet), the special flight passengers will be able to view the 15-kilometer-long ‘illuminated border’ made up of 8,000 luminous balloons stretching from Bornholmer Strasse to the Oberbaum Bridge. The light installation will illuminate a section of the former course of the Wall from  November 7-9. An experienced city guide will accompany the special flights and narrate the history of the divided city of Berlin.

On the ground, too, Airberlin is represented within a section of the ‘illuminated border’ at the East Side Gallery. In keeping with the airline’s anniversary, 35 balloon sponsorships were raffled via its social media channels, on its website, via international media and among staff. The sponsors will be present in person along this stretch during the evening of November 9 to release their helium-filled balloon from its mooring and, thus, to gradually give wings to the ‘illuminated border’.

A further highlight on the afternoon of November 9 is to be the painting of two original sections of the Wall for Airberlin by the well-known French artist Thierry Noir. As early as in 1990, the artist designed sections of the East Side Gallery, nowadays considered protected monuments. Thierry Noir will complete work on the 3.6-meter-tall T-shaped sections live on the spot. The sections of the Wall will then be exhibited at the Berlin-Tegel Airport for a period of six months.

The fall of the Wall is synonymous with a specific milestone in the 35-year history of Airberlin: while Germany was divided, only airlines of Allied nations were permitted to fly to West Berlin. Thus Airberlin, founded as an American charter airline named Air Berlin USA, was able to offer flights from West Berlin from 1979. Upon German reunification, the situation changed radically and Airberlin lost its air traffic rights. Only upon relaunch as a German airline in 1991 were the foundations laid for continued development to the status of the second largest German airline.

Tickets for the special flights are available online at airberlin.com/fallofthewall at a price of 99 euros per person and can also be reserved around the clock via the company’s Service Center by calling +49 (0)30/3434 3434 (local rates apply).

In other news, on October 26 Airberlin started flying to Milan’s downtown Linate Airport as previously reported. Airberlin issued this statement:

Since Sunday, October 26, 2014 all Airberlin Group flights have been taking off and landing at Milan Linate airport. The crew of flight AB 8406 from Dusseldorf, Alitalia employees and Airberlin ground crew greeted the first flights with an official “Benvenuto Linate”. The codeshare agreement between the Airberlin Group and Alitalia allows the airlines to offer their passengers a total of all the 412 nonstop flights of Airberlin, Niki and Alitalia between Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy under a joint flight number.

Additionally Airberlin increased service on the Berlin-Abu Dhabi route:

Airberlin now operates two flights a day between the German capital and Abu Dhabi. On Sunday, October 26, Captain Christoph Runge and his crew manned the first of these doubled-frequency flights. At 11:30 o’clock, the Airbus A330-200 took off from Berlin-Tegel Airport with 226 passengers and 10 crew members on board with destination of Abu Dhabi.

Finally in other news, Airberlin plans to cut another 200 administrative and ground staff in 2015. As previously mentioned Airberlin will continue to phase out its Boeing 737s and go to an All Airbus fleet.

Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Operated by LGW, Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) D-ABQH (msn 4256) arrives at Zurich.

Airberlin (Germany) Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Air Berlin USA Slide Show:

TAP Portugal braces for a cabin crew strike, delays Guinea-Bissau inaugural for 45 days

TAP Portugal (Lisbon) has issued this statement regarding a strike planned by its cabin staff on October 30 and November 1:

TAP Cabin Crew Union announced two separate strikes to take place on October 30 and November 1 between 00.00 and 23.59.

Therefore, and in order to mitigate as much as possible the effects of the strike, TAP is authorizing date changes free of charge within the same cabin and tickets validity, or its refund. In order to do so, passengers should contact TAP through the Contact Center or their Travel Agencies.

Despite the situation, we inform that TAP flights operated by PGA Portugália Airlines will not be affected, as well as the flights established to operate as minimum services, available below.

All passengers with flights affected by the strike will be contacted, in order to find the best alternative.

Whenever the contact cannot be established TAP will reissue the ticket for the next available flights, keeping the schedule and dates as closer as possible to the original ones.

We suggest passengers to check their bookings here and do the online check-in if the flights are confirmed. This option is available up to 72 hours prior to departure, despite some exceptions depending on the destination.

Beforehand, and due to the high number of calls received, we apologize for any delays that may occur on the Contact Center response.

TAP regrets the situation and assures all efforts are being made to minimize the impact of this strike.

In other news, TAP Portugal has announced the delay of its new services to Guinea-Bissau in west Africa for 45 days due to the Ebola virus concerns. The carrier had planned to start three weekly flight from Lisbon to Guinea-Bissau on October 28.

Copyright Photo: TAP’s Airbus A321-211 CS-TJE (msn 1307) taxies at London (Heathrow).

TAP Portugal Aircraft Slide Show:

Aeroflot names its new low-cost carrier “Pobeda”, meaning “Victory”, to start on November 17

Aeroflot logo

Aeroflot Russian Airlines (Moscow) will name its new low-cost airline Pobeda, or Victory. The name is favorably associated with the Russian victory over Nazi Germany in World War II but some would say its is also a reference to the grounded Dobrolet (2nd).

Aeroflot issued this statement:

Aeroflot Group’s new low-cost carrier will operate under the name “Pobeda” (“Victory” in Russian). The airline’s Boeing 737-800 aircraft will be branded with the new logo of the company.

Pobeda logo

Pobeda will make its maiden flight on November 17 from Moscow’s Vnukovo airport to Volgograd. Tickets will be available through the company’s website from November 1. The company will initially fly from Moscow to Samara, Yekaterinburg, Perm, Kazan, Tyumen, Surgut and Belgorod, and the route network will subsequently expand to other Russian regions as the fleet grows.

As part of Aeroflot Group, Pobeda will adopt a classic low-cost carrier (LCC) model with the ambition of delivering low fares for price-sensitive passengers. The company’s core goal is to increase Russian citizens’ transport mobility and enhance transport connections between regions of Russia.

Pobeda will operate new Boeing 737-800 aircraft (below). The fleet is planned to expand to up to 40 aircraft by 2018, operating 45 routes and carrying more than 10 million passengers, making it one of Russia’s top ten carriers.

Pobeda 737-400 (14)(Flt)(Aeroflot)(LR)

Image: Aeroflot. For Pobeda, Aeroflot will use the color scheme of now disbanded Dobrolet (2nd).

Aeroflot Russian Airlines Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

SkyWest reports a third quarter net profit of $41.3 million

SkyWest, Inc. (SkyWest Airlines and ExpressJet Airlines) (St. George, Utah) today reported financial and operating results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2014. Highlights are as follows:

SkyWest’s net income was $41.3 million (inclusive of $15.3 million after-tax related to TRIP gain from below), or $0.79 per diluted share, for the quarter ended September 30, 2014. This compares to net income of $26.4 million, or $0.50 per diluted share, for the same period last year.

Significant financial items related to the third quarter included:

Operating income, which excludes TRIP gain, increased $2.9 million from the same period last year, despite the negative financial impact of FAR117 flight and duty rules implemented January 2014

The completion of the Trip Linhas Aereas S.A. stock sale resulted in a pre-tax gain of $24.9 million and interest income of $2.1 million

Operating revenues, after excluding a reduction in direct contract reimbursement for pass-through cost expenses, increased 1.9% compared to the prior period, despite a 6.0% reduction in departures and 3.8% reduction in block hours from the prior period

Significant operational and commercial items include:

16 ERJ145s were removed from contract during the third quarter of 2014. SkyWest anticipates 18 ERJ145s will be removed during the fourth quarter of 2014, and 23 ERJ145s and 9 ERJ135s will be removed during the first half of 2015.

As of September 30, 2014, SkyWest had 14 E175 jet aircraft in the United Airlines contract and took delivery of one additional E175 in October 2014. SkyWest expects delivery of six additional E175 aircraft by December 31, 2014 and the remaining 19 additional aircraft by August 2015.

ExpressJet appointed Alexandria Marren as its COO effective October 1, 2014

Operational reliability at ExpressJet improved to 99.4% adjusted completion for the September 30, 2014 quarter from 99.0% from the same period last year

SkyWest invested approximately $35.7 million for E175 specific spare parts, engines and tooling as of September 30, 2014. SkyWest also invested $56.0 million into E175 ownership equity as of September 30, 2014.

Commenting on the results, Jerry C. Atkin, SkyWest’s Chairman and CEO said, “The increase in operating income from last year is positive news when factoring the significant cost impact of FAR117 we’ve experienced in 2014 and the reduction in departures and block hours since last year.” He continued, “As we pursue opportunities to remove our older 50-seat aircraft from service and add new larger dual-class aircraft, we are optimistic that our operational reliability and financial results will continue to improve. We remain committed to our major partners and our process to improve both financial and operating performance.”

Financial Performance

Total operating revenues, excluding the significant direct contract reimburses for fuel, landing fees, station rents, and engine maintenance, increased by $12.7 million during the quarter ended September 30, 2014 from the same period last year. The improvement was primarily due to certain contract renewals and modifications, operating additional E175 aircraft, and increased government subsidies for operating certain routes.

Flight crew costs and related crew hotels expenses associated with FAR117 and training costs for the introduction of the new E175 aircraft, that resulted in an increase of $13.8 million in operating costs compared to the quarter ended September 30, 2013.

Direct maintenance expense, excluding engine maintenance expense, decreased $12.2 million during the quarter ended September 30, 2014 compared to the same period last year due to a reduction in scheduled events and removal of older aircraft after June 30, 2013. Certain other operating expenses, primarily related to the E175 aircraft and pro-rate operations, increased during the three months ended September 30, 2014 compared to the same period last year.

Liquidity

At September 30, 2014, SkyWest had $555.7 million in cash and marketable securities, compared to $467.0 million as of June 30, 2014 and $670.1 million as of December 31, 2013. Cash and marketable securities decreased $114.4 million from December 31, 2013 to September 30, 2014, primarily due to SkyWest’s investment of approximately $91.7 million in E175 assets and E175 equity investment in the debt financing and timing of semi-annual aircraft lease payments resulting in an increase of prepaid aircraft rents of $20.3 million. The cash and marketable securities balance increased from June 30, 2014 primarily due to pre-tax income generated during the quarter.

Long-term debt increased $130.8 million from December 31, 2013 to September 30, 2014. During this period, $323.7 million of long-term debt was used for the 14 E175 aircraft delivered in 2014, offset by principal payments made on outstanding debt.

Copyright Photo: Mark Durbin/AirlinersGallery.com. As the Embraer ERJ 135 and ERJ 145 fleet shrinks at ExpressJet, SkyWest Airlines had 14 Embraer ERJ 175 jet aircraft in the United Airlines contract at the end of September and took delivery of one additional ERJ 175 this month. SkyWest expects delivery of six additional E175 aircraft by December 31, 2014 and the remaining 19 additional aircraft by August 2015. Embarrass ERJ 170-200LR (ERJ 175) N118SY (msn 17000420) taxies at the San Francisco hub.

United Express-SkyWest Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

United to start Newcastle-Newark flights next summer

United Airlines (Chicago) will launch a new summer seasonal spoke route from its Newark hub to Newcastle in the United Kingdom on May 23, 2015. The flight will operate five days a week until September 7, 2015 with 169-seat Boeing 757-200s. This will be the first trans-Atlantic route for Newcastle.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 757-224 N58101 (msn 27291) climbs away from the runway at Los Angeles.

