Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur), owned by a majority share by a holding company of the Malaysian government, is considering changes in the the wake of the two tragic accidents this year.
According to RT.com, the government is considering a rebrand, a different ownership restructure, a possible new name and an adjustment of its route network.
Malaysia Airlines is very likely to change.
As far as the livery, the two ill-fated Boeing 777-200 ERs wore the older 1987 livery (above) which features the red and blue Kelantan Wau Bulan (Moon Dragon Kite) tail logo which has been seen in the headlines over and over, especially with the debris in eastern Ukraine. Any brand refresh would probably retire this iconic and historic logo.
Read the full article: CLICK HERE
Top Copyright Photo: Richard Vandervord/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8FZ 9M-MLH (msn 31723) is pictured in action at Phuket, Thailand in the 1987 color scheme.
Below Copyright Photo: Ivan K. Nishimura/AirlinersGallery.com. Malaysia refreshed the red and blue Kelantan Wau Bulan (kite) livery in 2010 with this new twin arc look while retaining the kite tail logo. Boeing 737-8H6 9M-MSE (msn 40147) passes through Honolulu on delivery.
Below Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. When Malaysia introduced the new Airbus A380, the airline unveiled this special A380 livery (for only the A380s) in 2012. The red and blue kite morphed into a blue kite for the A380s. Is this enough of a change? Probably not. Airbus A380-841 9M-MNB (msn 081) departs from London (Heathrow).
Bottom Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati/AirlinersGallery.com. When MSA was split into Malaysian Airline System (MAS) and Singapore Airlines, Malaysian (later Malaysia Airlines) originally introduced this livery in 1972. As you will note, the original livery featured a red and white kite tail logo. Dropping this historic logo will be a tough decision for the airline but unfortunately it is now a tarnished logo. Boeing 737-2H6 9M-MBH (msn 20926) prepares to depart from the gate at Kuala Lumpur.
Jetairfly (TUI Airlines Belgium) (Brussels) will return to Sanford (near Orlando) on October 24 where it will operate twice weekly Boeing 767-300 ER flights on a Brussels-Miami-Sanford-Brussels routing per Airline Route.
The carrier will also add a separate third weekly return trip to Miami.
Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 767-341 ER OO-TUC (msn 24844) taxies from the gate at Brussels.
United Airlines (Chicago) will end service to Guadalajara, Mexico from its San Francisco hub on September 21 per Airline Route.
Copyright Photo: Mark Durbin/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 N475UA (msn 1495) taxies from the gate at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in the retro 1972 “A320 Friend Ship” color scheme.
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) today announced it will begin offering free entertainment options on all of its domestic aircraft and two-cabin regional jets beginning on August 1.
According to the airline;
“The move is the most far-reaching effort by an airline to provide hit movies, popular television shows, music and video games for free. With the introduction of Delta Studio and the airline’s investments to update the interiors of its aircraft, Delta is setting the standard for customers when it comes to free entertainment across more than 1,000 aircraft.”
All Delta customers, in every class of service on flights longer than one and a half hours, will have access to a selection of free entertainment options, either at their seat or through their laptops, mobile and tablet devices. Free entertainment options are available on flights with seat-back entertainment systems or on demand video streaming onboard Delta’s Wi-Fi-equipped aircraft.
“Through the introduction of Delta Studio our customers have yet another reason to choose Delta and a different travel experience,” said Tim Mapes, senior vice president – Marketing. “Delta continues to be driven by customer feedback which has consistently placed the desire to be entertained at the top of the list of ways to improve our customers’ time in the air.”
Delta customers seated in BusinessElite, First Class and Economy Comfort will have free, unrestricted access to in-flight entertainment on all international flights worldwide. Customers traveling in economy on all international flights will also have access to free content. Delta completed installation of seat-back entertainment systems on its international fleet in 2013.
Customers traveling on domestic flights in BusinessElite, First Class and Economy Comfort will have free access to all in-flight entertainment. Domestic economy customers will have access to free content which includes all of Delta’s live satellite TV channels, music selections and game options through seat-back entertainment systems as well as movie or TV selections such as ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ or ‘Frozen’ on seat-back systems in August as well as streaming content through in-flight Wi-Fi.
Additional premium content will be available for purchase in economy including the latest movie titles such as ‘Need for Speed’ or ‘Rio 2,’ HBO and SHOWTIME programming as well as on-demand TV shows like ‘About a Boy’ or ‘The Middle.’ Delta’s full entertainment line-up for the month of August is available in Sky magazine.
Seat-back In-flight Entertainment
Delta offers 18 channels of live satellite TV on select aircraft and up to 250 movies, hundreds of TV shows, 2,300 songs and a selection of games on aircraft with seat-back entertainment systems. Delta is the only U.S. carrier to offer personal, on-demand entertainment at every seat on all long-haul international flights.
Delta has 140 domestic aircraft with seat-back entertainment systems installed and recently announced that it will be updating more of its domestic narrowbody aircraft through 2016. These fleet interior modifications will add seat-back entertainment to 56 Boeing 757-200, 43 Boeing 737-800s and 57 Airbus A319 aircraft. Additionally, more than 100 new Airbus and Boeing aircraft are already scheduled to be delivered with seat-back entertainment through 2018.
In-flight streaming through onboard Wi-Fi
Customers traveling on any domestic Delta or Delta Connection two-cabin aircraft equipped with Wi-Fi will be able to stream free movies and TV options directly to their mobile devices while in flight by using Gogo’s video player app. The Fly Delta app will include an integrated player for iOS devices. Customers who have downloaded the app before their flight can easily access streamed content from Delta aircraft for playback while in-flight.
With more than 900 domestic and international aircraft equipped with in-flight Wi-Fi, Delta operates the world’s largest fleet of internet connected aircraft available to more than 400,000 customers on more than 4,000 flights daily. Delta’s in-flight connectivity continues to expand with the installation of the service on its international fleet. All Boeing 777, 767, 747, Airbus A330 and trans-oceanic Boeing 757 aircraft are scheduled for completion by the end of 2015, bringing the total number of Wi-Fi connected aircraft in Delta’s fleet to more than 1,000.
Artist Spotlight and Billboard Partnership
In June, Delta also launched its new music discovery platform for popular and emerging artists called Delta Artist Spotlight. The monthly program kicked off with newcomer Sam Smith and his debut album, ‘In The Lonely Hour’ by introducing his music to millions of passengers through overhead music during boarding and deplaning as well as offering custom content selections for aircraft equipped with seat-back entertainment systems. July featured Scottish electronic band Chvrches and Canadian-born songstress Kiezsa will be highlighted in the month of August.
Delta launched an industry-first partnership with Billboard in July to provide new ergonomically designed earbuds on flights more than 250 miles that feature seat-back and overhead entertainment. As one of the world’s most influential music brands, Billboard brings a new level of expertise to the redesigned earbuds resulting in better sound quality and improved comfort. The earbuds are complimentary for all customers traveling on all international flights as well as flights between New York and Los Angeles, San Francisco or Seattle/Tacoma. Customers seated in domestic economy or Economy Comfort can purchase the earbuds for $2.
Copyright Photos: Delta Air Lines.
American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) will launch new daily service between Miami International Airport (MIA) and Cap-Haitien, Haiti (CAP), adding a new international destination to the airline’s growing global network. Customers can now book travel on the new route for travel beginning October 2, 2014, subject to government approval.
The new route supplements American’s long-standing service to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and will be operated with a Boeing 737-800.
Copyright Photo: Luimer Cordero/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-823 N980AN (msn 33203) arrives at the Miami hub.
Virgin America Inc. (San Francisco) today announced that it has filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a proposed initial public offering (IPO) of its common stock. The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering have not yet been determined.
Barclays and Deutsche Bank Securities are acting as joint book-running managers and as representatives of the underwriters for the proposed offering.
A registration statement relating to the offering of Virgin America’s securities has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission but has not yet become effective. These securities may not be sold nor may offers to buy be accepted prior to the time the registration statement becomes effective.
Copyright Photo: Mark Durbin/AirlinersGallery.com. As we reported in June, Virgin America announced a new contest for dedicated San Francisco Giants baseball fans to be pictured on an Airbus A320. Airbus A320-214 N849VA (msn 4991) has now been unveiled in its latest 2014 version with features the words “Fly Together” which is actually composed of small pictures of SF Giants fans who won the contest!
As part of the expanding Transavia lower-fare operations the Group issued this statement:
In the Second Quarter of 2014, Transavia capacity was up 4.8%, reflecting the accelerated development of Transavia France (up 10%) and the repositioning of Transavia Netherlands (up 3% including a 6% reduction in charter capacity). Traffic rose 6.0%, leading to a record high load factor of 90.7% (up 0.9 point). Unit revenue was down 1.7%. Transavia’s total revenue stood at 296 million euros, up 5.0%. The operating result was -6 million euros, down 3 million euros year-on-year.
In the First Half of 2014, Transavia traffic increased by 6.9% for capacity up 5.8%, leading to a 0.9 point increase in load factor to 89.2%. Unit revenue was down 2.6%. Total revenue stood at 435 million euros, up 4.5%, while the unit cost per ASK decreased by 0.8%, but increased by 0.5% on a constant currency basis. The operating result decreased by 10 million euros to -64 million euros, mainly due to the ramp up of Transavia France.
Overall the Group issued this outlook:
Delivery on the Transform 2015 plan is fully on track. However, as indicated at the beginning of the month, the operating environment remains tough, with industry overcapacity on certain long-haul routes, notably North America and Asia, impacting yields. This trend comes on top of the persistently weak cargo demand and the challenging situation in Venezuela already identified in the First Quarter.
Under these conditions, as indicated at the beginning of the month, 2014 EBITDA is expected to be between 2.2 and 2.3 billion euros. Strong capital discipline will enable the group to remain on track in terms of debt reduction and achieve its objective of 4.5 billion euros in net debt in 2015.
Read the full report: CLICK HERE
Top Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Air France’s Airbus A380-861 F-HPJE (msn 052) with the special logo to celebrate 50 years of France-China diplomatic relations.
Bottom Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 747-406 PH-BFF (msn 24202) completes its final approach to the runway at Toronto (Pearson).
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) will launch a new international route from its Salt Lake City hub to KLM’s Amsterdam hub on May 1. The new route will be operated five days a week using Boeing 767-300 aircraft according to Airline Route. It will become daily service on May 17.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 767-3P6 ER N156DL (msn 25354) arrives at Tokyo (Narita).
Republic Airways Holdings (Indianapolis) is an airline holding company that owns Chautauqua Airlines, Republic Airlines (2nd) and Shuttle America. The group is consolidating operations in order to reduce costs.
CEO Bryan Bedford issued a short statement to the employees of the group concerning the closure of Chautauqua Airlines before the end of the year. The group intends to consolidate the Chautuaqua Embraer ERJ operations into the Shuttle America operating certificate. Chautauqua will be shut down.
Chautauqua Airlines was established on May 3, 1973, in Jamestown, Chautauqua County, New York State and began operations on August 1, 1974 using two 15-passenger Beech 99 aircraft. It was one of earliest Allegheny Commuter carriers. It became an USAir Express (later US Airways Express) carrier in 1979.
Besides the Allegheny/USAir/US Airways lineage, Chautauqua has operated under the America West Express, American Connection, Continental Express, Frontier Airlines (2nd), Midwest Connect, Trans World Express and United Express brands.
Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. SAAB 340A N125CH (msn 125) displays 1976 Allegheny Commuter livery.
Flybe (Exeter) is saving the Aberdeen to London City route, with twice daily flights starting on Monday, October 27, 2014. The route be flown with the pictured Bombardier DHC-8-402 (marketed as the Q400).
The news follows British Airway’s recent announcement that it would be withdrawing from the route at the end of the summer season, and after serious concern around the future of the service that is considered crucial given passenger demand that reflects the strength of the economy in the north of Scotland.
The airline has also announced five more routes to its 2014-15 Winter Schedule including two that are brand new, namely between Birmingham and Berlin (Tegel) with Embraer 175 aircraft and from East Midlands to Aberdeen (weekdays) also with Embraer 175 aircraft. The airline’s daily service between Exeter and Newcastle also returns from October 26, together with two winter ski routes to Geneva from Cardiff and Inverness that start on 20th December 20.
In total, Flybe’s 2014-15 Winter program now features 105 routes offering customers a choice of up to 2,809 flights a week: 16 routes being brand new, with a further 11 that include seasonal routes returning or being extended for the first time through winter.
Copyright Photo: Nik French/AirlinersGallery.com. Once painted in the special “Low cost, but not at any cost” color scheme, Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) G-JEDP (msn 4085) is now painted in the 2014 purple livery.
Current Flybe routes from London (City):
Norwegian continues to build up its presence at London’s Gatwick Airport, reports a 2Q net profit of $20.5 million
Norwegian Air Shuttle’s (Norwegian.com) (Oslo) route network from London Gatwick continues to expand. Norwegian is adding four new destinations this winter; Madeira and La Palma for the sun-seekers and Grenoble and Salzburg for the ski enthusiasts.
Norwegian is also increasing the number of weekly departures on its routes from London Gatwick to Lanzarote, Rome and Larnaca.
From October 28 and November 1, respectively, Norwegian offers sun-seekers two weekly flights from London Gatwick to the Portuguese island of Madeira and one weekly flight to La Palma in the Canary Islands. Those more keen on white and powdery conditions in the Alps this winter, can from December 13 fly nonstop to Grenoble and Salzburg once a week.
Today, Norwegian is a major player at London Gatwick airport. The airline established a crew base at the airport in 2013 and now offers 41 routes from London Gatwick. Norwegian has eight Boeing 737-800 aircraft based at London Gatwick today as well as around 90 pilots and 200 cabin crew members.
