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Baltia Air Lines first Boeing 747 enters into maintenance

Baltia Air Lines (New York) announced yesterday (March 15) that its first aircraft, ex-Kalitta/Northwest Boeing 747-251B N706BL (msn 21705, ex N623US), has entered into required maintenance at the Kalitta Air maintenance facility in Oscoda, Michigan.  Baltia acquired the aircraft on December 9, 2010.

Baltia is the long-running start-up. Baltia’s goal is to become a new airline operating in the trans-Atlantic market between the major U.S. cities and capital cities of Eastern Europe, including Russia, Latvia, Ukraine and Belarus. Baltia intends to provide three-class passenger service, cargo and mail transportation. Baltia plans to begin their scheduled air transportation as the only U.S. airline, connecting New York and St. Petersburg, Russia on the Baltic Sea (hence the name).

Baltia Air Lines video on YouTube:

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Capital Cargo introduces a new bolder livery

Capital Cargo International Airlines (Orlando) has introduced this new color scheme.

Copyright Photo: Dave Campbell. Please click on the photo for additional details.

Compare with the old livery (slide show): CLICK HERE

Mexicana loses its last chance to restart operations

Mexicana (Mexico City) is now officially grounded for good. PC Capital had not delivered the promised investors to restructure the debt-ridden airline.

Copyright Photo: Please click on the photo for the full details.

A salute to Mexicana (slide show): CLICK HERE

Enerjet leases its first Boeing 737-800

Enerjet (Calgary) has leased its first Boeing 737-800 from Transavia Airlines.

Copyright Photo: Matt Dueck. Please click on the photo for additional information.

Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental completes final Gauntlet test

Boeing (Chicago) has completed final gauntlet testing on the first 747-8 Intercontinental jetliner. The two days of testing were completed late Sunday (March 13).

Gauntlet testing simulates flight conditions to test systems and ensure flight readiness. During the testing, Boeing test pilots put the airplane through its paces. See how extensive the testing is in this video: http://goo.gl/0cJCZ. Gauntlet testing is a crucial step in the path toward first flight.

First flight of the 747-8 Intercontinental will occur after final flight readiness reviews, receipt of documentation from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and taxi testing. Both taxi testing and first flight are subject to weather conditions.

 

Jet2 promotes its Jet2holidays division on newly-acquired G-LSAL

Jet2 (Jet2.com) (Leeds/Bradford) has put its leased Boeing 757-204 G-LSAL (msn 26967) into service with these promotional Jet2holidays titles.

Hot New Photos Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best. Please click on the photo for the full details.

Jet2 Interactive Route Map. Jet2 flies from eight UK bases to over 50 destinations (click on map for interactive map).

American Eagle to fly from Chicago O’Hare to both Wilmington, NC and Charlottesville, VA

American Eagle Airlines (2nd) (Dallas/Fort Worth) has announced it will fly two daily roundtrip flights between the Chicago O’Hare International Airport hub and Wilmington International Airport in North Carolina, beginning on July 2. The new service will be operated with 44-seat Embraer ERJ 140 regional jets.

In addition the company will also launch two daily roundtrip flights between Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport in Virginia, beginning on June 9. This new service will also be operated with 44-seat Embraer ERJ 140 regional jets.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Please click on the photo for additional aircraft information.

Southwest Airlines adds South Carolina

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) today (March 14) celebrated the airline’s new service in the Palmetto State by bringing its big planes and little fares to Greenville-Spartanburg (GSP) and Charleston (CHS). Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO, joins Greenville-Spartanburg Executive Airport Director David N. Edwards, Jr. and Airport Chairwoman Minor Shaw in this morning’s news conference at the airport’s airside garden to officially launch the airline’s new service to Greenville-Spartanburg. Later in the afternoon, Kelly also joined with Charleston Aviation Authority Chairman Chip Limehouse, Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce Chairman Robert Pierce, Charleston Regional Development Alliance Chairman Sean Bennett, and Charleston Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Chairman Roger Warren in a news conference in the airport’s atrium to officially launch the airline’s new service to Charleston, the second assembly plant for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Southwest Airlines now serves the Upstate from Greenville-Spartanburg with seven daily nonstop departures—two daily nonstop departures to/from Baltimore/Washington and Chicago Midway and one daily nonstop to/from Nashville, Houston, and Orlando. Southwest Airlines operates from Gates A3 and A4 in Greenville-Spartanburg’s main terminal.

Southwest Airlines now serves the Lowcountry from Charleston with seven daily nonstop departures—three daily nonstop departures to/from Baltimore/Washington, two daily nonstops to Chicago Midway, one daily nonstop to/from Nashville, and one daily nonstop to/from Houston. Southwest Airlines operates from Gate B5 in Charleston’s main terminal.

Southwest Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Please click on the photo for additional aircraft details.

