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EgyptAir to end Manchester service on October 25

EgyptAir (Cairo) will end Cairo-Manchester service on October 25 per Airline Route. The route is operated five days a week.

The route, served by Boeing 737-800s, started on June 1, 2013.

Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-866 SU-GDD (msn 35566) prepares to touch down in Brussels.

EgyptAir: AG Slide Show

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AeroLogic adds a new route to Hong Kong

AeroLogic (Leipzig/Halle) on October 26 will add a new weekly cargo route from Frankfurt to Hong Kong via Ashgabat. The return flight will operate nonstop per Airline Route.

The company was established as a joint venture by Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Deutsche Post Beteiligungen Holding AG. The respective companies of the shareholders entrusted Lufthansa Cargo and DHL Express with the operational responsibility.

AeroLogic has its own Air Operator Certificate (AOC), its own traffic rights, and is responsible for all airline operations including aircraft, pilots and network.

The route network includes more than 20 destinations in Europe, in the Middle East, in Asia and North America. During the week, AeroLogic mainly flies to Asia within the express network of DHL Express, and on the weekend to the USA within the network of Lufthansa Cargo respectively.

Copyright Photo: Nick Dean/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-FZN D-AALC (msn 36003) taxies at Paine Field in Everett.

AeroLogic: AG Slide Show

Video:

Jin Air to introduce the Boeing 777 on the Guam route on December 22

Jin Air logo (large)

Jin Air (Seoul) is planning to introduce the Boeing 777-200 ER on the daily Seoul (Incheon)-Guam route on December 12 per Airline Route. It is unclear if Jin Air will be the operator or will sub out the flying.

Jin Air: AG Slide Show

Current Route Map:

Jin Air 9.2014 Route Map

Gol considers buying Embraer E2 jets

Gol logo

Gol Transportes Aereos (Sao Paulo) has announced is studying the possibility of buying the new Embraer E2 jets, which will be available starting in 2018. These aircraft would be an option for its less dense routes that cannot support 130 to 140 seats. The company will eventually disclosure to the market if, and when, it decides to proceed.

Gol: AG Slide Show

Image: Embraer.

 

Embraer E175-E2 (Flt)(Embraer)(LRW)

IranAir to retire its last Boeing 747SP on November 23

IranAir (Tehran) is the last passenger airline operator of the Boeing 747SP in the world. The flag carrier will offer a final farewell flight over Tehran on November 23. The Jumbo is currently operating between Tehran (Imam Khomeini International Airport) and Kuala Lumpur.

45 Boeing 747SPs (Special Performance) were built between 1974 and 1989 by Boeing. The “Stubby Jumbo” specialized in long, usually thin, routes in the early years.

In other news, IranAir will resume weekly Tehran-Moscow (Sheremetyevo) service on September 23 with Airbus A320s per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 747SP-86 EP-IAC (msn 21093) will operate the last flight. EP-IAC is pictured in the original 1962 markings arriving at Paris (Orly).

IranAir: AG Slide Show

KLM to retire its last McDonnell Douglas MD-11 on November 11 with a special “farewell flight”

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (Amsterdam) is the last passenger operator of the McDonnell Douglas MD-11. KLM operated 10 285-seat MD-11s. Each MD-11 was named after famous women in history.

The airline will operate its last regularly scheduled revenue passenger flight on October 25 between Montreal (Trudeau) and Amsterdam. KLM has also announced an one hour farewell flight for $139 on November 11 from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.

More form KLM: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. The MD-11s are currently being operated to both Toronto and Montreal. MD-11 PH-KCB (msn 48556) departs from Toronto (Pearson) bound for the Amsterdam hub.

KLM: AG Slide Show

 

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport opens its extended south runway

FLL Extended Runway 10R-28L (FLL)

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) yesterday (September 18) opened its rebuilt and extended south runway, 10R-28L. JetBlue Airways flight 1028 was the first flight to landed on the longer runway.

Copyright Photo: FLL.

Air China to increase the Beijing-London Heathrow route to double daily

Air China (Beijing), to meet market demand, starting October 26, 2014, will increase its Beijing – London (Heathrow International Airport) service to two daily flights.

The newly added flights are flights CA855/6. The outbound flight departs from Beijing at 14:30 and arrives in London at 17:50 local time. The inbound flight departs from London at 20:25 local time and arrives in Beijing at 14:45 Beijing time. The original daily flights CA937/8 are operated as normal – the outbound flight leaves Beijing at 12:30, and the inbound flight departs from London at 17:40.

After the schedule expansion, the Beijing – London (Heathrow) service as a whole is operated with Airbus A330-200 aircraft. Its Business Class is configured with 180-degree full-flat seats whose ergonomic design can fully meet the needs of premium business travelers looking to have a fortifying rest during the flight. All classes of service are outfitted with personal entertainment system (AVOD) and power sockets, keeping passengers entertained for the duration of the flight. In addition, on its China-Europe routes, Air China also offers such services as seasonal healthy meals and chauffeured transfers for VIP passengers.

As a member carrier of the Star Alliance, the world’s largest airline network, Air China has been actively expanding its European route network. Currently, Europe has become Air China’s largest overseas market, and Air China now operates over 100 flights between China and Europe a week, enabling passengers to travel from Beijing nonstop to 20 European cities such as London, Paris, Frankfurt, Rome, Moscow and Madrid. At the same time, relying on the extensive route network of the Star Alliance, Air China can easily fly passengers to 1,328 destinations in 195 countries.

Copyright Photo: Royal S. King/AirlinersGallery.com. Brand new Boeing 777-39L ER B-2006 (msn 44931) is decorated in a special “Love China” motif and is pictured after its first flight on September 16, 2014. B-2006 is the last of an initial order of 30 stretched Triple Sevens.

Air China: AG Slide Show

JetBlue Airways flight 1416 makes a safe landing at Long Beach with smoke in the cabin

JetBlue flight 1416 LGB

JetBlue Airways (New York) flight 1416 from Long Beach to Austin, Texas today (September 18) declared an emergency after the number two engine failed 10 minutes into the flight. Flight 1416 returned to LGB and made a safe landing after smoke was detected in the cockpit and the cabin. The Airbus A320-232 N656JB (msn 3091) came to a safe landing on runway 30. The cockpit crew popped the chutes and the 147 passengers and crew members exited the aircraft. Four people reportedly suffered minor injuries exiting the aircraft.

Read the full report from ABC 7: CLICK HERE

JetBlue Airways issued this statement:

On September 18, the flight crew aboard flight 1416 reported an issue with the number two engine and returned to Long Beach Airport. The airplane landed safely, and all customers and crew have evacuated via slides with no reported injuries at this time. While the runway at Long Beach is closed, inbound flights are being directed to nearby airports.

UPDATE 11:00 PST

The aircraft has moved from the impacted runway, and flights will be resuming from runway 12/30. An area crewmember has accompanied one customer who requested transport to an area hospital for observation. We’re working with customers for re-accommodation on alternate flights.

Twitter photo by Melanie Lawson.

Dave Barger to exit JetBlue Airways, Robin Hayes becomes the new CEO

JetBlue logo

JetBlue Airways (New York) today announced that Robin Hayes, the company’s current President, will succeed Dave Barger as Chief Executive Officer, effective February 16, 2015. Barger will serve on the JetBlue Board of Directors until February 15, 2015, and Hayes is expected to join the Board on February 16, 2015.

Barger said, “Helping to found and lead JetBlue has been the experience of a lifetime. We set out to create a better airline, and through our commitment to that simple goal, the people of JetBlue succeeded in establishing a new standard for value and customer service in our industry. I have been looking for the right time to take the next step in my life for a while, and my decision was ultimately determined by the strong state of the company and my absolute confidence in Robin’s leadership. I want to thank Robin and all of our crewmembers. With their incredible passion and dedication, I know that JetBlue’s best days are ahead.”

Prior to joining JetBlue, Hayes was British Airways’ Executive Vice President for The Americas. Over the span of a 19-year career with British Airways, he also served as Area General Manager for Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. Hayes is a graduate in electrical and electronic engineering from the University of Bath in the United Kingdom. He received a BSc and a master’s in engineering from the university.

Chairman of the Board Joe Peterson wrote this on the JetBlue blog:

One of the best things about being Chairman of JetBlue is having the privilege to share exciting new developments with the JetBlue community. Today, we are announcing the details of our CEO succession plan. Robin Hayes, our current President, will succeed Dave Barger as CEO of JetBlue, effective February 16, 2015.

After more than 16 years with the company, Dave has decided to take the next step in his life. As a founder of the company and its CEO for the past seven years, Dave has been a driving force in building JetBlue into an industry leader and one of the world’s great brands. We will all miss working with Dave.

At the same time, we are delighted to name Robin as Dave’s successor. During the six years Robin has worked with Dave, the Board, and our leadership team, he has proven himself to be a highly effective, collaborative leader. At a company like JetBlue, these are crucial attributes. It is a testament to the strength of this organization that, as young as we are, we have such a deep bench of exceptional talent. In addition to knowing the industry inside and out, Robin and the rest of our leadership team are steeped in our unique culture and know it is what makes JetBlue great.

Competition in the airline industry continues to intensify, but we are confident JetBlue will continue to grow profitably while preserving what makes it special in the eyes of customers and crewmembers. Under Robin’s leadership, the company will maintain its operational focus on safety and efficiency while continuing to expand its network in underserved markets and launch new product initiatives – like Mint and Fly-Fi – to create value for shareholders by enhancing the JetBlue Experience for customers. Dave, Robin and the Board all agree that continued evolution – which has been the key to our success – remains the path to long-term success for our company. In fact, Robin set many of these strategies in motion while Chief Commercial Officer at JetBlue, from developing a robust network growth plan which provided geographic diversity to continuing our disruptive nature with JetBlue’s answer to the transcontinental gap – Mint.

This transition in leadership marks another important milestone in JetBlue’s exciting journey. The Board and I thank Dave for everything he has done to make JetBlue what it is today, and we congratulate Robin on this appointment. We look forward to working together to continue building one of the world’s great airlines.

