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El Al loses $49.4 million in 2011

El Al Israel Airlines (Tel Aviv) reported a net loss for 2011 of $49.4 million, compared to a profit of about $57 million in 2010. For the fourth quarter, El Al reported a net loss of $7.8 million, compared to a profit of $16.3 in the same quarter last year. The cash balance available to the Company at the end of 2011 totaled $85.4 million.

El Al implemented a number of steps to reduce its expenses, including optimizing its aircraft fleet and re-examining its route structure and destinations. One of the results was the airline stop flying to Sao Paulo, Odessa and Dnepropetrovsk. The flag carrier is also reducing the number of aircraft types in its fleet and is removing older aircraft from service. A cargo Boeing 747-200 went out of service this past summer; two passenger 767-200s stopped flying at the end of 2011, and two leased 757s were returned to their owners. As a result, this reduce the number of aircraft types operated from six to four.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing.

El Al Slide Show: CLICK HERE


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Lufthansa is denied deploying the Airbus A380 to Shanghai

Lufthansa (Frankfurt) has reportedly been denied in using its Airbus A380 to fly the Frankfurt-Shanghai route due to a growing dispute between China and the European Union due to the EU’s ETS emissions trading. China is holding up several Airbus orders due to the new tax and has told its airlines not to pay the fee.

The European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) also known as the European Union Emissions Trading System, was the first large emissions trading scheme in the world. It was launched in 2005 to combat climate change and is a major pillar of EU climate policy. The EU ETS currently covers more than 10,000 installations with a net heat excess of 20 MW in the energy and industrial sectors which are collectively responsible for close to half of the EU’s emissions of CO2 and 40% of its total greenhouse gas emissions.

Aviation emissions are now included since 2012.

Read the full story in Aero.de (in German): CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems.

Lufthansa Slide Show: CLICK HERE

US Airways to add six new routes from Washington Reagan National in June

US Airways (Washington) has announced it will launch daily, nonstop service to Washington, D.C.’s Reagan National Airport when then airline launches new flights in June and July. Business, government and leisure travelers in San Diego, Augusta, Georgia, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Fayetteville, Arkansas, Montreal, Quebec and Toronto, Ontario will receive new access to DCA. New service to San Diego will begin on June 8, while service to all other communities will begin on July 11. Currently, no carrier at Reagan National offers nonstop service to San Diego, Augusta or Fayetteville. US Airways will fill the void with nonstop access from these communities to Reagan National Airport.

US Airways will have a total of 22 new routes from Washington D.C.’s Reagan National beginning this spring and summer as a result of slot swap with Delta Air Lines.

The new flights are the final phase in US Airways’ plan to focus on its core service areas of Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Phoenix and Charlotte, N.C. In January, US Airways announced expanded service from Washington, D.C. to 14 destinations from Reagan National Airport.  These flights will begin on March 25. The airline also announced nonstop flights between Reagan National and Cincinnati and Des Moines, Iowa that will start on May 2. Once the new flights begin, 99 percent of the airline’s available seat miles (ASMs) will operate to or from its core service areas and US Airways Shuttle that operates hourly between Washington, Boston and New York’s LaGuardia Airport. This represents a 16 percentage point change from 2006, when, following the merger of US Airways and America West Airlines, only 83 percent of the airline’s ASMs touched its core focus areas and US Airways Shuttle.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough.

US Airways Slide Show: CLICK HERE

US Airways Express-Republic Airlines Slide Show: CLICK HERE


Southwest introduces “Warrior One” to the employees

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) officially introduced its first Boeing 737-8H4 (N8301J, msn 36980) to its Dallas Love-based employees yesterday (March 21). The company officially accepted the new type on March 8, 2012. N8301J will enter revenue service on April 11 between Chicago (Midway) and Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood. N8301J has been named “Warrior One”.

The airline commented:

“Southwest Airlines yesterday hosted a celebration for the arrival of the carrier’s very first Boeing 737-800 aircraft with a media and Employee event at its Maintenance Hangar in Dallas.  Employees, media, and invited guests had their first opportunity to see the new aircraft up close and personal, as Southwest Executives hosted a walk-through and tour of the airline’s newest addition to the fleet and brand new aircraft type.  The airline took delivery of the new aircraft on March 8, 2012, and the plane will undergo several regulatory and conformity procedures before it is entered into regularly scheduled service on April 11, 2012.

Southwest’s Chairman, President, and CEO Gary Kelly and Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Mike Van de Ven greeted thousands of cheering Employees, media, and invited guests who gathered to catch their first glimpse of the new aircraft.

“Not only is this is a beautiful aircraft, and one our Customers are sure to love, but it will also play an important strategic role in our future.  The -800 aircraft carries 175 passengers, close to a 30 percent increase over our current fleet configuration, which will improve our unit costs per flight,” said Van de Ven.  “Additionally, it complements our existing fleet with opportunities for longer-haul flying and schedule flexibility by allowing additional capacity in high-demand, slot-controlled, or gate-restricted airports.”

The -800 aircraft will feature Southwest’s new Evolve Interior and Boeing’s Sky Interior.  Evolveoffers a sleek cabin experience that enhances Customer comfort, improves fleet efficiency, and gives back to the environment.  The Boeing Sky Interior offers a quieter, more comfortable environment for Customers with taller ceilings and more overhead bin space, improved operational security features, and ambient LED reading and ceiling lighting, which are more effective as well as energy efficient and adaptable to the mood onboard the aircraft.  The aircraft also will be equipped with the airline’s satellite-based internet connectivity as Southwest continues to roll out WiFi across its fleet.

Southwest is planning to take delivery of 33 737-800 aircraft in 2012, which will come equipped with full Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards (ETOPS) configuration.  ETOPS allows twin-engine aircraft to fly long distance routes and in the long-term, will provide the opportunity for adding new destinations to the airline’s robust route map.

“I would like to thank our hard-working Employees for their Herculean efforts to introduce a brand new aircraft type into our fleet,” Van de Ven said.  “This is a proud day for me, for the People of Southwest Airlines, and for the future of our Company.”

Southwest Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Silver Airways expands Montana route network with new service to Helena

Silver Airways (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood and Gainesville) is spreading its wings in Montana with the addition of new weekday service to Helena from Billings. This expansion brings Silver Airways Montana service to nine cities and marks the carrier’s first route in Montana to operate outside of its Essential Air Service (EAS) contract with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The new flights will operate twice daily, Monday-Friday, between Billings and Helena beginning on May 1, 2012.

Silver Airways operates regularly scheduled passenger service to nine destinations throughout Montana – Billings, Glasgow, Glendive, Havre, Helena, Lewistown, Miles City, Sidney and Wolf Point. All destinations, with the exception of Helena, are served under Silver Airways’ EAS contract with the DOT, which began May 2011.

Silver Airways is headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, FL with a new, state-of-the-art 61,000 square-foot maintenance facility based at Gainesville Regional Airport (GNV). The airline operates under a principal code share and alliance agreement with United Airlines and Copa Airlines. The Silver Airways fleet is comprised of 21 Beechcraft 1900D aircraft (maximum seating capacity: 19 passengers), each powered by reliable, fuel-efficient jet-turbine engines. Twelve additional Saab 340B plus aircraft, with seating for 34, will be added to the Silver Airways fleet by September 2012.