Routes from GSP:

Routes from CHS:

Joel Chusid’s Airline Corner (March 2011)

Guest Editor

Guest Editor Joel Chusid

Time flies, and so do I. This blog is a little later than usual since it’s been so busy that I have to squeeze my writing in when I can. Last time it was over the Amazon; today I’m writing this somewhere over frozen Siberia. There isn’t a shortage of unusual airline stories, so I have plenty to draw upon. Enjoy…

Contraband of the Worst Kind

As someone who spends a lot of time in Customs, I see people bringing in a lot of strange things, and animal products tend to raise suspicion among the inspectors. The worst thing is not declaring it and getting caught, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.  And granted, it is the Lunar Year of the Rabbit. So upon arriving at JFK on a Delta flight from Georgetown, Guyana, passenger Roger Levans was following regulations when he declared he was carrying a “cooked rabbit.” Two of his bags contained fruits and vegetables, also prohibited, but when agriculture inspectors opened the third bag to examine the rabbit, they found three bricks of cocaine instead. Oops. A possible explanation was that someone had given him the package to take to the U.S., but rule #1 is never to take a package for someone else unless you know what’s in it.

Unplanned Pork

British carrier easyJet is about as no frills as they come, but you can buy lots of items on board, including bottled water, drinks, merchandise and light meals. Imagine their embarrassment when on a four and a half hour flight from Tel Aviv to London last month the only food they had to offer or sale was ham and bacon baguettes. To its defense, easyJet claims not to carry any pork products and does offer kosher and non-kosher food on its flights to and from Israel…..except on this one day, and the meaty story managed to make it into the Israeli press.

Unplanned Fuel

Speaking of easyJet, their PR department also had to deal with another substance that was loaded on a flight from Birmingham, England to Geneva, the day after Christmas. This time the ground crew provisioned too much fuel, ten tons, in fact, causing the flight to be too heavy to take off. Now any airline person knows if you’re too heavy to land you can fly around and burn off some extra fuel. But this is not an option on the ground. The airline needed to offload some thirty passengers, but only seven volunteered to deplane. The additional 23 poor souls who checked in late were the unlucky ones who were left behind. Passengers claimed they were threatened with arrest if they did not get off. Bags were also offloaded so the plane could take off, so it was not a good start for many people who were headed on their holiday skiing vacations.

Snakes on the Runway

Everyone’s heard the story (or maybe seen the movie) about snakes on a plane. Here’s a case where the snakes, big rock pythons at that, head out on to the runway to sun themselves.  It happens regularly at the Pilanesburg International Airport in northwest South Africa.  The snakes can weigh more than 130 pounds and be as long as fifteen feet, and they can cause serious damage to an aircraft taking off or landing. As there is a strict environmental policy against killing endangered species, specialists come in regularly and move the reptiles to the adjacent “bush”.

Critters on the Plane

As long as there are animals and airplanes, these things are going to happen. Recently an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 was getting ready to depart SeaTac Airport early one morning for Denver when a rat was discovered running through the cabin. Startled and skittish passengers were quickly deplaned and the aircraft was placed out of service pending the arrival of the exterminator. More disturbing, however, was the story about a passenger who claimed she was attacked by bedbugs in her blanket and on the seats of  not one, but two British Airways flights recently to and from London. She created a website about the experience, complete with graphic pictures and more than you might want to know, and the media was all over it – www.ba-bites.com. A word to the wise: you might eyeball those airline pillows and blankets on your next flight. Of course that’s not a problem in the U.S. where they’ve all but disappeared.

Bagels on a Plane

Passengers boarding a USAirways flight from Boston to Washington one morning claimed to hear suspicious noises from a paper bag in an overhead bin. The crew confronted the bag’s owner, a Florida college professor, who proceeded to get on his cell phone. Handcuffed and escorted off the plane, police later revealed the bag contained a set of keys, a hat, a wallet and a bagel with cream cheese. Just make sure when you’re flying to watch your bagels.

The Secret Life of an Icelandic Flight Attendant

Iceland is a really wonderful country of contrasts, where you can see frozen waterfalls, swim outdoors in the steaming Blue Lagoon all year or try the national dish, putrified shark jaw called hákarl. Icelanders, though, also have a good sense of humor, and the airline Icelandair is no exception. For its Annual Ball Video Competition, one of the submissions went viral and made the rounds on Youtube.com. It’s about a supposed pilot who wakes up in bed after an obviously busy night, showers and very proudly puts on his uniform and heads off to work. Only after boarding it is revealed that the man is actually a flight attendant, although he’s a pilot wannabe. There’s catchy music and a few more surprises, but in the end this short video will leave a smile on your face. See it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2p23BMiRu6o.

A Politically Correct Airline

A new airline in Thailand, PC Air, has made headlines by hiring “third’sex” flight attendants. Transsexuals, known as “lady boys” in Thailand, have gone through training and wear special gold name badges. Although common in on the Thai entertainment scene, PC Air’s founder says that he is a believer in equal rights and is helping these young people achieve a dream of being a flight attendant. Flights within Asia are due to start in April.