On the financial side, Norwegian (NAS) reported a second quarter 2014 net profit of 128 million NOK ($20.5 million). According to the carrier, “The second quarter is characterized by strong growth and a record high load factor, and influenced by significant, one-off costs, a weak Norwegian currency and high oil prices. The strike from labor union Parat earlier this year alone cost Norwegian over 100 million NOK in lost revenue.
The second quarter figures also reflect Norwegian’s growth strategy and the company’s goal to fill all its new seats. Despite significant costs related to the start-up of the long-haul operation and higher costs due to the weak Norwegian currency, the unit cost (CASK) is down, strengthening Norwegian’s competitive advantage further. Over the past year, Norwegian has introduced seven Dreamliner aircraft to its long-haul operation.
The total revenue in the second quarter was over 5 BNOK, up 26 percent from the same quarter last year. The pre-tax result (EBT) was -137 MNOK. 6.4 million passengers chose to travel with Norwegian during the second quarter, which is an increase of 16 percent and almost 900 000 passengers more than the same period last year. The company’s traffic growth (RPK) was considerably higher at 46 percent, which reflects that each of Norwegian’s passengers on average flies significantly longer than they did a year ago.”
Record high load factor
Norwegian realized a strong production growth (ASK) of 41 percent. The growth is, naturally, stronger in new markets. Despite Norwegian’s strong capacity growth, the company is still filling its seats. The load factor in this quarter was 80 percent, up three percentage points from the same quarter last year, which is record high for a second quarter.
Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8JP LN-NGT (msn 41125) taxies at Palma de Mallorca (PMI) with Anton K.H. Jakobsen on the tail.
Current routes from London Gatwick:
Ryanair (Dubin) has announced it will launch a new Manchester winter route to/from Shannon as part of an extended Manchester winter 2014 schedule, with 24 routes in total, including four other new routes to Barcelona, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria and Lisbon and extra frequencies to Madrid, Riga and Rome.
Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8AS EI-DPK (msn 33610) arrives for landing at Tenerife Sur.
ANA (All Nippon Airways) (Tokyo) will become the world’s first airline to operate the new stretched version of the Boeing Dreamliner when it launches services on domestic Japanese routes in August with the 787-9 variant of the aircraft.
Deliveries to ANA of the 787-9, an extended fuselage model of the aircraft, from Boeing’s Everett site in Washington are due to begin on July 27. The first aircraft will arrive in Tokyo on July 29. The aircraft achieves even better fuel economy than the 787-8, recording an improvement of 23% (*1), and also has approximately 20% more seating and cargo capacity (*2), resulting in a further reduction in operating costs. The aircraft will contribute to the continued expansion of ANA’s business, particularly in its international network.
In advance of bringing the plane into scheduled commercial service, ANA is going to operate a special commemorative flight for the ‘Dreamliner’ on August 4, 2014. ANA will fly Japanese and American elementary school children living in Japan on a flight for the next generation of air passengers. The aircraft will fly from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport to fly over Mount Fuji, one of Japan’s best known landmarks and newest World Heritage Site. The TOMODACHI logo will be displayed on the new aircraft, in support of the initiative to strengthen Japanese-US ties.
About the TOMODACHI logo:
ANA signed the sponsorship agreement in 2012 for the public-private partnership TOMODACHI Initiative led by the US Embassy in Japan and the US-Japan Council to strengthen US-Japan ties. An opportunity was created to promote these principles and expand these activities by displaying the TOMODACHI logo on three aircraft to fly on routes between the US and Japan.
While the aircraft is expected to show lower operating costs and improved environmental performance as a result of even better fuel economy, the 787-9, like the 787-8, makes use of state-of-the-art technology to provide customers with a new level of in-flight comfort through innovations such as improved cabin humidity, reduced discomfort from cabin pressure changes, and larger windows and luggage storages.
ANA’s first 787-9 will be delivered with domestic route specifications and will be equipped with 395 seats, 60 more than the 787-8 when flown on domestic routes. The aircraft will begin service on domestic routes from August onwards and, from the next fiscal year beginning in April, 2015, ANA will introduce the new aircraft on international routes. ANA was the launch customer for the Dreamliner and is the world’s biggest operator of the 787, having ordered a total of 80 aircraft, including 36 787-8s (28 already delivered) and 44 787-9s.
The fuel savings achieved from the 787 aircraft already in service are sufficient to operate 500 round trips from Tokyo to Frankfurt and are reducing CO2 emissions by 150,000 tons a year. When all 80 Dreamliners are in operation, the CO2 reduction will be 450,000 tons, with enough fuel saved to operate 1,400 round trips to Frankfurt.
The introduction of this new, advanced aircraft will accelerate ANA’s growth strategy including the development of new routes and increased flight frequencies on existing routes, enabling ANA to serve passengers better and making it even more competitive.
(*1) The fuel economy comparison is based on the Boeing 767-300 ER
(*2) The seat number comparison is based on the number of seats in cabins fitted for domestic routes.
The cargo comparison is based on the cargo capacity by weight.
ANA CEO’s statement on the reliability and performance of the new 787 batteries:
A year has passed since we recommenced regular flights of Boeing 787 on June 1 of last year with a comprehensive battery strategy after the emergency landing of ANA Flight 692 at Takamatsu Airport on January 16 of last year.
Since then we have operated approximately 26,000 flights with over 4.7 million passengers and about 100,000 tons of cargo and mail. Regarding the renovated batteries, we have monitored their operating conditions on a daily basis and regularly removed them from the aircraft for inspection. We have confirmed that they are operating normally.
The ANA Group is making every effort to ensure safe flight operations in order to provide peace of mind to our customers. We look forward to serving you on board the comfortable and environmentally friendly 787.
President & CEO
All Nippon Airways, Co. Ltd.
June 2, 2014
On-Time Reliability of the 787 versus the 777 and 767:
Copyright Photo: Steve Bailey/AirlinersGallery.com (click on the photo for the full size view). Boeing 787-9 N1792B (msn 34522) will become JA830A on the handover.
LAN Airlines (Chile) (Santiago) will resume Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner service on the Santiago-Lima-Los Angeles route on October 14. The 787 will replace a Boeing 767-300 on a daily basis per Airline Route.
Copyright Photo: Alvaro Romero/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 787-8 CC-BBA (msn 38471) prepares to land at the Santiago de Chile base (SCL).
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Embraer ERJ 145XR (EMB-145XR) N18101 (msn 145590) arrives at the Chicago O’Hare hub.
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) is adding another new route from its growing Seattle/Tacoma hub. SEA-Puerto Vallarta, Mexico service will be initiated on December 20 with Boeing 737-800s. The route will be operated on a weekly basis (three days a week during the Christmas-New Year holidays) per Airline Route.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-832 N390DA (msn 30536) climbs away from the runway at Los Angeles International Airport.
Delta Air Lines (current):
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (Amsterdam) will expand its long-haul service to South America next year. KLM will launch a new scheduled service to Colombia’s capital, Bogota, and Cali, the country’s third-largest city. From March 31, 2015, KLM will fly three times a week operating a Boeing 777-200 on flight KL 745. The circle flights will start in Amsterdam, stopping in Bogota and Cali, and returning directly to Amsterdam. The service will be part of KLM’s new summer schedule and will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-206 ER PH-BQP (msn 32721) in the special “Delft Blue” color scheme taxies at Toronto (Pearson).
Adriatic Skyways (Dubrovnik) has started charter operations from Basle/Mulhouse/Freiburg (EuroAirport) to Pristina using a wet leased Denim Air Fokker F.28 Mk. 0100 (Fokker 100) PH-LND according to ch-aviation.
The company describes itself:
Adriatic Skyways has joined forces with the Dutch AOC Holder Denim Air ACMI B. V. The flights will be operated by Denim on behalf of Adriatic Skyways, all other commercial operations are run by Adriatic Skyways.
Denim was carefully selected by Adriatic Skyways to become its single and exclusive airline partner. Denim has established an impressive track record as a regional aircraft operator. They have operated on behalf of airlines, companies, tour operators and other groups since 1996. Denim focuses on operational excellence, rather than ticket sales. The optimization of the flight operation in terms of reliability, punctuality, and passenger satisfaction has the highest priority.
Denim operates Embraer E190, Fokker 50 and Fokker 100, and confirms that they have these aircraft available.
Adriatic Skyways is established to promote and develop airline traffic from the Balkan region. Its expertise lies in the commercial operation of an airline, rather than the operational. Adriatic Skyways focuses on the contacts with tour operators, local tourism agencies, hotels, governments, etc, in order to increase traffic and tickets sales from the region. The business model excludes starting its own AOC to stay lean and low cost, and therefore Adriatic Skyways has selected Denim Air ACMI as its operator. The aircraft are in Adriatic Skyways livery and the flight program is managed by Adriatic Skyways. The entire flight experience for the passanges is an Adriatic Skyways product.
Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth. Denim Air’s Fokker F.28 Mk. 0100 (Fokker 100) PH-LND (msn 11320) carries joint titles for this new operation. Oddly the titles on the aircraft “Adriatic Sky”.
Atlantis European Airways (Yerevan) has added its first Airbus A320, its first aircraft. Former Armavia A320-211 EK32008 (msn 229) has been acquired and is being prepared for service in Prague according to Skyliner.
The company describes its activities:
Atlantis European Airways (AEA) LLC is an air carrier, which was established in Armenia with a strong purpose to improve Armenia’s tourism services’ infrastructure as well as to support the country’s small business development opportunities. Atlantis European Airways LLC is operating code-share flights with Austrian and Czech Airlines from Yerevan via Vienna and Prague to other destinations. One of the main targets of the business strategy of Atlantis European Airways is the integration of the company with the largest alliances of overseas airlines worldwide. The overall mission of Atlantis European Airways is to attract corporate and non-corporate partners for long-term collaboration and encourage them to become members of the company as a result of which they will be offered the richest variety of services provided by Atlantis European Airways . It realizes charter flights on requests. Air tickets are being sold all over Armenia via travel agencies the number of which reaches around 40.
Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur) is still in crisis mode after the savage downing of flight MH 17 over the Russian-speaking rebel-held area of the eastern Ukraine. The airline now avoids flying over the Ukraine.
Yesterday the flag carrier issued this statement about MH 17:
“Following the agreement Prime Minister Najib Razak brokered with rebel leaders, Malaysia has taken custody of flight MH 17′s black boxes. As the Prime Minister said, they will be passed to the international investigation team for analysis.
The international investigation team, led by the Netherlands, has decided to pass the black boxes to the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch for forensic analysis. It is normal procedure for black boxes to be sent for analysis to the nearest laboratory authorized by the International Civil Aviation Association.
The black boxes will therefore be flown to Farnborough, UK, accompanied by Malaysian experts and other members of the international investigation team.”
Meanwhile on the financial side, the airline is also hurting. Load factors and yield are reportedly declining given the attention the airline is receiving in the media.
Previously on May 15 the airline reported a growing quarterly net loss of RM443 million ($139.5 million) for the three months ending on March 31, 2014 compared to a loss of RM279 million ($87.8 million) for the same quarter a year ago.
Bloomberg Businessweek is exploring the question of whether the airline can survive as we know it given this double tragedy and declining fortunes and cash flow.
According to the magazine, “MAS executives are focusing on finding a way to save the company. The carrier this week is going to present a plan to its parent, state-run Khazanah Nasional, Bloomberg News reported. Bankruptcy is one option. Taking the company private is another.”
Most likely the carrier will continue to operate in some form but it will probably change.
Read the full article: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil/AirlinersGallery.com. Can Malaysia Airlines, with declining numbers, remain an Airbus A380 operator? The A380 is the flagship aircraft for the carrier but if it can’t fill the seats it may be the wrong aircraft for the airline. Airbus A380-841 9M-MNF (msn 114) arrives in London (Heathrow) with special “100th A380″ markings.
Austrian Airlines (Vienna) took delivery of its 15th Bombardier DHC-8-402 (OE-LGO, msn 4281) on July 21. The turboprop is operated by lower-cost Tyrolean Airways under the Tyrolean AOC and the Austrian brand.
The group has announced it will operate the type on a wet lease basis for fellow Lufthansa Group carrier Swiss International Air Lines (Zurich) on a Swiss domestic route starting on November 1 between the Swiss hub at Zurich and Lugano. In the future, four flights each day will be operated on this route. By deploying the larger aircraft, Swiss will be able to increase its capacity on the route by 50 percent.
With the arrival of OE-LGO, the fleet of the Austrian Airlines Group will reach a total of 76 aircraft. All but one Austrian-titled aircraft is operated by Tyrolean Airways.
Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Sister-ship Bombardier DHC-8-402 (marketed as the Q400) OE-LGD (msn 4027) lands at Basel/Mulhouse/Freiburg (BSL).
Turkish Boeing 737-9F2 TC-JYA is pulled to safety and passengers evacuated after a fuel truck catches on fire in Nigeria
Turkish Airlines (Istanbul) Boeing 737-9F2 ER TC-JYA (msn 40973), pictured above, was reportedly slightly damaged at Kano, Nigeria on Tuesday night (July 22) as it was being refueled. The fuel truck, which was refueling the airliner, suddenly caught on fire. The Boeing 737 was quickly pulled out of the way and the passengers were safely evacuated, just in time. The aircraft was in-transit from Kano to N’djamena, Chad as flight TK 587. The flight was cancelled pending an inspection for any damages.
Read the full report from the Guardian: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: James Helbock/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-9F2 ER N973TK (msn 40973) became TC-JYA when it was handed over on December 9, 2011.