Copyright Photo: Tony Storck.

Gulfstream Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Current Montana EAS Route Map:

FedEx Corporation reports net income of $521 million in the fiscal third quarter

FedEx Corporation (Memphis) reported earnings of $1.65 per diluted share for the third quarter ended February 29, which includes a $0.10 per share reversal of a reserve associated with a legal matter at FedEx Express. Last year’s third quarter earnings were $0.73 per diluted share, which included $0.08 per diluted share in costs related to the combination of the company’s FedEx Freight and FedEx National LTL operations. Excluding these one-time items, earnings were $1.55 per diluted share in the third quarter, compared to $0.81 per diluted share a year ago.

FedEx Corporation reported the following consolidated results for the third quarter:

• Revenue of $10.56 billion, up 9% from $9.66 billion the previous year

• Operating income of $813 million, up 107% from $393 million last year

• Operating margin of 7.7%, up from 4.1% the previous year

• Net income of $521 million, up 126% from $231 million a year ago

Operating income improved due to the continued strong performance of FedEx Ground driven by higher yields and volumes, as well as significantly improved results at FedEx Freight. Operating income also reflects the positive year-over-year impact, predominately at FedEx Express, of a benefit from the timing lag that exists between when fuel prices change and when indexed fuel surcharges automatically adjust. The company also benefitted from a lower tax rate and mild winter weather.

FedEx projects earnings to be $1.75 to $2.00 per diluted share in the fourth quarter and an adjusted $6.35 to $6.60 per diluted share for fiscal 2012. This guidance assumes the current market outlook for fuel prices and moderate growth in the global economy. Including the FedEx Express legal reserve reversal, earnings are expected to be $6.43 to $6.68 per diluted share for fiscal 2012. The company reported earnings of $1.75 per diluted share in last year’s fourth quarter. The capital spending forecast for fiscal 2012 remains $4.2 billion.

For the third quarter, the FedEx Express segment reported:

• Revenue of $6.54 billion, up 8% from last year’s $6.05 billion

• Operating income of $349 million, up 96% from $178 million a year ago

• Operating margin of 5.3%, up from 2.9% the previous year

U.S. domestic revenue per package grew 9% due to higher rate per pound and fuel surcharges, while average daily package volume decreased 4%. International priority (IP) revenue per package grew 5% due to higher fuel surcharges and package weights, while average daily package volume decreased 1%. IP freight average daily pounds increased 4% with revenue per pound up 2% due to higher fuel surcharges. In total, IP average daily package and freight pounds increased 2% and revenue increased 6% year-over-year.

Operating income and margin improved in the quarter, reflecting the year-over-year benefit of the fuel surcharge timing lag and the reversal of a $66 million reserve associated with a legal matter. One additional operating day benefitted this year’s results, while prior year results were negatively impacted by severe winter weather.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough.

FedEx Slide Show: CLICK HERE

American Eagle’s ALPA head responds to reorganization proposals

American Eagle Airlines (2nd) has started briefing its unions on the steps it wants to take to reorganize under Chapter 11. The American Eagle ALPA chairman has officially responded to the first round of negotiations:

Capt. Tony Gutierrez, chairman of the American Eagle arm of the Air Line Pilots Association, International, released the following statement:

“Today (March 21), in a meeting with the various American Eagle labor group leaders, American Eagle management presented their view of what it will take to restructure our airline. Individual meetings with each labor group followed this larger gathering where management delivered their terms sheet proposal. This proposal represents what Eagle management claims is necessary from the pilot group in order to reach its goals and exit bankruptcy as a successful, competitive, and thriving company.

“During the next few weeks, ALPA’s economic and financial experts, bankruptcy counsel, and negotiators will analyze the proposal, management’s overall restructuring objectives, and its financial justifications. This analysis will consist of cost comparisons and validation, as well as alternative cost savings.

“Following this analysis, ALPA will begin negotiations with the intent to negotiate a consensual deal with management that is workable from both sides of the table that provides management with justifiable cost savings while protecting the quality of life for all Eagle Pilots and its ability to recruit new pilots.”

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum.

American Eagle Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Boeing, Airbus and Embraer to collaborate on aviation biofuel commercialization

Boeing, Airbus and Embraer have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to work together on the development of drop-in, affordable aviation biofuels. The three leading airframe manufacturers agreed to seek collaborative opportunities to speak in unity to government, biofuel producers and other key stakeholders to support, promote and accelerate the availability of sustainable new jet fuel sources.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Jim Albaugh, Airbus President and CEO Tom Enders, and Embraer Commercial Aviation President Paulo Cesar Silva, signed the agreement at the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) Aviation and Environment Summit in Geneva.

The collaboration agreement supports the industry’s multi-pronged approach to continuously reduce the industry’s carbon emissions. Continuous innovation, spurred by competitive market dynamics that push each manufacturer to continuously improve product performance, and air traffic modernization, are other critical elements to achieving carbon-neutral growth beyond 2020 and halving industry emissions by 2050 based on 2005 levels.

All three companies are affiliate members of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (www.safug.org), which includes 23 leading airlines responsible for approximately 25 percent of annual aviation fuel use. Boeing and Embraer are already collaborating on how to establish a sustainable aviation biofuels industry in Brazil and exploring new technology pathways to broaden biofuel sourcing and availability. Boeing and Airbus are also active around the globe in helping to establish regional supply chains, while the three manufacturers have all supported numerous biofuel flights since global fuel standards bodies granted their approval for commercial use in 2011.

Kingfisher Airlines to drop all international routes by this weekend

Kingfisher Airlines (Bangalore and Mumbai) is dropping all international by this Sunday (March 25) as the airline consolidates to an all-domestic carrier. The beleaguered carrier is also facing the possibility it could have its AOC revoked due to its financial situation.

Read the full report from Bloomberg Businessweek: CLICK HERE

Kingfisher Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Kuwait Airways resumes operations

Kuwait Airways (Kuwait City) resumed operations last night after the striking workers returned to work. The unions stated they made their point according to this report by Bloomberg Businessweek.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman.

Kuwait Airways Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Bahrain Air launches a new route to Trivandrum in southern India

Bahrain Air (Bahrain) on March 15 launched four flights a week to Trivandrum, with plans to increase the new route to daily service by the summer.

The new flights to Trivandrum in the State of Kerala in southern India constitute 80% of Bahrain Air’s Indian capacity, with 17 flights a week to Cochin, Calicut and now Trivandrum. Flights will depart from Bahrain at 9.25 p.m. (2125) and arrive early morning in Trivandrum International airport at 4.15 a.m. (0415). The return flight will depart Trivandrum at 5.00 a.m. (0500) and arrive at Bahrain International Airport at 7.30 a.m. (0730).

Copyright Photo: Ole Simon.

Bahrain Air Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Route Map:

Click on the map to expand.

Royal Jordanian to continue flying to Munich

Royal Jordanian Airlines (Amman) has reversed its course concerning dropping Munich on April 19. The airline is now stating it will continue serving MUC.