Women Up Front

Speaking of equal opportunity and in the spirit of Amelia Earhart, this flight wasn’t a global first, but it was unusual. An all-female crew operated an Air Seychelles Boeing 767-300 from Paris to Mahe on March 8. The female senior captain, first officer and the cabin crew were greeted by the media upon arrival. The airline has 462 female and 429 male employees, with an increasing number of ladies taking up senior positions in both in the air on the on the ground flight operations.

Flight Delay in Song

Another story for the ladies:  You’re at the Buenos Aires Aeroparque airport. Your flight is delayed and passenger tempers are frayed, so what do you do? If you’re rock star Cyndi Lauper, you break into song, of course! Using the gate agent’s microphone, she belted out her “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” hit to the delight of the passengers, many of whom chimed in. This just happened last week. You can catch the performance on Youtube.com. One of the videos is here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/12687025.

3-D at 30,000 Feet

In just a few weeks, Nintendo will debut its 3DS game console which gives the illusion of 3-D without the goofy glasses. Using a display developed by Sharp, the left and right eyes see different images. Already in use in games, the technology can be adapted to the aviation industry according to blogger Sam O’Neill, since the cost to produce this has been reduced. Currently 3-D glass-free systems are produced by Sony and Toshiba, but they are expensive. This system could be used for TV and movies or even to project an image from a camera mounted on the nose of the plane. No airline has yet opted to jump into this, so it’s not something you’ll see on your next flight. But as the competition for premium business continues to heat up, sooner or later someone will latch on to it. Think of how long it took movies and telephones to be installed on aircraft after they were first invented!

World Airline News – free daily airline news:  CLICK HERE

Visit our new “Airliners Gallery on SmugMug” website (being expanded every day with the latest photos):  CLICK HERE

Caribbean Airlines leases two ATR 72s from Swiftair

Caribbean Airlines (Port of Spain) has leased two ATR 72s from Swiftair.

Caribbean Airlines Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Nigel Steele. Please click on the photo for the full details.

Air Canada Express (Sky Regional Airlines) to launch operations on May 1

Air Canada Express (Sky Regional Airlines) (Toronto-Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport) will launch operations on May 1 with Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) turboprop aircraft between Montreal (Trudeau) and Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, with up to 15 flights each way every business day.

Air Canada’s close-in Toronto hub routes:

Above Copyright Photo: TMK Photography. Please click on the photo for the full story of Air Canada Express.

Below Copyright Photo: Air Canada. Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is reached by a short ferry from downtown Toronto.

Southwest Airlines suffers growing pains as it adds more congested hub destinations

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) became very successful by avoiding the congestion of major hub airports by serving under utilized smaller airports. Southwest was therefore able to achieve a very low complaint factor and also the best on-time record. The airline even painted this special “Triple Crown” Boeing 737 to celebrate its earlier achievements. This is now changing as the company adds more major hubs airports. One of the airports that is suffering from this erosion of service is its major Chicago Midway Airport hub. According to this article by the Chicago Tribune, Southwest is dispatching a team of 10 station managers from other airports to MDW to try to solve these growing pains.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Southwest Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Read about the “Triple Crown” logojet by clicking on the photo.

Southwest MDW Routes:

Continental is considering moving up the retirement date for its remaining Boeing 737-500s and also its 767-200s

Continental Airlines (Houston) is now considering moving up its final phase out of its Boeing 737-500s due to rising fuel costs. In addition, the company is also considering retiring the fleet of 10 Boeing 767-200s according to this report by Bloomberg.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Continental Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Please click on the photo for additional aircraft information.

Most flights by U.S. airlines to Japan canceled

U.S. Carriers are still canceling most of their Japanese-bound flights due to the gridlock in the country caused by yesterday’s massive earthquake and tsunami. Ground transportation remains the main problem as getting to and from the major Tokyo airports is still problematic.

Read the full report from Reuters: CLICK HERE

Map of earthquake zone in Japan:

SriLankan Airlines is coming to Toronto

SriLankan Airlines (Colombo) will extend the Colombo-London Heathrow route to Toronto (Pearson) starting in October 2011.

SriLankan Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil. Please click on the photo for additional information.

SriLankan Airlines European Routes:

airBaltic to drop Vilnius service to four cities

airBaltic (airBaltic.com) (Riga) starting on March 27, 2011 will drop four routes from Vilnius to Dublin, London, Paris and Rome due to overcapacity in Lithuania. Low-cost carriers Ryanair and Wizz Air have recently entered the Vilnius market.

airBaltic Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner. Please click on photo for additional information.

airBaltic European Route Map (routes from Riga):

Airberlin takes delivery of first Boeing 737-700 with the new Sky Interior

Airberlin (Berlin-Tegel) celebrated this week the delivery on March 8 of the first Next-Generation 737-700 (737-76J D-ABLF msn 36874) with the new Boeing Sky Interior. Airberlin received its first 737-800 with the new Boeing Sky Interior in mid-February making the airline the first to operate both aircraft types with the new cabin design.

