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Red Status: Update on the Bárðarbunga volcano in Iceland

Iceland Volcano Status

From the Icelandic Met Office:

Two M5 earthquakes took place in Bárðarbunga caldera during the night:

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake occurred at 5 km depth just after midnight, at 00:09. Its origin was at the northern rim of the caldera. Another earthquake, magnitude about 5, occurred at 05:33 and originated at the southern rim. These are the strongest events measured since the onset of the seismic crisis at Bárðarbunga and the strongest since 1996 (the Gjálp eruption). The magnitude is already confirmed by the European EMSC network and the GEOFON network of GFZ Potsdam in Germany.

Probably, earthquakes near the Bárðarbunga caldera are a consequence of adjustment to changes in pressure because of the flow of magma from under the caldera into the dyke which stretches to Dyngjujökull, more than 25 km away.

Great seismic activity is also near the intrusive dyke in Dyngjujökull. The activity is concentrated at the section which advanced northwards yesterday morning. Analysis shows that the origin of the quakes, there, has migrated a little towards north. Their depth is mainly in the range of 8-13 km. The largest earthquake in the Dyngjujökull area was 3.5 at 04:39.

No signs of tremor, indicative of eruption, were detected during the night.

Map: Icelandic Met Office.

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Ryanair launches daily Dublin-Brussels flights, wants to acquire Cyprus Airways

Ryanair (Dublin) on August 21 launched new daily Dublin-Brussels (Zaventem) service (three roundtrips daily) as part of an extended Dublin winter 2014 schedule, with nine new routes and increased flights on 21 existing routes to/from Dublin Airport. This new Brussels Zaventem route complements Ryanair’s existing Dublin-Charleroi (near Brussels) route.

The nine new routes from Dublin are to Basel, Brussels (Zaventem), Bucharest, Cologne, Glasgow, Lisbon, Marrakesh, Nice and Prague.

In other news, Ryanair will soon be in talks with the government of Cyprus about a possible takeover of loss-making Cyprus Airways (Larnaca) according to this report by Reuters. Ryanair believes it can turn around the failing carrier. Nearly 20 companies have submitted non-binding expressions of interest about Cyprus Airways.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8AS EI-DHN (msn 33577) touches down at EuroAirport near Basel.

Ryanair: AG Slide Show

VivaAerobus to add two new routes to Houston

VivaAerobus (Monterrey) has announced it will add two new routes to Houston (Bush Intercontinental) from Cancun (starting on December 3) and Guadalajara (starting on November 20) per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Paul Doyle/AirlinersGallery.com. Ex-Livingston Airbus A320-232 EI-ERH (msn 2157) arrives in Dublin before the delivery to the Mexican carrier.

VivaAerobus: AG Slide Show

Route Map:

VivaAerobus 8.2014 Route Map

AeroMexico restores the Monterrey-Houston route on November 3

AeroMexico (Mexico City) is resuming two routes from Monterrey on November 3; to both Torreon and Houston. The Monterrey-Houston route was last operated in January 2011 per Airline Route.

In other news, AeroMexico previously announced a fourth weekly flight between Merida and Miami effective on November 8. This new service will operate on Saturdays and, as the current three frequencies, will be operated with a 99-seat Embraer 190.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. AeroMexico Connect‘s (Aerolitoral) Embraer ERJ 190-100LR XA-ACJ (msn 19000531) arrives in Los Angeles.

AeroMexico: AG Slide Show

AeroMexico Connect: AG Slide Show

United Airlines to drop the Newark-Edmonton route on October 25

United Airlines (Chicago) will end the Newark-Edmonton route on October 25. The Airbus A320 nonstop route was inaugurated on May 13, 2013.

The route was not meeting the airline’s expectations.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 N423UA (msn 504) arrives in Las Vegas.

United Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

Envoy Air’s pilots fail to reach an agreement with the American Airlines Group

Envoy Air’s (American Eagle) (Dallas/Fort Worth) pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), failed to reach a new agreement with the American Airlines Group (Dallas/Fort Worth) for a new contract. The group had approached the union about reopening discussions on a new contract. Discussions broke down on August 21. According to the union in a message to its members by Bill Sprague, “The effort began with informal discussions to identify and attempt to resolve the areas of the failed TA that were unacceptable to our group. We focused on finding solutions to guarantee that the company would re-fleet our carrier while respecting the value we provide as professionals. Identifying the core issues was easy. Finding mutually acceptable solutions was extremely difficult. The MEC met three times and spent countless hours on conference calls to eventually arrive at a proposal that satisfied those requirements.

On Wednesday, company executives rejected that proposal. Their stated intent is to continue seeking lower feed costs at other Fee for Departure carriers, as they did with Compass.”

The union chairman continued, “The state of our current daily operation shows an inability to attract a sufficient number of recruits, but it also shows that many Envoy pilots are moving onwards and upwards in their aviation careers. In their efforts to operate an airline of our size while lacking the necessary tools to safely do so, the company has found many ways to violate the current collective bargaining agreement. The MEC and leadership are dedicated to protecting and defending the contract. Our contract remains in place. We will enforce it and continue to pursue every opportunity to improve it.

The pilots of Envoy have made it clear: now is time to make this airline an attractive place to work and that responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of upper management. This action is essential to ensure the long-term success of our company.”

Envoy Air currently operates more than the 220 aircraft on about 1,300 daily flights to more than 170 destinations in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. The company’s more than 14,000 employees provide regional flight service to American Airlines under the American Eagle brand and livery as well as ground handling services for approximately 15 airlines, including American.

