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United Airlines announces new and improved in-flight food and beverage service for first class and business domestic customers

United Airlines (Chicago) has issued this statement:

United Airlines today unveiled new, improved lunch, dinner and beverage choices for domestic first-class customers, offering travelers chef-inspired meals and premium beverages that elevate their in-flight experience.

Among the changes:

New, premium salads beginning this month for customers flying United First and United Business within North America;

New, premium sandwiches and wraps, beginning Sept. 1, for United First and United Business customers within North America;

Addition of Prosecco sparkling wine in premium cabins beginning this fall;

Introduction of premium-cabin meals to flights of shorter duration, beginning in 2015; and

Fresh meal options for premium-cabin customers on United Express flights, beginning in 2015.

Premium-Cabin Refresh

This month, United began offering customers in premium cabins on North America flights four new salad entrée choices – a Southwestern salad, an Asian-style noodle salad, a seasonal greens with roast beef and blue cheese salad and a Strawberry Fields salad – replacing the previous chicken and shrimp salad options.

In September, premium-cabin customers on flights within North America will enjoy new chilled sandwiches and wraps – Italian prosciutto on tomato focaccia, a Thai-style chicken wrap, Cobb salad wrap and caprese on Asiago baguette – as well as new warmed options – turkey and Swiss on cranberry baguette, ham and Swiss on pretzel baguette, chicken and mozzarella on tomato focaccia and roast beef and cheddar on Asiago baguette.

Designed by United’s team of chefs, the new salads and sandwiches will be made fresh daily and paired with a gluten-free soup, along with United’s signature service elements, including warmed nuts, premium snacks and warmed cookies.

United Asiago Baquette (United)(LR)

Copyright Photo: United Airlines. The caprese on asiago baguette is one of the new sandwiches United Airlines will introduce in September 2014 in premium cabins on North America flights.

On trans-continental flights and on longer mid-continental dinner flights, the airline will continue to offer customers a choice between a pasta dish and a chicken or beef option.

United basil soup (United)(LR)

Copyright Photo: United Airlines. Tomato basil gluten-free soup.

“These changes mark the beginning of an extensive overhaul of our North America and international food service, offering travelers a level of service above that offered by our peers,” said Lynda Coffman, United’s vice president of food services. “Our new selections offer customers more of what they tell us they want when they travel – variety, bold flavor combinations and higher quality.”

Additional Food and Beverage Changes

United wines (United)(LR)

Copyright Photo: United Airlines.

Beginning this fall, United will add Prosecco sparkling wine to its premium-cabin beverages on mainline North America flights.

By mid-2015, United will further enhance its in-flight dining by:

Launching completely redesigned menu concepts and expanding premium-cabin meals within North America to flights that are more than two hours and 20 minutes, or 800 miles;

Upgrading premium-cabin meal service on domestic and international United Express flights, replacing snack boxes with freshly prepared food; and

Significantly enhancing United Economy meals and beverages on long-haul international flights.

United offers in-flight meals and snacks depending on flight duration, departure time, origin and destination. Specific breakfast, lunch and dinner parameters are available at united.com.

Customer Investments

The airline’s food and beverage enhancements are United’s latest investment in its customers’ onboard experience. The company also offers:

Premium-cabin, flat-bed seats on every long-haul international flight to and from the continental United States – the only U.S. airline to do so;

Wi-Fi on more than 290 aircraft, including the airline’s entire Airbus and Boeing 747 fleets;

Personal device entertainment on dozens of aircraft; and

Live television on more than 200 aircraft, the world’s largest fleet of aircraft with live television.

Top Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 757-222 N546UA (msn 25367) completes its final approach to the runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

United Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

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AirAsia X’s second quarter net loss widens to $40.6 million

AirAsia X (AirAsia.com) (Kuala Lumpur) reported a second quarter net loss of MYR 128.9 million ($40.6 million), an increase from the MYR 32.3 million net loss ($10.1 million) for the same period a year ago.

The long-haul low-cost carrier issued this full report through its parent:

AirAsia X Berhad, the long-haul low-cost airline affiliate of the AirAsia Group reported its financial results for the Second Quarter (“2Q14”) and the First Half-Year ended June 30, 2014.

On the back of its strategy of capacity and network expansion to strengthen its market leadership, the Company recorded revenue of RM 671.6 million for 2Q14, a year-on-year growth of 36.7%, and cumulative revenue of RM 1.42 billion in 1H14, a 38.5% y-o-y growth compared to the previous corresponding period.

This increase was underpinned by the significant growth in Available-Seat-Kilometre (“ASK”) capacity that was introduced in the second-half of 2013, recording a y-o-y growth of 47% to 6.26 billion in 2Q14 and a y-o-y growth of 53% to 12.48 billion in 1H14. Passenger traffic volume in Revenue-Passenger-Kilometer (“RPK”) grew by 44% in 2Q14 to 5.04 billion and by 53.3% to 10.38 billion in 1H14, resulting in a passenger load factor of 80.4% in 2Q14 and 83.1% in 1H14. Consistently delivering load factor performance above 80% demonstrates the ability to keep stimulating new travel and tourism demand to fill up the new capacity added. This solidifies AAX’s position as the market leader in passengers carried to its core markets in Australia and North Asia, as well as its position as the global market leader in the long-haul LCC space.

The capacity expansion into new cities in its core markets, such as Nagoya, Xian, and Chongqing, as well as additional frequencies to cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, Taipei, Seoul, and Tokyo have increased its Fly-Thru connectivity and attracted new passenger traffic flow that now uses KLIA2 as a regional aviation hub. Notably, the Company has approximately tripled its market share of passengers travelling between North Asia and Australia on a one-stop service, generating a significant new customer base this year compared to the previous year.
The Company continues to operate a higher number of flights for charters and wet-leases, with total revenues from this segment growing from RM33.0 million in 1H13 to RM148.6 million in 1H14. These flights are not captured in the ASK and RPK tabulations as they are unscheduled flights. Ancillary revenue grew by 48.2% y-o-y to RM290.8 million in 1H14, compared to RM196.3 million in the previous period, resulting in an ancillary revenue per passenger of RM138.50 from the 2.1 million passengers carried. Cargo segment contributed RM59.3 million for 1H14, and increase of 43.8% y-o-y from the previous corresponding period. Two A330-300 aircraft were leased to Thai AirAsia X (“TAAX”), its affiliate, generating RM25.3 million in lease income revenue in 1H14. TAAX commenced daily flights to Seoul since June 17, 2014 and will operate flights to Tokyo-Narita and Osaka from its hub in Bangkok from September 2014.

The resultant unit-revenue yield, as measured by Revenue-per-Available-Seat-Kilometre (“RASK”) was 10.79 sen in 2Q14, a -7% y-o-y decline, and 11.44 sen in 1H14, a -10% y-o-y decline. The rate of decline in RASK has been steadily improving from -15.1% in 4Q13 and -12.4% in 1Q14. Based on forward sales to-date and barring any unforeseen macro-factors, the Company expects RASK to resume positive growth in the second-half of this year, as the capacity expansion last year matures and the rate of capacity growth progressively slows down. Although the RASK yields have declined this year from 2013, they remain higher than the RASK yields recorded in 2010, 2011, and 2012, signalling overall route network portfolio maturity. The Company continues to target a positive growth in RASK for the full year of 2014 from 2013.

Operating expenses increased 61.5% y-o-y from RM986.3 million to RM1,593.1 million in 1H14. Although unit-cost as measured in Cost-per-Available-Seat-Kilometre (“CASK”) increased 4.6% y-o-y to 12.69 sen, CASK-excluding fuel declined -2.6% y-o-y to 6.35 sen. CASK in US cents declined -1.4% to 3.89 cents, due to the effect of the US dollar-Malaysian Ringgit currency movement, as a majority of costs, especially fuel, aircraft and engineering expenses, are denominated in US dollars. CASK excluding fuel in US cents dropped -8.5% to 1.94 cents. Average fuel price increased from US$127/barrel in 2Q13 to US$130/barrel in 2Q14. Controllable items such as staff costs, sales and marketing expenses, fell -13% y-o-y from cost controls and productivity improvements achieved from having larger operating scale.
Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation, Amortisation and Rental (“EBITDAR”) dropped from RM183.5 million to RM53.5 million, while Earnings Before Interest and Tax (“EBIT”) dropped from RM46.0 million to –RM168.5 million. AAX recorded a Loss After Tax (“LAT”) of –RM140.1 million for 1H14 compared to a Profit After Tax of RM17.9 million in the first-half of 2013.

The Company continues to maintain positive operating cash flow in 2Q14 of +RM81.2 million, and +RM212.8 million for 1H14. Net Cash Flow was also positive at +RM12.8 million in 2Q14, as there were no capital expenditure incurred from financing aircraft on-balance sheet (the additional aircraft was on operating lease), no material new pre-delivery-payment financing for future aircraft, and no further capital investments in Associates. The Company expects to maintain positive operating cashflow and positive net cash flow for the full year, on the back on an expected stronger performance in the second-half of 2014.

Azran Osman-Rani, CEO of AirAsia X said, “Although our capacity expansion has put short-term pressure on earnings performance, the long-term strategic advantages are very compelling. We now have our strongest route network, with multiple cities in each of our markets, and strong frequencies that lead to convenient transfer connections. As we now have achieved overall market leadership, we have stablised our network, with quarter-on-quarter ASK growth slowing down to single-digit rates. Coupled with our position as the lowest unit-cost airline operator and leveraging on the strength of the AirAsia global brand and customer base, we have an unrivalled strong position for the future.”

“As we approach the end of the year after twelve months since we added a lot of new capacity in 4Q13, we expect RASK yields to return to positive growth and reach the levels recorded before the expansion. This in turn will return us back to profitability, particularly as global fuel prices are expected to soften, while Asian currencies are expected to stabilise. We are already seeing yields catch up in Taipei, the first route to have a doubling of capacity to twice-weekly services that commenced in July 2013.”

“Thai AirAsia X has been off on a great start, achieving a record 88% average passenger load factor in its first 3 months of operations on its inaugural Bangkok-Seoul route. The investments in international associates gives us more room for further growth and strengthens our market position in each of our destinations as customers have multiple direct flight options to choose from.”

“The 50 next-generation A330-900neo aircraft ordered will give us a huge lead over other players in this space, and ensure that we can fully realize our growth potential from the two new hubs that we have invested in, as well as other future hubs once the opportunity materialises”, concluded Azran.

Copyright Photo: Guillaume Besnard/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-343 F-WWYY (msn 1131) became 9M-XXG on delivery.

AirAsia X: AG Slide Show

AirAsia and AirAsia X routes from Kuala Lumpur:

AirAsia-AirAsia X Kuala Lumpur 8.2014 Route Map

 

Yeti Air International to relaunch as Himalaya Airlines on October 28

Yeti Air International (Kathamandu), a subsidiary of the Yeti Airlines Group, has been reformed as a new joint venture between Tibet Airlines (Lhasa, Tibet) (49 percent) and Yeti World Investment and HIF Aviation Investment according to The Economic Times. This time the airline will operate as Himalaya Airlines.

Himalaya Airlines will launch operations on October 28 on the Kathamndu-Lhasa route with leased Airbus A320 Family aircraft.

The airline will literally fly “on top of the world”.

Tibet Airlines started operations on July 26, 2011 and is 31 percent owned by Air China.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Gerd Beilfuss/AirlinersGallery.com. Tibet Airlines will likely be the operator of the aircraft for the new joint venture. Airbus A319-115 D-AVYH (man 4766) became B-6436 on delivery.

Tibet Airlines:

Emirates SkyCargo is coming to Basel/Mulhouse/Freiburg

Emirates SkyCargo, the freight division of Emirates (Dubai), is set to further strengthen trade lanes between Switzerland and its worldwide network with the introduction of a weekly freighter service from Basel to Dubai starting September 21, 2014.

The new freighter flight will supplement the existing belly-hold cargo capacity in the Swiss market provided on Emirates’ double-daily passenger services to Zurich as well as on the daily Geneva flights. Emirates SkyCargo currently offers more than 380 tons of capacity each week on its routes into Switzerland. Basel, the center of the Swiss pharmaceutical and chemical industry will become the 40th European destination to join the Emirates SkyCargo network, giving a further boost to bilateral trade links already in place between the UAE and the region.

Emirates SkyCargo will use a Boeing 777 freighter aircraft on the Basel-Dubai route, which is capable of carrying over 100 tons of cargo, and with its main deck cargo door being one of the widest of any aircraft, enabling it to uplift outsized cargo and carry larger consignments. The Boeing 777F is one of the most modern and technologically advanced freighters available and has the lowest fuel burn of any comparable size aircraft. Popular commodities and goods into and from the region are expected to be pharmaceuticals, chemicals, spare parts and medical devices.

Emirates has continuously built up its presence in Europe since the launch of London-Gatwick services in 1987. Today, Emirates operates passenger and cargo services to 37 European destinations, with Oslo (effective September 22), Brussels (starting September 5) and Budapest (effective October 27) joining soon the airline’s global route network spanning six continents. In addition to the new destinations, Emirates continues to add capacity to many of its European routes through larger aircraft and added frequency.

In addition to belly-hold cargo services on Emirates’ fleet of 225 aircraft to more than 140 destinations around the world, Emirates SkyCargo has a fleet of 13 freighters, comprising of eleven Boeing 777Fs and two Boeing 747-400 ERFs that operate from their base at Dubai World Central’s Al Maktoum International Airport.

The cargo flights will be routed Dubai – Djibouti – Nairobi – Amsterdam – Basel – Dubai.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-F1H A6-EFG (msn 35613) taxies at Amsterdam.

