The Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules reaches another major milestone on August 23 marking the 60th anniversary of its first flight at Burbank, California, in 1954.
The company has issued this statement:
To honor this historic C-130 anniversary, Lockheed Martin invites members of the worldwide Hercules community to share their C-130 memories, experiences, photos and videos. From Aug. 18 through Sept. 30, stories can be shared through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube. Stories will be collected on a Lockheed Martin-sponsored website and shared with page viewers. To ensure stories are included on this site, the hashtag “#herc60″ must be included within each post. Submissions also can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be manually posted on the anniversary site.
In addition, special videos, photos and features saluting the C-130 will be posted daily to Lockheed Martin’s corporate webpage, Code One Magazine, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube accounts throughout the week of Aug. 18-23.
Since its debut, the C-130 Hercules has exhibited a combination of rugged tenacity, unmatched flexibility and continuous innovation that continue to make it the global airlifter choice. The C-130 has the longest, continuous military aircraft production run in history and is one of the top three longest, continuous aircraft production lines of any type.
The aircraft is widely considered as the world’s most proven workhorse. To date, more than 2,500 C-130s have been ordered and/or delivered to 63 nations. The C-130 operates out of 70 countries and has been produced in more than 70 variants. All of the C-130’s production models have been built at the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Marietta facility.
“In its first six decades, the C-130 shaped aviation history, redefined industry standards and exhibited flexibility that other aircraft have yet to match,” said George Shultz, Lockheed Martin vice president and general manager, C-130 Programs. “The C-130 remains the world’s most proven airlifter because of its ability to adapt, remain relevant and deliver results no matter the mission. As we celebrate the Hercules, we want to thank the people who designed, and now build, deliver, fly, maintain and sustain it. It’s their contributions that have kept the global C-130 fleet flying and will continue to do so for decades to come.”
The Hercules has been everywhere and is known for its ability to tackle any mission, anywhere, at any time. Aircrews have flown it to both poles, landed or airdropped military supplies to combat hot spots and performed countless relief operations around the globe. From the highest air strips in the Himalayas to landing on an aircraft carrier in the middle of the ocean, the C-130 regularly – and proudly – defies expectations.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 113,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2013 were $45.4 billion.
Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. The C-130 is mainly a military transport aircraft. However several airlines have operated the civilian version. Of course the civilian version, the current Lockheed 382G (L-100-30), remains a viable and tough airline transport to this day in many remote parts of the world. Even passenger carriers like Delta Air Lines have operated the Hercules on dedicated cargo routes. An earlier model, the pictured Lockheed 382E-6C Hercules (L-100-20) N9259R (msn 4176), is seen at the Atlanta base on October 3, 1969. This aircraft was delivered on October 14, 1966. Delta replaced its Curtiss C-46 freighters with this newer turboprop freighter. The dedicated freighter service was short-lived.
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) will move New York operations of its Delta Shuttle between Boston-Logan International Airport and New York’s LaGuardia Airport from the Marine Air Terminal to Terminal C beginning on November 2.
Boston Shuttle customers will enjoy new departure and arrival facilities at LaGuardia in Terminal C as well as upgraded service to Boeing 717 aircraft. The move is part of Delta’s strategy of adding bigger aircraft on more routes.
In 2012, Delta completed renovations to Terminal C as part of its $160 million investment to modernize and connect Terminals C and D at LaGuardia and opened a new 7,600 square foot Delta Sky Club featuring a full wall of windows with runway views. Customers will also have access to Delta’s five new restaurants with menus led by celebrity chefs, an expansive food hall and fresh markets.
Weekday flights depart near the top of the hour from 6 a.m. through 8 p.m. and will be operated by Delta using Boeing 717 aircraft which accommodates 110 passengers including 12 First Class seats in a two by two configuration, 15 Economy Comfort and 83 economy seats in a two by three configuration. Boston-based customers will now be able connect through Delta’s LaGuardia hub for access to 64 additional cities.
Delta Shuttle service began on its Boston to New York and Washington, D.C. to New York routes on September 1, 1991 after Delta completed the purchase of the Pan Am Shuttle. For nearly a quarter century the Delta Shuttle has been a core part of its New York operations. In June 2010, Delta added New York to Chicago-O’Hare service to the Shuttle operation.
Customers flying the Delta Shuttle between New York-LaGuardia and Boston will enjoy:
Convenient, top of the hour schedule for Delta Shuttle customers including 15 weekday departures
Check-in as close as 15 minutes prior to departure without bags or 30 with checked bags
Dedicated check-in counters exclusively for Shuttle customers
Expedited security screening with nearby access to TSA Pre-Check lanes for eligible passengers
Dedicated gates – located near the Delta Sky Club in LaGuardia’s Terminal C – with access to complimentary coffee and newspapers for all customers including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Financial Times and power at the gate
Advanced seat selection on all Delta Shuttle flights and complimentary access to Economy Comfort seats for SkyMiles Gold, Platinum and Diamond Medallion members at the time of booking
Two classes of service with complimentary upgrades for SkyMiles Medallion members when available.
Complimentary onboard snacks including bagels in the morning before 10:30 a.m. or gourmet nut mix for flights after 10:30 a.m.
Complimentary beverages in-flight including craft beer and wine in all classes of service
Cocktails available for purchase in economy
Access to in-flight Wi-Fi on all Shuttle flights
Access to power from every seat on the Boeing 717 aircraft
The November 2014 schedule between New York–LaGuardia and Boston is below.
Delta Shuttle flights between New York and Chicago-O’Hare International Airport or Washington Reagan-National Airport will continue to operate from LaGuardia’s Marine Air Terminal operated by Delta Connection partner, Shuttle America using Embraer E175 aircraft.
Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Ex-AirTran Airways Boeing 717-2BD N995AT (msn 55139), now with Delta, arrives at Washington (Dulles).
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) is continuing to drop routes from the former Northwest Airlines hub at Memphis, TN. The carrier will drop its MEM routes to both Austin and Denver in September according to The Daily News in Memphis. For MEM passengers, Delta will continue to funnel traffic to its large Atlanta hub.
Read the full article: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-114 N346NB (msn 1796) taxies to the runway at Memphis International Airport (MEM).
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) will resume the Salt Lake City-Mexico City route on December 20. Airbus A319 equipment will connect Delta’s SLC hub with its partner AeroMexico’s MEX hub with daily service according to Airline Route.
Delta dropped this route in September 2012.
Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-114 N319NB (msn 1346) prepares to touch down in New York (JFK).
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) is planning to drop the Tokyo (Narita)-Hong Kong route on October 26. The airline is realigning its Pacific network per Airline Route. The route is served with Boeing 767-300 ERs.
In addition, Delta is also dropping the Nagoya-Manila route on October 26.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 767-332 ER N169DZ (msn 29689) climbs away from the runway at Narita International Airport (NRT) near Tokyo.
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) currently operates 16 ex-Northwest Airlines Boeing 747-400s. According to FrequentBusinessTraveler.com citing a memo to its pilots, Delta will retire three aircraft by the end of September and another by the end of this year leaving 12 in the fleet.
Delta was originally a Boeing 747-100 operator and became a 747 operator again with the Northwest Airlines merger.
Read the full report: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: Boeing 747-451 N671US (msn 26477) taxies to the gate at Los Angeles International Airport.
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) today announced it will begin offering free entertainment options on all of its domestic aircraft and two-cabin regional jets beginning on August 1.
According to the airline;
“The move is the most far-reaching effort by an airline to provide hit movies, popular television shows, music and video games for free. With the introduction of Delta Studio and the airline’s investments to update the interiors of its aircraft, Delta is setting the standard for customers when it comes to free entertainment across more than 1,000 aircraft.”
All Delta customers, in every class of service on flights longer than one and a half hours, will have access to a selection of free entertainment options, either at their seat or through their laptops, mobile and tablet devices. Free entertainment options are available on flights with seat-back entertainment systems or on demand video streaming onboard Delta’s Wi-Fi-equipped aircraft.
“Through the introduction of Delta Studio our customers have yet another reason to choose Delta and a different travel experience,” said Tim Mapes, senior vice president – Marketing. “Delta continues to be driven by customer feedback which has consistently placed the desire to be entertained at the top of the list of ways to improve our customers’ time in the air.”
Delta customers seated in BusinessElite, First Class and Economy Comfort will have free, unrestricted access to in-flight entertainment on all international flights worldwide. Customers traveling in economy on all international flights will also have access to free content. Delta completed installation of seat-back entertainment systems on its international fleet in 2013.
Customers traveling on domestic flights in BusinessElite, First Class and Economy Comfort will have free access to all in-flight entertainment. Domestic economy customers will have access to free content which includes all of Delta’s live satellite TV channels, music selections and game options through seat-back entertainment systems as well as movie or TV selections such as ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ or ‘Frozen’ on seat-back systems in August as well as streaming content through in-flight Wi-Fi.
Additional premium content will be available for purchase in economy including the latest movie titles such as ‘Need for Speed’ or ‘Rio 2,’ HBO and SHOWTIME programming as well as on-demand TV shows like ‘About a Boy’ or ‘The Middle.’ Delta’s full entertainment line-up for the month of August is available in Sky magazine.
Seat-back In-flight Entertainment
Delta offers 18 channels of live satellite TV on select aircraft and up to 250 movies, hundreds of TV shows, 2,300 songs and a selection of games on aircraft with seat-back entertainment systems. Delta is the only U.S. carrier to offer personal, on-demand entertainment at every seat on all long-haul international flights.
Delta has 140 domestic aircraft with seat-back entertainment systems installed and recently announced that it will be updating more of its domestic narrowbody aircraft through 2016. These fleet interior modifications will add seat-back entertainment to 56 Boeing 757-200, 43 Boeing 737-800s and 57 Airbus A319 aircraft. Additionally, more than 100 new Airbus and Boeing aircraft are already scheduled to be delivered with seat-back entertainment through 2018.
In-flight streaming through onboard Wi-Fi
Customers traveling on any domestic Delta or Delta Connection two-cabin aircraft equipped with Wi-Fi will be able to stream free movies and TV options directly to their mobile devices while in flight by using Gogo’s video player app. The Fly Delta app will include an integrated player for iOS devices. Customers who have downloaded the app before their flight can easily access streamed content from Delta aircraft for playback while in-flight.
With more than 900 domestic and international aircraft equipped with in-flight Wi-Fi, Delta operates the world’s largest fleet of internet connected aircraft available to more than 400,000 customers on more than 4,000 flights daily. Delta’s in-flight connectivity continues to expand with the installation of the service on its international fleet. All Boeing 777, 767, 747, Airbus A330 and trans-oceanic Boeing 757 aircraft are scheduled for completion by the end of 2015, bringing the total number of Wi-Fi connected aircraft in Delta’s fleet to more than 1,000.
Artist Spotlight and Billboard Partnership
In June, Delta also launched its new music discovery platform for popular and emerging artists called Delta Artist Spotlight. The monthly program kicked off with newcomer Sam Smith and his debut album, ‘In The Lonely Hour’ by introducing his music to millions of passengers through overhead music during boarding and deplaning as well as offering custom content selections for aircraft equipped with seat-back entertainment systems. July featured Scottish electronic band Chvrches and Canadian-born songstress Kiezsa will be highlighted in the month of August.
Delta launched an industry-first partnership with Billboard in July to provide new ergonomically designed earbuds on flights more than 250 miles that feature seat-back and overhead entertainment. As one of the world’s most influential music brands, Billboard brings a new level of expertise to the redesigned earbuds resulting in better sound quality and improved comfort. The earbuds are complimentary for all customers traveling on all international flights as well as flights between New York and Los Angeles, San Francisco or Seattle/Tacoma. Customers seated in domestic economy or Economy Comfort can purchase the earbuds for $2.
