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Emirates to add new routes to both Barcelona and Lisbon

Emirates Airline (Dubai) will add both Barcelona and Lisbon starting July.

Read the full report from the Jakarta Post: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing. The Boeing 777-200 will be assigned to the Dubai-Lisbon route while the Dubai-Barcelona route will be served with Boeing 777-300 ERs.

Emirates Slide Show: CLICK HERE

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SAS to fly 4,000 flights from 16 Scandinavian cities for Apollo

Scandinavian Airlines-SAS (Stockholm) and Apollo, the Swedish travel operator, have signed a contract worth 920 million Swedish kronor (SEK) ($136.7 million). The agreement includes 4,000 flights from 16 Scandinavian cities to more than 20 destinations in Europe and Northern Africa.

Apollo normally uses its own in-house airline, Novair.

Copyright Photos: Stefan Sjogren.

SAS Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Novair Slide Show: CLICK HERE

The first South Carolina-assembled 787 to roll out of the Charleston factory today

Boeing (Chicago) will celebrate today the roll-out of the first South Carolina-assembled 787 Dreamliner at the North Charleston factory located at Charleston International Airport (CHS). The CHS facility is non-union.

The first SC-produced Dreamliner will go to Air India.

Read the full story from The Post and Courier: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Nick Dean. This Dreamliner was assembled at Everett, WA.

Air India Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Astra Airlines takes delivery of its first Airbus A320

Astra Airlines (Thessaloniki) as planned, today (April 26) took delivery of its first Airbus A320.

Copyright Photo: Paul Doyle. Previously operated by defunct Amsterdam Airlines (Amsterdam) as PH-AAY, Airbus A320-232 is now registered as SX-DIO (msn 527). SX-DIO prepares to depart from a wet Dublin on its delivery flight to Greece. The A320 carries promotional sub-titles for the Mouzenidis Group.

Austrian Airlines reaches a tentative agreement with its union leaders

Austrian Airlines (Vienna) has reached a tentative agreement with its unions leaders about a new contract that if approved, will lower the flag carrier’s labor costs. If approved by the pilots and cabin staff members, the new agreement will void the company’s plan to transfer 2,100 flight crew employees to lower-cost Tyrolean Airways (Innsbruck) according to this article by Bloomberg.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen.

Austrian Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Vision Airlines replaces Direct Air at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Vision Airlines (Atlanta) has now answered the question of where it will fly this summer. Vision announced today new, nonstop Boeing 737 jet service to Myrtle Beach, SC (the former home of Direct Air), from the following cities: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Toledo, and Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis; Louisville; Nashville; and Springfield, Illinois. Flights will operate from May 31, 2012, through October 31, 2012.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum.

Vision Slide Show: CLICK HERE

The ever-evolving Vision Airlines Route Map:

United Continental Holdings swings heavily to the red in the 1Q

United Continental Holdings, Inc. (Chicago) today reported a first-quarter 2012 net loss of $286 million or $0.87 loss per share, excluding $162 million of net special charges consisting primarily of integration-related costs. Including special charges, UAL reported a first-quarter 2012 net loss of $448 million or $1.36 loss per share.

  • UAL first-quarter consolidated passenger revenue increased 5.5 percent year-over-year. First-quarter consolidated passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) increased 5.2 percent compared to the same period in 2011.
  • First-quarter consolidated fuel expense increased 20.8 percent, or $557 million, year-over-year.
  • Consolidated unit costs (CASM) holding fuel rate and profit sharing constant and excluding special charges and third-party business expense for first-quarter 2012 increased 0.6 percent year-over-year. First quarter consolidated CASM increased 8.3 percent year-over-year.
  • UAL ended the first quarter with $7.8 billion in unrestricted liquidity.

Notable First-Quarter 2012 Accomplishments:

  • United recorded U.S. Department of Transportation domestic on-time arrival rate of 80.1 percent and a system completion factor of 99.1 percent for the quarter. For international flights, United recorded an on-time arrival rate of 74.2 percent. The on-time arrival rates are based on flights arriving within 14 minutes of scheduled arrival time.
  • The company achieved a tentative agreement with United flight attendants, which they subsequently ratified. Passenger service employees chose to be represented by a union, and the company and the union will now begin joint negotiations. The company and its pilots’ master executive councils agreed to an extension of the transition and process agreement originally reached prior to the completion of the merger.
  • UAL raised $892 million of debt through the issuance of enhanced equipment trust certificates at an average interest rate of 4.37 percent, the lowest average rate in history for this type of security. The debt is being used to finance the acquisition of four new Boeing 787-8 and 14 new Boeing 787-900 ER aircraft and to refinance the debt relating to three Boeing 787-900 ER aircraft currently in the company’s fleet.
  • United announced new service from its Newark hub to Istanbul, Turkey and from Chicago to Sarasota, Fla. and from Denver to Fairbanks, Alaska. The company also announced service from San Francisco to Washington Reagan; and from Washington Dulles to Honolulu.
  • The company paid $265 million in 2011 profit-sharing to co-workers, who also earned cash incentive payments for on-time performance totaling more than $8 million during the quarter.
  • FORTUNE magazine named United Airlines the most admired airline on its annual airline-industry list of the World’s Most Admired Companies.
  • United and Chase launched the premium MileagePlus Club co-brand card in March, building on the strong performance from the MileagePlus Explorer card launched last July. The company also introduced the MileagePlus Gift Card Exchange, a program that enables members to convert the remaining value of unused or partially used retail gift cards into award miles.
  • United has Economy Plus Seating on 75 percent of its entire mainline fleet, including on all long-haul international Boeing 757-200 aircraft.
  • The company inducted three Next Generation Boeing 737-900 ER narrowbody aircraft into its fleet and continued to retire older, less-efficient models including three Boeing 737-500 aircraft.
  • The company continued to install flat-bed seats in first and business class on its international fleet, and now has the new seats on 144 aircraft, more than any other U.S. carrier.
  • United broke ground on the first phase of a three-phase redevelopment project at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Copyright Photo: Luimer Cordero.

United Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Southern Air takes delivery of its four Boeing 777F freighter

Southern Air (2nd) (Anchorage) today took delivery of its fourth new Boeing 777-FZB (N777SA, msn 37989).

The new aircraft will be immediately inducted into service for DHL Express on the shipper’s new round-the-world service from Hong Kong to Los Angeles to Leipzig, Germany and back to Hong Kong.  The new route reduces shipping time from Asia-Pacific and the U.S. West Coast to one day and extends cargo pick-up times for U.S. suppliers shipping to Europe.  Southern Air’s third 777F began flying this route earlier this month, and its first two have flown the Cincinnati-Bahrain-Hong Kong route for DHL since September 2011.