Envoy Air is headquartered in North Texas with hubs in New York, Chicago, Miami, Dallas/Fort Worth and Los Angeles. The company was founded in 1998 as American Eagle Airlines, Inc. following the merger of several smaller regional carriers to create one the largest regional airlines in the world. On April 15, 2014 the company changed its name to Envoy Air to distinguish the company for the American Eagle brand, under which several carriers operate regional flight service for American.

American Airlines Group is likely to continue to assign new aircraft to other American Eagle carriers as Envoy Air reduces in size unless the two parties resolve their differences.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Embraer ERJ 145LR (EMB-145LR) N668HH (msn 145785) prepares to touch down at Baltimore/Washington (BWI).

American Eagle-Envoy: AG Slide Show

Urumqi Air to launch operations now on August 29 in northwest China

Google Maps - Urumqi Air

Urumqi Air (Urumqi, Xinjiang) is a new airline in China. The new airline is a joint venture between the HNA Group and the state-owned Urumqi Urban Construction Investment Company Limited.

Urumqi Air will be based at Ürümqi Diwopu International Airport, in the capital of Xinjiang in the remote northwest part of China (please see map above).

Urumqi Air took delivery of Boeing 737-84P B-2157 (msn 32600) from Hainan Airlines on August 20 which will provide the technical support and three leased Boeing 737 aircraft for the new carrier. The parent HNA Group will control 70 percent of the stock. Operations are due to start now on August 29, delayed from August 15.

Read the full report from Travel Daily Asia: CLICK HERE

The logo “integrates the three-color Adlai silk and flying dove, which highlights the geographical reputation of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, symbolizing peace and friendship” according to wcarn.com.

Map: Google Maps.

Saurya Airlines to launch operations in Nepal with Bombardier CRJ200s

Saurya Airlines logo

Saurya Airlines (Kathmandu) is a new airline in Nepal that has taken delivery of its first aircraft (Bombardier CRJ200 9N-ALE, msn 7493 according to ch-aviation). The company issued this statement

Saurya Airlines Pvt. Ltd. is a newly established company with a primary objective of engaging in the business of commercial air transportation operation in Nepal. Saurya Airlines is established by young, efficient, enterprising and experienced professionals with proven track record in business, aviation, and travel & tourism. Saurya Airlines will operate schedule passenger flights and chartered flights.

The company intends to fly the following routes: Kathmandu-Dhangadi-Kathmandu, Kathmandu-Biratnagar-Kathmandu, Kathmandu-Nepalgunj-Kathmandu, Kathmandu-Bhairahawa-Kathmandu and Kathmandu-Bhadrapur-Kathmandu

 

Germania to create a Swiss subsidiary to fly for Hotelplan

Germania Fluggesellschaft (Berlin) will create a new Swiss subsidiary to be based in Zurich. Operations will commence in March 2015 with one Airbus A319 for tour operator Hotelplan according to Aero.de.  The new unnamed subsidiary is currently going through the AOC process as a Swiss airline.

Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-112 D-ASTZ (msn 3019) departs from the lunar landscape of Tenerife Sur in the the Canary Islands.

Germania: AG Slide Show

Airberlin returns to the black, posts a 2Q net profit of $11.4 million, will work closer with Alitalia

Airberlin (airberlin.com) (Berlin) reported a net profit of €8.6 million ($11.4 million) for the second quarter, reversing a net loss of €38 million ($50.4 million) for the same quarter a year ago.

The company issued this full report:

In a difficult market environment, Airberlin achieved a slightly improved operating result (EBIT) in the second quarter of the year with turnover up by 2,9% to 1,146.4 million euros. Compared to the same quarter of the previous year, Airberlin was able to improve EBIT (Earnings before Interest and Tax) to -6.9 million euros from -8.1 million euros in the previous year. Taking into account other operating income of 4.8 million euros (previous year 39.2 million euros) the annual comparison on operating level shows an improvement of more than 35 million euros. Net profit was with 8.6 million euros, an increase of 46.6 million euros on the previous year (-38.0 million euros).

In particular, Airberlin was able to increase the yield by 3.0% to 120.52 euros (previous year 116.97 euros). Offering increased by 2.9% flights and 3.5% available seat kilometers (ASK). In line with market conditions, load factor was with 82.4%, 1.3% percentage points below that of the same quarter the previous year. However, higher yield revenue per available seat kilometer (RASK) was nearly stable with 7.16 cents (previous year 7.20 cents).

The cost reduction initiatives launched under Turbine last year are on track and are also showing effects in the second quarter. Year on year, airberlin managed to lower the costs per available seat kilometre excluding fuel (CASK) by 2.8% to 5.50 cents (previous year 5.66 cents). Including fuel, CASK fell by 3.7% to 7.24 cents (previous year 7.51 cents). The cost reduction was achieved despite a rise of 8.3% in expenditure for aviation tax, as well as an increase in personnel cost of 13.9% driven by wage increases and one-off costs.

A high level of liquidity

Following a successful recapitalization program, Airberlin has liquid assets in the amount of 600 million euros cash on hand and nearly 300 million undrawn cash facilities available. Compared to year-end 2013, available cash increased by 378 million euros. Following the injection of the subordinated perpetual convertible bonds equity, increased by nearly 130 million euros compared to the end of the first quarter 2014 and stood at -270 million euros at the end of the second quarter. As a reporting date under IFRS, the equity capital has no effect on the financial operation of the company.

Airberlin’s partnerships with Etihad Airways and its network partners and oneworld® have developed very well in the second quarter. The number of passengers on the shared route network with Etihad Airways continued to grow at 7% in the first half year, with approximately 270,000 guests in absolute numbers. Additional routes from Stuttgart, Berlin and Vienna will contribute to future growth. Also the number of passengers on codeshares within the oneworld alliance rose by 7% in the first half year.