Copyright Photos: Delta Air Lines.
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) will launch a new international route from its Salt Lake City hub to KLM’s Amsterdam hub on May 1. The new route will be operated five days a week using Boeing 767-300 aircraft according to Airline Route. It will become daily service on May 17.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 767-3P6 ER N156DL (msn 25354) arrives at Tokyo (Narita).
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) is adding another new route from its growing Seattle/Tacoma hub. SEA-Puerto Vallarta, Mexico service will be initiated on December 20 with Boeing 737-800s. The route will be operated on a weekly basis (three days a week during the Christmas-New Year holidays) per Airline Route.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-832 N390DA (msn 30536) climbs away from the runway at Los Angeles International Airport.
Delta Air Lines (current):
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) today reported financial results for the second quarter (June quarter). Key points include:
Delta’s pre-tax income for the June 2014 quarter was $1.4 billion, excluding special items1, an increase of $593 million over the June 2013 quarter on a similar basis. Delta’s net income for the June 2014 quarter was $889 million, or $1.04 per diluted share, and its operating margin was 15.1 percent, excluding special items.
On a GAAP basis which includes special items, Delta’s pre-tax income was $1.3 billion, operating margin was 14.9 percent and net income was $801 million, or $0.94 per diluted share.
Results include $340 million in profit sharing expense in recognition of Delta employees’ contributions toward achieving the company’s financial goals.
Delta generated over $2 billion of operating cash flow and $1.5 billion of free cash flow during the June 2014 quarter. As of mid-July, the company has used its strong cash generation in 2014 to reduce its adjusted net debt below $8 billion, contribute more than $900 million of funding to its defined benefit pension plans, and return $550 million to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases.
“Delta’s performance this quarter, with 9 percent top line growth, more than 4 points of margin expansion and $1.5 billion of free cash flow, shows the financial strength and resilience of our company. We expect our September quarter performance will be even stronger, as we expand our operating margins to 15-17% and further improve our profitability,” said Delta chief executive officer Richard Anderson. “All credit goes to Delta people worldwide who not only produced this record financial performance, but also continue to lead the industry in operational reliability and customer satisfaction.”
Delta’s operating revenue improved 9 percent, or $914 million, in the June 2014 quarter compared to the June 2013 quarter, driven by continued strength in corporate and domestic revenues. Traffic increased 5.0 percent on a 3.2 percent increase in capacity.
Passenger revenue increased 9 percent, or $772 million, compared to the prior year period. Passenger unit revenue (PRASM) increased 5.7 percent year-over-year with a 3.8 percent improvement in yield. Seat-related products and other merchandising initiatives increased revenues by $45 million versus the prior year period.
Cargo revenue decreased 1 percent, or $2 million, as lower freight yields were partially offset by higher volumes.
Other revenue increased 15 percent, or $144 million, driven by higher joint venture and SkyMiles revenues.
Consolidated unit cost excluding fuel expense, profit sharing and special items (CASM-Ex2), was flat in the June 2014 quarter on a year-over-year basis as the benefits of Delta’s domestic refleeting and other cost initiatives offset the company’s investments in its employees, products and operations. GAAP consolidated CASM decreased 0.4 percent.
Total operating expense in the quarter increased $249 million year-over-year driven by higher revenue- and volume-related expenses and $222 million higher profit sharing expense. These cost increases were partially offset by lower fuel expense and savings from Delta’s cost initiatives.
Fuel expense declined $168 million driven by hedge benefits, refinery profits and prior year mark to market adjustments that offset higher market fuel prices and higher consumption. Delta’s average fuel price was $2.93 per gallon for the June quarter, which includes $99 million in settled hedge gains. Operations at the refinery produced a $13 million profit for the June quarter, a $64 million improvement year-over-year.
Excluding special items, non-operating expense declined by $58 million as a result of lower interest expense, lower foreign exchange impact, and a $7 million gain associated with Delta’s 49 percent ownership stake in Virgin Atlantic. Including a $111 million special item for loss on extinguishment of debt resulting from Delta’s debt reduction initiatives, non-operating expense for the quarter increased by $53 million.
Tax expense increased $496 million compared to the prior year quarter, as the company now recognizes tax expense for financial reporting purposes following the reversal of its tax valuation allowance at the end of 2013.
“With our domestic refleeting continuing and our cost initiatives taking hold, we have been able to keep our non-fuel unit cost growth below 2 percent for each of the last four quarters,” said Paul Jacobson,
Delta’s chief financial officer. “Not only are these initiatives driving our current performance, but they are also building a foundation for sustaining this performance into the future.”
Cash from operations during the June 2014 quarter was $2.1 billion, driven by the company’s June quarter profit and the normal seasonal increase in advance ticket sales, which were partially offset by $300 million in contributions to the defined benefit pension plan. The company generated $1.5 billion of free cash flow.
Capital expenditures during the June 2014 quarter were $520 million, including $343 million in fleet investments. During the quarter, Delta’s net debt maturities and capital leases were $851 million.
With its strong cash generation year to date, the company has returned $550 million to shareholders as of mid-July. Through its $0.06 per share quarterly dividend, the company paid $101 million to shareholders. In addition, the company repurchased 12.4 million shares at an average price of $36.33 for a total of $450 million. These repurchases represent $200 million under the May 2014 $2 billion authorization, in addition to completing the May 2013 $500 million authorization.
Delta ended the quarter with $6.0 billion of unrestricted liquidity and adjusted net debt of $7.9 billion. The company has now achieved more than $9 billion in net debt reduction since 2009.
Jacobson continued, “By taking a balanced approach to capital deployment, Delta has been able to invest more than $1 billion in our fleet and other products, while also reducing our debt to its lowest level in twenty years, contributing over $900 million to our pension plans, and returning $550 million to shareholders so far this year.”
Delta has a strong commitment to its employees, customers and the communities it serves. Key accomplishments in the June 2014 quarter include:
Recognizing the achievements of Delta employees toward meeting the company’s financial and operational goals with $476 million of incentives so far this year, including accruing $439 million in employee profit sharing and paying $37 million in Shared Rewards;
Improving its global network with new service connecting Delta’s hubs in New York and Seattle/Tacoma with the key business destinations of London-Heathrow, Zurich, Rome, Hong Kong and Seoul;
Announcing an order for 15 Airbus A321 aircraft, adding to the 30 aircraft of this type already on order. These economically efficient, proven-technology aircraft will provide an improved customer experience as they replace similar, less-efficient domestic aircraft that are being retired as part of the Delta’s domestic fleet restructuring;
Completing modifications on its international widebody fleet, making Delta the only U.S. carrier to offer full flat-bed seats with direct aisle access in BusinessElite and personal, on-demand entertainment at every seat on all long-haul international flights; and
Celebrating the grand opening of the new Delta Flight Museum, which coincided with the 85th anniversary of Delta’s first passenger service. The museum is housed in the airline’s two original maintenance hangars with exhibits that chronicle more than eight decades of Delta history and the growth and development of commercial aviation.
Delta recorded a net $88 million special items charge in the June 2014 quarter, including:
a $69 million charge for debt extinguishment associated with Delta’s debt reduction initiative; and
a $20 million charge associated with Delta’s domestic fleet restructuring.
Delta recorded a net $159 million special items charge in the June 2013 quarter, including:
a $125 million mark-to-market adjustment on fuel hedges settling in future periods; and
a $34 million charge for facilities, fleet and other items, primarily associated with Delta’s domestic fleet restructuring.
Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 757-2Q8 N709TW (msn 28168) arrives in New York (JFK) with a special tribute to retired New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera “42”.
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) today suspended all flights to Tel Aviv, Israel due to nearby rocket attacks according to CNN. Today’s flight DL 469 from New York (JFK) diverted to Paris (Charles de Gualle).
The suspension is for 24 hours.
The suspension of service to Israel comes after the State Department issued this statement:
The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza due to ongoing hostilities. The Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens consider the deferral of non-essential travel to Israel and the West Bank and reaffirms the longstanding strong warning to U.S. citizens against any travel to the Gaza Strip. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning issued on February 3, 2014.
The security environment remains complex in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, and U.S. citizens need to be aware of the risks of travel to these areas because of the current conflict between Hamas and Israel.
The Department of State continues its longstanding strong warning to U.S. citizens against travel to the Gaza Strip; U.S. government employees are not allowed to conduct official or personal travel there. Please see the section below on the situation in the Gaza Strip. Because of the security situation, the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and its annexes are currently operating at reduced staffing and the Consular Section of the Embassy is providing only emergency consular services. The U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem is currently maintaining normal operations, including consular services.
Long-range rockets launched from Gaza since July 8, 2014 have reached many locations in Israel – including Tel Aviv, cities farther north, and throughout the south of the country. Some rockets have reached Jerusalem and parts of the West Bank, including Bethlehem and Hebron. While many rockets have been intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, there have been impacts that have caused damage and injury. In light of the ongoing rocket attacks, U.S. citizen visitors to and U.S. citizen residents of Israel and the West Bank should familiarize themselves with the location of the nearest bomb shelter or other hardened site, if available. Visitors should seek information on shelters from hotel staff or building managers. Consult city municipality websites, such as those for Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, for lists of public bomb shelters and other emergency preparedness information. Visitors should follow the instructions of the Home Front Command on proper procedures in the event of rocket attacks.
Travelers should avoid areas of Israel in the vicinity of the Gaza Strip due to the real risks presented by small arms fire, anti-tank weapons, rockets, and mortars, as attacks from Gaza can come with little or no warning. Both Embassy and Consulate General personnel are currently not permitted to travel south of greater Tel Aviv without prior approval. On July 17, 2014 Israel announced the commencement of ground operations in Gaza. Visitors to these areas should remain aware of their surroundings and should take note of announcements and guidance provided by the Home Front Command.
Ben Gurion Airport is currently open and commercial flights are operating normally, although delays and cancellations can occur. Travelers should check with their airline prior to their planned travel to verify the flight schedule. U.S. citizens seeking to depart Israel or the West Bank are responsible for making their own travel arrangements.
We are not evacuating U.S. citizens out of Israel. U.S. government-facilitated evacuations occur only when no safe commercial alternatives exist. Evacuation assistance is provided on a cost-recovery basis, which means the traveler must reimburse the U.S. government for travel costs. The lack of a valid U.S. passport may hinder U.S. citizens’ ability to depart the country and may slow the U.S. Embassy or
Consulate General’s ability to provide assistance.
U.S. citizens who do travel to or remain in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza should take into consideration the rules governing travel by U.S. government employees:
U.S. government personnel are not permitted to conduct official or personal travel to the Gaza Strip;
U.S. government personnel are restricted from conducting personal travel to most parts of the West Bank; travel for official business is done with special security arrangements coordinated by the U.S.
Consulate General in Jerusalem;
Currently, because of the security situation, U.S. government personnel are not permitted to travel south of greater Tel Aviv without prior approval;
U.S. government personnel must notify Embassy Tel Aviv’s Regional Security Officer before traveling in the areas of the Golan Heights and are prohibited from traveling east of Rt. 98 in the Golan Heights;
U.S. government personnel are not permitted to use public buses anywhere in Israel or the West Bank due to past attacks on public transportation.
Major Metropolitan Areas in Israel
Personal safety conditions in major metropolitan areas, including Tel Aviv and Haifa and their surrounding regions, are comparable to or better than those in other major global cities. Please see below for specific information regarding Jerusalem. Visitors should observe appropriate personal security practices to reduce their vulnerability to crime, particularly late at night or in isolated or economically depressed areas, including in the countryside. Visitors are advised to avoid large gatherings or demonstrations and keep current with local news, which is available through numerous English language sources.
