American Airlines shifts the Edinburgh-Philadelphia route to New York JFK

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) is planning to shift US Airways‘ Edinburgh-Philadelphia route next summer to an Edinburgh-New York (JFK) routing according to the Scotsman city American sources. AA will operate the seasonal flight between May and September.

Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil/AirlinersGallery.com. US Airways’ Boeing 757-23N N203UW (msn 30548) in American colors departs from Brussels.

American Airlines (current livery): AG Slide Show

American Airlines-US Airways: AG Slide Show

United Airlines extends its relationship with the Cleveland Browns

United-Cleveland Browns bags

United Airlines (Chicago) despite having de-hub its Cleveland station, has extended its relationship with the NFL Cleveland Browns football organization. The airline will continue to fly the team to its away games. The airline issued this statement:

United logo-1

United Airlines has extended its relationship with the Cleveland Browns, building on its ongoing service to the Cleveland area and the team. As the official airline of the Cleveland Browns, United will continue to fly the team to and from away games throughout the season.

In addition to flying the team, United will maintain its presence at FirstEnergy Stadium and on ClevelandBrowns.com. The airline will also provide exclusive opportunities to Browns fans, including the United Dream Destination, a contest at all home games where the team selects one fan to play a destination trivia game for a chance to win vouchers for United flights.

In addition to its relationship with the Cleveland Browns, United sponsors several Cleveland institutions, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Destination Cleveland and the Greater Cleveland Film Commission.

In other news, United has also announced that the company’s approximately 140 fleet technical instructors, represented by the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers (IAM), have ratified a new joint labor agreement. In addition, the company’s 49 IAM-represented security officers also voted to ratify a new joint agreement.

United has now achieved joint collective bargaining agreements with a majority of its represented work force, including pilots, dispatchers, fleet service, passenger service, reservations and storekeeper work groups. The company is engaged in facilitated problem-solving negotiations with the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) and is in mediation with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), representing technicians.

Photo: Cleveland Browns.

United Airlines (current livery) aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

British Airways fits ZEUS, a volcanic ash detector, on a Boeing 747-400

British Airways (London) has issued this statement concerning its part in volcanic ash detection research:

In response to the Icelandic volcanic eruption in 2010 which caused widespread flight disruption to travellers, scientists at the Met Office and Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) have developed a prototype ash detection device, capable of detecting small amounts of ash in the atmosphere. In time, this research could aid ash forecasting and also help airlines more accurately plan their flight and engineering operations.

The device, aptly named ZEUS after the Greek God of the skies, has been fitted on a British Airways 747 and data has already been successfully downloaded from its first flight to Johannesburg and will be analysed by the Met Office. It will continue to fly on long-haul routes around the world for a year, collecting data for analysis.

ZEUS was developed after a pilot in a research aircraft noticed that static levels created by low levels of volcanic ash in the atmosphere caused his hair to stand on end. Met Office and NERC scientists seized on this phenomenon to develop and patent the device which uses measurements of static as a tool to detect ash.

An early prototype of ZEUS has been flying on the NERC/Met Office dedicated research aircraft and a Flybe Bombardier Q400 passenger aircraft since 2012, gathering background data from around Europe. This data was used to demonstrate that the ZEUS sensor can distinguish between the levels of electrostatic charge on the aircraft when flying in normal conditions and when volcanic ash is present.

The advanced ZEUS prototype will be on the British Airways aircraft for a year and will build up a picture of background electric field in normal atmospheric conditions around the globe. When information from ZEUS is downloaded and correlated with flight data – including weather conditions, speed, altitude, location – it can help scientists build a picture of volcanic ash distribution. Aircraft engineers can also use this data to schedule post-flight inspections of engines and aircraft systems.

British Airways’ Captain Dean Plumb said: “We were very keen to be involved in this pioneering research which will be of great value to the aviation industry and beyond. Aircraft regularly encounter small quantities of ash in flights around the world, perfectly safely, and pilots use expert forecasts to plan their routes to avoid more dense ash clouds. ZEUS has the potential to provide a clearer picture of ash distribution and could be used to inform decision making-processes in the event of future volcanic eruptions.”

Ian Lisk, Met Office Head of Natural Hazards said: “This is a very exciting development and a great result of cross-industry collaboration, including British Airways, Flybe, NERC and the Met Office. While further development is still required, we are delighted with progress with this prototype volcanic ash sensor to date and the findings we have so far received from the tests are very promising.”

