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Snowbird Airlines is coming to London Gatwick starting on December 6

Snowbird A320-200 (14)(Flt)(Snowbird)(LRW)

Snowbird Airlines (Helsinki) starting on December 6 is planning to operate twice-weekly Airbus A320 service from Enontekiö to London (Gatwick) and return per Airline Route.

Enontekiö is located in northern Finland in Lapland and is an ideal viewing location for the winter northern lights.

 

According to Helsinki Times, the launch of the carrier has been delayed due to slumping Russian economy and a dispute with the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (KKV).

The charter airline was planning to start operations on October 2.

Read the full story: CLICK HERE

Images: Snowbird Airlines.

Snowbird logo

Video:

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Frontier Airlines is coming to Miami starting on December 20 along with Chicago O’Hare and Philadelphia

Frontier MIA ORD and PHL $14.95 banner

Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Miami) is coming to Miami starting on December 20 with new routes operating to Chicago (O’Hare), Denver, New York (LaGuardia) and Philadelphia. The fast growing airline is also coming to Chicago (O’Hare) and Philadelphia. Frontier also serves nearby Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood (near Miami) and Trenton, NJ (near Philadelphia).

The airlines issued this short statement and initial low air fares available today:

Today is a big day for Frontier, we’re announcing new routes to/from three new cities: Miami, Chicago O’Hare, and Philadelphia! You can now fly from Miami to Denver, New York LaGuardia, Chicago O’Hare and Philadelphia; from Chicago O’Hare to Las Vegas, Tampa and Miami; and last but not least from Philadelphia to Cancun, Orlando, Miami and Tampa. Starting in the spring of 2015 you can fly from Philadelphia to Atlanta, Charlotte, and Chicago O’Hare!

 

Frontier Airlines: AG Slide Show

Frontier MIA, ORD and PHL introductory fare

Emirates to help manage TAAG Linhas Aereas de Angola

Emirates (Dubai) has issued this statement:

Emirates and the Republic of Angola, in its capacity as the majority shareholder of TAAG Linhas Aéreas De Angola (TAAG Angola Airlines) (Luanda), announced the signing of a Management Concession Agreement* which will see Emirates take a role in the management of TAAG. The agreement lays the foundation for both airlines to jointly leverage commercial opportunities in Africa and beyond.

The ten year Management Concession Agreement* was signed by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group and H.E. Augusto da Silva Tomás, the Minister of Transport for Government of Angola.

This initiative is to further the Republic of Angola’s vision to create a world class Angolan carrier with the support of Emirates. As part of the agreement*, Emirates will work closely with the Angolan government and TAAG Linhas Aéreas De Angola to formulate and implement a business plan, provide management support and devise fleet and route network strategies, whilst bringing synergy through the complementary networks. Emirates will not contribute equity under this agreement* but appoint four senior managers to work for TAAG Linhas Aéreas De Angola.

Both airlines will also cooperate across a wide range of areas including bilateral code-sharing on cargo and passenger services, participation of customers in both airlines’ frequent flyer programmes and passenger and cargo handling. Emirates has also committed to allocate its resources to staff and crew training on best-in-class business and operational processes and systems.

TAAG Linhas Aéreas De Angola will additionally explore business opportunities with DNATA, in particular its passenger and cargo handling, flight catering and travel services. dnata, part of the Emirates Group, is the largest provider of air travel services in the Middle East and employs about 23,000 staff in 38 countries.

Angola is Africa’s second largest oil producer with a strong mining sector, and is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, making it an attractive business destination.

Emirates’ first point in Africa was Cairo, launched in 1986, and the airline has since grown a strong presence on the African continent, serving 22 passenger destinations today: Abidjan, Accra, Addis Ababa, Cairo, Cape Town, Casablanca, Dakar, Dar el Salaam, Durban, Entebbe, Johannesburg, Khartoum, Lagos, Luanda, Nairobi, Tripoli, Tunis, Harare, Lusaka, Conakry, Algiers and Abuja.

Emirates currently flies daily to Luanda, Angola’s capitol. EK 793 leaves Dubai at 1005hrs and arrives in Luanda at 1500hrs. The return flight, EK 794, departs Luanda at 1800, touching down in Dubai eight hours later at 0510.

* The agreement will only take effect after a number of conditions have been satisfied, including the receipt of various government and regulatory approvals.

Top Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Emirates Airline Boeing 777-36N ER A6-ECO (msn 37706) taxies at Toronto (Pearson).

Emirates: AG Slide Show

TAAG: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Marcelo F. De Biasi/AirlinersGallery.com. TAAG’s Boeing 777-3M2 ER D2-TEG (msn 40805) arrives in Sao Paulo (Guarulhos).

Lufthansa cancels 25 long-haul flights today from Frankfurt

Lufthansa (Frankfurt) today is dealing with another strike by its pilots, this time affecting its long-haul flights from the Frankfurt hub. The airline issued this statement:

Owing to the renewed strike announced by the Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) pilots‘ union, Lufthansa has cancelled 25 long-haul flights from Frankfurt for Tuesday, September 30. A total of 57 intercontinental flights were originally scheduled from Frankfurt tomorrow and 32 of those are planned to depart. Of those 32 flights, 26 will be flown by volunteer pilots, two others will depart earlier and four have been deferred to the following day (Wednesday).

The Lufthansa hub in Munich will not be impacted by the strike: Flights to and from Düsseldorf and short-haul flights from and to Frankfurt will also operate as scheduled. Furthermore, flights operated by the Lufthansa Group airlines Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Germanwings, Swiss and Air Dolomiti (OS, SN, 4U, LX, EN) will not be affected either.

This fifth strike action within just four weeks will hit Lufthansa in the busiest air-traffic month of the year. Both the number of scheduled flights as well as capacities are traditionally at their highest level over the year at the end of September. Moreover, it is especially difficult at the end of the month to change crewing rosters and get pilots to volunteer for flights because planning options are restricted by the monthly limits on pilots’ flight-duty hours. Furthermore, Lufthansa is barred from resorting to night flights by the stringent night-flight ban after 11 p.m. at its home base in Frankfurt.

“Even if we manage under these difficult conditions to get more than half our scheduled long-haul flights from Frankfurt off the ground with volunteer crews tomorrow (Tuesday), the walkout will again severely damage our reputation and erode confidence in our airline’s reliability. The VC union’s repeated resort to strike action will damage Lufthansa with unforeseeable consequences for all 120,000 employees, including the pilots”, emphasized Kay Kratky, member of the Lufthansa German Airlines Board with responsibility for Operations and the Frankfurt Hub. “We apologize explicitly for the measures taken by the VC union, which is the only collective bargaining partner at Lufthansa intent on uncompromising and inconsiderate pursuit of its individual interests.”

Copyright Photo: Long-haul flights to the United States are severely impacted today. Airbus A340-642 D-AIHW (msn 972) taxies at Los Angeles.

Lufthansa: AG Slide Show

The first Boeing 737-800 for the new Eastern will arrive in early December as N276EA

Eastern (2nd) 737-800 WL (Eastern)(LRW)

Eastern Air Lines (2nd) (Miami) has announced they are planning to take delivery of the first Boeing 737-800 during the first week of December 2014. The first aircraft will be registered as N276EA which has been reserved by Eastern Air Lines with the FAA. N276EA will be named the “Spirit of Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker” according to the new airline. The new Eastern is going through the FAA certification process.

Image: Eastern Air Lines (2nd).

The original Eastern Airlines (2nd) Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Video: Eastern Airlines TV commercials for the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s:

Video: By George Mihal. Eastern aircraft at Charlotte (old terminal) circa 1956 including a Lockheed Constellation.

 

The Airbus A350-900 receives EASA certification

Airbus A350 Test Fleet in Formation 1 (Airbus)(LRW)

Airbus (Toulouse) has announced the new A350-900 received its Type Certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on September 30, 2014. The certified aircraft is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification will follow shortly.

The EASA A350-900 Type Certificate was signed by EASA’s Executive Director, Patrick Ky. The document was handed over to Airbus’ Executive Vice President Engineering, Charles Champion and Airbus’ A350 XWB Chief Engineer, Gordon McConnell.

Qatar Airways will take delivery of the first A350 before the end of the year. Our fleet of five test aircraft (above) completed the certification campaign, on time, cost and quality with more than 2,600 flight test hour

At the end of May 2014, the A350 XWB had received 750 orders from 39 customers worldwide.

All images by Airbus.

A350 XWB Inovations (Airbus)(LRW)

Airbus A350 Test Fleet in Formation 2 (Airbus)(LRW)

The changing face of Dallas Love Field, Delta Air Lines to exit Love Field on October 12

DAL Love Field Entrance (City of Dallas)(LR)

Dallas Love Field will dramatically change on October 13 when the Wright Amendment expires. With an expanding new terminal design and a different set of airlines, the airport is evolving with new long-range routes.

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) will end its Delta Connection operations at Dallas’ Love Field on October 12. According to the Dallas News, the City of Dallas has served notice to the carrier that it can no longer accommodate the carrier after that date with gates in the new Terminal 2. Delta has served DAL since 2008 with service to Atlanta from Terminal 1. Previously Delta served Love Field when it was the only airport for Dallas. Delta currently subleases the two gates from American Airlines. Those two gates will go to Virgin America. On October 13 the Wright Amendment will expire.

According to Wikipedia, the Wright Amendment of 1979 was a federal law governing traffic at Dallas Love Field with some provisions also applying to other airfields in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex including Fort Worth Meacham International Airport and Addison Airport. It originally limited most nonstop flights from Love Field to destinations within Texas and neighboring states. Additional states were added to the permissible area in 1997 and 2005. In 2006, the amendment was repealed but left some restrictions intact until October 13, 2014 but with an added restriction on the number of gates allowed.

Dallas Love Field is named after Moss L. Love, who while assigned to the U.S. Army 11th Cavalry, died in an airplane crash near San Diego, California on September 4, 1913, becoming the 10th fatality in U.S. army aviation history. His Wright Model C biplane crashed during practice for his Military Aviator Test. Love Field was named by the United States Army on October 19, 1917.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Meanwhile the City of Dallas has issued this description of its new DAL Terminal 2:

DAL logo

The new Love Field Airport will increase efficiency for travelers while maintaining the convenience that Love Field currently offers passengers. In the new design, the terminal will decrease in size approximately 25 percent by replacing a large amount of unused and outdated space with modern and efficient facilities. The three original concourses will be demolished and consolidated into one convenient, centrally located concourse for all airlines. In addition to the new concourse, the check-in and baggage claim areas will be redesigned. The main lobby space will be renovated but will retain the overall structure and volume of the original design. This portion of the facility is the symbolic heart of the terminal complex and a vital part of the passenger processing operation. In addition, the LFMP will more than double the amount of available airport concessions – yet another tremendous benefit for Love Field Customers.

DAL Love Field Baggage Claim

Terminal 2 Baggage Claim.