United Airlines (current livery) Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Republic Airways Holdings reports third net income of $18.5 million, will sublease 24 Bombardier Q400s to Flybe

Republic Airways Holdings Inc. (Indianapolis) reported its financial results for the third quarter of 2014:

Republic’s pre-tax income from continuing operations for the third quarter of 2014 was $30.5 million compared to $5.4 million for the prior year’s third quarter. In the third quarter of 2013, the Company incurred an impairment charge of $21.2 million. Absent this impairment, Republic’s pre-tax income from continuing operations increased $3.9 million, or 14.7%.

Republic’s net income for the third quarter of 2014 was $18.5 million, or $0.35 per diluted share.

Republic’s pre-tax income from continuing operations for the nine months ending Sept. 30, 2014, was $86.6 million compared to $51.7 million for the same period of 2013. Absent impairment charges in both years and a fair value gain recorded in 2014, Republic’s pre-tax income from continuing operations increased from $72.9 million to $88.1 million, or 20.9%. Republic’s net income for the nine months ending Sept. 30, 2014, was $52.6 million, or $1.01 per diluted share.

During the quarter, the Company announced it would add 50 new E175 aircraft to its Capacity Purchase Agreement with United. The aircraft, which each have a term of 12 years, are expected to be delivered between mid-2015 and mid-2017. The Company and United also agreed to an early wind-down schedule for the Company’s 31 Q400 aircraft currently in operation between early 2015 and late 2016.

As previously report, Republic has entered into a sublease with Flybe Limited, a UK airline, for 24 Q400 aircraft, with deliveries to Flybe coordinated with the removal of the aircraft from United service. The remaining Q400 aircraft will be sold, leased or returned to the lessor after removing them from United service.

Operating Revenue Highlights

Operating revenues increased $11.1 million, or 3.3%, as compared to the third quarter of 2013 to $349.7 million in the third quarter of 2014. Fixed-fee service revenue increased $23.4 million, or 7.3%, to $343.7 million due to increased E175 flying with American Airlines offset by the removal of 15 E140 and 12 E145 aircraft from service. Passenger service revenue decreased $12.6 million because of the removal of E190 aircraft operating under pro-rate agreement with Frontier Airlines.

Operating Expense Highlights

The increase in wages and benefits expenses of $6.7 million, or 7.7%, was primarily due to an increase in E175 operations, an increase in the cost of benefits we provide to our employees and new pilot flight and duty rest regulations.

Fuel expense for the third quarter of 2014 decreased $6.2 million, or 54.9%, as compared to the third quarter of 2013 to $5.1 million primarily due to a 56.9% decrease in gallons consumed related to the elimination of pro-rated flying for Frontier. Fuel expense is primarily attributable to our fixed-fee charter operations and is a pass-through to our customers.

Depreciation and amortization expense for the third quarter of 2014 increased $6.7 million, or 18.1%, as compared to the third quarter of 2013 due primarily to the increase in the E175 fleet.

The other impairment charge of $21.2 million during the third quarter of 2013 was due to an impairment charge on owned E190 aircraft and the write-off of maintenance deposits on leased E190 aircraft.

Fleet Highlights

As of September 30, 2014, Republic operated a fleet of 240 aircraft. Through September, the Company has removed 27 ERJ aircraft from CPA service, and has taken delivery of 17 Embraer E175 aircraft and expects to take delivery of seven additional E175 aircraft during the remainder of 2014. As of September 30, 2014, within its fixed-fee and charter agreements, the Company operated 42 aircraft with 44-50 seats and 198 aircraft with 69-99 seats.

Balance Sheet and Liquidity

The Company’s total cash balance decreased $17.2 million to $283.5 million as of Sept. 30, 2014, compared to Dec. 31, 2013. Restricted cash increased $1.8 million, to $25.8 million, from Dec. 31, 2013, due to the escrow requirements under fixed-fee charter agreements. The Company’s unrestricted cash balance decreased $19.0 million, to $257.7 million, from Dec. 31, 2013, due mainly to equity investments into new aircraft and the redemption of a $22.3 million convertible note. A consolidated balance sheet and summary cash flow statement have been included in the tables section of this release.

During the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2014, the Company purchased 212,881 shares of its common stock on the open market at a weighted average price per share of $9.98 pursuant to the open market purchase plan approved on April 7, 2014, for total consideration of $2.1 million.

The Company’s debt increased to $2.35 billion as of September 30, 2014, compared to $2.17 billion at December 31, 2013, primarily related to the financing of 17 new E175 aircraft purchased for our American Airlines fixed-fee agreement partially offset by the Company’s debt repayments. As of September 30, 2014, about 97% of the Company’s debt is at a fixed interest rate. The Company has significant long-term lease obligations for aircraft that are classified as operating leases and are not reflected as liabilities on the Company’s consolidated balance sheet. At a 6% discount factor, the present value of these lease obligations was about $0.51 billion and $0.59 billion as of Sept. 30, 2014, and Dec. 31, 2013, respectively.

Republic Airways Holdings Inc. is an airline holding company that owns Chautauqua Airlines, Republic Airlines (2nd) and Shuttle America.

As of Sept. 30, 2014, the three airlines operated a combined fleet of about 240 aircraft and offered scheduled passenger service on more than 1,300 flights daily to about 100 cities in the U.S. and Canada through fixed-fee flights operated under our major airline partner brands, including American Eagle, Delta Connection, United Express and US Airways Express.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. As previously reported, United Airlines is dropping the Bombardier Q400 services operated by Republic Airlines (2nd). Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) N346NG (msn 4346) arrives at Washington (Reagan National).

United Express-Republic Airlines (2nd) Aircraft Slide Show:

 

Bassaka Air starts operations in Cambodia

Bassaka Air logo

Bassaka Air (Phnom Penh) on October 27 launched passenger charter operations between Phnom Penh and Macau per WCARN. The new airline operates two Airbus A320-214s (XU-112, msn 648 and XU-113, msn 650).

Virgin Atlantic introduces the new Boeing 787-9 on the Boston route

Virgin Atlantic She is Here

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) yesterday (October 28) introduced its new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (G-VNEW, “Birthday Girl) on the London (Heathrow)-Boston route as planned.

The airline celebrated the new launch with this entry in its blog:

In 1984, the inaugural Virgin Atlantic transatlantic flight took place. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of this historic event, we’re introducing our new Boeing 787-9, also known as the ‘Dreamliner.’

Named “Birthday Girl”, this brand new aircraft started flying from London to Boston, on October 28, 2014. It’s a whole new chapter for air travel. Here’s why…

The Virgin Atlantic Boeing Dreamliner 787-9The new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Prepare for an evolution in air travel

A strong connection

Now, you can stay connected throughout the whole flight with the onboard WiFi connection. So you can tweet from your seat or make a call mid air.

The Wander Wall

Head over to grab a bite to eat or a drink and meet other travellers at the Wander Wall in Premium Economy. And make sure you say hello to our friendly cabin crew, because if there’s one thing they love, it’s getting to know customers from across the globe. Stretching your legs has never been so interesting.

A bright idea

Virgin Atlantic 787-9 Mood Lighting
The dynamic new mood lighting on board the 787 Dreamliner

Feel lighter, brighter and say goodbye to jet lag. The new dynamic mood lighting on the 787 adjusts throughout the flight to the destination time zone, helping you arrive feeling relaxed and as energised as you would on a normal day.

Drinks all round

Virgin Atlantic 787-9 Dreamliner Bar
The Dreamliner Bar, a social space for Upper Class travellers

The Upper Class Bar is the new social space for Upper Class travellers. You can relax, chat to friends and other customers. Or just take some time out to enjoy the extraordinary views over your favourite drink. Unwinding never felt so good.

Sitting comfortably

Virgin Atlantic 787-9 Seat

The new 787 offers maximum legroom and soft seating throughout all cabins

Economy seating on the 787 is more comfortable than ever. We’ve made the most of the space around the seats, so there’s maximum legroom and plenty of space for reclining. Whichever cabin you’re in, the seats are soft and beautifully designed. And if you’re travelling in Upper Class, you can look forward to stretching out in a 33″ wide flat bed. Ceilings throughout are also higher, allowing more air and light to circulate and giving a feeling of space and freedom.

Time flies

Birthday Girl has a maximum altitude of 40,000 feet, a range of over 8,300 miles and speeds of over 640 mph. Prepare to reach your destination faster than you ever thought possible.

Pure and simple

Feeling comfortable onboard the 787 goes even further than advanced seating and ample legroom. The air’s cleaner and the cabin pressure is lower, meaning you’ll arrive feeling refreshed and revived. Not only that, the windows are the largest on any commercial aircraft. So you can eat, dine or relax in perfectly natural light. And when you’re ready for the end of the day, the dynamic mood lighting and electronically dimmable windows lower the brightness.

Ending on a high note

Our new 787 is 21% more fuel efficient than the aircraft it’s replacing. It’s innovation at its greenest.

Our 787 Dreamliner is innovative, luxurious and miles ahead. And it’s built to make flying even more enjoyable.

All images by Virgin Atlantic.

Virgin Atlantic Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

JetBlue Airways today adds four new routes from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport

JetBlue Airways (New York) today (October 29) expands its destination offerings at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) with the addition of four new routes. The new flights include daily service to Cartagena, Colombia; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; as well as a twice daily service to Jacksonville, Florida.

By 2017, JetBlue plans to offer 100 daily flights out of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood to meet increasing customer demand. In May of this year, JetBlue added flights from FLL to Montego Bay, Jamaica; Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago; and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

JetBlue currently offers up to 75 daily flights to 33 destinations from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 N590JB (msn 2231) in the 2004 Plaid tail motif and smaller titles departs from FLL.

JetBlue Airways: AG Slide Show

 

Emirates takes delivery of its 100th Boeing 777-300 ER

Emirates Delivery Dinner and Events 2014 r

Emirates Airline (Dubai) and Boeing (Chicago and Seattle) are celebrating the delivery of the airline’s 100th 777-300 ER (Extended Range), marking another milestone in a partnership that began over two decades ago when the Dubai-based airline ordered its first 777. Boeing 777-31H ER A6-ENV (msn 41368) (above) was handed over to the carrier on October 28.

With this delivery, Emirates will have 142 777s in operation and is the only airline in the world to operate all the 777 variants. With a current direct backlog of 51 777-300 ERs, the 777 also comprises the largest part of Emirates’ 213-strong fleet.

At the 2013 Dubai Airshow, Emirates became one of the launch customers for the 777X by committing to 150 airplanes. The order was finalized in July of this year.

Boeing provides Emirates with essential support and services from its Boeing Edge portfolio of aviation services, including parts and components, Airplane Health Management to speed the detection and resolution of maintenance issues, Jeppesen Crew Rostering services to optimize flight crew scheduling, and AerData STREAM (Secure Technical Records for Electronic Asset Management) to manage aircraft and engine records.

Emirates also celebrated the delivery of the pictured A6-ENV with this announcement:

Emirates logo-1

Emirates celebrated another milestone on Wednesday with the delivery of the airline’s 100th Boeing 777-300 ER, the world’s largest, long-range twin engine commercial aircraft.

The Boeing 777-300 ER forms the backbone of the Emirates fleet with the aircraft type currently operating to 77 destinations on the airline’s global network.

Delivery of Emirates’ first Boeing 777-300 ER took place in March 2005 and with a further 52 aircraft on order, the airline is the world’s largest operator of this aircraft type – in fact one in every five 777-300 ERs flying today is in Emirates’ livery.