Alaska to drop LA service from Eureka and Redding

Alaska Airlines (Seattle/Tacoma) has announced it is discontinuing all flights from Eureka and Redding, California, to Los Angeles, effective on April 17, 2011. The Alaska (AS) coded flights are operated by Alaska Horizon (Horizon Air).

The decision to drop the service was due to the insufficient number of passengers flying between Eureka and Redding and Los Angeles. Alaska Horizon cannot operate the flights profitably which led to the decision to discontinue the service. Eureka and Redding are among the smallest intra-California markets that the Alaska Air Group serves.

Horizon Air has operated flights from Redding since 1992 and from Eureka since 1994.

Copyright Photo: James Helbock. Horizon Air is now operating as Alaska Horizon. Please click on the photo for the full story.

Massive 8.9 earthquake hits Japan, floods Sendai Airport, flights diverted from Tokyo

A massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake has hit off the coast northeast Japan approximately 80 miles east of Sendai and 231 miles northeast of Tokyo. The large earthquake, the largest in recorded Japanese history, has unleashed huge tsunamis along its Pacific coast causing flooding of the Sendai Airport and flight arrival diversions from both Tokyo’s Narita (NRT) Haneda (HND) airports. However both NRT and HND are permitting departures but arrivals are being still diverted. Surface transportation to both airports remains problematic as many trains and roadways are either closed or blocked.

The preliminary death toll has reached at least 32 people, including three in Tokyo. Other parts of the Pacific are on tsunamis watch.

Hawaii could be impacted around 3 a.m. local time.

Continental Airlines to start Newark-Stuttgart flights on June 9

Continental Airlines (Houston) today announced that it will launch daily nonstop service between its New York hub at Newark Liberty International Airport and Stuttgart, Germany, effective on June 9, 2011 (eastbound), subject to government approval.

Stuttgart will be the fifth German city to be served by the new United, formed last year by the merger of Continental and United Airlines.

The Newark-Stuttgart service will be operated by Boeing 757-200 aircraft, featuring 175 seats – 16 in BusinessFirst and 159 in Economy.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Please click on the photo for additional aircraft information.

United (blue) – Continental (yellow) trans-Atlantic Route Map:

Boeing to paint the Charleston-assembled Dreamliners in Amarillo, Texas

Boeing (Chicago) has selected Leading Edge Aviation Services to paint the 787 Dreamliners assembled at Boeing’s new North Charleston, SC, final assembly and delivery facility.

Leading Edge will perform the work at its Amarillo, Texas facility where other wide-body airplanes are painted. The company, which specializes in commercial and military aircraft painting, will apply final paint and customer livery to all 787 Dreamliners delivered from the Boeing South Carolina facility.

As 787 Dreamliners complete final assembly and prepare for delivery, the airplanes will make the 1,250-mile (2,000-kilometer) flight from North Charleston to Amarillo to be painted. The airplanes will then return to South Carolina for final delivery to customers from around the world.

Production in the new South Carolina 787 Dreamliner facility is on schedule to begin mid-2011, with first delivery scheduled for 2012.

Copyright Photo: Nick Dean. Please click on the photo for additional information.

Lufthansa Group produces a $1.5 billion net profit in 2010

Lufthansa Group (Frankfurt) produced a net profit of $1.5 billion in 2010.

Read the press release: CLICK HERE

Lufthansa Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner. Please click on the photo for the aircraft information.

American Eagle adds two new routes from DFW to Mexico

American Eagle Airlines (2nd) (Dallas/Fort Worth) has announced new daily nonstop jet service effective June 9 from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to Mazatlan International Airport in Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico, subject to government approval. American Eagle will fly the route with 50-seat Embraer ERJ 145 regional jet aircraft.

In addition the company also announced new daily nonstop jet service effective June 9 from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to Morelia International Airport in Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico, subject to government approval. American Eagle will fly the route with 44-seat Embraer ERJ 140 regional jet aircraft.

American Eagle Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Please click on the photo for aircraft details.

American Airlines and QANTAS Airways expand their relationship

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) and QANTAS Airways (Sydney), members of the oneworld® Alliance, announced the next phase of their deepening commercial relationship, expanding the number of routes on which the airlines will codeshare between major cities across North America and Australia.

QANTAS will codeshare on American Airlines flights to 28 new destinations from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), American’s largest hub. American Airlines will begin codesharing on QANTAS services between Sydney and Dallas/Fort Worth as well as domestic services from Brisbane to Adelaide, Canberra, Cairns, Melbourne and Perth.

Oneworld Interactive World Route Map: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough. Please click on the photo for additional information.

US Airways to distribute more than $47 million in profit sharing

US Airways’ (Phoenix) employees, for the first time since 2007, will receive profit sharing checks recognizing their contribution to the Company’s second most profitable year ever. Today’s payout to eligible employees totals more than $47 million.