EasyJet (easyJet.com) (UK) (London-Luton) has issued this statement about its flights to Israel:
The safety and security of easyJet’s passengers and crew is the airline’s highest priority.
Due to the FAA lifting its instruction to all United States’ airlines to suspend their flights to Israel, and the European safety regulator EASA following suit, easyJet will operate its services to and from Tel Aviv as scheduled from Friday July 25.
easyJet will also operate one return flight this afternoon between London Gatwick and Tel Aviv.
easyJet will continue to monitor the safety advice on travel to and from Tel Aviv from all relevant authorities.
easyJet flies to and from Tel Aviv from the UK, Switzerland, Germany and Italy.
Bloomberg Businessweek: How Israel convinced international airlines to return to Tel Aviv: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 G-EZTL (msn 4012) lands at Tenerife Sur.
United Airlines (UAL) (Chicago) today reported second quarter 2014 net income of $919 million, an increase of 51 percent year-over-year, or $2.34 per diluted share, excluding $130 million of special items. Including special items, UAL reported second quarter 2014 net income of $789 million, or $2.01 per diluted share.
United’s consolidated passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) increased 3.7 percent in the second quarter of 2014 compared to the second quarter of 2013.
Second-quarter 2014 consolidated unit costs (CASM), excluding special charges, third-party business expenses, fuel and profit sharing, decreased 0.2 percent year-over-year on a consolidated capacity reduction of 0.1 percent. Second-quarter 2014 CASM, including those items, increased 2.2 percent year-over-year.
The company generated $1.5 billion of operating cash flow in the second quarter of 2014.
UAL ended the second quarter with $6.8 billion in unrestricted liquidity.
The company earned a 10.3 percent return on invested capital for the 12 months ended June 30, 2014.
UAL’s Board of Directors authorized a $1.0 billion share repurchase program, which the company expects to complete within the next three years.
“I am encouraged by the solid progress we made in the second quarter. Our team is focused on improving our operations and service and on continuing to improve year-over-year revenue performance and cost control,” said Jeff Smisek, UAL’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “The $1 billion share repurchase program we announced today demonstrates our progress and commitment to increasing value for our shareholders and the confidence we have in our plan.”
Second-Quarter Revenue and Capacity
For the second quarter of 2014, total revenue was $10.3 billion, an increase of 3.3 percent year-over-year. Second-quarter consolidated passenger revenue increased 3.6 percent to $9.0 billion, compared to the same period in 2013. Ancillary revenue per passenger in the second quarter increased 7.9 percent year-over-year to more than $21 per passenger. Second-quarter cargo revenue decreased 1.7 percent versus the second quarter of 2013 to $232 million. Other revenue in the second quarter increased 1.7 percent year-over-year to $1.1 billion.
Consolidated revenue passenger miles increased 0.6 percent and consolidated available seat miles decreased 0.1 percent year-over-year for the second quarter, resulting in a second-quarter consolidated load factor of 85.3 percent.
Second-quarter 2014 consolidated PRASM increased 3.7 percent and consolidated yield increased 3.0 percent compared to the second quarter of 2013. The company’s consolidated domestic PRASM, including both mainline and regional flying, increased 5.6 percent year-over-year.
“We are beginning to see the benefits of the changes we’re implementing to our network and revenue management processes,” said Jim Compton, UAL’s vice chairman and chief revenue officer. “We have more work to do, however, and will continue to make the appropriate adjustments to accelerate our revenue growth.”
Second-quarter consolidated CASM, excluding special charges, third-party business expense, fuel and profit sharing, decreased 0.2 percent compared to the second quarter of 2013. Second-quarter consolidated CASM, including those items, increased 2.2 percent year-over-year. The company’s strong cost performance in the quarter was largely driven by execution on its cost-savings initiatives, as well as by the timing of certain expenses moving to the second half of the year.
Second-quarter total operating expenses, excluding special charges, increased $75 million, or 0.8 percent, year-over-year. Including special charges, total operating expenses increased $192 million, or 2.1 percent, in the second quarter versus the same period in 2013. Third-party business expense was $215 million in the second quarter of 2014.
Second-Quarter Liquidity and Cash Flow
UAL ended the second quarter with $6.8 billion in unrestricted liquidity, including $1.0 billion of undrawn commitments under a revolving credit facility. The company generated $1.5 billion of operating cash flow in the second quarter. During the second quarter, the company had gross capital expenditures of $871 million, excluding fully reimbursable projects. The company made debt and capital lease principal payments of $333 million in the second quarter. For the 12 months ended June 30, 2014, the company’s return on invested capital was 10.3 percent.
The company’s long-term capital structure goals include reducing its non-aircraft related debt and achieving a total gross debt balance, including capitalized operating leases, of approximately $15 billion while maintaining an unrestricted liquidity balance of $5 billion to $6 billion, including its undrawn revolver.
Share Repurchase Program
UAL’s Board authorized a $1.0 billion share repurchase program, which the company expects to complete within the next three years. This amount represents approximately 6 percent of the company’s market capitalization as of yesterday’s closing stock price. Additionally, in the second quarter, the company spent $62 million to retire convertible debt that would have converted into approximately 1.5 million shares of UAL common stock.
“We have laid a sound financial foundation over the last few years by paying off debt and investing in our business. Our earnings profile, coupled with measured capital expenditures and manageable debt maturities, enable us to take this initial step toward returning cash to our shareholders,” said John Rainey, UAL’s executive vice president and chief financial officer. “This action helps us achieve a more balanced allocation of our cash flow.”
UAL may repurchase shares through the open market, privately negotiated transactions, block trades, or accelerated share repurchase transactions from time to time in accordance with applicable securities laws. UAL will repurchase shares of common stock subject to prevailing market conditions and may discontinue such repurchases at any time.
Second-Quarter 2014 Accomplishments
Operations, Employees and Network
United Airlines reported a second-quarter mainline on-time arrival rate (domestic and international) of 76.4 percent, adversely affected by multi-month runway closures in its San Francisco and Newark hubs. The on-time arrival rate is based on flights arriving within 14 minutes of scheduled arrival time.
The company reached a joint collective bargaining agreement with the Professional Airline Flight Control Association (PAFCA) and the Transport Workers Union (TWU) for United’s dispatchers. The dispatchers subsequently ratified the new agreement.
The company began a facilitated negotiations process with the Association of Flight Attendants and held further discussions in advance of scheduled mediation with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, representing United’s technicians.
United expanded its industry-leading global route network, launching nonstop flights from Houston to Munich; Newark to Santiago, Dominican Republic; and new seasonal service between Chicago and Edinburgh, Scotland, and from Washington, D.C., to both Madrid and Nassau, Bahamas. The company continued to develop its industry-leading Pacific gateway in San Francisco by launching service to Chengdu, China, and announcing service to Tokyo’s Haneda airport. The company also announced new service from Houston to Santiago, Chile, and announced new routes from Chicago to Belize City, Belize; Denver to Panama City; Houston to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; and San Francisco to Kelowna, British Columbia. The airline announced nine new domestic markets and launched 14 new domestic routes in the second quarter, including United’s first service to Atlantic City, N.J.; Bangor, Maine; Pueblo, Colorado; and St. Cloud, Minnesota.
Finance and Fleet
United raised $949 million of debt financing through enhanced equipment trust certificates at a blended rate of 4.13 percent. The debt proceeds are being used to finance the acquisition of 13 Boeing 737-900 ERs, nine Embraer 175s, two Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners and one Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
The company took delivery of 10 Boeing 737-900 ERs and one 787-8 Dreamliner, and also exited from scheduled service nine 757-200s during the quarter.
The company introduced seven highly efficient Embraer 175 aircraft to the United Express fleet. The modern and spacious 76-seat aircraft is the newest addition to the United Express fleet, enabling the airline to offer an improved regional jet experience. These aircraft will largely replace less-efficient 50-seat regional jets, and the company expects to reduce its 50-seat regional jet fleet by 38 aircraft by the end of the year.
United continued installing slimmer, next-generation economy-class seats on certain aircraft, which enables one to two additional rows per aircraft. The airline now offers these seats, which are 10 to 15 percent lighter than the seats they are replacing, on approximately 240 aircraft.
Flyer-Friendly Product, Loyalty Program and Facilities
The company now offers Wi-Fi on more than 290 aircraft, including its entire Airbus fleet, and expects to have more than 450 Wi-Fi-equipped aircraft by the end of 2014.
United began installing its new personal device entertainment system on select aircraft, enabling customers to choose from more than 150 movies and nearly 200 television shows and watch them on their laptops or iOS devices.
United launched its all-new mobile application for the Android platform, offering innovative new features, smoother functionality and an improved touch-friendly design. The new Android app follows the airline’s redesign of its mobile app for the iOS platform.
United announced its 2015 MileagePlus program. Members will earn award miles based on ticket price – specifically the base fare and carrier-imposed surcharges – and MileagePlus status, rather than distance flown.
United consolidated its London Heathrow operation into one terminal in the new Terminal 2: The Queen’s Terminal. United’s 22 Star Alliance partners serving Heathrow are progressively moving to Terminal 2, enabling faster, more convenient connections for customers. United operates more daily flights to Heathrow than any other U.S. carrier.
The company unveiled a new 10-gate, 97,000-square-foot concourse in Boston Logan International Airport’s Terminal B that offers modern conveniences that streamline the airport experience, including self-tagging baggage kiosks, automated self-boarding gates and a new customer service center.
The airline opened new United Clubs at London Heathrow, Boston and San Francisco, featuring the latest airport lounge design concept that it unveiled at United Clubs in Chicago, San Diego and Seattle. The company also opened a new United Global First Lounge in London, offering premium customers more privacy and personal service.
Copyright Photo: Steve Bailey/AirlinersGallery.com. An unique view of the first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner for United showing off its sleek lines.
Record quarterly net income, excluding special items*, of $485 million, or $.70 per diluted share, compared to second quarter 2013 net income, excluding special items, of $274 million, or $.38 per diluted share. This exceeded the First Call consensus estimate of $.61 per diluted share.
Record quarterly net income of $465 million, or $.67 per diluted share, which included $20 million (net) of unfavorable special items, compared to second quarter 2013 net income of $224 million, or $.31 per diluted share, which included $50 million (net) of unfavorable special items.
Record quarterly operating income of $775 million. Excluding special items, record quarterly operating income of $819 million, resulting in a 16.3 percent operating margin**.
Return on invested capital*, before taxes and excluding special items, for the 12 months ended June 30, 2014, of 17.1 percent, as compared to 8.5 percent for the 12 months ended June 30, 2013.
Gary C. Kelly, Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer, stated:
“We are very pleased with our strong second quarter earnings performance. Net income, excluding special items, of $485 million, or $.70 per diluted share, represents our fifth consecutive quarter of record profits. The successful execution of our strategic initiatives continues to contribute significantly to these record profits. Second quarter 2014 total operating revenues reached an all-time quarterly high of $5.0 billion, benefiting from an 8.5 percent year-over-year increase in passenger revenues. Also, we were very pleased with our cost performance. Operating expenses benefited from our strategic initiatives, as well, and were comparable to second quarter last year.
“My hearty congratulations and thanks go to our hard-working and dedicated Employees for our outstanding second quarter results, which resulted in record quarterly profitsharing expense of $127 million. Over the last twelve months, our exceptional earnings performance, combined with our actions to prudently manage our invested capital, produced a 17.1 percent pre-tax return on invested capital, excluding special items (ROIC). This positions us well to meet or exceed our 15 percent pre-tax ROIC target for full year 2014.
“Our network development and optimization efforts continue, and we are very pleased with the performance across our system. Second quarter load factor and passenger revenue yield were records, even with a large percentage of the route system in the conversion or development stage. We announced our initial nonstop offerings from Dallas Love Field with the upcoming sunset of the Wright Amendment restrictions on October 13, and nearly tripled the flights we currently offer at Reagan National Airport, effective November 2 this year. On July 1, we inaugurated international service on Southwest Airlines, with flights to Oranjestad, Aruba; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and Nassau/Paradise Island in The Bahamas. We plan to fully convert AirTran’s remaining international markets and domestic flying by the end of this year. We expect roughly flat 2014 available seat miles, year-over-year, and intend to expand the network in a disciplined manner. For 2015, we currently expect our available seat miles to increase, year-over-year, largely driven by a two to three percent growth in seats from the upgauging of our fleet, along with a higher percentage of our fleet in revenue service post-integration.
“During second quarter, we announced the selection of Amadeus to implement the Altéa reservations solution to support our domestic network, following the successful implementation of Amadeus’ international solution this year. This allows us to replace the legacy reservation system used by Southwest. The AirTran reservation system is expected to be retired at this year’s end.
“Our balance sheet, liquidity, and cash flows remain strong. At the end of second quarter 2014, we had $4.0 billion in cash and short-term investments. For first half 2014, net cash provided by operations was $2.46 billion, and capital expenditures were $907 million, resulting in strong free cash flow* of $1.55 billion. We repaid $119 million in debt and capital lease obligations during first half 2014, and intend to repay an additional $440 million in debt and capital lease obligations in the second half of this year. Thus far this year, we have returned $652 million to Shareholders through the payment of $97 million in dividends and the repurchase of $555 million in common stock. As always, we are committed to maintaining our financial strength and enhancing value to our Shareholders.”