The Government of Israel has had a long-standing policy of issuing gas masks to its citizens and, starting in 2010, it began issuing replacement masks. It stopped this distribution process in early 2014 in response to regional events. Visitors and foreign residents in Israel are not issued masks and must individually procure them, if desired. The U.S. Embassy and Consulate General do not provide gas masks for persons who are not U.S. government employees or their dependents. For further emergency preparedness guidance, please visit the website of the Government of Israel’s Home Front Command, which provides information on how to choose a secure space in a home or apartment, as well as a list of the types of protective kits (gas masks) issued by the Government of Israel to its citizens.
The Department of State recommends against travel to areas of Israel in the vicinity of the Gaza Strip. Travelers should be aware of the risks presented by the current military conflict between Hamas and Israel. On July 17, 2014 Israel announced the commencement of ground operations in Gaza. Travelers in the regions immediately bordering Gaza may encounter small arms fire, anti-tank weapons, rockets, and mortars launched from inside Gaza toward Israeli cities and towns. These attacks can come with little or no warning. Visitors to these areas should remain aware of their surroundings and of the location of bomb shelters and should take note of announcements and guidance provided by the Home Front Command.
Travelers should also be aware of the heightened state of alert maintained by Israeli authorities along Israel’s border with Egypt. There have been cross-border incidents from Egypt, including rocket attacks and ground incursions, such as an attack that took place in August 2013 and one on January 20, 2014. Rockets were fired from Sinai in the direction of Eilat on July 15, 2014.
Rocket attacks into Israel from Lebanon have occurred without warning along the Israeli-Lebanese border. Tensions have increased along portions of the Disengagement Zone with Syria in the Golan Heights as a result of the internal conflict occurring in Syria. Sporadic gunfire has occurred along the border region. There have been several incidents of mortar shells and light arms fire impacting on the Israeli-controlled side of the zone as a result of spillover from the fighting in Syria. Travelers should be aware that cross-border gunfire can occur without warning. Furthermore, there are active land mines in areas of the Golan Heights, so visitors should walk only on established roads or trails. The Syrian conflict is sporadic and unpredictable. U.S. government personnel must notify the Embassy’s Regional Security Office in advance if they plan to visit the Golan Heights and are prohibited from traveling east of Rt. 98 in the Golan Heights.
U.S. citizens should be aware of the possibility of isolated street protests, particularly within the Old City and areas around Salah Ed-Din Street, Damascus Gate, Silwan, and the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. Travelers should exercise caution at religious sites on Fridays and on holy days, including during Ramadan. U.S. government employees are prohibited from entering the Old City on Fridays during the month of Ramadan due to congestion and security-related access restrictions.
U.S. government employees are prohibited from transiting Independence Park in central Jerusalem during the hours of darkness due to reports of criminal activity.
The Consulate General notes that recent demonstrations and clashes in several East Jerusalem areas, such as Shufat, Beit Hanina, Mt. of Olives, As Suwaneh, Abu Deis, Silwan, Shuafat Refugee Camp, inside the Old City (near Lions Gate), Issawiyeh, and Tsur Baher appear to have diminished, although the possibility exists of renewed clashes in the same areas during evenings. We note that the clashes and demonstrations have not been anti-American in nature. The Israel National Police (INP) continues to have a heavy presence in many of the neighborhoods that have had clashes and may restrict vehicular traffic to some of these neighborhoods without notice. We advise citizens not to enter any neighborhoods restricted by the INP and to avoid any locations that have active clashes ongoing.
The Shufat neighborhood of Jerusalem remains off-limits for official U.S. personnel and their families at night until further notice. The Old City of Jerusalem is also off-limits every day after dark for official U.S. personnel and their families until further notice. Official U.S. personnel are restricted from the Old City of Jerusalem at all times on Fridays during Ramadan. The Friday restriction is part of our standard policy, due to overall congestion and large crowds, and is not related to recent events.
The West Bank
The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to exercise caution when traveling to the West Bank. Demonstrations and violent incidents can occur without warning, and vehicles are regularly targeted by rocks, Molotov cocktails, and gunfire on West Bank roads. U.S citizens have been killed in such attacks. There have also been an increasing number of violent incidents involving Israeli settlers and Palestinian villagers in the corridor stretching from Ramallah to Nablus, including attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinian villages in which U.S. citizens have suffered injury or property damage, and attacks by Palestinians on settlements. U.S. citizens can be caught in the middle of potentially dangerous situations, and some U.S. citizens involved in political demonstrations in the West Bank have sustained serious injuries. The Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens, for their own safety, avoid all demonstrations. During periods of unrest, the Israeli Government may restrict access to the West Bank, and some areas may be placed under curfew. All persons in areas under curfew should remain indoors to avoid arrest or injury. Security conditions in the West Bank may hinder the ability of consular staff to offer timely assistance to U.S. citizens.
Personal travel in the West Bank by U.S. government personnel and their families is permitted to the towns of Bethlehem and Jericho and on Routes 1, 443, and 90. Personal travel is also permitted to Qumran off Route 90 by the Dead Sea, as are stops at roadside facilities along Routes 1 and 90. All other personal travel by U.S. government personnel in the West Bank is prohibited. U.S. government personnel routinely travel to the West Bank for official business, but do so with special security arrangements.
The Gaza Strip
The Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to the Gaza Strip, which is under the control of Hamas, a foreign terrorist organization. U.S. citizens in Gaza are advised to depart immediately. The security environment within Gaza, including its border with Egypt and its seacoast, is dangerous and volatile. Exchanges of fire between the Israel Defense Forces and militant groups in Gaza take place regularly, and civilians have been caught in the crossfire in the past. Although the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt normally allows for some passenger travel, prior coordination with local authorities — which could take days or weeks to process — is generally required, and crossing points may be closed for days or weeks. Travelers who enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing must also exit through the Rafah crossing, and those entering the Gaza Strip may not be able to depart at a time of their choosing. Many U.S. citizens have been unable to exit Gaza or faced lengthy delays in doing so. Furthermore, the schedule and requirements for exiting through the Rafah crossing are unpredictable and can involve significant expense. Because U.S. citizen employees of the U.S. government are not allowed to enter the Gaza Strip or have contact with Hamas, the ability of consular staff to offer timely assistance to U.S. citizens, including assistance departing Gaza, is extremely limited.
Some U.S. citizens holding Israeli nationality, possessing a Palestinian identity card, or who are of Arab or Muslim origin have experienced significant difficulties in entering or exiting Israel or the West Bank. U.S. citizens planning to travel to Israel, the West Bank, or Gaza should consult the detailed information concerning entry and exit difficulties in the Country Specific Information.
Contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy for information and assistance in Israel, the Golan Heights, and ports of entry at Ben Gurion Airport, Haifa Port, the northern (Jordan River/Sheikh Hussein) and southern (Arava) border crossings connecting Israel and Jordan, and the border crossings between Israel and Egypt. An embassy officer can be contacted at (972) (3) 519-7575 from Monday through Friday during working hours. The after-hours emergency number is (972) (3) 519-7551.
Contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem for information and assistance in Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge crossing between the West Bank and Jordan, at (972) (2) 630-4000 from Monday through Friday during working hours. The after-hours emergency number is (972) (2) 622-7250.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 747-451 N663US (msn 23818) prepares to land in Tokyo (Narita).
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) is dropping the Monrovia, Liberia extension on the New York (JFK)-Accra route on September 1. The extended route operates three days a week with Boeing 767-300 ER equipment per Airline Route. New York (JFK)-Accra service will continue.
Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 767-332 ER N192DN (msn 28449) departs from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York.
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) effective August 1 will reduced its service on the Atlanta-Caracas route to one flight a week per Airline Route. This move follows the actions of American Airlines. Both carriers are reducing services to CCS due to the Venezuelan government’s attempt to disallow the transfer of funds out of Venezuela.
Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. The route will now be operated with smaller Boeing 737-700s. Boeing 737-732 N309DE (msn 29634) arrives at the New York (JFK) hub.
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) will fly weekly New York (JFK)-St. Lucia flights from December 20, 2014 through April 4, 2015. The winter seasonal flights will be operated with Boeing 737-800s according to Airline Route.
Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-832 N378DA (msn 30265) arrives in New York (JFK).
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) has announced new nonstop service this winter to the Caribbean island of Barbados. Delta will add new nonstop flights beginning on December 4, 2014, twice weekly between Grantley Adams International Airport in Bridgetown and both New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
Flights will operate Thursdays and Saturdays, and two flights will start simultaneously, one from New York into Barbados and then onto Atlanta; and then a second one originating in Atlanta, traveling to Barbados and on to New York.
The two Boeing 737-800s have a seating capacity of 160, consisting of 16 business class seats, 18 economy comfort seats and 126 economy seats on each flight.
Barbados is one of 97 international locations on Delta’s growing route map, and one of the more than 225 destinations throughout the Americas.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-832 N3763D (msn 29629) departs from Los Angeles.
Chart: Delta’s current fleet:
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) yesterday (June 17) celebrated the grand opening of the new Delta Flight Museum, a 68,000 square-foot facility located at the airline’s world headquarters in Atlanta. The museum traces Delta’s history and the development of commercial aviation. The grand opening event marked Delta’s 85th anniversary of passenger service, dating back to its first passenger flight from Dallas to Jackson, Mississippi, on June 17, 1929.
The museum, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is housed in the airline’s two original maintenance hangars dating from the 1940s. After a significant renovation to the historic buildings funded by the Delta Air Lines Foundation and other sponsors, the museum is now open to the general public. The museum was designated a Historic Aerospace Site in 2011.
The museum contains displays and exhibits filled with hundreds of artifacts, many of which have never been on public display. They chronicle more than eight decades of Delta history and the growth and development of commercial aviation. The museum houses a permanent collection of five historic aircraft, including a Travel Air 6B Sedan similar to the one that operated Delta’s first passenger flight in 1929 (above), and The Spirit of Delta, a Boeing 767 purchased for the company by employees in 1982. Also on display is a DC-3, Ship 41 (below), that flew for Delta and was restored by Delta employees and volunteers.
Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Douglas DC-3-357 NC28341 (msn 3278) arrives at Baltimore/Washington when it was flying.
The museum features a 117-seat theater and a 30-seat conference room located inside the fuselage of an L-1011 TriStar aircraft. Also on display is the cockpit of a Convair 880 jet. Additionally, visitors can have the ultimate aviation experience and pilot a Boeing 737-200 full-motion simulator, the only one open to the public in the U.S., formerly used to train Delta pilots.
A tour of the museum starts with Delta’s beginnings as a crop-dusting operation in the rural South and takes visitors through the early propeller era of passenger service and into the jet age.
A special exhibit honors Delta’s founder and first CEO, C.E. Woolman. The display includes a portrait of Woolman along with quotes and personal items.
Visitors have the opportunity to explore the museum at their own pace through a self-guided tour, though guided tours are available as well. Special interactive features, including a pilot pre-flight checklist for a Boeing 767 as well as a scavenger hunt, engage children touring the museum. There is also a retail store with hundreds of Delta- and aviation-related items for sale, including aircraft models, clothing and accessories.
The hangar space also serves as a unique public and private rental venue to host meetings, conferences and other events with state-of-the-art audio and video capability and full catering services that can accommodate a seated dinner for as many as 1,200.
Major sponsors of the Delta Flight Museum include the Delta Air Lines Foundation, American Express, Airbus, the New York Yankees, ST Aerospace and Aero BridgeWorks. The full list of sponsors is available at the museum’s website.