The Met Office is an expert in aviation forecasting, with responsibility for providing international aviation meteorological services and advice. The London Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), one of nine VAACs worldwide, is hosted and run by the Met Office as part of its aviation forecast operations. London VAAC provides advice on the likely dispersion of ash clouds emitted from eruptions originating in Iceland and the North East Atlantic, and this information is used by the aviation industry to help make decisions on airspace management.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 747-436 G-BNLE (msn 24047) climbs away from the London (Heathrow) hub.

British Airways aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Kuwait Airways selects Boeing for 10 777-300 ERs

Kuwait Airways (Kuwait City) has selected Boeing (some good news for Boeing) with an intent to acquire 10 Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft.

Boeing issued this statement:

Boeing is pleased that Kuwait Airways has announced its intent to purchase 10 777-300 ER (Extended Range) airplanes worth $3.3 billion at current list prices.

“We appreciate the start of a new partnership with Kuwait Airways,” said Marty Bentrott, vice president of Sales for Middle East, Russia and Central Asia, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Boeing looks forward to an enduring relationship with Kuwait Airways and we are excited to see that the 777-300 ER airplane, which is the preferred long-haul carrier for so many airlines around the world, will now play an important role in the airline’s fleet strategy and expansion.”

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Kuwait Airways also has 10 Airbus A350-900s on order. The airline was on the cusp of becoming an all-Airbus airline. It’s Boeing 777-200 fleet (pictured) is being phased out but this new order will restore the Boeing name in Kuwait. Boeing 777-269 ER 9K-AOB (msn 28744) completes its final approach to London (Heathrow).

Kuwait Airways aircraft slide show:

It’s official: Delta orders Airbus A350-900s and A330-900neos

Delta A350-900 (07)(Flt)(Airbus)(LRW)

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) has issued this statement concerning its wide body fleet renewal decision:

Delta has chosen the Airbus A350-900 and A330-900neo to replace older generation Boeing 747 and 767 aircraft starting in 2017 and 2019, respectively.

The order for 25 state-of-the-art Airbus A350-900 aircraft and 25 advanced Airbus A330-900neo aircraft fits within Delta’s existing capacity and capital expenditure plan and continues the airline’s focus on making prudent, cost-effective investments in its fleet.

“Delta always approaches fleet decisions with a balance of economic efficiency, customer experience enhancements, network integration and total cost of ownership,” said Nat Pieper, Delta’s Vice President – Fleet Strategy and Transactions. “The A350 and A330neo support our long-haul, transoceanic strategy and join a mix of Boeing and Airbus aircraft that provide exceptional flexibility for Delta’s global network as well as strong cash-on-cash returns for our shareholders.”

Airbus A350-900

The long-range Airbus A350-900 will continue Delta’s optimization of its Pacific network, operating primarily on long-range routes between the U.S. and Asia. The jets are expected to generate a 20 percent improvement in operating cost per seat compared to the Boeing 747-400 aircraft they will replace. Delta will take delivery of the A350 beginning in the second quarter of 2017.

The A350-900 will be powered by two fuel-efficient Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines.

Airbus A330neo (A330-900)

The widebody A330-900neo, an enhancement of Airbus’ successful A330 family featuring greater aerodynamic and economic efficiency, will be deployed on medium-haul trans-Atlantic markets as well as select routes connecting the U.S. West Coast and Asia. The aircraft are scheduled to enter the Delta fleet in 2019 and will deliver a 20 percent operating cost savings per seat over the Boeing 767-300ER aircraft it will replace.

The A330neo features the Rolls Royce Trent 7000 engine which is built with similar technology to the Trent XWB on the Airbus A350.

Delta began a structured fleet renewal in 2011 with the selection of new Boeing 737-900ER aircraft along with Boeing 717s and two-class Bombardier CRJ900 regional jets, and continued it with transactions for Airbus A321 and A330 aircraft. Those aircraft are replacing inefficient older technology airplanes, generating substantial cost improvement and increased customer satisfaction. The airline continues to invest in the onboard product and amenities available to customers on its entire domestic and international fleet including installation of transoceanic satellite in-flight Wi-Fi, Delta Studio featuring a library of free streaming programming as well as more than 1,000 on-demand movies, television shows and music on large, high-definition seatback monitors, and other service improvements.

Read the analysis from Bloomberg Businessweek: CLICK HERE

Images: Airbus.