First elements of restructuring program announced

When presenting the results for Q2 2014, Airberlin’s CEO Wolfgang Prock-Schauer said: “We were able to improve the net result and our operating result is looking better than it did a year ago, but this is not sufficient. We are determined to restructure Airberlin to ensure the airline moves back to a sustainable profitability within three years. Over the last few months we have been intensively working on the restructuring program. After diligently weighing and validating all of our options in the past months, we decided that airberlin will continue to serve the three core segments, namely Europe, touristic and long haul. We substantially change the way we do business and the way we serve our market. We are able to share some first elements today.”

First elements of the program include:

Focused network:

Airberlin will focus on the largest travel markets in the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) as well as Palma de Mallorca and connect these high volume routes with high frequencies in point-to-point traffic. The new network design will lead to a more stable operation throughout the year, reducing the effects of traditional high seasonality. The more focussed network design could equate to a capacity reduction in the region of 10% and will lead to a significantly more efficient operation.

Closer cooperation: closer cooperation with Etihad Airways and its network partners: Airberlin and Etihad Airways are in a process of exploiting synergy potentials in all areas in a win-win-situation for both airlines and other network partners. As a next important step Airberlin is in a process of putting together a framework for a close bilateral cooperation with Alitalia, subject to regulatory approvals.
Narrow body fleet harmonization: In order to achieve a more efficient operation airberlin will strive for narrow body jet fleet harmonization in its entire network.

Streamlining operating platforms: Airberlin is in a process of streamlining and restructuring the operational platforms it uses (AOCs). In line with network adjustments, it intends to reduce its fleet by approximately 10 aircraft. Combined with the new network approach this will enable us to eliminate underperforming elements of our business.

Close down of crew stations: Airberlin has decided and agreed after negotiations to close down five of its smaller crew bases, which will result in higher efficiency and productivity of crew resources. This measure affects the work location of pilots. This does not mean that these airports are not served by Airberlin anymore.

Enhanced commercial capabilities: Airberlin will drive commercial effectiveness with state-of-the-art commercial capabilities by optimizing our overall market approach. This includes a dedicated distribution approach in the segments we serve including our tour operator business.

Copyright Photo: Bjoern Schmitt/AirlinersGallery.com. Airberlin and the official marketing organization for the United States of America, Brand USA, are strengthening their collaboration and jointly unveiled this Airbus A320-214 registered as D-ABNB (man 5246) with this special USA livery at Dusseldorf Airport.

For Airberlin, the USA is a strategically important core market. Airberlin flies nonstop from Germany to five destinations in the USA and this summer has also increased the frequency of five different routes. There is now a daily flight from Berlin (Tegel) to Chicago (O’Hare) and the connection between the German capital and New York (JFK) has been topped up by three flights to make ten weekly connections. From Dusseldorf, Airberlin also offers ten flights a week to the Big Apple, as it did last summer. This summer there are also flights four times a week from Berlin and daily from Dusseldorf to Miami, as well as several times a week from the North Rhine Westphalian capital to Fort Myers and Los Angeles. Recently there were celebrations to mark 20 years of the connection (previously by LTU) between Dusseldorf and Fort Myers: Airberlin is the only airline to serve this destination nonstop from Europe. There are feeder flights to Berlin and Dusseldorf from numerous German and European cities. In the USA, Airberlin also offers its flight guests around 60 additional destinations through the codeshare agreement with oneworld® partner American Airlines.

Airberlin: AG Slide Show

 

Azul to introduce the new Airbus A330 on domestic routes

Azul A330-200 PR-AIV (14-Brazilian flag)(Nose)(Azul)(LR)

Azul Linhas Aereas Brasileiras (Campinas-Viracopos) as previously reported, has filed with the National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) for its approval for flights to Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood (FLL) and Orlando (MCO). If approved, FLL service will start on December 1 and MCO service on December 15 with its new Airbus A330-200s.

In the meantime, the carrier will start operating the new type on domestic routes from Campinas to Brasilia, Manaus, Recife and Rio de Janeiro (Galeao), also subject to approval by ANAC. The new type will be operated on domestic routes from September 1 through November 30.

Copyright Photo: Azul. Airbus A330-243 PR-AIV (msn 532) is painted in the special Brazilian flag motif and was delivered on August 20, 2014 from AerCap. The wide body airliner has previously been operated by MEA (F-OMEC), Gulf Air (A9C-KI) and Turkish Airlines (TC-JNY).

Azul: AG Slide Show

PAL Airlines stops flying mining charters

PAL Airlines (Santiago) has ceased flying mining charters. In early August, sources inside the airline said they will no longer fly domestic charters, becoming a ground services provider and possibly, operating the southern hemisphere charters to tropical destinations, blaming the current economic situation in Chile, the open skies policy and the stop in mining investments.

This happened after losing its AOC for the second time in the year.

A mining charter flight was operated on August 4. This is likely the last flight.

The airline has shut down its website.

The Chilean airline started operations in 2003 as Principal Airlines-Aerolinea Principal de Chile.

Thanks to Alvaro Romero, reporting from Chile.

Copyright Photo: Alvaro Romero/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-2K9 CC-ACD 9msn 23404) is pictured in the past at the Santiago base.

PAL Airlines: AG Slide Show

QANTAS to boost services between Melbourne and Los Angeles

QANTAS Airways (Sydney) will boost services between Melbourne and Los Angeles, and between Sydney and Santiago, from early 2015, and introduce a new schedule providing the flexibility of morning, midday and evening departures between Australia and the US.

From January 21, 2015, QANTAS will increase its Melbourne to Los Angeles service from a daily service to ten per week and from February 20 will increase its Sydney to Santiago service from three to four per week.