More information, including hours of operation, admission fees, event rentals, simulator fees and directions, is available on the museum’s website at deltamuseum.org.
Copyright Photos: Delta Air Lines.
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) issued this statement about its new Hong Kong service and its new “Seattle hub”:
Delta Air Lines yesterday (June 16) launched nonstop service from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to Hong Kong. The new market is Delta’s latest addition in the buildup of its Seattle hub and its fifth new international destination from Seattle/Tacoma in the last year.
Delta customers and employees will commemorated the event along with representatives from the Port of Seattle, Visit Seattle, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, and the Hong Kong Association of Washington with a gate event prior to the departure of the first flight. The event will include a ceremonial ribbon cutting and water cannon salute.
With the launch of Hong Kong service, Delta customers now have nonstop access to nine long-haul international destinations from Seattle – more than all other airlines combined – including the top five destinations in Asia and three of the top four destinations in Europe. Delta is the only carrier to offer nonstop service from Seattle/Tacoma to Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Paris, Shanghai and Tokyo-Haneda. Delta is also the only carrier to offer full flat-bed seats with direct aisle access in BusinessElite on every long-haul international flight from Seattle/Tacoma along with Economy Comfort seating and entertainment on demand in every seat throughout the aircraft.
“With the addition of the Hong Kong flight, Delta now offers our customers more than 2,500 daily seats to the top business markets in Asia and Europe from our Seattle hub,” said Mike Medeiros, Delta’s vice president – Seattle. “As we continue growing in the community, we remain committed to consistently providing the award-winning experience that we’re known for both in the U.S. and around the globe.”
Delta has also significantly expanded its operation in Seattle/Tacoma over the last year to support its international service and offer customers in the previously underserved market more choices. In total, Delta has increased its peak-day departures by more than 30 percent since a year ago and by December will offer 95 peak-day departures to 33 destinations, making it Seattle’s fastest-growing airline.
In February, Delta launched a double miles promotion for Seattle-based SkyMiles members. Customers who book and fly Delta or Delta Connection-marketed and -operated flights from Seattle by Dec. 31, 2014, will be awarded double miles and double Medallion Qualification Miles on the nonstop segment departing from or arriving into Seattle. Registration is required.
Delta currently operates 76 peak-day departures to 25 destinations from Seattle, and every flight offers BusinessElite/First Class and Economy Comfort seating as well as Wi-Fi service on all domestic aircraft. Delta also introduced international Wi-Fi on its Boeing 747-400 fleet earlier this year and will complete installation of Wi-Fi service on its entire long-haul international fleet by the end of 2015. The airline has also invested $15 million in its facilities at Sea-Tac, including its Delta Sky Club and recently completed lobby renovations, Sky Priority services, new gate area power recharging stations, expanded ticket counters and enhancements to the international arrivals area.
In other news, Delta will start nonstop Los Angeles-Mazatlan daily service on December 20 with Boeing 737-800s.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Delta also introduced international Wi-Fi on its Boeing 747-400 fleet earlier this year .
Delta today launches full flat-bed seats in BusinessElite on all flights between New York-JFK and Los Angeles
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) following on the start of JetBlue Airways’ trans-con Airbus A321 Mint service, today launches a significant upgrade to its service between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport with the introduction of three Boeing 757-200 aircraft featuring full flat-bed seats in the BusinessElite cabin. These aircraft join Delta’s existing international 767-300 ERs serving the New York-Los Angeles route, which connects the two largest U.S. commercial centers eight times daily with the seats, amenities and service that travelers expect from a global airline.
All flights between New York-JFK and Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle/Tacoma will feature flat-bed seats on Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft by the summer of 2015.
Trans-continental 767 aircraft
The 767 transcontinental product features updated interiors including 26 full flat-bed BusinessElite seats with direct aisle access at every seat in a 1-2-1 configuration. The 21-inch-wide seats offer an average bed length of 79 inches and feature a 10.6-inch video monitor. The 767s are configured with 29 Economy Comfort seats featuring 35 inches of pitch and up to 50 percent more recline. Each of the 171 seats in the economy cabin features a 9-inch video monitor and USB power. Standard 110v power is available in the BusinessElite cabin and Economy Comfort section.
Trans-continental 757 aircraft
The 757 trans-continental aircraft includes 16 full flat-bed seats arranged in a 2-2 configuration in the BusinessElite cabin. Each seat is 20 inches wide and is expandable up to 22 inches with an average bed length of 76 inches. Cabin mood lighting and a high-definition, 16-inch video monitor at each seat further enhance the onboard experience. The updated 757 trans-continental aircraft includes changes to the economy cabin with 44 extra-legroom Economy Comfort seats which offer 35 inches of pitch and up to 50 percent more recline in a 3-by-3 configuration in addition to 108 standard economy seats.
Above: The Boeing 757-200 trans-con BusinessElite cabin:
In addition to the 757 and 767 trans-continental full flat-bed seat updates, customers will enjoy a gourmet three-course lunch and dinner menu from renowned chef Michael Chiarello paired with wine from Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson’s specially curated Delta Winemaker Series. Additional touches like Westin Heavenly In-Flight bedding, a Tumi amenity kit featuring skincare products from Malin+Goetz, a noise-reduction headset and sparkling wine round out the BusinessElite experience.
Above: The Boeing 757-200 trans-con Economy class.
Trans-continental Economy Comfort and economy
Earlier this month, Delta announced upgrades to Economy Comfort including complimentary pillows and blankets on all its transcontinental flights between JFK and LAX, SFO, and SEA. Economy Comfort customers also receive a Delta sleep kit, including eye shades and ear plugs, complimentary Luvo snack wraps, a bottle of water and Luvo frozen yogurt bars (on flights departing prior to 9:00 PM).
From New York-JFK to Los Angeles, all seats in the economy cabin feature next generation seat design for more personal space, an adjustable headrest, a nine-inch seatback video monitor and standard 110v and USB power ports available from each seat. Delta has been enhancing the transcon experience from nose to tail since 2013 with the addition of products such as complimentary Starbucks coffee and headsets for all customers. The New York to Los Angeles transcontinental fleet features in-flight Wi-Fi and an entertainment library of more than 1,000 on-demand options including movies, TV shows, music and games.
In other news, Delta Air Lines announced today (June 16) is partnering with the Carbon War Room, a nonprofit founded by Sir Richard Branson, in an effort to accelerate low-carbon jet fuel production worldwide. This is part of the global carrier’s commitment to environmental accountability, transparency and carbon emission reduction.
Delta and Carbon War Room agree that the development of a secure, sustainable, renewable fuels supply will strengthen the airline industry’s access to high-quality jet fuel, reduce price volatility and the industry’s overall carbon footprint and meet the needs of increasingly climate-conscious customers.
Additionally, access to a competitively-priced renewable jet fuel will be advantageous in meeting future regulatory requirements to reduce emissions from the burning of petroleum-based jet fuel.
Additionally, Delta is reducing its carbon footprint through initiatives such as improving the efficiency of our fleet, partnerships in air traffic management, airport and facility green practices and a robust recycling program in the air and on the ground. The airline also has successfully verified its complete greenhouse gas emissions inventory under The Climate Registry and has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability North American Index three years in a row.
Since 2009, Delta has supported the greenhouse gas emissions goals of IATA and Airlines for America, including improving average annual fuel efficiency by 1.5 percent through 2020, stabilizing emissions with carbon-neutral growth from 2020 and reducing net emissions 50 percent by 2050, relative to 2005.
Top Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com (all others by Delta). Boeing 757-232 N617DL (msn 22907) climbs away from the runway at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
Video: Gateway to Football:
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Subsidiary Compass Airlines’ Embraer ERJ 170-200LR (ERJ 175) N610CZ (msn 17000198) departs from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
Video: According to Delta: “Hop on the Delta Shuttle® between Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco at your convenience—flights depart all day long and are available with First Class and Economy Comfort™ seating options.
You’ll enjoy complimentary LUVO™ snacks, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. craft beer, wine, spirits, Starbucks® coffee, exclusive check-in, priority security and more.*
*A portion of travel for some itineraries may be on the Delta Connection® carrier Compass Airlines dba Delta Shuttle.”
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) will restore Delta Connection service between its Atlanta hub and Ottawa, Canada on December 20, 2014. During the Christmas-New Year holiday period it will operate daily with Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft and then to weekly flights according to Airline Route.
Copyright Photo: Fernandez Imaging/AirlinersGallery.com. Bombardier CRJ900 (CL-600-2D24) N176PQ (msn 15176) lands at Houston (Hobby).
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) will operate a seasonal Mexican route from San Diego to Los Cabos in the Baja Peninsula from December 20, 2014 through April 6, 2015. The route will be operated with Airbus A319 aircraft per Airline Route.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-114 N301NB (msn 1058) climbs away from the runway at Los Angeles International Airport.
Delta upgrades Economy Comfort on all trans-continental flights from New York-JFK to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle/Tacoma
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) issued this announcement today concerning its upgraded Economy Comfort:
Delta Air Lines customers will begin receiving upgraded amenities in Economy Comfort including complimentary pillows, blankets and food options on all flights from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to Los Angeles International Airport, San Francisco International Airport and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport beginning on June 4.
Customers on Delta’s trans-continental routes will continue to receive priority boarding, seats with more legroom, plus free beer, wine and spirits when they purchase Economy Comfort starting at $99 per flight segment.
Economy Comfort customers will receive a complimentary pre-set pillow and blanket on their seat while they board the aircraft. After boarding, Economy Comfort customers will be offered a Delta sleep kit, including eye shades and ear plugs, as added amenities. During flight, Economy Comfort customers will enjoy complimentary Luvo snack wraps and a full-size bottle of water for all flights and Luvo frozen yogurt bars as a mid-flight snack on most flights except those flights leaving the West Coast after 9 p.m.
As previously announced, by mid-June, Delta will also operate three newly refurbished Boeing 757-200 aircraft (above) with full flat-bed seats in the BusinessElite cabin. The addition of these aircraft to Delta’s existing 767 aircraft will offer customers full access to flat-bed seats in BusinessElite on all flights between New York-JFK and Los Angeles International Airport. As additional Boeing 757-200 aircraft are refurbished in the coming months, all trans-continental flights between New York-JFK and Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle/Tacoma will feature full flat-bed seats in BusinessElite by summer 2015.
Top Copyright Photo (all others by Delta): Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 757-212 N751AT (msn 23125) departs from Los Angeles International Airport.
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) and Garuda Indonesia (Jakarta) announced a new codesharing agreement to place the Garuda code on Delta operated flights from Tokyo (Haneda) International Airport to Los Angeles International Airport and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The flights will be conveniently timed to connect Garuda Indonesia’s flights between Jakarta and Tokyo-Haneda, offering both airlines’ customers one-stop travel between Indonesia and the U.S.
The codeshare flights are pending final government approvals and are targeted to be available for purchase in July 2014.
The Delta codeshare flights will be operated with Boeing 767-300 ER aircraft.
Garuda Indonesia will operate its Airbus A330-300 for the Jakarta – Tokyo Haneda route.
Top Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 767-332 ER N194DN (msn 28451) departs from Los Angeles International Airport.
Bottom Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-341 PK-GPE (msn 148) taxies at Baltimore/Washington.
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) on June 2 celebrated new nonstop service from Seattle/Tacoma to Seoul (Incheon) with a gatehouse inaugural ceremony. The flight marked Delta’s fourth nonstop international route added from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in a year, including London-Heathrow, Shanghai-Pudong and Tokyo-Haneda.
On June 16 Delta will celebrate a new international flight with nonstop service to Hong Kong.