It takes 47 days to build a 777-300 ER and each aircraft is made of three million parts. If you took all of the wiring contained within Emirates’ 100 777-300 ERs and placed it end-to-end it would stretch from Dubai to New York and back again.

Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline said, “The Boeing 777-300ER is one of the most remarkable aircraft ever built, and its combination of efficiency, range and payload is second to none. Our customers are equally excited by the aircraft and its on-board product, and to date over 108 million passengers have flown on an Emirates Boeing 777-300 ER.

“We have 204 more Boeing 777s on order, which supports over 400,000 jobs in the United States of America, including those from various suppliers such as General Electric which provides the GE90 engines that power all of our 777-300 ERs,” added Sir Tim.

“We are proud of our long-term relationship with Emirates and for the confidence they have in Boeing’s products and services beginning with the 777 and continuing with the 777X in the years to come,” said Ray Conner, president and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “The operating economics and long-range capability of the 777-300 ER have played a prominent role in the success of Emirates’ business strategy.”

The range of the Boeing 777-300 ER is 14,490 kilometers, and Emirates’ longest flight with this aircraft currently operates between Dubai and Houston which is a total distance of 13,120 kilometers.

The Boeing 777 is manufactured in Everett, Washington. The Everett plant is so large that it requires its own fire department, security force, fully equipped medical clinic, electrical substations and water-treatment plant. The site’s main assembly building, which the Guinness Book of World Records acknowledges as the largest building in the world by volume, its footprint covers 98.3 acres (39.9 hectares)

Timeline of the Emirates Boeing 777-300 ER:

June 16, 2003: Emirates announced an operating lease order for 26 Boeing 777-300 ERs at the 2003 Paris Air Show, worth $5.6 billion.

July 20, 2004: Emirates ordered 4 Boeing 777-300 ERs with 9 options at the 2004 Farnborough Air Show, worth $2.96 billion.

March 26, 2005: Emirates receives its first Boeing 777-300 ER.

November 20, 2005: At the Dubai 2005 – 9th International Aerospace Exhibition, Emirates announced an order for 24 Boeing 777-300 ERs. In all, Emirates ordered 42 Boeing 777s in a deal worth $9.7 billion, the largest Boeing 777 order then in history.

November 11, 2007: At the 2007 Dubai Air Show, Emirates ordered 12 Boeing 777-300 ERs, worth $3.2 billion.

In 2009, Emirates became the world’s largest operator of the Boeing 777 with the delivery of its 78th Boeing 777.

July 19, 2010: Emirates ordered another 30 Boeing 777-300 ERs at the 2010 Farnborough Air Show, worth $9.1 billion.

November 13, 2011: At the 2011 Dubai Air Show, a firm order was placed for 50 Boeing 777-300 ERs with options for another 20. The deal was worth $18 billion, the largest commercial order by value in Boeing’s history.

March 3, 2012: Emirates received the 1000th Boeing 777 which was a 777-300 ER variant.

November 17, 2013: In the 2013 Dubai Air Show , Emirates made aviation history with a record-breaking order of 150 Boeing 777X aircraft.

July 29, 2014: Boeing delivers its 500th 777-300 ER to Emirates. Emirates is the only airline in the world to operate all 6 variants of the 777 family.

October 29, 2014: Emirates receives its 100th Boeing 777-300 ER. Emirates operates one out of every five Boeing 777-300 ERs in the world.

Emirates destinations launched using Boeing 777-300 ER are:

Adelaide, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Geneva, Milan-New York JFK, Oslo, Rio De Janeiro, Seattle, Stockholm, Taipei and Tokyo (Narita)

All images by Emirates.

Emirates Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Emirates Boeing 777-300 Infographic (Emirates)(LR)

 

Virgin America touches down at LaGuardia Airport in New York

Virgin America (San Francisco) today (October 28) launched its new service from New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA) with four daily nonstop flights to Dallas Love Field (DAL). From today, the airline is now servicing all three major airports in New York with now up to 20 flights departing the New York metropolitan area each day.

Virgin America secured 12 slots at LGA earlier this year as part of the American Airlines merger settlement. The new services have been timed to provide convenient connections with Virgin America’s new nonstop schedule from DAL. This includes three daily nonstop flights from DAL to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO). With a loyal following of business travelers, the airline recently announced plans to add a fourth daily trip from DAL to DCA, SFO and LAX as of April 2015.

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com.

Virgin America Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

 

American Airlines introduces a combined AAdvantage frequent flyer program

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) today released this announcement about its frequent flyer program:

American Airlines AAdvantage® and US Airways Dividend Miles® members will become part of the same frequent flyer program in the second quarter of 2015. The AAdvantage loyalty program will combine mileage balances and align elite levels and qualification criteria. It will also introduce the new upgrade policy for elite status members flying on American and US Airways.

In early 2015, members who have an account in both programs will have the opportunity to match their accounts. This is the next step before the program integration, which will offer customers a more seamless experience whether their flight is on American or US Airways. American began offering reciprocal benefits to AAdvantage and Dividend Miles members in January 2014, just one month after the close of the merger.

A comprehensive explanation of the changes for AAdvantage and Dividend Miles members can be found at aa.com/aadvantage2015.

AAdvantage Elite Status Membership Levels

AAdvantage offers three levels of elite status membership – AAdvantage Executive Platinum, Platinum and Gold. Customers will continue to qualify for elite status based on elite-qualifying miles, points or segments. The current 100-segment threshold for Executive Platinum will continue until Dec. 31, 2014. On Jan. 1, 2015, the segment qualification requirement for Executive Platinum will be 120 segments for the 2016 membership year.

When the programs are combined, the four elite status levels in the Dividend Miles program will be mapped to the three elite status levels of the AAdvantage program:

American Elite Graph

Combining Accounts in the Second Quarter

For customers who have an account in both programs and have matched their accounts early in the year, American will move their current Dividend Miles elite-qualifying activity, award mileage balances and Million Miler balances into their existing AAdvantage account in the second quarter of 2015. AAdvantage elite status will be based on the member’s combined elite-qualifying activity from 2014 to determine status valid through February 2016. At the same time, their year-to-date 2015 qualifying balances will be combined to determine status through February 2017. If combining a member’s elite qualifying balances results in their reaching a new elite status level, American will honor that status level when the programs combine.

For Dividend Miles members who do not have an AAdvantage account, American will create one for them. Each of these members’ balances will then be transferred automatically to the new account in the second quarter of 2015.

For AAdvantage members who do not have a Dividend Miles account, no action is needed; they will retain their existing AAdvantage number and account.

500-Mile and Complimentary Upgrades

Once the programs combine in the second quarter of 2015, all elite members will receive complimentary, auto-requested upgrades on eligible American-marketed and operated flights less than or equal to 500 miles. Executive Platinum members will continue to receive complimentary upgrades on all 500-mile upgrade eligible flights, regardless of the length of the flight. Additionally, all complimentary upgrades will be automatically requested for each member at the time of booking. Elite member upgrade benefits will continue to work differently for American and US Airways flights initially until the airlines are on a common reservation system later in 2015.

The upgrade policy for elite members traveling on American-marketed and operated flights in eligible markets will be as follows:

American Elite Graph 1

Additional Benefits

AAdvantage Executive Platinum and Dividend Miles Chairman’s Preferred members now receive a complimentary alcoholic beverage and snack item when those members travel on US Airways flights in the Main Cabin, as they receive on American.

Starting Jan. 1, 2015, before the programs are combined, bonus miles for AAdvantage members on Business Class tickets on American and US Airways will increase from 25 to 50 percent to align with what Dividend Miles members receive today. Executive Platinum and Chairman’s Preferred members will also enjoy complimentary same-day flight changes on American Airlines.

Once the programs are combined in the second quarter of 2015, AAdvantage members will be able to redeem miles for upgrades and AAnytime® Awards for travel on American and US Airways flights. Executive Platinum members in the combined program will receive eight systemwide upgrades as they do in the current program today, and those upgrades will be valid on both American and US Airways marketed and operated flights.

Since January 2014, American has rolled out enhanced benefits to members flying on either airline, including:

1. The opportunity to earn and redeem miles on American or US Airways, with all eligible travel on either airline counting toward elite status qualification in the program of that member’s choice

2. Reciprocal benefits for elite status members when flying either airline, including First and Business Class check-in, complimentary checked bags and priority security and boarding

3. More lounge access, with reciprocal club access for Admirals Club® and US Airways Club members

4. Easy access to the combined company’s expanded network through the codeshare between American and US Airways, which allows the ability to sell seats on both airlines’ flights

5. Bringing US Airways into the award-winning oneworld® alliance, offering more options across the Atlantic and an easier and more rewarding global travel experience to Europe and beyond

6. The ability to easily stay connected while customers fly with Monthly Traveler and Daily Wi-Fi passes, valid on both American and US Airways

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. The first US Airways Airbus A330-200 to be repainted is the pictured A330-243 N288AY (msn 1441) departing from the Charlotte hub.

American Airlines Aircraft Slide Show (Current): AG Slide Show

American Airlines-US Airways:

AG Slide Show

VLM Airlines’ management team buys the company, will become a a scheduled carrier again and is considering new aircraft types

VLM Airlines (Antwerp) is getting a new chance to thrive. The company has announced its management team is acquiring the airline from Romscope and Intro Aviation. The following announcement was issued:

Today (October 28) Intro Aviation, majority shareholder of Romscope, has announced together with VLM Airlines that Romscope has sold VLM Airlines to the management of VLM Airlines with formalities of the transaction to be completed by the first week in November. As a truly independent airline, VLM Airlines will continue to offer ACMI and Charter services, but will also be offering scheduled services again in the near future.

VLM Airlines – which started in 1993 with its inaugural Antwerp-London City Airport route – over the years has become one of the most successful airlines in the charter business based at Antwerp International Airport. With its Fokker 50 fleet VLM Airlines focuses on meeting the needs of the European charter market including ACMI/Wet Lease contracts and charter operations for tour operators, travel agents, music & film, special events, incentives, sports teams, government & military, NGO’s and emergency support.

“We received an offer from the management of VLM Airlines that we felt we could not refuse.” said Peter Oncken, Managing Director at Intro Aviation. “We are happy to see VLM now to develop as a wholly independent airline in the ownership of a management which is dedicated to VLM”.

“We strongly believe in VLM Airlines as a truly independent airline,” commented Arthur White, CEO and majority shareholder of VLM Airlines. “As an independent airline we will keep offering ACMI & Charter services, but we will also start offering scheduled services in the near future. We are already studying a number of possible new routes from Antwerp International Airport. We will communicate this as soon as the deals have been concluded.”

VLM Airlines is also seeking to add a new aircraft type to its fleet, for the moment VLM Airlines is evaluating a number of possibilities.

The history of VLM Airlines:

From a low key beginning in 1993 with its inaugural Antwerp – London City Airport route, to the time of its sale in 2008 to Air France – KLM, VLM Airlines had become Belgium’s most commercially succesful airline. With ten years of consecutive profit, a record never beaten in Belgian aviation history, and a route network that stretched from Amsterdam, Antwerp, Rotterdam, and Luxembourg to London, Manchester, and Jersey, the airline at its peak was operating over 500 flights a week from London City Airport making it the No.1 airline operating from the airport.

During this period VLM also won many awards, among them the highly prestigious Regional Airline of the Year.