Over the last two years, Southern Air has embarked upon an aggressive transformation from a pure 747-200F cargo airline with an average fleet age of 33 years to a highly reliable, fuel efficient fleet of 777Fs and 747SFs, with plans to introduce several 747-400F factory freighters by 2013.  By the end of next year, the Company is targeting an average fleet age of less than 7 years. In total, Southern Air’s fleet currently includes fourteen 777Fs and 747s designed for global long-haul cargo shipments.

The fourth 777F is painted, like the first three, in combined DHL and Southern Air livery.

Copyright Photo: Nick Dean. Sister-ship N714SA is painted in the same way as N777SA.

Hot New Photos Slide Show: CLICK HERE

JetBlue records a first quarter net profit of $30 million

JetBlue Airways Corporation (New York) today reported its results for the first quarter 2012:

  • Operating income for the quarter was $89 million, resulting in a 7.4% operating margin, compared to operating income of $45 million and a 4.4% operating margin in the first quarter of 2011.
  • Pre-tax income of $49 million in the first quarter.  This compares to pre-tax income of $6 million in the first quarter of 2011.
  • Net income for the first quarter was $30 million, or $0.09 per diluted share.  This compares to JetBlue’s first quarter 2011 net income of $3 million, or $0.01 per diluted share.

JetBlue reported record first quarter operating revenues of $1.2 billion, an increase of 18.9% versus last year. Revenue passenger miles for the first quarter increased 14.2% to 7.91 billion on a capacity increase of 12.0%, resulting in a first quarter load factor of 82.9%, an increase of 1.5 points year over year.

Yield per passenger mile in the first quarter was 13.86 cents, up 5.9% compared to the first quarter of 2011.  Passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) for the first quarter 2012 increased 8.0% year over year to 11.49 cents and operating revenue per available seat mile (RASM) increased 6.1% year over year to 12.62 cents.

Operating expenses for the quarter increased 15.2%, or $147 million, over the prior year period driven primarily by $80 million in additional fuel expense.  JetBlue’s operating expense per available seat mile (CASM) for the first quarter increased 2.8% year-over-year to 11.69 cents.  Excluding fuel, CASM decreased 1.0% to 7.15 cents.

JetBlue continued to hedge fuel to manage price volatility. Specifically, JetBlue hedged approximately 42% of its fuel consumption during the first quarter, resulting in a realized fuel price of $3.25 per gallon, a 10% increase over first quarter 2011 realized fuel price of $2.94.  JetBlue’s fuel expense reflects $9 million in gains on fuel hedges that settled during the first quarter.

JetBlue has hedged approximately 26% of its second quarter projected fuel requirements and 21% of its projected remaining fuel requirements for 2012 using a combination of collars, crude call options, and jet fuel swaps.  Based on the fuel curve as of April 20, JetBlue expects an average price per gallon of fuel, including the impact of hedges and fuel taxes, of $3.33 in the second quarter and $3.30 for the full year 2012.

JetBlue ended the first quarter with approximately $1.2 billion in unrestricted cash and short term investments.

Copyright Photo: Eddie Maloney.

JetBlue Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Afriqiyah Airways orders three Airbus A330-300s

Afriqiyah Airways (Triploi) has ordered three Airbus A330-300s according to Flightglobal. The Libyan carrier currently has two A330-200s and one A340-200 besides the A319s and A320s.

Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati.

Afriqiyah Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Iberia to cut striking pilot salaries and benefits

Iberia (Madrid) wants to cut the salaries of its pilots and reduce the perks while increasing the hours flown for its pilots. By doing so, the embattled flag carriers hopes to trim 20 percent on its total costs for its pilots and boost productivity by 25 percent according to this report by Reuters.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Meanwhile the IB pilots continue to strike the flag carrier over the introduction of lower-cost Iberia Express.

Who will win this battle?

Copyright Photo: Pepscl.

Iberia Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Norwegian’s 1Q net loss narrows but a pilots strike looms

Norwegian Air Shuttle (Norwegian.com) (Oslo) narrowed its first quarter net loss to $49.9 million, down from a loss of $51.2 million in the same quarter a year ago.

Here is the full report from the carrier:

“Norwegian (NAS) reported its first quarter results. The company’s total revenue was 2.36 BNOK, up 25 percent compared to the same quarter previous year. The company’s net profit of – 286 MNOK was strongly influenced by high oil prices. In spite of 15 percent higher fuel prices than the same quarter previous year, the company’s continuous introduction of brand new and more efficient aircraft contributed to considerable fuel savings.

Norwegian carried more than 3.6 million passengers in the first quarter, an increase of 19 percent compared with the first quarter last year. The load factor increased by 3 percentage points to 77 percent.

”It’s been a challenging quarter, mostly due to soaring oil prices. In addition, the first quarter is seasonally weak. Considerable non-recurring cost has incurred due to the phasing out of older aircraft from the fleet However, our fleet renewal program is an investment that will benefit the company in many years to come. On the positive side, our passenger growth continues and our load factor increases,” said CEO Bjørn Kjos.

“The introduction of brand new, more fuel efficient (Boeing 737-800) aircraft will make us even more robust against high fuel prices,” said Kjos. In the first quarter alone, more efficient aircraft contributed to fuel savings of 25 MNOK compared to first quarter previous year.

Key Figures First Quarter 2012 (Q1 2011)

Passengers: 3.65 million (3.1 million)

Revenue: 2.36 BNOK (1.9 BNOK)

Load Factor: 77 percent (74 percent)

EBITDAR: -252 MNOK (-230 MNOK)

EBITDA: – 497 MNOK (-430 MNOK)

EBIT: – 575 MNOK (- 495 MNOK)

EBT: – 398 MNOK (-406 MNOK)

Net Result: – 286 MNOK (-293 MNOK)”

Norwegian is being threatened by its first-ever strike. The 570 pilots of Norwegian are unhappy about an resolved contractual issue and are threatening to strike. Norwegian offers short-term contracts (rather than full time employment) to pilots when it expands into new areas. The pilots are demanding full-time employment.

Read the full report from Views and News from Norway: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems. The older Boeing 737-300s are rapidly being replaced by new Boeing 737-800s.

Norwegian Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Bottom Copyright Photo: Norwegian Air Shuttle. The Boeing fleet gathers at the Oslo hub.

Republic Airways Holdings narrows its loss in the 1Q, Frontier still a drag on the holding company

Republic Airways Holdings (Indianapolis) reported a net loss of $7.1 million, or $0.15 per diluted share, for the quarter ended March 31, 2012, compared to a net loss of $22.4 million, or $0.46 per diluted share, for the same period last year.