Emirates: AG Slide Show

Frontier Airlines to start bi-weekly Trenton-Nassau flights on November 20

Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) will start the first international route from Trenton, New Jersey. The airline will launch twice-weekly service from TTN to Nassau in the Bahamas starting on November 20. The new route will be operated on Thursdays and Sundays on 138-seat Airbus A319s. The announcement was made by the airport.

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-111 N902FR (msn 1515) departs from Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU).

Frontier Airlines: AG Slide Show

SAS arrives in Houston from Stavanger, Norway

Scandinavian Airlines-SAS (Stockholm)  is now connecting Houston, Texas, with Stavanger in Norway through six days a week nonstop air service. The initiative is expected to significantly strengthen the economic and cultural ties that already exist within the oil and gas industry in the regions. The route will be operated by a business version of the Boeing 737-700 aircraft and will have a SAS Long Haul Business Class concept on board with just 44 comfortable business seats, in-flight entertainment and full-service meals.

Departures from Stavanger will be daily, except Tuesdays, at 4:00 pm arriving in Houston (Bush Intercontinental)  at 7:40 pm (1940) the same day. SAS will depart from Houston to Stavanger daily except Tuesdays at 9:35 pm (2135) arriving the next day in Stavanger at 2.20 pm (1440). SAS will be the only airline with nonstop service between Scandinavia and Houston.

In addition to the Houston-Stavanger route, SAS also operates nonstop service from Newark to Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm, from Chicago (O’Hare) to Copenhagen and Stockholm, and from Washington, D.C. and San Francisco to Copenhagen.

Copyright Photo: Stefan Sjogren/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-705 LN-TUD (msn 28217) arrives at the Stockholm (Arlanda) hub.

SAS: AG Slide Show

United now offers its customers Uber transportation services via its mobile app

United Airlines (Chicago) today (August 20) became the first airline to offer customers Uber transportation services via its mobile app, further enabling travelers to use the United app for services throughout their entire travel experience.

Customers with iOS and Android mobile devices may access Uber ground transportation information in the United app’s menu or in the “My Reservations” card with a current reservation. The app will display Uber information, including types of available vehicles, estimated wait times and prices. After customers select a ride, the United app will automatically transfer them to the Uber app or the Uber website to sign up for an account to complete the transaction.

Customers who sign up for Uber via the United app and complete their first transaction will receive 1,000 MileagePlus award miles for a limited time.

In addition to accessing ground transportation options and other features, customers can use the United mobile app on iOS and Android devices to do the following:

Book United flights, including award travel
Scan a valid passport to check in for international flights
Store mobile boarding passes for easy access at security and during boarding
Select seats and choose Economy Plus seating
Check the status of an upgrade and view inflight amenities
Access United Club information and purchase one-time passes

In July, United became the first U.S. carrier to offer customers the ability to scan their passports to check in for international flights via their iOS and Android mobile devices. Later this year, United will begin to introduce its all-new united.com website, providing customers a simplified, clearer and faster user experience.

Read the analysis by Bloomberg Businessweek: CLICK HERE

In other news, United is also ending United Express passenger service on the Crescent City-Arcata/Eureka, Los Angeles-Yuma and Sacramento-Arcata/Eureka routes on December 3 per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 747-422 N128UA (msn 30023) arrives at Tokyo (Narita).

United Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

Jay Selman’s Inside Look: US Airways operates the last Boeing 737 Classic revenue flight

Guest Editor Jay Selman

Guest Editor Jay Selman

An Inside Look: The End of a Classic Era

by Jay Selman

When I was hired by Piedmont Airlines (Winston-Salem) in 1981, the Boeing 737 reigned supreme. We were taking delivery of brand new Boeing 737-200s, and oh how I loved those birds. They were short and fat, and NOISY in an era when noise was still acceptable! In the early days of my airline career, I was on an airplane virtually every weekend. Those were the days when an airline could make money with a 50% load factor, and on those rare occasions when a flight did fill up, there was usually room in the cockpit for a company employee. I’d venture to say that 95% of my flights during the first 10 years of my career were in 737s.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-201 N736N (msn 19420) of Piedmont waits for its next assignment at Atlanta. The -200 is painted in the original 1974 livery.

By 1985, the 737-300 had joined the Piedmont fleet. Although it still had the 737 designation, it seemed to be a whole new animal. Those CFM-56 engines were massive compared to the JT-8Ds on the -200s, and the 737-300 promised significant increases in payload and range, as well as significant reductions in fuel burn. Oh yes, and they were QUIET. In fact, a common complaint among crewmembers flying the -300 was that they had to lower their voices so that passengers would not join in their conversations. The cockpits of Piedmont’s -300s still had the old “steam gauges” but they also had greatly improved avionics, and even a lovely feature called “Autoland”, which the company was never actually certified to use.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-301 N307P (msn 23259) of Piedmont wears the updated white top 1974 color scheme.

Piedmont was the launch customer for the Boeing 737-400, essentially a stretched -300, and in September, 1988, I had the good fortune to fly on the delivery flight of N406US, the first 737-400 in the world to be delivered by Boeing.

 

Copyright Photo: Nigel P. Chalcraft/AirlinersGallery.com. The first delivered -400, Boeing 737-401 N406US (msn 23876) taxies at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood in the bare metal 1988 livery.

At one time, Piedmont was able to claim the title of the world’s largest operator of the Boeing 737. No wonder I had a love affair with the Seven Three throughout my career in the airline industry.

In 1989, Piedmont and USAir merged and I was now working for USAir. The merger brought a large number of different aircraft types to my company, but I still loved the 737.

 

Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. Suddenly the Piedmont name and brand were going way. USAir later gave way to US Airways as a brand.

Then in 1997, USAir CEO Steven Wolf shocked the aviation community by announcing an order for up to 400 narrow-body Airbus aircraft. Ultimately, this would reduce the composition of the company’s narrow-body fleet to one basic type (the A319, A320, and A321 are all the same basic airplane).

The handwriting was on the wall for the USAir (later US Airways) 737s…in fact, all of the narrow body aircraft operated by USAir. With respect to the 737s, the dwindling fleet of 737-200s was parked following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, while the last of the -300s was retired in 2013. Finally, on August 19, 2014, N435US operated the final flight of a US Airways 737, appropriately designated as flight US 737.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. There are now no longer any US Airways 737 Classics operating out of the Charlotte hub. N406US landed at CLT with 43515 cycles and approximately 65405.45 hours. The airliner was a trusted performer for the carrier and has now been retired to the desert.

“Cactus 737”, its ATC callsign, flew from Charlotte to Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) to Philadelphia and back to Charlotte on August 19, and I was able to fly all three legs on it. US Airways elected to keep the event low-key, since, after all, the “new American Airlines” is currently operating over 230 Next-Generation 737-800s, and will eventually own a fleet of over 300 of the type. But what made the trip special for me was the fact that the pilot in command, Captain Jeff Tarr, was also flying his last trip as an airline pilot.

US Airways 737-400 N435US at the gate (JS)(LRW)

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. The end of an era. N435US sits at the gate, unlikely to carry passengers again.

 

When Cactus 737 pulled into Gate D7 at 9:48 pm at CLT, there was no real fanfare for the airplane, but there was plenty of recognition for Captain Tarr.

US Airways 737-400 Captain Jeff Tarr and F-O Robert Channell (JS)(LRW)

 

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Pictured in the cockpit of N435US is Captain Jeff Tarr (left) and F/O Robert Channell (right). This also was Jeff’s retirement flight.

And, after all, that is the way it should be. Too often, an airline is defined by its aircraft, or its color scheme, or its catch phrase. But what should REALLY define an airline is it’s employees. For most of us who have been in this industry for any length of time, it’s more than a job…it’s a way of life. Most of us who have been here for awhile began working in the days when we were envied for our status as airline employees. We remember hearing, “You have one of the best jobs in the world,” rather than, “I wouldn’t have your job for anything in the world.” An airline is about people, and not just airplanes.
 Having said that, the Boeing 737 has been part of the airline I work for during my entire 33-year career. Admittedly, the Airbus offers many advantages to the passenger than the old 737 Classic. And, of course, once the merger is complete, I will, again, be working for a company that will be operating 300+ Next-Generation 737s.

US Flt 737 Crew (JS)(LRW)

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. The proud crew of flight US 737 that operated the flight from DFW to PHL and finally to CLT.

 

In my personal opinion, an Airbus simply cannot compare to a Boeing in terms of useful life and ruggedness. Why do I say this? Just consider this fact. There are still plenty of 737s around with 30+ years on their airframes. Many still haul passengers, while countless others have been converted to freight dogs. I have no idea how many 737s have been converted to cargo carriers, but I can tell you exactly how many A320s have been.
 So, vive la 737. You’ve given me a great ride.

Piedmont Airlines (1st): AG Slide Show

USAir: AG Slide Show

US Airways: AG Slide Show

Allegiant announces five new routes to Florida

Allegiant Air (Las Vegas) has announced new, nonstop jet service on five new Florida routes, including one route each to Punta Gorda and Sanford (near Orlando) and three to St. Petersburg/Clearwater (Tampa Bay).

New routes announced include:

Nonstop service to St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) from:

Belleville, Illinois – begins November 19, 2014
Bloomington, Illinois – begins November 21, 2014
Concord, North Carolina (near Charlotte) – begins November 13, 2014

Nonstop service to Orlando-Sanford International Airport (SFB) from:

Peoria, Illinois – begins November 14, 2014

Nonstop service to Punta Gorda Airport (PGD) from:

Huntington, West Virginia – begins Nov. 20, 2014

Allegiant differs in many ways from other U.S. airlines. The company is focused on low-cost, nonstop leisure travel, providing customers with low base fares while giving passengers the option to pay for the amenities they want, like luggage, seat assignments and priority boarding, without including the cost of things they don’t need in the price of the ticket.

Allegiant’s innovative business model has allowed it to grow from one airplane and one route 15 years ago, to offering access to low-cost, nonstop travel in more than 90 communities nationwide. This year, Allegiant has inaugurated service on 16 new routes to popular U.S. vacation destinations. Additionally, the company recently announced its 46th consecutive quarter of profitable operation while keeping its average one-way fare under $100.

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. The Airbus A319s and A320s are based at Sanford. Former easyJet Switzerland Airbus A319-112 HB-JZN (man 2387) became N302NV with Allegiant.

Allegiant: AG Slide Show

Routes from Sanford. Allegiant operates nonstop routes to SFB from small underserved markets from the eastern half of the United States to the vacation Orlando area destination.

Allegiant logo-1 (large)

Allegiant 8.2014 SFB Route Map

Is AirAsia considering an investment in Skymark Airlines?

Skymark Airlines (Tokyo-Haneda) has been retrenching. Besides the cancellation of its Airbus A380 order by Airbus, the low-fare carrier has also announced it will leave Tokyo Narita and concentrate its flights at Tokyo (Haneda). Now according to ZipanguFlyer, there may be a new development:

“On August 19, the Nikkei Shimbun reported that the AirAsia Group has started considering an investment in ailing Skymark Airlines (BC/SKY), including a possible takeover. It said that the Malaysian LCC, a very important customer for Airbus, is also talking with the European manufacturer to reduce the penalties they are seeking with Skymark for the canceled Airbus A380 order.”

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

AirAsia is currently working with new Japanese partners to launch the second version of AirAsia (Japan) next year. If this report is correct and it is consummated, it would probably be the end of Skymark Airlines and Boeing would lose a loyal Japanese customer.

Stay tuned.

Copyright Photo: Ivan K. Nishimura/Blue Wave Group. Boeing 737-81D JA73NN (man 39422) passes through Honolulu on its delivery flight.

Skymark Airlines: AG Slide Show

Cathay Pacific to retire the last passenger long-haul Boeing 747-400 on August 31 on the San Francisco route

Cathay Pacific Airways (Hong Kong) will operate its last long-haul scheduled Boeing 747 passenger flight to San Francisco on August 31. The last departure will be from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Hong Kong. The company will continue to operate Boeing 747 freighters and the 747-400 on some short-haul Asian routes (Beijing, Manila, Osaka Kansai, Sapporo, Shanghai Pudong, Taipei Taoyuan and Tokyo Haneda per Airline Route).

 

Cathay Pacific Farewell 747 Giveaway

To mark the historic occasion, Cathay Pacific is running a “Farewell 747 Giveaway” contest. 20 winners will receive a Boeing 747 model. CLICK HERE for the details.

The inaugural flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong via Vancouver was flown on a Boeing 747-200B on July 1, 1986.

Cathay Pacific SFO Inaugural 7.1.86

Above Copyright Photo: Cathay Pacific.

Top Copyright Photo: KSK/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 747-467, the Queen of the Skies, B-HOY (man 25351) in the 1994 livery gracefully climbs away from the runway at Tokyo (Haneda)

Cathay Pacific: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 747-267B VR-HIE (msn 28872) taxies at Zurich in the original 1971 green and white color scheme.

Video: Trip Report on a CP Boeing 747-400:

Is there another Icelandic ash alert coming for Europe?

Bárðarbunga volcano map

The Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) has raised the threat level to orange and issued this latest statement on a current earthquake swarm at the Bárðarbunga volcano (see above). Currently there is no sign of magma moving towards the surface. Here is the full report:

Icelandic Met Office logo

Since the onset of the earthquake swarm at Bárðarbunga on Saturday morning August 16 03:00am, around 2.600 earthquakes have been detected with the earthquake monitoring network of the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO), of these around 950 since midnight (17/18th August). Several of these events were larger than magnitude 3. The swarm initially started in the Bárðarbunga caldera and has been migrating in two clusters towards the north and the east of the volcano.