In 2008 the airline was acquired by Air France-KLM via Cityjet and VLM’s fleet was re-liveried in Cityjet colors. By 2010 the combined airline was carrying over 1 million passengers a year.

VLM reborn

In 2014, VLM Airlines became part of the Intro Group. Intro Aviation GmbH is a family-owned company and part of the Intro Group, which has over 40 years of aviation experience.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. With the new ownership group, VLM is likely to come up with another new color scheme or revert back to this colorful 2004 livery seen on Fokker F.27 Mk. 050 (Fokker 50) OO-VLX (msn 20177) at Rotterdam.

VLM Airlines Aircraft Slide Show:

 

WestJet and its flight attendants reach a tentative agreement

WestJet (Calgary) has announced it has reached a tentative agreement with WestJet’s Flight Attendant Association Board (FAAB). The proposed agreement is available to WestJet flight attendants for review beginning on October 31, 2014, and voting begins on November 10, 2014, at 9 a.m. MST.

The WestJet Inflight leadership team and FAAB began negotiations in May 2014, to develop a tentative agreement to replace the flight attendants’ memorandum of agreement.

WestJet and FAAB have committed, in writing, to honor all facets of the tentative agreement, which covers a five-year term, and changes may only be made through negotiations with flight attendants. There is also a clear and enforceable dispute resolution process in place.

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8CT C-GWSA (msn 34153) arrives at Las Vegas.

WestJet: AG Slide Show

FedEx Express increases the number of countries for its International First® early delivery service to 97

FedEx is expanding solutions for global customers who need their critical deliveries to arrive as early as the start of the next business day.

FedEx Express (Memphis), a subsidiary of FedEx Corporation, and the world’s largest express transportation company, is broadening the FedEx ‘International First®’ early delivery service, increasing the number of origin markets to include the following:

Austria

Bahrain

Belize

Bolivia

China

Czech Republic

Denmark

Ecuador

El Salvador

Finland

Guiana (Guyana)

Guyana

Honduras

Hungary

India

Indonesia

Korea

Kuwait

Malaysia

Nicaragua

Norway

Paraguay

Peru

Philippines

Portugal

Poland

Singapore

Suriname (Surinam)

Sweden

Thailand

United Arab Emirates

This expansion brings the total number of origin markets to 97, and means that customers can now use FedEx International First to ship packages from the above countries to any of the existing International First destination markets.

Depending on origin and destination, FedEx International First shipments arrive within one to three business days, often at the start of the business day. The service is most often used for business documents, electronic and high tech equipment, medical devices, clinical trials and gear for the entertainment industry–shipments that require delivery on a tight deadline.

About FedEx International First

FedEx International First is a time-definite, customs cleared, door-to-door express service with a pre-defined delivery commitment for shipments up to 150 lbs. per package. Customers receive International First deliveries as early as 8 a.m. in the United States, 9 a.m. in Europe, and 10 a.m. in Asia, Canada and Latin America. While the range of shipments is broad, it’s often the delivery service of choice for customers shipping time-sensitive materials.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. McDonnell Douglas MD-11 (F) N644FE (msn 48444) lands in Anchorage.

FedEx Express: AG Slide Show

The CPI of the UK presents its case for windowless airliner fuselages

CPI Windowless Fuselages

The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) has visualized and presented a case for windowless jetliners for the future to save fuel and also to offer a better passenger experience. The CPI has issued this concept on it website:

CPI logo

Imagine a cabin where the windows are display screens, relaying a choice of views from around the aircraft. If you’re not sitting in a window seat, your large seat-back display becomes your window on the world as well as a source of entertainment.

Supplement this with subtle cabin lighting from gently glowing walls and you create a unique travel environment. Screens that are ultra thin, very light and highly flexible are integrated with the fuselage or the seat backs with no unsightly, clumsy or heavy housings.
Less weight more savings

Weight is a constant issue on any aircraft. Over 80% of the fully laden weight of a commercial airliner is the aircraft itself and its fuel. For every 1% reduction in weight, the approximate fuel saving is 0.75%. If you save weight, you save fuel. And less fuel means less CO2 emissions into the atmosphere and lower operational cost… everyone wins.

CPI is a member of the UK’s prestigious High Value Manufacturing Catapult, a network that combines seven world class centres of industrial innovation to accelerate the commercialisation of new and emerging technologies into world beating products, for aerospace and other high value industries. CPI owns or has access to the best research and development facilities in the UK, aviation products and processes can be tested for proof-of-concept within CPIs laboratories and validated at scale through to commercial exploitation, on the ground and in the air.
CPI and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult would use their extensive networks to create a consortium of partners to deliver the benefits of such a programme. By creating an efficient manufacturing supply chain for windowless fuselage technology, the solutions developed can be rapidly commercialized.

Images: CPI.

Video: A look at what the future may hold for air travel as current technological developments mature and find applications in markets such as the aerospace industry.

Spirit Airlines announces a record third quarter net profit, increases 27.6% to $73.9 million

Spirit Airlines, Inc. (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood) today (October 28) reported third quarter 2014 financial results:

Adjusted net income for the third quarter 2014 increased 27.6 percent to $73.9 million ($1.01 per diluted share) compared to $57.9 million ($0.79 per diluted share) for the third quarter 20131. GAAP net income for the third quarter 2014 was $67.0 million ($0.91 per diluted share) compared to $61.1 million ($0.84 per diluted share) in the third quarter 2013.

For the third quarter 2014, Spirit delivered a record adjusted pre-tax margin of 21.3 percent compared to 20.3 percent over the same period in 20131. On a GAAP basis, pre-tax margin for the third quarter 2014 was 19.3 percent compared to 21.4 percent in the third quarter 2013.

Spirit ended the third quarter 2014 with $588.5 million in unrestricted cash.

Spirit’s return on invested capital (before taxes and excluding special items) for the twelve months ended September 30, 2014 was 31.6 percent.

Revenue Performance

For the third quarter 2014, Spirit’s total operating revenue was $519.8 million, an increase of 13.8 percent compared to the third quarter 2013. The increase was primarily driven by our growth in flight volume and higher operating yields.

Total revenue per available seat mile (“RASM”) for the third quarter 2014 was 12.45 cents, a decrease of 0.8 percent compared to the third quarter 2013. A year-over-year increase in average stage length for the third quarter 2014 contributed 0.4 percentage points to the decline in RASM. In addition, average load factor for the third quarter 2014 declined 1.5 pts, in part due to increased margin accretive flying on non-peak travel days (Tuesday/Wednesday), contributing to the decrease in RASM.

Passenger flight segment (“PFS”) volume for the third quarter 2014 grew 11.2 percent year over year, and the Company’s total revenue per PFS for the third quarter 2014 increased 2.4 percent year over year to $138.54 driven by increases in both ticket and non-ticket revenue per PFS. Demand and pricing strength in the peak summer travel period drove the increase in ticket revenue per PFS and an increase in seat revenues was the primary driver of non-ticket per PFS.

Cost Performance

Total operating expenses for the third quarter 2014, excluding $10.4 million of special items4, increased 12.5 percent to $409.2 million on a capacity increase of 14.7 percent. Including special items, total operating expenses increased 16.9 percent year over year to $419.6 million.

Spirit reported third quarter 2014 cost per available seat mile excluding special items and fuel (“Adjusted CASM ex-fuel”)4 of 5.92 cents, an increase of 1.0 percent compared to the same period last year. Higher salary, wages, and benefits, landing fees and other rents, and depreciation and amortization per ASM were partially offset by lower passenger re-accommodation expense (recorded within Other operating expense) as a result of improved operational reliability.

During the third quarter 2014, the Company became aware of an underpayment of Federal Excise Tax (“FET”) for fuel purchases during the period between July 1, 2009 and August 31, 2014. The commencement of the period in which the Company underpaid FET coincided with a change in its fuel service provider that took place in July 2009. In its calculation for economic fuel price for the third quarter 2014, the Company excluded the prior years’ additional FET amount of $9.3 million as a special item but included the year-to-date 2014 additional FET amount of $2.1 million.

Selected Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Items

As of September 30, 2014, Spirit had $588.5 million in unrestricted cash and cash equivalents. For the nine months ended September 30, 2014, Spirit incurred capital expenditures of $26.3 million, paid $116.0 million in pre-delivery deposits for future deliveries of aircraft, net of refunds, and recorded an increase of $29.0 million in maintenance deposits, net of reimbursements.

Fleet

In the third quarter 2014, Spirit took delivery of one new Airbus A320 aircraft, ending the quarter with 58 aircraft in its fleet. Earlier in the month of October, the Company took delivery of a new A320 aircraft and has six more new A320 aircraft scheduled for delivery by year-end 2014.

Third Quarter 2014 and Other Current Highlights

Added/announced new service between (service start date):

- Fort Lauderdale and New Orleans (8/1/14)

- Boston and West Palm Beach (11/14/14)5

- Houston and New Orleans (8/1/14)

- Latrobe/Pittsburgh and Tampa (12/18/14)5

- Houston and Atlanta (8/1/14)

- Latrobe/Pittsburgh and Fort Myers (12/19/14)5

- Kansas City and Chicago (8/7/14)

- Denver and San Diego (1/5/15)

- Kansas City and Dallas/Fort Worth (8/7/14)

- Cleveland and Orlando (1/15/15)

- Kansas City and Detroit (8/7/14)

- Cleveland and Tampa (1/15/15)5

- Kansas City and Las Vegas (8/7/14)

- Cleveland and Fort Myers (1/15/15)5

- Kansas City and Houston (8/8/14)

- Cleveland and Fort Lauderdale (2/5/15)

- Fort Lauderdale and Houston (9/3/14)

- Cleveland and Dallas/Fort Worth (2/5/15)

- Houston and San Diego (9/3/14)

- Cleveland and Las Vegas (2/5/15)

- Detroit and Atlanta (10/24/14)

- Cleveland and Los Angeles (4/16/15)

- Chicago and Atlanta (10/24/14)

- Cleveland and Myrtle Beach (4/16/15)5

- Detroit and New Orleans (10/30/14

- Chicago and San Diego (4/16/15)

- Chicago and New Orleans (10/30/14)

- Chicago and Philadelphia (4/16/15)

Maintained its commitment to offer low fares to its valued customers; average ticket revenue per passenger flight segment for the third quarter 2014 was $84.50 with total revenue per passenger flight segment of $138.54.

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-132 N502NK (msn 2433) in the new canary yellow “Home of the Bare Fare” livery arrives in Las Vegas.

Spirit Airlines: AG Slide Show

Air Serbia launches its new “The new wings of Europe” advertising campaign

Air Serbia (Belgrade) yesterday (October 27) launched a multi-channel advertising campaign to boost awareness of the airline and position Belgrade as a convenient European air transport hub. The airline continued;

“The campaign, which carries the end line: “Air‎ Serbia – The new wings of Europe”, also promotes Serbia and its capital city as a vibrant leisure destination, and is part of the next phase of growth for Serbia’s national airline beyond the Balkan region, including Europe and North America.

Chief Executive Officer of Air Serbia, Dane Kondić, said: “Air Serbia has already achieved strong growth in Serbia and the region. However, if we are to be truly successful with the implementation of our business plan, we need to strengthen our presence across Europe as we connect our network with those of our partners. There is no point in having the best product and service or most connected network, if people don’t know who you are, where you fly or what you stand for”.

The multi-media campaign will include television, print, outdoor billboards and a strong online component.

All the imagery for the campaign was shot on location in Serbia.