Southwest Airlines has been operating from the new Terminal 2. Southwest Airlines previously announced that it would be adding new flights to Baltimore/Washington, Denver, Las Vegas, Orlando, Washington (Reagan) and Chicago (Midway) on October 13, 2014. Southwest also announced that on November 2, 2014, it would add new service to Atlanta, Nashville, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, Los Angeles, New York (LaGuardia), Phoenix, San Diego, Orange County and Tampa. On March 10, 2014, Southwest announced that in 2015, it would add new service to Boston, Oakland, Panama City Beach, Portland (Oregon), and San Jose, California.

Virgin America begins Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington (Reagan National) service on October 13, 2014) followed by New York (LaGuardia) on October 28, 2014.

In the new Terminal 2, Southwest Airlines operates from Gates 1-10, 12, 14, 16, 18-20, On October 1, 2014 United Express will operate from Gates 15 and 17 and Virgin America will operate from Gates 11 and 13.

Terminal 1 closes on October 1, 2014.

DAL Terminal Map

Current Terminal Map (City of Dallas)

DAL Love Field original terminal

The original Dallas Municipal Airport, Love Field (City of Dallas).

All images by the City of Dallas.

Video by Southwest Airlines of the new DAL Terminal:

Video by Southwest Airlines: A Day at Dallas Love Field:

Air China takes delivery of its first Boeing 747-800 Intercontinental

Air China (Beijing) has taken delivery of the pictured Boeing 747-89L B-2485 (msn 41191) yesterday (September 29), its first 747-800 Intercontinental.

Boeing issued this statement:

Boeing and Air China celebrated the delivery of the airline’s first 747-8 Intercontinental. Air China is the first carrier in Asia to operate the passenger version of the new, fuel-efficient 747-8. The new airplane is the first of seven 747-8 Intercontinentals Air China has on order.

“Air China has been operating 747s since the 1980s,” said Song Zhiyong, president of Air China. “This iconic airplane has played an important role in Air China’s international development and has also witnessed many milestones of the reform and opening-up of China. We are very proud to introduce the new 747-8 into our fleet to continue its tradition into the future.”

Air China, the flag carrier of the People’s Republic of China, will operate the new airplanes as it continues to expand its international routes.

The 747-8 Intercontinental will bring double-digit improvements in fuel consumption and emissions over its predecessor, the 747-400, while generating 30 percent less noise. The airplane’s interior, inspired by the 787 Dreamliner, includes a new curved, upswept architecture giving passengers a greater feeling of space and comfort, while adding more room for personal belongings. The 747-8 Intercontinental is powered by GE Aviation’s GEnx-2B engines.

Boeing’s partnership with Air China dates back to the 1970s. In addition to the 747-8 Intercontinental, Air China also has 15 787-9s on order. Air China has received all of its 20 777-300 ERs in the last three years and is one of the largest 737 operators in China.

Air China will deploy the new type on the Beijing-Frankfurt route starting daily on January 2, 2015 per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Brandon Farris/AirlinersGallery.com. B-2485 is pictured at Boeing Field in Seattle on a test flight.

Boeing 747-8 Customers (Boeing):

Boeing 747-800 Customers

Video: The National Geographic documentary on the Boeing 747-8:

Air China: AG Slide Show

 

Joel Chusid’s Airline Corner – September 2014

Guest Editor Joel Chusid

Watch Your Vowels

Guest Editor Joel Chusid

Guest Editor Joel Chusid

With millions of passengers flying every day, some are bound to end up at the wrong destination. I’m not talking about diverted or cancelled flights, or even what airlines call “misboards” when someone board the wrong airplane by mistake which, despite all the security regulations and precautions, still occasionally happens. But booking the wrong destination can happen, especially with so many people booking online. There are multiple cities in the U.S. with the same name (Bloomington, Lafayette and Springfield come to mind), but globally there are Londons in Canada and England and Panama Cities in Florida and Panama, and many more examples. Spelling and pronunciation errors can cause someone going to Oakland, California to end up in Auckland, New Zealand or the wrong La Paz, in Mexico or Bolivia. Airline staff are used to this, but they make mistakes, too. An Australian couple bound for the World Cup in Salvador, Brazil this past summer, ended up in San Salvador in El Salvador due to an airline booking error and had to watch the game on TV instead. An American dentist and his partner, anxious to see the Alhambra booked a first class vacation trip to Granada, Spain through British Airways last year. Upon landing in London, they proceeded to their connecting flight to Grenada, with that single vowel causing the mixup. Twenty minutes into the flight, they noticed their flight on the inflight map was headed out over the ocean, at which point they were past the point of no return. Nine hours they later ended up on the island of Grenada in the Caribbean. Since the dentist had a conference in Lisbon, Portugal at the end of the vacation, they flew to Miami and on to London. The little vowel error caused them to be on seven flights over three days and spend over $34,000 in airfares and in lost salary, for which the dentist sued British Airways since their agent erred. The case was finally dismissed last month in a Washington court. Let this be a lesson to you: watch your vowels.

The Game Plane

Are you into game shows? Is your idea of a comfortable airline seat in your living room? Here’s a new one for you, courtesy of Allegiant Air. For the past few months, “The Game Plane”, with reality host by Mark L. Walberg has been filming with somewhat captive audiences live on scheduled flights. Broadcasts in syndication began September 20, with real passengers as contestants getting chances to win prizes such as hotel stays in Las Vegas, Orlando and Hawaii. Now if you haven’t heard of Allegiant, they are what can be described as a niche, yet successful, airline, serving smaller cities to leisure destinations usually a few times a week. Think Shreveport to Las Vegas, one of the chosen routes for the game. The games range from “Bye Bye Birdie” (an inflight putting contest), the “Barf Bag Challenge” (choose questions from an array of air sickness bags) to “How Smart is Your Co-Pilot” (one half of a couple is sent to the isolation booth- the airplane lavatory). For some sample pictures, see http://gameplane.herokuapp.com/. Now I have no idea how they deal with turbulence….

Airline Food, Grounded

Some international travelers prefer to eat their meal on the ground before a red-eye flight to maximize rest time, especially when heading eastbound where hours are lost. Indeed, some airline lounges offer premium travelers pre-flight fine dining, especially those in the Middle East where most long haul travel involves an overnight, and even on the U.S. East Coast where most flights to Europe are scheduled to leave in the evening and arrive early. On recent flights on Turkish and Qatar Airways I was blown away by the selection of food, with everything from chefs to olive bars. But now we’re talking about airline food on the ground when you’re not even taking a flight. LSG SkyChefs, in partnership with Allyouneed.com, a German delivery site, has just introduced a test of home airline meal delivery in Germany, Cologne and Dusseldorf, to be exact. The meals are designed after Lufthansa business class meals, are prepared fresh, not frozen, and delivered to homes once a week, on Wednesdays. The meals, however, can be frozen and eaten later and feature both vegetarian and regular entrees, whatever is being served aloft on that day.

Copycat Freeloader

On the other hand, you can do what a “wanna-be” passenger did at Munich, but got caught, similar to what a man did at a Chinese airport for months. The European traveler bought a one way business class ticket from Munich to Zurich. The distance of this flight is only 162 miles. I flew this segment some years ago, and it took longer to get the checked baggage than the flight itself. However, these tickets are relatively expensive, at $895 (yes, you read that correctly), but they permit unlimited cancellation and rebooking without penalty. They also permit access to the premium lounge at Munich, which the guy used 35 times, without ever flying. Each time he checked in, helped himself to the copious food and drink, and then had his ticket refunded and reissued. After a few months of this, airline staff got suspicious, and Lufthansa took the freeloader to court. He was fined $2700, equal to the daily lounge charge.

“Keep Calm and Watch”

With all the stories of “air rage” these days, British Airways has discovered some ways to calm passengers and mesmerize them to relax on long flights. Last spring the airline introduced what one could only call “boring” movies. How about watching a seven hour trail ride to Oslo, or hours of bird feeding or knitting? A British Airways spokesperson equated it with watching the moving flight map. Just recently, a new channel, “Paws and Relax” was introduced, featuring romping dogs and cats. Think “Puppy Bowl” – non-Super Bowl watchers know that at the same time the big game is on, the Animal Planet channel shows the “Puppy Bowl” with furry juvenile canines playing with toys and each other on a little sports field. British Airways also recently tested a “Happiness Blanket” on some travelers between New York and London. A headband worn by the traveler measures electrical fluctuations of the brain, and the blanket turns blue when the user is calm, red when they are anxious or stressed. The blankets were used during mealtime, entertainment and sleep. No idea if this idea is going to be expanded. Some pictures here: http://www.britishairways.com/en-gb/offers/partners/happiness-blanket

Virgin Atlantic is close to making a decision on 5 additional Boeing 787s, updates its fleet retirement plans

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) is close to making a decision on its five Boeing 787 options according to this report by Bloomberg. The British carrier is updating its fleet plans as it retires its older aircraft types with the new generation aircraft.

According to the report, Virgin Atlantic will retire the last Airbus A340-300 (above) at the end of February 2015. The last five Boeing 747-400s will leave the fleet between September 2015 and July 2016.

Two Airbus A340-600s will be retired at the beginning of 2015.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. The older Airbus A340-300s will be the first to be retired in February. Virgin Atlantic Airways’ Airbus A340-313 G-VFAR (msn 225) climbs away from London’s Heathrow Airport.

Virgin Atlantic Airways: AG Slide Show

El Al and JetBlue Airways file with the DOT in order to codeshare

El Al Israel Airlines (Tel Aviv) and JetBlue Airways (New York) today filed with the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) seeking approval to codeshare.

Subject to government approval, El Al plans to place its “LY” code on select JetBlue-operated flights to/from New York (JFK/Newark).

El Al currently offers up to 22 weekly nonstop flights from Tel Aviv to New York (JFK/Newark) which easily tap into JetBlue’s growing network. With one stop in New York (JFK/Newark), customers may connect between Israel and 35 JetBlue destinations including Boston, Chicago/O’Hare, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Houston/Hobby, Las Vegas, Orlando, San Francisco, San Juan, Washington/Dulles and West Palm Beach. JetBlue currently serves 86 cities across the United States, Caribbean, and Latin America.

El Al and JetBlue have been interline partners since 2010, allowing customers to purchase single-ticket itineraries, combining travel on both airlines.

Top Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. El Al’s Boeing 747-458 4X-ELB (msn 26056) climbs gracefully away from Heathrow Airport near London.

El Al Israel Airlines: AG Slide Show

JetBlue Airways: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Fred Freketic/AirlinersGallery.com. JetBlue Airways’ Airbus A321-231 WL N923JB (msn 5960) with the Prism tail fin awaits its runway departure clearance at JFK International Airport.

QANTAS Airways launches the largest jetliner on the longest route to Dallas/Fort Worth

QANTAS Airways (Sydney) customers will now enjoy the luxury of the world’s largest passenger aircraft on the world’s longest route, with nonstop Airbus A380 services between Sydney and Dallas/Fort Worth which was launched on September 28.