Financial Results and Outlook
The Company’s second quarter 2014 total operating revenues increased 7.9 percent, while operating unit revenues increased 8.4 percent, on a 0.4 percent decrease in available seat miles and a 2.2 percent increase in average seats per trip, all as compared to second quarter 2013. Second quarter 2014 passenger revenues were $4.8 billion, which was an increase of 9.0 percent on a unit basis, as compared to second quarter 2013. A change to previously recorded estimates of tickets expected to spoil in the future resulted in additional passenger revenue of $47 million in second quarter 2014.
Thus far, July passenger revenue trends and bookings are strong. Based on these trends, and considering the strength of the year-ago comparison, the Company expects July 2014 passenger unit revenues to increase in the three percent range, as compared to July 2013.
Total operating expenses in second quarter 2014 increased 0.6 percent to $4.2 billion, as compared to second quarter 2013. Second quarter 2014 profitsharing expense was a record $127 million, compared to $78 million in second quarter 2013. The Company incurred costs (before profitsharing and taxes) associated with the acquisition and integration of AirTran, which are special items, of $38 million during second quarter 2014, compared to $26 million in second quarter 2013. Cumulative costs associated with the acquisition and integration of AirTran, as of June 30, 2014, totaled $466 million (before profitsharing and taxes). The Company expects total acquisition and integration costs to be approximately $550 million (before profitsharing and taxes). Excluding special items in both periods, total operating expenses in second quarter 2014 increased 0.7 percent to $4.2 billion, as compared to second quarter 2013.
Second quarter 2014 economic fuel costs were $3.02 per gallon, including $.05 per gallon in favorable cash settlements from fuel derivative contracts, compared to $3.06 per gallon in second quarter 2013, including $.05 per gallon in unfavorable cash settlements from fuel derivative contracts. Based on the Company’s fuel derivative contracts and market prices as of July 21, 2014, third quarter 2014 economic fuel costs are expected to be in the $2.95 to $3.00 per gallon range, compared to third quarter 2013′s economic fuel costs of $3.06 per gallon. As of July 21, 2014, the fair market value of the Company’s hedge portfolio through 2018 was a net asset of $381 million. Additional information regarding the Company’s fuel derivative contracts is included in the accompanying tables.
Excluding fuel and oil expense, profitsharing, and special items in both periods, second quarter 2014 operating costs increased 1.1 percent from second quarter 2013, and increased 1.7 percent on a unit basis. Based on current cost trends, and excluding fuel and oil expense, profitsharing, and special items, the Company expects a year-over-year increase in its third quarter 2014 unit costs, comparable to the second quarter 2014 year-over-year increase.
Operating income in second quarter 2014 was $775 million, compared to $433 million in second quarter 2013. Excluding special items, operating income was $819 million in second quarter 2014, compared to $479 million in the same period last year, a 71.0 percent increase year-over-year.
Other expenses in second quarter 2014 were $29 million, compared to $70 million in second quarter 2013. The $41 million decrease primarily resulted from $3 million in other losses recognized in second quarter 2014, compared to $47 million recognized in second quarter 2013. In both periods, these losses included ineffectiveness and unrealized mark-to-market amounts associated with a portion of the Company’s fuel hedging portfolio, which are special items. Excluding these special items, second quarter 2014 had $15 million in other losses, compared to $12 million in second quarter 2013, primarily attributable to the premium costs associated with the Company’s fuel derivative contracts. Third quarter 2014 premium costs related to fuel derivative contracts are currently estimated to be $15 million, compared to $22 million in third quarter 2013. Net interest expense in second quarter 2014 was $26 million, compared to $23 million in second quarter 2013.
For the six months ended June 30, 2014, total operating revenues increased 5.2 percent to $9.2 billion, while total operating expenses decreased 0.4 percent to $8.2 billion, resulting in operating income of $991 million, compared to $503 million for the same period last year. Excluding special items, operating income was $1.1 billion for first half 2014, compared to $591 million for first half 2013.
Net income for first half 2014 was $617 million, or $.88 per diluted share, compared to $283 million, or $.39 per diluted share, for the same period last year. Excluding special items, net income for first half 2014 was $611 million, or $.87 per diluted share, compared to $328 million, or $.45 per diluted share, for the same period last year.
Balance Sheet and Cash Flows
As of June 30, 2014, the Company had $4.0 billion in cash and short-term investments, and a fully available unsecured revolving credit line of $1 billion. Net cash provided by operations during second quarter 2014 was $1.34 billion, and capital expenditures were $500 million, generating strong free cash flow of $838 million. The Company repaid $73 million in debt and capital lease obligations during second quarter 2014.
During second quarter 2014, the Company returned $282 million to its Shareholders through the payment of $42 million in dividends and the repurchase of $240 million in common stock, or 7.6 million shares. The Company completed its previous $1.5 billion share repurchase program with the repurchase of $20 million in common stock in early May. On May 14, 2014, the Company’s Board of Directors authorized a new $1 billion share repurchase program, along with a 50 percent increase in the Company’s quarterly dividend. Under the new $1 billion share repurchase program, the Company repurchased an additional $220 million in common stock during second quarter 2014, including $200 million repurchased under an accelerated share repurchase program with a third party financial institution. During second quarter 2014, pursuant to the accelerated share repurchase program, the Company advanced $200 million to the financial institution and received six million shares of the Company’s common stock, representing an estimated 75 percent of the shares the Company expects to purchase under the accelerated share repurchase program. The specific number of shares that the Company ultimately will repurchase under the accelerated share repurchase program will be determined generally based on a discount to the volume-weighted average price per share of the Company’s common stock during a calculation period to be completed during third quarter 2014. At settlement, under certain circumstances, the third party financial institution may be required to deliver additional shares of common stock to the Company, or under certain circumstances, the Company may be required to deliver shares of its common stock or may elect to make a cash payment to the third party financial institution. Pursuant to the settlement of the $200 million accelerated share repurchase program executed in first quarter 2014, the Company received an additional 1.7 million shares in common stock during second quarter 2014, bringing the total shares repurchased under the first quarter accelerated share repurchase program to 8.6 million.
During second quarter 2014, the Company’s fleet increased by seven to 683 aircraft at period end. This reflects the second quarter 2014 delivery of 12 new Boeing 737-800s and three pre-owned Boeing 737-700s, as well as the retirement of one Boeing 737-500. In addition, the Company removed seven Boeing 717-200s from service during second quarter 2014 in preparation for transition out of the fleet.
Boeing 737 NG Delivery Schedule:
*Additional information regarding special items is included in the accompanying reconciliation tables, and see Note Regarding Use of Non-GAAP Financial Measures.
**Operating margin, excluding special items, is calculated as operating income, excluding special items, divided by operating revenues.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-7H4 N280WN (msn 32533) in the Penguin One special livery arrives in Los Angeles.
JetBlue Airways Corporation (JetBlue Airways) (New York) today reported its results for the second quarter 2014:
Pre-tax income excluding special items1 of $103 million in the second quarter. This compares to pre-tax income of $60 million in the second quarter of 2013.
Gain of $242 million from the sale of its wholly-owned subsidiary LiveTV.
On a GAAP basis, pre-tax income of $345 million in the second quarter.
Net income excluding special items for the second quarter was $61 million, or $0.19 per diluted share.
This compares to JetBlue’s second quarter 2013 net income of $36 million, or $0.11 per diluted share.
On a GAAP basis, net income for the second quarter was $230 million, or $0.68 per diluted share.
“Today, we are pleased to report record second quarter earnings and our seventeenth consecutive quarter of profitability,” said Dave Barger, JetBlue’s Chief Executive Officer. “We saw improved profitability across our network, reflecting the success of ongoing efforts to adapt our products and services to meet our customers’ ever-changing needs. I would like to thank our 15,500 crewmembers for their dedication to running a safe airline and delivering outstanding service to our customers.”
JetBlue reported record second quarter operating revenues of $1.5 billion. Revenue passenger miles for the second quarter increased 5.7% to 9.6 billion on a capacity increase of 6.0%, resulting in a second quarter load factor of 84.6%, a decrease of 0.3 points year over year.
Yield per passenger mile in the second quarter was 14.25 cents, up 6.3% compared to the second quarter of 2013. Passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) for the second quarter 2014 increased 6.0% year over year to 12.05 cents and operating revenue per available seat mile (RASM) increased 5.6% year over year to 13.12 cents. The shift of the Easter and Passover holidays from March last year to April this year positively impacted second quarter year over year PRASM by approximately two points.
Operating expenses for the quarter increased 9.8%, or $119 million, over the prior year period. Interest expense for the quarter declined 7.5%, or $3 million, due to JetBlue’s focus on debt reduction. JetBlue’s operating expense per available seat mile (CASM) for the second quarter increased 3.5% year over year to 11.88 cents. Excluding fuel and profit sharing, CASM2 increased 5.1% to 7.51 cents.
“We improved margin performance while expanding our network, demonstrating the core strength of our business,” said Robin Hayes, JetBlue’s President. “We remain focused on providing a differentiated product and culture in high-value geography while maintaining competitive costs. We believe this focus will drive improved returns for our shareholders.”
Fuel Expense and Hedging
JetBlue continued to hedge fuel to manage price volatility. Specifically, in the second quarter JetBlue had in place hedges for approximately 15% of its fuel consumption and managed approximately 7% of its fuel consumption using fixed forward price agreements (FFPs). This resulted in a realized fuel price of $3.09 per gallon, a 0.9% increase over second quarter 2013 realized fuel price of $3.06. JetBlue recorded $2 million in losses on fuel hedges that settled during the second quarter.
JetBlue has managed approximately 30% of its third quarter projected fuel requirements using a combination of FFPs, jet fuel swaps and caps. Based on the fuel curve as of July 17th, JetBlue expects an average price per gallon of fuel, including the impact of hedges, FFPs and fuel taxes, of $3.08 in the third quarter.
Liquidity and Cash Flow
JetBlue ended the quarter with approximately $797 million in unrestricted cash and short term investments. In addition, JetBlue maintains $550 million in lines of credit.
During the second quarter, JetBlue repaid approximately $44 million in regularly scheduled debt and capital lease obligations. In addition, JetBlue pre-paid approximately $300 million in debt with the proceeds from the sale of LiveTV. JetBlue plans to repay approximately $185 million in regularly scheduled debt and capital lease obligations in the remainder of 2014, including approximately $58 million in the third quarter.
“We continued to strengthen the balance sheet by paying down debt while enhancing access to liquidity by increasing the number of unencumbered aircraft,” said Mark Powers, JetBlue’s Chief Financial Officer. “We believe these actions will help us maintain a relatively flat invested capital base this year while growing assets, which we expect will help us meet our return on invested capital goal.”
Third Quarter and Full Year Outlook
For the third quarter of 2014, CASM is expected to increase between 0.5% and 2.5% versus the year-ago period. Excluding fuel and profit sharing, CASM in the third quarter is expected to increase between 1.0% and 3.0% year over year.
CASM for the full year is expected to increase between 1.0% and 3.0% over full year 2013. Excluding fuel and profit sharing, CASM in 2014 is expected to increase between 2.5% and 4.5% year over year. Relative to JetBlue’s previous cost outlook, this full year guidance reflects approximately a one point reduction in unit costs excluding fuel and profit sharing primarily due to a reduction of operating expenses in the second half of the year as a result of the sale of LiveTV.
Capacity is expected to increase between 3.0% and 5.0% in the third quarter. For the full year, capacity is expected to increase between 4.0% and 6.0%.
Bloomberg Businessweek: JetBlue considers charging for the first checked bag: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 N709JB (msn 3488) in the special one-off “Binary Code” livery arrives in New York (JFK).
Second quarter 2014 non-GAAP net profit excluding net special charges was $1.5 billion, a record for any quarter in the history of American Airlines
Second quarter 2014 GAAP net profit was a record $864 million
The Company also announced a capital deployment program, including over $2.8 billion in debt and aircraft lease prepayments, a $1 billion share repurchase program, the initiation of a quarterly cash dividend, and $600 million of additional pension contributions
As part of the program, American’s Board of Directors declared a dividend of $0.10 per share for shareholders of record as of August 4, 2014. The cash dividend is the first declared by American since 1980
For the second quarter 2014, American Airlines Group reported a record GAAP net profit of $864 million. This compares to a GAAP net profit of $220 million in the second quarter 2013, for AMR Corporation prior to the merger. The Company believes it is more meaningful to compare year-over-year results for American Airlines and US Airways excluding special charges and on a combined basis, which is a non-GAAP formulation that combines the results for AMR Corporation and US Airways Group.
On this basis, second quarter 2014 net profit excluding net special charges was $1.5 billion, a record for any quarter in the history of the Company. This represents a 114 percent improvement over the combined non-GAAP net profit of $681 million excluding net special charges for the same period in 2013. See the accompanying notes in the Financial Tables section of this press release for further explanation of this presentation, including a reconciliation of GAAP to non-GAAP financial information.
“We are very pleased to report the highest quarterly profit in the history of American Airlines,” said Chairman and CEO Doug Parker. “Our merger is off to a great start and our 100,000 team members are doing a wonderful job working together to take care of our customers.
“We are also pleased to announce a capital deployment program that reduces our debt, provides additional pension contributions and returns capital to shareholders. The fact that we are able to implement this program while still funding our significant product improvements, fleet renewal program and integration costs is further evidence of the success of our merger. We have much hard work ahead, but we are extremely encouraged by the great work being done by our team members.”
Revenue and Cost Comparisons
Total revenues in the second quarter were a record $11.4 billion, up 10.2 percent versus the second quarter 2013 on a combined basis, on a 3.1 percent increase in total available seat miles (ASMs). Driven by a record yield of 17.34 cents, up 6.5 percent year-over-year, consolidated passenger revenue per ASM (PRASM) was also a record at 14.57 cents, up 5.9 percent versus the second quarter 2013 on a combined basis.