Mr Kondic said he was very happy with the campaign. “This campaign is as much about Serbia and Belgrade as it is about Air Serbia. As we proudly share the brand of Serbia, the campaign captures the best that we have to offer as an airline and as a country.It promotes the natural beauty of our country and the fresh, distinctive flavours of Serbian cuisine; highlights a city with rich history and a vibrant nightlife, and promotes Air Serbia as an airline that exemplifies service and quality. This campaign will attract more business to Air Serbia, and this will in turn support the growth of the airline leading to the creation of more jobs for Serbian nationals. I am very excited about the launch, knowing that by making Air Serbia successful, we are continuing to make a significant contribution to the economy of Serbia”, Mr Kondić said.

The campaign will initially air for a month in the Balkan region, Russia, Poland, Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland and Austria with the goal of maximizing exposure for the Air Serbia brand and building awareness for its offer.”

Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-132 A6-SAB (msn 1159) taxies at Zurich.

Air Serbia: AG Slide Show

Video: The new advertising campaign:

Emirates arrives in Budapest

Emirates (Dubai) yesterday (October 27) as planned launched a daily nonstop service to Budapest, marking its first entry into Hungary.

Emirates’ daily flight to Budapest is operated with a wide-body Airbus A330-200 aircraft in a two-class configuration. The inaugural flight was welcomed by Jost Lammers, Chief Executive Officer, Budapest Airport, along with partners from the travel trade and local media, at a special reception held at the airport. A contingent comprising His Excellency Zoltan Jancsi – Ambassador of Hungary to the United Arab Emirates and other business leaders, accompanied by senior Emirates representatives, was present on the inaugural flight.

Emirates’ Airbus A330-200 will offer 27 seats in Business Class and 251 Economy Class seats.

Flight EK 111 will depart Dubai at 0820 and will arrive at Budapest Airport at 1135. The return flight, EK 112 will depart at 1505 and will arrive at Dubai International Airport at 2330.

Copyright Photo: Emirates A330-243 A6-EKW (msn 316) taxies at London (Heathrow).

Emirates Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Alitalia to lay off 994 employees with the start of its winter schedule

Alitalia (2nd) (Rome) in a cost-cutting measure following the 49 percent investment by Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi), will terminate 879 ground crew employees, 61 pilots and 54 flight attendants according to Ria Novosti citing a report by the Italian news agency Adnkronos. The cut employees will begin receiving notice on October 31. Previously the beleaguered carrier had already eliminated 700 positions through through resignations or retirements.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

In other news, with these employee cuts, Alitalia will also trim its fleet. According to ch-aviation, partner Airberlin (Berlin) will add 14 ex-Alitalia Airbus A320s as it goes to an all-Airbus fleet.

Finally the carrier issued the details about its winter schedule that started on October 26:

On Sunday, October 26, Alitalia’s schedule for the winter season 2014-2015 took effect with validity through March 28, 2015.

The schedule will operate 3,650 weekly flights on 124 routes (7 more than the 2013-2014 winter season) and 83 destinations, of which 26 in Italy and 57 destinations in 41 other countries worldwide.

The main highlights of Alitalia’s winter network are:

• the launch of new daily direct flights between Rome and Marseilles reinforcing Alitalia’s offer between Italy and France, and new service to Skopje (Macedonia) and Marrakech (Morocco) launched in recent months;

• the launch of a code share agreement between Alitalia and Airberlin, second largest German airline, making available 412 weekly direct Alitalia and Airberlin code shared flights between Italy and Germany, Austria and Switzerland, as well as many Airberlin domestic flight and Alitalia domestic and international flights;

• the launch of flights replacing Air One Smart Carrier discontinued service between Pisa and Catania and between Milan Malpensa and Tunis;

• the commitment to providing continued and increased service to Albania with a total of 96 flights to Tirana from 8 Italian airports: Rome Fiumicino, Milan Malpensa, Pisa, Bologna, Bari, Turin, Venice and Genoa;

• an increase in the intercontinental network compared to the winter season 2013-2014 with the addition of frequencies to Brazil (+1 weekly frequency to Rio de Janeiro and +3 frequencies to Sao Paulo) and the increase of frequencies between Rome and Abu Dhabi (+2 weekly frequencies).

• on the international network, compared to 2013-2014, there will be an increase of service between London City and Milan Linate, between Tirana and Rome (+6 weekly frequencies), from Rome to Tel Aviv and Bucharest (+3 weekly frequencies), from Rome to Madrid (+2 frequencies), to Zurich, Toulouse, Athens, Prague (+1 frequency) and from Milan Linate to Frankfurt (+2 weekly);

• on the domestic network, compared to the winter season 2013-2014, increased service from Milan Linate Airport to Pescara (+5 weekly frequencies) and introduction of flights between Rome Fiumicino and Alghero in territorial continuity;

• continued service, in territorial continuity, from Lampedusa to Palermo and Catania and Palermo to Pantelleria and Trapani to provide the citizens of Lampedusa and Pantelleria reliable and consistent connections to Sicily, the rest of Italy and international and intercontinental destinations within Alitalia’s network;

During the month of September 2014, Alitalia transported 2,273,629 passengers, an increase of 0.5% compared to the same period last year.

In addition, the load factor in September reached 82.6% (+3.2 percentage points compared to September 2013).

In September flights to and from Rome Fiumicino hub recorded a load factor of 85.8%, 4.4 percentage points higher than in September 2013. This result is especially guided by the increase by 1% on transit passengers in Rome airport with a load factor increase of 2.9 percentage points on connecting flights to and from Fiumicino.

Early October figures confirm the growth trend: in 22 days of October domestic routes from Rome Fiumicino recorded a +5,8% increase in passengers and an average load factor of 79.4% (+2 percentage points compared to 2013).

Positive results also on the routes served by the Milan Linate airport, in the first 22 days of October, which showed an increase in passengers by 3.8% and an average load factor of 70.2% (+3.4 percentage points compared 2013).

Copyright Photo: Jacques Guillem/AirlinersGallery.com. In April 2014 Alitalia introduced this “Discover Friuli Venezia Giulia” Airbus A319 logo jet in support of the Colibri (Hummingbird). Friuli Venezia Giulia is the only region in Italy where the endangered Hummingbird maintains a natural habitat. A319-112 EI-IMI (msn 1745) taxies past the camera at Paris (Orly).

Alitalia (2nd) Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Adria Airways retires its last Airbus A320

Adria Airways (Ljubljana) on October 21 operated its last Airbus A320 flight with the pictured A320-231 S5-AAS (msn 444). The aircraft has been returned to the lessor according to EX-YU. The carrier now only operates two Airbus A319s, six Bombardier CRJ900s and two CRJ200s which are being phased out.

Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner/AirlinersGallery.com. S5-AAS taxies at Zurich.

Adria Airways Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

 

Jetstar Airways introduces its “Little Athletics” Airbus A320 logo jet

Jetstar Airways (Melbourne) has unveiled a new logo jet.  Jetstar’s “Little Athletics” is the latest themed Airbus A320.

“Little Athletics” is a statewide organization of local clubs which run Track and Field type activities for children between the ages of 5 and 15 one evening per week during summer months. Jetstar became a sponsor on July 25, 2014. The new logo jet is part of this new relationship.

On July 25, 2014 Jetstar issued this announcement:

Jetstar Little Athletics Australia logo

Jetstar announced a new partnership with Little Athletics Australia (LAA), becoming the first ever official naming partner for one of Australia’s best loved junior sports.

The two year partnership further cements Jetstar’s commitment to Australian communities and demonstrates that the airline stands for more than just low fares.

Jetstar Australia and New Zealand CEO, David Hall, said LAA’s mission to develop children of all abilities by promoting positive attitudes and a healthy lifestyle through family and community involvement in athletic activities aligns well with the airline’s brand values.

“We are proud to partner with Little Athletics Australia, a unique Australian organization that promotes having fun, being healthy and community involvement,” Mr Hall said.

“Little Athletics aligns with Jetstar’s values of creating new memories and special moments and we look forward to supporting Little Athletics communities nationwide as we take this new journey together.”

The partnership will provide LAA with funds to provide more backing to the 500 plus Centres throughout the country while giving Jetstar the opportunity to engage with the Little Athletics community.

Martin Stillman, Chief Executive of Little Athletics Australia, said “Little Athletics is an iconic brand in the Australian junior sporting landscape and we are thrilled to partner with Jetstar Airways as our new naming rights partner. The Jetstar partnership will enable Little Athletics to provide more support and resources at grassroots level and ensure further growth within the sport.

“We recently celebrated 50 years of Little Athletics in Australia, and are now excited to embark on this new chapter in our history with Jetstar.”

Former Little Athlete and current captain of Australia’s Glasgow Commonwealth Games team, Sally Pearson said, “When I was thirteen, my coach at Helensvale Little Athletics Centre introduced me to hurdling and I haven’t looked back since. It taught me to aim high and be my best from an early age which undoubtedly set me on the journey towards winning Olympic Gold. Little Athletics is a unique program and one that I am very proud to have been part of.”

Little Athletics is a unique Australian athletics program for children from 5 to 15 years based upon track and field activities that have been modified to suit the age, developmental stage and ability of the children.

Little Athletics is a volunteer-driven sport which is reliant on the assistance of parents and other adult volunteers to deliver the weekly sessions to more than 100,000 girls and boys.

Copyright Photo: John Adlard/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 VH-VFL (msn 5489) arrives in Sydney with the special LAA markings.

Jetstar Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Video: Have you ever wondered if playing sport is more important than homework? Jetstar Jack asks all the tough questions in this exclusive Jetstar Little Athletics report, where he hangs out with the Little Athletes while exploring planes on the side – but not before having a chat with Jetstar’s Group CEO, Jayne Hrdlicka.

Biman Bangladesh ends service today to Frankfurt

Biman Bangladesh Airlines (Dhaka) today (October 27) is ending service to Frankfurt where it operates as an extension of the Dhaka-Rome route. The route was served two days a week.

Copyright Photo: Joe G. Walker/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-3E9 ER S2-AHN (msn 40121) departs from Paine Field, Everett.

Biman Bangladesh Aircraft Slide Show:

Biman Bangladesh logo-1

Current Route Map:

Biman Bangladesh 10.2014 Route Map

 

Brussels Airlines to serve six new destinations next summer

Brussels Airlines (Brussels) next summer season is adding six new destinations; Billund (starting on March 29), Calvi (May 30), Dubrovnik (April 25), Lourdes (May 11), Olbia (May 27) and St. Petersburg (March 30).

The airline issued this statement:

Brussels Airlines expands its network for summer 2015, adding no less than six new destinations: St. Petersburg, Dubrovnik, Calvi, Lourdes, Olbia and Billund.

The flight frequencies of Tel Aviv and Malta will be increased.

New Destinations

As from March 29, Brussels Airlines starts flights to Billund, in the Danish Jutland region. The airline will operate two daily flights, with a schedule that is convenient to both business travelers and tourists, and which allows connections to other destinations in Europe, Africa and the States.

Brussels Airlines also reinforces its Southern European flight offer, by adding Dubrovnik to its network, the gateway to the magnificent Croatian coast and islands. Dubrovnik will be served twice a week. Weekly flights to Calvi (Corsica) and Olbia (Sardinia) will also be added to the summer timetable.

The airport of Lourdes will be served twice per week (Monday and Friday) between May 11 and September 25. With its Lourdes service, Brussels Airlines offers an alternative travel solution to the thousands of pilgrims visiting the French town.