Will the change at JetBlue mean more fees and a higher profit? Bloomberg Businessweek explores this question: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo Below: JetBlue Airways. Left to right: Outgoing CEO Dave Barger, incoming CEO Robin Hayes and Joel Peterson, Chairman of the JetBlue Board of Directors.

JetBlue Dave Barger, Robin Hayes, Joel Petersen

QANTAS Airways to operate the last Boeing 767 revenue flight on December 27

QANTAS Airways (Sydney) will retire its last Boeing 767 on December 27 per Airline Route and confirmed by the airline. The last flight, flight QH 490, will operate from Melbourne to Sydney. The company retired the type from international service on September 14 when it was replaced on the Honolulu route. The Boeing 767-300 currently only operates on domestic routes.

QANTAS introduced the smaller Boeing 767-200 in 1985. The first 767-238 ER (VH-EAJ) was delivered on July 3, 1985.

The first Boeing 767-338 ER (VH-OGA) was handed over to the company on August 30, 1988.

Copyright Photo: Micheil Keegan/AirlinersGallery.com. Several of the 767s were used for promotional reasons. Boeing 767-338 ER VH-OGG (msn 24929) in 2013 promoted the Disney’s Plane movie. VH-OGG arrives at the Sydney hub.

QANTAS Airways: AG Slide Show
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British Airways to resume flights to Kuala Lumpur on May 27, 2015

British Airways (London) will restore service to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia starting on May 27, 2015 from London (Heathrow). The daily route will be operated with Boeing 777-200 ER aircraft per Airline Route. The weakness of Malaysia Airlines flights probably led to the decision to restore the route.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-236 ER G-YMMA (msn 30302) gracefully climbs away from London (Heathrow Airport).

British Airways: AG Slide Show
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Frontier Airlines to add three new routes from Phoenix

Frontier Airlines (2nd) has selected Phoenix for more new routes as it continues to build its network away from its traditional Denver hub. The low-fare airline on November 20 will add new routes from Phoenix to Houston (Bush Intercontinental), Salt Lake City and San Francisco per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-111 N902FR (msn 1515) with “Woody”, the Wood Duck, on the tail, taxies to the runway at Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU).

Frontier Airlines: AG Slide Show

Air Canada to charge $25 for the first checked bag on economy tickets on domestic flights

Air Canada (Montreal) is following the actions of WestJet (Calgary) and will now charge for the first checked bag on domestic flights flying on Economy Class Tango fare. The airline issued this statement:

Air Canada said today that it has adjusted its first checked bag policy for North American travel to align it with prevailing North American industry practices. The carrier’s fee for a first checked bag on U.S. transborder routes, in place since 2011, remains unchanged.

Starting September 18, 2014, customers purchasing Air Canada’s lowest Economy Class Tango fare for travel on or after November 2, 2014 on domestic flights within Canada and to and from the Caribbean and Mexico will now be charged $25 for a first checked bag, in line with the baggage allowance policies of other North American carriers. This change is expected to affect an estimated one in five Air Canada passengers on domestic flights within Canada, representing approximately five per cent of the airline’s customers system-wide.

The fee for a first checked bag does not apply to Economy Class tickets purchased using Flex and Latitude fares that offer additional flexibility. In addition, the first checked bag fee does not apply to Altitude Prestige, Elite and Super Elite members, Star Alliance Silver and Gold members and customers purchasing Air Canada Vacations packages. Business Class customers continue to receive an allowance of two checked bags, and military personnel (with identification) up to three checked bags, regardless of destination. Air Canada’s baggage allowance policy continues to allow for a car seat and stroller to be checked as additional pieces of baggage free of charge.

Copyright Photo: Gilbert Hechema/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-211 C-FDRH (msn 073) arrives at Montreal (Trudeau) in the Star Alliance color scheme.

Air Canada: AG Slide Show

Alaska Airlines today starts nonstop Seattle/Tacoma-Albuquerque flights

Alaska Airlines (Seattle/Tacoma) today (September 18) started daily nonstop service between Seattle/Tacoma and Albuquerque, the multi-cultural metropolis of New Mexico.

Upcoming, the carrier will start nonstop Seattle/Tacoma-Cancun flights on November 6.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-890 N583AS (msn 35681) with the new Aviation Partners Boeing Split Scimitar Winglets departs from Washington’ Reagan National Airport (DCA).

Alaska Airlines: AG Slide Show

Brussels Airlines to retire the last BAe RJ85 tomorrow

Brussels Airlines (Brussels) is planning to phase out its last BAe (Avro) RJ85 tomorrow (September 19). The last flight is scheduled to be a roundtrip flight from Brussels to Stockholm (Bromma) and return. The last flight will be flown with the pictured OO-DJP (msn E2287). After the retirement, Brussels will continue to operate 12 BAe (Avro) RJ100s.

In other news, the company is now using a new tagline:

“The new tagline ‘We Go The Extra Smile’ expresses this mission and the airline no longer speaks about passengers, but calls them ‘guests’ instead.”

The airline appears to also be heading towards a new livery with this short statement:

“Brussels Airlines has teamed up with marketing agency TBWA, who have worked out a fresh new style for the airline, with new colors which will be used in all future campaigns.”

Meanwhile the airline is reporting an increase in traffic in August and released this statement:

“Brussels Airlines registered a very strong passenger growth of 19.1% during the month of August. In total, the airline welcomed over 100,000 passengers more compared to the same month last year. The seat load factor rose by 4.4 percentage points to 81.5%.
A total of 622,845 passengers opted for a European or intercontinental Brussels Airlines flight last month. That’s 100,055 more passengers than in August 2013. The strong growth is due to the expansion of the flight offer to Mediterranean summer destinations, the highly competitive ticket fares and the increase in the number of connecting passengers (intra-European and European-intercontinental). With this increase, Brussels Airlines follows the general growth trend registered by Brussels Airport.

Out of the 622,845 passengers, 520,422 flew to short or medium-haul destinations and 102,423 boarded a flight to or from the US or Africa.

The growth trend, which Brussels Airlnes has continuously registered since the beginning of the year, has also led to a higher overall seat load factor. The passenger load factor grew by 4.4 percentage points to 81.5%, a record in the history of the airline.

In addition to its scheduled flight activity, Brussels Airlines operated many holiday flights for tour operators, meeting and incentive agencies and sports clubs. The most important event last month was without a doubt Red Devils flight ‘SN2014’.”

Top Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil/AirlinersGallery.com. OO-DJP arrives back at the Brussels base.

Brussels Airlines: AG Slide Show
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Bottom Copyright Photo: Brussels Airlines. The airline will soon introduce a new look.

Brussels Airlines tails (Brussels)(LRW)

Swiss orders 15 new Airbus A320neo aircraft + 10 options

Airbus (Toulouse) has confirmed the previous report from the Lufthansa Group that Swiss International Air Lines (Zurich) has placed a firm order for 15 new Airbus A320neo aircraft. Here is the short statement from Airbus:

Lufthansa Group’s supervisory board has announced that Swiss, a member-airline of the Group, will expand its Airbus A320 fleet with a firm order for 15 A320neo aircraft, plus an additional ten of the type to be confirmed at a later stage. The fuel-efficient NEO-fleet will gradually renew and replace Swiss’ existing fleet of A320 Family aircraft.

Related to this, Airbus also confirmed Lufthansa Group’s firm order for ten A320ceo aircraft for its subsidiary Eurowings. The new aircraft will become the backbone of the new low cost business model announced by the Lufthansa Group in July 2014, which foresees Eurowings operations on direct connections within Europe.

Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. The newer A320neo aircraft will replace the older A320s like Airbus A320-214 HB-IJX (msn 1762) arriving at Zurich.

Swiss: AG Slide Show

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EasyJet orders 27 additional Airbus A320s

EasyJet (easyJet.com) (UK) (London-Luton) has placed an order for 27 additional current engine option Airbus A320s, taking its combined total order for the type to 315 aircraft.

Currently EasyJet operates a fleet of some 225 A320 Family aircraft. In June 2013, EasyJet became a customer for the A320neo, with an order for 100 aircraft. Altogether, with this latest order, EasyJet’s combined total order for all members of the A320 Family rises to 415 aircraft.

EasyJet is the largest A320 Family customer and operator in Europe and operates one of Europe’s most extensive route networks. The airline is the UK’s largest by numbers of passengers carried.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 G-EZWU (msn 6095) holds shot of the runway at Palma de Mallorca.

EasyJet (UK): AG Slide Show

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Delta to bring back nonstop seasonal service to Liberia, Costa Rica, will expand flights to Punta Cana

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) will bring back its nonstop seasonal service connecting Liberia, Costa Rica with Los Angeles and the airline’s hubs in Minneapolis/St. Paul and New York-JFK. Additionally, seasonal service between San Jose and Minneapolis/St. Paul will be reinstated.

Delta continues its expansion in Costa Rica, operating 40 weekly services during the peak season and connecting the cities of San Jose and Liberia with key destinations in the United States.

In other news, Delta will expand its service to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic during the high demand season, including flights from Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul and New York-JFK.

Flights will be operated using Airbus A320 and Airbus A319 aircraft and will complement existing Delta service to this luxury Caribbean destination.

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-114 N322NB (msn 1434) takes off from New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

Delta Air Lines (current): AG Slide Show
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Aloha Air Cargo to acquire a Boeing 767-300F and launch cargo flights to Los Angeles

Aloha Air Cargo logo copy

Aloha Air Cargo (Honolulu) is breaking out of the inter-Hawaii market. The company has announced it will acquire a Boeing 767-300F freighter and launch services to Los Angeles on October 23. The airline issued this statement:

Aloha Air Cargo is expanding their air cargo service with the addition of a direct, wide-body Boeing 767-300F aircraft from Los Angeles (LAX) to Honolulu (HNL). The new, five-times weekly roundtrip flight is scheduled to begin service October 23, 2014 adding needed capacity into and out of Los Angeles, CA. The new air cargo service will be geared toward freight forwarders, consolidators, passenger carrier partners, and businesses looking to sync up with Aloha’s existing interisland network, for seamless movement of through cargo shipments to the Neighboring Hawaiian Islands.