Total operating expenses in the second quarter were $10.0 billion, up 7.0 percent over combined second quarter 2013. Second quarter mainline cost per available seat mile (CASM) was 13.61 cents, up 3.9 percent on a 3.5 percent increase in mainline ASMs versus combined second quarter 2013. Excluding special charges and fuel, mainline CASM was up 2.2 percent compared to the combined second quarter 2013, at 8.55 cents. Regional CASM excluding special charges and fuel was 15.80 cents, up 5.2 percent on a 0.4 percent decrease in regional ASMs versus combined second quarter 2013.
As of June 30, 2014, American had approximately $10.3 billion in total cash and short-term investments, of which $882 million was restricted. The Company also has an undrawn revolving credit facility of $1.0 billion.
During the quarter, the Company repaid $502 million of debt obligations, which includes approximately $175 million for the settlement of its 7.25% convertible notes with cash. The Company also prepaid $113 million of obligations associated with aircraft debt, $51 million associated with special facility revenue bonds and also used $630 million of cash to purchase aircraft that were previously being leased to the Company.
At June 30, 2014, approximately $791 million of the Company’s unrestricted cash balance was held in Venezuelan bolivars, valued at the weighted average applicable exchange rate of 6.53 bolivars to the dollar. This includes approximately $94 million valued at 4.3 bolivars, approximately $611 million valued at 6.3 bolivars and approximately $86 million valued at 10.6 bolivars, with the rate depending on the date the Company submitted its repatriation request to the Venezuelan government. In the first quarter of 2014, the Venezuelan government announced that a newly implemented system (SICAD I) will determine the exchange rate (which fluctuates as determined by weekly auctions and at June 30, 2014 was 10.6 bolivars to the dollar) for repatriation of cash proceeds from ticket sales after January 1, 2014, and introduced new procedures for approval of repatriation of local currency.
The Company is continuing to work with Venezuelan authorities regarding the timing and exchange rate applicable to the repatriation of funds held in local currency. However, pending further repatriation of funds, and due to the significant decrease in demand for air travel resulting from the effective devaluation of the bolivar, the Company recently significantly reduced capacity in this market. The Company is monitoring this situation closely and continues to evaluate its holdings of Venezuelan bolivars for potential impairment.
Capital Deployment Program
The Company also announced a capital deployment program intended to efficiently allocate cash balances over and above those required to fund its business. The program has three key components:
Debt/Lease Prepayments: Since the merger closed in December 2013, the Company has prepaid $420 million of aircraft debt and bond obligations. In addition, the Company plans to prepay $480 million of special facility revenue bond obligations by the end of 2014. It is anticipated that these prepayments will represent a reduction in the Company’s debt going forward. The Company has also used $630 million of cash to purchase aircraft that were previously leased to the Company and anticipates utilizing an additional $370 million of cash in this manner through the remainder of 2014. In addition, the Company has called for redemption of the remaining $900 million principal amount of the 7.5% senior notes due March 15, 2016. In total, these steps represent approximately $2.8 billion of prepayments that will be completed by the end of 2014.
Pension Funding: The Company plans to make supplemental contributions of $600 million to its defined benefit plans in 2014. These contributions would be above and beyond the $120 million minimum required contributions for 2014.
Return to Shareholders: The program includes a share repurchase program and the initiation of a quarterly dividend. The Company’s Board of Directors authorized a $1.0 billion share repurchase program to be completed no later than December 31, 2015. The Board also declared a dividend of $0.10 per share for shareholders of record as of August 4, 2014. The dividend will be paid on August 18, 2014. This is the first cash dividend declared at American Airlines since 1980.
Shares repurchased under the program announced above may be made through a variety of methods, which may include open market purchases, privately negotiated transactions, block trades or accelerated share repurchase transactions. Any such repurchases will be made from time to time subject to market and economic conditions, applicable legal requirements and other relevant factors. The program does not obligate the Company to repurchase any specific number of shares or continue a dividend for any fixed period, and may be suspended at any time at management’s discretion.
Merger Integration Developments
US Airways joined American in the trans-Atlantic joint business agreement with British Airways, Iberia and Finnair and codeshare agreements with British Airways, Iberia and oneworld alliance partner airberlin
Combined operations at 72 airports since the merger
Began harmonizing its network by aligning flying between its hubs. The changes allow the Company to replace smaller regional aircraft with larger mainline aircraft and to redeploy regional jets to other markets to better match aircraft size with customer demand in small and medium sized communities
Announced new mileage redemption options for American Airlines AAdvantage® and US Airways Dividend Miles® members, along with new checked bag policies, and began to align the First and
Fleet and Network Developments
As part of its plan to modernize its fleet, the Company inducted 21 new aircraft during the second quarter
Expanded its European presence with new, seasonal summer service between its hub at Charlotte Douglas International Airport and Barcelona, Brussels, Lisbon and Manchester, U.K.
Strengthened its presence in the Asia-Pacific region with new nonstop service between Dallas/Fort Worth and Hong Kong and Shanghai
Announced twelve new routes in the United States and Canada from Dallas/Fort Worth, Chicago O’Hare, Los Angeles, Charlotte, N.C., Philadelphia and Phoenix, including service between DFW and new destination, Bismarck, N.D.
The Company also began service between DFW and Edmonton, Alberta
Distributed $5.5 million in operational incentive payouts to employees for on-time departures in the month of April; this distribution of $50 per employee is part of the Company’s Triple Play program which measures operational performance as reported in the DOT’s Air Travel Consumer Report (ATCR). To date, the Company’s employees have earned $16.5 million in operational incentive payouts
Honored with two awards from Airfinance Journal, including the 2013 Overall “Deal of the Year” for its merger with US Airways, and the 2013 Airline “Treasury Team of the Year” for its work on American’s debt and lease restructuring, a major aircraft order and other financing
Employees donated more than 13,000 hours to numerous projects in the second quarter. In addition, the Company donated more than $3 million of travel to organizations including American Fallen Soldiers, the Gary Sinise Foundation, the San Diego Air and Space Museum, and Carry the Load
Recognized four employees with the 2014 Earl G. Graves Award for Leadership in Diversity for influencing positive change, setting an example and leaving a lasting impact on those around them
In the second quarter, the Company recognized a total of $592 million in net special charges, including:
$253 million net special operating charges, which principally included $163 million of merger integration expenses, a net $38 million charge for bankruptcy related settlement obligations, $37 million in charges relating to the buyout of leases associated with certain aircraft, and $15 million of other special charges
Net $337 million non-cash tax charge, consisting primarily of a $330 million non-cash tax charge related to the Company’s sale of its portfolio of fuel hedging contracts that were scheduled to settle on or after June 30, 2014. This charge reverses a non-cash tax provision which was recorded in Other Comprehensive Income (OCI), a subset of stockholder’s equity, principally in 2009. The provision represents the tax effect associated with gains recorded in OCI principally in 2009 due to a net increase in the fair value of the Company’s fuel hedging contracts
Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. American Airlines Airbus A321-231 N114NN (msn 6046) completes its trans-con flight at New York (JFK).
Alaska Air Group, Inc., (Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air) (Seattle/Tacoma) today reported second quarter 2014 GAAP net income of $165 million, or $1.19 per diluted share, compared to $104 million, or $0.74 per diluted share in the second quarter of 2013. Excluding the impact of mark-to-market fuel hedge adjustments of $13 million ($8 million after tax, or $0.06 per diluted share), the company reported record adjusted net income of $157 million, or $1.13 per diluted share, compared to adjusted net income of $105 million, or $0.74 per diluted share, in 2013.
Read the full report: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: Mark Durbin/AirlinersGallery.com. Alaska Airlines has already added Aviation Partners Boeing Split Scimitar Winglets to 12 Boeing 737 aircraft. Boeing 737-890 N588AS (msn 35685) with SS Winglets taxies at San Francisco.
Swiftair (Madrid) McDonnell Douglas DC-9-83 (MD-83) registered EC-LTV (msn 53190) operating for Air Algerie (Algiers) as flight AH 5017 from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso to Algiers with 110 passengers and 6 crew members is missing. Contact with the airliner has been lost over Mali near Gao about 50 minutes after the takeoff. Both airlines have announced they have lost contact with the crew.
According to Reuters, the country of Burkino Faso stated the flight had asked ATC to alter its course due to a storm. There was a known sandstorm in the area according to local reports.
Swiftair said on its website the flight took off from Burkina Faso at 0117 GMT and was supposed to land in Algiers at 0510 GMT but never reached its destination.
Two French Air Force Mirage 2000 jets based in west Africa have been dispatched to try to locate the missing airliner according to Reuters.
Reuters is now reporting the plane has crashed:
“An Air Algerie flight crashed on Thursday en route from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso to Algiers with 110 passengers on board, an Algerian aviation official said.”
Update: The wreckage has been found near the city of Gao, Mali (see the map below). There are no survivors of the 116 passengers and crew members on board.
Read the full report from The Telegraph: CLICK HERE
Update: From CNN:
“France has declared a three-day mourning period to commemorate the victims of the Air Algerie flight 5017 crash, French President Francois Hollande declared on Saturday (July 26).
Following a meeting with families of the victims, Hollande said flags will fly at half-staff on government buildings from Monday through Wednesday.
Fifty-four of the 118 victims were French nationals.
The second flight data recorder from has been found in Mali, a U.N. official said Saturday (July 26).”
Top Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Sister ship McDonnell Douglas DC-9-83 (MD-83) M814NK became EC-KCX on delivery (msn 49619).
Bottom Copyright Photo: Javier Rodriguez/AirlinersGallery.com. The ill-fated DC-9-83 (MD-83) EC-LTV at Palma de Mallorca before the tragic crash.
China Eastern Airlines (Shanghai) has begun offering Wi-Fi service over China. The airline issued this statement:
In a first for the commercial aviation industry in China, China Eastern Airlines (CEA) has begun offering broadband connected flights over China using China Telecom Satellite aeronautical service and Panasonic Avionics Corporation’s (Panasonic) eXConnect system.
The first of 27 CEA aircraft equipped with a system and service tailored to the unique requirements of China is an Airbus A330 aircraft. Onboard, passengers will experience true broadband Wi-Fi as they surf the web, keep in touch with friends and family through their social networks, and even check their email – all at 35,000 feet. CEA has also selected China Telecom Satellite’s service and Panasonic’s eXConnect system for an additional six Boeing 767s and 20 Boeing 777 aircraft.
The first aircraft has been dedicated to routes between Shanghai and Beijing, allowing government agencies to observe operation of the service before granting full regulatory approval for operation on additional domestic and international routes.
China Eastern Airlines said, “We are very excited to offer this extremely exciting service with China Telecom Satellite and Panasonic Avionics. This is a tremendous milestone for China and we look forward to ensuring our passengers are both entertained and productive as they fly.”
Lv Junli, President of China Telecom Satellite, added, “This is a momentous day for China’s commercial airline industry, and we are very confident of providing better broadband connectivity to China with our partners at China Eastern Airlines and Panasonic.”
According to Paul Margis, President and Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics, “After years of close collaboration with China Eastern Airlines and China Telecom Satellite, we are now witnessing the next step in the evolution of in-flight entertainment over China. We are very excited to bring in-flight broadband Wi-Fi to this strategic market.”
About Panasonic Avionics Corporation
Panasonic Avionics Corporation is the world’s leading supplier of in-flight entertainment and communication systems. The company’s best-in-class solutions, supported by professional maintenance services, fully integrate with the cabin enabling airlines to deliver the ultimate travel experiences with a rich variety of entertainment choices, resulting in improved quality communication systems and solutions, reduced time-to-market and lower overall costs.
Established in 1979, Panasonic Avionics Corporation, a U.S. corporation, is a subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation of North America, the principal North American subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation. Headquartered in Lake Forest, California with over 3,100 employees and operations in 80 locations worldwide, it serves over 200 customers worldwide and provides IFEC systems on over 3,700 aircraft. For additional information, please visit http://www.panasonic.aero
About China Telecom Satellite Communications Limited
Dedicated to satellite communications services, China Telecom Satellite Communications Limited, as a wholly-owned subsidiary of China Telecom, specializes in the operation of its parent corporation’s satellite communications business. It serves as the resource center, product integration center and professional support center of China Telecom’s satellite communications business, mainly engaged in Satellite mobile communications, Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) communications, International private line and Satellite broadband access, etc., providing integrated (Aviation/Land/Maritime) satellite communications and broadcasting operating service with characteristics to subscribers.
Copyright Photo: Steve Bailey/AirlinersGallery.com. Brand new Boeing 737-89P WL B-1965 (msn 41473) was just delivered to China Eastern Airlines on July 19, 2014.
Allegiant Travel Company (Allegiant Air) (Las Vegas) reported net income of $33.5 million for the second quarter 2014, ending on June 30, up 29.8 percent from the previous second quarter net profit of $25.8 million in 2013.
“We are very proud to report our 46th consecutive profitable quarter,” stated Maurice J. Gallagher, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Allegiant Travel Company. “We have been working very hard to mitigate the crew training issues that have impacted us in the past two quarters. Although these issues did contribute to operational inefficiencies and incremental costs during this past quarter we are trending in the right direction and hope these issues have minimal impact in the third quarter. On a much more positive note, in June we completed multiple aircraft transactions to add 14 additional aircraft to our future fleet and raised $300 million of debt in the high yield market with very competitive terms. We could not have done this without the tremendous effort of our Team Members.”