On Sunday August 17, these two clusters were active east and north of Bárðarbunga. The activity in both clusters was migrating northeastwards. While the strongest events were located in the northern cluster, the highest number of events was detected in the eastern cluster. The strongest event since the onset of the swarm was detected on Monday morning 02:37 in the northern cluster. Detailed analysis revealed that its magnitude was 4.5 and it was felt in Akureyri and Lón. By Monday evening, activity has significantly decreased in the northern cluster.

The eastern cluster remains active. Two stronger pulses of activity have occurred between 10:45 and 12:00 as well as 16:50 and 17:30 this morning. Within the first pulse around noon, the cluster was again migrating northeastwards, most events are now located between Bárðarbunga and Kverkfjöll. As reported earlier, GPS ground deformation data has evidenced that the earthquake swarm is caused by magma intrusion.

Throughout the whole sequence until now (August 18 bat 20:45) the majority of events has been at 5-10km depth. No signs of migration towards the surface or any other signs of imminent or ongoing volcanic activity have been detected so far. IMO is monitoring the area around the clock very closely and will update in case of any changes.

Read the full story from Bloomberg Businessweek: CLICK HERE

Map: Google Maps.

JetBlue Airways to start Washington Reagan National-Jacksonville flights on December 18

JetBlue Airways (New York) today announced new twice-daily nonstop service from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) to Jacksonville, Florida (JAX). The new route will launch on December 18, 2014, the same day the airline also introduces new nonstop service from DCA to two other Florida destinations: Fort Myers (RSW) and West Palm Beach (PBI).

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Embraer ERJ 190-100 IGW N339JB (msn 19000490) arrives at Washington’s Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA).

JetBlue Airways: AG Slide Show

The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is still going strong at 60

The Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules reaches another major milestone on August 23 marking the 60th anniversary of its first flight at Burbank, California, in 1954.

The company has issued this statement:

To honor this historic C-130 anniversary, Lockheed Martin invites members of the worldwide Hercules community to share their C-130 memories, experiences, photos and videos. From Aug. 18 through Sept. 30, stories can be shared through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube. Stories will be collected on a Lockheed Martin-sponsored website and shared with page viewers. To ensure stories are included on this site, the hashtag “#herc60″ must be included within each post. Submissions also can be emailed to c-130-communications.gr-aero@lmco.com and they will be manually posted on the anniversary site.

In addition, special videos, photos and features saluting the C-130 will be posted daily to Lockheed Martin’s corporate webpage, Code One Magazine, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube accounts throughout the week of Aug. 18-23.

Since its debut, the C-130 Hercules has exhibited a combination of rugged tenacity, unmatched flexibility and continuous innovation that continue to make it the global airlifter choice. The C-130 has the longest, continuous military aircraft production run in history and is one of the top three longest, continuous aircraft production lines of any type.

The aircraft is widely considered as the world’s most proven workhorse. To date, more than 2,500 C-130s have been ordered and/or delivered to 63 nations. The C-130 operates out of 70 countries and has been produced in more than 70 variants. All of the C-130’s production models have been built at the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Marietta facility.

“In its first six decades, the C-130 shaped aviation history, redefined industry standards and exhibited flexibility that other aircraft have yet to match,” said George Shultz, Lockheed Martin vice president and general manager, C-130 Programs. “The C-130 remains the world’s most proven airlifter because of its ability to adapt, remain relevant and deliver results no matter the mission. As we celebrate the Hercules, we want to thank the people who designed, and now build, deliver, fly, maintain and sustain it. It’s their contributions that have kept the global C-130 fleet flying and will continue to do so for decades to come.”

The Hercules has been everywhere and is known for its ability to tackle any mission, anywhere, at any time. Aircrews have flown it to both poles, landed or airdropped military supplies to combat hot spots and performed countless relief operations around the globe. From the highest air strips in the Himalayas to landing on an aircraft carrier in the middle of the ocean, the C-130 regularly – and proudly – defies expectations.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 113,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2013 were $45.4 billion.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. The C-130 is mainly a military transport aircraft. However several airlines have operated the civilian version. Of course the civilian version, the current Lockheed 382G (L-100-30), remains a viable and tough airline transport to this day in many remote parts of the world. Even passenger carriers like Delta Air Lines have operated the Hercules on dedicated cargo routes. An earlier model, the pictured Lockheed 382E-6C Hercules (L-100-20) N9259R (msn 4176), is seen at the Atlanta base on October 3, 1969. This aircraft was delivered on October 14, 1966. Delta replaced its Curtiss C-46 freighters with this newer turboprop freighter. The dedicated freighter service was short-lived.

Delta Air Lines (historic): AG Slide Show

Hercules Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Air Canada to operate the Boeing 787 on the Toronto-Copenhagen route

Air Canada (Montreal) on October 26 will introduce the new Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner on the Toronto (Pearson)-Copenhagen route. The new aircraft will operate three days a week replacing a Boeing 767-300 ER until December 31 per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 787-8 C-GHPT (msn 35258) is parked between flights at the Toronto (Pearson) hub.

Air Canada: AG Slide Show

 

SkyWest Airlines to drop Chico, California on December 2

SkyWest Airlines (United Express) (St. George, UT) will drop Chico, California and the Chico-San Francisco route on December 2. The route is not profitable according to KRCR News. This will end commercial air service at the airport.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Mark Durbin/AirlinersGallery.com. Embraer EMB-120ER Brasilia N295SW (msn 120322) taxies at the San Francisco hub.

United Express-SkyWest Airlines: AG Slide Show

Silver Airways to drop Macon, Georgia on November 5

Silver Airways (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood and Gainesville) has notified the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) that its intends to drop Macon, GA and the Macon-Atlanta route on November 5 according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The carrier stated the route had not lived up to forecasts and it is downsizing its ATL operation.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. SAAB 340B N413XJ (msn 413) approaches the runway at Bangor.

Silver Airways: AG Slide Show

Current Route Map:

Silver 8.2014 Route Map

Horizon Air to operate seasonal flights from Las Vegas to Mammoth Lakes, California

Horizon Air (Alaska Horizon) (Seattle/Tacoma) will operate seasonal service between Las Vegas and Mammoth Lakes, California.

Horizon Air’s nonstop flight from Las Vegas to Mammoth Lakes will operate on Mondays and Thursdays between January 15 and April 6, 2015.

Horizon Air will operate the flights with the Bombardier DHC-8-402 (marketed as the Q400) turboprop aircraft on the new route.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Horizon Air now spreads its wings from Alaska to the U.S. Southwest. Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) N443QX (man 4353) in the University of Alaska Seawolves college motif departs from Anchorage.

Alaska Horizon (Horizon Air): AG Slide Show

Thai Airways to axe 1,500 jobs this year, hopes to return to profitability by the fourth quarter

Thai Airways International (Bangkok) meanwhile expects to cut 1,500 jobs this year as it expects to return to profitability in the fourth quarter according to this article by the Business Times.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Richard Vandervord/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 747-4D7 HS-TGG (msn 33771) departs gracefully from Phuket, Thailand.

Thai: AG Slide Show

City Airways is grounded, stranding passengers

City Airways (Bangkok-Don Mueang) was grounded on Saturday, August 16, stranding passengers. The Thai airline, which was formed in 2011 started operations in October 2012 and specialized in flights from and to Chinese cities, was grounded by the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) for alleged safety violations.

Stranded passengers are being flown home by R Airways.

According to the South China Morning Post, co-owner Terence Mak Hung claimed the airline was safe and hilt back at the Thai authorities.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Company Profile (from their website):

City Airways Company, Ltd was established on February 24, 2011. The airline, incorporated with 200 million baht of capital, focused on the China market, is spreading its wings by adding three jetliners and launching its first scheduled domestic flights. City Airways, owned by a group of Thai, Chinese tour firms and Hong Kong airline owner, took delivery of three Boeing 737-400 single-aisle jets.

Top Copyright Photo: Jacques Guillem Collection/AirlinersGallery.com (all others by City Airways). Boeing 737-4Y0 HS-GTA (man 24688) rests at the Don Mueang Airport base between flights.

City Airways FAs (City Airways)(LR)

City Airways Ad:

City Airways Ad

City Airways (Thailand) logo

Route Map:

City Airways 8.2014 Route Map (LRW)

The Sunday Times: Monarch Airlines to cut more than 1,000 jobs, shrink the fleet to reduce its losses and find a new investor

Monarch Airlines (London-Luton and London-Gatwick) is at a critical stage in its nearly 47 years of existence. According to this article by The Sunday Times, Monarch will cut over 1,000 jobs, reduce the fleet from 42 aircraft to 30 in order to reduce losses. Long-haul flights will be dropped. The airline had previously announced it would drop charter flights and concentrate on scheduled flights. Seabury Capital is also leading the search for new investors.

A lingering question shadowing the company is its pension obligation.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Monarch service banner

Monarch Airlines talks about its history on its website:

The Group, as its exists today, came together in 1968 when Monarch Airlines was formed under the same ownership as Cosmos Holidays and Monarch Aircraft Engineering, following their establishment in 1961 and 1967 respectively.

Monarch Airlines was created to respond to the expanding charter holiday industry and demand for faster travel. In its early days Monarch operated with just two aircraft, but in the early 1970s the airline began to meet the requirements of an evolving travel market by committing to an all-jet fleet and by 1972 was carrying 500,000 passengers per annum.

The advent of mass market independent travel saw Monarch launch its scheduled division with increased routes in 1985. The Airbus A330 was added to the fleet in 1999 featuring new Premium cabin and a range of upgraded passenger benefits, followed in 2001 by the launch of Monarch’s first online booking tool. By 2007 online reservations had grown to over 90% of total bookings.

Monarch Airlines is now one of the leading scheduled carriers at its key bases at London Gatwick, across the Midlands and the north of England. Its current 30 aircraft fleet provides an annual capacity of seven million seats from six UK bases to destinations around the Mediterranean, the Canaries and to ski destinations in winter. The Airline also offers capacity to tour operators both through its scheduled and operations and traditional charter activities, where it continues with selected long-haul flying.

Monarch.co.uk logo

Monarch Airlines has always adapted to changing conditions in the marketplace:

Monarch Timeline

On the Monarch blog, in this article written by Hannah Sardar, the author interviews Commercial Revenue and Network Manager – Marjan Schöke, on how the company puts together its schedule (Monarch just announced it was dropping East Midlands as we previously reported). Here is the article which is very insightful:

My name is Hannah and I work in the social media team for Monarch. We have had a few questions about how Monarch put together a flight schedule and why we have delayed the schedule for our Summer 15 flights. So, I’ve gone straight to the man who knows, our Commercial Revenue & Network Manager – Marjan Schöke to get his insight and find out how we create a network schedule. Who better to answer your questions?

Marjan Schoke

Marjan Schoke

So Marjan, I am going to start with a broad question! In a nutshell what is the process for setting up a flights schedule?

Well, in a nutshell proves a bit tricky. Creating a flight schedule is not single process but the result of a lengthy and continuous analysis. Let me try to give you some insight into the complexity of the creation of a schedule. Marjan

The basis is the overall strategy of the company. It defines what market segments we serve, what aircraft type we are using and so on. So for a specific period we have a picture of where we want to head with our network and how many aircraft we have available for implementing this defined strategy.

As a first step in creating a schedule we evaluate many different variables including; customer demand, market trends, the economy and passenger flows in order to evaluate the future profitability of a route. In addition many inputs from operations and maintenance have to be taken into account.

We evaluate market trends in detail. One question that needs to be answered is how the economic development for next year will influence the booking and travel patterns of our customers. For instance are they taking longer or shorter breaks? How taking short breaks? And of course we need to gain an understanding what the hotel availability is for certain destinations. All of this combined enables us to forecast market growth for the coming season. Keeping in mind the competition we then define how often we want to fly each route; we then decide on the aircraft to be used for a specific flight. This gives us the information we need to create our flights schedule.

A question I’ve always wanted to know is; do all airlines work the same way when releasing a schedule? Some airlines are before and some are after Monarch, can you please tell us why?

I would not be able to confirm how all airlines plan their schedules but I can say that in my opinion, the overall process is the same for each airline. However, the way the market analysis is done will differ for each airline, also pending what customer group they are serving. Doing research for business travellers is different from research on holiday-makers.

Why is the flights schedule for summer 2015 being released in stages this year?

There are a lot of changes going on within the company. We have new management and there are many people like me who have recently joined the company. A lot of new know-how and innovative processes are brought into the company. For example in my team we have adjusted our internal processes and we are putting much more time towards listening to feedback from customers or researching travel behaviour.

Our aim is to release a stable schedule that avoids as far as possible changes a few months or even weeks before the flights. We want to avoid rescheduling flights as customer feedback states this is really frustrating for them.

So, it’s taking longer because we are doing it once and doing it right. We have had a much closer look at each individual route, spent a lot of time on making the departure times more sociable with the ultimate objective being to give flexibility and value to all our customers.

We have already released four bases – Luton, Gatwick, Birmingham and Manchester and may still add flights to these bases over the coming months however the review is on-going for Leeds Bradford. The schedule for summer 2015 will offer our customers a better service with more frequent flights to some of our most popular destinations, better weekend flight times & flexibility to book a short break or a mid or longer length holiday.

When is the best time to buy cheap flights – now, when flights have just been released… or later, when there’s a deal or promotion?

It’s always best to book as soon as you can. It is an obvious statement but, we have a fixed amount of seats available on each aircraft on each flight. The fuller the aircraft gets for a specific flight the higher the price will be. So, when no seats have been booked soon after the flight goes on sale; customers will generally get the best price. It is the objective of my team and I to fill those seats, whereas closer to the time of departure we have fewer seats available and this may increase the price.