Aloha Air Cargo will be operating a Boeing 767-300F, with a maximum payload of 125,000 pounds, from Los Angeles International Airport on a Tuesday through Saturday rotation, departing at 2 am (0200) PST, and arriving into Honolulu International Airport at approximately 5 am HST (0500). Return flights will operate Monday through Friday, departing Honolulu at 2:30 pm HST (1430) and arriving into Los Angeles at approximately 10:45 pm PST (2245).

The flight will significantly increase Aloha’s domestic capacity between North America and the Pacific region, and improve service reliability and frequency for onward shipments into Kailua-Kona (KOA), Kahului (OGG), and across the State of Hawaii. Likewise, the wide-body capability will further strengthen the platform and service performance that the Aloha network offers customers and carriers shipping from Asia to the Americas.

Aloha Air Cargo: AG Slide Show

Current Route Map:

Aloha Air Cargo 9.2014 route map

Etihad Airways to introduce a special livery with its first Airbus A380, here is a clue

Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) has 10 new Airbus A380-800s on order. The airline is intending to introduce a new special livery (or a new color scheme for the fleet?) with the first delivery. The company has not yet unveiled this special design but we now have a clue. Today in Toulouse the first Airbus A380 took to the skies.

Copyright Photo: Eurospot/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-861 F-WWAB (msn 170) is the first copy and wears this temporary registration until it is handed over in December.

Etihad Airways: AG Slide Show

Piedmont Airlines’ pilots approve the new contract, will fly American Eagle jets

Piedmont Airlines’ (2nd) (US Airways Express and American Eagle) (Salisbury, MD) pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), voted to ratify amendments to their current agreement with the company. With 86 percent of the pilot group participating in the ballot, 77 percent of those pilots voted to approve the modifications to their current contract, which includes plans to refleet the airline as well as guaranteed opportunities for Piedmont pilots with the airline’s parent company, American Airlines.

“With much of our fleet of Dash 8s nearing replacement age, we needed to look long term as to what was best for the pilots on the property now, and what would provide career options for pilots just joining Piedmont,” said Capt. Bruce Freedman, chairman of the Piedmont unit of ALPA.

Under the modified agreement, Piedmont pilots can now take advantage of a seniority-based flow-through procedure to fly at American Airlines, and pilots have secured flying at Piedmont by obtaining minimum fleet commitments. In exchange, Piedmont pilots agreed to increase their share of medical premium payments and, over time, revise pay scales to reflect more commonly used industry approaches.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. The Bombardier DHC-8 turboprop fleet is gradually being repainted. However the Dash 8s will need to be replaced and this new agreement paves the way for the company to fly American Eagle jets in the future. Bombardier DHC-8-314 N329EN (msn 290) departs from the Charlotte hub.

US Airways Express-Piedmont Airlines: AG Slide Show

Lufthansa Group approves 10 Airbus A320s for Eurowings, will replace its Bombardier CRJ900s, SunExpress Airlines may operate low-cost long-haul flights with Airbus A330-300s

Lufthansa Group (Lufthansa) (Frankfurt) today (September 19) outlined its plans for Eurowings (Lufthansa Regional) and its new long-haul division, possibly flown by SunExpress Airlines (Antalya), a joint venture between Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines (Istanbul).

The Lufthansa Group’s quality and growth initiative presented on July 9, 2014 is gathering pace.

At the Supervisory Board meeting on September 17, the Supervisory Board Members were informed by the Executive Board of the implementation progress made so far. The Lufthansa Group’s Supervisory Board has paved the way for the planned transition to a more economical type of aircraft at Eurowings by approving an order for ten Airbus A320ceo planes for the company. With its fleet of 23 aircraft, Eurowings services domestic German and European routes from airports other than the Frankfurt and Munich hubs on behalf of Germanwings. A further 13 A320s will be transferred from the Group’s total aircraft order volume to Eurowings starting in 2015, in order to make its entire fleet consist of Airbus aircraft. Replacing the current Eurowings fleet of Bombardier CRJ900 regional jets with modern A320ceo aircraft will further increase the Düsseldorf-based airline’s unit cost advantage and will thereby improve its ability to compete with low-cost airlines in Europe. The Lufthansa Group intends to use its Wings concept to cement its good market position in passenger traffic in its home markets of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Belgium in the long term, including with point-to-point connections. Business on these routes away from the major hubs is characterised by above-average growth in the leisure travel segment and by stiff competition from the rapidly expanding low-cost airlines.

The Executive Board also presented its plans for the new cost-efficient offer for long-haul connections as part of the Wings concept to the Supervisory Board. One option for realizing this concept could be a new platform based on the airline SunExpress Airlines (Antalya), which is a fifty-fifty joint venture between Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines. In this respect, talks with the Star Alliance partner are to continue. The idea is for the new platform to complement the Lufthansa Group’s product range with up to seven Airbus A330-300s and to commence operations in autumn 2015 with three aircraft in Munich, Düsseldorf or Cologne. The focus here will be on destinations that promise above-average growth in the leisure travel segment and that round out the Lufthansa Group airlines’ current route networks. In addition to the founding of this new long-haul airline, other intercontinental traffic approaches will be developed in order to once again profitably fly leisure travel-dominated routes using the Lufthansa brand in the future.

To offer this, up to 14 Airbus A340-300s from the long-haul fleet will be fitted with a cabin that is optimized for leisure travel. Commencing with the start of the 2015/2016 winter flight timetable, this A340-300 sub-fleet will fly at a much lower cost while nevertheless offering the high-quality travel experience of a Lufthansa flight, with high service standards and comfort levels. The as many as 14 aircraft will operate without a First Class and with 18 Business Class seats, 19 Premium Economy seats and 261 Economy seats, and will in particular serve new leisure travel destinations or markets from which Lufthansa would otherwise have to withdraw without the introduction of this less expensive offer.

“The combination of our core brands’ focus on quality and the premium sector, and the development of new platforms for the leisure travel sector, which is experiencing dynamic growth but is also price-sensitive, is our way of working towards a successful future for the Lufthansa Group airlines,” said Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Deutsche Lufthansa AG. This would strengthen the successful multi-hub system comprising the key hubs of Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich, Vienna and Brussels, he added. This strategy additionally gave the Company the scope to also grow in sectors of this kind, where the Lufthansa Group’s traditional quality brands were not able to participate in market developments, he said.

In addition to the growth concept for the Lufthansa Group airlines, the Supervisory Board is approving capital expenditure of €60 million by Lufthansa Technik AG in Frankfurt. The Group’s technical division intends to build a new wheel and brake workshop in Frankfurt’s eastern dock area (Osthafen). The building is expected to commence operations as early as at the start of 2017. These new operations will allow Lufthansa Technik, which is the world’s leading provider of aircraft-related technical services, to also achieve further growth in the important segment of wheel and brake maintenance. In so doing, Lufthansa Technik will safeguard the existing 130 jobs for qualified employees based in Frankfurt and will create the parameters for further growth. The building is to be fitted with cutting-edge building services so as to exceed the requirements of Germany’s Energy Conservation Regulations (EnEV) by 30 per cent.

In related news,  Lufthansa Group also approved the purchase of 15 Airbus A320neo (New Engine Option) family and ten Airbus A320ceo (Current Engine Option) aircraft at its meeting today. The new A320neo orders will be delivered to Lufthansa Group airline Swiss International Air Lines (Zurich) from 2019 onwards, where they are intended to replace older aircraft from the same family. The ten new A320ceo aircraft will be delivered to Eurowings in 2016 and 2017 and will replace older Bombardier CRJ900s.

Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. The aging and expensive 14 Lufthansa Airbus A340-300s will be assigned to the new leisure group starting with the 2015-2016 winter schedule. The 14 aircraft will operate without a First Class and with 18 Business Class seats, 19 Premium Economy seats and 261 Economy seats. Lufthansa’s Airbus A340-313 D-AIGT (msn 304) arrives at the Frankfurt hub.

Lufthansa: AG Slide Show

Eurowings: AG Slide Show

SunExpress: AG Slide Show
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Delta Air Lines to introduce Airbus’ new pivoting overhead carry-on stowage bins for its new Airbus A321s

Delta A321-200 (07) overhead bag storage (Airbus)(LRW)

Airbus (Toulouse) has announced the following cabin enhancement option for the Airbus A320 Family aircraft. Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) will be the first customer.

Airbus will introduce its new pivoting overhead stowage option for the A320 Family aircraft beginning in the first quarter of 2016 with the delivery of the first of 45 brand new A321 aircraft for Delta Air Lines. In 2013, Delta placed an order for 30 new A321s and added a further 15 in 2014.

The new pivoting bins from Airbus, which are also available for retrofit, take full advantage of the A320’s wide fuselage cross section to offer the most overhead stowage volume of any single-aisle airliner per passenger. Aesthetically, they embody a modern curved appearance which incorporates Airbus’ most up-to-date design branding – as exemplified in the cabin of the new A350 XWB airliner.

Addressing today’s passenger expectations for more carry-on baggage, not only do these new overhead bins offer 10 percent increased volume over current A320 bins, but the efficient A320 cross-section also allows increased capacity for up to 60 percent more luggage in practice. For example, each section now efficiently accommodates eight TP22-enhanced* roller bags. Alternatively, the same section can also hold four TP24s** (the largest type of carry-on roller bag).

* TP22 ‘enhanced’ roller bags measure 22x 14.5 x 9 inches – i.e. half an inch higher than ‘FAA’ standard bags.
** TP24 roller bags, measuring 24 x 14.5 x 11 inches

Copyright Photo: Airbus.

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Qatar Airways receives its first Airbus A380

Qatar A380-800 A7-APA (06) Delivery Ceremony (Airbus)(LRW)

Qatar Airways (Doha) has taken delivery of the pictured Airbus A380-861 A7-APA (msn 137) today (September 17), its first Airbus A380. Airbus issued this statement:

At a ceremony in Hamburg hosted by Airbus, Qatar Airways, one of the world’s fastest growing airlines welcomed a new star to its fleet – the Airbus A380. In the presence of His Excellency Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, and Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and CEO, the airline took delivery of the first of its 10 Airbus A380 aircraft on order.