The new services are the result of some schedule adjustments across the Pacific allowing for increased Boeing 747-400 flying time, one of the key elements of the QANTAS Transformation Program announced earlier this year.

“As part of our strategy to build a stronger QANTAS, we’ve introduced a new approach to aircraft utilization so we can take advantage of opportunities in the market. It means adjusting our schedules across the network to ensure our fleet spend less time on the ground and more time in the air, as we have done with our new Airbus A380 Dallas/Fort Worth service starting next month,” added Mr Hickey.

“This new schedule also builds on 25 supplementary services to the US and South America over the Christmas holiday period. The new schedule also enhances connections for our customers right across the US,” added Mr Hickey.

Customers connecting through to destinations across central and eastern parts of the United States will now have three options from Sydney – a morning and evening service to Los Angeles, and afternoon service to Dallas/Fort Worth.

“We recently announced new codeshare services with our partner LAN from Santiago to six destinations across South America and will now operate A380 services to both Dallas/Fort Worth and Los Angeles, connecting with codeshare partner American Airlines to more than 100 destinations across North America.

Adjustments will be made to the timing of some of our flights across the Pacific in order to facilitate the improved schedule options for our customers.

Fleet and network adjustments are earmarked to save up to $600 million over three years for the QANTAS Group from the overall $2 billion cost reduction target that is at the centre of the airline’s turnaround plans. Increased aircraft utilisation and accelerated retirement of older, non-reconfigured Boeing 747s form part of this.

These changes come in a year of the 60th anniversary of QANTAS services to the US. In 1954, QANTAS operated a Lockheed Super Constellation from Sydney to San Francisco – its first trans-Pacific route to North America.

Summary of Schedule and Network Changes:

QANTAS Summary of Changes

Copyright Photo: Richard Vandervord/AirlinersGallery.com. The Boeing 747-400 is gradually leaving the QANTAS passenger fleet. Boeing 747-438 VH-OJS (man 25564) in the special Socceroos color scheme arrives in London (Heathrow).

QANTAS Airways: AG Slide Show

Great Boeing 737 cockpit videos from the 737Channel

As the news is light during the “dog days” of the late summer in the Northern Hemisphere, we thought you would appreciate a diversion. We are always looking for great airline oriented videos (please send us your recommendations). Here is a new one. The 737Channel brings aviation enthusiasts an insight to the airline world from a pilot’s perspective. You can now see what pilots see, as HD footage is captured in real life operations. The above Episode 2 video is a nighttime approach. Below are a few more of the episodes.

Episode 1 video above.  De-icing as seen from the flight deck of a Boeing 737-800.

Episode 3 video above.

Episode 4 video above. Boeing 737-800 ILS CAT II approach to minimums with Autoland.

Episode 5 video above. Flying a Boeing 737-800 from a Caribbean airport to a Canadian snowstorm.

Episode 7 video above. A Boeing 737-800 landing in Jamaica.

Episode 8 video above. Flying a Boeing 737-800 across North America and the Caribbean.

Cathay Pacific is coming to Boston starting on May 3, 2015

Cathay Pacific Airways (Hong Kong) has announced at a joint press conference at the Massachusetts State House with Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation, Richard Davey, President and CEO of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Paul Guzzi, and Thomas P. Glynn, CEO, Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport), that it will commence a new four-times-weekly nonstop service from Boston Logan International Airport to Hong Kong on May 3, 2015, subject to government approval.

The new service will link New England and Hong Kong directly for the first time, and marks Cathay Pacific’s sixth gateway in the United States, and eighth in North America. The airline, which was recently named “World’s Best Airline” in the 2014 annual Skytrax World Airline Awards™, currently serves Chicago, Los Angeles, New York (JFK), Newark, San Francisco, Toronto and Vancouver. 2014 saw a huge increase in capacity, with the launch of a daily Newark service, the addition of a fourth daily flight from Los Angeles, and three additional flights per week from Chicago.

The total origin-destination market between Boston and Hong Kong, plus the 44 Asian cities accessed via Cathay Pacific / Dragonair’s Hong Kong hub, represented over 331,000 passengers and $332 million revenue annually in 2013. Boston is the largest U.S. – Hong Kong market without nonstop service. More than 53,000 passengers flew between Logan and Hong Kong in 2013.

The Boston service will be operated by Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft featuring Cathay Pacific’s renowned cabin products, including the newly-refreshed First Class; awarding-winning Business Class; the newest cabin class, Premium Economy; and the new long-haul Economy Class. Together with the exceptional service provided by Cathay Pacific’s award-winning cabin crew and a state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment system in all classes, passengers will be provided with the best possible travel experience when they fly between Boston and Hong Kong.

The flight schedule for Cathay Pacific’s Boston (BOS) service, effective May 3, 2015 will operate four days a week (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays).

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-367 ER B-KPI (msn 36833) arrives in New York (JFK).

Cathay Pacific: AG Slide Show

Airlines for America projects 2 percent more passengers to fly during Labor Day travel period, net profits up for nine U.S. airlines for the first half of 2014

Airlines for America logo

Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, has delivered its Labor Day air travel forecast and first half 2014 results for U.S. passenger airlines, which reported improving profitability, enabling carriers to invest in their workforce, reduce debt and enhance the customer experience for airline passengers.

“Airlines are key drivers of jobs and economic growth, and improving finances have further accelerated their investments in people, products and technology to enhance the travel experience for customers”

A4A projects a 2 percent year-over-year increase in the number of passengers flying on U.S. airlines during the seven-day Labor Day travel period. From Wednesday August 27 through Tuesday, September 2, A4A expects 14 million air travelers will take to the skies, up from an estimated 13.8 million in 2013, with the busiest day of the period occurring on Friday, Aug. 29. Airlines are adding seats to the marketplace to accommodate the expected increase in demand.