QANTAS recently announced increased services to the USA, and will now offer customers 41 services per week to North America. About half of these services are operated by the pictured Airbus A380 aircraft and the other half by Boeing 747-400s with A380-style interiors.

QANTAS A380 First Class Suite (QANTAS)(LRW)

Copyright Photo: QANTAS Airways. The First Class Suite.

The new Airbus A380 service is the result of several scheduling changes designed to unlock more flying time of the QANTAS fleet, as part of the wider Qantas Transformation program.

QANTAS A380 Business Class cabin (QANTAS)(LRW)

Copyright Photo: QANTAS Airways. Business Class cabin.

QANTAS will operate the new Airbus A380 service six times per week (every day except Tuesdays). Flight QF 7 will depart Sydney at 1310 and arrive at DFW International Airport at 1345 local time (the same day).

The return flight QF 8, will depart DFW at 2215 local time and arrive in Sydney at 0605 two days later (due to an evening departure and the international dateline). Flying time from Sydney to DFW is around 14 hours 50 minutes, and flying time from DFW to Sydney is around 15 hours 30 minutes.

QANTAS A380 Economy Class seats (QANTAS)(LRW)

Copyright Photo: QANTAS Airways. The Economy Class cabin.

Through its codeshare partnership with American Airlines, QANTAS offers onward connections to more than 100 destinations across the USA, with more than 50 of those from Dallas/Fort Worth including Orlando, Boston, Houston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Washington, Toronto, Vancouver, Cancun and Mexico City.

This new service comes in the 60th anniversary year of QANTAS services between Australia and the USA. In 1954, QANTAS operated a Lockheed Super Constellation from Sydney to San Francisco – its first trans-Pacific route to North America.

QANTAS A380 Texas hat tail (QANTAS)(LRW)

Copyright Photo: QANTAS Airways.

SPECIAL LIVERY:

To celebrate the milestone, QANTAS painted its Airbus A380-842 VH-OQL (msn 074) operating the route with a special livery; the kangaroo on the tail (above) features a traditional Stetson hat with a neckerchief in the American-stars print, with a “G’Day Texas” emblem next to the forward doors.

QANTAS A380-800 VH-OQL (G'Day Texas logo)(QANTAS)(LRW)

QANTAS Ambassador John Travolta was at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to greet the inaugural Airbus A380 service from Sydney and said he was proud to help promote the new service (below).

“I’m thrilled to be part of this special and historic moment for QANTAS. It’s exciting news for Americans that the world’s biggest and one of the most luxurious passenger aircrafts is now flying between Dallas/Fort Worth and Sydney,” said Mr Travolta.

QANTAS John Travolta (QANTAS)(LR)

Top Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-842 VH-OQD (msn 026) climbs away from London (Heathrow).

QANTAS Airways: AG Slide Show

Video:

Lufthansa is facing another pilot’s strike tomorrow

Lufthansa (Frankfurt) meanwhile is facing another day of strikes tomorrow (September 30) by its pilots, represented by the Vereinigung Cockpit union. The strike revolves around a dispute concerning retirement benefits.

The union issued this statement (translated from German):

The Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) 2014 plans industrial action at Lufthansa for tomorrow Tuesday, September 30.

Lufthansa pilots are on September 30, 2014 from 8.00 – 23.00 local time will strike on long-haul flights with the aircraft types Airbus A380, Boeing 747, Airbus A330 and Airbus A340 will not perform any departures from Frankfurt Airport. With this strike, a new collective agreement transitional care will be achieved.

Since Lufthansa management has not submitted any compromise or competitive offer, we are forced to take these other measures.

The Vereinigung Cockpit declares that it is always ready to avert strikes. We regret any inconvenience to the customers of Lufthansa.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-841 D-AIMB (msn 041) arrives back at the Frankfurt hub.

Lufthansa: AG Slide Show

The pilot’s strike against Air France ends, the airline attempts to return to a full schedule

Air France (Paris) is attempting to get back to a full schedule after the strike by its pilots has ended. The airline issued this statement yesterday (September 28):

Air France welcomes the end of the strike action, which it called for firmly and repeatedly. The strike has been costly and damaging. It has lasted too long.

The Company deeply regrets that despite lengthy negotiations since the beginning of the conflict, enabling much progress to be made, the balanced and reasonable protocol to end the conflict proposed by Management has not been signed by the unions. Air France regrets that the pilots’ unions have not seized these opportunities.

Air France confirms its decision to continue the accelerated development of Transavia in France, one of the Group’s key growth factors. This development will take place in the planned competitive economic and social conditions (in particular: development beyond 14 aircraft, a single fleet of Boeing 737, Transavia France operating and remuneration conditions, transfer of Air France pilots on a voluntary basis). As announced, this project will quickly create 1,000 jobs in France (including 250 pilot jobs).

The end of the conflict strengthens the Company’s determination to develop its business model to reinforce its leadership in the context of constructive and balanced social dialogue. The strategic interest of the Company must remain the top priority.

Air France is now totally mobilized to regain its customers’ trust, restore serenity among staff and promote corporate cohesion.

Alexandre de Juniac, Chairman and CEO of Air France-KLM, declared: “The management team, Frédéric Gagey and I are well aware of the trauma that our customers, our employees and our partners have just experienced with this long strike. Our priority is now to join forces around the Air France-KLM group’s growth and competitiveness project, Perform 2020. I would like to thank all those who, in the belief that growth is within our reach if we provide ourselves with the necessary means, have supported our development projects. I would also like to thank all the staff at Air France who, over the past two weeks, have done a remarkable job in extremely difficult circumstances. To all our customers and our staff, I want to express our confidence and our commitment to restore the links and regain momentum”.

The company issued this statement about returning to a full schedule and today’s flights:

Following the end of strike action, Air France is gradually resuming its flight schedule.

Flights already cancelled for Monday September 29 will remain cancelled. Air France operated 45% of its scheduled flights yesterday.

For today, Monday September 29, 2014, Air France is planning to operate almost 60% of its scheduled flights.

The situation will gradually return to normal over 2 to 3 days due to operational and regulatory constraints.

As aircraft have not flown for several days, mandatory checks are required before operations resume. In addition, aircraft and crews must be repositioned at all Air France stations throughout the world and flight crews must be given their legal rest periods before carrying out return flights.

Last-minute changes and disruptions may still occur.

Air France advises its customers to check flight information before going to the airport and not to go to the airport if their flight is cancelled. Further information is available at:

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-228 ER F-GSPD (msn 29005) completes its final approach to the runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).

Air France: AG Slide Show

Fastjet’s first half loss widens to $30.5 million

Fastjet (Fastjet.com) (Dar es Salaam) reported today (September 29) its first half loss (through June 30) widened to $30.5 million (USD), including $13.9 million in losses in the associated Tanzanian operation. Fly540 Ghana and Angola had a $13.5 million adverse effect on the first half financial results. According to the carrier, “Fly540 Ghana and Fly540 Angola loss-making services remain suspended, with restructuring activity underway.”

Despite this loss, the low-fare airline has been expanding. Flights from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to Lusaka, Zambia were launched in February 2014, from Dar es Salaam to Harare, Zimbabwe in August 2014 and from Dar es Salaam to Entebbe, Uganda on September 16, 2014.

The airline is filling a void left by the closure of Air Uganda.

Read the full financial report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-112 5H-FJC (msn 1145) taxies at Johannesburg (all others by Fastjet).

Fastjet: AG Slide Show

Fastjet crew

Expanding Route Map:

Fastjet 9.2014 Route Map

American Airlines Group pays renewed homage to the original Pacific Southwest Airlines

American Airlines Group (American Airlines and US Airways) (Dallas/Fort Worth) has repainted the pictured US Airways Airbus A319-112 N742PS (msn 1275) now with American titles. The Group is proud of its heritage logo jets and is also proud to remember its honored past. The group intends to have additional heritage jets (including TWA) for most of its heritage airlines that are now in the new and expanded American Airlines family tree (below).

The original Pacific Southwest Airlines-PSA (San Diego) operated from 1949 to 1988.

In other news, the continued negotiations for a combined pilot seniority list continues for the new American Airlines with some calling for America West pilots to be included in the negotiations.

This article by Ted Reed in Forbes details the on-going negotiations for a fair seniority list. Read the article: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-112 N742PS (msn 1275) in the 1977 livery of PSA and now with American titles departs from the Charlotte hub.

American Airlines-US Airways: AG Slide Show

American Airlines: AG Slide Show

US Airways: AG Slide Show

Pacific Southwest Airlines-PSA (1st): AG Slide Show

Photos of the original PSA via YouTube:

Family Tree: Courtesy of American Airlines (aircraft images from AirlinersGallery.com):

AA Heritage timeline poster - FINAL - 24x36.pdf

The first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner for Etihad Airways is rolled out

Etihad 787-9 A6-BLA (14)(Grd) PAE (Boeing)(LRW)

Boeing (Chicago) last night (September 27) rolled out of its paint hangar the first 787-9 Dreamliner that will be delivered to Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi). Boeing 787-9 A6-BLA (msn 39646) is painted in the airline’s new ‘Facets of Abu Dhabi’ livery with colors reminiscent of the desert landscape, inspired by the culture, Islamic design and architecture motifs of the United Arab Emirates.

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, will take delivery of its first 787-9 later this year. Etihad Airways is one of the world’s largest customers for the 787 with a total of 71 Dreamliners on order, including 41 787-9s and 30 787-10s.

The new 787-9 complements and extends the super-efficient 787 family. With the fuselage stretched by 20 feet (6 meters) over the 787-8, the 787-9 can fly more passengers and more cargo farther with the same exceptional environmental performance – 20 percent less fuel use and 20 percent fewer emissions than the airplanes it replaces.

Nearly 60 customers from around the world have ordered more than 1,000 Dreamliners, approximately 40 percent of which are 787-9s.

Etihad Airways’ first Boeing 787-9 will be delivered in December 2014, and more than 40 international routes have been identified for future operation by the airline’s Dreamliners. The aircraft will initially operate between Abu Dhabi and Düsseldorf and between Abu Dhabi and Doha. Services to Brisbane, Mumbai, Moscow and Washington D.C. will follow in the first half of 2015.

Etihad Airways has also revamped its product offering on the Boeing 787 based on extensive consumer research, with refinements in all three cabins.

The new First Suite on the B787 will offer guests a private sanctuary with many new features, including a chilled mini-bar and 5-star cuisine prepared on board by world-class chefs. The new Business Studio offers larger seats, all of which have direct aisle access and convert to a fully flat, pneumatically adjustable bed. The Economy Smart Seat is an industry-first and provides unparalleled comfort for travellers with a new ‘fixed wing’ headrest, maximising comfort and enhancing the sleep experience. The B787 will also feature the latest Panasonic eX3 entertainment system, providing more than 750 hours of on-demand entertainment, improved gaming and high-definition screens in all cabins.