The delivery marks the beginning of a new chapter for Qatar Airways, as it pushes boundaries and expands its operations. The A380, with its unique combination of increased capacity, long-haul range and unbeatable fuel efficiency, will enable the airline to carry its passengers even further and at deluxe comfort standards.

As a five-star performer, the A380 has become a firm favourite with passengers and airlines, due to the smoothness of the flight, quietness of the cabin and the spaciousness of the overall aircraft layout. These unique characteristics allow Qatar Airways to achieve their ambition of providing excellent services to their passengers. The A380’s built-in cabin flexibility has also given Qatar Airways the opportunity to make innovative use of the aircraft’s space, offering the airline’s passengers an exceptional in-flight experience.

All seats are equipped with the latest entertainment systems, and the stylish and comfortable interior for Qatar Airways’ A380 will accommodate a total of 517 people – 461 in Economy, 48 in Business and eight in First Class, featuring the widest first-class seats in the industry. The aircraft has two full-length passenger decks – First and Business Class cabins will both be located on the aircraft’s upper deck, along with a special lounge area for premium passengers.

Qatar Airways is the 12th world class carrier to fly the A380. The airline’s first A380 will make its debut on the popular London Heathrow route, from Hamad International in Doha, followed by Paris Charles de Gaulle.

With 318 orders so far by 19 customers the A380 captures 90 percent of the Very Large Aircraft market. With the delivery today, the global A380 fleet mounts up to 142 aircraft, having accumulated over 1.5 million flight hours on some 180,000 commercial flights. To date over 65 million passengers have already enjoyed the unique experience of flying on board an A380. Every four minutes, an A380 either takes off or lands at one of the 41 airports where it operates today and the network is constantly growing.

Copyright Photo: Airbus. Handing over Qatar Airways’ new A380 flagship: Airbus President and CEO Fabrice Brégier (right) and His Excellency, Mr. Akbar Al Baker, Group Chief Executive Qatar Airways.

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FedEx Corporation’s earnings surge in the first quarter to $606 million

FedEx Corporation (FedEx Express) (Memphis) reported its earnings for its fiscal first quarter surged by 24 percent to net income of $606 million. The corporation issued this financial report:

FedEx Corporation today reported earnings of $2.10 per diluted share for the first quarter ended August 31, up 37% from last year’s $1.53 per share.

First Quarter Results

FedEx Corp. reported the following consolidated results for the first quarter:

• Revenue of $11.7 billion, up 6% from $11.0 billion the previous year

• Operating income of $987 million, up 24% from $795 million last year

• Operating margin of 8.5%, up from 7.2% the previous year

• Net income of $606 million, up 24% from last year’s $489 million

Operating income increased primarily due to higher volumes and increased yields at all three transportation segments. Results in the first quarter also include benefits from lower pension expense and the company’s profit improvement programs. These benefits were partially offset by higher aircraft maintenance expense due to the timing of certain engine maintenance events.

During the quarter, the company acquired 5.3 million shares of FedEx common stock. As of August 31, 2014, no shares remained under the existing share repurchase authorizations. Share repurchases benefited earnings in the quarter by $0.15 per diluted share.

Outlook

FedEx reaffirmed its fiscal 2015 earnings forecast of $8.50 to $9.00 per diluted share. The outlook assumes no net year-over-year fuel impact and continued moderate economic growth. The capital spending forecast for fiscal 2015 remains $4.2 billion.

“FedEx reported strong first quarter results, as all three of our transportation segments drove higher revenues and improved profitability year over year,” said Alan B. Graf, Jr., FedEx Corp. executive vice president and chief financial officer. “Our profit improvement programs are progressing as planned and we continue to expect strong earnings growth this year.”

2015 Rate Increases

As previously announced, FedEx Express, FedEx Ground and FedEx Freight will increase shipping rates effective January 5, 2015.

FedEx Express will increase shipping rates by an average of 4.9% for U.S. domestic, U.S. export and U.S. import services.

FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery will increase shipping rates by an average of 4.9%. In addition, as announced in May, FedEx Ground will also begin applying dimensional weight pricing to all shipments.

FedEx Freight will increase shipping rates by an average of 4.9%. This rate change applies to eligible FedEx Freight shipments within the U.S. (including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands), between the contiguous U.S. and Canada, within Canada, between the contiguous U.S. and Mexico, and within Mexico.

Details of all changes to rates and surcharges are available at fedex.com/us/2015rates.

Corporate Headquarters Costs

Effective this fiscal year, the company ceased allocating to its transportation segments the costs associated with the corporate headquarters division. These costs are now included in “Corporate, eliminations and other.” Prior year amounts in this release have been revised to conform to the current presentation.

FedEx Express Segment

For the first quarter, the FedEx Express segment reported:

• Revenue of $6.86 billion, up 4% from last year’s $6.61 billion

• Operating income of $369 million, up 35% from $273 million a year ago

• Operating margin of 5.4%, up from 4.1% the previous year

Revenue increased due to higher U.S. domestic package volume and international export package yields partially offset by lower freight revenue. U.S. domestic package volume grew 5%, as 8% growth in overnight and deferred box volume was partially offset by lower envelope volume. U.S. domestic yield increased 1% from higher fuel surcharges, changes in service mix and increased rates. FedEx International Priority® volume grew 1%, while FedEx International Economy® volume increased 3%. International export revenue per package increased 3% due to fuel surcharges, higher rates and weight per package.

Operating income and margin improved as higher U.S. domestic package volume, improved international export yield and benefits from profit improvement programs more than offset higher aircraft maintenance expense and lower freight revenues.

Copyright Photo: Steve Bailey/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-FHT N883FD (msn 39285) of FedEx Express climbs away from the runway at Anchorage Ted Stevens International Airport (ANC).

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Boeing and Avolon finalize an order for 787 Dreamliners, 737 MAXs

Avolon logo

Boeing (Chicago and Seattle) and leasing company Avolon have finalized an order for six 787-9 Dreamliners and five additional 737 MAX 9s, valued at more than $2.1 billion at list prices. Avolon announced a commitment to purchase the airplanes during the 2014 Farnborough Airshow in July.

This marks Avolon’s first order for the 787 Dreamliner and will increase the lessor’s 737 MAX portfolio to 20 airplanes.

The 737 MAX has surpassed 2,200 orders from 47 customers worldwide. The largest in the 737 MAX family, the 737 MAX 9 offers the best fuel-efficiency per seat and will be 7 percent per trip less expensive to operate than its competitor, the A321neo. The 737 MAX 9 provides versatile growth capacity for airlines needing larger single-aisle options in their fleet.

United Airlines choses Republic Airways Holdings to operate 50 new Embraer E175s, United will phase out the Q400s

United Airlines (Chicago) today (September 17) announced the company will amend its existing agreement with regional carrier Shuttle America, to add 50 Embraer E175 aircraft. Shuttle America‘s (Indianapolis) parent company, Republic Airways Holdings Inc. (Indianapolis), will determine which of its carriers will operate the new 76-seat aircraft under the United Express brand.

United anticipates deliveries will begin in July 2015 and continue through the summer of 2017. The new aircraft will replace large turboprop airplanes and older, less-efficient aircraft and are in addition to 70 E175s whose deliveries began this year for other carriers to operate as United Express.

E175 Features:

The E175s will offer 12 seats in United First and 64 seats in United Economy, including 16 extra-legroom United Economy Plus seats. The aircraft also offer more personal space for customers, with wider seats and aisles than other regional aircraft; a power outlet at each United First seat; and large overhead bins that can accommodate standard-size carry-on bags.

Additional Fleet Updates:

In addition to expanding the E175 fleet, United plans to make the following changes to its United Express service:

1. Extend the airline’s agreement with Shuttle America on 38 E170s, with new expiration dates beginning in September 2019 and continuing through December 2022; and

2. Begin removing, in 2015, 31 Bombardier Q400s operated by Republic Airlines, a carrier also owned by Republic Airways Holdings Inc. (some of the aircraft will go to Flybe).

In related news, Embraer S.A. and Republic Airways Holdings Inc. (Indianapolis), operator of the largest E-Jets fleet in the world, announced a contract today for the sale and purchase of 50 firm E175 jets. The value of the firm order, which will be included in Embraer’s 2014 third-quarter backlog, is estimated at $2.1 billion, based on 2014 list prices. The aircraft will be operated for United Airlines under the United Express brand. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2015 and extend until 2017.

This contract is in addition to the order signed by Embraer and Republic in January 2013 for 47 firm and 47 option E175s – 34 of which have already been delivered. In addition to the new order, Republic maintains 32 options for E175s.

This transaction is in connection with the transfer of Q400 turboprop airplanes currently operated by Republic Airlines to UK’s carrier Flybe Limited. Concurrently, Flybe and Embraer have agreed to reduce by 20 the outstanding order for 24 E175’s the airline has on order backlog. Therefore, the net increase to Embraer’s backlog in the 3rd quarter will be 30 E175 jets.

Republic Airways was one of the first U.S. carriers to fly Embraer E-Jets, operating its first E170 in 2004. With this new order, the Republic Airways E-Jet fleet will consist of 72 E170s and 151 E175s for a total of 223 E-Jets. Republic Airways is also a long-time customer of the ERJ 145 regional jet family with 41 flying as Delta Connection aircraft.

Finally, United Airlines launched its Mercedes-Benz tarmac transportation service at Denver International Airport, offering chauffeured convenience at more airports than any other carrier. With this expansion, United offers the service at all of its U.S. hub airports.

The Mercedes-Benz tarmac transportation service provides the airline’s top frequent flyers with greater comfort and convenience, offering an additional way for these customers to save valuable time when connecting through the airline’s hubs. United will chauffeur selected Global Services members and United Global First customers to their connections in Denver in a Mercedes-Benz GL350 BlueTEC SUV, powered by environmentally friendly, clean diesel technology.