Brussels Airlines adds St Petersburg to its network, a cultural top destination which wasn’t connected to a Belgian airport yet. The city of the Tsars, known for its Hermitage museum, is served three times per week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday).

More flights to existing destinations

The flight offer to Malta, which was launched successfully last summer, returns in 2015 with more flight frequencies. Because of the large demand, Brussels Airlines will set course for Malta twice per week (Thursday and Sunday) between April and October.

More flights are also added between Brussels Airport and Tel Aviv. Starting next summer season, the destination will be served twice daily (morning and afternoon/night flight).

Seville, the capital of Andalucía, will be operated four instead of three times per week and Faro, the gateway to the Algarve, will be served six instead of five times per week.

Brussels Airlines continues its flights to other popular summer destinations next summer, including Nice, Malaga, Barcelona, Florence, Alicante, Marrakech, Agadir, Athens, Naples, Porto, Palermo, Catania, Venice or one of the many other European destinations.

Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-112 OO-SSN (msn 1963) lands at EuroAirport.

Brussels Airlines Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Flybe launches seven routes from London’s City Airport, is in talks with other carriers about taking over unprofitable short-haul routes

Flybe Spirit of Belfast (Flybe)(LR)

Flybe (Exeter) today (October 27) as planned launched seven routes from London’s downtown City Airport. The regional carrier now flies from LCY to Aberdeen, Amsterdam, Belfast (City) Dublin, Edinburgh, Exeter and Inverness (see map below).

Flybe Land in London

In other news, according to Bloomberg, quoting CEO Saad Hammed, the airline is in talks with several European airlines about taking over their unprofitable short-haul routes. Flybe currently has such a deal with Finnair (Helsinki).

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Flybe. To celebrate the launch of Flybe’s new London City Airport routes, six purple planes have been christened with a ‘Spirit of the Regions’ theme. Here’s the ‘Spirit of Belfast’ aircraft, ahead of it’s inaugural flight from George Best Belfast City Airport.

Flybe Aircraft Slide Show:

Routes from London’s City Airport:

Flybe LCY 10.2014 Route Map

 

Norwegian’s third quarter net profit drops by 14%, will phase out the last Boeing 737-300 next year

Norwegian Air Shuttle (Norwegian.com and Norwegian Long Haul) (Oslo) reported a net profit of NOK 373.8 million ($57.0 million) for the third quarter, down 14% from a net profit of NOK 435.9 million ($65.8 million) for the same quarter in 2013.

The airline issued this full report:

Norwegian reports strong growth in all European markets with a capacity increase of 36 percent and a load factor of 85 percent in its third quarter results. The pre-tax result (EBT) was 505 MNOK, compared to 604 MNOK the same quarter previous year. The costs associated with wet-leasing replacement aircraft and a weak Norwegian Krone (NOK) significantly affected the figures.

Even with strong passenger growth, the load factor was high and increased by three percentage points to 85 percent in the third quarter. Norwegian carried 7.1 million passengers this quarter and the company’s operations at London Gatwick had the strongest passenger growth.

The pre-tax result (EBT) was 505 MNOK, compared to 604 MNOK the same quarter previous year. The combination of a weak Norwegian Krone (NOK), the delayed approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation and costs associated with flight delays, affected the results this quarter. Wet-leasing replacement aircraft and extra fuel, as well as accommodation, food and drink for delayed passengers also created extra costs. The costs associated with the long overdue application before the U.S. Department of Transportation for a foreign air carrier permit for Norwegian’s Irish subsidiary, Norwegian Air International were also considerable. The application is in full accordance with the Open Skies Agreement between the EU and the U.S.

“We’re very satisfied that throughout our world-wide route network, an increasing number of new passengers choose Norwegian. Norwegian has recently received several international awards and was even named ‘Europe’s best low-cost airline’ the second year running. However, we have also experienced some turbulence this quarter. Our results are affected by additional costs related to the pending U.S. permit for our subsidiary in Dublin, consequently reducing our ability to optimize our fleet of aircraft. Even though technical difficulties with our Boeing 787 Dreamliners have also caused additional costs, our long-haul operation now consists of more aircraft and improved reliability. Looking into 2015, we will see a year of consolidation and lower growth. Next year, our fleet of short-haul aircraft will consist exclusively of Boeing 737-800s as older Boeing 737-300s will be phased out,” said CEO Bjørn Kjos.

Copyright Photo: Stefan Sjogren/AirlinersGallery.com. Norwegian will retire its last Boeing 737-300 in 2015. Devoid of a tail photo, Boeing 737-31S LN-KHC (m,sn 29295) arrives in Stockholm (Arlanda).

Norwegian Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Aerolineas Argentinas is coming to Punta Cana

Aerolineas Argentinas (Buenos Aires) will add Punta Cana, Dominican Republic on January 3, 2015 via Caracas per Airline Route. The new route will be operated three days a week with Boeing 737-800s.

The airline will also serve Havana via Caracas starting on January 5, 2015.

Copyright Photo: Steve Bailey/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8BK N5573P (msn 41561) departs from Boeing Field in Seattle on a test flight. The new aircraft was delivered as LV-FRQ on April 10, 2014.

Aerolineas Argentinas: AG Slide Show

Delta to introduce the Boeing 737-900 ER on two more routes from Los Angeles

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) on January 5, 2015 will introduce the Boeing 737-900 ER on the Los Angeles-Guadalajara route followed by Los Angeles-Phoenix on February 13, 2015 per Airline Route.

Additionally for next summer, Delta plans to use the stretched 737 on the Atlanta-Grand Cayman route weekly on Saturdays from June 8 through August 15, 2015.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-932 ER N811DZ (msn 31916) arrives at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Delta Air Lines (current livery) Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Finnair introduces “Sky Bistro” on European flights

Finnair (Helsinki) is separating itself from the low-cost competition with new in-flight menu options for its European flights. The airline issued this statement:

Finnair Sky Bistro banner

 

 

As of November 1 you can mix and match your own meal from classic, seasonal and themed flavors when flying Finnair Economy Class within Europe. The Sky Bistro has a wide selection of high-quality food and beverage options combining the best of Europe and Asia – including a special combo designed for kids. Coffee, tea, water and Finnair’s new signature drink – blueberry juice – will be served free of charge on all flights.

Sky Bistro replaces the complimentary cold snack service that has been offered on Finnair scheduled flights within Europe lasting over two hours.

For more information: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Embraer ERJ 190-100LR OH-LKM (msn 19000160) arrives in Frankfurt.

Finnair Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Finnair Sky Bistro

Video: Challenging Crosswinds at Madeira

Video by Samuel Passos. Published on October 22, 2014. His description:

The island of Madeira, was buffeted by a cold front, a storm that lasted several days, from Thursday until Monday night, many flights were cancelled or diverted for the nearest airports.

KLM operates its last McDonnell Douglas MD-11 regularly scheduled flight, ends a long Douglas relationship

KLM MD-11 PH-KCE Audrey Hepburn last flight (KLM)(LR)

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (Amsterdam) this morning (October 26) operated the last regularly scheduled revenue flight from Montreal (Trudeau) to the Amsterdam hub. As previously reported, KLM will also operate special “Farewell Flights” of the last MD-11 on November 11. The airline issued this statement and historic photos:

This morning (October 26), KLM Royal Dutch Airlines welcomed its last McDonnell Douglas MD-11 passenger flight – KL 672 – at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. The flight operated by McDonnell Douglas MD-11 PH-KCE (msn 48559) named after the late actress Audrey Hepburn (above), arrived from Montreal, not only marks the end of KLM’s MD-11 operations worldwide, but also the end of a remarkable era in civil aviation. The partnership between KLM and aircraft manufacturer (McDonnell) Douglas lasted more than 80 years, which is truly unique.

Many MD-11 fans had bought a ticket to be aboard KLM’s very last scheduled service with the MD-11, which is popular among many travellers and aircraft photographers. In recent months, many fans also booked tickets on routes where KLM deployed the MD-11, even if it meant a longer journey.

Worthy farewell

KLM MD-11 PH-KCE water cannon salute last flight (KLM)(LR)

With a welcoming shower (above), KLM gave a worthy farewell to this aircraft, which had been in service for 21 years. KLM has in recent years invested in a modern, economical and sustainable fleet, in which there was no room for the MD-11. The aircraft, with its characteristic third engine in the tail, had become expensive to maintain and has relatively high fuel consumption. Spare parts are hard to come by and it is no longer feasible to maintain stocks.

KLM MD-11 PH-KCE arriving at the gate (KLM)(LR)

Sustainable fleet

From October 2015, KLM will begin welcoming the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner to its fleet. Air France-KLM has ordered 25 of these aircraft, the first of which is scheduled for delivery in October 2015. The Boeing Dreamliner can carry 276 passengers, burns 15% less fuel than its predecessor, and has lower noise impact and CO2 emissions. This coincides with KLM’s pledge to contribute to a more sustainable air transport industry. Until the new aircraft arrive, KLM will deploy its Airbus A330s and Boeing 777s to replace the MD-11.

KLM and Air France 787-9 (Air France-KLM)(LR)

KLM and Air France will operate 73 next generation aircraft through 2024: 43 Airbus A350-900s and 30 Boeing 787-9s. The first aircraft Boeing 787-9 will enter into service with KLM in 2016 and the first Airbus A350-900 with Air France in 2018. Later, both airlines will operate both types of aircraft.

The Airbus A350-900 will be equipped with Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, the only engine provided for this aircraft by the manufacturer.

These new aircraft will reduce fuel consumption by over 15% and will give rise to a significant reduction in noise and gas emissions, confirming the Group’s commitments in terms of environment and sustainable development.

Farewell Flights on November 11

A series of MD-11 Farwell Flights will be operated on November 11, 2014. KLM has organized three special roundtrips over the Netherlands, giving fans a last chance to enjoy their favorite jetliner. Unfortunately, the tickets for these flights are sold out, but MD-11 aficionados do stand a chance of winning two last tickets in the social media campaign Bye-Bye MD-11, which will be on until Thursday, October 30.

Read more about the MD-11 and KLM’s partnership with (McDonnell) Douglas from the KLM blog:

Today – Sunday, October 26 – KLM’s last commercial flight with an MD-11 touched down at Schiphol. A fond farewell, that will be festively repeated in November, with three roundtrips over the Netherlands for fans of this popular jetliner.

The first MD-11

KLM’s first MD-11 landed at Schiphol in 1993 – on December 10 at 11.00, to be exact. It was stormy, with gusting gale-force winds causing delays at Schiphol. The PH-KCA “Amy Johnson” landed safely at the airport and entered commercial service on January 24, 1994, flying to Lagos. KLM had ordered ten MD-11s and took out options for ten more, which it eventually never used.

The arrival of the MD-11 got extensive coverage in the KLM staff magazine Wolkenridder. The new addition to the fleet was praised for its functional flexibility, which was considered a must, because developments in the airline industry were much the same as they are today. As the Wolkenridder put it: “The current challenges in the global airline industry are not so much caused by a decline in demand, but primarily by declining fares, a trend brought on by fierce competition and customer expectations.”

The problem solver

The fact that the MD-11 cabin was relatively easy to reconfigure was seen as an option to swiftly respond to seasonal fluctuations and changing market circumstances. The cabin could be simply converted from full passenger to combi or full freighter, or it could prepared for a single-class charter flight. In short, the MD-11 was a problem solver, but also a plane that attracted lots of fans. Many pilots and plane spotters have sung the praises of the MD-11’s characteristic features and idiosyncrasies, and many of them will greet its departure with heavy hearts.