The new ‘Facets of Abu Dhabi’ livery uses a color palette which reflects the varying hues of the landscape of the UAE, from the darker sands of the Liwa desert to the lighter colors seen in the Northern Emirates. The result of extensive research, the design will also be a key feature of the new cabin interiors being introduced on Etihad Airways’ Boeing 787 aircraft.

Copyright Photo: Boeing.

Etihad Airways: AG Slide Show

Video: Building the 787:

Video: The painting of A6-BLA:

Video: Etihad’s new 2014 livery:

Kharkiv Airlines adds two new routes to Istanbul

Kharkiv Airlines (Kharkiv, Ukraine) on September 16 added two new routes Istanbul (Sabiha Gokcen) from both Odessa and Kharkiv. Kharkiv is in disputed eastern portion of the Ukraine.

Copyright Photo: Karl Corni/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8Q8 UR-CLS (msn 32841) arrives in Antalya.

Kharkiv Airlines: AG Slide Show

SunExpress to start five new routes from Antalya for next summer

SunExpress Airlines (Antalya) will start five new routes from Antalya for the summer season of 2015. The new routes include Amsterdam (three days a week effective April 27, 2015), Geneva (weekly, March 28), Klagenfurt (weekly, May 13), Luxembourg (weekly, April 3) and Strasberg (weekly, April 24) per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. SunExpress Airlines’ Boeing 737-86Q WL TC-SUU (msn 30274) lands at Basel/Mulhouse/Freiburg.

SunExpress Airlines: AG Slide Show

BOC Aviation delivers the first Airbus A320 to Vistara

Vistara say hello

Vistara (TATA SIA Airlines Limited) (Delhi) on September 25 announced that it has taken delivery of its first Airbus A320-200 single aisle aircraft with Sharklets. Airbus A320-232 VT-TTB (msn 6223) was handed over on September 24. The brand new aircraft is the first of 20 A320 Family aircraft to be leased from BOC Aviation, Asia’s leading aircraft operating lessor.

The aircraft’s arrival at Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi is a key milestone for Vistara as it moves toward operational launch in October 2014.

Vistara logo (large)

With this first acquisition, Vistara plans to increase its fleet to 20 aircraft, including A320neos, by the end of the fourth year of operation.

TATA SIA Airlines Limited, known by the brand name Vistara, is a joint venture between Tata Sons Limited and Singapore Airlines Limited (SIA) with Tata Sons holding the majority stake of 51% in the company and SIA holding the remaining 49%. Vistara brings together Tata’s and SIA’s legendary hospitality and renowned service excellence to launch the finest full service carrier in India aimed at creating memorable and personalized flying experiences for its customers. Obsessed with quality, the company aims to set new standards in the aviation industry in India, with international best practices and state-of-the-art technology in the Indian air transport sector.

Tata Air Lines DC-3

Above Photo: Vistara has a link to the previous Tata Air Lines on India.

BOC Aviation, owned by Bank of China, is headquartered in Singapore with offices in Dublin, London and Seattle.

Images: Vistara.

Vistara Tails

Macquarie AirFinance orders 40 Bombardier CS300 jetliners

Bombardier CS300 (Flt)(Bombardier)(LRW)

Bombardier Commercial Aircraft (Montreal) announced today a wholly owned affiliate of Macquarie AirFinance has signed a firm purchase agreement for 40 CS300 jetliners and has taken options on an additional 10 CS300 aircraft.

Macquarie AirFinance, which currently owns or manages 136 jet aircraft leased to 73 operators in 43 countries across six continents, will lease the CS300 aircraft to airline operators around the world. Delivery of the aircraft will be on a phased basis from 2017 to 2019.

Meanwhile on September 7 Bombardier Commercial Aircraft confirmed that the CSeries aircraft resumed flight testing with flight test vehicle two (FTV2) taking flight on September 7 at Bombardier’s facility in Mirabel, Québec.

The flight follows an in-depth review and analysis of the engine-related incident that occurred during stationary ground maintenance testing involving CSeries aircraft FTV1 on May 29 at the Mirabel facility. Pratt and Whitney alongside Bombardier, has taken appropriate measures to address the issue, including the modification of the engine’s oil lubrication system.

The CSeries aircraft’s entry-into-service remains on track for the second half of 2015.

Image: Bombardier.

Airberlin cancels its Boeing order for 18 737s and 15 787s

Airberlin (airberlin.com) (Berlin) has cancelled its Boeing order for 18 737s and 15 787 Dreamliners. The airline issued this statement:

Airberlin has reached an agreement with Boeing that it’s orders for 18 Boeing 737 and 15 Boeing 787 aircraft at a price of currently $5 billion to be rescinded. The termination agreement for these 33 aircraft does not include any compensation to Boeing from Airberlin Group, and represents a further important step in the gradual harmonization of the airline’s narrow-body fleet.

Ulf Hüttmeyer, Chief Financial Officer at Airberlin, said: “Not taking on the 33 aircraft ordered will significantly reduce future capital expenditure for Airberlin and improve our balance sheet”.

“Our collaboration with Boeing has always been excellent, and this will remain so. 45 Boeing 737 NG aircraft will remain in service on European short and medium-haul routes. In order to operate more flexibly in the future and further reduce costs, standardization of our fleet is a key element of our restructuring”, Ulf Hüttmeyer continues.

The transition to a uniform narrow-body fleet should be completed by the end of 2016.

Airberlin Group will continue to dynamically adapt the existing fleet to its needs by purchasing or leasing suitable aircraft, although this will be on a smaller scale than originally planned. Already, Airberlin is well positioned, with one of the youngest fleets in Europe.

Copyright Photo: James Helbock/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-86J D-ABMS (msn 37782) approaches the runway at Paine Field in Everett.

Airberlin: AG Slide Show

 

The ATSB issues an update on the search for Malaysia Airlines missing flight MH 370 including new underwater photos of the search area

N:gavGEOGRAPHIC14-8592 - MH370 for CNN - M Holland14-8592-1.

The Australian Transport Safety Board (ATSB) has issued this update on the on-going search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370:

At the request of the Malaysian Government, Australia is leading the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370. All the available data indicates the aircraft entered the sea close to a long but narrow arc of the southern Indian Ocean.

The complexities surrounding the search cannot be understated. It involves vast areas of the Indian Ocean with only limited known data and aircraft flight information. While it is impossible to determine with certainty where the aircraft may have entered the water, all the available data and analysis indicates a highly probable search area close to a long but narrow arc of the southern Indian Ocean.

MH 370 Operational Search Update September 24, 2014

This operational report has been developed to provide regular updates on the progress of the search effort for MH 370. Our work will continue to be thorough and methodical, so sometimes weekly progress may seem slow. Please be assured that work is continuing and is aimed at finding MH 370 as quickly as possible.

Bathymetric survey

The bathymetric survey provides a map of the ocean floor to ensure the safe and effective operation of equipment during the underwater search.

Over 106,000 square kilometers of the wide search area have been surveyed (see map below).

ATSB MH 370 Map 1 (LRW)

The priorities for the search will continue to be reviewed and will change over time.

Ship movements

After resupply in Fremantle, Fugro Equator commenced passage back to the search area on September 19 and arrived on September 24 to recommence survey work in the search area in preparation for the underwater search.

On September 20, the Chinese survey vessel Zhu Kezhen completed her MH 370 search mission and commenced return passage to China.

The Chinese support vessel Haixun 01 continued to be stationed at the Port of Fremantle for repairs.

Weather

A series of cold fronts will move through to the south of the area over the next four days. A significant front will approach from the west on Friday. Sea conditions between sea states 2 and 7 are expected over the next three to four days.

Underwater search

Vessels involved in the search are being jointly funded by Malaysia and Australia. Fugro Discovery and Fugro Equator (which is currently being used to survey the search area) are Fugro Survey Pty Ltd vessels, and the GO Phoenix has equipment and experts provided by Phoenix International (Phoenix).

Ship movements

Mobilization of search assets is already under way. GO Phoenix received fit-out work in Jakarta in preparation for the sea and weather conditions it is likely to encounter in the search area. GO Phoenix departed Jakarta on September 23 for the calibration area and is expected to arrive at the allocated underwater search area on October 1. GO Phoenix will search there for around 20 days before sailing to Fremantle to be resupplied.

Fugro Discovery has completed fit-out work in Durban, South Africa and commenced passage to Australia. The vessel is expected to arrive in Fremantle on October 2, whereupon search equipment and a mission crew are expected to be mobilized.

Fugro Equator, the vessel currently being used to survey the search area, is expected to be mobilized as a search vessel when its bathymetric work is complete around the end of October.

Planning

The ATSB, in consultation with the contracted search experts, is in the process of finalizing the initial plan for the underwater search, to be followed and referred to by all parties involved in the underwater search. The comprehensive plan for the underwater search will include a sequence of priority areas. The first area to be searched has already been surveyed to ensure an accurate understanding of the sea floor topography.

Search priorities

From early in the search, analysis has consistently indicated a very high probability of finding the aircraft along a defined arc in the southern Indian Ocean (where the aircraft last communicated with a ground station through a satellite). This is where the aircraft is assessed to have run out of fuel.

Since then, complex, ground-breaking technical analysis of limited communications data and aircraft flight information has been developed and refined. This work has concentrated on determining the point on the seventh arc that the aircraft was most likely to have reached. This will enable a prioritized search effort in areas along the seventh arc.

ATSB MH 370 Map 2 (LRW)

Map: The Seventh Arc in the southern Indian Ocean.

Recent refinement to the analysis has given greater certainty about when the aircraft turned south into the Indian Ocean and has produced a better understanding of the parameters within which the satellite ground station was operating during the last flight of MH 370.

Based on these refinements, the Search Strategy Working Group is finalizing its latest assessment of the highest priority areas for the search, which will most likely extend south of the previous ‘orange’ priority area.

Top Image: ATSB. Three-dimensional model of the sea floor terrain in the search area.

PEOPLExpress suspends operations, plans to return around October 16

PEOPLExpress (2nd)(Vision) 737-400 N745VA (Grd)(PE)(LRW)

PEOPLExpress Airlines (2nd) (Newport News/Williamsburg) today (September 26) announced that it is temporarily suspending service effective immediately and plans to re-launch on or about October 16.

The airline stated; “Recent aircraft and crew availability and maintenance issues, including an aircraft recently damaged by a vendor’s truck, an engine change and a lack of a planned spare aircraft, have made it challenging to operate a full schedule, preventing us from delivering the passenger experience we are striving for.”

The airline is currently processing refunds for passengers for flights booked through October 15, which will take five to seven business days. For reservations beyond October 15, passengers will receive a notification by e-mail as soon as our service resumption plans are in place.

According to the airline, PEOPLExpress successfully served 55,000 passengers on 817 flights since launching service on June 30, demonstrating the need for additional nonstop air service to underserved markets as a result of airline industry consolidation.