We’ve been asked about why our flight departure and arrival timings are different this year to previous years, how would you reply to this?

We look closely at internal data, data from external sources and we gain an understanding from our own customers about which departure times suit them best and which routes they prefer. An example of this: we know that on certain routes most passengers prefer to fly back in the evening so they’ve had a full day on the beach and then they fly home. Of course this varies by route.

This is a good opportunity to explain about “airport slots” to answer this properly. A slot is the right to depart or land at a specific time at an airport. Some airports like London Gatwick are very busy as most airlines want to depart or land at similar times (the customer preferences are quite often very similar).

There is a worldwide rule that manages the arrival and departure slots.

Other alterations to our schedule are required due to slight changes in the legislation concerning cabin crew duty working times. A Monarch crew that start later in the day can for example fly longer than a crew that gets up very early in the morning and of course we need abide by the working rules set for our crew.

So, based on that answer, how do airports decide which airline gets which slot? That sounds really difficult!

Well yes it can be quite challenging at some airports. This is a lengthy process that is followed worldwide by all airlines and all slot coordinated airports. The rules are created and implemented by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and each country has a slot coordinator who is in charge of administering all the slots for the specific countries airports.

All airlines apply for the slots they require and then the initial slots are given to the airline. Whereas if an airline has flown consistently in the last season it is given the same timings (they call this a grandfather right) as before to try and give continuity.

This is why I explained sometimes we fly the exact same flight time.

However, it is possible for airlines to swap flight slots or request different times. Airlines then start to adjust their schedule once they feel confident about their slots. About two months before the summer season starts the airlines hand back all slots they don’t require and of course then a final swapping and adjustment to the schedule is completed.

Did you know? An airline is only given slot confirmation 2- 3 months before the winter or summer schedule begins. This is why sometimes we have to alter some schedule times – but this is typically within 30 minutes of the original timing. We also estimate the likely outcome of this slot allocation process so that our customers can book their holiday with more than 3 months’ notice.

Why do you decide to operate flights very early in the morning or very late at night?

An aircraft is very expensive and of course we need to utilize it as much as we can. Just to fly one flight per day within Europe “does not pay” for the aircraft.

This means we have to find the right balance between a lot of flying per day and the preferences of our customers. To find the right balance we speak to customers and research travel preferences. For example we have found that many people prefer to set off early to get the whole day at their holiday destination and this goes for coming back too.

If we depart too late in the morning we can only fly one flight per day which restricts customer choice and require us to increase the price for that flight much higher.

Why do we fly different types of planes to different locations, why aren’t they all the same?

We currently use a mix of aircraft ranging from the Airbus A320 with 174 seats to the Airbus A330 with 358 seats. Some aircraft have a longer range than others. Our A330 is being used for long-haul flying, whereas the A320 is better used within Europe. On airports where we have slot restriction – meaning we have only limited rights to take off or land at the ideal time – and very high demand for a route we might decide to use the larger aircraft. In addition; we create the schedule in a way that we can swap aircraft sizes between routes. This enables us to fly more of our customers to very popular destinations when demand is high.

If Monarch wanted to launch a new route, how does that work?

Well as I am sure you can image, a new route has to be researched well. Starting a daily flight within Europe can be very expensive. We need to be convinced that enough passengers will fly on the new route and will find it enjoyable for a holiday. We factor in “running costs” from an airline point of view including; fuel costs, the crew , the aircraft, government and airport taxes and also hotel prices when the customers arrive.

Monarch 8.2014 Map

Where do Monarch fly to? Which destinations?

Where can I fly to with Monarch?

Of course we have a look at how many passengers travel to this destination already and what the destination can offer to our customers. One example is our decision to fly to Salzburg in the winter months as a Ski destination. It offers a wide variety of ski and winter experiences has a very good infrastructure and at the same time is an interesting city destinations.

Can you please tell us why are some routes released before others?

After the schedule is approved it is exported to the Monarch sales-system and put on sale for our customers to purchase. Sometimes we decide not to put every flight on sale as we are still waiting on confirmation of airport-slots. In some instances we also wait and see whether certain destinations are booked much better than anticipated. We can then have more flights to popular destinations.

Why do some UK airports have more flights than others?

This is due to different customer demand being different from the regions. Our customer profile and preferences are very different across the UK bases we travel from.

What’s the most interesting part of the process for you Marjan? Is it quite challenging?

I’d say the most interesting part is that each individual route does has its own “personality” and typical customer which I find fascinating. My team and I like exploring this”personality” through analysing data.

And while doing so you look outside the window and see a Monarch aircraft taking off… it is a fantastic feeling to know that onboard that aircraft are customers jetting off to start their short-break weekend or holiday. This is quite rewarding.

When I first started at Monarch in March this year, I thought that the travel behaviour of customers would be the same from all the UK bases we fly from but actually in reality it’s different. Birmingham has different types of customers than those who travel in London – even if the flights from the two airports go to the same destination.

What is the most common customer misconception in your mind, about how flight schedules are put together?

Understandably our customers have their specific flight on their mind when thinking of schedules and ask why I cannot put flights at certain times in the day. Unfortunately it is not always that easy. Our customers rarely know how much complexity there is in the airline industry – though I am a big fan to make it less complex!

Hopefully I have given you some general insights just how complex it is when putting together a flight schedule.

It’s easier to think about a single aircraft taking one flight out and one flight back but we need to be strategic about how we move those aircraft around and make sure we are flying to and from the places our customers want to go and we need to do this for all 42 aircraft in the fleet!

Having the overview over the flow of an aircraft (and even the whole fleet) is one of the most interesting things in aviation as every aspect of an airline comes together. My colleagues and I absolutely love our jobs, as you can probably guess! I hope that helps explain everything for you and our customers.

I think it’s safe to say I’ve learnt just how complex putting together an airline schedule is, thanks so much for you time.

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton/AirlinersGallery.com. With the long-range routes being cut, Monarch’s two 374-seat Airbus A330-200s will be dropped from the fleet. The last three Boeing 757-200s are also being retired from the fleet at the end of the summer season 2014. Airbus A330-243 G-SMAN (man 261) taxies at Geneva.

Monarch Airlines: AG Slide Show

Monarch Video:

Sunwing Airlines fights back, will launch package charter flights from Buffalo, New York

Sunwing Airlines (Toronto-Pearson) has seen some of its Canadian traffic being syphoned by U.S. carriers with vacation flights leaving from close-by U.S. cities like Buffalo, New York. Canadian citizens have been crossing the border to catch the cheaper flights at these close-by U.S. airports. Now the Canadian carrier has decided to do the same thing.

The carrier is introducing two new services in association with Sunwing Vacations. Departing from Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF) on Saturdays, services to Cancun International Airport (CUN) will begin on January 17, 2015 and operate until May 9, 2015, while flights to Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ) will be available between February 14, 2015 and May 9, 2015.

The new routes represent the first direct scheduled international destinations to be offered, increasing the number of airports accessible via a direct connection from Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

Sunwing Airlines’ nonstop flights are operated on Boeing 737-800 series aircraft which seat 189 passengers.

According to the carrier, these “low cost, high frills” flights enable travellers to start off their vacation in style with a complimentary welcome glass of champagne. Passengers will also be able to sit back and relax while enjoying award winning onboard service along with Hot & Fresh Bistro meals served with a choice of wine plus complimentary in-flight entertainment and children’s activity kits.

Sunwing travellers departing from Buffalo this winter will be able to choose from a broad selection of all-inclusive vacation packages in both Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and Cancun, Mexico. Offering an array of properties and exclusive products to suit a number of different tastes and budgets ranging from adults only to group and family vacations, Sunwing resorts in both locations stand out for their beachfront settings, wealth of land and water sports, varied dining options and children’s activities.

Introductory pricing for a one-week vacation from Buffalo to Cancun starts from just $1135 + $140 taxes per person, based on double occupancy at Oasis Tulum departing on January 17, 2015. Buffalo departures to Punta Cana start from just $1195 + $170 taxes per person, based on double occupancy at Vista Sol Punta Cana departing on May 2, 2015.

All Sunwing Vacations packages include award winning Sunwing Airlines’ Champagne Service, which features a complimentary glass of champagne, hot towel service, Hot & Fresh Bistro meals™ served with a choice of wine at lunch and dinner, and complimentary in-flight entertainment, including first run movies and a generous 20 kg free baggage allowance. For just $40 more per flight segment, travellers can upgrade to Sunwing’s Elite Plus service, which features advance seat selection, separate check-in at a majority of airports, advance boarding, 30 kg baggage allowance, priority baggage handling, and extra legroom seats.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-86Q C-FEAK (msn 30292) taxies at Palma de Mallorca on a summer lease.

Sunwing Airlines: AG Slide Show

 

United Airlines to start San Francisco-Montrose, Colorado flights

United Airlines (Chicago) will start twice-weekly United Express service, operated by SkyWest Airlines (St. George, UT) CRJ700s, between its San Francisco hub and Montrose, CO on December 20 per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Bombardier CRJ700 (CL-600-2C10) N763SK (msn 10228) of SkyWest Airlines departs from Los Angeles.

United Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

United Express-SkyWest: AG Slide Show

American to launch new American Eagle routes from Philadelphia and Dallas/Fort Worth

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) will start daily American Eagle service from its (US Airways) hub to both Jacksonville, FL and New Orleans on September 26. The routes will be operated by Embraer 175 aircraft operated by Republic Airlines (2nd) according to Airline Route.

In addition, American Eagle (operated by ExpressJet Airlines CRJ200s) will launch new daily service from the Dallas/Fort Worth hub to Meridian and Laurel, Mississippi.

Finally American will suspend service on three European routes this winter (resuming next summer): Chicago (“hare)-Dusseldorf, Chicago (O’Hare)-Manchester and New York (JFK)-Dublin per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. Operated by Republic Airlines, Embraer ERJ 170-200LR (ERJ 175) N426YX (msn 17000397) taxies at Baltimore/Washington.

American Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

American Eagle-Republic (2nd): AG Slide Show

 

BizCharters starts scheduled charter flights from the Chicago area to the New York and Washington areas

BizCharters, Inc. (DuPage County, IL) is a new charter operator that provides public charter flights operated by FAA certified direct air carriers under the terms of DOT Public Charter Regulations. According to the carrier, “based in West Chicago, IL at the DuPage County Airport, BizCharter’s main objective is to serve the business traveler, providing convenient, healthy, stress-free and exceptional business class jet charter service eliminating all the hassles commonly found in airline travel.”

The BizCharters management team has analyzed US Department of Transportation (DOT) data to identify markets with high airline traffic and to serve those markets with public jet charter flights between DuPage Airport (DPA) in West Chicago, IL, Morristown, NJ (New York City area) and Washington DC (Dulles) area airports. The company also serves Midway Airport in Chicago.

Read the article by Chicago Business: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. EMB-135LR (ERJ 135) N234BZ (msn 145388) rests at the FBO at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) on August 15 in full company colors.

Video: Company video:

Biz Charters logo

Current Schedule:

Biz Charters 8.2014 Schedule

Ethiopian Airlines and United Airlines to start a codeshare agreement on August 30

Ethiopian Airlines (Addis Ababa) has announced that it has entered into a codeshare agreement with United Airlines (Chicago), effective on August 30, 2014.

Ethiopian, the biggest airline in Africa, currently flies to 82 international destinations across five continents operating a young and modern fleet, such as Boeing 787 and 777 aircraft. The carrier provides daily services to Washington Dulles Airport (IAD) using the Boeing 777 or Boeing 787 aircraft with convenient and easy connections through its main hub in Addis Ababa (ADD) to 49 cities across Africa.

The new codeshare agreement between the two Star Alliance member airlines covers the Addis Ababa–Washington, D.C. trunk route, as well as points in Africa and the U.S.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-260 LR ET-ANO (msn 40771) of Ethiopian Airlines lands at Washington’s Dulles International Airport (IAD).

Ethiopian Airlines: AG Slide Show

United Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

Finnair slips into the red with a 2Q net loss of $32 million, faces an uncertain economic outlook

Finnair (Helsinki) reported a second quarter net loss of €23.9 million ($32.0 million), completely reversed from a €18.1 million net profit ($24.2 million) in the same quarter a year ago. Additionally Finnair could be severely impacted on its Asian routes if Russia implements airspace restrictions for European carriers on its trans-Siberian routes.

Here is the full report:

Finnair Group interim report January 1 – 30 June 30, 2014

Finnair Plc. Interim report 15 August 2014 at 09:30 EET

April–June 2014

Turnover declined by 7.2% to 565.7 million euros (609.7).

The operational result was -19.6 million euros (7.5).

Net cash flow from operating activities stood at 69.2 million euros (101.2), and cash flow from investments totalled -92.2 million euros (-46.5). The cash flow from investments includes aircraft sale and leaseback arrangements implemented during the review period as well as advance payments for the first A350 aircraft.

Unit cost per available seat kilometre excluding fuel, (CASK excl. fuel), decreased by 2.4 per cent from the previous year’s level.

Unit revenue per available seat kilometre (RASK) fell by 5.8%.

Finnair updates its guidance and estimates its turnover in 2014 to be significantly lower than in 2013 and its 2014 operational result to show a significant loss.

CEO Pekka Vauramo:

The second quarter of 2014 was difficult. Finnair’s turnover declined by 7.2 per cent year-on-year to 565.7 million euros. The factors affecting the decrease in turnover included a substantial decline in unit revenue, the loss of external turnover resulting from the restructuring of aviation services, and the weak development of tour operator Aurinkomatkat Suntours. The impact of the weak economic prospects in Finland on domestic demand and intensified international competition, particularly in long-haul traffic, had a negative effect on our unit revenue. The appreciation of the euro against our other primary revenue currencies continued to weaken our unit revenue from passenger traffic. The challenging operating environment has also been reflected in the revenue development of other airlines.