First Half 2014 Financial Performance

Nine U.S. passenger airlines – Alaska, Allegiant, American, Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit and United – collectively reported a net profit of approximately $3.8 billion, up from $1.6 billion during the same period last year. This translated to a net margin of 5 percent, or 5 cents on every dollar of revenue, an improvement from the 2.1 percent margin reported in the first half of 2013.

The year-over-year improvement was driven by a 6 percent increase in operating revenues, which outpaced the 2.2 percent increase in operating expenses, including rising wages and benefits, airport landing fees, terminal rents and aircraft ownership costs. Despite remaining their largest and most volatile cost, fuel costs dipped 2.4 percent. Airlines also saw modest relief in maintenance expenses and aircraft rents.

“Airlines are key drivers of jobs and economic growth, and improving finances have further accelerated their investments in people, products and technology to enhance the travel experience for customers,” said John Heimlich, A4A Vice President and Chief Economist. “With U.S. personal incomes continuing to outpace airfares, air travel is far more accessible to customers than it was in the past.”

While airfare remains affordable, airlines and their customers continue to pay more than their fair share in federally imposed taxes. From 2000 to 2013, adjusted for inflation, base fares dropped 8 percent while taxes rose 49 percent. Four decades ago, taxes and fees accounted for less than one-tenth of the price of an airline ticket. Today, the amount has skyrocketed to 21 percent of the price or $62 on a typical $300 roundtrip domestic ticket. That amount further increased in July to $63 when the passenger tax more than doubled to $5.60 on a one-way trip. It could go even higher if other taxes proposed by the White House become law.

In the first half of 2014, these nine airlines invested $7 billion – more than $1 billion per month – to benefit customers. New and refurbished aircraft are being delivered at a rate of nearly one per day, including 149 received in the first six months and 168 additional units slated for delivery in the remainder of the year. Additional investments include route expansion, development of mobile technology, enhanced airport check-in areas, lounges and gates. Additionally, airlines were able to further reduce gross debt by $1.8 billion.

First Half 2014 Operational Performance

U.S. airlines overcame numerous extreme weather events, such as the polar vortex and severe thunderstorms, to post a completion factor of 96.9 percent and an on-time arrival rate of 74.2 percent. According to the Department of Transportation, 99.6 percent of passengers had their bags properly handled and complaints remained low at 1.49 per 100,000 passengers.

“Customers continue to benefit from the proactive approach airlines are taking to cope with extreme weather and minimize travel disruptions,” said Heimlich. “Despite some of the worst winter weather conditions in recent memory, airlines continued to meet the needs of their customers, while connecting communities and economies and creating jobs.”

Airlines of America 27,000 Flts a Day banner

United Airlines announces new and improved in-flight food and beverage service for first class and business domestic customers

United Airlines (Chicago) has issued this statement:

United Airlines today unveiled new, improved lunch, dinner and beverage choices for domestic first-class customers, offering travelers chef-inspired meals and premium beverages that elevate their in-flight experience.

Among the changes:

New, premium salads beginning this month for customers flying United First and United Business within North America;

New, premium sandwiches and wraps, beginning Sept. 1, for United First and United Business customers within North America;

Addition of Prosecco sparkling wine in premium cabins beginning this fall;

Introduction of premium-cabin meals to flights of shorter duration, beginning in 2015; and

Fresh meal options for premium-cabin customers on United Express flights, beginning in 2015.

Premium-Cabin Refresh

This month, United began offering customers in premium cabins on North America flights four new salad entrée choices – a Southwestern salad, an Asian-style noodle salad, a seasonal greens with roast beef and blue cheese salad and a Strawberry Fields salad – replacing the previous chicken and shrimp salad options.

In September, premium-cabin customers on flights within North America will enjoy new chilled sandwiches and wraps – Italian prosciutto on tomato focaccia, a Thai-style chicken wrap, Cobb salad wrap and caprese on Asiago baguette – as well as new warmed options – turkey and Swiss on cranberry baguette, ham and Swiss on pretzel baguette, chicken and mozzarella on tomato focaccia and roast beef and cheddar on Asiago baguette.

Designed by United’s team of chefs, the new salads and sandwiches will be made fresh daily and paired with a gluten-free soup, along with United’s signature service elements, including warmed nuts, premium snacks and warmed cookies.

United Asiago Baquette (United)(LR)

Copyright Photo: United Airlines. The caprese on asiago baguette is one of the new sandwiches United Airlines will introduce in September 2014 in premium cabins on North America flights.

On trans-continental flights and on longer mid-continental dinner flights, the airline will continue to offer customers a choice between a pasta dish and a chicken or beef option.

United basil soup (United)(LR)

Copyright Photo: United Airlines. Tomato basil gluten-free soup.

“These changes mark the beginning of an extensive overhaul of our North America and international food service, offering travelers a level of service above that offered by our peers,” said Lynda Coffman, United’s vice president of food services. “Our new selections offer customers more of what they tell us they want when they travel – variety, bold flavor combinations and higher quality.”

Additional Food and Beverage Changes

United wines (United)(LR)

Copyright Photo: United Airlines.

Beginning this fall, United will add Prosecco sparkling wine to its premium-cabin beverages on mainline North America flights.

By mid-2015, United will further enhance its in-flight dining by:

Launching completely redesigned menu concepts and expanding premium-cabin meals within North America to flights that are more than two hours and 20 minutes, or 800 miles;

Upgrading premium-cabin meal service on domestic and international United Express flights, replacing snack boxes with freshly prepared food; and

Significantly enhancing United Economy meals and beverages on long-haul international flights.