PEOPLExpress still intends to launch previously announced service to Orlando and Charleston, West Virginia starting on October 16.

Meanwhile JetBlue Airways has offered to help any stranded passengers. For those PEOPLExpress customers previously scheduled to fly within existing JetBlue markets (Boston – New Orleans, Tampa or West Palm Beach; Newark – Tampa or West Palm Beach) between September 26 and October 5, call JetBlue at 1-800-JETBLUE to explore alternate travel options.

Copyright Photo: PEOPLExpress. The Boeing 737-400s are operated by Vision Airlines.

Chicago area flights are halted after a fire at the FAA facility in Aurora, Illinois, at least 850 flights cancelled so far

FAA logo-1

Air traffic in the United States today is being affected by a fire in the FAA air traffic control facility in Aurora, Illinois. Flights were halted at both O’Hare and Midway airports affecting hundreds of flights and thousands of passengers. The ripple affect will affect the entire country and some international flights.

Read the full report from CNN: CLICK HERE

According to ABC Channel 7 the fire was set by a contract employee quoting Chief Greg Thomas.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

O’Hare International Airport (ORD) is reporting it is still in a ground stop:

ORD currently still in ground stop. Airlines are reporting 700+ cancellations. Please check with airline for flight status. Updates to follow.

Midway International Airport (MDW) is also reporting it is in a ground stop with Southwest Airlines canceling all flights until at least 7 pm tonight:

MDW is still currently in a ground stop. Airlines are reporting 150+ cancellations. All @SouthwestAirlines flights are suspended until 7 pm.

United Airways suspends all operations after its board fails to adopt a rescue plan, then resumes again

United Airways (Bangladesh) (Dhaka) suspended all operations at the end of the day on Wednesday, September 24, after the airline’s board of directors failed to agree on a rescue plan to keep the private cash-starved airline flying according to the Daily Star.

According to the report, founder Tasbirul Ahmed Choudhury was forced to resign creating the leadership void.

Previously the founder had this goal for his airline:

I intend to make United Airways the best in the world and pursue this goal seriously, as I am sure you pursue your goals equally seriously. I have always aimed at delighting you and giving you nothing but the best.

It is my passion to deliver a world-class experience. And since work and play can go hand-in-hand, I am sure you need some time to relax in the skies after several pressing commitments and stressful work obligations.

I make this happen, by being personally involved and ensure that every United Airways aircraft meets the global standards that I have set in terms of safety. I am proud of our fleet which incorporates the latest technology available.

Aboard every United Airways flight you will meet your crew that we have selected and approved after a rigorous training program.

So, leave the stress of daily life behind and enjoy the experience with United Airways. I try hard to exceed what you expect, however, if I have missed something or fallen short of meeting your expectations, please feel free to mail me directly at chairman@uabdl.com.

I invite you to fly United Airways and experience an unforgettable journey my team and I strive to create everyday.

Warm personal regards,

Captain Tasbirul Ahmed Choudhury
Chairman and Managing Director

The airline commenced scheduled passenger operations on July 10, 2007.

Update:  United Airways resumed domestic and regional operations on September 27, following a three day suspension. The new Board of Directors asked former chairman and captain Tasbirul Ahmed Chowdhury to return which he did.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton/AirlinersGallery.com. McDonnell Douglas DC-9-83 (MD-83) S2-AEU (msn 49790) arrives at Dhaka.

United Airways: AG Slide Show

United Airways logo

Previous Route Map:

United Airways Route Map

United Airways Fleet:

United Airways fleet

Schedule at the time of the shutdown:

United Airways 9.2014 Schedule

Video: A personal video for a domestic ATR 72 flight from Chittagong to Dhaka:

 

Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary proposes to feed airlines like Lufthansa and Air France-KLM

Ryanair - Michael O'Leary (MF)

Ryanair‘s (Dublin) CEO Michael O’Leary never avoids any kind of publicity, good or bad. He is expert in garnering attention grabbing headlines with his proposals and often controversial statements.

In this interview with the Irish Independent, the flamboyant CEO says his ultra low-fare carrier could feed the big European carries like Lufthansa and Air France-KLM as they concentrate on competing against the Big Three of the Gulf (i.e. Emirates, Etihad and Qatar) for the discerning long-haul passengers. The on-going pilot’s strike against Air France reinforces his view that the current in-house feeder model is broken.

All three carriers are reportedly losing money on their intra-European feeder routes. Ryanair to the rescue?

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Marco Finelli/AirlinersGallery.com.

Ryanair: AG Slide Show

Alaska Airlines sponsors environmental entrepreneurship competition at the University of Washington

Alaska Airlines (Seattle/Tacoma) is sponsoring the University of Washington Foster School of Business’ Environmental Innovation Challenge. The airline issued this statement today:

Today, the University of Washington Foster School of Business announced Alaska Airlines as the naming sponsor of its annual Environmental Innovation Challenge.

In the Environmental Innovation Challenge, approaching its seventh year, student teams must define an environmental problem, develop a solution, produce a prototype, and create a business summary that demonstrates the commercial viability of their product, process or service. Teams are judged on their prototypes, the market opportunity, and their pitch to an audience of nearly 200 industry experts from the Seattle environmental and entrepreneurship communities.

“We’re thrilled that Alaska Airlines has chosen to sponsor the Environmental Innovation Challenge. With their history of innovation, Northwest roots and steadfast support of education, Alaska Airlines is a perfect sponsor for one of the region’s most elite student challenges,” said Connie Bourassa-Shaw, director of the Foster School’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship. “Their commitment to environmental responsibility aligns perfectly with the spirit of the competition.”

Alaska’s 10-year sponsorship commitment includes a reduced travel rate for out-of-state teams to Seattle to participate in the April competition and flying guest faculty instructors from other universities in the Pacific Northwest to observe or judge the challenge. The airline will also host the challenge at the Seattle Center House next April. More information about the 2015 Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge can be found at http://www.foster.washington.edu .

“As a proud supporter of the University of Washington and industry leader in environmental stewardship, we’re thrilled to support the next generation of innovators whose ideas and concepts will no doubt improve our communities for years to come,” said Joe Sprague, senior vice president of communications and external relations for Alaska Airlines.

To date, the chance to compete in the Environmental Innovation Challenge has attracted hundreds of student teams from Washington and Oregon. Prize money is one draw; so are the opportunities to hone an idea through interaction with peers, prototype development and conversations with industry experts.

A number of teams have gone on to launch their companies. One such example is HydroSense. The team won the inaugural Environmental Innovation Challenge with a water-usage monitoring technology that screws onto a single valve in a home and can detect water use down to each specific toilet, shower and faucet. HydroSense was acquired by Belkin in 2010.

Alaska Airlines has supported the state’s largest university in various ways for more than five decades. The UW’s on-campus basketball arena, the “Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion,” is named after the carrier and is part of a multi-year agreement to sponsor the UW Athletics program. Last year Alaska Airlines donated nearly $1.4 million in cash and in-kind contributions to almost 100 youth and educational programs and schools in the greater Puget Sound area and throughout Washington.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Horizon Air’s Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) N435QX (msn 4232) is painted in the special University of Washington Huskies college livery. N435QX taxies to the runway at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport hub. Today N435QX wears Alaska Horizon titles.

Alaska Airlines: AG Slide Show

Alaska Horizon-Horizon Air: AG Slide Show

Horizon Air: AG Slide Show

Etihad Airways unveils a new Landor livery for its first Airbus A380 and the entire fleet

Etihad A380-800 A6-APA (14)(Grd) XFW (Airbus)(LRW)

Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) has unveiled a new look for the delivery of the first Airbus A380. The first Boeing 787 will follow in the same eye-catching color scheme. This new livery will be painted on the entire fleet. The fast-growing carrier issued this statement and photos:

Etihad Airways new livery banner

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), today (September 26) unveiled a stunning new livery design which will be introduced across its fleet.

Created by leading brand consultants Landor Associates in partnership with Etihad Airways, the new livery is inspired by traditional Emirati design patterns, the landscapes of the desert and the geometric shapes found in the modern architecture of Abu Dhabi.

The result is a striking and unique livery design which will present Etihad Airways as the airline of a progressive and innovative cultural hub, firmly rooted in its rich history.

The new livery was unveiled as Etihad Airways’ first A380 rolled-out of the paint hangar at the Airbus Finkenwerder facility in Hamburg, Germany.

James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Airways said: “Only a few months ago Etihad Airways unveiled the new cabin interiors for our A380 aircraft and we are now proud to show the world how this aircraft will look on the outside.

Etihad A380-800 (14)(Flt)(Etihad)(LR)

“The striking new livery also continues our commitment to breaking from convention and doing things differently. This is a real divergence from the norms of traditional airline livery design and will stand out in the sky and at every airport we fly to.”

The design pattern named ‘Facets of Abu Dhabi’ uses a colour palette which reflects the varying hues of the landscape of the UAE, from the darker sands of Liwa to the lighter colours seen in the Northern Emirates. The design development involved researching design options amongst Emiratis and international travellers to help select the final ‘winning’ livery.

The UAE national emblem is given prominence along the fuselage next to the Etihad name and the national flag is respectfully featured forward near the cockpit.

The design pattern is also a key feature of the new cabin interiors being introduced on Etihad Airways’ Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 aircraft, and is being rolled out across the airline’s corporate branding – from advertising to brochures to premium lounges.

Peter Knapp, Global Creative Officer of Landor Associates, said: “Etihad Airways is undoubtedly a leading airline on the international stage and this new livery is a real step change in the industry. I believe there will be nothing like it on any apron in the world.

“It tells the remarkable story of this region and of Abu Dhabi’s past, present and future, providing a narrative for an innovative airline brand. We used the ambient geometry present in the architecture and culture of the emirate and reinterpreted it with a sense of Arabian modernism which has become synonymous with Etihad and Abu Dhabi itself.”

Etihad logo

The entire Etihad Airways fleet of more than 100 aircraft, as well as those to be delivered, will be painted in the new livery during the next three years ensuring that the Facets of Abu Dhabi is seen across the world.

Etihad Airways will take delivery of seven wide-bodied aircraft in 2015 – four Airbus A380s and three Boeing 787-9s – and seven narrow-bodied aircraft – one A320 and six A321s.

Etihad Airways, which celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2013, has introduced unique liveries on several of its aircraft to mark special events and occasions.

These include an Airbus A340 and A320 in Formula 1 livery to celebrate the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The airline also flies a Manchester City FC Airbus A330 painted in the Premier League club’s sky-blue colours with the name and crest clearly visible on both sides of the aircraft.

Etihad Airways’ first Airbus A380 will operate on flights between Abu Dhabi and London Heathrow from December 27, 2014. The two subsequent deliveries of the A380 in early 2015 will also service the route, making it a triple daily A380 operation.

Later in 2015, A380s will operate to Sydney and New York as Etihad Airways receives its fourth and fifth aircraft. The airline has currently 10 of the giant double-decker airliners on firm order.