United representatives will meet customers at the aircraft, escort them to the waiting Mercedes-Benz vehicle and drive them across the tarmac to their connecting flight. The expediting service gives priority to customers with close connections.

United also offers the transfer service at its hub airports in Chicago, Houston, New York/Newark, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington Dulles.

Along with tarmac transportation, the airline and Mercedes-Benz USA partner to provide promotional packages and bonus miles to United’s MileagePlus Premier members, which include Global Services members, who purchase or lease certain new Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Current offers are available at united.com/Mercedes.

Earlier this year, United opened a new Global Services reception lobby for its top frequent flyers at the airline’s New York hub at Newark Liberty International airport. In October, the airline will open a Global Services reception lobby at San Francisco International Airport. In June, United unveiled an all-new United Club airport lounge and United Global First Lounge at London Heathrow International Airport’s new Terminal 2, The Queen’s Terminal.

Top Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Shuttle America currently operates 38 Embraer ERJ 170-100SE aircraft for United Airlines under the United Express brand. N637RW (msn 17000051) arrives at Washington’s Reagan National Airport (DCA).

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Bottom Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Republic Airlines (2nd) currently operates 31 Bombardier DHC-8-402s (Q400s) for United Airlines at its hubs. N202WQ (msn 4202) arrives at Raleigh-Durham (RDU).

Delta to restore Los Angeles-Dallas/Fort Worth flights on November 3 via Compass Airlines

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) has confirmed it will launch twice-daily nonstop service from Los Angeles to San Antonio, Texas, beginning on April 7, 2015 as previously reported. The San Antonio service complements Delta’s daily service from Los Angeles to Dallas/Fort Worth, which relaunches on November 3, and the addition of a third daily flight between Los Angeles and Austin, Texas, beginning on November 2. All flights are operated by Delta Connection carrier Compass Airlines (Minneapolis/St. Paul).

With the addition of San Antonio and Dallas/Fort Worth service, Delta customers will have access to nine daily departures to three destinations between Los Angeles and Texas, including:

Four daily flights to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
Three daily flights to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
Two daily flights to San Antonio International Airport

In the last year, Delta has significantly expanded its network from LAX, adding service to Austin; Boise, Idaho; and San Salvador, El Salvador; increasing the number of flights from destinations it already serves; and expanding to year-round service in Boston. Delta will also launch service from LA to Monterrey, Mexico, in November. Last fall, Delta expanded its service from Los Angeles to San Francisco with the launch of its hourly, nonstop Delta Shuttle product. In October, Delta will launch international service from LAX to London-Heathrow as part of its joint venture partnership with Virgin Atlantic Airways. Service to Austin, Boise, Monterrey and San Francisco is operated by Delta Connection carriers Compass Airlines and SkyWest Airlines.

Delta has also made significant enhancements to its Los Angeles service both on the ground and in the air in the past few years. Travelers through Los Angeles will enjoy the benefits of the $229 million expansion and enhancement of Terminal 5 at LAX. The current project will double the size of the ticketing lobby and screening checkpoints and open an exclusive Sky Priority lobby and checkpoint. It also will include renovations to the Delta Sky Club and new baggage carousels. The project is scheduled to take place in several phases, with the west lobby to be completed in November.

Delta currently operates 140 peak-day departures to 47 destinations from LAX, and every flight offers BusinessElite/First Class and Economy Comfort seating. Nearly every domestic flight features Wi-Fi service, and Delta now offers customers free entertainment from every seat out of LA through its new Delta Studio product.

Copyright Photo: Wingnut/AirlinersGallery.com. In this unusual view, Compass Airlines’ Embraer ERJ 170-200LR (ERJ 175) N620CZ (msn 17000214) taxies at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

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American Airlines and US Airways Passenger Service Agents vote to join the Teamsters-CWA Association

American Airlines‘ (Dallas/Fort Worth) and US Airways‘ (Phoenix and Dallas/Fort Worth) passenger service agents have voted to join the CWA-IBT Customer Service Employee Association. This is another step towards the final merger. The union issued this statement:

In a vote announced today by the National Mediation Board (NMB), more than 15,000 passenger service professionals at the newly-merged American-US Airways have voted to join the CWA-IBT Customer Service Employee Association. The joint effort to organize passenger service agents was led by Communication Workers of American (CWA) which will represent about 7,500 new members; 1,300 new members will be represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

Agents at both airlines voted over the phone and online in a month-long election administered by the NMB. The results were tallied and it was announced today that the workers had voted for the CWA-IBT Association by a 6-to-1 margin.

“We are honored to represent a total of more than 3,000 passenger service agents at the New American Airlines,” said Teamsters Airline Division Director David Bourne. “The Teamsters are committed to providing American Airlines employees and our existing members at US Airways with strong representation as both airlines continue to integrate in this merger.”

Prior to its merger with American Airlines, US Airways’ passenger service agents were represented by CWA in the east with approximately 4,700 members and by the Teamsters in the west with about 1,800 members. The shared representation was the result of US Airways’ merger in 2005 with America West Airlines whose customer service agents were Teamsters. US Airways’ latest merger with American Airlines, whose agents were nonunion, led to an election to determine representation for all agents at the newly-merged carrier.

“With our partners in CWA, the Teamsters are leading the way in protecting airline professionals involved in the biggest airline merger in history,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. “Our union is dedicated to fighting on behalf of workers in this volatile industry. Our new members at the combined American-US Airways now have two of the strongest airline unions in their corner.”

American Airlines agents who have won representation for the first time are concerned about outsourcing, job security, fair work rules and having a strong contract. The agents know from experience how vulnerable they are without representation. American’s 2011 bankruptcy led to layoffs, outsourced job titles, and sharp cuts in pay and benefits for those who kept their jobs.

“I can’t tell you how great this victory is for us,” said Debra Ewing, a 15-year US Airways agent in Phoenix, Arizona. “American Airlines customer service agents have tried for over 20 years to gain representation and the merger with US Airways allowed the Teamsters to step in and bring home a win. This means an end to so much outsourcing for American agents who will regain profit-sharing, shift differentials, a three-tiered medical plan, paid vacation and more. That’s what union representation is – and now we all have it.”

Agents at US Airways have enjoyed strong representation for years and are looking forward to having an even stronger voice in the merger process with 9,000 new agents at American strengthening their association.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. US Airways Airbus A319-112 N701UW (msn 890) departs from Washington Reagan National Airport (DCA) painted in American Airlines 2013 colors.

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Spirit Airlines brings back the Yellowbird with its new bright yellow “Bare Fare” livery

Spirit Less Money More Go logo

Spirit Airlines (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood) following Southwest Airlines (Dallas) and Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) has introduced a new full-fuselage bright yellow color scheme based on its recently introduced “Bare Fare” advertising campaign. Previously Northeast Airlines (Boston) and Hughes Airwest (Phoenix) used the color yellow to grab attention. The first flight will be tomorrow as flight NK 259 from Atlantic City to the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood base. The first aircraft to be painted is Airbus A319-132 N534NK (msn 3395) (see below).

Spirit Bare Fare logo

Update: Airbus A319-232 N534NK arrived at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport for the first time in the new look on September 17 (below).

Spirit A319-100 N534NK (14)(Grd) FLL (Spirit)(LRW)

Copyright Photo: Spirit Airlines.

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QANTAS Airways to return to Vancouver with seasonal flights in January

QANTAS Airways (Sydney) has announced it will return to Vancouver (last served in January 2008) with twice-weekly Boeing 747-400 flights during the month of January 2015 (January 3-23, 2015).

The airline issued this statement:

QANTAS  announced it will operate six direct return services between Sydney and Vancouver in January 2015 to cater for demand during the peak of the North American winter holiday season.

The Vancouver services follow last week’s announcement of a new codeshare with WestJet, providing new connections.

QANTAS has also announced an increase in services to the US and Santiago from early 2015, and is upgrading its Dallas/Fort Worth service to an Airbus A380.

The services will operate from January 3-22, 2015, departing Sydney on Saturdays and Wednesdays (with same day connections available from the major Australian capital cities), and from Vancouver on Sundays and Thursdays, operated by a three-cabin Boeing 747 aircraft, reconfigured with lie-flat beds in Business Class and the award-winning international Economy seat.* Subject to regulatory approval.

All proposed services are subject to regulatory approval.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallary.com. Boeing 747-438 ER VH-OEH (msn 32912) approaches the runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York.

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Emirates and Jetstar Airways to expand their codeshare agreement

Emirates (Dubai) and Jetstar Airways (Melbourne) have announced the expansion of their codeshare and frequent flyer relationship, to 30 routes across the Asia Pacific region providing more choice to Emirates customers.

From October 26, 2014*, Emirates will grow its codeshare on Jetstar to include Jetstar Airways services between Melbourne and Ayers Rock (Uluru), Christchurch to Wellington in New Zealand and three new destinations in south-east Asia from Jetstar Asia’s hub in Singapore.
The new codeshare services from Singapore will connect Emirates passengers to Penang in Malaysia, Yangon in Myanmar and Medan in Indonesia.

The additional destinations complement the current 25 routes announced in February this year.

Effective immediately, Skywards members can now also earn Skywards Miles when they book economy Starter Plus, economy Starter Max or Business Max fares on international routes with Jetstar Airways, Jetstar Asia, Jetstar Japan and Valuair, as well as domestic routes within Australia and New Zealand if they connect to an international flight.

All Emirates’ passengers on Jetstar flights will receive boarding passes on check-in at their first international departure point for connecting international service.

*subject to government approval

Top Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. Emirates Boeing 777-31H A6-EMM (msn 29062) arrives in London (Heathrow).

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Bottom Copyright Photo: John Adlard/AirlinersGallery.com. Jetstar Airways’ seventh Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, the pictured VH-VKH (msn 36233) was delivered on August 14, 2014.

Finnair to add new seasonal service to Athens, Dublin and Malta next summer

Finnair (Helsinki) will add seasonal services from Helsinki to Athens, Dublin and Malta next summer season, with schedules designed for optimal connections with Finnair’s network of Asian destinations. Service to Dublin begins on March 30, Malta on April 2 and Athens on April 5. Service to all three destinations lasts until late October.