In addition to today’s profit sharing payouts, employees received more than $25 million in operational incentive bonuses and employee recognition awards over the past year, totaling more than $72 million in recognition payouts for employees’ strong performance in 2010.

Profit sharing payouts to individual employees vary by base salary and terms of employees’ respective collective bargaining agreements. In addition to sharing in the Company’s 2010 profitable results, all employees shared an additional $24 million in payouts from the airline’s Triple Play incentive plan. On average each employee received $650 in total Triple Play payouts for first place rankings among the “Big Five” network carriers in the monthly U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Air Travel Consumer Report in any of three metrics – baggage handling, on-time performance and customer service.

In 2010 more than 1,500 US Airways employees also were recognized by customers and co-workers for their extraordinary efforts through two other employee-incentive programs: the quarterly Above & Beyond awards and the annual Chairman Award recognition program. Combined, those programs awarded employees more than $1 million.

This week US Airways is hosting employee celebrations at its 200 airport and operational support locations across its system to recognize both its number one DOT ranking in baggage handling in 2010 and the Company’s return to profitability. That strong operational performance also is continuing in 2011. On Monday the DOT ranked US Airways number one in January for baggage handling among the “Big Five” network carriers. That triggered the Company’s first $50 per employee Triple Play payout (or a total of $1.8 million), which employees will receive later this month.

US Airways Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: David Neal. Please click on the photo for additional information on the Charlotte hub.

US Airways Route Map from the CLT hub:

Aeroflot will operate the Boeing 777 again

Aeroflot Russian Airlines (Moscow) and Boeing have announced an order for six Boeing 777-300 ERs (extended range) and two Boeing 777-200 ERs. The order was previously attributed to an unidentified customer on Boeing’s Orders and Deliveries website.

In 2007, Aeroflot signed a firm contract to acquire 22 Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

Copyright Photo: Roy Lock. Please click on the photo for the full story.

Cathay Pacific Airways orders 15 Airbus A330-300s and 10 Boeing 777-300 ERs

Cathay Pacific Airways (Hong Kong) has entered into an agreement with Airbus S.A.S. to buy 15 additional Airbus A330-300s and a separate agreement with The Boeing Company for 10 additional Boeing 777-300 ERs.

On the financial side, Cathay Pacific reported its net income jumped to HK$14 billion ($1.8 billion) for 2010 from HK$4.7 billion for the previous year.

Copyright Photo: John Adlard. Cathay Pacific has outlined its fleet plans. Please click on the photo for the full details.

Cathay Pacific Mainland China and NE Asia Route Map:

Cathay Pacific SE Asia Route Map:

Camair-Co paints its first Boeing 737-700

Camair co-Cameroon Airlines Corporation (Douala) has painted its first Boeing 737-700.

The new flag carrier is planning its first flight to Paris for March 28, 2011. Camair-Co will fly its first Boeing 767-300 named “The Dja” on the flagship route. A second Boeing 737 is expected to join this first 737-700.

The Boeing 737s will be operated on regional routes.

Copyright Photo: Malcolm Nason. Formerly operated by Enerjet as C-GBEJ, the pictured Boeing 737-7BD was ferried from Atlanta to Shannon on March 2. Six days later it was rolled out at SNN as TJ-QCA (msn 34480) in the new color scheme.

 

Spirit Airlines to enter the Las Vegas-Los Angles market with introductory $9 one-way fares

Spirit Airlines (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood) announced yesterday (March 8) that starting on May 5, 2011, the ultra low cost carrier will begin five daily nonstop flights between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Spirit currently serves both markets.

To celebrate the launch of the new route, Spirit offered $9 introductory fares (each way based on a round trip purchase) available for travel on Tuesdays and Wednesdays between May 10 and June 15, 2011.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing. Please click on the photo for additional information.

Spirit Airlines Route Map:

ILFC orders 33 Boeing 737-800s and 100 Airbus A320/A321neos, cancels 10 A380s

International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) (Los ANgeles), a wholly owned subsidiary of American International Group, Inc., yesterday (March 8) announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the purchase of 100 A320NEO family aircraft from Airbus and a purchase agreement for 33 737-800 aircraft from Boeing.

These decisions follow a year in which ILFC regained access to substantial liquidity with initiatives that led to $14 billion in financings and aircraft sales followed by a $2 billion revolving unsecured line of credit from eleven banks. For the year ended December 31, 2010, the company recorded strong revenues and cash flow from operations, positioning ILFC for future growth.

The purchase agreement with Boeing will secure near-term access to the popular 737-800 aircraft with deliveries beginning in 2012. The memorandum of understanding with Airbus includes 75 A320NEO and 25 A321NEO, 60 of which will be powered by the Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW1100G engine beginning in 2016. This new agreement with Airbus will replace ILFC’s prior commitment for ten A380s.

ILFC currently owns a portfolio consisting of approximately 930 jet aircraft.