Delta Air Lines (current livery) aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Delta A330-900neo (07)(Flt)(Delta)(LRW)

Airberlin equips its first two Airbus A320s with Wi-Fi

Airberlin Group (Airberlin and Niki) (Berlin) has issued this statement:

The Airberlin Group has equipped the first two aircraft in its fleet with the new ‘airberlin connect’ Wi-Fi service. The two Airbus A320s, registered D-ABNJ and OE-LEL, now boast a Wi-Fi system from Panasonic Avionics Corporation, so passengers can access the internet with their own smartphone, tablet or laptop during the flight.
In addition, passengers on short and medium-haul flights will enjoy an entertainment offering with TV series, movies and music available for streaming to their own device with the new Wi-Fi service. Passengers will be able to choose their own personal entertainment from more than 180 hours of media. On long-haul routes, passengers will continue to enjoy the RAVE in-seat entertainment system.

The first two aircraft equipped with Airberlin connect will service the new Stuttgart-Abu Dhabi and Vienna-Abu Dhabi routes. The first flight from Stuttgart to Abu Dhabi takes off on December 1, 2014, bringing in-flight internet to passengers on this route for the first time. On the new Vienna-Abu Dhabi connection from Austrian subsidiary Niki, passengers will be able to use the new on-board Wi-Fi service as early as November 24, 2014.

Airberlin offers various time and data packages for airberlin connect: for just 4.90 euros, passengers get online above the clouds for 30 minutes, including 20 MB of data.

An hour of internet access, including 50 MB of data, costs 8.90 euros. The price includes use of the entertainment selection, which is available for the entire duration of the flight at no additional cost, even after the package time or data limits are used up. Passengers who wish to be online during an entire medium-haul flight can select the 13.90 euro package, which includes 90 MB of data, while the Full Flight Package for long-haul flights costs 18.90 euros, and includes 120 MB of data. Packages can be conveniently paid by credit card via the web browser on passengers’ own mobile device or laptop.

On the new Stuttgart-Abu Dhabi and Vienna-Abu Dhabi connections, passengers can enjoy the entertainment offered by Airberlin connect free of charge. Internet access during the entire flight to or from Abu Dhabi on these routes costs just 13.90 euros, including 90 MB of data.

Airberlin plans to complete equipping its fleet within three years.

Copyright Photo: Andi Hiltl/AirlinersGallery.com. Niki’s Airbus A320-214 OE-LEL (msn 2668) wears the former colors of OLT Express at Zurich.

Airberlin aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Niki aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Southwest Airlines’ pilots file for mediation with the NMB

Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association-SWAPA (Dallas), representing the pilots of Southwest Airlines (Dallas), filed for mediation with the National Mediation Board (NMB). The union issued this statement:

SWAPA logo

In order to facilitate movement in contract negotiations, the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA) today officially filed for mediation with the National Mediation Board (NMB), the federal agency that oversees contract negotiations in the airline industry. After two-plus years of negotiations both sides are currently too far apart to realistically expect an agreement outside of a mediated process.

“This is certainly not a step either side wants to take during negotiations, and certainly not a typical step in the pilot and management relationship at Southwest Airlines,” said Mark Richardson, SWAPA President. “But times have certainly changed.”

SWAPA has focused their negotiations on improvements in areas that address the airline’s flat fleet growth, stagnant career advancement, and compensation. Over the past four years the pilots have sacrificed when asked by the Company. This facilitated Southwest reaching their financial goals, including a stated goal of 15 percent ROIC. Those goals have been accomplished, and furthered, with an announced ROIC total of 19 percent for the trailing 12 months, and a Wall Street expected 21 percent ROIC for fiscal year 2014. Southwest Airlines is on pace to enjoy almost $2.5 billion in operating profit for 2014.

“Our asks continue to be reasonable so that our highly productive pilots can enjoy marginal improvements in their schedule, pay, and especially retirement – an area where Southwest pilots lag significantly compared to our peers at other airlines,” continued Richardson. “Filing for mediation is the next step in the process toward a new contract. We are trying to avoid the destructive and combative relationships that have plagued our industry.”

SWAPA becomes the third Southwest Airlines labor group to request national mediation in order to finalize a new contract in this current round of negotiations.

Located in Dallas, Texas, the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA) is a non-profit employee organization representing the more than 7,500 pilots of Southwest Airlines and 500 pilots of AirTran Airways. SWAPA works to provide a secure and rewarding career for Southwest pilots and their families through negotiating contracts, defending contractual rights and actively promoting professionalism and safety. For more information on the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association, visit http://www.swapa.org.

Copyright Photo: Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-76N N7705A (msn 32744) arrives in Los Angeles.

Southwest Airlines aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show