Dublin (DUB) will be served six times a week, except Tuesdays, with 100-seat Embraer 190 aircraft operated on behalf of Finnair by Flybe Finland.

Flights to Malta International Airport (MLA) near the Maltese capital Valletta are operated two times a week — Mondays and Thursdays — with Airbus A321 Sharklet aircraft. Athens (ATH) is also served twice a week, on Wednesdays and Sundays, with Airbus A319s or A320s.

In other news, Finnair is extending its network throughout the United Kingdom with new codeshare services from Manchester operated by partner airline Flybe. Effective September 15, the Finnair code will be added to Flybe services from Manchester (MAN) to 10 regional airports: Aberdeen (ABZ), Belfast City (BHD), Edinburgh (EDI), Exeter (EXT), Glasgow (GLA), Inverness (INV), Isle of Man (IOM), Jersey (JER), Newquay (NQY) and Southampton (SOU).

Separately, Finnair also cooperates with Flybe affiliate Flybe Finland, a joint venture between Finnair and Flybe established in 2011. Flybe Finland operates a mixture of contract-flights on behalf of Finnair as well as its own flights around Finland and the Nordic region from its base at Helsinki Airport.

Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A321-211 OH-LZE (msn 1978) arrives in Rome (Fiumicino).

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Southwest Airlines to operate seasonal Caribbean service from Milwaukee to both Montego Bay and Punta Cana

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) will add seasonal and weekly (saturdays) service from Milwaukee to both Montego Bay, Jamaica and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic from January 24 through April 4, 2015 per Airline Route.

Meanwhile the company is trying to lower its rising costs with new efforts to remain competitive with its union contracts. Bloomberg Businessweek looks at this critical effort. Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. “Heart Two” in the form of Boeing 737-8H4 N8645A (msn 36907) painted in the dazzling 2014 livery arrives at the Baltimore/Washington (BWI) hub.

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Lufthansa resumes normal operations after the pilot’s union Vereinigung Cockpit calls off its strike

Lufthansa (Frankfurt) issued this statement:

The pilots union Vereinigung Cockpit has cancelled the strike announcement for today (September 16).

Lufthansa pilots logo

Lufthansa has already returned to the regular flight schedule.

Previously the company published a special flight plan for all 40 long-haul flights from Frankfurt.

The union called off the strike after they received a new offer from company management.

Copyright Photo: Ole Simon/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-841 D-AIME (msn 061) departs from the Frankfurt hub.

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Norwegian Long haul to launch two new Boeing 787 routes to Orlando

Norwegian Long haul (Norwegian Air Shuttle) (Norwegian.com) (Oslo) continues to develop long-range operations and launching new routes from Copenhagen to Orlando, and between London Gatwick and Orlando. In addition, the company is also increasing frequencies on several existing destinations between Europe and the USA.

The new nonstop route to Orlando, Florida will be the fifth long distance flight from Copenhagen and the fourth from London Gatwick. Norwegian flies previously between Oslo and Orlando.

As previously reported, Norwegian started operations to Orlando International Airport (MCO) on May 29, 2014.

Norwegian will fly once a week (Mondays) from Copenhagen to Orlando, starting on March 30, 2015.

Norwegian will fly once a week (Saturdays) between London Gatwick and Orlando starting on April 4, 2015.

Norwegian is also increasing the number of flights between the following destinations: Stockholm – Oakland, increased from two to three flights a week, Oslo – Los Angeles extended from one to two times a week, London Gatwick – New York (JFK) expanded from three to six flights a week and London Gatwick – Los Angeles expanded from two to four times a week.

Copyright Photo: Stefan Sjogren/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner EI-LND (msn 35310) with Norwegian marathon runner Grete Waitz departs from Stockholm (Arlanda).

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Frontier Airlines launches its first flights from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport

Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) yesterday (September 15) launched its first ever domestic flights from Chicago O’Hare (ORD) with the departure of flight 1343 to Washington’s Dulles International Airport (IAD).

Fares from ORD are available to the following destinations starting at $29 (introductory fares):

Atlanta, Georgia.
Cleveland, Ohio
Denver, Colorado
Washington, D.C. (Dulles)
Orlando, Florida
Phoenix, Arizona
Salt Lake City, Utah

Top Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 N223FR (msn 2695) with Franceska, the Flamingo, on the tail departs from Washington’s Reagan National Airport:

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Allegiant Air hosts The Game Plane, a new in-flight TV game show

Allegiant The Game Plane Mark Walberg

Allegiant Air (Las Vegas) announced, in partnership with Alpine Labs, the premiere of THE GAME PLANE, the world’s first game show to be filmed entirely in-flight with real passengers competing in real time to win prizes on the spot.

Part quiz show, part game of chance, THE GAME PLANE features Allegiant passengers on their way to vacation, competing for thousands of dollars in prizes, including all expenses-paid vacations at Las Vegas’ most popular luxury resort properties, airfare to Honolulu on Allegiant, Las Vegas show tickets and more. THE GAME PLANE is produced by Alpine Labs and filmed in-flight on Allegiant scheduled service.

“Allegiant prides itself on being an innovator in the airline industry, so the opportunity to be a part of the first-ever in-flight game show is a perfect fit,” said Brian Davis, Allegiant Travel Company Vice President of Business Development. “The energetic, fun atmosphere of the show is an extension of our vacation-focused brand, and the amazing prizes won by the contestants — our passengers — highlight all of the amazing things our destinations have to offer.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Allegiant on this amazing opportunity to showcase a whole new setting for the game show,” said Alpine’s Kevin Abrams. “Our goal is to remind viewers how much fun going on vacation is and that there are still exciting new ways to visit the game show format. THE GAME PLANE is an example of how we are introducing an original take on production.”

The show will premiere on September 20, 2014 and will air in over 75 percent of U.S. television markets on a syndicated network of stations led by the CBS Television Stations group.

Copyright Photo: Alpine Labs. Host Mark L. Walberg started his television career as an assistant at Dick Clark Productions and quickly moved in front of the camera as the announcer for the popular game show Shop Til You Drop and then as host of Burnt Toast, a sports magazine show on ESPN. It was there that the late Brandon Tartikoff noticed his work, and that association produced the nationally syndicated The Mark Walberg Show. Since then, Walberg has hosted and been featured in an array of popular talk, reality competition, and game shows, including the FOX hit The Moment of Truth. He also has hosted home improvement competitions The Mansion and House Rules, knowledge quiz shows Test the Nation and Russian Roulette, and won The Weakest Link as a contestant playing for charity. He also hosted the relationship challenge Temptation Island. Realizing a long-held ambition to produce, Walberg created and produced Sunday Dinner, the first original series for the Odyssey Network, with long-time friend and television personality Mark DeCarlo (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Jimmy Neutron).

In addition to his successful television career, Walberg believes strongly in devoting time to create opportunities for young people. Currently he is on the board of directors of Goodwill of Southern California. He’s proud to be part of an organization that is instrumental in providing hope and new futures for people who need help. He also is very involved with The Young Americans, a musical performance youth group that tours the world offering music workshops in underserved schools. In addition to Walberg, alumni include actor Tim Bagley (Grimm) and actress Nia Peeples (The Young and the Restless) He has completed production on a feature-length documentary about The Young Americans’ work. Says Walberg, “The personal transformation that happens to people when they are given the ability to express themselves through the arts, specifically music and dance, is inspiring.”

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United Airlines to pay its flight attendants $100,000 to leave the company, will recall all furloughed FAs

United Airlines (Chicago) has issued this statement:

United Airlines and the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) announced that United will offer its Flight Attendants an Enhanced Early Out Program, which allows participants a one-time opportunity to voluntarily separate from the company and receive a severance payment. United also announced that it is recalling all Flight Attendants who are on voluntary and involuntary furlough.

United will offer lump sum payouts of up to $100,000 for Flight Attendants who apply for the early out and meet certain service and eligibility qualifications, and the company will award early outs in seniority order.

“We’re excited to offer this extraordinary early out program, and we look forward to rewarding Flight Attendants who’ve contributed so much to United over the years,” said Sam Risoli, United’s senior vice president, Inflight Services. “Working together with the AFA Master Executive Council Presidents Ken Diaz, Suzanne Hendricks and Marcus Valentino, we were able to develop a program that provides great benefits, minimizes disruption to Flight Attendants due to staffing imbalances and at the same time helps us be more competitive.”

“United’s investment in this Enhanced Early Out benefits United and all our Flight Attendants represented by the AFA,” said Mike Bonds, executive vice president, Human Resources and Labor Relations. “Recalling furloughed Flight Attendants and aligning our staffing to match our flying schedule will further facilitate the company and AFA reaching a joint collective bargaining agreement. It’s another positive step in what has become a productive relationship with AFA.”

United has more than 23,000 flight attendants.

Narita-based Japanese national Flight Attendants employed by CMI, and who are not employed by United or represented by AFA, have their own severance and early-retirement terms provided in their collective bargaining agreement under Japanese law, and therefore are not eligible for the United Airlines Enhanced Early Out Program.

United has achieved joint collective bargaining agreements with a majority of its represented work force, including pilots, dispatchers, fleet service, passenger service, reservations and storekeeper workgroups. The company is engaged in expedited negotiations with the AFA and is in mediation with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), representing United’s technicians.

Read the analysis by Bloomberg Businessweek: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-724 N16709 (msn 28779) departs from Washington’s Reagan National Airport.

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Los Cabos and La Paz, Mexico Airports damaged by Hurricane Odile

Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico logo

Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico, S.A.B. de C.V. (GAP), the operator of the airports at La Paz and Los Cabos in Baja, Mexico, has issued this statement late on September 15:

Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico, S.A.B. de C.V. (PAC) informs that operations at the Los Cabos and La Paz International Airports were suspended as of yesterday afternoon, September 14, 2014, as Hurricane Odile, a Category 3 storm, struck the area of Baja California.