Our passenger load factors in April–June improved year-on-year, and at the same time we made progress with our cost reduction program. I am pleased that our cost reduction targets and market-based approach have been met with understanding also among our personnel, and that we were able to reach agreement on the necessary cost reductions with some of our personnel groups. However, these positive steps were not sufficient to compensate for the drop in revenue, and our operational result declined to a substantial loss at 19.6 million euros in a quarter traditionally strong for Finnair.

Achieving the cost reductions we are pursuing and reaching market level costs in all cost categories is absolutely essential in this financial situation. Finnair is very committed to achieving a competitive cost level and structure.

Outlook

Outlook on August 15, 2014:

The ongoing uncertain economic outlook in Europe and Asia is contributing to weak consumer demand in our main markets. Air traffic is expected to grow moderately in 2014. Finnair, however, will not be able to benefit from that growth without progress in its cost reduction program and its target cost structure in place.

Finnair estimates its turnover in 2014 to be significantly lower than in 2013. Fuel costs are expected to remain high. Due to delays in the personnel cost reduction negotiations and the unfavourable market conditions driving the decline in unit revenue, Finnair estimates that its 2014 operational result will show a significant loss.

Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A321-231 WL OH-LZK (msn 5961) arrives at Rome (Fiumicino).

Finnair: AG Slide Show

Aeroflot and Transaero must obtain prior approval to fly over the Ukraine

The Ukrainian government (Kiev) is taking countermeasures after Russia banned Ukrainian airlines from flying over Russian airspace, severely impacting Ukrainian International Airlines (Kiev) as previously reported.

According to the Moscow Times, “Ukraine demanded that Russian airlines Aeroflot Russian Airlines (Moscow) and Transaero Airlines (Moscow) obtain permission for every flight they make over its territory, because these airlines fly over Crimean airspace which Ukraine considers to be closed.”

The new airspace rule became effective on August 14.

European airlines could face additional airspace restrictions by Russia on trans-Siberian routes following sanctions by the European Union of Russian due to its on-going interference in the Ukraine. If this “airspace war” continues to escalate, airlines like Finnair (Helsinki) could be severely impacted as previously reported.

Ironically Russia and the Ukraine were former members of the old Soviet Union.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

In other news, Transaero is planning to introduce a weekly St. Petersburg-Vienna route (flown with Boeing 737-300s) starting on October 31.

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton/AirlinersGallery.com. Aeroflot’s Boeing 737-8LJ VP-BRF (msn 41195) completes its final approach to Dubai International Airport (DXB).

Aeroflot Russian Airlines: AG Slide Show

Transaero Airlines: AG Slide Show

 

Jazz Aviation’s parent, Chorus Aviation, posts a higher 2Q net profit of $36.5 million

Chorus Aviation (Halifax), the parent of Jazz Aviation (Air Canada Express) (Halifax), reported a second quarter net profit of C$36.5 million ($33.5 million). This basically quadruples its second quarter 2013 net income of C$7.9 million (&.2 million) of the previous year.

Here is the full report:

For the second quarter 2014, Chorus reported EBITDA of $50.7 million compared to $48.0 million in the same quarter 2013, an increase of $2.7 million. Operating income was $34.3 million, $2.6 million higher than the same period 2013. Adjusted net income of $22.2 million or $0.18 per basic share was up by $0.8 million or $0.01 per basic share over the second quarter 2013. Chorus incurred $4.5 million in employee separation program costs in the second quarter versus $2.2 million in the same period in 2013. Chorus has invested $17.2 million in employee separation since the inception of this cost savings program in the first quarter of 2013.

For reporting purposes, at each quarter end, Chorus converts its US denominated aircraft debt into equivalent Canadian dollars based on the prevailing exchange rate. Chorus manages its exposure to currency risk on such long-term debt by billing related lease payments within the Capacity Purchase Agreement (‘CPA’) with Air Canada in the underlying currency (US dollars) related to the aircraft debt. In the second quarter of 2014, Chorus had an unrealized foreign exchange gain of $14.3 million versus an unrealized foreign exchange loss of $13.5 million in the same period of 2013.

Financial Performance –Second Quarter 2014 Compared to Second Quarter 2013

Operating revenue increased from $410.3 million to $417.8 million, representing an increase of $7.5 million or 1.8%. Controllable revenue increased by $9.0 million or 3.5%. This increase occurred primarily as a result of rate increases made pursuant to the CPA of $5.8 million, a favourable US dollar exchange rate of $5.2 million, and a $0.3 million increase in incentives earned under the CPA with Air Canada. These increases were offset by decreased CPA Billable Block Hours of $2.3 million.

Pass-through revenue decreased by $2.1 million or 1.4% from $148.7 million to $146.6 million, which included a decrease of $8.7 million related to airport and navigation fees and terminal handling services. (Effective January 1, 2014, Air Canada entered into a commercial agreement with the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (‘GTAA’) that encompasses Chorus’ Air Canada Express operations. GTAA costs related to landing, terminal and other airport user fees, which are treated as pass-through costs under the CPA, are now paid directly by Air Canada pursuant to this agreement.) This decrease was offset by an increase of $7.3 million related to fuel costs driven primarily by an increase in jet fuel prices. The sale of consignment inventory was the primary factor in other revenue increasing by $0.6 million.

Operating expenses increased from $378.6 million to $383.6 million, an increase of $5.0 million. Controllable costs increased from $229.9 million to $237.0 million, an increase of $7.0 million or 3.1%. Pass-through costs decreased from $148.7 million to $146.6 million, a decrease of $2.1 million or 1.4%.

Salaries, wages and benefits increased by $2.7 million from $100.7 million to $103.4 million. Adjusted salaries, wages and benefits (adjusted by removing employee separation program costs and capitalized major maintenance overhaul labour costs), which includes pension, incentive compensation and other employee benefits, decreased by $0.9 million after incurring an increase in stock based compensation of $0.8 million due to a change in accounting policy. Employee separation program costs incurred during the three months ended June 30, 2014 were $4.5 million, an increase of $2.3 million over the same period of 2013. These costs include employee separation program costs of $2.1 million in 2014 related to the commencement of outsourcing of passenger handling services under applicable collective agreements. Salaries and wages were also affected by fewer labour costs being capitalized as a result of reduced major maintenance overhauls on owned aircraft of $1.4 million.

Aircraft maintenance expense increased by $4.0 million from $37.9 million to $41.9 million partially as a result of an unfavourable US dollar exchange rate on certain maintenance material purchases of $2.7 million and increased other maintenance costs of $2.6 million. These increases were offset by decreased Block Hours of $1.3 million.

Other expenses decreased by $0.8 million from $32.0 million to $31.2 million. The decrease was the result of reduced general overhead expenses.

Non-operating income increased by $27.8 million from a non-operating expense of $19.2 million to a non-operating income of $8.6 million. The strengthening of the Canadian dollar during the quarter contributed to a foreign exchange gain of $11.8 million compared to a foreign exchange loss of $13.0 million in the same period last year. During the quarter, Chorus redeemed the remaining balance of the convertible debentures, which accounted for a decrease in interest accretion of $0.3 million and a decrease in interest expense of $1.5 million. Interest expense related to long-term debt decreased by $0.8 million due to planned principal repayments. Chorus met employment conditions required in order to obtain the maximum annual forgiveness of a portion of the forgivable loan from the province of Nova Scotia, and as such $0.5 million was recorded in other income.

EBITDA was $50.7 million compared to $48.0 million in 2013, an increase of $2.7 million or 5.7%, producing an EBITDA margin of 12.1%.

Operating income of $34.3 million was up $2.6 million or 8.1% over second quarter 2013 from $31.7 million.

Net income for the second quarter of 2014 was $36.5 million or $0.30 per basic share, an increase of $28.6 million from $7.9 million. On an adjusted basis, net income was $22.2 million or $0.18 per basic share, an increase of $0.8 million from $21.4 million. A reconciliation of these non-GAAP measures to their nearest GAAP measure is provided in Chorus’ Management’s Discussion and Analysis dated August 13, 2014.

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Bombardier CRJ705 (CL-600-2D15) C-GLJZ (msn 15051) approaches the runway at Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson International Airport (YYZ).

Air Canada Express-Jazz Aviation: AG Slide Show

Air Canada launches an enhanced Preferred Seats program

Air Canada (Montreal) has launched an enhanced Preferred Seats program that offers customers the choice of more seats with additional legroom aboard its North American flights while also making it easier to book a Preferred Seat through multiple channels, including the web, airport kiosks and mobile devices. Details on Preferred Seats are available at http://www.aircanada.com/en/travelinfo/traveller/seatselection/preferredseats.html.

Preferred Seats typically provide 35 inches (88.9 cm) of legroom compared to standard Economy seats that offer between 31 and 33 inches (78.74 cm – 83.82 cm). Given their popularity since the option to purchase them was first introduced in 2009, Air Canada recently completed a reconfiguration of its narrow-body aircraft to add more Preferred Seats fleetwide in its Economy Cabin. For example, on its 97-seat Embraer 190 aircraft it has increased the number of Preferred Seats to 24 from eight, while on its 146-seat Airbus A320 aircraft the number has been increased to 36 from 16. Seat charts showing Preferred Seat locations on Air Canada aircraft are available at http://www.aircanada.com/en/about/fleet/index.html. Preferred Seats are also available on Air Canada mainline wide-body aircraft and Embraer 175 aircraft operated by SkyRegional for Air Canada Express.

Customers can further personalize their travel by selecting a Preferred Seat for individual legs of their journey or entire trip through a simplified process at the time of booking or at any time prior to boarding on http://www.aircanada.com. Air Canada is also expanding its kiosk and mobile functions for booking Preferred Seats up until time of boarding that will be available starting at the end of August. The cost for Preferred Seats starts at $20 per flight segment for a Tango fare and varies with the length of each flight leg and a customer’s Altitude frequent flier status.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-211 C-FKOJ (msn 330) arrives in Anchorage.

Air Canada: AG Slide Show

Planely Speaking: Power Shift; Gulf Carriers Threat to Alliance Airlines

Guest Editor Aaron Newman

Guest Editor Aaron Newman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Editor Aaron Newman

Power Shift; Gulf Carriers Threat to Alliance Airlines

By Aaron Newman

There are not many days that go by without seeing news come from the Middle East’s emergent airlines. Emirates Airline (Dubai), Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) and Qatar Airways (Doha) have been populating the headlines with large aircraft orders, launching new routes, new state-of-the art airports, and lavish onboard improvements. These three airlines have made established legacy carriers across the globe uneasy as they present a real threat to the established airlines bottom line. Alliance airlines like British Airways, KLM-Air France, Lufthansa, American and United have long dominated trans-oceanic high-yielding business markets. Are these industry mainstays slowly losing their grip?

Emergence of Gulf CarriersGulf Carriers - Come fly with us

Rapid economic development of Persian Gulf countries in the 1970’s and 80’s were due largely in part of the discovery of vast oil and gas reserves and the growth of OPEC. This caused large amounts of capital to flow into these small Gulf nations. Over time, small oil nations began looking for ways to diversify their country’s portfolio in a fear that oil reserves will eventually run out. These three state owned airlines are now an integral part of their countries respective economies. Qatar Airways for example, claims to count for 11% of the state’s GDP. Supported by friendly regulatory environments, government spending on airport infrastructures, and new, reliable long-haul aircraft, these carriers have transitioned from small regional airlines to global mainstays in a decade’s time.

 

 

Keys to Success

Access to cheap capital; the Gulf States have access to large cash reserves from oil and gas resources. This enables Persian Gulf nations to finance rapid growth, and offers support with airport development and infrastructure.

Graph Source: wsj.comGulf Carriers Taking Off

Regional competition; the Gulf airlines cooperate on many issues but also vigorously compete with each other, creating the need for efficient operations and continual product development to attract new customers.

Geography; the Middle East is ideally placed to link major global population centers. It sits at a cross-road between Europe, Africa and Asia.

Emerging market demand; demand from emerging markets is rising fast as a rapidly growing middle class has the time and money to consider travelling by air for leisure and business. The Gulf is located between the mature economies of Europe and the emerging markets of South East Asia, India, China and Africa.

A New Formidable Opponent

The Gulf airlines have combined home markets of only 7.5 million people, and so must rely on connecting passengers with a hub and spoke system. European airlines have been particularly hard hit by this, watching their natural customers travel on Gulf carriers instead of the country’s national carrier. Christoph Franz, former CEO of Lufthansa Group, highlights the challenging future of his prior company on a new Emirates route from Lisbon to Dubai saying , “we are talking about passengers who until now were primarily attracted by flights from Lisbon to Munich, in order to go on to Asian destinations. At least part of them are not flying via Germany anymore,” he says. “In the beginning we were talking about a competitive threat on paper – now we are talking about reality in our markets” (ft.com).

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. Etihad Airways Airbus A340-642 A6-EHF (msn 837) departs from London’s Heathrow Airport.

In a June warning to its investors, Lufthansa cautioned the possibility of downward revisions to the airlines earnings outlook. Chief Financial Officer Simone Menne cited pricing pressure from the Gulf carriers’ expansion into Europe as a major contributing factor. Gulf airlines, which are adding capacity in major European cities such as Paris and London, are also ramping up service in secondary cities like Barcelona and Hamburg. This means that they’re grabbing market share from the European carriers not only at their hubs, but also at their spokes.