United offers in-flight meals and snacks depending on flight duration, departure time, origin and destination. Specific breakfast, lunch and dinner parameters are available at united.com.

Customer Investments

The airline’s food and beverage enhancements are United’s latest investment in its customers’ onboard experience. The company also offers:

Premium-cabin, flat-bed seats on every long-haul international flight to and from the continental United States – the only U.S. airline to do so;

Wi-Fi on more than 290 aircraft, including the airline’s entire Airbus and Boeing 747 fleets;

Personal device entertainment on dozens of aircraft; and

Live television on more than 200 aircraft, the world’s largest fleet of aircraft with live television.

Top Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 757-222 N546UA (msn 25367) completes its final approach to the runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

United Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

AirAsia X’s second quarter net loss widens to $40.6 million

AirAsia X (AirAsia.com) (Kuala Lumpur) reported a second quarter net loss of MYR 128.9 million ($40.6 million), an increase from the MYR 32.3 million net loss ($10.1 million) for the same period a year ago.

The long-haul low-cost carrier issued this full report through its parent:

AirAsia X Berhad, the long-haul low-cost airline affiliate of the AirAsia Group reported its financial results for the Second Quarter (“2Q14”) and the First Half-Year ended June 30, 2014.

On the back of its strategy of capacity and network expansion to strengthen its market leadership, the Company recorded revenue of RM 671.6 million for 2Q14, a year-on-year growth of 36.7%, and cumulative revenue of RM 1.42 billion in 1H14, a 38.5% y-o-y growth compared to the previous corresponding period.

This increase was underpinned by the significant growth in Available-Seat-Kilometre (“ASK”) capacity that was introduced in the second-half of 2013, recording a y-o-y growth of 47% to 6.26 billion in 2Q14 and a y-o-y growth of 53% to 12.48 billion in 1H14. Passenger traffic volume in Revenue-Passenger-Kilometer (“RPK”) grew by 44% in 2Q14 to 5.04 billion and by 53.3% to 10.38 billion in 1H14, resulting in a passenger load factor of 80.4% in 2Q14 and 83.1% in 1H14. Consistently delivering load factor performance above 80% demonstrates the ability to keep stimulating new travel and tourism demand to fill up the new capacity added. This solidifies AAX’s position as the market leader in passengers carried to its core markets in Australia and North Asia, as well as its position as the global market leader in the long-haul LCC space.

The capacity expansion into new cities in its core markets, such as Nagoya, Xian, and Chongqing, as well as additional frequencies to cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, Taipei, Seoul, and Tokyo have increased its Fly-Thru connectivity and attracted new passenger traffic flow that now uses KLIA2 as a regional aviation hub. Notably, the Company has approximately tripled its market share of passengers travelling between North Asia and Australia on a one-stop service, generating a significant new customer base this year compared to the previous year.
The Company continues to operate a higher number of flights for charters and wet-leases, with total revenues from this segment growing from RM33.0 million in 1H13 to RM148.6 million in 1H14. These flights are not captured in the ASK and RPK tabulations as they are unscheduled flights. Ancillary revenue grew by 48.2% y-o-y to RM290.8 million in 1H14, compared to RM196.3 million in the previous period, resulting in an ancillary revenue per passenger of RM138.50 from the 2.1 million passengers carried. Cargo segment contributed RM59.3 million for 1H14, and increase of 43.8% y-o-y from the previous corresponding period. Two A330-300 aircraft were leased to Thai AirAsia X (“TAAX”), its affiliate, generating RM25.3 million in lease income revenue in 1H14. TAAX commenced daily flights to Seoul since June 17, 2014 and will operate flights to Tokyo-Narita and Osaka from its hub in Bangkok from September 2014.

The resultant unit-revenue yield, as measured by Revenue-per-Available-Seat-Kilometre (“RASK”) was 10.79 sen in 2Q14, a -7% y-o-y decline, and 11.44 sen in 1H14, a -10% y-o-y decline. The rate of decline in RASK has been steadily improving from -15.1% in 4Q13 and -12.4% in 1Q14. Based on forward sales to-date and barring any unforeseen macro-factors, the Company expects RASK to resume positive growth in the second-half of this year, as the capacity expansion last year matures and the rate of capacity growth progressively slows down. Although the RASK yields have declined this year from 2013, they remain higher than the RASK yields recorded in 2010, 2011, and 2012, signalling overall route network portfolio maturity. The Company continues to target a positive growth in RASK for the full year of 2014 from 2013.

Operating expenses increased 61.5% y-o-y from RM986.3 million to RM1,593.1 million in 1H14. Although unit-cost as measured in Cost-per-Available-Seat-Kilometre (“CASK”) increased 4.6% y-o-y to 12.69 sen, CASK-excluding fuel declined -2.6% y-o-y to 6.35 sen. CASK in US cents declined -1.4% to 3.89 cents, due to the effect of the US dollar-Malaysian Ringgit currency movement, as a majority of costs, especially fuel, aircraft and engineering expenses, are denominated in US dollars. CASK excluding fuel in US cents dropped -8.5% to 1.94 cents. Average fuel price increased from US$127/barrel in 2Q13 to US$130/barrel in 2Q14. Controllable items such as staff costs, sales and marketing expenses, fell -13% y-o-y from cost controls and productivity improvements achieved from having larger operating scale.
Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation, Amortisation and Rental (“EBITDAR”) dropped from RM183.5 million to RM53.5 million, while Earnings Before Interest and Tax (“EBIT”) dropped from RM46.0 million to –RM168.5 million. AAX recorded a Loss After Tax (“LAT”) of –RM140.1 million for 1H14 compared to a Profit After Tax of RM17.9 million in the first-half of 2013.