In addition to the recently added international service, Delta also currently operates nonstop flights from Seattle/Tacoma to Amsterdam, Beijing, Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Tokyo-Narita. By this summer, Delta will offer more international service from Seattle/Tacoma than all other carriers combined with more than 2,500 daily long-haul international seats as part of the market’s 86 peak-day departures to 26 destinations.
The Seoul flight will operate using a 210-seat Boeing 767-300 ER aircraft with 35 full-flat bed seats in BusinessElite, 32 seats in Economy Comfort and 143 Economy class seats. Delta is the only carrier to offer full flat-bed seats with direct aisle access in BusinessElite on every long-haul international flight from Seattle along with Economy Comfort seating and entertainment on demand in every seat throughout the aircraft.
Delta currently operates 76 peak-day departures to 25 destinations from Seattle/Tacoma, and every flight offers BusinessElite/First Class and Economy Comfort seating as well as Wi-Fi service on all domestic aircraft. Delta also introduced international Wi-Fi on its Boeing 747-400 fleet earlier this year and will complete installation of Wi-Fi service on its entire long-haul international fleet by the end of 2015. The airline has also invested $15 million in its facilities at Sea-Tac, including its Delta Sky Club and recently completed lobby renovations, Sky Priority services, new gate area power recharging stations, expanded ticket counters and enhancements to the international arrivals area.
Bloomberg Businessweek article: “The Battle of Seattle” between Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines is getting serious. Read the full article: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 767-332 ER N175DN (msn 24803) taxies to the gate at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA).
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) will grow its Airbus A320 Family with an order for 15 A321ceo (current engine option) aircraft to offset jet retirements. The airline has selected CFM56-5B engines from CFM International to power the newly ordered A321ceo aircraft, which are scheduled for delivery starting in 2018. CFM International is a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran) and GE.
Delta currently operates a large fleet of Airbus aircraft, including 126 A320 Family aircraft and 32 A330s. The order announced today brings Delta’s backlog to 45 single-aisle Airbus A321 and 10 widebody Airbus A330 aircraft.
All of Delta’s A321s will feature fuel-saving Sharklets – lightweight composite wingtip devices that offer 4 percent fuel-burn savings. This environmental benefit gives the airline the option of extending its range up to 100 nautical miles/185 kilometers or increasing payload capacity by some 1000 pounds/450 kilograms.
Many of Delta’s A321s will be delivered from Airbus’ brand-new A320 Family assembly line, currently under construction in Mobile, Alabama. Hiring is underway at the facility, and aircraft assembly will begin there next year. By 2017, the Mobile facility is expected to produce four aircraft per month.
The A321 will be a new type for Delta when delivered.
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) will re-institute Dallas/Fort Worth-Los Angeles service on November 3. The restored route will be operated as a Delta Connection route with Embraer 175s according to Airline Route.
In addition, Delta continues to add feeder and long-range routes to the Seattle/Tacoma market in addition to what has already been reported. According to Airline Route, the carrier will add three new routes on December 20 adding further competition to Alaska Airlines (Seattle/Tacoma): Bozeman, Montana (ERJ 175), Kahului, Maui, Hawaii (757) and Los Cabos, Mexico (A319).
Delta Air Lines (Seattle/Tacoma) is adding more feeder routes to its growing Seattle/Tacoma mini international (and now domestic) hub in direct competition to its “partner” Alaska Airlines (Seattle/Tacoma). The carrier will add daily Delta Connection service from SEA to both Calgary and Spokane starting on November 3 with Bombardier CRJ700s.
Update: On May 27 Delta issued this statement:
Delta Air Lines this fall will add new service from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to popular ski and beach destinations, including Spokane, Washington; Maui, Hawaii; Bozeman, Montana; Calgary, Alberta; Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. This will give Seattle-area travelers more choice as the airline continues growing its domestic and international network in the Emerald City. All new international destinations are pending foreign government approval, and Puerto Vallarta service is awaiting U.S. government approval and is not yet available for sale.
Delta’s new Seattle/Tacoma service beginning November 3, 2014, includes:
Four daily flights to Spokane International Airport using two-class, 65-seat CRJ700 aircraft
Two daily flights to Calgary International Airport using two-class, 76-seat Embraer ERJ 175 aircraft
New Seattle service beginning December 20, 2014, includes:
One daily flight to Maui’s Kahului Airport using a Boeing 757-200 aircraft
One daily seasonal flight to Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport through Jan. 4, 2015, then
Saturday service from Jan. 10 through March 28, 2015, using two-class, 76-seat Embraer E-175 aircraft
Four weekly flights to Los Cabos International Airport through Jan. 10, 2015, then Saturday service beginning Jan. 17, 2015, using an Airbus A319 aircraft
Four weekly flights to Puerto Vallarta’s Licenciado Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport through Jan. 10, 2015, then Saturday service beginning Jan. 17, 2015, using an Airbus A319 aircraft
Delta began nonstop international service in March to London-Heathrow and will begin nonstop service to Seoul and Hong Kong on June 2 and 16, respectively.
The airline is in the process of beginning significant new Seattle/Tacoma growth to markets including San Francisco; Fairbanks, Alaska; Juneau, Alaska; San Jose, Calif.; San Diego; Vancouver, British Columbia; Portland, Ore.; Phoenix; Palm Springs, Calif.; Tucson, Ariz.; and Jackson Hole, Wyo.; as well as expanded service to Anchorage; Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
In addition to London-Heathrow, Delta currently operates nonstop flights from Seattle/Tacoma to Amsterdam, Beijing, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Shanghai-Pudong, Tokyo-Haneda and Tokyo-Narita. By this summer, Delta will offer more international service from Seattle/Tacoma than all other carriers combined with 10 daily destinations and more than 2,500 daily international seats as part of the market’s 86 peak-day departures to 26 destinations.
Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. In the Seattle/Tacoma area Delta bills itself as “Seattle’s Global Airline”, even on baggage carts at SeaTac.
Delta and Virgin Atlantic unveil a new schedule between London Heathrow and Atlanta and Los Angeles, Virgin Atlantic to fly to Atlanta
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) and Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) will transfer operations for nonstop flights connecting London-Heathrow to both Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport this winter, offering more choices for the airlines’ customers on key routes across the Atlantic.
Effective October 26, 2014, Delta will begin operating one of two daily Heathrow-Los Angeles flights currently operated by Virgin Atlantic. This new Delta service will mark the airline’s first nonstop flight between Los Angeles and London Heathrow and is Delta’s seventh nonstop destination between London and the United States. Virgin Atlantic will begin operating one of Delta’s three daily flights between Heathrow and Atlanta. The two airlines will codeshare on each other’s operated services, allowing Delta and Virgin customers seamless access to the expanded network.
This announcement also shows how the partnership, which launched on January 1, 2014, is increasing the network of each carrier. Virgin Atlantic will have access to Delta’s Atlanta hub, the busiest airport in the world, for the first time, providing expansive and unprecedented access for Virgin Atlantic customers to connect to points throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. The airline will now be able to offer more than 100 additional international and domestic connections to its customers. This brings the total number of connections available through the partnership to more than 200.
Delta and Virgin Atlantic’s new winter 2014 schedule between Heathrow and Los Angeles and Atlanta:
Combined, the two airlines operate a total of 32 peak daily nonstop flights between North America and the U.K., including 24 flights between London Heathrow and popular U.S. destinations. Delta recently co-located its New York, Boston and Seattle routes into Terminal 3 – Virgin Atlantic’s home at Heathrow Airport. This move provided additional choice and flexibility to customers while reducing onward transit times.
Virgin Atlantic will continue to operate two daily services to Los Angeles and Delta will continue to fly three daily services to Atlanta, until October 26, 2014.
Delta will continue to operate its Atlanta, Detroit and Minneapolis/St. Paul services from London Heathrow’s Terminal 4.
Virgin Atlantic will operate its Atlanta flight from Heathrow Terminal 3.
Copyright Photo: Luimer Cordero/AirlinersGallery.com. Virgin Atlantic is coming to Atlanta. Airbus A330-343X G-VKSS (msn 1201) is pictured arriving in Miami.
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) will begin operating the Boeing 717 on the New York (JFK)-Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood route starting on January 15, 2015 per Airline Route. This very competitive route used to be served with wide-body aircraft.
Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Former TWA/AirTran Airways Boeing 717-231 N933AT (msn 55071) arrives in Atlanta.
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta), according to this article by Forbes Magazine, gets a seven percent premium per available seat mile over any other U.S. airline. Before bankruptcy reorganization in 2005, Delta was only able to garner 86 percent, the industry average at the time. Delta took the reorganization to remake itself into the money-making juggernaut it is today. Delta just announced it will raise its dividend to stockholders by 50 percent and will buy back $2 billion of its stock which should further raise the value of the remaining stock.
Read the full article by Ted Reed: CLICK HERE
Delta Air Lines: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Delta is adding new Boeing 737-900 ERs to replace its older aircraft. Boeing 737-932 ER N810DN (msn 31922) completes its final approach to the runway at Los Angeles International Airport.
SkyWest, Inc. (SkyWest Airlines and ExpressJet Airlines) (St. George, Utah) reported a net loss of $22.9 million, or $0.44 per diluted share, for the first quarter ended March 31, 2014, compared to net income of $3.2 million, or $0.06 per diluted share, for the same period last year.
Due primarily to the severe weather and its related effects during the quarter ended March 31, 2014, SkyWest experienced a significantly larger pretax loss than it previously anticipated. Consistent with the experience reported by other airlines operating in the eastern United States, SkyWest experienced a significant number of flight cancellations related to a series of severe winter storms during the quarter ended March 31, 2014. Specifically, SkyWest, through its operating airlines, SkyWest Airlines, Inc. (SkyWest Airlines) and ExpressJet Airlines, Inc. (ExpressJet Airlines) cancelled a total of approximately 27,000 flights during the quarter ended March 31, 2014, of which approximately 21,000 were related to the severe weather. As a result of these flight cancellations, SkyWest not only experienced a negative effect on total operating revenues due to block hours not flown, but also experienced increased total operating costs due to its obligations to pay flight crews for cancelled flights, as well as incurring additional maintenance and other expenses from the negative effects of the severe weather.
Following are selected statistics and financial and operating information from the quarter ended March 31, 2014, compared to the quarter ended March 31, 2013:
Net income declined from $3.2 million for Q1 2013 to a net loss of $(22.9) million for Q1 2014
Fully-diluted EPS declined from $0.06 for Q1 2013 to $(0.44) for Q1 2014
Block hour production declined (4.4)%, from 571,991 block hours during Q1 2013 compared to 546,813 block hours during Q1 2014
Estimated aggregate negative financial impact of severe weather in Q1 2014 of $30.3 million pretax from plan
Additional maintenance costs of approximately $6.2 million in Q1 2014 due to weather and general aging of the fleet
Repurchased $3.1 million, or 242,250 shares of outstanding common stock
Took delivery of first E175 regional jet aircraft in firm order of 40 aircraft
Increased total aircraft fleet to 758 aircraft as of March 31, 2014, compared to 752 aircraft as of March 31, 2013
Outlook for 2014
With the challenges experienced in the first quarter some outlook is provided here for the remainder of 2014. It will continue to be a year of transition for SkyWest as we are working to resolve financial and operational issues with our operating airlines and work with our major partners for mutually beneficial resolutions to these challenges. We will see continued reductions of our 50 seat aircraft and flying as indicated in the attached table to this release as well as take delivery of an estimated 23 Embraer E175 regional jet aircraft. The reduction of 50 seat aircraft coincides with capacity purchase agreement expirations on the 50 seat aircraft, the majority of which are aircraft financed by our major partners and will be returned to the major partner with no further obligation by SkyWest. The certification process for the Embraer E175 regional jet aircraft continues as previously scheduled and we anticipate flying our first aircraft in scheduled operations later in May 2014. This certification process will result in additional transition costs related to the launch of a new aircraft type on the SkyWest platform, including training costs.
