Coming in the fall: ANA to introduce a R2-D2 Star Wars Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner logo jet

All Nippon Airways (ANA) (Tokyo) announced today it will introduce Star Wars livery, with the iconic R2-D2, on its newest aircraft 787-9 Dreamliner (drawings show the upcoming Boeing 787-9 JA873A, msn 34530) to mark the beginning of a five-year ANA Star Wars™ Project and agreement with The Walt Disney Company (Japan) Ltd.* This marks the first time a Star Wars character will appear on the exterior of a commercial aircraft. The R2-D2 design was unveiled to Star Wars fans today at Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California, just months prior to the character’s appearance on international flights** in autumn of this year.

ANA 787-9 Star Wars 1 (ANA)(LR)

The Star Wars livery is in line with ANA’s strategy to further enhance its international presence. Last spring, the carrier significantly expanded its international flight network from Haneda and Narita airports in Tokyo. With demand increasing around the world for flights to Japan and routes linking the United States with Asia, ANA is committed to raising the profile of the ANA brand in the global market through innovative partnerships and branding opportunities. The partnership with Star Wars, beloved by audiences in Japan and around the globe, is a perfect match as Japan’s largest airline seeks to connect travelers around the world through this project.

ANA 787-9 Star Wars 2 (ANA)(LR)

“We’re excited to be involved in this collaboration with ANA, one of the world’s leading 5-star airlines,” said Kayleen Walters, Vice President, Marketing for Lucasfilm Ltd. “We’re proud of the innovative R2-D2 design, and we look forward to witnessing the first-ever flight of a passenger aircraft featuring a Star Wars character. We’re confident that Star Wars fans around the world will absolutely love this design.”

ANA 787-9 Star Wars 3 (ANA)(LR)

“ANA boasts an extensive international network, along with convenient connections between the U.S. and a wide variety of destinations throughout Asia,” said Takashi Shiki, ANA Executive Vice President, Sales & Marketing. “Although it’s a lofty goal, we hope that like Star Wars, ANA will become well known and loved across all borders and generations. The R2-D2 motif works well with ANA’s blue logo design on the aircraft’s fuselage, and many people associate R2-D2 with competent and reliable service—also hallmarks of ANA’s 5-star service. We are particularly delighted to introduce this collaboration now as we prepare to launch our new international service from Tokyo to Houston in June, making it our 10th North American destination. Through the introduction of the new Star Wars livery we hope to welcome more passengers from around the world to experience ANA as the Inspiration of Japan.”

ANA 787-9 Star Wars diagram (ANA)(LR)

All images by ANA.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (official trailer):

Brilliant idea ANA. Well done.

Below: R2-D2 from Star Wars.

ANA Star Wars R2-D2

United Airlines introduces a purple “March of Dimes” Boeing 737-900 ER

United 737-900ER SSWL N66848 (15-March of Dimes)(Grd)(United)(LRW)

United Airlines (Chicago) today (April 16) welcomed a new Boeing 737-900 ER aircraft to its fleet, and while it is not the first of the next generation Boeing planes the company will take delivery of this year, it is the first to feature a vibrant purple fuselage. The pictured commemorative Boeing 737-924 ER N66848 (msn 42188) is specially painted to honor United’s ten years of supporting the March of Dimes and their mission to provide families across the country with care and valuable information on pregnancy and having healthy babies.

Flight UA 2051 departed Seattle’s Sea-Tac airport this morning bound for Chicago O’Hare, filled with customers and United partners who supported the March of Dimes through United’s fundraising efforts. Each guest was personally welcomed aboard the special flight by 2015 March of Dimes National Ambassador Family, long-time United employee Elise Jackson, her son Elijah and husband Todd. United’s Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer and the 2015 March for Babies National Chairman John Rainey also personally thanked guests for their meaningful contributions.

N66848 was handed over to the airline on March 30 and also features Aviation Partners Boeing Split Scimitar Winglets.

The airline continued:

Over the past nine years, United employees have contributed more than $5.5 million to the March of Dimes and have walked more than 36,000 miles in March for Babies events nationwide. Last year alone, United and its employees raised more than $700,000 for March of Dimes research, education and services. This year, United has committed to raise $1.2 million for the organization, with about half of that from employee efforts. And thanks to the generosity of the passengers on this flight, United has raised $780,000 for the March of Dimes with today’s delivery.