Republic revenues decreased 4.5%, compared to the prior year’s first quarter on a 4.7% decrease in block hours. As of March 31, 2012, Republic operated 19 fewer 37-50 seat aircraft than a year ago, resulting in lower block hour production. Republic also redeployed 14 of 17 EJet aircraft that were flown on behalf of Frontier in 2011 back into fixed-fee service with Delta.

Income before taxes for Republic was $10.9 million for the quarter, compared to a pre-tax income of $3.1 million for the first quarter of 2011. The improvement in Republic’s first quarter result stems from a significant reduction in pro-rate flying and related losses that were incurred in the first quarter of 2011 on sub-99 seat aircraft operating on behalf of Frontier.

Fuel costs for Republic were $59.8 million for the quarter, a decrease of $15.8 million from the prior year’s first quarter. The price per gallon increased 7.8% from $3.09 to $3.33 for the quarter, but the increase in pricing was more than offset by the reduction in consumption associated with the significant reduction in pro-rate operations.

Cost per Available Seat Mile (CASM), including interest expense but excluding fuel, increased 4.5% to 8.44¢ for the first quarter of 2012, from 8.08¢ for the same quarter of 2011. The increase is a result of unassigned aircraft expenses, increased employee benefit costs and higher maintenance expenses.

As of March 31, 2012, Republic operated 56 aircraft with 44-50 seats and 126 aircraft with 69-80 seats under fixed-fee commercial agreements. Additionally, Republic operated three aircraft with 50 seats and 19 aircraft with 74-99 seats under pro-rate agreements with Frontier. Seventeen 37-76 seat aircraft were unassigned as of March 31, 2012. The Company recently entered into long-term, offshore agreements to sublease three of its E170 aircraft, which are expected to be delivered to the new lessee between June and September of 2012.

The Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) continues to be a drag for the holding company. However Frontier made improvements during this quarter. For the quarter ended March 31, 2012, Frontier posted a pre-tax loss of $21.6 million compared to a pre-tax loss of $39.0 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2011.

Frontier’s total revenues increased 19.2% to $342.4 million for the quarter, compared to $287.3 million for the same period in 2011. Capacity on Frontier, as measured by ASMs, was up 10.8% from the prior year’s first quarter, reflecting the year-over-year effect of the addition of A319 and A320 aircraft to the fleet during the first half of 2011. Load factor for the first quarter was a record 84.7%, and an increase of 4.1 points from the first quarter of 2011. Total revenue per ASM (TRASM) was 11.41¢, up 7.5% from the same quarter in 2011.

The operating unit cost for Frontier operations, excluding fuel, was 7.68¢ for the quarter, a 5.1% decrease compared to 8.09¢ for the same quarter of 2011, due primarily to an increase in average aircraft seat density and lower non-fuel expenses in the current quarter. Frontier’s unit cost for the first quarter of 2012 includes approximately 0.84¢ related to certain expenses associated with pro-rate operations between Republic and Frontier.

Under the Company’s arms-length pro-rate agreements, Republic is allocated an industry standard pro-rata portion of ticket revenue, while Frontier retains all connect revenues as well as ancillary revenues on regional flights. Frontier maintains certain rights to deploy the regional aircraft and maintains control of pricing and revenue management. Frontier also retains responsibility for all customer service expenses, including airport rents. Selling and distribution costs are shared between Republic and Frontier.

Fuel costs for Frontier were $131.9 million for the quarter, an increase of $26.8 million from the prior year’s first quarter. The fuel cost per gallon, including into-plane taxes and fees, increased 18.5% to $3.39 for the first quarter of 2012, compared to $2.86 for last year’s first quarter. The first quarter 2011 result included a gain on fuel hedges of $8.7 million, or $0.23 per gallon. There were no hedge positions for the first quarter of 2012.

As of March 31, 2012, Frontier operated a total of 60 Airbus aircraft. During the second-quarter of 2012, Frontier will be reconfiguring its fleet of 15 A320 aircraft (see above) to include six additional seats, increasing seat density from 162 to 168 seats. Frontier also plans to add one A320 aircraft during the second quarter of 2012, increasing its A320 operational fleet to 16 aircraft. Certain of Frontier’s aircraft operate under fixed-price, multi-year charter agreements. Revenues earned under these agreements are reported as other revenue in our consolidated statement of operations.

Republic’s total cash balance increased $25.8 million to $396.5 million as of March 31, 2012, compared to December 31, 2011. Restricted cash increased $67.6 million, to $219.0 million, from December 31, 2011. The Company’s unrestricted cash balance decreased $41.8 million, to $177.5 million, from December 31, 2011. A condensed cash flow statement has been provided in the tables section of this release.

Republic’s debt decreased to $2.31 billion as of March 31, 2012, compared to $2.36 billion at December 31, 2011. As of March 31, 2012, approximately 85% of the total debt is fixed-rate. The Company has significant long-term lease obligations for aircraft that are classified as operating leases and are not reflected as liabilities on the Company’s consolidated balance sheet. At a 6.0% discount factor, the present value of these lease obligations was approximately $1.15 billion as of March 31, 2012. A condensed balance sheet as of March 31, 2012 and December 31, 2011 has been provided in the tables section of this release.

Republic has engaged Seabury Advisors to assist the company in a comprehensive restructuring effort for the Chautauqua Airlines subsidiary, which operates our small regional jets (see below).

Republic Airways Holdings is an airline holding company that owns Chautauqua Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Republic Airlines and Shuttle America.

Top Copyright Photo: Luimer Cordero.

Frontier Slide Show: CLICK HERE

US Airways Express-Chautauqua Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Bottom Copyright Photo: Tony Storck. Chautauqua’s future is somewhat murky pending recommendations for its future from Seabury.

Allegiant’s first quarter net profit climbs 26.5% to $21.7 million

Allegiant Travel Company (Allegiant Air) (Las Vegas) reported its first quarter net profit rose by 26.5 percent to $21.7 million. This compares favorably with a 1Q net profit of $17.2 million a year ago.