On February 7, 2012, RJ announced its decision to stop operating to five of its destinations; Al Ain, Brussels and Munich as well as two other destinations in the Gulf not yet announced.

This decision was part of the airline’s intensive actions to reduce the operating costs raised by soaring fuel prices and to offset the decline in tourism as a result of the political situation in the region

Hussein Dabbas, the RJ president, said that the decision to keep Munich on the route network is due to restudying the pattern of RJ’s operation to Frankfurt and Munich as well as the assistance provided by Munich Airport.

Mr. Dabbas added that the operation would consist of two Munich frequencies. The service includes running one weekly direct flight from Amman to Munich on Saturdays and another combined with the service from Amman to Frankfurt on Wednesdays. RJ operates another five weekly direct flights to Frankfurt.

Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner.

Royal Jordanian Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Lufthansa may shut down BMI if approvals are not speedy

Lufthansa (Frankfurt) has reportedly threaten to shut down loss-making BMI (East Midlands) if the approval to sell the unit to the IAG is held up by European Union anti-trust authorities according to the Sunday Times.

Read the full report by Market Watch: CLICK HERE


In other news, according to a report by ATW, Lufthansa is unlikely to purchase the remaining 55 percent of Brussels Airlines (Brussels).

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Paul Denton.

Brussels Airlines Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Bottom Copyright Photo: Ariel Shocron.

IAG is pressing ahead with Iberia Express

Iberia Express (Madrid) will launch low-fare operations on March 25 despite previous protests and strikes from Iberia’s unions who have now called off their strikes due to mediation. Iberia and the International Airline Group (IAG) are moving ahead with the launch while the issue is in mediation.

On its launch, Iberia Express will become an affiliated member of oneworld. Iberia has been a member since 1999.

Iberia Express is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Iberia and will operate the short- and medium-haul flights currently handled by Iberia, plus some new routes. Iberia Express will cover point-to-point traffic and serve as a feeder for Iberia’s long-haul flights to/from its Madrid hub. The new airline will offer both economy and business class seats, initially in four Airbus A320s, but this number will rise to 13 aircraft by the end of the year. All the aircraft will be transferred from the current Iberia fleet. As previously reported, the pilots and cabin crews called off their planned 24 days of strikes from March through June to protest the launch after the Spanish government entered the dispute with promises of mediation. However it appears Iberia is getting what it wants – a new lower salaried option for its European routes.

Fly Jamaica starts its certification phase

Fly Jamaica (Kingston) ferried this Boeing 757-200 to Jamaica on March 17 from Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood according to this report by The Gleaner. The new carrier is now undergoing the document and demonstration evaluation phase with the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) prior to receiving its Air Operators Certificate (AOC). The new airline has proved it is majority owned by Jamaicans. The upstart plans to fly to Georgetown, Guyana, New York (JFK) and Toronto (Pearson).

The company will also need FAA approvals.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough.

Hot New Photos Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Boeing receives FAA certification for 787 Dreamliner with GE engines

Boeing (Chicago) received yesterday (March 20) an amended type certificate from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the 787-8 Dreamliner equipped with General Electric GEnx engines.

The amended type certificate from the FAA formally recognizes that the 787 with GE engines has demonstrated compliance with rigorous federal regulations. The achievement caps off the most robust flight and ground test program ever conducted in the company’s history.

Initial type certification of the 787 with Rolls-Royce engines took place in August 2011. Each new combination of an airframe type and engine requires additional certification to validate the integrity of the design.

60 customers around the world have ordered more than 870 Dreamliners.

Copyright Photo: Nick Dean.

British Airways is getting ready to introduce “The Dove” Olympics logojets

British Airways (London) as previously reported, will introduce new logojets (Airbus A319s and Boeing 747-400s) in April to help celebrate the upcoming 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The theme of the special color scheme is called “The Dove” and was designed by Pascal Anson.

In addition, an Airbus A319 will be painted in a gold livery to fly the Olympic flame from Athens to Culdrose on May 18.


Here is the announcement by the airline:

“The design of the British Airways aircraft to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be “The Dove” by up and coming British designer Pascal Anson. His artwork beat hundreds of entries in the BA Great Britons Programme, and was chosen by a judging panel including Turner-prize nominated artist and Royal Academician Tracey Emin, the Royal Academy of Arts and the airline.

As BA Great Britons mentor, Tracey Emin has advised Pascal during the project, and said: “It would have been easy to put a motif or a pattern on the side of an aircraft – but Pascal’s design takes it to another level. He uses the entire livery of the aircraft to redefine the way you look at it. The dove is a stunning piece of work and will bring real excitement to anyone who flies on one of the repainted planes.

The 38 year-old designer and artist from Brighton, also a Design Tutor at Kingston University, has spent the past few months honing his design with Emin. It will be emblazoned across a number of British Airways aircraft and seen by a global audience of millions.

BA Great Britons winner Pascal Anson, said: “On my journeys from Brighton to London, I’ve often looked up at aircraft landing at Gatwick and wondered if it’s a ‘bird or a plane’, and the idea developed from there. When I started researching birds further I realised it had to be a dove. Not only are they a symbol of peace and social unity, but they were also used in previous Olympic Games ceremonies, including the last London Games in 1948.”

To create an illusion of a dove, Pascal spent hours in a cote observing the birds. He incorporates their intricate detail on the livery, which will use a new color of paint produced by the British Airways engineering team and its suppliers.

Frank van der Post, British Airways managing director, brands and customer experience, said: “When we invited up and coming British artists to submit a design to celebrate the London 2012 Games, we didn’t expect a concept that would change the way we look at the aircraft – yet Pascal’s work has achieved this and we’re very proud to be sharing it with the world on our giant flying canvas!”

The BA Great Britons Program was launched to discover the best of British talent in Art, as well as Food and Film and offer British talent a platform in the run up to the London 2012 Games. Pascal’s aircraft launch will coincide with the unveiling of a London 2012 inspired menu, created by Simon Hulstone with support from Michelin-star restaurant owner and chef Heston Blumenthal, and short film written by Prasanna Puwanarajah with mentoring from scriptwriter and director Richard E Grant. All three projects will be unveiled to the public in April.”

Cebu Pacific Air adds the Manila-Hanoi route

Cebu Pacific Air (Manila) added the Manila-Hanoi route on March 17. Besides adding additional domestic frequencies, the airline is also adding Manila-Xiamen and Kalibo-Hong Kong on March 23 and Manila-Siem Reap on April 19.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing.

Cebu Pacific Air Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Routes from Manila:

Please click on the map to expand.


Scoot takes delivery of its first Boeing 777

Scoot (Singapore), the low-cost, long-haul holiday subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, on March 15 accepted its first Boeing 777-212 ER from its parent. Formerly operated by Singapore as 9V-SQA, this 777-212 ER has become 9V-OTA with Scoot. 9V-OTA will be painted in Scoot’s distinctive yellow and white livery. A second aircraft is due on March 20.

Scoot is planning to launch operations in June. Sydney will become the carrier’s first destination, which Scoot plans to fly daily from Singapore . Gold Coast has been announced as the carrier’s second destination (five days a week). By the end of the year, the airline intends to serve five cities which would include cities in Australia, China and Japan.