Photo: United Airlines.

United Airlines aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

Rossiya Airlines suspends Antonov An-148 scheduled flights

Rossiya Russian Airlines (subsidiary of Aeroflot Russian Airlines) (St. Petersburg) has suspended the operation of  its relatively new six Antonov An-148s from scheduled passenger operations. The new type is more expensive to operate according to ch-aviation quoting company officials. The An-148 is built in the Ukraine. Per Airline Route, the airline operated its last scheduled flight on April 9 from Krasnodar to St. Petersburg. The type was introduced on February 2, 2010 from St. Petersburg to Moscow (Vnukovo).

Rossiya logo

Copyright Photo: Stefan Sjogren/AirlinersGallery.com. Antonov An-148-100B RA-61706 (msn 27015040006) prepares to land at Stockholm (Arlanda).

Rossiya Airlines aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

AG Staff Photographers

AeroMexico to lease one Boeing 787-9 from ALC

Air Lease Corporation (Los Angeles) has announced a long term lease agreement with AeroMexico (Mexico City) for one new Boeing 787-9 aircraft. This aircraft is from ALC’s order book with Boeing and is scheduled for delivery in fall 2016.

ALC logo

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. AeroMexico will take delivery of the first stretched Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner in 2016 and the new type will replace the existing and aging two Boeing 767-300 ERs. The new 787-9s will operate along with the current smaller 787-8 Dreamliners. The pictured 787-8 N964AM (msn 35307) lands in London (Heathrow).

AeroMexico aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

AG No Ads-Top Notch

Mesa Airlines celebrates the arrival of its 100th regional jet (again)

United Express-Mesa ERJ 175 N86322 and N85323 (CO 91)(Nose) PHX (Mesa)(LR)

Mesa Airlines (United Express) (Phoenix) yesterday (April 15) celebrated the arrival at its Houston base of its 100th regional jet (the second time around) dressed in United Express colors.

The airline issued this statement and photo:

Mesa 2015 logo

Employees of Phoenix-based Mesa Airlines celebrated the arrival of the company’s 100th regional jet at its Phoenix hangar on April 15. The 76-seat Embraer E175, new from the Embraer factory in Brazil, was greeted by hundreds of Mesa employees who enjoyed lunch and tours of the new aircraft.

Mesa Airlines is currently the fastest growing airline in the country with long-term partnership agreements with American Airlines and United Airlines. Mesa operates under the American Eagle and US Airways Express brands from hubs in Phoenix and Dallas/Fort Worth and as United Express from Washington Dulles and Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Mesa’s previously announced aircraft deliveries will bring the fleet total to 115 by the end of 2015. The company is hiring all positions including pilots, flight attendants and mechanics in locations across the country including Phoenix, Dallas/Fort Worth, Washington Dulles, Houston and El Paso.

Mesa currently operates 78 Bombardier regional jets and recently announced the purchase of seven factory-new Bombardier CRJ900 NextGEN aircraft it will operate for American. In addition, Mesa currently operates 22 Embraer E175s for United, with eight more entering service this year.

Photo: Mesa Airlines. The pictured United Express-painted Embraer ERJ 170-200LRs (ERJ 175s) N86322 (msn 17000465) and N85323 (msn 17000469) were formally handed over in Brazil on April 9.

United Express-Mesa Airlines aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

LOT Polish Airlines produces its first profit in seven years

LOT Polish Airlines (Warsaw) is back in the black, producing its first profit in seven years. The airline issued this statement:

LOT ended 2014 in the black. With more than PLN 99 million ($26 million) profit on its core business of flying, LOT earned 40 percent more than it planned. This is the company’s first profit in seven years.

LOT was supposed to end 2014 with PLN 70 million ($19 million) profit on its core business but it is almost 30 million ($8 million) above the Restructuring Plan assumptions and 103 million ($27 million) more than in 2013.

“The company is steadily improving its situation, stabilizing its financial condition and getting ready for rapid growth in the next year,” said Sebastian Mikosz, CEO, LOT Polish Airlines. “The positive result on the core business, which is a key indicator of our company’s health, is of utmost importance since it has been achieved regardless of the compensation measures required by the European Commission.”