Competing on American SoilGulf carriers - Average Age

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gulf three now send nearly 120 large, new planes weekly to a growing number of American cities (WSJ.com). Though the United States and Canada are geographically better positioned than their European counterparts, the Gulf carriers still pose a credible threat. Airlines and governments in North America have been fighting back where they can. In Canada, the government has limited the number of planes that Etihad, Emirates and Qatar can land at its airports–a move to protect Air Canada, and its partner Lufthansa.

Graph Source: Emirates.

“Essentially, these are not airlines—they’re governments,” said Delta CEO Richard Anderson. “They have the ability to gain advantages in markets because profitability doesn’t matter.” He said the U.S. government should revisit its air treaties with other nations to ensure there is “equity” in commerce (wsj.com). Many industry analysts say U.S. opposition has slight chance of slowing down the Gulf carriers in the deregulated era. Washington is unlikely to alienate its Mideast allies, and Boeing, the U.S.’s biggest exporter, gets 10 percent of its wide-body orders from the Gulf carriers.

Looking Into the Future

With a backlog of more than 500 wide body aircraft orders, do not expect these airlines growth to subside. According to a recent report by Credit Suisse, Etihad Airways, Emirates, and Qatar Airways will increase the number of seats offered on their Europe-to-Asia flights between 8 and 18 percent a year between now and 2020 (thefinancialist.com). I believe you will continue to see these airlines enter more secondary markets to grab market share from legacy carriers. I envision cities like Chengdu, Sapporo, Brasilia, and Charlotte N.C. as cities that Gulf carriers will have their eyes on for future growth. With new airports and new aircraft, growth is inevitable; at this point it is not a matter of if Gulf carriers will continue to grow, but it appears to be a matter of when and where.

What can European, Southeast Asian and North American airlines do in response to the new threat to their long-haul business? Airlines must first cut costs. This is critical, particularly for European airlines to remain competitive. For example, Lufthansa needs to reduce costs on flights to Southeast Asia by 40 percent to stay competitive. Another example, according to Credit Suisse, Air France and IAG (British Airways Parent Company) has 30 percent higher unit costs on flights to Southeast Asia than some Asian competitors, Turkish Airlines, and Emirates (thefinancialist.com). Secondly, airlines could reduce route competition and shelter revenue by developing mutual partnerships with the Gulf carriers.  These relationships would make it easier for both Eurasian and North American carriers to get more customers into the Middle East, India and developing nations in Africa with little investment required. As the saying goes; if you can’t beat em,’ join em.’

Emirates: AG Slide Show

Etihad Airways: AG Slide Show

Qatar Airways: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Stefan Sjogren/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-861 A6-EDJ (msn 009) of Emirates arrives at London (Heathrow).

 

V Air to start operations in the fourth quarter of 2014

V Air logo explanation (V Air)(LRW)

V Air (Taipei) intends to launch low-fare services from Taipei in the last quarter of 2014. The first route will be between Taipei (Taoyuan) and Bangkok (Don Mueang) according to Want China Times with A321-200s leased from its parent, TransAsia Airways (Taipei).

The airline’s fleet will consist at first of three A321 aircraft and will be expanded by two additional aircraft each year.

V Air A321-200 WL (14) model (V Air)(LRW)

A model of the A321 in the bear color scheme.

According to the airline, The bear was chosen by the public in January to represent the airline, the smiling bear embodies all of the elements of “positive energy” needed by a new company entering the market: voyage, vision, vitality, and victory.

Images: V Air.

V Air bear

Cathay Pacific’s first half net profit rises to $44.7 million, will retire its Airbus A340s by the end of 2017

Cathay Pacific Airways (Hong Kong) reported a first half net profit of HK $347 million ($44.7 million), up from a net income of HK $24 million ($3.1 million) in the same period a year ago.

The airline issued this first half report:

The Cathay Pacific Group reported an attributable profit of HK $347 million (all amounts in Hong Kong dollars) for the first six months of 2014. This compares to a profit of HK $24 million in the first half of 2013. Earnings per share were HK 8.8 cents compared to earnings per share of HK 0.6 cents for the corresponding period in the previous year. Turnover for the period rose by 4.6% to HK $50,840 million.

A number of factors had a significant negative impact on the Group’s business in the first six months of 2014. The principal adverse factors were reduced passenger yield, continued weakness and over-capacity in the air cargo market, the continued high fuel price and a weak performance from an associated company, Air China.

Fuel remains the Group’s most significant cost. In the first half of 2014 fuel costs increased by 5.2% compared to the same period in 2013. Fuel accounted for 37.9% of total operating costs, which represents a 0.9 percentage point decrease compared with the corresponding period in 2013. In the first half of 2014, hedging activities resulted in a gain of HK $1,024 million. A significant amount of this gain is unrealised. Cathay Pacific continues to increase fuel efficiency by modernising its fleet. It is also focused on controlling costs.

The Group’s passenger revenue in the first six months of 2014 increased by 4.4% to HK $36,520 million compared to the same period in 2013. Capacity increased by 5.3% as a result of the introduction of new routes (to Doha and Newark) and increased frequencies on existing long-haul routes. The load factor increased by 2.3 percentage points to 83.6%, but the increase in passenger numbers was at the expense of yield, which fell by 3.5% to HK 66.6 cents. Passenger demand was strong in all classes of travel on long-haul routes. Demand on regional routes was generally robust, although strong competition put downward pressure on yield and demand was weak on certain Southeast Asian routes.

The Group’s cargo revenue for the first half of 2014 was HK $11,663 million, a rise of 3.4% compared to the same period in the previous year. Yield for Cathay Pacific and Dragonair decreased by 6.9% to HK $2.17. Capacity increased by 10.8%, while the load factor rose by 0.8 percentage points to 63.2%. Over-capacity in the industry remains a major concern and has made it difficult to increase rates. The airlines continued to manage capacity in line with demand in the first half of 2014. More cargo was carried in the bellies of passenger aircraft, reflecting increased use of Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft. Its new cargo terminal in Hong Kong is operating smoothly and now provides services for airlines outside the Cathay Pacific Group.

The Cathay Pacific Group continues to modernize its fleet. In the first six months of 2014 it took delivery of five new aircraft: two Boeing 777-300 ERs, two Airbus A330-300s, and (for Dragonair) one Airbus A321-200. Two Boeing 747-400 passenger aircraft were retired during the period. As part of agreements entered into with The Boeing Company in 2013 the airline is selling its six Boeing 747-400F freighters back to The Boeing Company. Four of these freighters are now parked and all six will have left the fleet by 2016. In the first half of 2014, we planned the accelerated retirement of 11 Airbus A340-300 aircraft. Four of these aircraft will be retired by the end of 2015 and the remaining seven will be retired by the end of 2017. At June 30, 2014 it had 90 aircraft on order for delivery by 2024. In the second half of 2014, Cathay Pacific and Dragonair will take delivery of 11 new aircraft. Two of them were delivered in July and two of them were scheduled to be delivered in August. Four Boeing 747-400 passenger aircraft will be retired, two of them were retired in August.

Cathay Pacific introduced passenger services to Doha and Newark in March and has announced the introduction of services to Manchester and Zurich from December 2014 and March 2015 respectively. Flights were added on the Chicago, Los Angeles and Osaka routes. The airline stopped flying to Abu Dhabi, Karachi and Jeddah but improved its schedules on other Middle Eastern routes. Dragonair started flying to Denpasar-Bali and Penang and increased services on a number of other routes. For cargo, Cathay Pacific tagged Mexico City onto its Guadalajara cargo service and increased it from two to three flights per week. It began flying freighters to Columbus in the United States in March. It will add Calgary in Canada to the network in October.

New Business Class, Premium Economy Class and Economy Class seats have been installed in all Cathay Pacific’s Boeing 777-300 ER and long-haul Airbus A330-300 aircraft. Installation of new Regional Business Class seats is almost complete. The update of First Class seats in Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft will be finished by March 2015. New Business and Economy Class seats had been installed in 23 Dragonair aircraft by the end of June. The first Dragonair aircraft to be fitted with new First Class seats entered service in February.

The Group (which accounts for its share of Air China’s results three months in arrear) recorded a loss from Air China in the first half of 2014. Air China’s results were adversely affected by a difficult operating environment and substantial foreign exchange losses caused by the depreciation of the Renminbi. In June, Cathay Pacific announced a substantial injection of capital and loans into Air China Cargo by its shareholders. This injection is to provide funds to assist the carrier to renew its fleet and improve the performance of its main cargo business.

Cathay Pacific Chairman John Slosar said: “The operating environment for the Cathay Pacific Group – and the aviation industry as a whole – remains challenging. We face significant competition in our passenger business. This makes it difficult to maintain yields. The air cargo business remains problematic because of excess capacity. Intense competition similarly puts pressure on yield. On the plus side, we continue to strengthen our passenger network and the connections available through Hong Kong. The high quality of our products and services increases our attractiveness to passengers. We expect our new freighter fleet and new cargo terminal to allow us to compete successfully in the air cargo market in the long term.

We expect business to be better in the second half of 2014. Our financial position remains strong and will enable us, despite the current difficult trading conditions, to maintain the quality of our products and services and to continue with our long-term strategic investment in the business. As always, we remain committed to strengthening the world class aviation hub in our home, Hong Kong. Finally, we are particularly pleased that in July, Cathay Pacific was named the World’s Best Airline in the annual World Airline Awards run by Skytrax. This is the fourth time we have received this award, which is decided by public voting.”

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. As the report indicates, Cathay Pacific is accelerating the retirement of its older Boeing 747-400F freighters and the pictured Airbus A340-300s. In the first half of 2014, Cathay Pacific accelerated retirement of its 11 Airbus A340-300 aircraft. Four of these aircraft will be retired by the end of 2015 and the remaining seven will be retired by the end of 2017. Airbus A340-313 B-HXL (man 381) completes its final approach to London (Heathrow).

Cathay Pacific: AG Slide Show

KLM leases two additional Boeing 777-300 ERs from Air Lease Corporation

Air Lease Corporation (Los Angeles) has announced long term lease agreements with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (Amsterdam) for two additional new Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft, scheduled for delivery in the second half of 2016 and early 2017. These aircraft placements are in addition to the two new 777-300 ER aircraft scheduled for lease from ALC to KLM in early 2015 and early 2016, all from ALC’s order book.

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-306 ER PH-BVK (msn 42172) of KLM taxies at the Amsterdam base.

KLM: AG Slide Show

Azul to fly to Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood starting on December 1 and Orlando on December 15

Azul Linhas Aereas Brasileiras (Campinas-Viracopos) has filed with the National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) for its approval for flights to Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood (FLL) and Orlando (MCO). If approved, FLL service will start on December and MCO service on December 15 with its new Airbus A330-200s.

Schedule:

Azul FLL MCO 8.2014 Schedule

Copyright Photo: Rodrigo Cozzato/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 EI-FEL (msn 527) is pictured at Belo Horizonte (CNF).

Azul: AG Slide Show

AAIB: Flybe captain’s prosthetic arm became detached resulting in a hard landing

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) of the United Kingdom has issued its report on the hard landing of Flybe‘s (Exeter) Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) G-JECJ (man 4110) on February 12, 2014 at Belfast City Airport, Northern Ireland with 47 passengers and four crew members:

Synopsis:

During the landing flare, in gusty conditions, the commander’s prosthetic arm became detached, control was lost, and a heavy landing resulted.

History of the flight

The aircraft was on a scheduled commercial air transport flight from Birmingham to Belfast City, with the commander, in the left flight deck seat, as pilot flying. It was night, and although there was no low cloud affecting the airport, the wind at Belfast was a strong west-south-westerly, gusting up to 48 kt. Before the approach, the commander checked that his prosthetic lower left arm was securely attached to the yoke clamp which he used to fly the aircraft, with the latching device in place.

Although gusts over the crosswind limit for the aircraft were reported, the final wind report from ATC was within the limit, and the approach continued. The commander disconnected the autopilot and flew the aircraft manually. As he made the flare manoeuvre, with somewhat more than flight idle torque still applied, his prosthetic limb became detached from the yoke clamp, depriving him of control of the aircraft. He made a rapid assessment of the situation and considered alerting the co-pilot and instructing him to take control. However, because the co-pilot would have had little time to assimilate the information necessary to take over in the challenging conditions, the commander concluded that his best course of action was to move his right hand from the power levers onto the yoke to regain control. He did this, but with power still applied, and possibly a gust affecting the aircraft, a normal touchdown was followed by a bounce, from which the aircraft landed heavily.

Safety action

The commander commented that he would in future be more cautious about checking the attachment on his prosthesis, as his check may have dislodged the latching mechanism; that he would brief his co-pilots about the possibility of a similar event; and that they should be ready to take control at any time.

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) G-JECJ (msn 4110) lands at Southampton.

Flybe: AG Slide Show

Virgin America to expand its schedule from Dallas Love Field on April 29, 2015

Virgin America (San Francisco) has announces that it will expand its schedule out of Dallas Love Field (DAL) to include four daily nonstop round trips to Washington Reagan National Airport (DCA), San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) by adding one new daily nonstop in each of these markets as of April 29, 2015. This expansion is in addition to the four daily nonstop round trip flights to New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA) that will begin on October 28, 2014 and the three daily nonstop roundtrip flights to Washington D.C., San Francisco and Los Angeles that begin on October 13, 2014. The new flights will take Virgin America to sixteen departures per day from Love Field. The airline will be the only carrier at Love Field to offer three classes of service (including a First Class cabin and a Main Cabin Select premium economy service) as well as WiFi, in-seat power outlets, confirmed seating and touch-screen seatback entertainment to every guest.