Notable company highlights:
Increased operating margin, EBITDA margin and return on capital employed versus the same time last year
Acquired 12 incremental A319 Airbus aircraft for delivery in 2018. See table below for financial impact of this transaction
Signed agreements to acquire one A320 and one A319 to be in service in 2015 and 2016, respectively
Entered into a letter of intent to purchase eight A319s, previously committed to under operating leases.
Two of these are currently under operating lease to Allegiant, one is expected to be delivered in 2014 and five are expected to be delivered in 2015
In-service Airbus fleet of 10 aircraft accounted for 21.9 percent of total ASM production during the quarter
Prepaid $121.1 million, 5.75 percent term loan facility due 2017
Raised $300 million, 5.50 percent senior unsecured notes due 2019, corporate rating of BB- by Standard & Poor’s and Ba3 by Moody’s
Raised $85.3 million collateralized by 53 MD-80 and six 757 aircraft
Initiated service on 12 new routes in the second quarter
Named Top-Performing Airline in North America by Aviation Week for third consecutive year. The Company also has the best five-year average score of any airline worldwide, 76.9, more than 5 points higher than the second-ranked carrier
Read the full report: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: The fleet will grow by 10 aircraft (mainly Airbus A319s and A320s) in the next two years while the Boeing 757s remain constant at six aircraft. Boeing 757-204 N903NV (msn 26966) is tugged off the gate at Los Angeles International Airport.
Airbus A350-941 F-WWYB (msn 005) took off this morning from Toulouse for the final stage of certification.
According to Airbus, “these Route Proving tests are designed to demonstrate readiness for airline operations and will include high airfield performance, auto-landing trials, and airport turnaround and handling services. Some flights will have passengers on board. The A350 world tour itinerary includes 14 major airports worldwide and one route via the North Pole.”
The world tour using A350 msn 005 test aircraft forms part of the route proving for certification campaign. The aircraft is one of the fleet of five test aircraft and one of two with a fully functional cabin (42 business class and 223 economy class seats). The A350 flights will be operated by Airbus flight crews with the participation of Airworthiness Authority pilots from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
The tests form part of the last trials required for aircraft Type Certification scheduled for Q3 this year.
The first airline delivery, to Qatar Airways, will follow towards the end of the year.
The three week trial (four trips) starts in Toulouse, France.
Trip one, includes destinations such as Canada via the north-pole and Frankfurt.
Trip two to Asia, the world’s fastest growing aviation market, includes visits to Hong Kong and Singapore.
The third trip brings the aircraft to Johannesburg and to Sydney. From Sydney it will fly to Auckland, followed by Santiago de Chile and Sao Paulo before returning to Toulouse.
On the fourth and final trip, the A350 will depart from Toulouse to Doha, then onto Perth and back to Doha. From Doha it will fly to Moscow, then to Helsinki from where it will fly back to Toulouse.
Today five development A350s are flying and are actively involved in the intensive flight test program, which has already reached over 540 flights and 2,250 flight hours.
At the end of June 2014, the A350 XWB had won 742 orders from 38 customers worldwide.
Trip one: Toulouse-Iqaluit-Frankfurt-Toulouse
Trip two: Toulouse-Hong-Kong-Singapore-Hong-Kong-Toulouse (Hong Kong to Singapore several times)
Trip three: Toulouse-Johannesburg-Sydney-Auckland-Santiago de Chile-Sao Paulo-Toulouse
Trip four: Toulouse-Doha-Perth-Doha-Moscow-Helsinki-Toulouse
Copyright Photo: Airbus. F-WWYB carries special “Around the World” sub-titles.
Virgin Australia to upgrade the Los Angeles-Brisbane route to daily service on October 26, drops Los Angeles-Melbourne
Virgin Australia Airlines (Brisbane) has announced that it will increase services between Brisbane and Los Angeles, moving from four roundtrip services per week to daily return services, effective October 26, 2014.
Following this change, the Virgin Australia and Delta Air Lines trans-Pacific joint venture will offer two daily services between Sydney and Los Angeles and one daily service between Brisbane and Los Angeles.
The additional Brisbane services will be flown by Virgin Australia’s three-class Boeing 777-300 aircraft.
In order to increase services on the Brisbane route, Virgin Australia will cease services between Melbourne and Los Angeles, with the last flight operating from Melbourne on October 25, 2014. Effective October 26, 2014, there will also be a minor change to the departure time of Sydney to Los Angeles flights to allow an earlier arrival into Los Angeles, creating a more convenient schedule for corporate and leisure travellers. There will be no reduction in Virgin Australia capacity between Australia and the United States following these changes.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-3ZG VH-VPH (msn 37943) arrives in Los Angeles.
Air Canada (Montreal) announced today that it will introduce a new seasonal nonstop service operated by Air Canada rouge (Toronto-Pearson) between Vancouver and Palm Springs, California this winter. Flights to the ‘Golf Capital of the World’ will be operated with Air Canada rouge Airbus A319 aircraft featuring three customer comfort options: rouge, rouge Plus with preferred seating offering additional legroom, and Premium rouge with additional personal space and enhanced service.
Air Canada rouge flights between Vancouver and Palm Springs, CA will begin on December 18, 2014 and will operate three times weekly until April 12, 2015.
Air Canada will continue to evaluate future market opportunities as new aircraft are introduced into its mainline fleet and existing aircraft are released for operation by Air Canada rouge as market demand warrants. Since the launch in July 2013 of Air Canada rouge, Air Canada has deployed its leisure carrier to a growing number of Caribbean, Mexico, Europe and select sun destinations in the United States.
Air Canada rouge operates a fleet consisting of Boeing 767-300ER and Airbus A319 aircraft transferred from Air Canada.
Air Canada’s mainline fleet renewal is ongoing with the introduction of new aircraft. In May, the airline took delivery of its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner and is scheduled to receive a total of six 787 aircraft in 2014 with the remaining 31 scheduled between 2015 and 2019. In February 2014, Air Canada took delivery of the last of five new Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft to enter its mainline fleet.
Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-114 C-GBHR (msn 785) taxies at the Toronto (Pearson) hub.
The Dutch Safety Board has issued this statement:
The Dutch Safety Board took over formal responsibility for the air crash investigation from Ukraine yesterday evening (July 22). The two black boxes have since arrived in the United Kingdom, where they are currently being read out and analyzed by a team of international specialists. The on-site investigation in Ukraine is currently in full swing. Although investigators still do not have safe access to the crash site, work to gather and analyse data from various sources is underway in bothKiev and the Netherlands.
The first priorities will be to gather information from the crash site, analyse the black boxes and coordinate the international team. Ultimately, the air crash investigation should offer victims families and the international community a clear and comprehensive overview of the causes and course of the crash.
With the Dutch Safety Board now heading the investigation, the international investigation team will have more freedom to go about its tasks unhindered. The Dutch Safety Board is also responsible for coordinating all participating investigators and investigation teams from the countries involved (Ukraine, Malaysia, Australia, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The international team currently consists of 24 investigators. A total of four Dutch Safety Board investigators are currently operating inUkraine.
On Tuesday evening (July 22) the two recorders arrived in Kiev from Kharkiv and were handed over to the Dutch Safety Board. They were then shipped by air to theUnited Kingdom, where an international team of specialists is working on the read-out and analysis of the data stored in the recorders. As a part of this effort, the team will also assess whether the black boxes may have been manipulated. The black boxes are expected to provide information relevant to this investigation. The analysis of black box data may take several weeks
At the time of writing, the investigators have not yet been able to visit the site of the crash and conduct their investigation under safe conditions. In order to conduct an effective investigation, the investigators must have the opportunity to move around the entire investigation site freely, investigate materials and traces from up close and secure them for further study where necessary. At present, the investigators’ safety has not been guaranteed. The Dutch Safety Board and other parties involved are continually working to gain access to the accident site, and are working with other parties to organise effective security so that the investigators can do their work under controlled and safe conditions. Despite the fact that evidence and traces have been damaged or lost, the Dutch Safety Board expects it will be able to gather sufficient relevant information from the crash site.
Over the past few days, investigators have been working on the investigation in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev and in the Netherlands on the basis of available film and photo materials and other sources of information.
All information gathered as a part of this international investigation will be submitted to the Dutch Safety Board. The Dutch Safety Board will subsequently analyse this information, which will serve as the basis for a report and – where necessary – relevant recommendations. Other investigators or investigation boards will support this process and comment on the draft investigation report and its conclusions. The Dutch Safety Board will have the final say as regards the contents and timing of all publications. If the investigation shows evidence of any criminal or terrorist activities, the information will subsequently be submitted to the relevant authorities in accordance with applicable regulations. The Dutch Safety Board’s investigation will focus on ascertaining facts, rather than apportioning blame.
In addition to the international accident investigation, the Dutch Safety Board is also conducting two other independent investigations: an investigation into the decision-making process with regard to flight routes and an investigation into the availability of passenger lists. These investigation reports are expected to be published ahead of the main accident report.
Bloomberg Businessweek: International airlines are scrambling to do risk assessment of certain routes to now avoid conflict areas: CLICK HERE
Photo Credit: ANP. The tail section of downed 9M-MRD.
TransAsia Airways (Taipei) 70-seat ATR 72-212A (ATR 72-600) B-22817 (msn 1145) operating as flight 222 crashed into residential buildings while attempting to make a landing at Magong Airport today (July 23) in the Penghu Islands with 54 passengers and four crew members on board. The brand new turboprop (delivered on May 14, 2014) had aborted its first attempt to land and was making a go around for its second attempt to land when it crashed into the village of Xixi in Penghu’s Huxi Township and burned. The aircraft was attempting to land when the last feeder band of departing Typhoon Matmo was hitting the islands. 48 people died (10 survived with injuries) in the crash according to the Civil Aeronautics Administration. The Penghu Islands are west of Taiwan in the Taiwan Straits.
Typhoon Matmo slammed into Taiwan yesterday (July 22) with heavy rains and strong winds and was departing the islands as the flight attempted to land.
TransAsia Airways flight 222 departed Kaohsiung International Airport bound for Magong Airport. The airliner was circling the island waiting for the weather to improve for landing when it lost contact with the tower as the feeder band of the storm lashed the island. The flight had been delayed at Kaohsiung waiting for the storm to pass the offshore islands.
Read the full report from the BBC (with photos): CLICK HERE
TransAsia pledges to take care of the families and officials defended the decision to fly into the departing storm. Read the update from Channel News Asia: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: Manuel Negrerie/AirlinersGallery.com.
Gulf Air (Bahrain) received its first retrofitted Airbus A330-200 aircraft at Bahrain International Airport today (July 23), arriving from Canada. The plane is newly configured for a total of 214 seats in a two-class configuration of 30 Falcon Gold Class and 184 Economy seats with significant enhancements across both cabins.
Copyright Photo: Gulf Air.
The revamped A330 product introduces fully-flat bed seats in the airline’s Falcon Gold Class, upgraded seats in Economy Class and a state-of-the-art in-flight-entertainment system throughout, and was designed specifically for Gulf Air, integrating features based on passenger feedback.
Realized by three key partners: Avianor, Zodiac Aerospace and BE, the aircraft’s new Falcon Gold seats convert into fully-flat beds measuring 1.90 meters in length guaranteeing a comfortable night’s sleep. The Falcon Gold seats offer more personal space between seats than the airline’s previous A330 business class product, allowing passengers to sit back and relax in a 22-inch wide armchair that converts easily into the passenger’s desired position. The new Economy Class seats offer passengers the very latest in comfort: a greater recline to compliment an 18-inch seat-width and an adjustable head and foot rest that allows greater passenger relaxation.
All seats in Gulf Air’s upgraded A330 aircraft include an integrated Audio-Video on Demand (AVOD) feature, an individual touch screen (15-inch in Falcon Gold class and 9-inch in Economy) in every seat and high quality headphones. A suite of movies, video and audio titles in several languages are on offer, in addition to games. A USB port is available in every seat to allow passengers to easily charge electronic devices.
Gulf Air’s second retrofitted A330 is scheduled to arrive in early August while the carrier’s A330 fleet retrofit is scheduled to be completed by the last quarter of 2014.
Gulf Air’s A330 aircraft are used primarily on London and Bangkok routes.
Top Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 A9C-KJ (msn 992) taxies at Zurich.
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) today reported financial results for the second quarter (June quarter). Key points include:
Delta’s pre-tax income for the June 2014 quarter was $1.4 billion, excluding special items1, an increase of $593 million over the June 2013 quarter on a similar basis. Delta’s net income for the June 2014 quarter was $889 million, or $1.04 per diluted share, and its operating margin was 15.1 percent, excluding special items.
On a GAAP basis which includes special items, Delta’s pre-tax income was $1.3 billion, operating margin was 14.9 percent and net income was $801 million, or $0.94 per diluted share.
Results include $340 million in profit sharing expense in recognition of Delta employees’ contributions toward achieving the company’s financial goals.
Delta generated over $2 billion of operating cash flow and $1.5 billion of free cash flow during the June 2014 quarter. As of mid-July, the company has used its strong cash generation in 2014 to reduce its adjusted net debt below $8 billion, contribute more than $900 million of funding to its defined benefit pension plans, and return $550 million to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases.
“Delta’s performance this quarter, with 9 percent top line growth, more than 4 points of margin expansion and $1.5 billion of free cash flow, shows the financial strength and resilience of our company. We expect our September quarter performance will be even stronger, as we expand our operating margins to 15-17% and further improve our profitability,” said Delta chief executive officer Richard Anderson. “All credit goes to Delta people worldwide who not only produced this record financial performance, but also continue to lead the industry in operational reliability and customer satisfaction.”