 

JetBlue Airways and LAN to offer interline connections

JetBlue Airways and LAN Airlines (Santiago) and its affiliates LAN Peru, LAN Argentina and LAN Ecuador, yesterday (March 8) announced the launch of interline agreements that bring new connecting options for travelers flying between major destinations throughout the Americas via New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Under the interline agreement, customers will be able to purchase a single electronic ticket that combines travel on JetBlue and any of the LAN carriers, bringing new options and new destinations to customers of both airlines.

Copyright Photo: Stephen Tornblom. Please click on the photo for additional information about this aircraft.

JetBlue Slide Show: CLICK HERE

LAN Airlines Route Map (The Americas). LAN Airlines already extensively interlines with American Airlines at the Miami hub.

Boeing completes first engine runs on the new 747-8 Intercontinental

Boeing (Chicago) successfully completed the first engine runs for the 747-8 Intercontinental yesterday (March 8). The milestone marks a key step in preparing Boeing’s largest-ever passenger jet for flight test.

Engine runs began at 11:57 a.m. (1157) PST and lasted approximately two hours and 45 minutes. During initial engine runs, the engines are started and operated at various power settings to ensure all systems perform as expected. The engine run test began with the Auxiliary Power System providing power to start the first of four GE GEnx-2B engines. The remaining three engines were started using the cross-bleed function.

Basic systems checks continued throughout the test. The engines were powered down and inspected and will be restarted following a technical review. The team completed a vibration check and monitored the shutdown logic to ensure it functioned as expected.

The GEnx-2B engine is optimized for the 747-8. The new engine contributes to a reduction in fuel burn, emissions and noise, which gives customers the lowest operating costs and best economics of any large passenger airplane while providing enhanced environmental performance.

Copyright Photo: Boeing.

 

Frontier Airlines to trim underperforming unprofitable flights

Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) is planning to cut capacity by trimming underperforming and unprofitable flights. The company is not expected to drop any cities and will proceed with the previously-announced new routes. Parent Republic Airways Holdings lost money in 2010.

Read the full story on Indystar.com: CLICK HERE

Frontier Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough. Please click on the photo for further information.

Copa Airlines promotes the STOP OVER program to visit Panama

Copa Airlines (Panama City) has aligned with the Panama Tourism Authority to promote the STOP OVER program for foreign in-transit visitors to also visit Panama. The airline has added special visitpanama.com sub-titles and logo to its Boeing 737-8V3 HP-1534CMP (msn 35125) pictured at Cancun.

Copyright Photo: Rurik Enriquez. Please click on the photo for the full details.

Hainan Airlines turns to Boeing for its long-range airliner needs

Hainan Airlines (Haikou) through its HNA Group parent has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Boeing for 38 aircraft according a report by Reuters..

Boeing said the deal included six 777s and 32 787 Dreamliners.

Air China orders five Boeing 747-8 Intercontinentals

Air China (Beijing) yesterday (March 7, 2011) signed an agreement for the purchase of five 747-8 Intercontinental jetliners. Air China is the first Chinese carrier to contract the passenger version of the new, fuel-efficient 747-8.

The agreement requires Chinese government approval, at which time it will be posted to the Boeing Orders & Deliveries website.

Air China, the flag carrier of the People’s Republic of China, will use the airplanes to expand its international routes.

The new 747-8 Intercontinental carries 467 passengers in a three-class configuration. The airplane features a new wing design and an upgraded flight deck. The airplane interior incorporates features from the 787 Dreamliner including a new curved, upswept architecture that will give passengers a greater sense of space and comfort, while adding more room for personal belongings. The architecture will be accentuated by lighting technology that provides smooth transitions for a more restful flight.

Air China’s International Routes in Asia:

American Airlines to offer $1 billion in notes

American Airlines (AMR Corporation) (Dallas/Fort Worth) plans to offer $1 billion in secured notes in a private offering to cover operating expenses in 2011. The corporation was one of the few U.S. airline groups to lose money in 2010 (along with Republic Airways Holdings). The notes will be secured with route authorities, landing and takeoff slots and airport rights.

Read the full press release: CLICK HERE

Boeing ferries this Dreamliner to San Antonio for modifications

Boeing (Chicago) has begun “change incorporation work” in San Antonio, Texas on this pictured Boeing 787-846 destined for customer JAL.

Copyright Photo: Nick Dean. Boeing tests its aircraft even in rainy weather. Please click on the photo for the entire story.

Tampa becomes a new port of entry for Cuban charter flights

Tampa International Airport (TPA) (Tampa) gets the green light to accept flights to and from Cuba.  Yesterday (March 7), TPA received its official approval from U.S. Customs and Border Protection to operate Cuba flights.

TPA becomes the next gateway to Cuba in the U.S. following Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK) and Miami(MIA).

Three licensed charter operators have formally indicated their intention to provide service to Cuba fromTampa which includes Air MarBrisa, Island Travel & Tours, Ltd., and ABC Charter.