Unaudited 1Q12 1Q11 Change
Total operating revenue (millions) $237.9 $193.2 23.1%
Operating income (millions) $36.3 $27.8 30.5%
Operating margin 15.3% 14.4% 0.9pp
EBITDA (millions) $48.3 $37.7 28.1%
EBITDA margin 20.3% 19.5% 0.8pp
Net income (millions) $21.7 $17.2 26.5%
Diluted earnings per share $1.12 $0.89 25.8%

Accomplishments in the past year and updates on the fleet:

  • Ancillary third party products revenue per passenger grew 10.7%
  • PRASM increased 3.1% despite a 22% increase in scheduled service ASMs
  • CASM ex-fuel declined 3%, cost per passenger ex-fuel decreased 1.5%
  • Started charging for carry-on bags in April
  • Announced service to Honolulu from Las Vegas beginning June 29 and Fresno, CA beginning June 30
  • Purchased fifth and sixth 757 in March and April respectively
  • Expect to have four Boeing 757-200s in service in the third quarter and six by the first quarter 2013
  • First of three 757 leased to European carriers returned in April; currently being prepped for service
  • Currently have 19 MD-80s with 166 seats. Our bases in Bellingham, WA, Mesa, AZ, Los Angeles, CA, and Oakland, CA are being operated by 166 seat MD-80s.
  • Purchased two leased MD-80s at an average purchase price of $1.3 million. All aircraft in fleet are now owned
  • Announced a new base in Oakland, CA, serving nine routes, beginning April 26
  • Announced a new base in Punta Gorda, FL (Southwest Florida), serving seven routes, beginning on June 27

Revenue performance (year over year)

  • Total scheduled service revenue grew 25.8% on a 22% increase in scheduled service ASMs
  • Total fare of $132.70 was the highest in the history of the company
1Q12 1Q11 Change
Scheduled Service:
Average fare – scheduled service $94.95 $89.00 6.7%
Average fare – ancillary air-related charges $32.39 $31.38 3.2%
Average fare – ancillary third party products $5.36 $4.84 10.7%
Average fare – total $132.70 $125.22 6.0%
Scheduled service passenger revenue per ASM (PRASM)(cents) 9.04 8.77 3.1%
Total scheduled service revenue per ASM (TRASM) (cents) 12.64 12.34 2.4%
Load factor 91.1% 92.9% (1.8)pp

Cost performance (year over year)

  • Cost per ASM excluding fuel decreased 3%, total cost per ASM increased 2.9%
  • Aircraft fuel expense increased 29.3% on a $.41 per gallon increase
  • Fuel cost per passenger was $56.93, a $5.53 increase
  • Salary and benefit expense per passenger declined 7.7% primarily due to outsourcing of station personnel in Las Vegas
  • Sales and marketing expense per passenger decreased 10.9% primarily due to an 8% decline in payment processing cost per passenger
  • Maintenance and repairs expense per passenger increased 13.4% due to the completion of the 2011 planned engine program occurring in the first quarter
  • Station operations expense per passenger increased 1.5% primarily due to outsourcing Las Vegas station personnel
1Q12 1Q11 Change
Total System*:
Operating expense per passenger $112.03 $107.36 4.3%
Operating expense per passenger, excluding fuel $55.10 $55.96 (1.5)%
Operating expense per ASM (CASM) (cents) 10.52 10.22 2.9%
Operating expense, excluding fuel per ASM (CASM ex fuel) (cents) 5.17 5.33 (3.0)%
* Total system includes scheduled service, fixed-fee contract and non-revenue flying

Third party products performance (year over year)

  • Growth in both hotel room nights (19.7%) and rental car days (32.9%) exceeded the growth in the number of scheduled passengers (17.9%) for the first quarter
  • Third party products revenue per passenger set record highs for each month in the first quarter

The Allegiant formula as a package travel provider is working and the company continues to expand and make money despite operating older less-efficient aircraft. By serving smaller cities and flying to vacation centers they have found a winning combination.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing.

Allegiant Slide Show: CLICK HERE

CAA concludes the captain was responsible for the crash of Airblue flight 202

Airblue’ (Islamabad) flight ED 202 crash of July 28, 2010 has been investigated again by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of Pakistan and the blame has clearly been placed on the captain in the second report. The Airbus A321 crash killed all 152 passengers and crew members on board. The first investigation report was rejected by the court.

The CAA concluded the  “Airblue crash has been finalized as a case of Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT), in which aircrew failed to display superior judgment and professional skills in a self-created unsafe environment. In their pursuit to land in inclement weather, they committed serious violations of procedures and breaches of flying discipline, which put the aircraft in an unsafe condition over dangerous terrain at low altitude.” according to this report by DawnNews.

The CAA also concluded the captain was ignoring the requests of ATC and was condescending towards the first officer.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Richard Vandervord.

Airblue Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Germania to increase its flights to Kurdistan in northern Iraq

Germania Fluggesellschaft (Berlin) starting on April 30, 2012 will be flying to Erbil, Iraq once a week from Stockholm (Tuesdays), Gothenburg (Mondays) and Malmö (Saturdays). The city of Erbil is a key trade show and conference location in northern Iraq. Germania will be flying to Sulaymaniyah on Thursdays from Stockholm, Mondays from Gothenburg and Wednesdays from Malmö. Sulaymaniyah is an important center of commerce and one of the fastest-growing cities in Kurdistan, Iraq.

The services from Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö to Erbil and Sulaymaniyah will be organized and marketed in cooperation with the tour operator Dokan Air. Previously, Germania had previously operated individual flights from Sweden to Northern Iraq.

Copyright Photo: Bernhard Ross.

Germania Slide Show: CLICK HERE

US Airways Group also has a mixed but improved first quarter

US Airways Group, Inc. (Phoenix) today reported its first quarter 2012 financial results. For the first quarter 2012, the group reported a net loss excluding net special credits of $22 million, or ($0.13) per share. Net loss excluding net special charges for the first quarter 2011 was $110 million, or ($0.68) per share. On a GAAP basis, the Company reported a net profit of $48 million for its first quarter 2012, or $0.28 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $114 million, or ($0.71) per share, for the same period in 2011.

Strong passenger demand and record passenger yields led to improved revenue performance. Total revenues in the first quarter were a record $3.3 billion, up 10.3 percent versus the first quarter 2011 on a 3.0 percent increase in total available seat miles (ASMs). Total revenue per ASM was a record 15.45 cents, up 7.1 percent versus the same period last year, driven by a record first quarter load factor of 79.3 percent, up 1.3 points, and a 6.5 percent increase in passenger yields.

Total operating expenses in the first quarter were $3.2 billion, up 6.9 percent over the same period last year due primarily to a $160 million increase in consolidated fuel expense. Mainline cost per available seat mile (CASM) was 13.57 cents, up 3.7 percent on a 4.0 percent increase in mainline ASMs. Excluding special charges and fuel, mainline CASM was 8.71 cents, down 0.6 percent versus the same period last year. Express CASM excluding special charges and fuel was 15.33 cents, up 1.5 percent on a 1.8 percent decrease in Express ASMs.

As of March 31, 2012, the Company had $2.54 billion in total cash and investments, of which $347 million was restricted, up from $2.31 billion, of which $365 million was restricted on December 31, 2011.