The Etihad Airways A380 is set to transform luxury air travel with The Residence by Etihad, which features a living room, separate double bedroom and ensuite shower room, making it the first three-room luxury suite in history of commercial aviation.

The Residence by Etihad, located on the forward upper deck of the A380, can accommodate one or two guests who will also have a personal Butler trained by the Savoy Butler Academy in London.

Etihad Airways’ A380 will also feature new First Apartments, which are fully private suites with a separate reclining lounge seat and full-length bed; as well as the new Business Studio and Economy Smart Seat.

Copyright Photo: Airbus (all others by Etihad Airways). The first A380, the pictured A380-861 A6-APA (msn 166), is pictured at the Hamburg (Finkenwerder) Airbus facility.

Etihad Airways: AG Slide Show

Previously the airline unveiled images of the Airbus A380 interiors: CLICK HERE

Video: the painting of the Airbus A380:

Video: The unveiling of the new livery:

Video: The new livery:

Video: Time lapse video of the assembly of the first Airbus A380:

 

American files to fly nonstop from Dallas/Fort Worth to Beijing, China

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) has filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for the right to operate new service from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) to Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) beginning next summer. Once approved, the new route will be the first nonstop flight connecting Beijing and Dallas/Fort Worth.

The new service between Dallas/Fort Worth and Beijing will be operated with a Boeing 777-200 ER aircraft. American is retrofitting its entire fleet of 777-200 ERs to include fully lie-flat Business Class seats, all with aisle access; new seats in the Main Cabin; in-seat entertainment; and international Wi-Fi capability. The new fully lie-flat Business Class seats on American’s 777-200 ERs offer customers the largest space of any 777 Business Class seat offered by any U.S. carrier.

The new flight from DFW will also complement American’s existing service from Chicago (O’Hare) to Beijing and will be American’s 11th route between the U.S. and Asia. Since 2013, American has added new nonstop flights connecting Hong Kong, Seoul and Shanghai to DFW, reinforcing the airline’s commitment to expanding and strengthening its presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

This route will be operated as part of American’s joint business agreement with fellow oneworld® alliance member Japan Airlines. Through oneworld member airlines and their affiliates, American’s customers have access to nearly 150 destinations within Asia.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-223 ER N780AN (msn 29956) arrives in New York (JFK).

American Airlines (current livery): AG Slide Show

Tigerair Taiwan is ready to start operations tomorrow on the Taipei-Singapore route


Tigerair Taiwan (Taipei-Taoyuan) as planned, will launch scheduled passengers operations from Taipei (Taoyuan) to Singapore tomorrow (September 26) with Airbus A320s. The first flight will depart at 10:20 am local time in Taipei.

Tigerair, established in 2004, is part of the Singapore Airlines Group and is joining up with China Airlines which is entering the low-fare market with this joint venture. Tigerair is hoping the agreement will allow the brand to enter new markets in Taiwan, Japan and Korea.

The joint venture is between the China Airlines Group which holds a 90% stake and Tigerair holding the remaining 10%. The network will cover major destinations in Northeast and Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, Macau, China and Taiwan.

Copyright Photo: Manuel Negrerie/AirlinersGallery.com. The first aircraft, the pictured Airbus A320-232 B-50001 (msn 6187), wears “Taiwan” special titles that separates it from other Tigerair-branded aircraft at the Taiwan base..

 

Southwest Airlines to launch its first international route from Houston Hobby to Aruba on March 7, 2015

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) will launch its first international route from Houston’s Hobby Airport (HOU) on March 7, 2015 with a weekly flight to Aruba per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8H4 N8306H (msn 36983) departs from Raleigh-Durham.

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show

Air China to introduce its new 365-seat Boeing 747-800 on October 11 between Beijing and Guangzhou

Air China (Beijing) will soon take delivery of its first 365-seat Boeing 747-800. The pictured Boeing 747-89L B-2485 (msn 41191) is being readied for the delivery ceremony. The airline, according to Airline Route, plans to introduce the new type on the Beijing-Guangzhou route on October 11, subject to change.

Copyright Photo: Steve Bailey/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 747-89L B-2485 lands at Paine Field after a test flight at the Everett plant.

Air China: AG Slide Show

KLM today starts offering mobile terminal navigation at its Amsterdam hub

KLM AMS Terminal Navigation (LRW)

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (Amsterdam) starting today is now offering a smart phone mobile app that helps connecting passengers at its Amsterdam hub to find its connecting gate. The airline issued this statement:

As of today (September 25), KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is offering a route planner for passengers transferring at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. On arrival, passengers receive a map of the airport on their smartphone, showing the route they need to take and the time required to get to the next gate. KLM is the first airline to use beacon technology to provide this indoor navigation service.

This summer, KLM installed beacons at all piers, KLM lounges and hallways of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. KLM thoroughly tested the beacon technology with the help of customers in recent months.

Once passengers with the KLM smart phone app on their phones have switched on Bluetooth and connected to the internet, they receive a notification asking them if they need help to find their next gate when passing a beacon. The app shows them the route they need to take. It also tells them how long it will take them to walk there, so that they can then take this into account. The unique indoor navigation service even works if the passenger’s flight is departing from a different level. The route and time are updated every time the passenger passes a beacon.

The service is currently available for Android smartphones and will be available for iOS in the near future. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol offers free wifi.

Copyright Photo: KLM.

KLM Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Video:

KLM’s Beagle to the rescue, finding lost items:

Czech Airlines to lay off a third of its staff due to a drop in demand in eastern Europe

Czech Airlines-CSA (Prague) has been forced to lay off 280 staff members, a third of its workforce, including 70 pilots due to slumping traffic. The company is restructuring to meet the current conditions. As part of this restructuring, the company is grounding or leasing out its six Airbus A320s as it attempts to reduce its fleet according to Reuters. Tragically the airline has put its emphasis on serving destinations in eastern Europe. The current on-going conflict in the eastern Ukraine has translated to a drop in traffic.

The holding company of the flag carrier issued this statement:

The new Czech Aeroholding management reviewed in detail the economic results of all companies incorporated in the Czech Aeroholding Group, including Czech Airlines, upon its appointment at the turn of June and July 2014. The second largest shareholder, Korean Air, was then informed about the situation in Czech Airlines, too. Together, they agreed to draft a restructuring plan with the goal of keeping the current revenue upon decreased costs. This plan was unanimously approved by all shareholders in a General Meeting at the beginning of September. Several restructuring measures, predominantly in the revenue area such as a new one-way tickets concept, flight schedule changes and changes to the company’s transport network (including those in the Russian market), have already brought first results. For the first time in several years, Czech Airlines will record a net operational profit for the entire summer season. Concurrent with the restructuring plan, negotiations among all shareholder regarding investments into Czech Airlines are currently in progress. Upon their closing, Czech Aeroholding and all shareholders will inform the general public of their future steps in regards to Czech Airlines.

Copyright Photo: OSDU/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 OK-MEI (msn 3060) in the special “Prague Love You – Prague Airport” arrives at Moscow (Sheremetyevo) from Prague.

Czech Airlines-CSA: AG Slide Show

Air Canada’s international expansion extends to Amsterdam

Air Canada (Montreal) announced today it will introduce year-round mainline service to Amsterdam from Toronto beginning in June 2015 as part of the continuing expansion of its international network. Additions to the summer network also include new Air Canada rouge (Toronto) seasonal service from Montreal to Venice and between Vancouver and Osaka.

Highlights of the 2015 summer schedule include:

Year-round Air Canada service between Toronto (Pearson) and Amsterdam operated with a 211-seat, Boeing 767-300 ER aircraft with 24 International Business Class pods, featuring fully lie-flat seats. Flights begin on June 4, 2015 and will be operated up to six times weekly.

Double-daily Air Canada service from both Toronto (Pearson) and Montreal (Trudeau) to Paris (Charles de Gaulle), the additional flights will be offered from June to September and be operated using Boeing 767-300 ER aircraft with 24 International Business Class pods featuring fully lie-flat seats.

New nonstop Air Canada services from Toronto (Pearson) to Rio de Janeiro and from Toronto (Pearson) to Panama City introduced for winter 2014-15 will continue to operate during the summer of 2015

New Air Canada rouge twice weekly service between Montreal (Trudeau) and Venice beginning on May 14, 2015, and, subject to government approval, up to five flights per week between Vancouver and Osaka (Kansai) beginning on May 1, 2015

Air Canada rouge service from Toronto (Pearson) to Athens and Barcelona will increase to daily from five times a week in summer 2014, and service from Toronto (Pearson) to Venice increases to four times from three weekly. From Montreal (Trudeau), Air Canada rouge service to Athens will double to four times weekly and service to Barcelona will increase to three-times weekly from twice weekly in summer 2014. Overall, Air Canada rouge service to Athens, Barcelona, Lisbon, Manchester and Nice will operate a longer season during the summer of 2015 over summer 2014

Air Canada rouge will begin operating year-round service between Toronto (Pearson) and Lima, Peru beginning on May 2, 2015, subject to government approval, following the transfer of the route from Air Canada.

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 767-375 ER C-GLCA (msn 25120) taxies at beautiful geneva.

Air Canada: AG Slide Show

Air Canada rouge: AG Slide Show

Air France backs off on its Transavia project hoping the pilots will come back to work

Air France (Paris-CDG) is somewhat backing off on its previous proposal to expand the operations of subsidiary Transavia France (Paris-Orly) and Transavia Europe in the hoe the pilots will end their strikes. The on-going strike by the pilots is taking its toll financially.

The company issued this statement yesterday:

On the tenth day of a strike that is heavily penalizing Air France, its customers and its staff, Company management is making the following proposal to promote the rapid resolution of the conflict:

1. Immediate withdrawal of the Transavia Europe project,

2. The further development of Transavia France in competitive economic conditions and accompanied by the safeguards as discussed in the negotiations so far,

3. In these conditions, Air France Management calls on the pilots to return to work immediately.

This balanced proposal meets the unions’ requirements by providing a renewed guarantee that there will be no relocation.

It preserves the Transavia development project, a “made in France” solution to face the competition from foreign low-cost carriers and conquer this rapidly-expanding market.

It meets the needs of employees who want their company to get back on track.

It enables us to find an immediate outcome to this destructive conflict.

Alexandre de Juniac, Chairman and CEO of Air France-KLM, and Frédéric Gagey, Chairman and CEO of Air France, declared: “Our Transavia project is a 100% pro-France project. It is about developing Transavia to encourage growth in France and quickly create more than 1,000 jobs in France (including 250 pilot jobs). With the withdrawal of the Transavia Europe project, there is now no reason to strike because there are no longer any concerns about relocation. We therefore call on the striking pilots to return to work immediately.”

Meanwhile for tomorrow, Air France expects to operate 48% of its flights on Friday September 26, 2014, given an estimated 58% of pilots are planning to strike tomorrow.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A321-212 F-GTAN (msn 3051) gracefully climbs away from London’s Heathrow Airport.