The State of Florida, by U.S. Census statistics, has the largest Cuban-American population in the entire nation and the Tampa Bay service area is ranked second in the nation only to the Miami-Dade County service area.

 

Atlanta becomes a new port of entry for Cuban charter flights

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) (Atlanta) has received federal authorization to serve as a port of entry for flights to and from Cuba. Yesterday (March 7), the Airport received official word from U.S. Customs and Border Protection that its application to offer passenger air service to and from the island nation has been approved.

Hartsfield-Jackson becomes one of only a handful of U.S. gateways to Cuba. The previous ones are in Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK) and Miami (MIA).

 

Turkish Airlines orders three additional Airbus A330-200F freighters and 10 A321s

Turkish Airlines (Istanbul) has signed a firm order for the purchase of ten Airbus A321s and three A330-200F freighter aircraft to meet their growth plans in the passenger and cargo markets. The airline has a further 27 aircraft on order with Airbus from contracts placed in 2009 and 2010.

The new aircraft will join Turkish Airlines’ existing fleet of 75 Airbus aircraft, including four A310 freighters, 50 A320 Family aircraft, 11 A330s, one A330-200F and nine A340s.

Copyright Photo: Airbus A330-243F TC-JDO (msn 1004) taxies at Toulouse.

Video: From Just Planes:

Turkish Airlines: AG Slide Show

Iberia orders 8 Airbus A330-300s + 8 options

Iberia (Madrid) has now announced it has agreed to purchase 16 Airbus A330-200s – eight firm acquisitions and eight options.

The A330s will be delivered between the fall of 2012 and the spring of 2014 and is a new type for IB.

Iberia’s current long haul fleet consists of 18 A340-300 and 17 A340-600 aircraft.

 

Cathay Pacific to help celebrate the centenary of powered flight in Hong Kong with a special logo on a Boeing 747-400

Cathay Pacific Airways (Hong Kong) has announced that it will launch four major initiatives to tie in with Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department-led celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary of aviation development in Hong Kong.

The airline will be giving away 1,800 free tickets to the Hong Kong public, inviting them to submit their thoughts on how air transport connects their home city with the world, and will also launch a special fare promotion covering more than 20 destinations with fares as low as HK$990. In addition, the carrier will run an aviation knowledge contest for students in Hong Kong, offering a unique delivery flight trip as a reward, and a special 100th Anniversary logo will go onto one of Cathay Pacific’s passenger aircraft.

Cathay Pacific is launching the “Connecting Your World” competition as part of the Home Affairs Department’s ongoing “Get Into Discovery” campaign, giving away 1,800 tickets to the Hong Kong public. The competition will be organized on a district basis and entries can be submitted online starting in April. The competition is open to all Hong Kong residents aged 16 and above. Participants can submit their entries online in video, photo, graphic illustration or written form on the subject of how air transport connects Hong Kong with the world, from the basic necessities of life to job creation, business opportunities, and building a bridge between people, places and cultures.

One-hundred tickets will be given out to residents of each of Hong Kong’s 18 districts. Each district will select the best 50 entries with a panel of judges made up of District Council representatives, a creative professional and a Cathay Pacific representative. The Champion in each district will win two Economy Class return tickets to any long-haul destination served by Cathay Pacific. The other 49 winners from each district will each get two Economy Class return tickets to any of the airline’s regional destinations. In total, 900 winners will be selected from the 18 districts, each getting two return tickets. More details on how to enter the “Connecting Your World” competition will be announced soon.

The Cathay Pacific Aviation Knowledge Contest is being jointly organised with the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department and the Hong Kong Air Cadet Corps for all local secondary school students in Hong Kong. From March 5, the public will be engaged through a special Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/100cxcontest, featuring fun quizzes and games. In July, teams from local secondary schools will compete against each other in a live aviation quiz, with the winning team being flown to either the Airbus factory in France or the Boeing factory in the United States to join the delivery of a brand-new aircraft. Details of the contest will be made available on the Facebook page.

Finally, Cathay Pacific will show its commitment to honouring Hong Kong’s aviation anniversary by placing a specially designed commemorative logo by Civil Aviation Department on one of its Boeing 747-400 aircraft. The same aircraft will be used in one of the major events being organized by the Civil Aviation Department to mark the centenary – the Aircraft Pull on March 17 where more than 300 pullers will aim to break a Guinness World Record by manually pulling four aircraft simultaneously. This special Jumbo will fly on Cathay Pacific’s long haul routes and help carry the celebration to other parts of the world.

Copyright Photo: Cathay Pacific Airways. Mr Tony Tyler, Chief Executive of Cathay Pacific (right 2), Ms Florence Hui, Under Secretary for Home Affairs (middle) and Mr Norman Lo, Director-General Civil Aviation (left 2) reveal the Boeing 747-400 aircraft which carries the special 100th anniversary logo designed by the Civil Aviation Department.