Fernando Bosque, Chief Executive Officer of the Company, stated, “Our main concern is the safety of our passengers and employees. As such, we are fully cooperating with the state and federal authorities to ensure that are precautions are taken. Flights have been suspended since yesterday afternoon; at this time we are not fully aware of the extent of the damage to the operations and will keep the community posted as information becomes available. Our goal is to resume normal operations as soon as is possible.”

The Company is currently in the process of surveying the airports in order to determine the extent of the damage. Once additional information is available, GAP will be issuing an updated press release.

Activities at GAP’s 10 other airports are operating normally.

Several small aircraft are believed to have been destroyed.

Pictures of the damage to the terminal at Los Cabos: CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE

Why does Kahului Airport use the airport code of OGG? Hawaiian Airlines answers the question as part of its 85th anniversary celebrations

Hawaiian OGG Jimmy Hogg Tribute

Hawaiian Airlines (Honolulu) which is currently preparing to celebrate 85 years of flying on November 11, has answered the riddle for travelers to Maui; Why does the Kulului Airport use the three-letter code of OGG? Hawaiian issued this statement about the new wall at OGG:

Travelers to Maui will no longer have to puzzle over why Kahului Airport’s three-letter airport code is OGG. They need only spend a few minutes at a new wall paying tribute to Capt. Jimmy Hogg, the Hawaiian Airlines pilot and aviation pioneer for whom the airport is named.

The 8-foot tall, 42-foot wide wall at Gate 19 was presented on September 15 by Hawaiian Airlines, the State Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

“We were approached with the idea of sharing the story of Captain Hogg’s life and career by TSA employees in Kahului, who are asked questions everyday about the origin of OGG,” said Mark Dunkerley, president and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines, Hawai’i’s oldest and largest commercial airline. “Kahului Airport officials offered to provide us with the space and we were delighted to design this fitting tribute to Jimmy, whose epic career ran from the earliest days of commercial aviation in Hawai’i to the dawn of the jet age.”

Born and raised in Līhu’e, Kaua’i on a sugar plantation, Hogg grew up watching airplanes land at Nāwiliwili and decided at the age of 12 that he was destined to become a pilot. He started his aviation career on January 1, 1930 at Inter-island Airways as a mechanic’s helper. He became a co-pilot in 1936, and captain the following year. He went on to achieve a series of “firsts” with the airline, which was renamed Hawaiian Airlines in October 1941. Hogg made the first commercial flight after the attack on Pearl Harbor, coming under ground fire from those mistaking his plane for an enemy aircraft. On January 14, 1958, he flew Hawaiian Airlines’ first trans-Pacific flight, delivering a DC-6 from the West Coast to Honolulu.

When the Civil Aeronautics Authority (CAA) began to standardize airport navigational beacons after World War II, it turned to Hogg for assistance. In 1957, when it was decided that Kahului Airport needed a three-letter code, the CAA took the opportunity to honor one of the pioneers of Hawai’i aviation. Hogg retired from Hawaiian Airlines in 1968 and passed away at the age of 84 in 1992. A video recap of his life is located at the bottom of this story.

Anniversary Activities

The dedication of the Capt. Jimmy Hogg Memorial Wall at Kahului Airport kicks off a series of celebrations leading up to Hawaiian Airlines’ 85th anniversary on November 11, 2014.

On October 4, 2014, Hawaiian Airlines will host an all-day community event at the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii in Hilo, the airline’s first destination. Residents of Hawai’i Island are invited to enjoy the museum as well as live entertainment and exhibits. Weather permitting, free rides will be offered on the airline’s original aircraft, a 1929 Bellanca CH-300 Pacemaker.

Copyright Photo: Ivan K. Nishimura/Blue Wave Group/AirlinersGallery.com. Bellanca CH-300 Pacemaker NC251M (msn 154) is pictured at Honolulu.

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Trivia contests via Hawaiian Airlines social media channels will offer prizes throughout the months of October and November, including drawings for free sightseeing rides on the historic Bellanca.

On November 11, 2014, Hawaiian Airlines’ Team Kōkua of employees will be participating in simultaneous community service projects on the islands of Kaua’i and Hawai’i.

“Hawaiian Airlines has been flying almost as long as the advent of commercial aviation, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year—both of which are remarkable achievements,” said Dunkerley. “We thank our dedicated employees and our loyal customers, whom both are key reasons why Hawaiian Airlines is able to celebrate a successful and rich 85-year history of service to the Hawaiian Islands and the world.”

Celebrating 85 Years of Service

On November 11, 1929, Inter-Island Airways (the company changed its name to Hawaiian Airlines in 1941) launched Hawai’i’s first-ever scheduled interisland air service using two Sikorsky S-38 amphibian propeller planes that carried eight passengers and two crewmembers, and had a top cruising speed of 110 MPH.

The company’s inaugural flight 85 years ago from Honolulu to Hilo, with a stop on Maui, took one hour and 50 minutes. The first flight to Kaua’i was made the following day and all the Hawaiian Islands were soon receiving air service on a regular basis.

Along with being Hawai’i’s first commercial airline, Hawaiian Airlines’ 85-year history of service has featured several other notable achievements, including:

Inter-Island S-43 (Hawaiian)(LR)

Introducing airmail and air cargo service to the Hawaiian Islands in 1934.

Becoming America’s first federally certified air cargo carrier in 1942.

Hawaiian DC-3 (Flt)(Hawaiian)(LR)

Introducing Hawai’i’s first aircraft with pressurized passenger cabins in 1952.

Introducing Hawai’i’s first inter-island jet aircraft in 1966.

Becoming the nation’s first airline to operate a commercial flight with an all-female flight crew in 1979.

Being the first Hawai’i-based airline to offer scheduled service between Hawai’i and the U.S. Mainland in 1985.

Today, Hawaiian Airlines has a fleet of 50 aircraft – 18 Boeing 717-200 jets for interisland flights in Hawai’i; 11 Boeing 767-300 and 18 Airbus 330-200 wide-body jets for transpacific and international service; and three ATR-42 for its new turbo prop service that launched earlier this year, ‘Ohana by Hawaiian.

Hawaiian Airlines will have four more A330s joining the fleet by the end of 2015. By the end of year 2020, the airline plans to have 22 A330s total and 16 new narrow body A321neo aircraft, along with six new A330-800neo aircraft starting in 2019.

Video: Do you know why the Kahului Airport code is OGG? The code of this Hawaiian Airlines station is named after Captain Jimmy Hogg, an accomplished pilot who started his career as a mechanic’s helper with Inter-Island Airways of Hawaii then later became the Captain of Flight Operation for Hawaiian Airlines.

Hawaiian logo

Route Map: Hawaiian Airlines today:

Hawaiian 9.2014 Route Map

New video on Air Tindi of Canada and their “Ski Pilots” is introduced

Just Planes has just introduced a new video on Air Tindi (Yellowknife, NWT).

Above video: A preview video of the larger video.

Top Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. Air Tindi Cessna 208 Caravan 1 C-GATY (msn 305) departs from the Yellowknife seaplane base.

Air Tindi logo

Route Map of Scheduled Services:

Air Tindi 9.2014 Route Map

United Airlines to upgrade its Newark hub with new amenities for its passengers

United Airlines (Chicago) has announced new plans to upgrade its Newark hub with new dining and retail experiences, including 6,000 Apple iPad tablets free of charge to use to “track their flight, order from chef-created menus, and purchase travel amenities for delivery directly to their seat in the terminal while browsing the internet”. Here is the full statement:

United Airlines and OTG Management LLC today announced plans to transform the dining and retail experience at the airline’s hub at Newark Liberty International Airport and create unparalleled services and amenities for United’s customers. The program will combine leading-edge technology, award-winning dining and renowned design.

The $120 million capital investment for the project will be provided by OTG, selected by United to oversee the transformation in Terminal C at Newark Liberty, including new chef-driven restaurants, expansive food halls, gourmet markets and world-class retail and duty-free shops.

Leading Edge Technology: Upon completion of the planned project, air travelers waiting for a flight will be able to use almost 6,000 iPad tablets free of charge to track their flight, order from chef-created menus, and purchase travel amenities for delivery directly to their seat in the terminal while browsing the internet. And customers will not have to search for an outlet, with over 10,000 outlets and USB interfaces accompanying the redesigned terminal seating.

Chef-Driven Dining with Unique Local Flavor: More than 55 new dining venues are anticipated to provide travelers with an array of culinary choices – including restaurant concepts created by more than 20 celebrated chefs – as well as markets, cafes and exceptional food and beverage service in nearly 60 gate areas. Menus at all price points will emphasize fresh, locally sourced ingredients, and will highlight regional and local dining experiences.

Trendsetting Design: Renowned architects and designers will transform the physical interior of the terminal into a world-class setting that combines comfort with beautiful, free flowing spaces.

Customers will begin seeing immediate improvements in November, when temporary restaurant locations pop up to offer a taste of what’s to come. The full experience is expected to be phased in over the next 18 months.

Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 N475UA (msn 1495) displays the historic 1972 “A320 Friend Ship” retrojet livery.

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Map of Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) terminal:

United EWR Hub Map

New book claims the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370 was due to a suicidal pilot

Book-Goodnight Malaysian 370 (LRW)

Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur) flight MH 370 is still missing. No part of the Boeing 777-200 ER or its 239 passengers and crew members have been discovered or even located. The search for MH 370 continues in the remote Indian Ocean. This new book by New Zealand pilot Ewan Wilson and journalist Geoff Taylor presents a theory that some have suspected in the aviation community.

Description by Amazon:

The unbelievable facts behind the loss of Flight 370 will shock the travelling public. The book by New Zealand pilot Ewan Wilson and journalist Geoff Taylor presents compelling evidence about what actually occurred in the final hours of Flight 370, based on new analysis and new interviews with pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah’s family. The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 captured the world’s attention and shocked everyone. The book takes you to Kuala Lumpur International Airport on March 8 and brings together the lives of passengers and crew who ultimately met their fate on board what should have been a routine flight to Beijing on a well respected airline operating a state-of-the-art airliner with a near faultless record. For the first time, the book presents a detailed analysis of the flight, the incredible route it took, and who the authors believe was in charge of the aircraft as it plunged into the Indian Ocean. The book investigates each piece of evidence and eliminates all the possible scenarios until the reader is left with one shocking and unbelievable conclusion as to what happened to end the lives of 239 people that night. The authors also look at the most recent 777 tragedy MH17. They analyse how it occurred, the implications of the horrific event on future air travel and whether Malaysia Airlines can survive. The authors Geoff Taylor is a highly respected career journalist who is now deputy editor of the Waikato Times newspaper, one of New Zealand’s leading daily papers. Ewan Wilson is a commercial pilot, former chief executive of Kiwi International Airlines and Norfolk Air and has qualifications as a transport safety investigator. Goodnight Malaysia 370 is Wilson’s third book. He has also written Help My Plane’s on Fire while his first book Dogfight became a New Zealand best seller.