Top Photo: Scoot.


Air India to proceed with accepting its 27 Boeing 787 Dreamliners on order

Air India (Mumbai) will proceed with its 27 Boeing 787 Dreamliners on order according to this report by Reuters quoting India’s Aviation Minister Ajit Singh, despite its large debts and a long-running dispute with Boeing.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Nick Dean.

Air India Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Strikes cripple Kuwait Airways

Kuwait Airways (Kuwait Airways Corporation) (Kuwait City) is suffering through another day of strikes. 14 flights were cancelled yesterday according to this report by the Arab Times. KAC’s employees have been striking since Saturday (March 17) demanding a 30 percent increase in wages, although the company has already offered a 25 percent increase! Striking employees, which are state employees, are permitting other foreign carriers to operate into and out of the country. KAC is the state airline of Kuwait.

Read the full story: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best.

Kuwait Airways Slide Show: CLICK HERE

RwandAir orders two Bombardier CRJ900s

RwandAir (Kigali) has signed a firm order for two CRJ900 NextGen regional jets from Bombardier.

Image: Bombardier.

RwandAir Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Kenya Airways to add Delhi, India, its 57th destination

Kenya Airways (Nairobi) will add Delhi, India and the Nairobi-Delhi route on May 15. This represents the 57th destination for the carrier. The new route will be operated with Boeing 767-300 ERs, four days a week.

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best.

Kenya Airways Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Airberlin and Niki join Oneworld today

Airberlin (Berlin) today (March 20) officially joined oneworld®, adding the second largest airline in Germany and the sixth largest in Europe to the airline alliance.

Niki (Vienna), the Austrian member of the airberlin group, joined oneworld as an affiliate member.

The joining ceremony at Berlin was the first airline media event held at the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport, which will be Airberlin’s new home base and Europe’s newest hub, when it opens on June 3, 2012.

Those attending were also the first to see an aircraft in the front of the new airport terminal – with the first Airberlin aircraft adorned with the oneworld alliance livery, an Airbus A330-200, and one of the airline’s Boeing 737-800 (see below) making a special visit.

Members of the alliance include Airberlin, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines-JAL, LAN Airlines, QANTAS Airways, Royal Jordanian and S7 Airlines, and around 20 affiliates including Niki, American Eagle, Dragonair, LAN Argentina, LAN Ecuador and LAN Peru. Malaysia Airlines is on track to join later in 2012, with India’s Kingfisher Airlines also a member elect. Málev Hungarian Airlines and Mexicana are inactive members of the alliance.

Top Copyright Photo: Stefan Sjogren.

Middle Copyright Photo: Javier Rodriguez.

Hot New Photos Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Airberlin Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Bottom Copyright Photo: K.C. Sim.

Air Canada’s pilots to go to court over not being able to strike

Air Canada’s (Montreal) Pilots Association (ACPA), which represents the 3,000 pilots, is expected to file its legal challenge to Bill C-33 in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice according to this article by the Times Colonist. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, representing AC’s 8,600 ground crew and mechanics, is still deciding whether it will launch its own legal challenge to the court order.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough.

Air Canada Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Air New Zealand hopes to get Mount Cook’s 11 ATR 72-500s in the air tomorrow

Air New Zealand (Auckland) is currently dealing with 5,000 impacted passengers the past two days due to the grounding of subsidiary Mount Cook Airline’s (Christchurch) 11 ATR 72-500s. ANZ hopes to get most of the fleet in the air again by tomorrow (March 20). The fleet was grounded on Saturday (March 17) when an inspection discovered hairline cracks around a cockpit window on one of the ATRs.

Read the full story from the BBC: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Colin Hunter.

Air New Zealand Link-Mount Cook Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Air China opens the Beijing-Hailar-Chita route

Air China (Beijing) has opened a new Beijing-Hailar-Chita route. The flights, CA 917/8, are operated with Boeing 737-300s on Wednesdays and Fridays.

The city of Chita is the administrative center of Zabaykalsky Krai, Russia and is an important hub of the Trans-Siberian Railway and roads. To its west is Ulan-Ude and to its east Svobodny. Chita provides easy access to China’s Manzhouli. Around the city are rich deposits of tin, aluminum, gold, copper, molybdenum, fluorspar, iron ore and coal as well as large stretches of forests and hydraulic resources, which contribute to Chita’s position as one of eastern Siberia’s important industrial centers.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing.

Air China Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Hawaiian adds extra seats to Maui from Oakland and San Jose

Hawaiian Airlines (Honolulu) is boosting total air seats to Maui from Oakland and San Jose during the peak summer travel period by 70 percent (12 flights weekly vs. 7 flights) increasing to daily service from four flights weekly from Oakland, and to five flights weekly from San Jose by adding two fights per week.

From July 1 through August 21, Hawaiian flight HA 23 will depart Oakland International Airport daily at 8:10 a.m. (0810) and arrive at Maui’s Kahului Airport at 10:25 a.m. (1025). The return flight HA 24 will depart Maui daily at 12:05 p.m. (1205) and arrive at Oakland at 7:55 p.m. (1955).

From July 4 through August 19, Hawaiian flight HA 45 will depart Mineta San Jose International Airport five days weekly on Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, at 8:40 a.m. (0840) and arrive at Maui at 10:55 a.m. (1055). The return flight HA 46 will depart Maui on Mondays and Thursdays at 2:55 p.m. (1455) and arrive at San Jose at 10:45 p.m. (2245), with flights on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays departing Maui earlier at 12:25 p.m. (1225) and arriving at San Jose at 8:15 p.m. (2015).

Boeing 767-300s are operated on both routes.

Copyright Photo: Eddie Maloney.

Hawaiian Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Jet Airways to retire the Jetlite brand on March 25

Jet Airways (Mumbai) will retire the Jetlite brand on March 25. Jetlite operates 19 Boeing 737 aircraft.

The company issued the following statement:

As part of a strategic rebranding exercise, Jet Airways, India’s premier international airline, will consolidate its low fare service products under the JetKonnect brand to simplify the group’s service proposition and enhance brand recall. Thus, effective March 25, the erstwhile JetLite and Jet Airways Konnect services will operate under the JetKonnect brand, enabling guests to avail of a single superior in-flight product in the full service (Jet Airways) and low-fare (JetKonnect) categories.

Jet Airways (India) Limited and JetLite (India) Limited, will continue as distinct business entities operating under their own airline operating permits. All low-fare operations will be consolidated under the JetKonnect brand. The Jetlite aircraft will be repainted in the brand of JetKonnect.

“In an attempt to achieve brand consistency, JetKonnect will be the dedicated low fare service with a mixed fleet of Boeings and ATR aircraft to operate on metro, tier II and III routes.

The aircraft will be duly painted in JetKonnect colours over time. JetKonnect will offer Premiere services on certain routes where guests may enjoy service identical to that enjoyed by Premiere guests on Jet Airways. This will be further expanded in a phased manner. The cockpit and cabin crew will don the same uniform as their counterparts from Jet Airways. Some JetKonnect flights will operate under the S2 code, while others will have flight numbers prefixed by the 9W code. 9W and S2 will also continue their existing Codeshare agreement enabling guests to enjoy seamless connectivity between India and the world.