In addition, in April 2012 US Airways entered into a loan agreement, pursuant to which US Airways borrowed an aggregate principal amount of $100 million. The net proceeds after fees were approximately $98 million. The loan is collateralized by certain airport take-off and landing slots.

The Company recognized $70 million of net special credits in the first quarter. Special credits included a $73 million gain associated with the previously announced slot transaction with Delta Air Lines, Inc., offset in part by a $3 million special operating charge. The Company closed the slot transaction in December 2011, which resulted in a $147 million gain that the Company deferred as of December 31, 2011 due to Department of Transportation (DOT) operating restrictions. The Company expects to recognize the remaining $74 million gain in the third quarter of 2012 as the operating restrictions lapse.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. US Airways is gradually replacing its aging Boeing 737-400 fleet.

US Airways Slide Show: CLICK HERE

JetBlue launches the Newark-San Juan route

JetBlue Airways (New York) today (April 25) launched service to its 12th nonstop destination from San Juan’s Luis Munoz MarinInternational Airport (SJU), Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR).

JetBlue operates up to 18 flights a day from Newark, with nonstop service to Boston, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, Fort Myers, Orlando, Tampa and West Palm Beach.

JetBlue’s flights to and from San Juan will be operated with the airline’s Airbus A320 fleet. In Puerto Rico, JetBlue currently serves San Juan, Aguadilla and Ponce, with service to twelve nonstop destinations, eight within the continental U.S.: Boston, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, Hartford/Springfield, Jacksonville, Newark, New York, Orlando, and Tampa and four within the Caribbean: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and St. Croix.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing.

JetBlue Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Delta Air Lines has a mixed first quarter

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) today reported financial results for the March 2012 quarter.  Highlights from the quarter include:

  • Excluding special items(1), Delta’s net loss for the March 2012 quarter was $39 million, or $0.05 per share, and its pre-tax loss was $36 million.  The pre-tax result is a $355 million improvement year over year despite $250 million higher fuel expense.
  • Including a $163 million gain from special items, Delta’s GAAP net income was $124 million and its pre-tax income was $127 million.
  • Delta’s passenger unit revenues increased 14% and the company produced a unit revenue premium to the industry.
  • Delta ended the March 2012 quarter with $5.7 billion of unrestricted liquidity and adjusted net debt of $12.2 billion.
  • Delta’s return on invested capital for the last twelve months was 10.6%.

As of March 31, 2012, Delta had $5.7 billion in unrestricted liquidity, including $3.9 billion in cash and short-term investments and $1.8 billion in undrawn revolving credit facilities.

During the March 2012 quarter, Delta’s fuel expense rose by $250 million as a 14% increase in fuel price was offset by $45 million of fuel hedge gains and reduced consumption.

Excluding mark to market adjustments, Delta’s average fuel price(2) was $3.28 per gallon for the March quarter, which includes five cents per gallon in settled gains from its fuel hedging program.  On a GAAP basis, which includes mark to market gains on open hedges, the company’s average fuel price was $3.11 per gallon.

Delta recorded special items totaling a $163 million gain in the March 2012 quarter, including:

  • $151 million in mark-to-market gains for fuel hedges settling in future periods;
  • a $39 million gain associated with the exchange of slots at New York-LaGuardia and Washington-Reagan National; and
  • a $27 million charge for fleet, facilities and other items.

Delta recorded special items totaling a $2 million gain in the March 2011 quarter, including:

  • $29 million in mark-to-market gains for fuel hedges settling in future periods;
  • a $7 million charge associated fleet retirements; and
  • a $20 million loss on extinguishment of debt.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing.

Delta Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Boeing has a good first quarter – net income rises to $900 million, delivers the first 747-8 Intercontinental to Lufthansa

The Boeing Company (Chicago) reported first-quarter net income rose to $0.9 billion, or $1.22 per share, on revenue of $19.4 billion.  Earnings per share rose 56 percent, reflecting continued strong core performance across the company’s businesses, which more than offset higher pension expense (Table 1).  The results also include an increase in earnings of $0.11 per share related to a reduction in a litigation-related reserve.  Earnings per share guidance for 2012 increased to between $4.15 and $4.35 to incorporate the reduction in the litigation-related reserve.  The company reaffirmed its 2012 revenue and operating cash flow outlook.

Copyright Photo: Joe G. Walker. Boeing has handed over the first Boeing 747-830 Intercontinental (D-ABYA) to Lufthansa (this is the first Boeing delivery to LH since the last 747-430!). Lufthansa employees are conducting airline-specific preparations to get the airplane ready for a May 1 flight to its permanent home base in Frankfurt. Boeing will host a special flyaway celebration with senior executives from both companies that day. Lufthansa will then host a special celebration when the airplane arrives in Frankfurt on May 2.

Hot New Photos Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Pinnacle to shed 450 pilot positions over the next 18 months

Pinacle Airlines Corporation (Memphis), currently reorganizing under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, is planning to shed around 450 pilot positions over the next 18 months. The group intends to also shed 97 Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400), SAAB 340B and Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft as it adjusts its contracts. Colgan Air will also be closed down by November 2012. The United Express and US Airways Express operations will also be terminated under the current reorganization proposals.

Read the full report from Memphis Business Journal: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Tony Storck. The current Colgan Air operates for United Express and US Airways Express

United Express-Colgan Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Thomson Airways to introduce a new livery for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Thomson Airways (London-Luton) is planning to introduced this revised TUI livery with the delivery of the first of eight 787-8 Dreamliners next year. The carrier is asking its customers to help determine which route the new type will be introduced on – probably to either Florida (Sanford) or Mexico (Cancun).

Images: Thomson Airways. The carrier is also introducing new interiors on the 787.

Thomson Slide Show: CLICK HERE

JetBlue flight 571 hit by two geese, returns safely to Westchester

JetBlue Airways’ (New York) flight B6 571 from Westchester to West Palm Beach last night returned safely to Westchester after the Embraer ERJ 190 collided with geese on its climb out. Two geese struck the windshield. There was only minor damage to the aircraft.

Read the full story from Channel 4: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum.

JetBlue Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Hawaiian posts a first quarter net profit of $7.3 million

Hawaiian Holdings, Inc., parent company of Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. (Honolulu), reported consolidated net income for the three months ended March 31, 2012 of $7.3 million, or $0.14 per diluted share, on total operating revenue of $435.5 million, compared to net income of $0.9 million, or $0.02 per diluted share, on total operating revenue of $365.6 million for the three months ended March 31, 2011.