Delta’s operating revenue improved 9 percent, or $914 million, in the June 2014 quarter compared to the June 2013 quarter, driven by continued strength in corporate and domestic revenues. Traffic increased 5.0 percent on a 3.2 percent increase in capacity.
Passenger revenue increased 9 percent, or $772 million, compared to the prior year period. Passenger unit revenue (PRASM) increased 5.7 percent year-over-year with a 3.8 percent improvement in yield. Seat-related products and other merchandising initiatives increased revenues by $45 million versus the prior year period.
Cargo revenue decreased 1 percent, or $2 million, as lower freight yields were partially offset by higher volumes.
Other revenue increased 15 percent, or $144 million, driven by higher joint venture and SkyMiles revenues.
Consolidated unit cost excluding fuel expense, profit sharing and special items (CASM-Ex2), was flat in the June 2014 quarter on a year-over-year basis as the benefits of Delta’s domestic refleeting and other cost initiatives offset the company’s investments in its employees, products and operations. GAAP consolidated CASM decreased 0.4 percent.
Total operating expense in the quarter increased $249 million year-over-year driven by higher revenue- and volume-related expenses and $222 million higher profit sharing expense. These cost increases were partially offset by lower fuel expense and savings from Delta’s cost initiatives.
Fuel expense declined $168 million driven by hedge benefits, refinery profits and prior year mark to market adjustments that offset higher market fuel prices and higher consumption. Delta’s average fuel price was $2.93 per gallon for the June quarter, which includes $99 million in settled hedge gains. Operations at the refinery produced a $13 million profit for the June quarter, a $64 million improvement year-over-year.
Excluding special items, non-operating expense declined by $58 million as a result of lower interest expense, lower foreign exchange impact, and a $7 million gain associated with Delta’s 49 percent ownership stake in Virgin Atlantic. Including a $111 million special item for loss on extinguishment of debt resulting from Delta’s debt reduction initiatives, non-operating expense for the quarter increased by $53 million.
Tax expense increased $496 million compared to the prior year quarter, as the company now recognizes tax expense for financial reporting purposes following the reversal of its tax valuation allowance at the end of 2013.
“With our domestic refleeting continuing and our cost initiatives taking hold, we have been able to keep our non-fuel unit cost growth below 2 percent for each of the last four quarters,” said Paul Jacobson,
Delta’s chief financial officer. “Not only are these initiatives driving our current performance, but they are also building a foundation for sustaining this performance into the future.”
Cash from operations during the June 2014 quarter was $2.1 billion, driven by the company’s June quarter profit and the normal seasonal increase in advance ticket sales, which were partially offset by $300 million in contributions to the defined benefit pension plan. The company generated $1.5 billion of free cash flow.
Capital expenditures during the June 2014 quarter were $520 million, including $343 million in fleet investments. During the quarter, Delta’s net debt maturities and capital leases were $851 million.
With its strong cash generation year to date, the company has returned $550 million to shareholders as of mid-July. Through its $0.06 per share quarterly dividend, the company paid $101 million to shareholders. In addition, the company repurchased 12.4 million shares at an average price of $36.33 for a total of $450 million. These repurchases represent $200 million under the May 2014 $2 billion authorization, in addition to completing the May 2013 $500 million authorization.
Delta ended the quarter with $6.0 billion of unrestricted liquidity and adjusted net debt of $7.9 billion. The company has now achieved more than $9 billion in net debt reduction since 2009.
Jacobson continued, “By taking a balanced approach to capital deployment, Delta has been able to invest more than $1 billion in our fleet and other products, while also reducing our debt to its lowest level in twenty years, contributing over $900 million to our pension plans, and returning $550 million to shareholders so far this year.”
Delta has a strong commitment to its employees, customers and the communities it serves. Key accomplishments in the June 2014 quarter include:
Recognizing the achievements of Delta employees toward meeting the company’s financial and operational goals with $476 million of incentives so far this year, including accruing $439 million in employee profit sharing and paying $37 million in Shared Rewards;
Improving its global network with new service connecting Delta’s hubs in New York and Seattle/Tacoma with the key business destinations of London-Heathrow, Zurich, Rome, Hong Kong and Seoul;
Announcing an order for 15 Airbus A321 aircraft, adding to the 30 aircraft of this type already on order. These economically efficient, proven-technology aircraft will provide an improved customer experience as they replace similar, less-efficient domestic aircraft that are being retired as part of the Delta’s domestic fleet restructuring;
Completing modifications on its international widebody fleet, making Delta the only U.S. carrier to offer full flat-bed seats with direct aisle access in BusinessElite and personal, on-demand entertainment at every seat on all long-haul international flights; and
Celebrating the grand opening of the new Delta Flight Museum, which coincided with the 85th anniversary of Delta’s first passenger service. The museum is housed in the airline’s two original maintenance hangars with exhibits that chronicle more than eight decades of Delta history and the growth and development of commercial aviation.
Delta recorded a net $88 million special items charge in the June 2014 quarter, including:
a $69 million charge for debt extinguishment associated with Delta’s debt reduction initiative; and
a $20 million charge associated with Delta’s domestic fleet restructuring.
Delta recorded a net $159 million special items charge in the June 2013 quarter, including:
a $125 million mark-to-market adjustment on fuel hedges settling in future periods; and
a $34 million charge for facilities, fleet and other items, primarily associated with Delta’s domestic fleet restructuring.
Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 757-2Q8 N709TW (msn 28168) arrives in New York (JFK) with a special tribute to retired New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera “42″.
Hawaiian signs a MOU for six new Airbus A330-800neo aircraft, reports 2Q GAAP net income of $27.3 million
Hawaiian Airlines (Honolulu) today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Airbus to acquire six new Airbus A330-800neo aircraft starting in 2019, with rights to purchase an additional six aircraft as part of the carrier’s vision to serve farther nonstop destinations from Hawai’i.
The order replaces Hawaiian Airline’s existing order for six Airbus A350XWB-800 aircraft, which were due for delivery from 2017. Hawaiian Airline’s overall capital commitments will decrease in absolute terms and will be pushed further into the future. For the period through the end of 2018, this amounts to $500 million. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but the aircraft have a total list-price value of approximately $2.9 billion if all of the purchase rights are exercised.
“The A330-800neo’s fuel efficiency, additional range and commonality with our existing A330 fleet makes the A330-800neo an elegant solution to our need for growth aircraft toward the end of this decade,” said Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian Airlines president and chief executive officer.
The A330-800neo wide-body is similar in size to Hawaiian Airline’s A330-200 which seats 294 passengers in a two class configuration (First and Coach), and will incorporate aerodynamic enhancements and new cabin features. The new aircraft will have up to a 400-nautical mile increase in range and reduced fuel consumption by 14 percent per seat with the latest generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines.
Hawaiian Airlines currently operates a fleet of 50 aircraft, comprised of 29 wide-body, long-haul aircraft (294-seat A330-200 aircraft and 252 to 264-seat Boeing 767-300 aircraft), 18 narrow-body 118 to 123-seat Boeing 717-200 aircraft and three 48-seat ATR 42-500 for Neighbor Island flights.
Hawaiian Airline’s existing orders include an additional four new A330-200s for delivery by 2015 and 16 narrow-body A321neo aircraft starting in 2017.
On the financial side, the company issued this statement for the second quarter:
Hawaiian Holdings, Inc., parent company of Hawaiian Airlines, Inc., today reported its financial results for the second quarter of 2014.
GAAP net income in the second quarter of $27.3 million or $0.43 per diluted share.
Adjusted net income, reflecting economic fuel expense, in the second quarter of $22.4 million or $0.35 per diluted share, an increase of $9.7 million or $0.11 cents per diluted share year-over-year.
Passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) increase of 4.1% and operating revenue per available seat mile (RASM) increase of 6.7%.
Unrestricted cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments of $564 million.
“The same trajectory of substantially improving financial performance was evident in the second quarter as it has been over the last few quarters,” said Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian Airlines president and chief executive officer. “Strong demand across our geographies, good macro-economic conditions, stable fuel prices and good cost control inside the business all played their part. Absent changes to the environment or competitor behavior, our prospects in the back half of the year look similar. As ever, we continue to build the business with new routes, this summer featuring our first flights from North America to Kaua’i and the island of Hawai’i, and a host of customer improvements including the roll out of our extra comfort economy section of the aircraft. Our wonderful employees continue to deliver the level of service on the ground and in the air that set the standard for others to aspire to. Without their dedication, none of this would be possible.”
Liquidity and Capital Resources
As of June 30, 2014 the Company had:
Unrestricted cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments of $564 million.
Available borrowing capacity of $69.4 million under Hawaiian’s Revolving Credit Facility.
Outstanding debt and capital lease obligations of approximately $1,071 million consisting of the following:
$708 million outstanding under secured loan agreements to finance a portion of the purchase price for eleven Airbus A330-200 aircraft.
$146 million outstanding under secured loan agreements to finance a portion of the purchase price for 15 Boeing 717-200 aircraft.
$106 million in capital lease obligations to finance the acquisition of an Airbus A330-200, two Boeing 717-200 aircraft and aircraft-related equipment.
$32 million outstanding under floating rate notes for two Boeing 767-300 ER aircraft.
$79 million of outstanding Convertible Senior Notes.
Top Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. The new Airbus A330-800neo aircraft will supplement the current Airbus A330-200s and allow the airline to finally retire the older Boeing 767-300 ERs. Airbus A330-243 N383HA (msn 1217) prepares to land in New York (JFK).
La Compagnie (formerly Dreamjet) (Paris-CDG) yesterday (July 21) evening launched its business class passenger operations. Flight BO 100 departed at 18:30 from Terminal 1 at Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) to Newark with the pictured Boeing 757-256 F-HTAG (msn 29307).
Copyright Photo: Manuel Negrerie/AirlinersGallery.com.
Southwest Airlines (Dallas) in a move that will excite your kids, along with the Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. announced today it will add Cartoon Network to the carrier’s inflight entertainment portal, which streams free live television programming to passengers’ WiFi-equipped personal electronic devices at all phases of flight, compliments of DISH®. Content from Cartoon Network’s popular programming such as Adventure Time, Regular Show, The Amazing World of Gumball, and Ben 10 Omniverse is now available for inflight viewing. Cartoon Network is the airline’s first complete child-centric programming being offered onboard all Southwest WiFi-equipped aircraft, representing nearly 80 percent of the airline’s fleet. The streaming TV service is provided through leading inflight content and connectivity partner Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. Cartoon Network programming is being provided by Turner Private Networks, a subsidiary of Turner Broadcasting that creates and distributes content for out-of-home networks.
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) today suspended all flights to Tel Aviv, Israel due to nearby rocket attacks according to CNN. Today’s flight DL 469 from New York (JFK) diverted to Paris (Charles de Gualle).
The suspension is for 24 hours.
The suspension of service to Israel comes after the State Department issued this statement:
The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza due to ongoing hostilities. The Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens consider the deferral of non-essential travel to Israel and the West Bank and reaffirms the longstanding strong warning to U.S. citizens against any travel to the Gaza Strip. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning issued on February 3, 2014.
The security environment remains complex in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, and U.S. citizens need to be aware of the risks of travel to these areas because of the current conflict between Hamas and Israel.
The Department of State continues its longstanding strong warning to U.S. citizens against travel to the Gaza Strip; U.S. government employees are not allowed to conduct official or personal travel there. Please see the section below on the situation in the Gaza Strip. Because of the security situation, the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and its annexes are currently operating at reduced staffing and the Consular Section of the Embassy is providing only emergency consular services. The U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem is currently maintaining normal operations, including consular services.
Long-range rockets launched from Gaza since July 8, 2014 have reached many locations in Israel – including Tel Aviv, cities farther north, and throughout the south of the country. Some rockets have reached Jerusalem and parts of the West Bank, including Bethlehem and Hebron. While many rockets have been intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, there have been impacts that have caused damage and injury. In light of the ongoing rocket attacks, U.S. citizen visitors to and U.S. citizen residents of Israel and the West Bank should familiarize themselves with the location of the nearest bomb shelter or other hardened site, if available. Visitors should seek information on shelters from hotel staff or building managers. Consult city municipality websites, such as those for Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, for lists of public bomb shelters and other emergency preparedness information. Visitors should follow the instructions of the Home Front Command on proper procedures in the event of rocket attacks.
Travelers should avoid areas of Israel in the vicinity of the Gaza Strip due to the real risks presented by small arms fire, anti-tank weapons, rockets, and mortars, as attacks from Gaza can come with little or no warning. Both Embassy and Consulate General personnel are currently not permitted to travel south of greater Tel Aviv without prior approval. On July 17, 2014 Israel announced the commencement of ground operations in Gaza. Visitors to these areas should remain aware of their surroundings and should take note of announcements and guidance provided by the Home Front Command.
Ben Gurion Airport is currently open and commercial flights are operating normally, although delays and cancellations can occur. Travelers should check with their airline prior to their planned travel to verify the flight schedule. U.S. citizens seeking to depart Israel or the West Bank are responsible for making their own travel arrangements.
We are not evacuating U.S. citizens out of Israel. U.S. government-facilitated evacuations occur only when no safe commercial alternatives exist. Evacuation assistance is provided on a cost-recovery basis, which means the traveler must reimburse the U.S. government for travel costs. The lack of a valid U.S. passport may hinder U.S. citizens’ ability to depart the country and may slow the U.S. Embassy or
Consulate General’s ability to provide assistance.
U.S. citizens who do travel to or remain in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza should take into consideration the rules governing travel by U.S. government employees:
U.S. government personnel are not permitted to conduct official or personal travel to the Gaza Strip;
U.S. government personnel are restricted from conducting personal travel to most parts of the West Bank; travel for official business is done with special security arrangements coordinated by the U.S.