Commenting on the results, Jerry C. Atkin, SkyWest’s Chairman and CEO, said, “Due primarily to factors outside of our control from the series of severe winter storms, we experienced a significant negative impact to our financial and operating results for the quarter ended March 31, 2014.” He continued, “We have experienced some relief from the severe weather in the month of April and look to achieve more normalized operating and financial results in the remaining quarters for 2014. On a positive note, we continue to make good progress on our certification work for the Embraer E175 regional jet and have taken delivery of the first two of the 40 E175 aircraft order.”
Financial and Operating Results
Operating revenues totaled $772.4 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2014, compared to $803.5 million for the same period of 2013, a decrease of $31.1 million. The decrease was due primarily to three factors, 1) a reduced amount of revenue of approximately $21.1 million from fuel expenses, certain engine overhaul amounts, landing fees and station costs which are recorded as operating revenues and are considered “pass-through amounts” under contracts with SkyWest’s major partners, 2) a reduction of approximately $20.5 million as a result of significant flight cancelations, including missed markup and margins, from weather impact and 3) increases of approximately $10.5 million from normal contract escalations in SkyWest’s contract flying and improvements in prorate flying.
Total airline expenses (consisting of total operating and interest expenses) increased approximately $10.0 million, or 1.2%, during the quarter ended March 31, 2014, compared to the same period in 2013. However, after deducting “pass-through” costs like fuel, certain engine overhaul expenses, aircraft ownership, landing fees and station costs from total operating cost and interest expenses, the remaining total airline expenses increased $31.0 million. Management estimates that approximately $20.1 million of the increase was due primarily to increased flight crew and maintenance labor costs related to severe weather impact and approximately $6.2 million from aircraft maintenance expenses, again related to the weather impact and general aging of SkyWest’s fleet. Lastly, SkyWest Airlines incurred approximately $1.5 million, consisting primarily of pilot training costs, related to certification costs of the new E175 aircraft.
Under certain of its agreements with its major partners, SkyWest recognizes revenue at fixed hourly rates for mature engine maintenance on regional jet engines and recognizes engine maintenance expense on its CRJ200 Regional Jet (CRJ200) engines on an as-incurred basis as maintenance expense. During the quarter ended March 31, 2014, CRJ200 engine expense under these agreements decreased $3.3 million to $6.7 million, compared to $10.0 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2013, primarily as a result of decreased engine overhaul expense due to the timing of scheduled engine maintenance events. SkyWest was reimbursed approximately $12.4 million and $11.4 million for engine overhaul expense, under its agreements with its major partners, during the quarters ended March 31, 2014 and 2013, respectively.
At March 31, 2014, SkyWest had $542.7 million in cash and marketable securities, compared to $670.1 million as of December 31, 2013. Cash and marketable securities decreased $127.4 million during the quarter ended March 31, 2014 compared to the balance as of December 31, 2013, due primarily to SkyWest’s normal recurring debt and lease payments made on a semi-annual basis, amounts spent for capital expenditures for operations and operating losses experienced at ExpressJet Airlines, primarily related to the severe weather impact. SkyWest’s long-term debt was $1.28 billion as of March 31, 2014, compared to $1.29 billion as of March 31, 2013. SkyWest has significant long-term lease obligations that are recorded as operating leases and are not reflected as liabilities on SkyWest’s consolidated balance sheets. At a 5.8% discount rate, the present value of these lease obligations was approximately $1.4 billion as of March 31, 2014.
On May 21, 2013, SkyWest announced it had entered into a Capacity Purchase Agreement (“CPA”) with United Airlines, Inc. (United Airlines) to operate 40 new Embraer E175 dual-class regional jet aircraft. The CPA is for 12 years and the new aircraft are scheduled to be operated by SkyWest Airlines. Deliveries for these aircraft began in March 2014 and are expected to continue through July 2015. The aircraft are expected to start to be introduced into service for United in mid-May 2014.
Additionally, on May 21, 2013 SkyWest announced it reached an agreement with Embraer S.A. (Embraer) for the purchase of 100 new E175 dual-class regional jet aircraft, 40 of which are considered firm orders and are scheduled to be placed into service under the United CPA discussed above. The remaining 60 aircraft remain conditional upon SkyWest entering into capacity purchase agreements with other major airlines. SkyWest also has an option for an additional 100 E175 dual-class regional jet aircraft.
On June 17, 2013, SkyWest and Embraer jointly announced an aircraft purchase agreement covering 100 E175-E2 dual-class regional jet aircraft and an option to purchase an additional 100 of the same aircraft. Deliveries for these E2 aircraft are tentatively planned to start in 2020.
During 2012, SkyWest announced the award of 34 additional dual-class aircraft and the removal of 66 CRJ200 aircraft under its Delta Connection agreements with Delta Air Lines, Inc. (Delta Air Lines). As of May 2013, all 34 of these additional dual-class aircraft had been delivered. As of March 31, 2014 SkyWest had removed 38 (22 placed in contract with another major partner and 16 removed from SkyWest’s fleet) of the 66 CRJ200 aircraft from service and currently anticipates removing another 22 CRJ200 aircraft during 2014. SkyWest believes the remaining six CRJ200 aircraft will be removed from its fleet in early 2015. Additionally, 41 of the 66 CRJ200 aircraft were financed by Delta and have been returned or will be returned to Delta with no further obligation by SkyWest.
Read the analysis of why SkyWest suffers the most during periods of bad weather from Bloomberg Businessweek: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. SkyWest believes the remaining six Bombardier CRJ200 aircraft will be removed from the Delta Connection contract fleet in early 2015. Bombardier CRJ200 (CL-600-2B19) N427SW (msn 7497) of SkyWest Airlines approaches the runway at Long Beach in the old 2000 livery.
Delta Air Lines‘ (Atlanta) Board of Directors have announced the next phase of the company’s plans to return capital to shareholders, including a 50 percent increase to its dividend and a new share repurchase authorization. The Board has authorized a new $2 billion share repurchase program, to be completed no later than Dec. 31, 2016. In addition, beginning in the September 2014 quarter, the company’s quarterly dividend will increase to $0.09 per share from the current $0.06 per share. Together, these two programs are expected to return an additional $2.75 billion to shareholders through 2016.
“Delta has deployed its strong cash flows to drive value for owners by strengthening its balance sheet through debt and pension reductions while also returning a significant amount of cash back to shareholders,” said Daniel Carp, chairman of Delta’s Board of Directors. “The Board is furthering our long-term commitment to Delta shareholders by substantially increasing our dividend and also providing a flexible vehicle to return additional cash to shareholders through the $2 billion share repurchase program. This next phase of our shareholder return program reflects the Board’s confidence in Delta’s ability to sustain and improve upon its already strong financial performance.”
Balanced Approach to Capital Deployment
In an investor presentation this morning, Delta updated its progress against the balanced capital deployment plan announced by the company in May 2013. With its financial performance and cash flows having exceeded the targets under that plan, Delta announced new plans to further drive shareholder value by accelerating the company’s efforts to reduce debt levels, address its pension obligations, and return cash to shareholders.
Debt: Delta ended the March 2014 quarter with $9.1 billion of adjusted net debt, a reduction of $2.6 billion since the end of 2012 and nearly $8 billion since the company began its debt reduction efforts in 2009. The company expects to reach $7 billion of adjusted net debt in 2015, two years ahead of its originally stated goal, and $5 billion of adjusted net debt by the end of 2016.
Pension: For 2013 and 2014, the company contributed nearly $1 billion each year to its defined benefit pension plans, through a combination of $700 million in required minimum funding and $250 million of incremental funding. This pension funding level, combined with higher interest rates and returns on pension assets, helped lower the company’s unfunded pension liability by 25 percent to just over $10 billion. The company plans to maintain its current $1 billion annual funding level through 2020, with a goal of achieving 80 percent funded status by that date.
Cash returns to shareholders: The company is on track to return $700 million to shareholders by early June 2014, through $200 million of dividends and completing its original $500 million share repurchase authorization more than two years ahead of its June 30, 2016 expiration date. The new repurchase authorization and increase to the quarterly dividend approved by Delta’s Board of Directors are expected to return an additional $2.75 billion to shareholders through 2016.
Repurchases under Delta’s program may be made through a variety of methods, which may include open market purchases, privately negotiated transactions, block trades, or accelerated share repurchase transactions in compliance with applicable regulatory guidelines, including Securities and Exchange Commission Rule 10b-18. Purchases will be made subject to market and economic conditions, applicable legal requirements, and other relevant factors. Delta had approximately 853 million shares of common stock outstanding as of March 31, 2014.
Bloomberg Businessweek article on Delta’s quest for a billion dollars in baggage fees!: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: Nick Dean/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-232 LR (Longer Range) N706DN (msn 30440) climbs away from the runway at Paine Field near Everett, WA with the snow-capped Olympic Mountains in the background.
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) will offer new year-round daily service from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Zurich Airport and expanded service to Rome’s Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport.
The Zurich flight will be operated using a Boeing 767-300 ER aircraft featuring full flat-bed seats with direct aisle access in the BusinessElite cabin. Daily Zurich service will begin effective June 16, 2014 and during the summer will complement the airline’s existing service from Atlanta. Rome service will operate daily from April to October on an Airbus A330-300 aircraft, and then five times per week in November, December and March on a Boeing 767-300 ER aircraft in conjunction with Delta joint venture partner Alitalia.
Effective this winter, Delta and its joint venture partners Air France-KLM and Alitalia are also expanding service to key European hubs at Paris Charles De Gaulle International Airport and Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. From Atlanta, the joint venture will offer additional daily nonstop service for a total of four daily flights to both Amsterdam* and Paris, timed to provide customers with more connecting opportunities to destinations throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Copyright Photo: Rodrigo Cozzato/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 767-332 ER N175DZ (msn 29696) in the SkyTeam motif arrives at Sao Paulo (Guarulhos).
Bottom Copyright Photo: Delta Air Lines. A picture of the cabin of Delta’s first refurbished trans-con Boeing 757-200. Routes from JFK will offer BusinessElite® flat-beds, LED mood lighting, expanded Economy Comfort™ seating & larger In-flight Entertainment screens.
Beginning July 1, 2014, Delta will operate three updated Boeing 757-200 aircraft with full flat-bed seats on the trans-continental route between New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX). These will be the first 757 aircraft in service to feature Delta’s previously announced upgrades including full flat-bed seats in BusinessElite on transcon flights between JFK and LAX, SFO and SEA. All trans-con flights on these routes will feature full flat-bed seats by summer 2015.
The Delta Flight Museum (Atlanta) has added a Douglas DC-9-51 (N675MC, msn 47651) in the last 2007 livery and a Boeing 757-232 (N608DA, msn 22815) in the 1966 livery (which explains why it was recently repainted in the retro colors) to its collection. Here is the full story and photos from their blog:
It’s not very often we add new aircraft to the Museum’s fleet, so yesterday was a special day. With the help of a great Delta and DOT group, Ship 608, a Boeing 757-200 painted in its original livery, and Ship 9880, a DC-9-51 wearing its retirement livery, were brought over to the Museum from the Technical Operations Center across the airport.