The airline also announced that it will extend its popular second daily roundtrip flight between San Francisco and Austin Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) that it started in July 2014 as part of the airline’s core schedule.

Beginning April 29, 2015, Virgin America’s flight schedule from Dallas Love Field is as follows (frequencies announced today indicated in bold):

Virgin America 8.2014 DAL Schedule

Virgin America’s current network of destinations includes Austin, Boston, Cancun, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth (ends October 13, 2014), Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Los Cabos, Newark, New York (JFK), Orlando, Palm Springs (seasonal), Philadelphia (suspends October 6, 2014), Portland, Puerto Vallarta, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C. (IAD and DCA). Later this fall, the carrier will launch service from Dallas Love Field (October 13, 2014) and New York’s LaGuardia Airport (October 28, 2014).

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 N634VA (msn 3359) arrives at New York (JFK).

Virgin America: AG Slide Show

 

Spirit Airlines moves up the start dates of five new routes

Spirit Airlines (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood) will take delivery of some of its Airbus A320 “Fit Fleet (TM)” planes sooner than originally planned and has moved up the start date for daily flights in five routes.

The new Airbus A320 planes will arrive this fall and will be added to Spirit’s current fleet of 58 Airbus aircraft.

Here’s the summary of the changes:
Route New Start Date Original Start Date Frequency
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Atlanta – Chicago/O’Hare will now start October 24, 2014 instead of November 2, 2014 operates Daily
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Atlanta – Detroit October 24, 2014 November 2, 2014 Daily
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Chicago – New Orleans October 30, 2014 November 6, 2014 Daily
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Detroit – New Orleans October 30, 2014 November 6, 2014 Daily
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Boston – West Palm Beach* November 14, 2014 November 21, 2014 Daily
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* = seasonal service

In addition to these new routes, Spirit recently added/will add service
on the following new routes between August and December this year:
Route Service Start Date Frequency
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Ft. Lauderdale – New Orleans August 1, 2014 Daily
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Houston/Bush – New Orleans August 1, 2014 Daily
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Atlanta – Houston/Bush August 1, 2014 Daily
——————————————————————-
Kansas City – Chicago/O’Hare August 7, 2014 Daily
——————————————————————-
Kansas City – Dallas/Ft. Worth August 7, 2014 Daily
——————————————————————-
Kansas City – Detroit August 7, 2014 Daily
——————————————————————-
Kansas City – Las Vegas August 7, 2014 Daily
——————————————————————-
Kansas City – Houston/Bush August 8, 2014 Daily
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Ft. Lauderdale – Houston/Bush September 3, 2014 Daily
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Houston/Bush – San Diego September 3, 2014 Daily
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Latrobe/Pittsburgh – Ft. Myers December 18, 2014 Tue/Thu/Sun
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Latrobe/Pittsburgh – Tampa December 19, 2014 Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat
——————————————————————-

Copyright Photo: Dave Campbell/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 N601NK (msn 4206) taxies to runway 09L at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL).

Spirit Airlines: AG Slide Show

JetBlue Airways to provide iPad minis to its flight attendants

JetBlue iPad Mini (JetBlue)(LRW)

JetBlue Airways (New York) has announced it will provide each inflight crewmember with an iPad mini for use as a point of sale and document management device. Crewmembers who will be working Mint flights, JetBlue’s new premium service offering between New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX) and soon San Francisco (SFO), will be among the first to use this new technology onboard, and by April 2015, every inflight crewmember will have a device for onboard use.

In addition to deploying tablets, the airline is also debuting the In-Flight Service Assistant (IfSA), a purpose-built application and crew portal through which crewmembers can access key business applications to help facilitate the delivery of exceptional customer service and enhance operational efficiency while onboard. JetBlue also plans on releasing other core business applications that will provide Crewmembers with easy access to any forms, manuals and other resources that will streamline its operation and enhance the airline’s award winning service.

“We’ve recently made a number of exciting and innovative onboard enhancements to enrich the customer experience, such as expanding inflight entertainment, introducing Fly-Fitm and being the first US carrier to allow customers to use portable electronic devices gate-to-gate,” said Joanna Geraghty, Executive Vice President, Customer Experience, JetBlue Airways. “It’s clear the connected cabin is the next big thing, and with the introduction of iPad minis, our inflight crewmembers will be able to know more about our customers onboard and will have a better sense of real time opportunities and challenges on the ground as we look for ways to enhance our customers’ experience with that information. With this new tool, the possibilities are endless.”

Currently, JetBlue’s inflight crewmembers can use the IfSA app on their iPads to access an electronic manifest that not only shows if there are customers with special needs onboard, but also identifies TrueBlue and Mosaic customers. The iPads also assist crewmembers in completing onboard purchases as a point of sale device and contains translation technology that can translate questions, comments or concerns from customers in any language.

By December 2015, not only will inflight crewmembers be able to access their schedules, review their hotel and transportation information and acknowledge changes, but the airline can potentially provide them with limited access to customers’ JetBlue flight and onboard purchase history in an effort to personalize the onboard experience for better customer relationship management.

Since the successful implementation of iPads for JetBlue’s pilots as electronic flight bags in November 2013, the iPad mini was subsequently deployed for the inflight crew. Now, both groups can conveniently work together in a connected environment and provide real-time responses to any number of situations that may arise. Additionally, inflight crewmembers will have the ability to preempt or proactively address service recovery issues while onboard.

JetBlue is progressively rolling out Fly-Fi satellite broadband internet service across its fleet. As of today, 61 Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft were outfitted with this lightning fast service.

Copyright Photo: JetBlue Airways.

JetBlue Airways: AG Slide Show

Monarch Airlines to leave East Midlands in April 2015

Monarch Airlines (London-Luton) has announced that it will cease flying from its base at East Midlands Airport by the end of April 2015.

The decision to close the base is part of a strategic review under the leadership of Andrew Swaffield, who was recently appointed Chief Executive of The Monarch Group. Through a review of its network strategy, the airline is focussing on offering customers greater flight frequency and more sociable departure times to short-haul European destinations from its main UK bases. These changes are already reflected in Monarch’s summer 2015 schedule.

The change is part of the next phase in Monarch’s transformation to become a scheduled European low-cost carrier. Monarch aims to complete the transition in advance of the arrival of its new narrow-bodied aircraft fleet of thirty Boeing 737 MAX 8s, announced last month, which are expected to start entering service in 2018.

Monarch’s base at Birmingham is the nearest alternative for customers used to flying with the airline from East Midlands Airport and is only 37 road miles away. Monarch has recently launched its schedule for summer 2015 from Birmingham.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A321-231 G-OZBG (msn 1941) taxies at Palma de Mallorca (PMI).

Monarch Airlines: AG Slide Show

Delta to move its Boston Delta Shuttle flights to Terminal C at LaGuardia Airport

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) will move New York operations of its Delta Shuttle between Boston-Logan International Airport and New York’s LaGuardia Airport from the Marine Air Terminal to Terminal C beginning on November 2.

Boston Shuttle customers will enjoy new departure and arrival facilities at LaGuardia in Terminal C as well as upgraded service to Boeing 717 aircraft. The move is part of Delta’s strategy of adding bigger aircraft on more routes.

In 2012, Delta completed renovations to Terminal C as part of its $160 million investment to modernize and connect Terminals C and D at LaGuardia and opened a new 7,600 square foot Delta Sky Club featuring a full wall of windows with runway views. Customers will also have access to Delta’s five new restaurants with menus led by celebrity chefs, an expansive food hall and fresh markets.

Weekday flights depart near the top of the hour from 6 a.m. through 8 p.m. and will be operated by Delta using Boeing 717 aircraft which accommodates 110 passengers including 12 First Class seats in a two by two configuration, 15 Economy Comfort and 83 economy seats in a two by three configuration. Boston-based customers will now be able connect through Delta’s LaGuardia hub for access to 64 additional cities.

Delta Shuttle service began on its Boston to New York and Washington, D.C. to New York routes on September 1, 1991 after Delta completed the purchase of the Pan Am Shuttle. For nearly a quarter century the Delta Shuttle has been a core part of its New York operations. In June 2010, Delta added New York to Chicago-O’Hare service to the Shuttle operation.

Customers flying the Delta Shuttle between New York-LaGuardia and Boston will enjoy:

Convenient, top of the hour schedule for Delta Shuttle customers including 15 weekday departures

Check-in as close as 15 minutes prior to departure without bags or 30 with checked bags

Dedicated check-in counters exclusively for Shuttle customers

Expedited security screening with nearby access to TSA Pre-Check lanes for eligible passengers

Dedicated gates – located near the Delta Sky Club in LaGuardia’s Terminal C – with access to complimentary coffee and newspapers for all customers including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Financial Times and power at the gate

Advanced seat selection on all Delta Shuttle flights and complimentary access to Economy Comfort seats for SkyMiles Gold, Platinum and Diamond Medallion members at the time of booking

Two classes of service with complimentary upgrades for SkyMiles Medallion members when available.
Complimentary onboard snacks including bagels in the morning before 10:30 a.m. or gourmet nut mix for flights after 10:30 a.m.

Complimentary beverages in-flight including craft beer and wine in all classes of service

Cocktails available for purchase in economy

Access to in-flight Wi-Fi on all Shuttle flights

Access to power from every seat on the Boeing 717 aircraft

The November 2014 schedule between New York–LaGuardia and Boston is below.

Delta Shuttle LGA-BOS Schedule (LRW)

 

 

Delta Shuttle flights between New York and Chicago-O’Hare International Airport or Washington Reagan-National Airport will continue to operate from LaGuardia’s Marine Air Terminal operated by Delta Connection partner, Shuttle America using Embraer E175 aircraft.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Ex-AirTran Airways Boeing 717-2BD N995AT (msn 55139), now with Delta, arrives at Washington (Dulles).

Delta Air Lines (current): AG Slide Show

Airbus completes its round-the-world A350 test flight

Airbus (Toulouse) has issued this statement about the series of worldwide test flights for its new A350-900:

The world’s newest widebody airliner, the Airbus A350-900, has successfully completed a series of Route Proving trials, receiving an enthusiastic welcome at each of the 14 cities it has visited over the past three weeks. At the technical Route Proving the aircraft must demonstrate its readiness for airline operations on a global scale. This last series of trials is required for Type Certification, which is expected in Q3 this year.

The A350 XWB completed its Route Proving after landing in Toulouse, France on August 13th (17:00 UTC) coming from Helsinki, Finland. The exercise took the flight test aircraft, msn 005, across the globe on an impressive 20-day trip flying over the North Pole, each ocean and stopping at 14 major international airports world-wide. During its World Tour, the aircraft flew approximately 81,700 nm /151,300 km in some 180 flight hours, with all flights performing on schedule. The aircraft was operated by Airbus flight crews as well as Qatar flight crews on the route from Doha to Perth, Moscow and Helsinki. The Airworthiness Authority pilots from the European Aviation Safety Agency also participated and flew the aircraft on two legs.

A major highlight was the trip from Johannesburg Tambo International Airport, located at 5,558 feet (1,694m) above sea level, to Sydney, demonstrating the A350’s excellent performance at high altitude airports. The flights from Johannesburg to Sydney and Auckland to Santiago de Chile demonstrated also its capability to fly ultra-long-haul routes or Extended range Twin Operations (ETOPS).

“The aircraft has performed remarkably well confirming the high level of maturity that it has been demonstrating all the way during our development and certification tests. We are set for the Type Certification in the coming weeks, as planned”, said Fernando Alonso, Senior Vice President Flight & Integration Tests, and added: “I truly believe that the aircraft is fit to enter into service and perform to the expectations of our Customers.”

The technical Route Proving commenced on July 24th in Toulouse/France and comprised the following destinations: Frankfurt, Singapore and Hong-Kong. On the third trip, the aircraft visited Johannesburg, Sydney, followed by Auckland, Santiago de Chile and Sao Paulo. The fourth and final journey included Perth followed by Doha, Moscow and Helsinki.

At each destination, the A350 XWB performed as expected and on schedule. Checks were made on standard maintenance as well as typical airport operations and compatibility. The automatic landing capability of the A350 XWB was also successfully demonstrated during a local flight performed at Johannesburg.

The A350 XWB is the latest addition to the market-leading Airbus Widebody product line. Offering its customers a 25% reduction in fuel-burn, the all-new mid-size long-range A350 XWB Family comprises three versions from 276 to 369 seats. The A350 has carbon fibre fuselage and wings and sets new standards in terms of passenger experience, operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness. At the end of June 2014, the A350 XWB had won 742 orders from 38 customers worldwide.

Copyright Photo: Eurospot. Airbus A350-941 F-WWYB (msn 005) arrives back at Toulouse.

Finnair unveils its Airbus A350-900 cabin design

Finnair A350-900 (10)(Flt)(Airbus)(LRW)

Finnair (Helsinki) is one of the first customers to unveil its new cabin design for its new Airbus A350s which are on order. The company has issued this statement and photos:

As the European launch customer of the next-generation Airbus A350 XWB (extra wide body) aircraft (above), Finnair has completed the cabin design of its new flagship longhaul product due to enter service next year. Created by top Helsinki firm dSign Vertti Kivi & Co, also the designer of Finnair’s new Premium Lounge at Helsinki Airport, the A350’s bright and spacious cabin features large panoramic view windows and comfortable seating arrangements in both classes. Gradual changes in dynamic ambient LED lighting ease customers into a relaxing flight experience and help create a calming and fresh atmosphere. All Finnair A350s will also be equipped with Wi-Fi for greater passenger enjoyment and connectivity.