A worthy send-off

We’ll be giving the MD-11 a worthy send-off, but will also be marking the end of an 80-year partnership between KLM and Douglas, and later McDonnell Douglas. KLM is the only airline to have operated all of the series-built DC types ever produced by this manufacturer. It began with the DC-2 in 1934 (below), which KLM operated until 1946. In fact, KLM’s legendary PH-AJU “Uiver” (Stork), which won the handicap section of the London to Melbourne Race in 1934, was a DC-2.

KLM DC-2 PH-AJU Uiver (Stork)(Grd)(KLM)(LRW)

The arrival of the DC-8 in 1960 marked the start of the jet age for KLM.

An important step forward that made air transport accessible to a much larger group of people. The predecessor of the MD-11 was the DC-10, which first joined the KLM fleet in 1972. In the late 1990s, McDonnell-Douglas was taken over by Boeing, and production of the MD-11 was stopped in 2000, after 200 of these aircraft had rolled off the line. Nowadays, spare parts are hard to come by, which makes maintenance costly. Technological innovations have also overtaken the MD-11. This month, KLM will be the last airline in the world to operate a passenger flight with the MD-11, a true honour for such a faithful customer of this legendary aircraft manufacturer.

All images above by KLM.

Message to all airlines: If you are retiring a long-standing aircraft type, make a big deal about it. Cherish and honor your colorful history. Honor the past via your employees who lived the history. Operate a nostalgic “last flight” and you will fill up the seats. This new type of flight makes money! It is a growing trend to honor the past with nostalgic “last flights”. Just ask KLM, they filled all of their seats of their two special flights on November 11. After November 11 you will not be able to fly on a passenger MD-11. Thank you KLM – Donald Douglas would be proud.

KLM Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

MD-11 Slide Show:

Bottom Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. PH-KCE was also the first KLM aircraft to wear the special “95 Years” emblem.

JetBlue today launches its premium Airbus A321 Mint service on the New York JFK-San Francisco route

JetBlue Airways (New York) today (October 26) launches its interpretation of premium service, Mint, between New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

The airline continued with this statement:

 

Mint, which launched on June 15 between JFK and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), has quickly proved a success with both customers and media. JetBlue is also ramping up service between New York and San Francisco in the coming months, increasing to up to five daily roundtrip flights by first quarter 2015.

JetBlue’s critically acclaimed Mint service features the widest seat and longest fully-flat bed in the U.S. domestic market and four private suites among the 16 seats. With the introduction of Mint, JetBlue is now the only airline in America and one of the few in the world to offer customers a private suite. The Mint Experience also features a 15-inch flat screen with 100+ channels of DIRECTV® programming and more than 100 channels of SiriusXM® satellite radio.

Mint

JetBlue has teamed up with a number of unique partners to provide a distinctive product with Mint. From a tapas-style menu curated by popular New York City restaurant Saxon+Parole, wines selected by its new wine expert Jon Bonné (Wine Editor of the San Francisco Chronicle), and customized amenity kits from Birchbox, to organic desserts by Blue Marble Ice Cream and a sweet treat from Mah-ze-Dahr Bakery, Mint customers will enjoy the latest products and delicious cuisine providing refresh-mint, entertain-mint and rejuvenation during and after their flight.

Mint is available on the brand new Airbus A321 aircraft that are being continuously added to JetBlue’s fleet. JetBlue’s A321 fleet with Mint will total 11 aircraft by the end of first quarter 2015.

JetBlue already provided unlimited snacks and soft drinks, an offering that will be expanded aboard Mint aircraft. To add even more to the core experience on New York-Los Angeles/San Francisco flights, JetBlue created the Inflight Marketplace concept for all new Airbus A321s, a complimentary self-serve station full of snacks, soft drinks and water for customers to enjoy at their convenience throughout the flight.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. The A321s have the unique Prism tail design. Airbus A321-231 N923JB (msn 5960) climbs away from Los Angeles bound for New York (JFK).

JetBlue Airways Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

WestJet today launches Toronto-Phoenix flights

WestJet (Calgary) today (October 26) will launch new daily nonstop services between Toronto (Toronto) and Phoenix, Arizona

Details of WestJet’s new daily Phoenix service are as follows:

Flight WS 1198 will depart Toronto at 10 a.m. (1000) and arrive in Phoenix at 11:51 a.m. (1151).
Flight WS 1199 will depart Phoenix at 12:40 p.m. (1240) and arrive in Toronto at 7:41 p.m. (1941).

In other news, WestJet Encore will launch new daily nonstop service between Calgary and Penticton, British Columbia, today, October 26, 2014.

Details of WestJet’s new daily Penticton service are as follows:

Flight WS 3281 departs Calgary at 2:10 p.m. (1410) and arrives in Penticton at 2:26 p.m. (1426).
Flight WS 3280 departs Penticton at 3 p.m. (1500) and arrives in Calgary at 5:05 p.m. (1705).

Penticton is WestJet’s 41st nonstop destination from Calgary International Airport. The airline’s average of 97 daily departures makes YYC its busiest Canadian airport.

Launched in June 2013, WestJet Encore now services 24 cities in seven provinces with 114 daily departures. In 2015, the regional airline will launch service to Quebec City, Quebec, and Fredericton, New Brunswick.

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8CT C-GAWS (msn 38880) arrives in Las Vegas with new Aviation Partners Boeing Split Scimitar Winglets.

WestJet: AG Slide Show

UPS reports its third quarter operating profit increased 7.8% to $1.3 billion, expects holiday packages to increase by 11%

UPS (United Parcel Service) (UPS Airlines) (Atlanta and Louisville) issued this financial statement:

UPS has announced diluted earnings per share of $1.32 for the third quarter 2014, a 13.8% improvement over the prior year period. Operating profit increased 8.3%, resulting from balanced growth across all three segments.

Daily packages in the U.S. were 6.9% higher as demand from both B2C and B2B customers improved. International Export shipments increased 9.4% with strong growth in both Asia and Europe. UPS delivered 1.1 billion packages around the world, up 6.9% over the third quarter 2013.

Cash Flow

For the nine months ended Sept. 30, UPS generated $2.8 billion in free cash flow. The company paid dividends of $1.8 billion, up 8.1% per share over the prior year, and repurchased 20.6 million shares for approximately $2.1 billion.

U.S. Domestic Package

U.S. Domestic revenue increased to $8.7 billion, up 5.3% over the third quarter 2013. Daily package volume improved 6.9%, led by gains in UPS Ground and Deferred products up 7.7% and 5.9%, respectively. E-commerce continued to drive strong B2C growth, while B2B deliveries were also higher this quarter.

Operating profit was $1.3 billion, up 7.8%. Operating margin expanded 30 basis points to 14.7%. The segment experienced positive operating leverage as investments in new technology and capacity helped lower costs.

Total revenue per package declined 1.5% as base rate improvements were offset by changes in customer and product mix. UPS SurePost shipments increased more than 50%, contributing to the mix change.

During the quarter, UPS announced the expansion of its Access Point alternate delivery solution to the New York City and Chicago areas. Plans were announced to add locations in other U.S. cities, in addition to more than 4,400 existing UPS Stores, by the end of 2015.

International Package

International revenue increased 5.5% to $3.2 billion on daily package growth of 6.7%. Export products jumped 9.4% with gains from all regions of the world. Shipments out of Asia grew 16% and Europe was up 14%.

Operating profit improved 10.3% to $460 million. Operating margin expanded 70 basis points over the prior year period, to 14.5%. Revenue and cost initiatives implemented during the quarter contributed to the margin improvements.

Currency-neutral revenue per package declined 1.0% due to changing product mix and continued strength in shorter trade lanes. Non-premium products continue to outpace premium, putting pressure on yield.

On October 7, UPS announced the acquisition of international e-commerce enabler i-parcel, LLC. The company’s experience and technology in cross-border e-commerce assists U.K. and U.S. based retailers expand their reach to consumers in over 100 countries worldwide.

Supply Chain & Freight

Supply Chain and Freight revenue was up 7.4% to $2.4 billion, resulting primarily from growth in the Distribution and UPS Freight business units. Operating profit was 7% higher at $215 million, and operating margin was 8.9%.

Forwarding revenue was higher primarily due to increased International Air Freight (IAF) tonnage which was aided by high-tech product launches and Government sector gains. Operating profit improvements in North American Air Freight and Ocean Forwarding were more than offset by continued pricing pressure in IAF.

Distribution revenue increased more than 10% over the same quarter last year. Strong demand from Healthcare and Retail sector customers contributed to the growth.

UPS Freight revenue increased 7.9% to $810 million. LTL shipments were 4.7% higher and revenue per hundredweight improved 1.1%. Operating profit and margin expanded from the third quarter last year.

Outlook

The company announced its expectations for the upcoming holiday season. UPS expects shipments delivered during the month of December to climb 11% over the prior year. As previously announced, the company committed an additional $175 million in operating expense and $500 million in capital expenditures to enhance its capabilities and prepare the network for peak and future volume growth.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 747-4R7F N582UP (msn 29053) departs from Anchorage.

UPS Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

 

Greybull Capital finalizes its 90% acquisition of Monarch Airlines, will return 10 aircraft

Monarch Airlines (London-Luton) has a new ownership structure. Gerbil Capital LLP has finalized its acquisition yesterday (October 24) of the 90 percent of the stock of the airline. The airline issued this statement:

The Board of Monarch Holdings Limited (Monarch Airlines), is pleased to announce the completion of its strategic review and restructuring program under which it has secured ₤125 million of permanent capital and liquidity facilities provided by Greybull Capital LLP anchored by a ₤50 million capital commitment, with contributions from the Group’s prior shareholders, principally the Mantegazza family. Greybull also acquired 90% ownership interest in Monarch, with the remaining 10% passing to the Group’s defined pension scheme and ultimately the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).

The Civil Aviation Authority has renewed the Group’s ATOL licence.

Greybull is a family office that manages investments in private companies across a diversified range of industry sectors. Greybull will provide significant capital to Monarch in order to grow the Group and build on its long-established heritage and trusted brand name.

Under the leadership of new Chief Executive Andrew Swaffield, Monarch has undertaken a comprehensive strategic review of all areas of the business, from operations to ownership and financing. The aim of the review has been to create the optimum structure to realize the significant opportunity to build on Monarch’s respected brand and distinctive offer to its customers in the European scheduled leisure carrier market.

The main outcomes of Monarch’s strategic review and restructuring, which have led to the successful transaction with Greybull, are:

1. Optimize fleet from 42 to 34 aircraft, and revised agreements with lessors to either mark-to-market or early return of 10 aircraft from the current fleet

2. Securing a new Boeing fleet order for 30 737 MAX 8 aircraft with deliveries from 2018 to 2020, providing a cost-effective and uniform fleet by late 2020

3. Both long-haul and charter flying to end by April 2015

4. Airline network to specialize on Monarch’s ‘heartland’ of scheduled short-haul European leisure routes, with increased average frequencies, aircraft utilization, productivity and profitability

5. Focus on five UK airport bases – London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, London Luton and Leeds-Bradford – and closure of East Midlands from summer 2015

6. Material concessions agreed with employees across the Group to enable the successful restructuring, including reductions in pay of up to 30%, with more than 90% of unionized staff voting to accept changes, and some 700 redundancies, two-thirds of which were voluntary
Reduction of the Group’s operating cost base, in line with other low-cost carriers, and increased efficiencies across the business
Resolution of the Group’s pension deficit through agreement with the Pensions Regulator, PPF and the Trustee of the Monarch Airlines

7. Limited Retirement Benefits Plan which will result in the Plan being assessed for entry into the PPF. The PPF would then hold a 10% stake in the Group, in line with its principles in restructurings such as this. The Pensions Regulator has cleared the restructuring. The pension deficit as per the company’s balance sheet was previously £158 million and the current estimated shortfall to secure full benefits is around £660 million.