Adjusted for economic fuel expense, the Company reported net income of $3.3 million, or $0.06 per diluted share for the three months ended March 31, 2012.  This compares with adjusted net loss of $3.2 million, or $0.06 per diluted share, for the three months ended March 31, 2011, reflecting economic fuel expense.  Table 4 sets forth a reconciliation of net income and diluted net income per share on a GAAP basis and non-GAAP net income and diluted net income per share reflecting economic fuel expense.  The Company believes that the presentation of economic fuel expense most closely approximates the net cash outflow associated with the purchase of fuel for its operations in a period.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing.

Hawaiian Slide Show: CLICK HERE

As of March 31, 2012, the Company had:

  • Unrestricted cash and cash equivalents of $376 million and $5.2 million in restricted cash.
  • Current available borrowing capacity of $56.6 million under Hawaiian’s Revolving Credit Facility.
  • Outstanding debt and capital lease obligations of $539.7 million consisting of the following:
    • $70.0 million outstanding under Convertible Senior Notes.
    • $74.3 million outstanding under floating rate notes issued in conjunction with the acquisition of three Boeing 767-300 ER aircraft.
    • $182.1 million secured loan agreements for a portion of the purchase price for 15 previously leased Boeing 717-200 aircraft.
    • $192.8 million outstanding under three secured loan agreements to finance a portion of the purchase price for Airbus A330-200 aircraft.
    • $20.0 million in capital lease obligations for Boeing 717-200 aircraft delivered in the first quarter 2012.
    • $0.5 million of non-aircraft related capital lease obligations.

The current problems of Shaheen Air

Shaheen Air International (Karachi) has been making headlines the past few days for the wrong reasons. First a Boeing 737 burst two tires on landing at Karachi two days ago (April 22). Next, on the same day, another Boeing 737 started leaking fuel as it was departing (probably due to over-fueling) and aborted the takeoff.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of Pakistan has fined the private airline for not maintaining its aircraft properly and started an investigation into the incidents.

Read the full report from The Express Tribune: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Michael Stappen.

Syphax Airlines is planning to fly from Tunis Airport in competition with Tunisair

Syphax Airlines (Sfax) is planning to fly to Tunis-Carthage International Airport starting on April 29. Tunisair is protesting the plan to serve the capital. The flag carrier was OK with permitting the new Tunisian airline to develop the region around Sfax, but not Tunis. Syphax Airlines launched operations on April 14 from Sfax with two Airbus A319s. It currently serves Paris (CDG) and Lyon.

Read the full story from All Africa: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Jacques Guillem Collection.

Kenya Airways to add Beirut on October 25

Kenya Airways (Nairobi) will Beirut, Lebanon and the Nairobi-Beirut route starting on October 25. The new route will be operated three days a week with Boeing 737s per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: David Apps.

Kenya Airways Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Air Zimbabwe is considering leasing ERJs from Embraer

Air Zimbabwe (Harare) still has hopes of flying again. According to this report by The Zimbabwe Mail the flag carrier is now considering leasing airliners from Embraer. The fallen airline reportedly owes its workers close to $40 million in back pay which leads to question; who would fly the aircraft?

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Air Zimbabwe Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Ural Airlines launches a new route from St. Petersburg to Yerevan, Armenia

Ural Airlines (Yekaterinburg) on April 17 launched a new weekly route from St. Petersburg to Yerevan (Armenia). The new route is served with Airbus A321s.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems.

Ural Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Transaero Airlines acquires AAAE MRO in Shannon, Ireland

Transaero Airlines (Moscow) has finalized a deal on taking over an aircraft maintenance station at Shannon airport.  The former Air Atlanta Aero Engineering (AAAE) now operates as Transaero Engineering Ireland, a 100% subsidiary of Transaero Airlines.

The company, founded in 1959, commenced operations in the current hangar facility in October 2002.  The hangar can accommodate wide and narrow-body aircraft.  The building consists of 65,000 square feet of hangar space and 25,000 square feet of offices.  The current configuration of the facility allows for two to three lines of heavy maintenance, a casualty or line maintenance bay and parking for aircraft in storage programs.

According to the Russian airline, “Transaero Engineering Ireland approvals include EASA, FAA, Cayman, Bermuda, Nigeria, UAE, Chad, Canadian amongst others.

Employing 240 high qualified and dedicated staff Transaero Engineering Ireland provides it’s customers a highly personalized, high quality, cost effective service that delivers.  The company intends to increase staff numbers shortly.”

Transaero Engineering Ireland’s is certified to carry out MRO on the Boeing 737, 757 and 767 aircraft as well as business-jets and VIP aircraft.  Currently Transaero Engineering Ireland’s staff are undergoing EASA 147 training on the Boeing 747 and Boeing 777 aircraft to enhance the current aircraft coverage approvals for the facility.

On the financial side, the airline reversed a previous quarterly loss and produced a $508,000 net profit in the first quarter according to ATW.

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography.

Transaero Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Will Boeing win the competition against Airbus for 180 narrow bodies for United Airlines?

United Airlines (Chicago) today as a merged airline, is both an Airbus and Boeing narrow body customer. However the current former Continental management strongly favored Boeing in the past. Those past loyalties may be helping to sway the current battle for a large 180-aircraft order for new narrow body aircraft with new more fuel efficient engines. According to this Reuters report quoting inside sources involved in the negotiations, Boeing is pulling ahead in the competition. An order is likely to be announced this summer so the competition for this large order is not over.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing.

United Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Bottom Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough.

American Airlines’ lawyers argue in bankruptcy court to throw out all of the labor contracts, union’s lawyers argue for a merger with US Airways

American Airlines’ (Dallas/Fort Worth) lawyers presented their case yesterday (April 23) before the bankruptcy court to throw out all of the existing labor contracts stating the airline cannot survive under the current labor contracts. AMR has lost around $12 billion since 201. Lawyers for the various labor groups are arguing a merger with US Airways (Phoenix) would save jobs and make the new company even stronger. AMR wants to cut around 13,000 jobs.

According to this article by Bloomberg Businessweek, “US Airways CEO Doug Parker says he would keep both airlines’ hubs and planes, stick with the American Airlines name, and create a bigger company that could compete against United and Delta. But AMR CEO Thomas Horton says he’s not interested in a merger until his company finishes cutting costs in bankruptcy.”

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Mark Durbin.

American Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Three former Helios Airways executives and one British mechanic are convicted in absentia for the August 14, 2005 crash

Helios Airways (Larnaca) did not survive the well-publicized August 14, 2005 crash near Athens, Greece of this Boeing 737-300 despite a name change to Ajet Airways. Three former Helios executives and one British mechanic who inspected the ill-fated airliner before it departed for Athens were convicted in absentia in an Athens court room for the death of the 121 passengers and crew members. Previously the four were found not guilty in a Cyprus court. The flight crew failed to switch the oxygen supply system from manual to active prior to takeoff which cut off the oxygen supply en route to the crew and the passengers. The airliner flew until it hit a mountain near Athens. Fighter jet escorts observe one individual in the cockpit trying to avoid the inevitable fuel starvation and crash.