In the 1940s, the Museum’s Historic Hangars 1 and 2 were Delta’s regular maintenance hangars and were on Atlanta Airport property. Over the years, the airport has moved a few times, staying within the general area. In the 1980s, Woolman Place road was built and that severed the hangars from airport property. Therefore, moving Museum aircraft to and from the airport is never easy. It takes a lot of coordination between Delta, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Homeland Security, Landmark Aviation, DHL, and FedEx.
Preparations to move the 757 and DC-9 began weeks ago. Conversations were had, plans were drawn, and on Saturday night, the aircraft made their way to our side of the airport. On Sunday morning, the planes made their final trip – to the Museum.
Many thanks go out all who helped make the move a success!
For more information on visiting: CLICK HERE
Delta Air Lines reports a first quarter net profit of $281 million despite more than 17,000 cancelled flights
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) today reported financial results for the first (March) quarter. Key points include:
Delta’s pre-tax income for the March 2014 quarter was $444 million, excluding special items1, an increase of $363 million over the March 2013 quarter on a similar basis.
Delta’s net income for the March 2014 quarter was $281 million, or $0.33 per diluted share, excluding special items1. This is $196 million higher year over year despite $163 million of non-cash tax expense now recognized after the reversal of the company’s valuation allowance.
On a GAAP basis including special items, Delta’s pre-tax income was $335 million and net income was $213 million, or $0.25 per diluted share.
Delta cancelled more than 17,000 flights due to severe weather in January and February, double the number of flights cancelled for weather in 2013. These cancellations resulted in $90 million of lost revenue and $55 million lower pre-tax income.
Results include $99 million in profit sharing expense in recognition of Delta employees’ contributions toward achieving the company’s financial goals.
Delta generated $951 million of operating cash flow and $390 million of free cash flow in the March 2014 quarter. This strong cash generation allowed the company to reduce its adjusted net debt to $9.1 billion, contribute more than $600 million of funding to its defined benefit pension plans, and return $176 million to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases.
“The March quarter’s record results in the face of unprecedented weather show the strength and resilience of Delta. By delivering the industry’s best customer service, operational reliability and financial performance, Delta people continue to show that they are the very best in the business,” said Richard Anderson, Delta’s chief executive officer. “Our work is not finished, and there is great opportunity ahead as we expect the June quarter to produce 14% – 16% operating margins. We are transforming Delta into a high-quality S&P 500 company that consistently delivers strong earnings growth and shareholder returns.”
Delta’s operating revenue improved 5 percent, or $416 million, in the March 2014 quarter compared to the March 2013 quarter, despite $90 million of lost revenue due to weather-related cancellations. Traffic increased 3.5 percent on a 1.7 percent increase in capacity.
Passenger revenue increased 5 percent, or $357 million, compared to the prior year period. Passenger unit revenue (PRASM) increased 3.2 percent year over year with a 1.3 percent improvement in yield.
Cargo revenue decreased 9 percent, or $21 million, driven by lower freight volumes and lower yields.
Other revenue increased 8 percent, or $80 million, driven by higher joint venture and SkyMiles revenues.”March quarter’s top line growth of 5 percent shows the strength of Delta’s revenue momentum even through the revenue loss from weather and a shift of the Easter holiday traffic into April,” said Ed Bastian, Delta’s president. “We see continued revenue strength as we move through the year from corporate revenue gains, the benefits of the Virgin Atlantic joint venture and improved ancillary revenues. These initiatives, coupled with a solid demand environment, should lead to unit revenue growth in the mid-single digits for the June quarter.”
Total operating expense in the quarter increased $18 million year-over-year driven by the impact of employee investments including $79 million higher profit sharing expense. These cost increases were almost fully offset by lower fuel expense, savings from Delta’s structural cost initiatives, and receipt of a $25 million insurance claim related to Superstorm Sandy.
Consolidated unit cost excluding fuel expense, profit sharing and special items (CASM-Ex2), was 0.3 percent higher in the March 2014 quarter on a year-over-year basis, driven by the impact of employee investments and 1 point of pressure from weather-related cancellations. GAAP consolidated CASM decreased 1.4 percent.
Fuel expense, excluding mark-to-market adjustments, declined $167 million as a result of lower market fuel prices and better settled hedge performance. Delta’s average fuel price3 was $3.03 per gallon for the March quarter, which includes $107 million in settled hedge gains. On a GAAP basis, consolidated fuel expense for the March quarter decreased $109 million year-over-year, driven by lower market fuel prices and mark-to-market adjustments on fuel hedges.
Operations at the Trainer refinery produced a $41 million loss for the March quarter as a result of the same lower market fuel prices that lowered Delta’s overall fuel spend. During the quarter, one of the major crude units at the refinery was taken offline for scheduled modifications which lowered throughput levels. These modifications will yield a higher level of jet and diesel distillates going forward and improve the profitability of Trainer. In addition, refinery profitability was negatively impacted by an increase in Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) expense.
Non-operating expense for the quarter increased by $66 million, driven by a $31 million seasonal loss associated with Delta’s 49% ownership stake in Virgin Atlantic, an $18 million loss on extinguishment of debt driven by Delta’s debt reduction initiatives, and $39 million higher foreign exchange impact, including a $23 million loss associated with the devaluation of the Venezuelan currency. These losses were offset by $34 million lower interest expense.
“The March quarter marks another quarter with non-fuel unit cost growth below 2 percent, and the growing momentum of our domestic refleeting and other cost initiatives provide the platform to maintain this performance,” said Paul Jacobson, Delta’s chief financial officer. “We are addressing all parts of our cost base through executing our structural cost initiatives, lowering our fuel expense with the refinery and hedging, and reducing our interest burden with additional debt reduction.”
Cash from operations during the March 2014 quarter was $951 million, driven by the company’s March quarter profit and the normal seasonal increase in advance ticket sales. Cash from operations is net of $605 million of contributions made by Delta to its defined benefit pension plans during the quarter. The company generated $390 million of free cash flow.
Capital expenditures during the March 2014 quarter were $570 million, including $514 million in fleet investments. During the quarter, Delta’s net debt maturities and capital leases were $353 million.
In the March quarter, the company returned $176 million to shareholders. On March 14, the company paid $51 million to shareholders, which represents a $0.06 per share quarterly dividend. In addition, the company repurchased four million shares at an average price of $30.94 for a total of $125 million. The company has completed $375 million of the $500 million share repurchase plan authorized by Delta’s Board of Directors in May 2013.
Delta ended the quarter with $5.6 billion of unrestricted liquidity and adjusted net debt of $9.1 billion. The company has now achieved nearly $8 billion in net debt reduction since 2009.
June 2014 Quarter Guidance
Following are Delta’s projections for the second (June) 2014 quarter:
2Q 2014 Forecast
14% – 16%
Fuel price, including taxes, settled hedges and refinery impact
$2.97 – $3.02
2Q 2014 Forecast
(compared to 2Q 2013)
Consolidated unit costs – excluding fuel expense and profit sharing
Up 0% – 2%
Up 2% – 3%
Delta recorded a net $68 million special items charge in the March 2014 quarter, including:
a $31 million charge associated with Delta’s domestic fleet restructuring;
a $21 million mark-to-market adjustment on fuel hedges; and
a $16 million charge for debt extinguishment and other.
Delta recorded a net $78 million special items charge in the March 2013 quarter, including:
a $102 million charge for facilities, fleet and other, primarily associated with Delta’s domestic fleet restructuring; and
a $24 million mark-to-market adjustment on fuel hedges.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-232 ER N862DA (msn 29734) departs from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
Delta completes the installation of full flat-bed seats for its entire international wide body fleet
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) has completed the installation of full flat-bed seats with direct-aisle access in BusinessElite across its entire international widebody fleet, making it the only U.S. carrier to offer full flat-bed seats and the convenience of direct-aisle access on all overseas flights.
The completed interior fleet modifications include all Delta Airbus A330-200/300, Boeing 767-300ER/400ER, 747-400 and 777-200ER/LR aircraft, which represents Delta’s largest interior fleet modification investment in more than a decade. With these modifications complete, Delta also is the only U.S. domestic carrier to offer personal, on-demand entertainment at every seat on all long-haul international flights.
The fleet modifications are Delta’s latest investment in improving the customer experience. Since 2010, Delta also has:
Launched international Wi-Fi service and completed the installation of Wi-Fi on all domestic, two-class mainline and regional jets, offering more than 400,000 customers per day access to the Internet above 10,000 feet on more than 870 aircraft.
Transformed the sleep experience in the air by offering Westin Heavenly In-Flight bedding for customers in the BusinessElite cabin.
Updated BusinessElite amenity kits with stylish cases from Tumi and skincare product brand Malin+Goetz.
Built a team of celebrity chefs and James Beard Award winners to offer customers great food and wine selections at 30,000 feet.
Introduced International Economy Sleep Kits and added new amenities for its Economy customers on transoceanic flights.
Beginning July 1, 2014, Delta also will operate three updated Boeing 757 aircraft with full flat-bed seats on the trans-continental route between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport. These will be the first 757 aircraft in service to feature Delta’s previously announced upgrades including full flat-bed seats in BusinessElite on trans-con flights between New York-JFK and Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. All trans-con flights on these routes will feature full flat-bed seats by summer 2015.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Beginning July 1, 2014, Delta also will operate three updated Boeing 757 aircraft with full flat-bed seats on the trans-continental route between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport. Boeing 757-232 N699DL (msn 29970) departs the runway at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
Delta Air Lines‘ (Atlanta) flight DL 1500 from Detroit to Denver landed safely last night (April 18) after a flight attendant found a note in the rear galley threatening a bomb was on board. The Boeing 737-832 (N3750D, msn 32375) with 151 passengers and four crew members landed safely. There was no bomb on board.
Read the full report from ABC 7: CLICK HERE
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) has just repainted its Boeing 757-232 registered N608DA (msn 22815) in Atlanta in the “Upright Widget” livery. This color scheme (above) was introduced in 1966 for the fleet and was the longest-running livery for the carrier until the “red dash” color scheme was introduced in 1997.
The aircraft has now been donated to Delta Flight Museum.
Top Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Sister ship Boeing 757-232 N619DL (msn 22909) taxies at Dallas/Fort Worth when it actually wore the 1966 color scheme (slightly altered in 1976). This is the first livery worn by Delta’s Boeing 757-200s.
Delta’s Route Map in 1966 (it was barely an international airline):
Delta’s current fleet line-up and number of aircraft in service (Delta Air Lines):
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) will begin seasonal daily nonstop flights from New York (JFK) to Vancouver on May 22. The route will operate with Boeing 737-800s until September 1 according to Airline Route. This route was also operated last summer.
Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-832 N375DA (msn 29623) completes its final approach into Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS).
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) this fall will equip more than 20,000 flight attendants with handheld Nokia Lumia 1520 phablets, which will serve as their on-board manual and in-flight sales device as well as a platform for future, more personalized in-flight customer service. The Lumia 1520 features a larger format, 6-inch screen and will replace the smaller Lumia 820 already in the hands of Delta on-board professionals.
Providing electronic access to the more than 500 page, five pound On-Board Manual carried by every flight attendant is expected to save more than $1 million annually in reduced fuel and printing costs while providing on board professionals a more intuitive way to access essential information.
In addition to its functionality as an in-flight sales device and replacement for the on-board manual, the Nokia Lumia 1520 phablet, running Windows Phone 8.1, will, as it develops, enable flight attendants to take customer meal orders, receive detailed information about their flight and provide information for personalized service, including customers’ frequent flyer status and potential need for special services during flight.
Devices will be distributed starting in October with all flight attendants receiving the device by the end of the year. The solution was developed jointly by Microsoft, Avanade, Nokia and AT&T and is the latest in a number of employee and customer-facing technology innovations Delta has made in recent years. Last September, Delta announced its pilots would receive Surface 2 tablets to be used initially as electronic flight bags and be developed into a multi-functional device that can be integrated across the airline operation.