Monarch Group CEO, Andrew Swaffield, said:

“I am delighted to welcome the Greybull team as the new owners of the Monarch Group. We have a shared vision for the strategic direction and prospects for the business, and I am looking forward to working with them to implement the exciting plans for building our future.”

“I would personally like to thank all Monarch employees who have been hugely supportive of the initiatives which were essential to complete this transaction. I am very proud to be leading such a team – together we will be building a great future for the Group.”

Commenting on behalf of the selling shareholders, Fabio Mantegazza said:

“We are very proud to have created one of the most loved aviation brands in the UK over the last 46 years. We think that now is an appropriate time to allow new shareholders to take Monarch into the future, with secure financial backing and clear strategic goals and we wish the Group every success.”

Said Greybull Partner Marc Meyohas:

“We are delighted to acquire Monarch and invest our capital into a very strong brand with great potential in all its markets and are grateful for the selling shareholders’ support in achieving this transaction. We see this as a long-term investment and hope we can be very supportive shareholders throughout Monarch’s next chapter.”

Advisers:

Seabury Securities (UK) Ltd., a unit of Seabury Group, acted as lead investment banker, along with co-adviser Dean Street Advisers, to the Monarch Group on the transaction with Greybull Capital LLP. Seabury Advisors LLC served as Monarch’s lead restructuring adviser and industrial consultant with respect to crafting the turnaround plan with Monarch’s management group. KPMG LLP and Short Partners LLP served as additional restructuring advisers. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP and Bird and Bird LLP served as legal advisers to Monarch.

Greybull was advised by Zolfo Cooper LLP as financial adviser and Forsters LLP as legal counsel.

PricewaterhouseCoopers served as adviser to the selling shareholders.

In August 2014, Monarch confirmed it was undergoing a strategic review with the objective of determining the optimal structure to take the company forward. The Group sees a significant opportunity to build on the respected Monarch brand and distinctive customer offer, in order to create a focused and efficient scheduled European leisure carrier. Part of this strategy involves a major investment into its aircraft fleet. In July 2014, Monarch announced Boeing was the preferred bidder for its narrow-bodied fleet replacement, with 30 Boeing 737 MAX 8s for delivery from Q2 2018. At current list prices, this aircraft deal would be worth $3.1 billion. This transformational investment will enable Monarch to operate as efficiently as any European low-cost carrier.

As part of the strategic review, the Board of Monarch identified a number of cost-reduction initiatives that needed to be addressed in order to compete effectively in its chosen markets, specifically the scheduled European short-haul leisure market. With the strong support of all of Monarch’s stakeholders, including its employees, unions, third-party suppliers and regulators, a number of initiatives were set in motion and have been agreed to create a far stronger Group.

Greybull has private equity investments in various sectors including pharmaceuticals, semiconductors, energy, industrials, retail and leisure. It is a long-term active investor with significant or controlling stakes in all of its companies. Within its portfolio Greybull owns significant assets including:

Plessey Semiconductors Limited, where since 2010 Greybull has supported management’s plans to restructure and re-develop the company and has financed add-on acquisitions
New Era Petroleum Inc. Since 2010 Greybull has backed New Era with both working capital to develop its activities and capital to acquire and re-develop oil fields in the US
Arc Specialist Engineering Limited is a conglomerate of businesses in the steel industry. Greybull fully financed Arc and has been successfully trading the company since becoming its majority shareholder in 2013

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. As part of the restructuring all long-haul routes are being dropped as the “new Monarch” focuses on its core UK Heartland cities with popular short-haul routes to sunny destinations. Monarch is retiring its last two Boeing 757-200s and likely the pictured Airbus A330-200s as the long-haul routes are dropped. The company will focus around the Airbus A320/A320 Family aircraft until the new Boeing 737 MAX 8s are delivered. Airbus A330-243 G-SMAN (msn 261) is pictured taxiing at Palma de Mallorca. Is a new livery coming under the new owners?

Monarch Airlines Aircraft Slide Show:

Delta and Virgin Atlantic this weekend add to their trans-Atlantic joint venture with two swapped flights

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) and Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) this weekend are marking the launch of their new services between London (Heathrow) and Los Angeles and London-Heathrow and Atlanta respectively.

The new routes are the first transfer of operations between the two airlines since the launch of their joint venture earlier this year and will offer more choice and flexibility for both airlines’ customers on these key routes across the Atlantic.

From Sunday, Delta will be flying nonstop from London to California for the first time with one of two daily Heathrow-Los Angeles flights previously operated by Virgin Atlantic. The route is Delta’s seventh nonstop destination between London and the United States. Virgin Atlantic, meanwhile, is operating its first ever flights into the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, having taken over one of Delta’s three daily services, and is now able to offer more than 100 additional international and domestic connections to its customers at Delta’s hub airport.

Delta and Virgin Atlantic will operate their Los Angeles and Atlanta services at Heathrow Terminal 3. This co-location adds to the New York-JFK, Boston and Seattle/Tacoma joint venture flights, which already operate from Terminal 3. This provides convenient connections and a seamless customer experience for passengers of both airlines, including access to Virgin Atlantic’s award winning Clubhouse for all business class passengers. Both carriers also offer full flat-bed seats with direct aisle access on all business class flights between the U.K and U.S..

Virgin Atlantic expects to fly around 160,000 passengers annually to Atlanta and beyond on its new service providing convenient connections to Delta flights across the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean. Virgin Atlantic has recently announced plans to add a second daily seasonal flight to Atlanta in summer 2015 as part of a package of investment into North American routes that will see the total number of peak day flights operated by the joint venture at 37 from March.

Since the start of the Delta and Virgin Atlantic trans-Atlantic joint venture, 3.5 million passengers have experienced the benefits of the partnership. The two airlines also have a codeshare agreement in place, maximizing the customer appeal of the joint schedule. The partnership enables the airlines to offer more flight choices for travellers on both sides of the Atlantic by improving their travel options.

Top Copyright Photo: Delta will operate the Boeing 767-300 ER on the LHR-LAX route. Delta’s Boeing 767-332 ER N16065 (msn 30199) now carries special “Andrew Young – Atlanta ‘s Ambassador to the World” markings by the nose saluting the diplomatic career of Atlanta native Andrew Young.

Delta Air Lines Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Virgin Atlantic Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Virgin Atlantic will operate the Airbus A330-300 on the LHR-ATL route. Airbus A330-343 G-VUFO (msn 1352) climbs away from the runway at London’s Heathrow Airport.

United Airlines to launch four new Pacific routes

United Airlines (Chicago) will launch four new Pacific routes, beginning with nonstop service between Los Angeles and Melbourne, Australia, and between San Francisco and Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, on October 26, 2014. Later in the week, the airline will also launch two new routes from its Guam hub – Seoul, South Korea, on October 27 and Shanghai on October 28.

Los Angeles – Melbourne, Australia

The airline will fly the Los Angeles – Melbourne route six times weekly with the new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft (above). United is the North American launch customer for the 787-9, and this will be the carrier’s first international deployment of the aircraft type.

United has timed the new Melbourne flights to conveniently connect at Los Angeles with an extensive network of service throughout the United States, Canada and Latin America. United and United Express jointly operate nearly 200 flights daily from Los Angeles to more than 65 destinations. With this new service, United will provide convenient one-stop service to Melbourne from more than 37 U.S. cities.

United started service to Australia in 1979 and today operates more flights to more destinations in Australia than any other U.S. carrier, with daily flights from its San Francisco and Los Angeles hubs to Sydney and Melbourne and twice-weekly service to Cairns from Guam.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner

The 787 Dreamliner is revolutionizing the flying experience for United customers and crews while delivering unprecedented operating efficiency, comfort and lower emissions.

The 787-9’s extended range – 8,550 miles compared to the 787-8’s 8,200 – enables United to launch the Los Angeles-to-Melbourne service, which will be the longest Dreamliner route in the world to date.

The Boeing 787-9 aircraft operating the new Melbourne route will feature a total of 252 seats – 48 in United BusinessFirst and 204 in United Economy, including 88 Economy Plus seats with added legroom and increased personal space.

San Francisco – Tokyo/Haneda Airport

New daily flights between San Francisco and Tokyo’s close-in Haneda Airport complement United’s existing service between the hub and Tokyo’s Narita International Airport. Flights from San Francisco to both Tokyo airports maximize choice and convenience for customers traveling from across the Americas to Tokyo, and to points beyond on United’s joint-venture partner ANA.

The flight schedules enable customers to use convenient public transportation between Haneda Airport and central Tokyo and Yokohama.

United also operates daily service to Tokyo/Narita from its hubs in Chicago (O’Hare), Denver, Guam, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark and Washington (Dulles), as well as from Honolulu.

United is the largest carrier at San Francisco International Airport, offering nearly 300 daily flights to more than 90 destinations in the U.S. and around the world, more service than any other airline from the Bay Area. United’s San Francisco hub also offers more nonstop trans-Pacific service than any airline hub in America. The company currently operates nearly 30 daily nonstop flights from San Francisco to more than 20 international destinations.

Guam to Seoul, South Korea and Shanghai

In addition, United will launch two new routes from its Guam hub at A.P. Won Pat International Airport: daily service to Seoul’s Incheon International Airport beginning on October 27, 2014, and twice-weekly service to Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport, the first nonstop service from Guam to mainland China, beginning on October 28, 2014.

United has served Guam for more than 40 years, with United and United Express currently providing nonstop service from the hub to more than 17 destinations in the Asia/Pacific region.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. The first United Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, N38950 (msn 36401) departs from Los Angeles International Airport.

United Airlines Aircraft Slide Show (current livery): AG Slide Show

United’s International Route Map:

United 10.2014 International Route Map

Cathay Pacific updates its brushwing brand

Cathay Pacific 2014 logo

Cathay Pacific Airways (Hong Kong) is updating its 1994 brushwing logo and brand. The airline is freeing the brushwing from the box. The airline issued this explanation:

Symbolizing our efforts to create a better, more beautiful and more enjoyable journey for passengers, we have refreshed many aspects of our brand identity.

Centred around our timeless brushwing icon, we have sought to simplify, clarify and beautify. The brushwing no longer sits constrained inside a box, and has been gently harmonized and set free.

We have also defined tighter rules around sub-brands which will now be clearly aligned within a simplified, tiered hierarchy. We will also use a tighter palette of colors and typography.

The next step? A probable new aircraft livery with the new logo and typeface.

Cathay Pacific 1994 > 2014 logo evolution

Cathay Pacific Typeface Evolution (LRW)

Above: The typeface evolution from 1994 to 2014.

Cathay Pacific lounge (LRW)

All images by Cathay Pacific.

Cathay Pacific Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

The updated Premium Economy cabin:

Cathay Pacific Premium Economy (CPA)(LRW)

 

 

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