A gradual rebranding of the JetKonnect brand would be manifest on letterheads, the JetKonnect website, boarding passes, tickets, stationery. Signages at all check-in and ticketing counters will have dual branding reflecting the existing Jet Airways and the new JetKonnect logos. Difference in fares between the premier Jet Airways and JetKonnect will also be reflected on the website and all visible communication avenues. Economy guests onboard JetKonnect flights will continue to be offered a range of refreshments from Jet Cafe, JetKonnect’s buy-on-board meal service.

Effective March 26, 2012 guests to jetlite.com would be automatically redirected to the new, re-branded jetkonnect.com.”

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems.

Jetlite Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Saudi Arabian Airlines to launch freighter service to Frankfurt and Vienna on March 25

Saudi Arabian Airlines (Jeddah) will launch Boeing 747 freighter service to Frankfurt (four times a week) and McDonnell Douglas MD-11 freighter service to Vienna (twice-weekly), both on March 25.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems.

Saudi Arabian Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Arik Air to end the Abuja-London Heathrow route on March 25

Arik Air (Arik Wings of Nigeria) (Lagos) will suspend the Abuja-London (Heathrow) route on March 25. The Lagos-London (Heathrow) route will continue.

The company issued the following statement:

“Arik was compelled to suspend its services on the route following the inability of the UK and Nigeria governments to come to agreeable terms on the 2008 Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA). Under the terms of the BASA Arik was allocated seven (7) frequencies per week in respect of the Lagos/ London, Heathrow service and seven (7) per week for the Abuja/ London, Heathrow service. The total of 14 frequencies is out of 21 available for Nigerian carriers under the BASA.

However, an anomaly exists between access to slots in the respective countries with the Nigerian government matching the allocation of slots with frequencies therefore giving UK carriers unfettered access to its full complement of 21 slots at Abuja and Lagos airports. However, this is not reciprocated in the UK with the authorities drawing a distinction between allocation of frequencies and access to slots, claiming that an application for landing slots at UK airports is a process separate from the BASA entitlement.

From the inception of the route in November 2009, Arik has been in a slot-lease agreement with a UK carrier, leasing arrival/ departure slots on the Abuja/ London route at Heathrow. At the end of the summer schedule (October 2011), the UK carrier that Arik was in the slot-lease agreement with for this route advised the airline of its intention to sell the company and began to wind down its contractual arrangements with Arik Air. Without these commercially arranged slots Arik Air was forced to suspend operations at the start of the winter schedule (2011).

Immediate discussions were held by the respective governments to resolve the long-existing and underlying anomaly in the BASA.  As an abridgement, the UK authorities facilitated the temporary continuation of the commercial lease of these slots in support of Arik Air’s Abuja/ London, Heathrow operation. This interim solution was only available up until 25th March (2012). Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of both governments, there has been no solution found. The situation remains as it was at the end of October 2011 with Arik Air having no landing/arrival slots after March 2012 thus forcing it to suspend the route.”

Copyright Photo: Terry Wade.

Arik Slide Show: CLICK HERE


Finnair to launch a new route to Chongqing, China in May

Finnair (Helsinki) has announced it will continue its strategy to add new routes to Asia. The Helsinki-Chongqing route will be started in May.

Chongqing is a major city in southwest China and one of the five national central cities of the People’s Republic of China(PRC). Administratively, it is one of the PRC’s four direct-controlled municipalities (the other three are Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin).

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems. The Oneworld Airbus A340-300 has been updated with the latest Finnair tail markings.

Finnair Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Airbus to be dealing with the A380 wing cracks issue “for years”

Airbus (Toulouse) has admitted it will be dealing with the wing cracks issue on the A380 for “years” since cracks were found in most aircraft according to this story by Reuters and Today News.

Read the full story: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing.

JetBlue to drop the Long Beach-Chicago O’Hare route

JetBlue Airways (New York) will drop the Long Beach-Chicago (O’Hare) route on June 21. The route was underperforming.

Copyright Photo: Stephen Tornblom.

JetBlue Slide Show: CLICK HERE

UPS to acquire TNT Express

United Parcel Service (Atlanta and Louisville) and TNT Express (Hoofddorp, Netherlands) have reached an agreement for UPS to acquire TNT for an all-cash public offer of €9.50 per ordinary TNT Express share.

Here is the statement:

“The offer price of €9.50 (including any dividend or other distribution other than the financial year 2011 final dividend payment not exceeding €0.004 per share) represents a 53.7% premium to TNT Express’ unaffected share price on February 16, 2012 of €6.18, the day before TNT Express and UPS announced their ongoing discussions. The Offer values the issued and outstanding share capital of TNT Express at €5.16 billion ($6.77 billion).

The combination of UPS and TNT Express will create a global leader in the logistics industry, with annual revenues of more than €45 billion ($60 billion) and will deliver significant benefits for the shareowners, customers, employees and other stakeholders of both companies.

Together, UPS and TNT Express will offer customers an enhanced, integrated global network that will provide greatly enhanced service to customers throughout the world. In addition, the two companies are a strong cultural fit given their intense focus on customer service, operational excellence, employee engagement and good corporate citizenship.

The proposed transaction will accelerate UPS’s growth strategy and increase its geographic diversity and ability to provide customers comprehensive solutions. UPS currently estimates annual run-rate pre-tax cost synergies of approximately €400 to €550 million ($525 to $725 million) a year, achieved by the end of the fourth year after closing. UPS believes that the cumulative pre-tax implementation costs related to achieving these synergies will be approximately €1 billion ($1.31 billion) over the four-year integration period.

UPS and TNT Express believe this transaction will significantly enhance their ability to serve their customers’ complex global logistics needs. Following the transaction, around 36% of the combined group’s revenues will be generated outside the United States, up from 26% today at UPS. The combination underlines UPS’s long-standing commitment to Europe, where it has maintained a presence since 1976, by strengthening its product capabilities through the addition of TNT Express’ leading Intra-Europe road freight network. The combination also enhances UPS’s existing position in fast growing regions such as Asia-Pacific and Latin America.

Service lies at the heart of this proposed transaction. With a combined network and enhanced IT platforms, customers will have access to deeper product capabilities and broader reach through the expanded geographies served, giving them more choice and flexibility to support the growth and globalization of their businesses. The combination also will offer employees greater opportunities to be part of a global, growing and respected business.

Unanimous Support from Executive and Supervisory Boards of TNT Express

After careful consideration of all of TNT Express’ strategic alternatives, the Executive and Supervisory Boards of TNT Express believe this transaction is in the best interests of the company and its stakeholders and intend to support and unanimously recommend the Offer for acceptance to TNT Express’ shareholders. Goldman Sachs International has issued a fairness opinion to the Supervisory and Executive Boards of TNT Express and Lazard B.V. has issued a fairness opinion to the Supervisory Board, in each case to the effect that, as of today, the offer price is fair to the TNT Express shareholders from a financial point of view.

Irrevocable from PostNL

PostNL N.V., holder of approximately 29.8% of the outstanding shares of TNT Express, has committed itself to tender its shares under the offer if and when made. The irrevocable contains certain customary undertakings and conditions.