Copyright Photo: Delta Air Lines.
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) comes under the journalism microscope with an inside article published by the Wall Street Journal. The WSJ article takes a look at measures Delta takes to avoid cancellations.
Read the article: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 767-332 ER N1609 (msn 30574) arrives back at the New York (JFK) hub.
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) has introduced new sleep kits and several updated amenities for passengers seated in the Economy cabin on long-haul international flights. Sleep kits will be offered to each customer by flight attendants and will include individual eyeshades plus earplugs to help customers get better rest when travelling between continents.
In addition, on all trans-Atlantic flights of 3,850 miles or less from the U.S. to Europe, customers in the Economy cabin will receive a full-size bottle of water following meal service and updated snack offerings for morning and afternoon/evening arrivals. A mid-flight ice cream service will also be offered on these flights returning from Europe to the U.S. These service improvements will expand to longer-haul international flights in early summer.
This summer, customers flying in domestic First Class as well as the Economy cabin on domestic and international flights will be offered newly upgraded earbuds that will be theirs to keep for use with Delta’s seatback entertainment systems. Delta is the only U.S. carrier to offer personal, on demand entertainment at every seat on all long-haul, international flights.
Copyright Photo: Delta Air Lines.
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) has opened up additional Boeing 717 routes and markets according to Airline Route. The former AirTran Airways 717s are leased from Southwest Airlines.
Abilene (April 1)
Augusta (April 1)
Dallas (Love Field) (October 13)
Fayettevile (April 1)
Gainesville (April 1)
Grand Rapids (April 1)
Houston (Busch Intercontinental) (April 1)
Lexington (April 5)
Memphis (April 5)
Mobile (April 1)
Myrtle Beach (April 1)
Tri Cities (June 5)
Wichita (June 7)
Austin (May 2)
Buffalo (June 5)
Chicago (Midway) (March 31)
Green Bay (April 8)
Houston (Bush Intercontinental) April 9
Indianapolis (June 5)
Kansas City (April 1)
Nashville (June 5)
New York (JFK) (September 2)
New York (LaGuardia) (September 2)
Philadelphia (April 8)
Traverse City (May 2)
From New York (JFK):
Boston (September 2)
Tampa (September 2)
From New York (LaGuardia):
Miami (September 2)
Tampa (September 2)
From Los Angeles:
Austin (June 6)
Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. Formerly painted in the special Atlanta Falcons livery, ex AirTran Airways Boeing 717-2BD N891AT (msn 55043) is now in full Delta colors and lands at Baltimore/Washington.
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) and Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) today mark another major step forward in their partnership as Delta relocates some of its key services to join Virgin Atlantic at Heathrow Terminal 3. The move comes as both airlines start flying their new and aligned summer schedules that offer customers more choice and flexibility while reducing onward transit times.
From today, Delta moves its arrival and departure terminal for several important business markets including its London to New York-JFK, London to Boston, and new London to Seattle services to Heathrow’s Terminal 3. The move enhances convenience and a seamless customer experience. For example, on the world’s most important business travel market between London Heathrow (Terminal 3) and New York JFK (Terminal 4) Delta and Virgin Atlantic will now operate from the same terminal and make it easier for customers to manage their travel plans including any last minute flight changes. The two airlines have also introduced a dedicated New York to London schedule with the customer in mind.
The new routes announced by Delta and Virgin Atlantic include Delta’s new West Coast service between Seattle and London Heathrow which commenced flying on March 30, 2014. And in co-operation with Virgin Atlantic, Delta will also operate a second daily service between London Heathrow and Detroit Metropolitan Airport effective June 2, 2014. The service will be particularly appealing to corporate customers needing an early morning arrival into London while offering more schedule choice for customers between London and the U.S. Midwest.
The two airlines’ summer schedule includes a total of 32 peak daily nonstop flights between North America and the U.K.. Of these, 25 flights will operate between London Heathrow and popular U.S. destinations such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta and Washington.
Delta and Virgin Atlantic also provide a competitive offering for the New York to London travel market. It is designed with business travelers in mind and offers a total of nine daily nonstop flights. The schedule includes departures every 30 minutes during the early evening peak and then hourly until 22:30 from New York-JFK to London Heathrow. From London Heathrow to New York-JFK there is a spread of seven daily flights including two late afternoon and early evening departures. These services will be complemented by two daily nonstop flights between New York’s Newark airport and London Heathrow.
Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-232 LR N703DN (msn 32222) of Delta holds in position for runway clearance at London’s Heathrow Airport.
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) continued its rapid expansion in Seattle/Tacoma with the launch of new daily nonstop service from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to London Heathrow Airport on Saturday, March 29. The route, established as part of Delta’s joint venture with Virgin Atlantic Airways (London).
Through its trans-Atlantic joint venture with Air France-KLM and Alitalia, Delta offers Seattle-area travelers nonstop service to Paris and Amsterdam while also providing connecting service to more than 150 additional destinations beyond those European hubs.
This spring Delta will also begin expanded Seattle/Tacoma service from Anchorage; Fairbanks, Alaska; Juneau, Alaska; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Portland, Oregon; San Diego; San Francisco; San Jose, California; and Vancouver to support its growing international gateway that currently serves London Heathrow, Amsterdam and Paris-Charles de Gaulle as well as Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo-Narita, and Tokyo-Haneda.
In June, Delta will begin new international service from Seattle/Tacoma to Seoul and Hong Kong, bringing Delta’s total nonstop transoceanic destinations to nine, as many as all other SeaTac international carriers combined.
By this summer, Delta will offer more than 2,500 daily international seats as part of its 79 peak-day departures to 25 destinations.
Delta currently operates 35 peak-day departures to 15 destinations from Seattle/Tacoma.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 747-451 N667US (msn 24222) departs from Tokyo (Narita).
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) will launch international Wi-Fi service on flights 283 and 295 equipped with Ku-band satellite Wi-Fi on Boeing 747-400 aircraft departing Los Angeles International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to Narita International Airport in Tokyo. For more than five years, Delta has provided Wi-Fi to customers traveling on its mainline aircraft flying within the United States.
Delta has three of 16 Boeing 747-400 aircraft complete which also operate between Detroit and Seoul-Incheon; Detroit and Nagoya, Japan; Detroit and Tokyo-Narita; New York-JFK and Tel Aviv as well as New York-JFK and Tokyo-Narita.
Customers can access Wi-Fi service with introductory pricing options that begin with one hour passes for laptop users as low as $14.00 and $8.00 for mobile users or a flight pass option, which will keep customers connected throughout their flight, starting at $24.95 for laptop users and $14.95 for mobile users. All of Delta’s 747-400 aircraft will have Wi-Fi installed by mid-2014.
Delta will complete the installation of Wi-Fi service on its entire international fleet by the end of 2015 including its Boeing 777, 767, 747, Airbus A330 and trans-oceanic Boeing 757 aircraft operating on international, long-haul routes. Delta and Gogo are in the final testing phase for Wi-Fi on the Airbus A330 fleet. The addition of in-flight Internet for more than 150 aircraft will expand the number of worldwide aircraft equipped with Wi-Fi to approximately 1,000 jets including all two-class regional, domestic and international aircraft.
The new international service uses satellites for global connectivity to offer coverage internationally and will compliment Delta’s existing air-to-ground service already provided by Gogo for aircraft flying within the domestic U.S.
Delta operates the world’s largest Wi-Fi-equipped fleet of aircraft with more than 3,400 flights daily, including its entire fleet of 570 domestic mainline aircraft. More than 870 Delta aircraft, including all Delta Connection two-class regional jets, are equipped with in-flight Wi-Fi service offering more than 400,000 customers per day access to the Internet above 10,000 feet.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 747-451 N663US (msn 23818) climbs away from Tokyo (Narita).
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) this summer will continue its expansion at Los Angeles International Airport with new daily nonstop service to Austin, Texas, and Boise, Idaho, along with new daily nonstop service to San Salvador, El Salvador, pending government approval. Delta also has filed for approval to begin daily service between Los Angeles and Monterrey, Mexico.
Delta’s new Los Angeles service includes:
Twice daily nonstop service to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
|2569||AUS at 7:30 a.m.||LAX at 8:25 a.m.||June 16, 2014|
|2571||AUS at 4:30 p.m.||LAX at 5:45 p.m.||June 16, 2014|
|2570||LAX at 9:45 a.m.||AUS at 2:40 p.m.||June 16, 2014|
|2572||LAX at 6:15 p.m.||AUS at 11:30 p.m.||June 16, 2014|
Daily nonstop service to Boise Airport
|5818||BOI at 6:15 a.m.||LAX at 7:15 a.m.||June 6, 2014|
|5820||LAX at 7:30 p.m.||BOI at 10:35 p.m.||June 5, 2014|
Daily nonstop service to El Salvador International Airport
|436||SAL at 7:20 a.m.||LAX at 11:35 a.m.||July 2, 2014|
|433||LAX at 12:10 a.m.||SAL at 6:10 a.m.||July 2, 2014|
Service from Los Angeles to Austin and San Salvador will be operated using Delta Boeing 717 and Boeing 737 aircraft, respectively. Service from Los Angeles to Boise and Monterrey will be operated by Delta Connection carrier Compass Airlines using two-class, 76-seat Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft.
With new service to Austin, Delta will now connect Los Angeles’ growing Silicon Beach tech and startup community with all the major tech centers in the United States, including: Boston, beginning June 5; New York; Oakland, Calif.; Portland, Oregon; Salt Lake City; San Francisco; San Jose, Calif.; Seattle/Tacoma; and now Austin.
Additionally, customers in Austin, Boise, Monterrey and San Salvador will soon have one-stop service to Tokyo-Narita, Tokyo-Haneda, and Sydney through Delta’s international gateway in Los Angeles.
Delta has made significant enhancements to its Los Angeles service both on the ground and in the air in the last few years. Travelers through Los Angeles will enjoy the benefits of the $229 million expansion and enhancement of Terminal 5 at Los Angeles International Airport. The current project will double the size of the ticketing lobby and screening checkpoints, open an exclusive, separate Sky Priority lobby and checkpoint, and include renovations to the Delta Sky Club and new baggage carousels. The project has already begun and is scheduled to take place in several phases with full completion in 2015.
Delta currently operates 130 flights to 43 destinations from LAX, and every flight offers BusinessElite/First Class and Economy Comfort seating. By this summer, Delta will operate more than 140 peak-day flights to LAX, including our new service. Nearly every domestic flight features Wi-Fi service.
Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Former AirTran Airways Boeing 717-23S N991AT (msn 55135) completes its final approach into the Atlanta hub.
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) is reducing its code-share agreement with Alaska Airlines (Seattle/Tacoma) at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport per Airline Route. The move is not a surprise as Delta has been adding its own feeder flights at SEA to support its long-range routes.
Effective June 5, 2014 Delta will remove its DL code on Alaska Airlines flights from Seattle/Tacoma to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose.
This will be followed on July 1 when Delta removes its DL code on Alaska flights to Anchorage and Houston (Bush Intercontinental).
Finally the Seattle/Tacoma-Phoenix route will be dropped on December 20, 2014.
Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-211 N333NW (msn 329) of Delta Air Lines taxies at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA).
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) Boeing 757-200 operating flight DL 2412 from Orlando to Atlanta yesterday (March 16) was involved in an incident. An access wing panel flew off the right wing while the aircraft was en route. The aircraft landed safely.
Read the full report from CNN (with photo): CLICK HERE