The Company continues to maintain positive operating cash flow in 2Q14 of +RM81.2 million, and +RM212.8 million for 1H14. Net Cash Flow was also positive at +RM12.8 million in 2Q14, as there were no capital expenditure incurred from financing aircraft on-balance sheet (the additional aircraft was on operating lease), no material new pre-delivery-payment financing for future aircraft, and no further capital investments in Associates. The Company expects to maintain positive operating cashflow and positive net cash flow for the full year, on the back on an expected stronger performance in the second-half of 2014.

Azran Osman-Rani, CEO of AirAsia X said, “Although our capacity expansion has put short-term pressure on earnings performance, the long-term strategic advantages are very compelling. We now have our strongest route network, with multiple cities in each of our markets, and strong frequencies that lead to convenient transfer connections. As we now have achieved overall market leadership, we have stablised our network, with quarter-on-quarter ASK growth slowing down to single-digit rates. Coupled with our position as the lowest unit-cost airline operator and leveraging on the strength of the AirAsia global brand and customer base, we have an unrivalled strong position for the future.”

“As we approach the end of the year after twelve months since we added a lot of new capacity in 4Q13, we expect RASK yields to return to positive growth and reach the levels recorded before the expansion. This in turn will return us back to profitability, particularly as global fuel prices are expected to soften, while Asian currencies are expected to stabilise. We are already seeing yields catch up in Taipei, the first route to have a doubling of capacity to twice-weekly services that commenced in July 2013.”

“Thai AirAsia X has been off on a great start, achieving a record 88% average passenger load factor in its first 3 months of operations on its inaugural Bangkok-Seoul route. The investments in international associates gives us more room for further growth and strengthens our market position in each of our destinations as customers have multiple direct flight options to choose from.”

“The 50 next-generation A330-900neo aircraft ordered will give us a huge lead over other players in this space, and ensure that we can fully realize our growth potential from the two new hubs that we have invested in, as well as other future hubs once the opportunity materialises”, concluded Azran.

Copyright Photo: Guillaume Besnard/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-343 F-WWYY (msn 1131) became 9M-XXG on delivery.

AirAsia X: AG Slide Show

AirAsia and AirAsia X routes from Kuala Lumpur:

AirAsia-AirAsia X Kuala Lumpur 8.2014 Route Map

 

Yeti Air International to relaunch as Himalaya Airlines on October 28

Yeti Air International (Kathamandu), a subsidiary of the Yeti Airlines Group, has been reformed as a new joint venture between Tibet Airlines (Lhasa, Tibet) (49 percent) and Yeti World Investment and HIF Aviation Investment according to The Economic Times. This time the airline will operate as Himalaya Airlines.

Himalaya Airlines will launch operations on October 28 on the Kathamndu-Lhasa route with leased Airbus A320 Family aircraft.

The airline will literally fly “on top of the world”.

Tibet Airlines started operations on July 26, 2011 and is 31 percent owned by Air China.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Gerd Beilfuss/AirlinersGallery.com. Tibet Airlines will likely be the operator of the aircraft for the new joint venture. Airbus A319-115 D-AVYH (man 4766) became B-6436 on delivery.

Tibet Airlines:

Emirates SkyCargo is coming to Basel/Mulhouse/Freiburg

Emirates SkyCargo, the freight division of Emirates (Dubai), is set to further strengthen trade lanes between Switzerland and its worldwide network with the introduction of a weekly freighter service from Basel to Dubai starting September 21, 2014.

The new freighter flight will supplement the existing belly-hold cargo capacity in the Swiss market provided on Emirates’ double-daily passenger services to Zurich as well as on the daily Geneva flights. Emirates SkyCargo currently offers more than 380 tons of capacity each week on its routes into Switzerland. Basel, the center of the Swiss pharmaceutical and chemical industry will become the 40th European destination to join the Emirates SkyCargo network, giving a further boost to bilateral trade links already in place between the UAE and the region.

Emirates SkyCargo will use a Boeing 777 freighter aircraft on the Basel-Dubai route, which is capable of carrying over 100 tons of cargo, and with its main deck cargo door being one of the widest of any aircraft, enabling it to uplift outsized cargo and carry larger consignments. The Boeing 777F is one of the most modern and technologically advanced freighters available and has the lowest fuel burn of any comparable size aircraft. Popular commodities and goods into and from the region are expected to be pharmaceuticals, chemicals, spare parts and medical devices.

Emirates has continuously built up its presence in Europe since the launch of London-Gatwick services in 1987. Today, Emirates operates passenger and cargo services to 37 European destinations, with Oslo (effective September 22), Brussels (starting September 5) and Budapest (effective October 27) joining soon the airline’s global route network spanning six continents. In addition to the new destinations, Emirates continues to add capacity to many of its European routes through larger aircraft and added frequency.

In addition to belly-hold cargo services on Emirates’ fleet of 225 aircraft to more than 140 destinations around the world, Emirates SkyCargo has a fleet of 13 freighters, comprising of eleven Boeing 777Fs and two Boeing 747-400 ERFs that operate from their base at Dubai World Central’s Al Maktoum International Airport.

The cargo flights will be routed Dubai – Djibouti – Nairobi – Amsterdam – Basel – Dubai.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-F1H A6-EFG (msn 35613) taxies at Amsterdam.

Emirates: AG Slide Show

Frontier Airlines to start bi-weekly Trenton-Nassau flights on November 20

Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) will start the first international route from Trenton, New Jersey. The airline will launch twice-weekly service from TTN to Nassau in the Bahamas starting on November 20. The new route will be operated on Thursdays and Sundays on 138-seat Airbus A319s. The announcement was made by the airport.