Corporate Governance and Integration

UPS recognizes that TNT Express’ employees will play a pivotal role in the success of the combined entity and they will be treated accordingly. All employee rights, covenants, and benefits under current ownership will be respected. As a result of the proposed transaction, the employees of the combined group will have broader career opportunities based on our future growth expectations.

UPS has a long-standing history of developing people through its promotion from within philosophy, giving employees the opportunity to hold positions at the highest levels of the company. Additionally, UPS and TNT Express share a common business culture and believe that a combination of the businesses will prove attractive to employees. Throughout integration, the selection and appointment of staff for any function within the newly combined entity, will be subject to applicable laws, and be based on the “best person for the job” principle. In case of potential consequences for employees of the combination, the principle of fairness will be applied as to the impact of redundancies on TNT Express and UPS staff.

UPS spent considerable time evaluating potential integration opportunities as it evaluated this transaction. In the coming months, UPS and TNT Express will work together through the establishment of an Integration Committee to develop plans to combine both companies’ strong networks and customer relationships while maintaining the same level of quality and service associated with both companies. UPS is committed to maintaining an ongoing dialogue with, and to closely involve, employee representatives in line with legal requirements and UPS and TNT Express’ leading employment practices.

UPS recognizes the expertise of TNT Express’ leading road freight network in Europe. It also appreciates the leading role that the road freight management will occupy in the combined group. UPS undertakes to create a meaningful center of excellence for marketing, sales, and operations in The Netherlands. UPS recognizes the significant value of TNT Express’ operations, assets and people in Liège and will seek to continue the future utilization of these operations, assets and people within the combined group.

TNT Nederland B.V. will maintain the mitigated structure regime. After successful completion of the Offer, the Supervisory Board of TNT Express will be composed of at least three members identified by UPS and two members of the current Supervisory Board of TNT Express, namely Shemaya Levy and Margot Scheltema. These two members will function as independent Supervisory Directors within the meaning of the Dutch Corporate Governance Code and shall continue to serve on the Supervisory Board until the third anniversary of the settlement date.

Financing of the Offer

The Offer values 100% of the issued and outstanding share capital at €5.16 billion. UPS intends to finance the Offer by utilizing $3 billion in existing cash on balance sheet and through new debt arrangements. UPS will make a timely certain funds announcement as required by Section 7 Paragraph 4 of the Decree on Public Takeover Bids (Besluit Openbare Biedingen Wft). UPS has a strong financial position and remains committed to maintaining a strong balance sheet.

Pre-Offer and Offer Conditions

The commencement of the Offer is subject to the satisfaction or waiver of the following pre-offer conditions: (i) no material adverse effect having occurred, (ii) no breach of the merger protocol having occurred, (iii) approval of the offer memorandum by the AFM, (iv) no revocation of the recommendation by TNT Express’ Executive Board and Supervisory Board, (v) Stichting Continuïteit TNT Express not having exercised its call option right to have protective preference shares issued to it, (vi) no notification having been received from the AFM that preparations of the offer are in breach of the offer rules and (vii) no order, stay judgment or decree having been issued prohibiting the transaction.

If and when made, the consummation of the Offer will be subject to the satisfaction or waiver of the following offer conditions: (i) a minimum acceptance of 80% of the TNT Express ordinary shares on a fully diluted basis, (ii) relevant competition clearances for the Offer having been obtained, (iii) no material adverse effect having occurred, (iv) no breach of the merger protocol having occurred, (v) no revocation of the recommendations by TNT Express’ Executive Board and Supervisory Board (vi) Stichting Continuïteit TNT Express not having exercised its call option right to have protective preference shares issued to it and having agreed to terminate its call option subject to the Offer being declared unconditional, (vii) no notification having been received from the AFM that preparations of the Offer are in breach of the offer rules and (viii) no order, stay judgment or decree having been issued prohibiting the transaction.

UPS and TNT Express have done extensive preparatory work on the required competition filings. UPS is confident that it will secure all relevant competition approvals.

On termination of the Merger Protocol because of the competition offer condition not being satisfied or waived, UPS will forfeit a termination fee to TNT Express equal to €200 million.

Competing Offer

UPS and TNT Express may terminate the merger protocol in the event that a bona fide third-party offeror makes an offer which is binding upon such party, exceeds the Offer Price by at least 8% and is considered by the Executive and Supervisory board of TNT Express to be substantially more beneficial to TNT Express. In the event of a competing offer, UPS will be given the opportunity to match such offer, in which case the merger protocol may not be terminated by TNT Express. TNT Express has entered into customary undertakings not to solicit offers from third parties.

On termination of the Merger Protocol on account of a competing offer, TNT Express will forfeit a termination fee to UPS equal to €50 million.

Indicative Timetable

UPS and TNT Express will seek to obtain all the necessary approvals and competition clearances as soon as practicable. The required advice and consultation procedures with TNT Express’ Central Works Council, European Works Council and unions will be commenced immediately. The cooperation of TNT Express is conditional upon Central Works Council advice.

It is UPS’s intention to submit a request for approval of its offer document to the AFM within 8 weeks from today and to publish the offer memorandum during Q2 2012 in accordance with the applicable statutory timetable. TNT Express will hold an informative Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) at least 6 business days before closing of the offer period in accordance with Section 18 Paragraph 1 of the Decree.


Morgan Stanley, UBS and Bank of America Merrill Lynch are acting as financial advisors to UPS; Goldman Sachs is acting as financial advisor to TNT Express and Lazard is acting as financial advisor to the Supervisory Board of TNT Express.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is acting as legal counsel to UPS; Allen & Overy is acting as legal counsel to TNT Express.”

TNT Express (NYSE Euronext: TNTE) is one of the world’s largest express delivery companies. On a daily basis, TNT Express delivers close to 1 million consignments ranging from documents and parcels to palletized freight. The company operates road and air transportation networks in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Americas. It employs 77,000 people and runs a fleet of 30,000 road vehicles and 46 aircraft. TNT Express had revenues of €7.25 billion ($9.51 billion) in 2011.

Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil.



Alitalia to introduce a 1960 Airbus A321 retrojet

Alitalia (2nd) (Rome) is now painting Airbus A321-112 EI-IXI (msn 494) (not the pictured I-BIXR, msn 593) at Ostrava in this retrojet color scheme. The “Tri-Colors” livery was introduced by the first Alitalia in 1960 with the introduction of the first Douglas DC-8.

Top Image: Designed and produced by Federico Permutti and Alessandro Polo Del Vecchio of AeroDream Design.

Alitalia Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Hot New Photos Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Update: Bottom Copyright Photo: Marco Finelli. EI-IXI is now flying.

British airlines warn about airport disruptions this summer in London

British Airways, BMI, easyJet and Virgin Atlantic Airways are among the major carriers warning against major disruptions in London at area airports due to the upcoming Summer Olympics.

The carriers sent an open letter on March 15 to U.K. Transport Secretary Justine Greening about their concerns. Over 320,000 additional visitors are expected during the games (besides Londoners trying to leave).