“We have worked hard to create a special customer experience onboard the new A350XWB aircraft and are proud to bring Finnish design to Finnair’s passengers,” says designer Vertti Kivi. “Our Space Alive concept means dynamic lighting, colours and moods to suit the time of day, destination or season. For example, when descending in the East the aircraft can be awash in warm orange tones, or surface interiors may glow in fresh blue hues when arriving in Helsinki.”

The Airbus A350 also features an advanced pure air filtration system that changes the air in the cabin every two to three minutes. Draft-free air management, adjustable multiple temperature zones and a lower cabin pressure also enhance the well-being of passengers and crew.

Finnair A350 Business Class Cabin (Finnair)(LRW)

Business Class.

The 297-seat configuration includes 46 seats in Business Class in a 1+2+1 layout, ensuring direct aisle access to all Business Class passengers. The Zodiac Cirrus III seats convert to fully flat beds, while a 16-inch touch-screen inflight entertainment system comes programmed with films, TV shows, music and other digital content on demand in numerous languages. Seats in Business Class also come equipped with AC and USB power outlets.

Finnair A350 Business Class seat (Finnair)(LRW)

Zodiac Cirrus III wide and long full-flat bed seat.

The Economy Class cabin features comfortable Zodiac Z300 slim-line seats with a 31-inch seat pitch in a 3+3+3 layout. At the front of the Economy Class cabin are 43 Economy Comfort seats, with comfier headrests, high-quality headphones and four extra inches of leg room. All seats in Economy include an 11-inch touch screen inflight entertainment system and USB power outlets.

Finnair A350 Economy Class seat (Finnair)(LRW)

Economy Class Zodiac Z300 slim-line seat with 6″ recline.

“Since Finnair’s founding in 1923, we have had a long history of operations using the most advanced aircraft available,” says Finnair CEO Pekka Vauramo. “As the first European operator of the A350 we are proud to carry forward this tradition on behalf of our passengers, whose safety and comfort remain our first priority.”

Finnair plans to begin operating its first A350s in the second half of next year, initially serving Shanghai, Bangkok and Beijing, with Hong Kong and Singapore A350 service to be added in 2016. Finnair has 11 firm orders and 8 options for A350 aircraft, which will form the backbone of the company’s long-haul fleet and drive expansion plans.

The eco-smart design of the A350 also brings more than 25 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency and operating cost over the previous generation of aircraft in its class, significantly reducing the carbon footprint of Finnair and its passengers.

Copyright Images: Finnair.

Finnair: AG Slide Show

Virgin America’s flight attendants vote to be represented by the TWU

Virgin America (San Francisco) flight attendants have voted to represented by the TWU. The TWU issued this statement:

A majority of flight attendants at Virgin America has voted in favor of union representation by the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU), the federal National Mediation Board reported today. This is the first work group at the airline to vote for a union. TWU received 430 votes, 58 percent of those voting, compared with 307 who voted against forming a union. The election was conducted between July 16 and August 13 by telephone and Internet and 828 Inflight Team Members (ITMs) were eligible to vote.

“We’re excited about what this election means for Inflight Team Members,” said Adam Croteau, a Los Angeles-based ITM, a term the airline uses to describe its flight attendants. “We ran a very positive campaign and we believe that we can make positive changes at the airline by giving flight attendants a voice.”

Many ITMs at Virgin America were drawn to the Transport Workers Union because of TWU’s success in bargaining contracts for 11,000 flight attendants at Southwest Airlines.

“Part of Southwest Airline’s success is due to the airline’s flight attendants, all of whom are TWU members. Having a union behind them gives Southwest flight attendants the comfort and freedom to do their jobs well,” said Armando Fierros, a Los Angeles-based ITM. “TWU also fosters autonomy for its local unions, unlike some labor organizations. We want to run our own union and create a union culture that is uniquely suited to meet the needs of ITMs employed at this award-winning airline.”

“Virgin America bills itself as an ‘upscale’ airline and prides itself on that service that ‘team members’ offer,” said TWU’s International Executive Vice President John Samuelsen, who attended the vote count at the National Mediation Board in Washington, DC with a group of Virgin flight attendants, “With this vote, flight attendants will have a say on how to further improve Virgin along with their own work lives. This is a chance to make the airline better for both customers and workers.”

In July, the privately held company filed for an initial public offering with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Only yesterday, Virgin America Inc. reported that its second-quarter profit and revenue increased, largely due to the airline filling more seats.

“We want to see Virgin America prosper,” said TWU International President Harry Lombardo. “As the airline grows and becomes an increasingly profitable and larger public company, we also want our members to be recognized for their contribution to the airline’s success. We will now focus on gaining a contract that’s fair for our new members.”

Negotiations for a first contract will begin in the fall.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-112 N525VA (msn 3324) approaches the runway at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD).

Virgin America:

Hawaiian to fly between San Francisco and Kahului, Maui

Hawaiian Airlines (Honolulu) has announced it will offer nonstop service between San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Kahului Airport (OGG) beginning November 20, 2014.

The nonstop service between San Francisco and Maui will begin with flights four times a week from November 20, 2014 before moving into daily service beginning December 17, 2014. The new daily service will add a total of more than 210,000 seats to both San Francisco and Maui travel markets per year, and will be operated by Hawaiian Airlines’ wide-body, twin-aisle Airbus A330-200 aircraft, which seats 294 passengers, with 18 in First Class and 276 in the Main Cabin.

Copyright Photo: Ivan K. Nishimura/Blue Wave Group/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 N395HA (msn 1469) departs from the Honolulu base.

Hawaiian Airlines: AG Slide Show

 

QANTAS unveils a new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander special livery

QANTAS Link-Sunstate DHC-8-400 VH-LQM (14-RECOGNISE)(Tail)(QANTAS)(LRW)

QANTAS Airways (Sydney) has unveiled a new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander special color scheme on Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) VH-LQM (msn 4450) operated by QANTAS Link partner Sunstate Airlines: QANTAS issued this statement and photos:

QANTAS has joined the movement to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution by unveiling a new QANTAS Link Q400 aircraft showcasing a large RECOGNISE logo on its livery.

In addition to the aircraft livery unveiled at today’s event, QANTAS Link will soon embark on displaying a smaller version of the RECOGNISE logo on its entire fleet of 31 Q400 aircraft, ensuring the message is spread across the country.

About RECOGNISE

RECOGNISE is the movement of Australians campaigning for the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution and to ensure there is no place for discrimination in our founding document. The movement has wide support from across the political spectrum and in the Australian community from grassroots supporters and many major institutions, non-government organisations, companies, sporting codes and faith groups.

About QANTAS’ commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians:

QANTAS has a longstanding commitment to value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage, cultures and peoples and to recognise the original custodians of Australia. A Reconciliation Action Plan has been in place since 2007 and QANTAS currently holds partnerships with the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence, Career Trackers, Bangarra Dance Theatre, Clontarf, the Indigenous Marathon Project, Supply Nation, Engineering Aid Australia, Jawun, Lirrwi Yolngu Tourism Aboriginal Corporation, the Yothu Yindi Foundation, the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation and RECOGNISE.

Copyright Photos: QANTAS Airways.

QANTAS Airways: AG Slide Show

QANTAS Link-Sunstate DHC-8-400 VH-LQM (14-RECOGNISE)(Nose)(QANTAS)(LRW)

Surf Air orders 15 Pilatus PC-12 NG aircraft, plus 50 options

Surf Air PC-12s (LRW)

Surf Air (Santa Monica), the nation’s first All-You-Can-Fly membership airline, announced a total order of up to 65 new Pilatus aircraft (15 firm orders and 50 options) to be delivered over the next five years, with a total order value of approximately $312 million. The first 15 aircraft are being financed by a $65 million senior facility from White Oak Global Advisors, alongside an additional $8 million equity round from new and existing investors, bringing the total equity raised to $17 million. With this order the company has formed an unprecedented exclusive partnership with Pilatus Aircraft whereby Surf Air will be the only membership-based operator to utilize the PC-12 NG in the United States.

“In just our first year, Surf Air has enjoyed incredible demand from consumers—more than our existing fleet of planes will be able to accommodate going forward,” said Surf Air CEO, Jeff Potter. “With over 900 members now, we believe prospective members understand our value proposition—and now with 65 more aircraft committed for delivery and additional equity investment funds, we look forward to the opportunity to significantly expand this industry changing ‘All-You-Can-Fly’ membership model in California and other regions of the country.”

Under the strong leadership of airline and membership club veteran Potter and serial entrepreneur and venture investor Shahani, Surf Air has grown memberships in 2014 from 250 members to 900 members with an additional 350 member deposits on hold waiting for additional aircraft and routes. Venture Investors who participated in the new equity round included existing investors Anthem Ventures, Velos Partners and Base Ventures with participation from new investors FF Ventures, Plus Capital and several others. In addition, a number of notable angel investors participated in the round including Bill Woodward, Rick Caruso, Dennis Phelps and Jared Leto.

Each new Pilatus NG aircraft will be configured in an eight-seat all executive class interior to ensure a high level of comfort, class and convenience.

How it works: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Surf Air. N805SA, N806SA and N807SA getting ready in San Carlos for flights to Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and Truckee.

Surf Air logo

Current Route Map:

Surf Air 8.2014 Route Map (LRW)

UPS pilots want cargo pilots to be included in Part 117 regulations due to crew fatigue

UPS Airlines’ (United Parcel Service) (Atlanta and Louisville) pilots, represented through the Independent Pilots Association, have issued this statement concerning the current regulations excluding cargo pilots from Federal crew rest standards:

On the eve of the first anniversary of the fatal crash of United Parcel Service Flight 1354, UPS pilots are calling for an end to the carve-out of all-cargo airline operators from FAR Part 117, the new pilot rest and operating rules enacted by Congress. On August 14, 2013, at 4:47 AM CDT, UPS Flight 1354 crashed on approach to Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, killing Captain Cerea Beal, Jr. and First Officer Shanda Fanning.

“What we didn’t know then, but suspected, was the role fatigue played in this accident,” said Captain Robert Travis, President of the Independent Pilots Association. “Once the Cockpit Voice Recorder transcripts were released there was no doubt. Cerea and Shanda told us on the CVR* that they were fatigued and wanted one level of safety in commercial aviation.”

Part 117, which became effective for passenger carriers on January 4, is the first major revision of pilot flight and duty limits and rest requirements in 60 years. This new rule is science-based and designed to mitigate fatigue among commercial pilots. Disturbingly, all-cargo airlines are carved out of Part 117 for “political” reasons, as noted last week by the FAA’s Federal Air Surgeon, Dr. James Fraser.

“This carve-out puts our nation’s entire aviation system at risk,” said Jim Hall, former Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. “A tired pilot is a tired pilot, regardless of the plane he or she may be flying. By excluding cargo pilots from Part 117, the FAA is failing to adhere to its mission of making safety the first priority in aviation. If the FAA believes even one life lost in an accident is too many, the principle should also apply to cargo pilots.”

From the moment the FAA announced the cargo carve-out, the IPA has fought to reverse it. This includes suing the FAA.

“We had no choice but to lead this fight,” said Travis. “The crash of UPS Flight 1354 has intensified our efforts. Tragically, Capt. Beal said to our Scheduling Committee Chairman just before the fatal flight, ‘these schedules over the past several years are killing me.’ We owe it to Cerea and Shanda, their families and every pilot, whether flying passengers or packages, to end this dangerous exclusion. As we mark this difficult anniversary, I call on the FAA to end the cargo carve-out and apply one level of safety to all commercial aviation.”

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A300F4-622R N155UP (msn 841) crashed on August 14, 2013 while on approach from the north to Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, Birmingham, Alabama. The crew was operating cargo flight 5X 1354 from the Louisville hub to Birmingham. N155UP is pictured on the cargo ramp at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport before the tragic accident.

UPS:

Vistara is selected as the name for the Tata-Singapore joint venture

Vistara A319 (Vistara)

Vistara is the name of the new joint venture airline that wants to start premium service in October in India. The joint venture is between Singapore Airlines and the Tata Sons.

Vistara has leased 20 Airbus A320 Family aircraft, including seven A320neo aircraft, to be added to the fleet over the next five years. The airline will take delivery of its first aircraft in September and will have a fleet of five by the end of the year.

The name Vistara in Sanskrit means limitless expanse.

Tata is also involved in a joint venture with AirAsia with the start of AirAsia India.

Read the full article from Bloomberg Businessweek: CLICK HERE

Image: Vistara.

United ends July with its best on-time performance in four years, rewards employees with a cash bonus

United Airlines (Chicago) has announced that it is rewarding all eligible employees with a cash bonus for exceeding the airline’s on-time arrival and departure performance goals for the month of July. United’s goal for on-time performance is to be first or second among the largest four U.S. carriers. The on-time arrival rate is based on flights arriving within 14 minutes of the scheduled arrival time. Eligible employees also earned an additional cash bonus for exceeding United’s customer satisfaction goal for July, resulting in a total payout of $125 per eligible employee for the month.

Despite challenges across the system and runway construction at San Francisco – one of the airline’s largest hubs – United ended July with its best July on-time performance in four years. The performance was an improvement over the same month last year as well as June of this year. United’s mainline and United Express D :00 were also better than target and better than last year’s performance.

“While we still have room for improvement, we’re seeing a lot of momentum as we work to create a more reliable and efficient airline,” said Greg Hart, United’s executive vice president and chief operations officer. “These bonuses are further proof that the actions we are taking are paying off.”

Five of United’s seven hubs had the best July A :14 performance since 2010, with the airline’s Los Angeles hub leading the pack. United also placed first or second of the four largest U.S. carriers in A :14 for 13 of the last 18 days of the month.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-924 ER N37422 (msn 31620) climbs away from the Los Angeles station.

United Airlines (current):

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