Consulate General in Jerusalem;
Currently, because of the security situation, U.S. government personnel are not permitted to travel south of greater Tel Aviv without prior approval;
U.S. government personnel must notify Embassy Tel Aviv’s Regional Security Officer before traveling in the areas of the Golan Heights and are prohibited from traveling east of Rt. 98 in the Golan Heights;
U.S. government personnel are not permitted to use public buses anywhere in Israel or the West Bank due to past attacks on public transportation.
Major Metropolitan Areas in Israel
Personal safety conditions in major metropolitan areas, including Tel Aviv and Haifa and their surrounding regions, are comparable to or better than those in other major global cities. Please see below for specific information regarding Jerusalem. Visitors should observe appropriate personal security practices to reduce their vulnerability to crime, particularly late at night or in isolated or economically depressed areas, including in the countryside. Visitors are advised to avoid large gatherings or demonstrations and keep current with local news, which is available through numerous English language sources.
The Government of Israel has had a long-standing policy of issuing gas masks to its citizens and, starting in 2010, it began issuing replacement masks. It stopped this distribution process in early 2014 in response to regional events. Visitors and foreign residents in Israel are not issued masks and must individually procure them, if desired. The U.S. Embassy and Consulate General do not provide gas masks for persons who are not U.S. government employees or their dependents. For further emergency preparedness guidance, please visit the website of the Government of Israel’s Home Front Command, which provides information on how to choose a secure space in a home or apartment, as well as a list of the types of protective kits (gas masks) issued by the Government of Israel to its citizens.
The Department of State recommends against travel to areas of Israel in the vicinity of the Gaza Strip. Travelers should be aware of the risks presented by the current military conflict between Hamas and Israel. On July 17, 2014 Israel announced the commencement of ground operations in Gaza. Travelers in the regions immediately bordering Gaza may encounter small arms fire, anti-tank weapons, rockets, and mortars launched from inside Gaza toward Israeli cities and towns. These attacks can come with little or no warning. Visitors to these areas should remain aware of their surroundings and of the location of bomb shelters and should take note of announcements and guidance provided by the Home Front Command.
Travelers should also be aware of the heightened state of alert maintained by Israeli authorities along Israel’s border with Egypt. There have been cross-border incidents from Egypt, including rocket attacks and ground incursions, such as an attack that took place in August 2013 and one on January 20, 2014. Rockets were fired from Sinai in the direction of Eilat on July 15, 2014.
Rocket attacks into Israel from Lebanon have occurred without warning along the Israeli-Lebanese border. Tensions have increased along portions of the Disengagement Zone with Syria in the Golan Heights as a result of the internal conflict occurring in Syria. Sporadic gunfire has occurred along the border region. There have been several incidents of mortar shells and light arms fire impacting on the Israeli-controlled side of the zone as a result of spillover from the fighting in Syria. Travelers should be aware that cross-border gunfire can occur without warning. Furthermore, there are active land mines in areas of the Golan Heights, so visitors should walk only on established roads or trails. The Syrian conflict is sporadic and unpredictable. U.S. government personnel must notify the Embassy’s Regional Security Office in advance if they plan to visit the Golan Heights and are prohibited from traveling east of Rt. 98 in the Golan Heights.
U.S. citizens should be aware of the possibility of isolated street protests, particularly within the Old City and areas around Salah Ed-Din Street, Damascus Gate, Silwan, and the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. Travelers should exercise caution at religious sites on Fridays and on holy days, including during Ramadan. U.S. government employees are prohibited from entering the Old City on Fridays during the month of Ramadan due to congestion and security-related access restrictions.
U.S. government employees are prohibited from transiting Independence Park in central Jerusalem during the hours of darkness due to reports of criminal activity.
The Consulate General notes that recent demonstrations and clashes in several East Jerusalem areas, such as Shufat, Beit Hanina, Mt. of Olives, As Suwaneh, Abu Deis, Silwan, Shuafat Refugee Camp, inside the Old City (near Lions Gate), Issawiyeh, and Tsur Baher appear to have diminished, although the possibility exists of renewed clashes in the same areas during evenings. We note that the clashes and demonstrations have not been anti-American in nature. The Israel National Police (INP) continues to have a heavy presence in many of the neighborhoods that have had clashes and may restrict vehicular traffic to some of these neighborhoods without notice. We advise citizens not to enter any neighborhoods restricted by the INP and to avoid any locations that have active clashes ongoing.
The Shufat neighborhood of Jerusalem remains off-limits for official U.S. personnel and their families at night until further notice. The Old City of Jerusalem is also off-limits every day after dark for official U.S. personnel and their families until further notice. Official U.S. personnel are restricted from the Old City of Jerusalem at all times on Fridays during Ramadan. The Friday restriction is part of our standard policy, due to overall congestion and large crowds, and is not related to recent events.
The West Bank
The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to exercise caution when traveling to the West Bank. Demonstrations and violent incidents can occur without warning, and vehicles are regularly targeted by rocks, Molotov cocktails, and gunfire on West Bank roads. U.S citizens have been killed in such attacks. There have also been an increasing number of violent incidents involving Israeli settlers and Palestinian villagers in the corridor stretching from Ramallah to Nablus, including attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinian villages in which U.S. citizens have suffered injury or property damage, and attacks by Palestinians on settlements. U.S. citizens can be caught in the middle of potentially dangerous situations, and some U.S. citizens involved in political demonstrations in the West Bank have sustained serious injuries. The Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens, for their own safety, avoid all demonstrations. During periods of unrest, the Israeli Government may restrict access to the West Bank, and some areas may be placed under curfew. All persons in areas under curfew should remain indoors to avoid arrest or injury. Security conditions in the West Bank may hinder the ability of consular staff to offer timely assistance to U.S. citizens.
Personal travel in the West Bank by U.S. government personnel and their families is permitted to the towns of Bethlehem and Jericho and on Routes 1, 443, and 90. Personal travel is also permitted to Qumran off Route 90 by the Dead Sea, as are stops at roadside facilities along Routes 1 and 90. All other personal travel by U.S. government personnel in the West Bank is prohibited. U.S. government personnel routinely travel to the West Bank for official business, but do so with special security arrangements.
The Gaza Strip
The Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to the Gaza Strip, which is under the control of Hamas, a foreign terrorist organization. U.S. citizens in Gaza are advised to depart immediately. The security environment within Gaza, including its border with Egypt and its seacoast, is dangerous and volatile. Exchanges of fire between the Israel Defense Forces and militant groups in Gaza take place regularly, and civilians have been caught in the crossfire in the past. Although the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt normally allows for some passenger travel, prior coordination with local authorities — which could take days or weeks to process — is generally required, and crossing points may be closed for days or weeks. Travelers who enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing must also exit through the Rafah crossing, and those entering the Gaza Strip may not be able to depart at a time of their choosing. Many U.S. citizens have been unable to exit Gaza or faced lengthy delays in doing so. Furthermore, the schedule and requirements for exiting through the Rafah crossing are unpredictable and can involve significant expense. Because U.S. citizen employees of the U.S. government are not allowed to enter the Gaza Strip or have contact with Hamas, the ability of consular staff to offer timely assistance to U.S. citizens, including assistance departing Gaza, is extremely limited.
Some U.S. citizens holding Israeli nationality, possessing a Palestinian identity card, or who are of Arab or Muslim origin have experienced significant difficulties in entering or exiting Israel or the West Bank. U.S. citizens planning to travel to Israel, the West Bank, or Gaza should consult the detailed information concerning entry and exit difficulties in the Country Specific Information.
Contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy for information and assistance in Israel, the Golan Heights, and ports of entry at Ben Gurion Airport, Haifa Port, the northern (Jordan River/Sheikh Hussein) and southern (Arava) border crossings connecting Israel and Jordan, and the border crossings between Israel and Egypt. An embassy officer can be contacted at (972) (3) 519-7575 from Monday through Friday during working hours. The after-hours emergency number is (972) (3) 519-7551.
Contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem for information and assistance in Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge crossing between the West Bank and Jordan, at (972) (2) 630-4000 from Monday through Friday during working hours. The after-hours emergency number is (972) (2) 622-7250.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 747-451 N663US (msn 23818) prepares to land in Tokyo (Narita).
The International Air Transport Association (IATA), representing the international airlines, has made the following statement of the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines:
Statement of IATA’s Director General and CEO Tony Tyler:
“The tragedy of MH 17 is an outrage. Over the weekend it was confirmed that the passengers and crew aboard the aircraft were the victims of a hideous crime. It was also an attack against the air transport system which is an instrument of peace.
Among the immediate priorities, the bodies of the victims must be returned to their grieving loved ones in a respectful manner. For over four days we witnessed appalling sights from the crash scene. Governments must set aside their differences and treat the victims and their families with the dignity they deserve – and this includes urgently securing the site.
The investigation must also start quickly and with total freedom and access. Actions over the weekend which slowed down progress on both of these priorities were an outrage to human decency.
We have heard news of potential progress on both these issues. But promises now need to be turned into reality with actions.
Airlines and governments are partners in supporting global connectivity. Airlines carry the passengers and cargo. Governments and air navigation service providers inform airlines about the routes that they can fly and with what restrictions. Airlines comply with that guidance.
That was the case with MH 17. Malaysia Airlines was a clearly identified commercial jet. And it was shot down—in complete violation of international laws, standards and conventions—while broadcasting its identity and presence on an open and busy air corridor at an altitude that was deemed to be safe.
No effort should be spared in ensuing that this outrage is not repeated. Of course, nobody should be shooting missiles at civilian aircraft—governments or separatists. Governments will need to take the lead in reviewing how airspace risk assessments are made. And the industry will do all that it can to support governments, through ICAO, in the difficult work that lies ahead.
This was a terrible crime. But flying remains safe. And everyone involved in global air transport is fully dedicated to making it even safer.”
Emirates (Dubai) on July 16 launched a new Airbus A380 service to Kuwait City, the world’s shortest scheduled A380 flight.
The arrival of the upgraded EK 857 service, which touched down at Kuwait International Airport, marks 25 years of Emirates’ flights to the country.
The Emirates’ A380 flight to Kuwait is just one hour and 45 minutes, the shortest A380 service in operation today. Since 2008, the airline has carried 27.5 million travelers on its now 50 A380s.
Kuwait is only the second market in the Middle East to be served by the airline’s flagship aircraft after the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Flight EK 857 leaves Dubai at 1600 and arrives in Kuwait at 1645 local time. Flight EK 858 departs Kuwait at 1825 and lands in Dubai at 2110.
Copyright Photo: Andi Hiltl/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-861 A6-EDO (msn 057) departs from Zurich.
Hong Kong Airlines (Hong Kong) is preparing to cancel its order for 10 Airbus A380s according to Reuters.
Airbus stated the order remains on their order book.
Read the full report: CLICK HERE
Virgin America (San Francisco) has partnered with the hot stock and camera company, GoPro, for a new airborne channel. The airline issued this statement through its blog:
Day dreaming from a mood-lit chair in the sky is tough to beat. If you’re looking to infuse those dreams with a little action and adventure, you may want to check out the GoPro® Channel on our Red™ seatback entertainment system.
Channel 8 has tons of thrilling content from rooftop fire breathing to hugging lions in Africa – all of which were all captured using GoPro’s HERO3+ Black Edition camera. “Be a Hero” at your destination by making a few adventure videos of your own.
Here is a typical video using the GoPro:
Do you have an airline-theme video using the GoPro camera? Let us know and we will promote your video.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 N851VA (msn 4999) completes its final approach to the runway at Los Angeles.
Sun Country Airlines (Minneapolis/St. Paul) is expanding in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America this coming winter with new seasonal service. The airline will start weekly service from MSP to St. Maarten (December 20 through April 4), Manzanillo (January 8 through April 2) and Rio Hato (near Panama City) December 26 through April 3 per Airline Route.
Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-752 N714SY (msn 33786) taxies at Los Angeles.
With the shoot down and crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17 that was traveling at 33,000 feet over eastern Ukraine on a long range flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, many international passengers are now wondering where not to fly when they travel on long range international flights. The amount of international conflict areas, i. e. war zones, is increasing. Of course, the introduction of sophisticated anti-aircraft weapons is now a major concern in some of these conflict areas.
Do you know where your flight is being routed, especially between Europe and Asia?
For guidance, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has advised U. S. carriers to not fly in these dangerous areas. The Washington Post has produced this excellent map and report on the most dangerous overflight areas in the world.
Read the full report: CLICK HERE
Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A330-200 is hit by a rocket and burns at Tripoli, other airliners damaged, others flee Libya
Afriqiyah Airways (Tripoli) has lost a relatively new Airbus A330-200 (5A-ONF) at its Tripoli base after a rocket reportedly hit the parked A330 at the gate and the empty airliner quickly burned. There are now photos showing the destruction.
According to Malta Today, “Several Grad rocket struck the airport late on Monday, July 14 destroying 90% of the planes parked there, including a $250 million Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A330.”
The fighting by the two militia groups to control the the airport after a cease fire failed to hold continues today. The undamaged airliners and crews are being flown out of the country.
According to the Ottawa Citizen, “The weeklong fight over the airport is being waged by a powerful militia from the western city of Zintan, which controls the facility, and Islamist-led militias, including fighters from Misrata, east of Tripoli. The clashes resumed early Sunday (July 20) after cease-fire efforts failed.”
Read the full story from Malta Today: CLICK HERE
Read the full story from the Ottawa Citizen: CLICK HERE
Twitter photos by Mohanid Elghadi. Read his full report: CLICK HERE