Read the full report from Reuters: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati Collection.

Lufthansa completes the sale of bmi, IAG to dispose of bmibaby and bmi regional

Lufthansa (Frankfurt) has sold British Midland Limited (bmi) to the International Airlines Group (IAG). The sale was completed at the close of business on April 19. The gross purchase price was approximately $277.6 million.

According to Lufthansa, “as price adjustments have been agreed as part of the transaction structure, the net purchase price will be determined at the end of the second quarter 2012, at which point the final amount will be transferred. It continues to be expected that the net purchase price will be negative. However the costs of the transaction for Lufthansa will amortize within one year. The gross purchase price is expected to be reduced by a number of items including agreed deductions for not selling bmi regional and bmibaby prior to the completion of the transaction.

Bmi’s underfunded Pension Scheme is to be transferred to the UK Pension Protection Fund. The pension shortfall for the members of the bmi Pension Scheme will be offset to a large extent by a one-off contribution from Lufthansa of GBP 84 million to a supplementary pension scheme.”

On November 4, 2011, Lufthansa and IAG agreed in principle to the sale of bmi to IAG, prior to a legally binding purchase agreement being signed by both parties on December 22, 2011. The validity of this contract was subject to regulatory approval by the European Commission, which was received on March 30, 2012.

IAG has vowed to operate bmibaby and bmi regional as subsidiaries only for the short term (Lufthansa was unable to sell either carrier prior to the sale date). IAG will now try to dispose of both bmibaby and bmi regional.

Meanwhile Virgin Atlantic Airways has vowed to continue to fight this transaction and hopes to acquire new slots at London Heathrow.

Lufthansa is now entering an austerity period where it will attempt to cut all operations that are not making a profit.

Top Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best. The bmi brand is expected to be retired very quickly by British Airways ending a long history for British Midland Airways, now operating as bmi.

bmi/British Midland Slide Show: CLICK HERE

bmibaby Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Bottom Copyright Photo: Paul Denton. What will happen to bmibaby, the airline that no one wants?

Austral Lineas Aereas replaces Aerolineas Argentinas on the Buenos Aires-Santago route

Austral Lineas Aereas (Buenos Aires) has replaced Aerolineas Argentinas (Buenos Aires) on the Buenos Aires (Ezeiza) (EZE)-Santiago (SCL) route. AR has flown the route for over 60 years.

Copyright Photo: Alvaro Romero. Austral’s Embraer ERJ 190-100 IGW LV-CET (msn 19000383) rises above the ground haze at SCL.

WestJet unveils its electric baggage tug

WestJet Airlines (Calgary) on Earth Day showcased its newest environmental innovation, a baggage tug which runs on rechargeable lithium polymer batteries. The tug, which resembles a small tractor, pulls baggage carts to and from the aircraft and is the first of its kind to operate on this type of battery.

As part of a pilot project, the airline worked alongside Corvus Energy, a Richmond-based technology company, to re-engineer the tug to be powered by lithium polymer batteries, removing the need for any fossil fuel to power the equipment. The tug, which began operating in October at Calgary International Airport, successfully performed in frigid temperatures, without incident, throughout the winter.

The change to electric power has allowed the airline to continue its focus on on-time performance, as baggage can be transported to and from the aircraft on approximately 11 flights per day on a single charge.

In May, two electric baggage tugs will arrive in Whitehorse for the launch of daily service to the area, which begins May 17. The airline expects the technology to be effective in the Yukon’s cold weather temperatures where lead-acid batteries are prone to freezing and cannot be recharged once frozen, and where gas-powered tugs are not permitted in the airport’s ground-level baggage areas.

Copyright Photo: WestJet.

WestJet Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Aeroflot to return to Miami on October 28

Aeroflot Russian Airlines (Moscow) will return to Miami and the Moscow (Sheremetyevo)-MIA route on October 28. The route will be operated with Airbus A330-200s three days a week per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing.

Aeroflot Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Astra Airlines is expanding, will add two Airbus A320s

Astra Airlines (Thessaloniki) of Greece is expanding. From its home base the airline is adding to the list of Russian cities it served last summer. Besides Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Omsk and Rostov-on-Don, this season the airline will expand by adding flights to Volgograd, Voronezh, Yekaterinburg, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Perm, Samara and Saratov.

The Greek carrier is also adding additional service from Thessaloniki to the Ukraine with new flights to Kiev, Donetsk, Kharkov and Lvov.

Astra Airlines has decided to add two 170-seat Airbus A320s with the first due this month. The second A320 is due in early May.

Currently Astra Airlines operates two BAe 146-300s.

In May Astra is adding weekly summer service from Thessaloniki to both Munich (May 26) and Nuremberg (May 27).

Domestically starting on May 1 the carrier will operate flights from Thessaloniki to Kalamata, Corfu, Samos continuing to Chios. In addition, starting on May 1 Astra will serve Athens-Sitia.

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton.

Meridiana fly to operate summer seasonal service to Hamburg

Meridiana fly (Olbia) will operate a twice-weekly summer seasonal service from its Olbia (Sardinia) base to Hamburg starting on May 15 per Hamburg Airport.

Copyright Photo: Lucio Alfieri.

Aigle Azur continues to expand to the south

Aigle Azur (Paris) this summer will expand its route map to Africa, specifically to Algeria, Mali and Tunisia, where it is adding one new destination and seven new routes per Airline Route.

The new routes include:

Bordeaux – Algiers (weekly)

Marseille – Algiers (7 flights per week)

Lyon – Funchal (weekly)

Nice – Algiers (weekly)

Paris (CDG) – Tunis (4 flights per week)

Paris (Orly) – Kayes (2 flights per week)

Strasbourg – Algiers (weekly)

Copyright Photo: Pepscl.

Aigle Azur Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Destination Map:

TAP Portugal to launch a new route to Bucharest

TAP Portugal (Lisbon) has announced new service between Lisbon and Bucharest will start on June 30 with three flights per week to the Romanian capital.

Flights will depart from Lisbon on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 11:10 pm (2310) arriving in Bucharest at 5:10 am (0510). The Bucharest-Lisbon return flights will depart on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 6:00 am (0600) arriving in Lisbon at 8:25 am (0825). The new route will operate with Airbus A319s.

The announcement of the new flights to Bucharest follows TAP’s earlier announcements that it will be launching two other new European routes in 2012, to Berlin (June 5) and Turin (June 3).