This book is available from Amazon.com via our World Airline News online store. All book orders are processed and sent by Amazon.com.

Read the analysis by the Huffington Post: CLICK HERE

Meanwhile Malaysia Airlines has not issued a public statement since August 28 concerning its MOU between Malaysia and Australia where Australia will to continue to lead the search for MH 370.

What do you think?

WestJet to charge $25 for the first checked bag for Econo fares for domestic and U.S. flights

WestJet (Calgary) today announced it will charge a $25 fee for a first checked bag on Econo fares for travel within Canada and between Canada and the U.S. The new fee will only apply to bookings made today onward, for travel on or after October 29, 2014. Guests flying to any of WestJet’s international destinations including Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and Europe may continue to check a first bag at no charge.

This change, which will apply to Econo fares only, is expected to affect approximately one in five WestJet guests. Guests who select a Flex fare will receive one free checked bag while guests choosing a Plus fare will enjoy two complimentary checked bags in addition to waived fees, seat selection, more legroom and many other amenities. For more information on WestJet baggage fees, please visit westjet.com/baggage.

The baggage allowances for military personnel (with identification), infant and child equipment, mobility devices and code-share and interline guests are not impacted.

WestJet also today launched its new WestJet Rewards tiers program featuring three levels – Teal, Silver and Gold. Guests who qualify for the Silver tier will be able to check a first bag at no cost. Guests who qualify for the Gold tier will get two free checked bags. For more information on all the significant benefits offered with the new WestJet Rewards tiers, please visit westjet.com/tiers. In addition, we have added a free first bag as an enhanced benefit to our WestJet RBC World Elite MasterCard credit card program.

Along with the launch of WestJet Rewards tiers, the airline also introduced a price-drop guarantee today on WestJet flights and WestJet Vacations packages. Guests who see that the price of their flight or their vacation package has dropped since their original purchase can receive the difference in WestJet dollars.

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. WestJet Airlines’ Boeing 737-8CT WL C-GWRG (msn 39071) with the Split Scimitar Winglets arrives at the Toronto (Pearson) hub.

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Air France expects to cancel 60% of its flights tomorrow due to a pilots strike

Air France (Paris) has issued this statement in anticipation of a strike by its pilots tomorrow (September 16):

Air France expects to operate 40% of its flights on Tuesday, September 16, 2014, given an estimated 60% of pilots planning to strike.

The flight schedule is updated 24 hours in advance.

Air France asks its customers to check that their flight is operating before going to the airport.

7,000 Air France employees are doing all they can to assist customers.

Air France once again recommends its customers with a flight reservation between September 15-22 to postpone their trip or change their ticket at no extra cost.

Air France regrets this situation and is making every effort to minimize the inconvenience this may cause to its customers. Close to 600,000 texts and messages have been sent to inform customers due to travel on Tuesday individually and in real time.

If the strike action continues beyond September 16, the flight schedule will be adjusted accordingly. Customers will be informed of the potential impact the day before departure. However there may be other disruption and delays.

Meanwhile partner KLM Royal Dutch Airlines issued this short statement:

This is the result of a dispute between Air France and the French pilots’ union about terms relating to Transavia. French pilots who are transferring to Transavia demand the same terms of employment as pilots at Air France. The strike is – as communicated – expected to last from Monday, September 15 to Monday, September 22.

The Air France pilots’ strike will not affect the KLM operation. A rebooking policy is in effect. Customers who are affected by the strike will be rebooked free of charge.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-328 ER F-GZNC (msn 35542) approaches the runway at JFK International Airport in New York.

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Lufthansa: Meet your cabin crew starting today from Munich on select flights

Lufthansa Oktoberfest crew

Lufthansa (Frankfurt) despite dealing with a series of strikes by its pilots, still knows how to party. The airline issued this statement for the upcoming Oktoberfest in Munich for select flights:

With just five days to go until the start of the Oktoberfest in Munich, the designated Lufthansa crew members dressed in traditional folk costume are ready for take-off. The inflight team of twelve women and two men will depart Monday evening (September 15) from Munich on flight LH 722 bound for Beijing. Other Lufthansa flights with the special “Oktoberfest crew” on board will depart for São Paulo on September 24 and for Mexico City on October 4.

Lufthansa crew wearing traditional Bavarian attire will, for the first time, also be taking off from Munich on selected European flights. To mark the beginning and the end of Munich’s Oktoberfest, a Lufthansa CityLine crew will also be swapping their uniforms for dirndls. These flights will depart from Munich on September 20 for Lyon and Copenhagen, and on September 21 for Zagreb and Bremen. On October 5, the traditionally dressed crew will fly from Munich to Zadar (Croatia) and Geneva.

The folk costume worn by Lufthansa’s customer service staff at Munich Airport has a new design this year. During the Oktoberfest, station staff can also wear the new folk costume instead of their Lufthansa uniforms.

Copyright Photo: Lufthansa.

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The Beluga fleet celebrates 20 years of flying

Airbus (Toulouse) is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its transport aircraft named the Beluga. The company issued this recognition:

With its maiden flight on September 13, 1994, the popular Beluga cargo aircraft, affectionately named after the white whale because of its remarkable shape, is celebrating this week twenty years of transporting Airbus component parts between Airbus’ European manufacturing sites.

Since 1995, the fleet of five Beluga aircraft (below) replaced the ageing Super Guppy transporters in order to supply the Airbus final assembly lines in Toulouse and Hamburg. Today, more than sixty flights are performed each week between eleven sites, carrying crucial parts for all of the Airbus programs, including the A380*.

The Beluga fleet is operated by Airbus Transport International (ATI), an Airbus subsidiary airline, and each Beluga crew is composed of a pilot, a co-pilot and a flight engineer.

With the production start of the A350 XWB in 2012 and the production ramp-up on other Airbus programmes, the Beluga activities again will substantially increase over the next five years.

In order to accompany this challenge, Airbus launched in 2011 the Fly 10 000 project. Flight crew numbers and flight hours have grown and loading procedures have been further optimized, with the opening of new integrated loading facilities in Hamburg and Bremen in Germany and Saint-Nazaire in France. Broughton, UK and Getafe, Spain will follow soon. Fly 10,000 should allow the Beluga fleet to double its activities by 2017 (from 5,000 to 10,000 flight hours).

“The Beluga is an essential element of Airbus’ integrated logistics and production ‎system. It is thanks to its reliability and engagement of the Beluga teams that we can fulfil our constant pursuit of efficiency”, said Günter Butschek, Airbus Chief Operating Officer.

The Beluga is based on the twin-engine A300-600R, appreciated for its reliability and its cost-effectiveness. It is powered by General Electric CF6-80C2 engines. With its impressive dimensions (56 m long, 17 m high, a fuselage diameter of 7.71 m and a main-deck cargo volume of 1,400m3), the Beluga is the champion of its category (compared with the Antonov AN-124 or even the C-17). The Beluga can carry a maximum payload of 47 metric tonnes non-stop over a range of 1,660 km/900 nm.

*only the Vertical Tailplane and tailcone, all other A380 components being transported through the “multimodal transport system (sea, river, road).

Top Copyright Photo: Guillaume Besnard/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus Transport International A300B4-608ST Beluga F-GSTB (msn 751) gracefully (for a whale) departs from the Toulouse base.

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Bottom Copyright Photo: Airbus. The Beluga fleet joins a rare group photo at Toulouse.

Airbus Beluga fleet (Grd) TLS (P. Pigeyre-Airbus)(LRW)

 

Estonian Air is coming next summer to Milan

Estonian Air (Tallinn) will add Milan (Malpensa) and the Tallinn-Milan route on April 21, 2015. The new route will be flown twice-weekly with Bombardier CRJ900s.

In other news, Estonian Air reported in August 2014, it carried 53,554 passengers, an increase of 3% compared to the same month last year when Estonian Air carried 51,976 passengers. In August Estonian Air operated 935 flights, an increase of 6.4%.

In the first eight months Estonian Air carried altogether 368,263 passengers, a decrease of 2.6% compared to 2013. In the same period, Estonian Air operated 7163 flights, which is 2.8% less compared to the same period last year.

The 15-minute punctuality of Estonian Air flights in the first eight months was 92.7%, an increase of 2 percentage points compared to the same period last year. The regularity was 99.3%, a decrease of 0.3 percentage points compared to the same period last year. In August the punctuality was 90.2 and regularity 99.3 percentage.

Estonian Air is aiming to provide Estonia with reliable and regular double daily connections to destinations of strategic importance and of substantial demand. Being a small country on the edge of Europe, Estonia depends on such connections, and Estonian Air is committed to provide these services.

Estonian Air, Estonia’s national carrier, is the biggest operator at Tallinn Airport. The airline flies regular routes to Stockholm (Arlanda and Bromma), Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Brussels, Oslo, Moscow, Munich, St. Petersburg, Kiev, Vilnius and Trondheim. In addition, from May to September, Estonian Air flies to Nice and Split, from June to August to Paris and from June to the end of October to Berlin. From December 2014 to March 2015, Estonian Air will add seasonal flights to Munich and from April to November 2015 to Milan.

Copyright Photo: Stefan Sjogren/AirlinersGallery.com. Bombardier CRJ900 (CL-600-2D24) ES-ACB (msn 15261) taxies at Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport during the winter.

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Promotional ad by Estonian Air for its new Milan destination:

Estonian Air Milan ad

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