Air France: AG Slide Show

The first Airbus A320neo flies today for the first time

Airbus (Toulouse) today (September 25) flew for the first time its first A320neo (New Engine Option). The manufacturer issued this statement:

The first A320neo to fly lifted off at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport France today at 12 noon local time. The aircraft was flown by Airbus Experimental Test Pilots Philippe Pellerin and Etienne Miche de Malleray. Accompanying them in the cockpit were Test-Flight Engineer Jean-Paul Lambert. Monitoring the progress of the flight profile were the Flight-Test Engineers Manfred Birnfeld and Sandra Bour-Schaeffer.

This aircraft, A320-271N msn 6101 with the registration of F-WNEO, started assembly in March of this year, followed by roll-out in July. Since then, it has undergone various checks and ground tests in preparation for the first flight today.

Copyright Photo: Eurospot/AirlinersGallery.com. This historic photo captures F-WNEO lifting off for the first time.

Video:

Airbus A320neo First Flight

Spirit Airlines is coming to Cleveland starting on January 15

Spirit Airlines (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood) has announced Cleveland will be the 57th city to join its expanding route network, with new service to eight cities. Service starts on January 15, 2015 to three cities, with three more starting February 5, 2015, and two more on April 16, 2015.

Here are the new routes from CLE (start date and number of days per week):

Orlando starts January 15, 2015 Daily
Tampa* January 15, 2015 Three Days a Week
Fort Myers* January 15, 2015 Four Days a Week
Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood February 5, 2015 Daily
Dallas/Fort Worth February 5, 2015 Daily
Las Vegas February 5, 2015 Daily
Los Angeles April 16, 2015 Daily
Myrtle Beach** April 16, 2015 Daily

* Indicates winter seasonal service
** Indicates summer seasonal service

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-132 N533NK (msn 3393) taxies to the runway at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) in the now old 2007 livery.

Spirit Airlines: AG Slide Show

Expanding Route Map:

Spirit 9.2014 Route Map

China Eastern Airlines takes delivery of its first Boeing 777-300 ER, introduces a new simplified livery

China Eastern Airlines (Shanghai) and Boeing (Chicago and Seattle) are celebrating the delivery of the airline’s first 777-300 ER. The new airplane is the first of 20 777-300 ERs China Eastern has on order. The pictured Boeing 777-39P ER B-2001 (msn 43269) was handed over yesterday (September 24).

China Eastern will operate 777-300 ERs on routes between China and North America, which will be a major market for China Eastern over the next three years. The carrier plans to open new routes to North America and also boost frequencies on existing routes from Shanghai to Los Angeles, New York (JFK), San Francisco, Vancouver and Toronto (Pearson). Starting in November, the carrier will deploy its first 777-300 ER on services to Los Angeles and New York (JFK).

China Eastern debuted this new simplified livery on the new 777-300 ER – a change to its 25-year old livery. The new look features an updated logo – a swallow consisting of two capital letters, C and E, which represent the carrier’s name.

China Eastern has configured its new 777-300 ER to feature three distinct cabins. Passengers will find six first class suits, 52 business class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration and 258 economy seats in a 3-4-3 configuration.

The 777-300 ER is equipped with the world’s most powerful GE90-115B commercial jet engine, and can travel, with a standard three class configuration, a maximum range of 7,825 nautical miles (14,490 kilometers).

China Eastern has a fleet of 500 long-haul and short-haul airplanes with an average age of less than seven years, China Eastern serves nearly 80 million travelers annually and ranks among the world’s top five airlines in terms of passenger transportation volume.

Copyright Photo: Daniel Gorun/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-39P B-2001 is pictured on a test flight in the new look before the official hand over.

China Eastern Airlines: AG Slide Show

JetBlue Airways today introduces its 10th multi-aircraft tail fin design: “Tartan”

JetBlue A320-200 N565JB (14-Tartan)(Tail)(JetBlue)(LRW)

JetBlue Airways (New York) following up on our previous report, today (September 24) officially announced their newest tailfin pattern “Tartan” to the fleet, reflecting a move of top fashion houses on their own fall runways. Starting with “Bippity Boppity Blue”, Airbus A320-232 N565JB (msn 2031), the pattern will be added to additional aircraft, joining the ranks of JetBlue’s nine other iconic and eye-catching tailfins across their fleet of 200 aircraft.

“Design plays such an integral part in our story,” says Lisa Borromeo, JetBlue Director of Brand Management and Advertising, “While others may push revamped logos or disorienting paint schemes, we feel it’s important to build a visual language as we grow. Our tailfin patterns will always reflect a fresh style, with a timeless appeal that is core to who we are as a brand.”

According to the airline, “Tartan is JetBlue’s second nod to the timeless Gaelic fashion. While 2003’s Plaid design has been retired, with clean, bold lines, a dash of green, and worn at a decidedly jaunty angle, Tartan is an updated statement on JetBlue’s evolution also seen in the uniform refresh this summer; a proud acknowledgement of their history, with a confident readiness to carry forward into their future.”

Copyright Photos: JetBlue Airways.

JetBlue Airways: AG Slide Show

JetBlue A320-200 N565JB (14-Tartan)(Grd) JFK (JetBlue)(LRW)

 

Air Austral to introduce a new corporate look

Air Austral 2014 logo

Air Austral (Sainte-Marie, Reunion, France) will soon introduced a new livery and brand. The airline has already issued this new logo (above) and this announcement (below) about the first aircraft to be painted (translated from French):

By the end of the year, Air Austral will unveil its first aircraft painted with the new colors of the company just unveiled and then launch a series of new features for fun, comfort and choice of its passengers.

The new logo embodies the values ​​of closeness, trust, excellence and openness so dear to the company. A desire supported by this new slogan:

“You will always be the heart of our company”

The new logo will reflect the friendliness and smile that Air Austral has with his audience and the quality of service.

For an Image of the proposed new color scheme is available from aeroweb-fr.net: CLICK HERE

Air Austral: AG Slide Show

Current Route Map:

Air Austral 2011 Route Map

 

Southwest Airlines to purchase 3 million biofuel gallons yearly from Red Rocks Biofuels

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) has signed an agreement with Red Rocks Biofuels LLC (RRB) to purchase low carbon renewable jet fuel, made using forest residues that will help reduce the risk of destructive wildfires in the Western United States. The airline’s agreement with RRB covers the purchase of approximately three million gallons per year. The blended product will be used at Southwest’s Bay Area operations with first delivery expected in 2016.

RRB’s first plant will convert approximately 140,000 dry tons of woody biomass feedstock into at least 12 million gallons per year of renewable jet, diesel, and naphtha fuels.

Southwest is a long-time member of Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) which is a government and industry coalition for the development and deployment of alternative jet fuel for commercial aviation. As a member of CAAFI, the airline has followed the progress of alternative fuel technologies. Red Rock Biofuels is the first viable opportunity the airline has found to meet its financial and sustainability objectives.

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. A nice ramp portrait of Boeing 737-8H4 N8306H (msn 36983) with the Split Scimitar Winglets painted in the now old 2001 “Canyon Blue” livery.

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show

Air New Zealand to restore the Auckland-Singapore route

Air New Zealand (Auckland) is resuming services on the Auckland-Singapore route on January 6, 2015, replacing one daily flight operated by its partner Singapore Airlines (Singapore) according to Airline Route.

Air New Zealand last operated nonstop flights to Singapore in October 2006.

The route will be operated with Boeing 777-200 ER aircraft.

Copyright Photo: Colin Hunter/AirlinersGallery.com. Air New Zealand’s Boeing 777-219 ER ZK-OKC (msn 34377) taxies at the Auckland base.

Air New Zealand: AG Slide Show

Virgin Australia unveils its new Business Class and Premium Economy cabins

Virgin Australia Airlines (Brisbane) today (September 24) announced the next evolution in the airline’s premium experience, unveiling a major redesign of the Business Class and Premium Economy cabins on board its wide-body fleet of aircraft.

The redesign involves the introduction of suite-style seating in Business Class and an extensive upgrade of the Business Class and Premium Economy cabins, including more spacious seating configurations and new bars on the airline’s Boeing 777 aircraft.

Virgin Australia 777-300 Business Class

Copyright Photo: Virgin Australia. The new Business Class seat.

The revolutionary Business Class suites, which convert into 80 inch lie-flat beds, represent a major enhancement to the travel experience on board Virgin Australia’s Airbus A330 and Boeing 777 aircraft and the first major product innovation to be announced under the airline’s new three-year strategy, Virgin Vision 2017.

The innovative 1-2-1 configuration will guarantee passengers a window or aisle seat and maximum privacy to work, rest and unwind. The suite includes a unique tablet holder, a 16 to 18 inch touch screen for entertainment, multiple lighting settings and plenty of storage. The seat also offers the ultimate comfort with new soft furnishings, a number of adjustable positions to suit the differing needs of customers and an adjustable arm rest to increase the seat width when sleeping.

Inspired by the interiors of some of the world’s most premium automotive designs, Virgin Australia enlisted the support of renowned design agency, Tangerine London, who led the industrial design of the new seats and cabins to create the premium and tailored new-look Business Class experience. B/E Aerospace was chosen as the manufacturer and has named the new Virgin Australia Business Class suite the ‘Super Diamond’.

Virgin Australia Chief Executive Officer John Borghetti said: “Today marks a new era for our premium customer experience both domestically and internationally. We believe the sophisticated new suites will set a new standard in Business Class travel, not just in Australia but around the world.

“Our Virgin Vision to 2017 is to become Australia’s favorite airline group and today’s announcement is central to our strategy as it will see Virgin Australia deliver the best premium travel experience in Australia.

“We are committed to maintaining a competitive advantage in customer experience in order to ensure that Virgin Australia is the number one choice for premium travellers”, Mr Borghetti said.

The suites will roll out to Virgin Australia’s Airbus A330 fleet in early 2015 with the first aircraft expected to be in service by March and the complete refit of the fleet to be finalised by August.

The roll out of the new Business Class product to the Boeing 777 fleet will commence from November 2015 and be complete by early 2016. The upgrade will also include the introduction of a redesigned Business Class bar and changes to the Premium Economy cabin.

Virgin Australia Premium Economy

Copyright Photo: Virgin Australia. The new International Premium Economy seat.

 

A reduction in the number of seats will make Virgin Australia’s International Premium Economy a more exclusive experience, and give passengers three inches more legroom.

Top Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-3ZG ER VH-VPD (msn 37938) approaches the runway at Los Angeles International Airport.

Virgin Australia: AG Slide Show

Finnair operates an Airbus A330 biofuel flight from Helsinki to New York

Finnair (Helsinki) operated a flight from Helsinki to New York on September 23 with an Airbus A330 using environmentally sustainable biofuel, coinciding with the UN Climate Summit taking place in New York on the same day.