Read the full report from Bloomberg Businessweek: CLICK HERE

British Airways Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Pluna starts domestic operations in Chile

Pluna Lineas Aereas Uruguayas (Montevideo) commenced Chilean domestic flights on March 15. The first flight was flight PUA 4407 linking the capital of Santiago with the Carriel Sur Airfield in Concepción (SCIE) in southern Chile, using Bombardier CRJ900 CX-CRH. The aircraft returned to the Chilean capital the following day as flight PUA 4408. Previously on March 13 a test flight was completed, where ground equipment and procedures were verified using aircraft CRJ900 CX-CRM.

Copyright Photo: Marcelo F. De Biasi.

Pluna Slide Show: CLICK HERE

PAL Airlines prepares to phase out the last Boeing 737-200

PAL Airlines (Santiago) is restructuring. The airline dropped the Santiago-Arica (Chile) route on February 29 2012. The carrier is also consolidating its fleet with only Boeing 737-300s. Currently PAL has only one 737-200 operating.

Copyright Photo: Alvaro Romero.


Is Caribbean Airlines facing a cash crunch?

Caribbean Airlines (Port of Spain) according to this report by the Trinidad Express Newspapers, has failed to meet its promised $5 million payment to Children’s Life Fund, a charity favored by the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago.

Also according to the report, CAL owes National Petroleum approximately $29 million for aviation fuel.

The airline has recently reduced staff in the Air Jamaica operation.

Also according to the report, the airline has been unable to take delivery of the third and fourth new ATR 72-600 due to not being able to meet the payments.

As the flag carrier, Caribbean Airlines receives a fuel subsidy which grounded REDjet did not receive and was critical.

Finallly, the airline is also reportedly looking at its two-brands policy (maintaining the Air Jamaica brand).

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Tony Storck. This Boeing 737-800 wears joint titles.

Caribbean Airlines Slide Show: CLICK HERE


Joel Chusid’s Airline Corner (March 2012)

Guest Editor Joel Chusid

Guest Editor Joel Chusid

Kid Control Aloft

Traveling with children by air can be challenging, and many parents dread it. Just last week, a couple and their two toddlers were removed from a jetBlue flight in the Turks and Caicos after one child threw a tantrum, launching the incident into the national media. I have seen my share of adorable and well-behaved children aloft. But road warriors have their story of the Ritalin®-deprived kid from hell annoying the heck out of everyone within range, even starting in the departure lounge. And this is not restricted to economy class. Consider business people, suited up and tapping diligently away on a laptop, while a precocious child in the adjoining seat provided a variety of distractions, both audible and visual, from periodic screaming to projectile vomit. But there is hope, at least if you’re flying to or from Bahrain! Gulf Air has provided SkyNanny service for three years on board all long haul flights, helping passengers traveling with the little ones, not only on board, but in the lounge at Bahrain as well.

Now, for the peace of mind for the rest of us there is a website, www.nannyintheclouds.com,
launched by Julie Melnick, which offers to match passengers traveling with children with nannies traveling on the same flight. The site matches travel times, and it offers travelers the ability to contract for a nanny for either parts of the flight or the whole journey. The nanny is someone who has been screened and has experience in child care, but it’s up to the parents to do due diligence, including an in-person or phone meeting in advance. The cost is negotiated between the two parties, and the nanny gets to earn something while she’s up in the air. There may be some challenges in getting seats assigned together, but airline staff, let alone passengers, will generally accommodate requests in the interest of cabin peace.

Please, No E-Ciggies

With cigarettes (or as airlines say, “smoking materials”) banned on commercial flights for years, some people have switched to electronic cigarettes. They don’t emit smoke and are powered by lithium batteries. While these are probably a good alternative to those dependent on nicotine on the ground, be warned this may not be the best idea in the air. A passenger “lit up” on a Continental flight from Portland to Houston and refused to comply with a flight attendant’s request to put it out. The plane returned to Portland and the passenger and his companion were removed. The other passengers were not amused by the delay. There are regulations being developed by the Department of Transportation, so this practice may soon go the way of the aircraft smoking section of years gone by.

Think Twice Before Packing

There’s an old rule that veteran flyers often follow when packing. Take out everything you need for your trip, then put half of it back. While it’s quite easy to do a carry-on for a short trip, a longer one might require checking a bag. With airlines charging for checked (and in some cases, carry-on) bags, it’s important to minimize what you pack or be faced with, in some cases, some pretty hefty charges. Last week yours truly was flying out of JFK and I was eight pounds overweight above the fifty pound domestic limit and told it would be $100 extra (above the $25 I was paying to check the bag). As I have seen travelers often do, I went through the humiliating exercise of repacking my checked bag to save the hundred bucks. Removing my overcoat (it was 60 degrees and I intended to unpack it in the bag claim on arrival) and a couple of books did the trick. But a recent survey by British Airways revealed some astonishing facts. Nine out of ten travelers didn’t use thirty percent of what they packed. This includes tea kettles (these are Britons, remember) and various food items. Forty percent of the people admitted to packing three or more pairs of shoes (they are heavy!), ten or more pairs of underwear (there is such a thing as doing laundry, and one in eight took at least three towels (towels?) for a weeklong leisure trip.

Air New Zealand Kills off Its Puppet

Air New Zealand’s controversial puppet spokesman, Rico, has been killed off, but he lives on in plenty of videos on Youtube. I’ve written about him before, and his edgy conversation and pushing the limit comments made him a hit among fans online. But to some he was annoying, and, in a rather weird video, his murderer (a household name!) is interrogated and forced to confess, describing the crime. The motive? Let’s just say it has to do with jumping jacks. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, but the secret is revealed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NJlLA7eGBI.

First Class Thief

Air France, who not so long ago had a pilfering flight attendant who enriched herself at business class passengers’ expense between Paris and Tokyo, now has ended the thievery of a frequent flyer upon landing on the island of Reunion. A 28-year old Canadian photographer would buy first class tickets and steal anything that wasn’t nailed down from dishes, cutlery, glassware and blankets, which he sold on the internet.

We Met on a Plane

Ever meet someone on a plane who you’d like to get in touch with again? A new site, started by Australian Will Scully-Power, who met his wife on a plane, started www.wemetonaplane.com . This is your answer. The site lets you post your request, and you can determine if someone had their eye on you. Simply enter your flight information and post it; you can also share it through Facebook and LinkedIn. It’s sort of a match.com in the clouds.

Select Your Seatmate

Here’s another opportunity to meet someone on a plane, but the planning takes place before the flight, as far as sixty days out. Some airlines have now combined online seat selection with social networking. KLM’s new “Meet & Seat” program, launched February 3, lets you share your personal details by linking to your Facebook or LinkedIn profile. You can view other passengers’ profiles, with their permission, and select seats near (or away from) them based on their interests. The program was initially only available between Amsterdam and New York, San Francisco and Sao Paulo for now, but the airline just announced another ten cities to the program including Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles and Buenos Aires. Details here: http://www.klm.com/travel/us_en/prepare_for_travel/on_board/Your_seat_on_board/meet_and_seat.htm. Malaysian Airlines has a similar program with Facebook called MHBuddy. Check it out: http://www.malaysiaairlines.com/in/en/book-and-plan/mhbuddy.html

Reducing Jetlag – Through the Ears

Finnair is testing a new bright light headset with business class passengers between Helsinki and Shanghai this month. The Valkee® headset, from a Finnish design company, is a safe way to contradict long distance travel on the body’s circadian rhythm with the shortage of natural light.  It only requires eight minutes of use per day. The manufacturer claims a success rate of 90%. Finnair passengers fill out a questionnaire about their results. Finnair plans to sell the device on board starting in May. See the headset at www.valkee.com.