“Because of the public aid received, we had to cut the number of flights by almost eight percent in 2014, compared to the previous year. Nevertheless, we carried two percent more passengers and increased the revenue in comparison with 2013, while keeping a similar cost level,” continued Mikosz.

The company owes its positive results to consistent changes and initiatives included in the Restructuring Plan. Most of them were added as early as in 2013, but 2014 was the first full year to have seen the results. LOT continues to modernize and expand its sales channels, including mobile solutions. The quality of service is gradually improving. New products are being added to address new passenger groups in the market.

The new philosophy of building a network has also paid off. LOT has increased its connecting capacities by as much as over 40 percent in its Warsaw hub. Such connecting options are among the reasons why LOT has become the first choice for a constantly growing number of passengers from Poland as well as the entire Eastern and Central Europe region.

2014 was also the first year to have seen the Dreamliner effect since it was only in the entire past year that all long-haul flights were operated exclusively with these aircraft. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is not only popular among passengers but provides tangible benefits, such as fuel savings. LOT currently operates six Dreamliners on its schedule network, leases them to other airlines and operates long-haul charter flights in the winter season. An efficient use of the Dreamliner fleet is included in the Restructuring Plan.

“The results in 2014 show we can operate effectively in this very competitive market, and there is a place for such a carrier as LOT,” added Mikosz. “However, we have to remember that this is just the first step of transformation and more challenges are ahead. This year, we are bound to repeat the financial success, as it is our goal to achieve sustained profitability and to move from restructuring to a rapid growth of the company.”

LOT has also improved other indicators. The EBITDA — indicator of company performance which determines the cash flow generating ability — also improved. EBITDA in 2014, is PLN 291 million ($77 million), compared to 2013 PLN 156 million ($41 million) and 2012 a minus PLN 346 million ($91 million).

The normalized net profit, i.e. without one-offs and accounting effects, is also positive and amounts nearly to PLN 36 million ($9.5 million). Taking into account the one-offs and accounting effects, related to the increase of currency exchanging rates (mainly of the dollar), a minus appears at the net result at the level of 263.4 million ($70 million). This is only an artificial accounting record having no effect on the actual financial health of the company. It is because the relationship between LOT’s earnings and spending in foreign currencies is fairly in balance. Therefore, no currency is in fact exchanged, but only the amounts are booked in PLN according to the valid standards. The net profit in the previous year amounted to PLN 26 million ($7 million). The normalized net profit in 2013 was a minus 67 million ($18 million).

Owing to the consistent improvement of its financial condition, LOT postponed and considerably reduced by as much as two thirds, the money it received from the second state aid tranche. At the end of 2014, LOT received PLN 127 million ($34 million.). It should be emphasized that the amount of state aid has no effect on the result.

The company’s growth policy for 2016 is underway. It will be announced in the next few months new short- and long-haul destinations. LOT will start flying on those routes at the beginning of the next year when the Restructuring Plan is formally ended.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. The airline attributes the turnaround to its game changing six Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners and its restructuring program as the main reasons for the change in fortunes.

LOT Polish Airlines aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

AG Need a certain aircraft?

Air New Zealand is coming to Houston

Air New Zealand (Auckland) has announced it will expand its North American presence by opening a fifth gateway this December. The airline will soon provide nonstop service between Houston, Texas and Auckland, New Zealand up to five times per week.

The Auckland – Houston (Bush Intercontinental) route will start on December 15 and will operate five days a week.

Air New Zealand’s completely refitted Boeing 777-200 aircraft will operate the route. Air New Zealand’s Star Alliance partner United Airlines (Chicago), which has a large Houston-based hub, will code share into Houston from numerous North American cities. A global gateway city, Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) provides nonstop service to almost 200 airports around the globe (113 domestic U.S. destinations).

Air New Zealand, celebrating its 75th anniversary on April 30, is also set to commemorate 50 years of flying from North America later this year. The airline began service from Los Angeles to Auckland (via Nadi & Honolulu) on December 14, 1965. With the addition of Houston, Air New Zealand will offer nonstop service to New Zealand from five North American gateways, also including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver and Honolulu.

Copyright Photo: Steve Bailey/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-219 ER ZK-OKC (msn 34377) appraches the runway at Vancouver International Airport.

Air New Zealand aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

AG Staff Photographers in every part