 

The airline issued this statement:

As a leader in the sustainable development of commercial aviation, the airline believes strongly in proactive measures to manage environmental performance.

Most of an airline’s environmental impact arises from aircraft emissions during flight, and switching to a more sustainable fuel source can reduce net CO2 emissions by between 50 and 80 per cent. The biofuel mixture powering the flight to New York, provided by SkyNRG Nordic – a joint venture between SkyNRG and Statoil Aviation – is partly manufactured from cooking oil recycled from restaurants, an example of a biofuel alternative to ordinary jet fuel that significantly reduces net greenhouse gas emissions while also being sustainable in its own right. Finnair and its partners insist on the cultivation of biofuel sources that neither compete with food production nor damage biodiversity.

Aviation biofuel is a proven and exhaustively tested technology – Finnair first flew with biofuel in 2011 – but at more than twice the price of conventionally produced jet fuel, it is not yet economically viable for any airline to operate with exclusively. This demonstration flight is made possible thanks in part to cooperation with Airbus and SkyNRG Nordic.

“The UN Climate Summit is an important gathering to fight climate change, and we wanted to take this opportunity to highlight the climate benefits of more widespread adoption of environmentally sustainable biofuels in aviation,” says Finnair’s Vice President of Sustainable Development Kati Ihamäki. “Finnair is committed to working further with industry partners and government bodies alike to help develop the biofuel supply chain and bring down the cost of sustainable biofuel for everyday use.”

“As air traffic contributes 2 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions, it is very important to have this trial with the use of biofuels,” says Finland’s Minister for International Development Pekka Haavisto. “If the price of oil rises and biofuels become cheaper, there will hopefully be a day when we’ll be able to replace at least some of the fossil fuels with fuels made of renewable and waste material. I’m happy that Finnair is showing leadership in this development.”

“Finnair is a long-standing Airbus customer of almost 30 years and I am particularly proud to be collaborating with the airline for this commercial flight,” says Andrea Debbané, Airbus Vice President of Environmental Affairs. “Airbus and Finnair share the aviation industry’s ambitions to reach carbon neutral growth by combining the most modern and fuel-efficient aircraft with optimised Air Traffic Management and operational procedures, while also pushing for the commercial use of affordable sustainable jet fuels.”

“This flight is a warm up for a large offensive from our side with our partners Statoil Aviation, Neste Oil and many others to accelerate the local supply and production of sustainable and affordable jet fuel for the Nordic countries,” says SkyNRG CEO Dirk Kronemeijer. “With common effort – including crucial support from governments – and united purpose, we can realize a sustainable and long term future for aviation.”

Along with its partners Finnair is also currently investigating the possibility of establishing a biofuel hub at Helsinki Airport. Finnair is active as well in the Nordic Initiative for Sustainable Aviation, a group of airlines, airport operators, manufacturers and government ministries working to accelerate the development of sustainable biofuel for aviation in the Nordic countries.

Copyright Photo: Stephen Tornblom/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-302 OH-LTT (msn 1088) climbs away from the runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).

Finnair:AG Slide Show

 

Virgin Atlantic’s first Boeing 787-9 makes its first flight

Virgin Atlantic Airways‘ (London) first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner registered as G-VNEW (msn 40956) and named “Birthday Girl” (above) yesterday (September 23) made its first flight at Paine Field near Everett, Washington.

Top Copyright Photo: Bernie Leighton/AirlinersGallery.com. G-VNEW is pictured at Paine Field preparing for its first flight.

Virgin Atlantic: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Daniel Gorun. G-VNEW arrives back at Paine Field after the historic first flight.

Virgin Australia 787-9 G-VNEW (10)(Ldg) PAE (DGR)(LRW)

Video: The building of the first Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-9:

Greybull Capital is the preferred bidder to acquire Monarch Holdings Limited

Monarch Group (Monarch Airlines) has announced Greybull Capital LLP is the preferred bidder to acquired the group. The company has also announced that the various labor groups have agreed to major concessions to make the acquisition possible. The group issued these two statements:

The Board of Monarch Holdings Limited has announced that Greybull Capital LLP is the preferred bidder to acquire Monarch from the Group’s shareholders, principally the Mantegazza family.

Greybull is a family office with a focus on investing in private companies across a diversified range of industry sectors. Greybull backs incumbent management teams to support and invest into established businesses and brands and creates long-term sustainable and profitable businesses. It views an investment in Monarch as a long-term opportunity in a very strong brand with great potential in all of its markets, and intends to be supportive shareholders throughout Monarch’s next chapter.

Completion of a deal remains subject to the successful outcome of ongoing negotiations, whereupon Greybull intends to provide significant capital to Monarch in order to grow the Group and to capitalize on the long established and trusted brand name.

Conditional upon the successful conclusion of these negotiations with Monarch stakeholders, a transaction is expected to complete towards the end of October.

The Monarch Group has also confirmed that each of its staff groups has agreed to major concessions on pay and terms and conditions as part of its plan to evolve into a leading scheduled European low-cost airline.

Following supportive discussions with union representatives of BAPLA, the pilots union, and UNITE, which represents its cabin crew and engineers, staff were balloted on the proposed changes and on average more than 90% voted in favour, with a proportionately high level of staff deciding to vote.

Results showed pilots voted 96% in favor with over 90% of cabin crew voting yes and engineers at Monarch Aircraft Engineering Limited (MAEL) also voting 88.43% in favor.

The changes impact all areas of the business and involve concessions of up to 30% in salaries, as well as changes to working patterns and other conditions.

Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A321-231 G-OZBO (msn 1207) prepares to land at Tenerife Sur.

Monarch Airlines: AG Slide Show

 

AeroMexico to add nonstop Monterrey-New York JFK flights as it celebrates 80 years

AeroMexico 80 Anos Banner (LRW)

AeroMexico (Mexico City) has announced new service from Monterrey International Airport to New York through Terminal 1 at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

The new AeroMexico Connect service will start on December 8 with 99-seat Embraer 190.

AeroMexico continues to work to position Monterrey as one of its main hubs, providing more options and better connectivity to 23 destinations including Chihuahua, Hermosillo, San Luis Potosi, Tampico and Torreon in Mexico; Tokyo, Japan and six destinations in the United States including San Antonio, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Detroit, the last two operated by SkyTeam airline alliance partner Delta Air Lines.

The flag carrier issued this statement about its 80th anniversary:

AeroMexico is celebrating its 80th anniversary as Mexico’s flagship carrier and thanks its passengers, vendors, commercial partners, airport groups, trade unions and employees, who have placed their trust in the company over eight decades to position the brand as Mexico’s leading airline.

Since its beginnings in 1934, when AeroMexico (formerly Aeronaves de Mexico) flew its maiden flight between Mexico City and Acapulco, the carrier has been committed to providing the best services and maintaining continuous quality improvement processes to benefit its customers.

Over the past 80 years, AeroMexico has operated the best fleet with emblematic jet airliners, such as Bristol Britannia, Douglas aircraft, Lockheed Constellation, McDonnell Douglas DC-10s, Embraer and Boeing aircraft, to name a few. Currently, in keeping with tradition since its creation, AeroMexico has one of the world’s most modern fleets with an average age of 8.8 years, and is proud to operate the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, hailed as the airplane that revolutionized the aviation industry.

The carrier has obtained many achievements and rewards along the way. For half a century, the airline was the carrier of choice selected by the Presidents of Mexico; it carried Pope John Paul II on his first trip to Mexico, and was the first Mexican airline to fly to New York, Madrid, Sao Paulo and Tokyo. It was also the first to offer an all-inclusive travel package program, known as Gran Plan, the first to implement a passenger loyalty program in Latin America, known as Club Premier, the first in Latin America to be a founding member of a global airline alliance, SkyTeam, and the first Mexican airline in which a global carrier, Delta Air Lines, buys equity.

AeroMexico has always been known for its unrelenting pursuit of cutting edge technology. As such, it will soon become the first airline in Latin America to provide inflight Wi-Fi through a partnership with Panasonic and Gogo.

AeroMexico has also become the Mexican airline carrying the highest customer traffic volume in the domestic market and the leader in the international segment, as it serves 44 destinations in Mexico and 35 internationally, and carried more than 11.5 million passengers between January and August 2014.

As part of the carrier’s celebration, AeroMexico CEO Andres Conesa published a special appreciation statement, noting that “The experience and career paths of all our employees bear testimony to the fact that AeroMexico is in the hands of the most valuable people in Mexican aviation. The value of our human capital is the basis of our prestige, and our customers are the reason for our existence.”

To those that have chosen AeroMexico as their carrier of choice over the years and to those flying with the airline for the very first time, the carrier expresses its gratitude and reiterates its commitment to being the best airline, uniting all Mexicans and Mexico with the world.

Images: AeroMexico. The company is celebrating 80 years of flying this year.

AeroMexico: AG Slide Show

AeroMexico logo timeline:

AeroMexico 80-Year Timeline

 

JetBlue Airways celebrates its one millionth passenger to connect to its Fly-Fi system, will introduce its 10th reoccurring tail fin design: Tartan

JetBlue Airways (New York) is celebrating its one millionth customer to connect to its high-speed Fly-Fi system, also making JetBlue the first airline worldwide to connect one million personal electronic devices (PEDs) to true broadband Ka-based Wi-Fi service. To celebrate, the 140 customers onboard “CONNECTED TO 01000010 01001100 01010101 01000101,” JetBlue’s Fly-Fi livery aircraft (above), were rewarded with a total one million TrueBlue points on a flight from New York’s JFK International Airport to San Diego International Airport.

JetBlue Fly-Fi Banner

JetBlue launched Fly-Fi, the fastest Wi-Fi among all U.S. airlines, last December. Fly-Fi offers broadband speed via Ka-band satellite using satellite-to-aircraft connectivity rather than the ground-to-aircraft connectivity, or Ku-band, the many other U.S. carriers offer. Fly-Fi is currently available on 70 aircraft, with an additional 10-12 aircraft being Fly-Fi enabled each month. The entire JetBlue fleet will be Fly-Fi installed by the end of 2015. JetBlue is now the only airline in the world to offer free live television at every seat and free high-speed Wi-Fi. JetBlue was also the first U.S. airline to offer gate-to-gate use of personal electronic devices (PEDs), as of November 2013.

During fourth quarter 2015, JetBlue will launch a new Fly-Fi Portal, which will serve as a content hub where customers can access a wide range of movies, television shows and additional content from their own personal devices.

in other news, the company this week will introduce its 10th reoccurring tail design. Management has informed its employees it will introduce a new Gaelic-inspired “Tartan” tail fin design. The design is really an updated version of the retired “Plaid” design with new diagonal bold lines with a hint of green.

The first aircraft to be repainted in the new “Tartan” design is Airbus A320-232 N565JB (msn 2031).

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 N709JB (msn 3488) in the special Binary Code livery departs from Raleigh-Durham.

JetBlue Airways: AG Slide Show

 

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