Fresh Daily Airline News: CLICK HERE

Visit the Airliners Gallery website: CLICK HERE

Turkish Airlines introduces its new “Globally Yours” Boeing 737-800 logojet

Turkish Airlines (Istanbul) has repainted newly-delivered Boeing 737-8F2 TC-JHL (msn 40976) into a special “Globally Yours” livery which features 17,000 individual photos of current and former employees.

According to the airline, “over a period of four months, photos were taken of all employees, which were then passed on to a team of specialist designers who created a picture montage that could be applied to the aircraft. The photos were combined in a distinctly Turkish Seljuk motif that is reminiscent of the interior designs created for our fleet.”

Images and video: Turkish Airlines.

Turkish Slide Show: CLICK HERE

REDjet shuts down in Barbados, files for bankruptcy

REDjet (flyREDjet.com) (Bridgetown, Barbados) has shut down. The privately-owned airline suspended all operations at 2359 last night (March 16).

The airline issued the following statement:

“The shareholders and staff of REDjet wish to sincerely thank all our passengers and supporters for enabling our airline to achieve the tremendous feat of breaking the high fare experience of many Caribbean passengers, while increasing regional travel numbers for the first time in decades.

We at REDjet set out to deliver the Caribbean’s first affordable air service and we have successfully launched a small number of routes that have in their performance, demonstrated the necessity and popularity for a low fares service in the region.

Our aircraft and our dedicated staff are performing extremely well and we are willing and able to continue to provide affordable transport across the Caribbean and beyond but we cannot.

Unlike the heavily subsidised airlines that serve the region, REDjet does not receive any assistance. As indicated, REDjet is hopeful that we will be given a small part of the State assistance others receive, as it will allow us to get our recently approved and exciting new routes established and profitable. Once this happens, our shareholders and staff will do their utmost to see that there is no return to high fares and business as usual.

We have seen other carriers drastically cut their fares in an effort to shut down REDjet and return to high fares and business as usual with no regard to the negative impact on travellers. Unlike us, they do not have to be profitable to stay in business.

In spite of their subsidised efforts, our passenger numbers have continued to rise because you, our patrons, enjoy our clean, comfortable and well maintained aircraft as well as our excellent service delivered at affordable ticket prices.

REDjet has no alternative but to suspend flights from 23:59pm on March 16, 2012 until further notice. All passengers booked on any REDjet flight from Saturday should contact the call centre 24 hours before scheduled departure time for an update on their flight status.

Affected passengers will be offered refunds or the option to travel with REDjet upon commencement of services.”

Update: REDjet filed for bankruptcy protection on June 7, 2012 and will be liquidated.

Copyright Photo: Nigel Steele. 

Route Map:

Southwest Airlines wants to operate international flights from Houston Hobby Airport

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) has approached Houston airport officials about installing U.S. Customs facilities at Houston’s Hobby Airport on the south side. Southwest wants to operate international flights from HOU to Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America. United Airlines, which has the large former Continental Airlines intercontinental hub at Bush Intercontinental (IAH) on the north side, is reminding city and airport officials the original airport agreement was for the more expensive IAH airport to handle international operations.

Read the full story from Channel 13 in Houston: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough.

Southwest Slide Show: CLICK SHOW

Direct Air files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and reoganization

Direct Air (Myrtle Beach) yesterday (March 16) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and reorganization. The public charter company suddenly ceased all operations on March 13 stranding passengers throughout its system. Given the way it suspended operations it is not likely the company would be welcomed back at many of these airports it served.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. The original Sky King Airlines Boeing 737-200 that launched Direct Air on March 7, 2007.

Lufthansa Group’s operating profit drops almost 20% to $1.1 billion, vows to cut costs at Austrian

Lufthansa Group (Frankfurt) saw its operating profit decline by almost 20 percent to around $1.1 billion. The group also vowed to cut costs at Austrian Airlines (Vienna). Lufthansa also stated it would consider selling Austrian if it cannot lower costs.

Read the statement from Lufthansa: CLICK HERE

Read the analysis by Reuters: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Ross Bernhard.

Lufthansa Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Airberlin’s 2011 net loss widens to $348 million

Airberlin (airberlin.com) (Berlin) reported its net loss in 2011 widened to $348 million due to the Arab Spring and increasing fuel costs.

Here is the official statement of the airline: CLICK HERE

Read the analysis by Bloomberg BusinessWeek: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Rob Skinkis.

Airberlin Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Is UPS getting closer to acquiring TNT Express?

UPS-United Parcel Service (Atlanta and Louisville) may be getting closer to acquiring TNT Express. Both companies were due to update the market today but any deal will probably be announced after today according to this report by Reuters.

All concerned parties, including the unions, are being consulted. TNT’s performance is a concern for UPS.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

TNT Express N.V. (Hoofddorp, Netherlands) is an international express and cargo delivery services company that competes against UPS and FedEx. The company has fully-owned operations in 65 countries and delivers documents, parcels and freight to over 200 countries.

Formerly an operating division of TNT N.V., TNT Express was demerged from its parent company on May 26, 2011. TNT N.V. has subsequently been renamed as PostNL.

TNT Express aircraft operate under the IATA code of TAY of TNT Airways.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems.


Mesa Airlines wins the “triple crown” for regional carriers in 2011 and January 2012

Mesa Airlines (Mesa Air Group) (Phoenix) which won the number one on-time regional airline award in 2010 and 2011, obtained the number one rank among U.S. regional airlines for on-time arrivals in January 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation Air Travel Consumer Report, the industry recognized measure of performance. In addition to being ranked first among regional airlines for on-time arrivals, Mesa was ranked first among regional airlines for fewest mishandled bags and first among all air carriers for fewest complaints per 100,000 passengers – the “Triple Crown” of operational performance. This recognition and the company’s strong operational performance reflect Mesa’s continued commitment to its Code Share Partners and Passengers.

Mesa Airlines currently operates 77 aircraft with over 395 daily system departures to 87 cities, 33 states, Mexico and the District of Columbia. Mesa operates as US Airways Express and United Express under contractual agreements with US Airways and United Airlines, respectively, and independently as go!. In June 2006, Mesa launched inter-island Hawai’i service as go! and in October 2009 formed a joint-venture with Mokulele Airlines. The go! Mokulele operation links Honolulu to the neighbor island airports of Hilo, Kona, Kahului, Ho’olehua, Lana’i and Lihu’e.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough.

United Express-Mesa Airlines High-Res Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Frontier Airlines starts Knoxville-Orlando service

Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) yesterday (March 15) started new nonstop service from Knoxville, TN to Orlando. The new route will be operated with Airbus A319s three days a week.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing.

Frontier Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Updated Route Map (click on the map to expand):


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