Etihad Airways cancels four Boeing 787 Dreamliner orders

Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) has cancelled four Boeing 787 Dreamliner orders. The airline still has 31 copies on order.

Read the full story from domain-b.com: CLICK HERE

Etihad Airways Route Map:

Air Iceland’s DHC-8-106 TF-JMB runs off the runway at Nuuk

 


Flugfelag Islands’ (Air Iceland) (Reykjavik) Bombardier DHC-8-106 TF-JMB (msn 337) (correction) ran off the runway yesterday (March 4) while landing at Nuuk, Greenland after a flight from Keflavik, Iceland. The 31 passengers and three crew members were able to escape the aircraft unhurt.

View photos of the damaged aircraft from Karamba.com: CLICK HERE

 

Who will purchase Sun Country Airlines?

Sun Country Airlines (Minneapolis/St. Paul) has been adding routes and emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization on February 23, 2011. Trustee Doug Kelley, who will now control 56% of the stock of the new company, has stated he will probably accept a bid from an unnamed outside bidder to acquire the airline. Who is buying Sun Country?

Read the full story from the StarTribune.com: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Please click on the photo for background information and the full story.

Sun Country Route Map:

American Airlines donates DC-9-82 (MD-82) N290AA to Tulsa Tech

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth), the largest private employer in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is donating one of its DC-9-80 (MD-80) aircraft to Tulsa Tech. The plane, specifically DC-9-82 (MD-82) N290AA (msn 49302), which American is retiring from its MD-80 fleet, will provide students in the Aviation Maintenance Technology (AMT) program at Tulsa Tech with an opportunity to gain practical experience by working on a commercial aircraft.

Tulsa Tech offers a cutting-edge, FAA-approved curriculum to train certified technicians who can repair, maintain and inspect aircraft. The donated MD-80 will provide students with hands-on experience as they hone their newly acquired skills.

A special donation ceremony was held today (March 4) at American’s Tulsa Maintenance & Engineering (M&E) Base, which employs more than 6,500 people. American’s Tulsa base is the world’s largest private maintenance facility, providing heavy maintenance work for its MD-80, Boeing 737, Boeing 757 and Boeing 777 fleets. American’s Boeing 767 fleet is maintained at the airline’s maintenance facility in Fort Worth, Texas.

The donated DC-9-82 aircraft was delivered to American on August 27, 1985. During its life, the aircraft traveled more than 36 million miles, or roughly 75 trips to the moon and back. If the aircraft had been operated continuously, without stopping, it would have flown for 3,055 days.

This is the fourth DC-9-80 (MD-80) aircraft American has donated for educational purposes. The other donations include:

February 9, 2011 – Aircraft provided to the Museo del Nino (Children’s Museum) in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

May 20, 2010 – Aircraft provided to G.T. Baker Aviation School in Miami.

March 21, 2009 – Aircraft provided to the Miguel Such Vocational School in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The American Airlines Tulsa M&E Base has also donated other items to Tulsa Tech, including a Boeing 727 tail dock, wheels and brakes, CF-6 engines and an MD-80 nose cone. American maintenance employees have also volunteered their time to help instructors become experts on this new equipment.

American is replacing its DC-9-82/83 fleet with Next-Generation Boeing 737-800s. In July 2010, American announced it would order 34 additional 737-800s, to be delivered in 2011 and 2012. This order is in addition to the 84 new 737s that began entering American’s fleet in April 2009, when the company launched its replacement plan for its DC-9-82/83 fleet.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough. Sister-ship N73444 arrives at BWI.

Alaska Airlines adds summer service from Portland to Billings and Missoula, Montana

Alaska Airlines (Seattle/Tacoma) has announced it is adding summer seasonal service between Portland, OR, and Billings, MT, and between Portland and Missoula, MT, starting on June 5, 2011. The new flights are in addition to the carrier’s two daily flights to Billings and three daily flights to Missoula from Seattle/Tcaoma. The flights will be operated for Alaska by Horizon Air using 76-seat Bombardier DHC-8-402s (Q400s).

Copyright Photo: Stefan Heymanns. The first Horizon Air aircraft to wear the Alaska Airlines (with Alaska Horizon titles) livery is the pictured DHC-8-402 (Q400) N441QX (msn 4348). The new turboprop was delivered on February 3 and entered revenue service on February 19.

Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air Route Map from the SEA Hub:

Virgin Blue Airlines to drop the “Blue” in the name as it prepares to launch a new brand

Virgin Blue Airlines (Brisbane) has decided to drop the “Blue” in its name as it prepares to launch a new brand this year according to this article by The Guardian.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Virgin Blue Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: John Adlard. Please click on the photo for background information on why the term was originally picked.

TAP Portugal posts a $86 million net profit in 2010

TAP Portugal (Lisbon) posted a $86 million net profit for 2010 according to the Associated Press.

In addition, the company will add Miami and the Lisbon-Miami route starting on June 6.

TAP Portugal Route Map: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Pepscl. Please click on photo for further details.

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