With these three new routes already launched this year, TAP will be flying to a total of 51 European destinations in 22 countries, thereby continuing to consolidate its European network, a sector which flew 5.79 million passengers in 2011, an increase of 9.3 percent over the previous year.

The flag carrier will suspend the Lisbon-Athens route for the winter season starting on October 28.

Copyright Photo: Pepscl.

TAP Portugal Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Brussels Airlines to suspend service to five destinations in the next winter

Brussels Airlines (Brussels) is planning to suspend service next winter to Athens, Catania, Faro, Florence and Naples starting on October 28 per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Pedro Baptista.

Brussels Airlines Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Transavia Airlines to launch nonstop Amsterdam-Dubai flights on October 11

Transavia Airlines (Transavia.com) (Netherlands) (Amsterdam) is adding a new winter destination. The subsidiary of KLM will complement the parent’s service with low-fare twice-weekly flights connecting Amsterdam and Dubai starting on October 11. The airline will operate Boeing 737-800s on the route.

Copyright Photo: Terry Wade.

Transavia Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Routes from Amsterdam:

Click on the map to expand.

Spirit Airlines continues to build its presence at DFW

Spirit Airlines (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood) is adding another spoke route from Dallas/Fort Worth. The ultra low-fare carrier will add the DFW-Portland (Oregon) route on June 21.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum.

Spirit Slide Show: CLICK HERE

CEO Sean Menke to leave Pinnacle Airlines after filing for bankruptcy protection

Pinnacle Airlines Corporation (Memphis) has announced a leadership transition under which John Spanjers, currently chief operating officer of the company, will succeed Sean Menke as chief executive officer, effective on June 1, 2012. Spanjers has been COO at Pinnacle since September 2011, and was president of Mesaba Aviation prior to joining Pinnacle.

According to the company, Menke has chosen to resign from the company on June 1 and will work closely with Spanjers and the other members of Pinnacle’s leadership team to support a seamless transition over the next five weeks. Pinnacle does not anticipate this transition will impact the timeline of the company’s Chapter 11 proceedings or Pinnacle’s ability to successfully restructure and emerge from Chapter 11.

Sean Menke was the former CEO of Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver).

As of Menke’s departure on June 1, Pinnacle expects to have achieved a number of important restructuring objectives during the initial 60 days of its Chapter 11 proceedings, including having:

  • Renegotiated key business agreements with Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and EDC;
  • Obtained final approval of its debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing;
  • Completed the Section 1110 aircraft process;
  • Received final court approval of its “First Day motions” to help the company continue to operate in the ordinary course; and,
  • Initiated a collegial and collaborative relationship with the Unsecured Creditors Committee and its advisors.

Read the analysis of the move by Bloomberg Businessweek: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough.

Delta Connection-Pinnacle Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Air Nigeria to resume service to London Gatwick and Johannesburg with Airbus A330-200s

Air Nigeria (Lagos) is planning to resume long-range services to London (Gatwick) on May 16, 2012 and Johannesburg the following day. The routes will be operated with two newly acquired Airbus A330-200s.

Read the full report from Vanguard: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Malcolm Nason. Air Nigeria currently operates eight Boeing 737-300s, one 737-400 and two Embraer ERJ 190s on domestic and regional routes.

Libyan Airlines resumes partial international operations

Libyan Airlines (Tripoli) resumed service on the Tripoli-Malta route on April 19. The route is operated twice-weekly with Nouvelair operated Airbus A320s.

Read the full story from the Times of Malta: CLICK HERE

Airlines from Libya, due to the recent civil war, are banned from flying to the European Union until at least November 22, 2012 due to safety concerns.

Copyright Photo: Richard Vandervord.

Libyan Airlines Slide Show: CLICK HERE

American’s main unions call for a merger with US Airways

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) continues to get push back from its major unions on its plans to reorganize under Chapter 11 and to avoid a merger with another carrier.

The Transport Workers Union (TWU), the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) and the Allied Pilots Association (APA) issued the following joint statement:

“On behalf of nearly 55,000 American Airlines front-line employees—including the 17,000 members of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, the 10,000 members of the Allied Pilots Association and the 26,000 members of the Transport Workers Union—we are pleased to confirm our support of a possible merger between our airline and US Airways. We have reached agreements on terms sheets for collective bargaining agreements that would govern the American Airlines employees of the merged airline with US Airways.

“This significant step represents our shared recognition that a merger between American Airlines and US Airways is the best strategy and fastest option to complete the restructuring of American Airlines, enabling it to exit the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process and restore American Airlines to a preeminent position in the airline industry.

“As envisioned, a merger of US Airways and American Airlines provides the best path for all constituencies, including employees of both American Airlines and US Airways. The contemplated merger would be based on growth, preserve at least 6,200 American Airlines jobs that would be furloughed under the company’s standalone strategy, and provide employees of both American and US Airways with competitive, industry-standard compensation and benefits. Over the long term, the combined new airline would support greater job security and advancement opportunities for both American Airlines’ and US Airways’ employees that are far superior to those available to employees at either airline on a stand-alone basis. Importantly, by avoiding a lengthy and contentious 1113 process, the new carrier would be able to emerge from bankruptcy more quickly.

“A merger would create a foundation to establish American Airlines as a vigorous competitor of the two larger network carriers and the industry at large. Customers of both airlines and air travelers in general will benefit greatly from a viable third network carrier and significantly enhanced travel choices.”

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing.

American Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Bhoja Air’s Boeing 737-236 AP-BKC crashes near Islamabad killing all 127 on board

Bhoja Air (2nd) (Karachi) had just relaunched operations on March 6, 2012 after a long hiatus. The former Bhoja Air (1st) previously ceased all operations in 2001. Former British Airways (G-BKYI) and Comair (ZS-OLB) Boeing 737-236 AP-BKC (msn 23167) was operating flight B4 213 from Karachi to Islamabad last evening (April 20) when the flight crew declared an emergency (some reports indicate the wing and engine were reported to be on fire). The crew was unable to control the jetliner in a thunderstorm and it crashed approximately 5 kilometers from Islamabad (ISB) Airport. All 127 passengers and crew members were killed in the violent crash.

According to this report by the Associated Press (AP) the owner (Farooq Bhoja) is being held from leaving the country as Pakistan intends to hold a judicial commission to investigate the crash.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Cyprus Airways to be shut down unless they find a new investor

Cyprus Airways (Larnaca) will be shut down unless the struggling flag carrier can find a new group to invest $49.3 million in the company, according to Ta Nea, citing CEO George Mavrocostas. The airline is talking to interested parties.

Read the full report from Bloomberg: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton.

Cyprus Airways Slide Show: CLICK HERE

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