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-111 N902FR (msn 1515) departs from Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU).

Frontier Airlines: AG Slide Show

SAS arrives in Houston from Stavanger, Norway

Scandinavian Airlines-SAS (Stockholm)  is now connecting Houston, Texas, with Stavanger in Norway through six days a week nonstop air service. The initiative is expected to significantly strengthen the economic and cultural ties that already exist within the oil and gas industry in the regions. The route will be operated by a business version of the Boeing 737-700 aircraft and will have a SAS Long Haul Business Class concept on board with just 44 comfortable business seats, in-flight entertainment and full-service meals.

Departures from Stavanger will be daily, except Tuesdays, at 4:00 pm arriving in Houston (Bush Intercontinental)  at 7:40 pm (1940) the same day. SAS will depart from Houston to Stavanger daily except Tuesdays at 9:35 pm (2135) arriving the next day in Stavanger at 2.20 pm (1440). SAS will be the only airline with nonstop service between Scandinavia and Houston.

In addition to the Houston-Stavanger route, SAS also operates nonstop service from Newark to Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm, from Chicago (O’Hare) to Copenhagen and Stockholm, and from Washington, D.C. and San Francisco to Copenhagen.

Copyright Photo: Stefan Sjogren/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-705 LN-TUD (msn 28217) arrives at the Stockholm (Arlanda) hub.

SAS: AG Slide Show

United now offers its customers Uber transportation services via its mobile app

United Airlines (Chicago) today (August 20) became the first airline to offer customers Uber transportation services via its mobile app, further enabling travelers to use the United app for services throughout their entire travel experience.

Customers with iOS and Android mobile devices may access Uber ground transportation information in the United app’s menu or in the “My Reservations” card with a current reservation. The app will display Uber information, including types of available vehicles, estimated wait times and prices. After customers select a ride, the United app will automatically transfer them to the Uber app or the Uber website to sign up for an account to complete the transaction.

Customers who sign up for Uber via the United app and complete their first transaction will receive 1,000 MileagePlus award miles for a limited time.

In addition to accessing ground transportation options and other features, customers can use the United mobile app on iOS and Android devices to do the following:

Book United flights, including award travel
Scan a valid passport to check in for international flights
Store mobile boarding passes for easy access at security and during boarding
Select seats and choose Economy Plus seating
Check the status of an upgrade and view inflight amenities
Access United Club information and purchase one-time passes

In July, United became the first U.S. carrier to offer customers the ability to scan their passports to check in for international flights via their iOS and Android mobile devices. Later this year, United will begin to introduce its all-new united.com website, providing customers a simplified, clearer and faster user experience.

Read the analysis by Bloomberg Businessweek: CLICK HERE

In other news, United is also ending United Express passenger service on the Crescent City-Arcata/Eureka, Los Angeles-Yuma and Sacramento-Arcata/Eureka routes on December 3 per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 747-422 N128UA (msn 30023) arrives at Tokyo (Narita).

United Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

Jay Selman’s Inside Look: US Airways operates the last Boeing 737 Classic revenue flight

Guest Editor Jay Selman

Guest Editor Jay Selman

An Inside Look: The End of a Classic Era

by Jay Selman

When I was hired by Piedmont Airlines (Winston-Salem) in 1981, the Boeing 737 reigned supreme. We were taking delivery of brand new Boeing 737-200s, and oh how I loved those birds. They were short and fat, and NOISY in an era when noise was still acceptable! In the early days of my airline career, I was on an airplane virtually every weekend. Those were the days when an airline could make money with a 50% load factor, and on those rare occasions when a flight did fill up, there was usually room in the cockpit for a company employee. I’d venture to say that 95% of my flights during the first 10 years of my career were in 737s.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-201 N736N (msn 19420) of Piedmont waits for its next assignment at Atlanta. The -200 is painted in the original 1974 livery.

By 1985, the 737-300 had joined the Piedmont fleet. Although it still had the 737 designation, it seemed to be a whole new animal. Those CFM-56 engines were massive compared to the JT-8Ds on the -200s, and the 737-300 promised significant increases in payload and range, as well as significant reductions in fuel burn. Oh yes, and they were QUIET. In fact, a common complaint among crewmembers flying the -300 was that they had to lower their voices so that passengers would not join in their conversations. The cockpits of Piedmont’s -300s still had the old “steam gauges” but they also had greatly improved avionics, and even a lovely feature called “Autoland”, which the company was never actually certified to use.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-301 N307P (msn 23259) of Piedmont wears the updated white top 1974 color scheme.

Piedmont was the launch customer for the Boeing 737-400, essentially a stretched -300, and in September, 1988, I had the good fortune to fly on the delivery flight of N406US, the first 737-400 in the world to be delivered by Boeing.

 

Copyright Photo: Nigel P. Chalcraft/AirlinersGallery.com. The first delivered -400, Boeing 737-401 N406US (msn 23876) taxies at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood in the bare metal 1988 livery.

At one time, Piedmont was able to claim the title of the world’s largest operator of the Boeing 737. No wonder I had a love affair with the Seven Three throughout my career in the airline industry.

In 1989, Piedmont and USAir merged and I was now working for USAir. The merger brought a large number of different aircraft types to my company, but I still loved the 737.

 

Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. Suddenly the Piedmont name and brand were going way. USAir later gave way to US Airways as a brand.

Then in 1997, USAir CEO Steven Wolf shocked the aviation community by announcing an order for up to 400 narrow-body Airbus aircraft. Ultimately, this would reduce the composition of the company’s narrow-body fleet to one basic type (the A319, A320, and A321 are all the same basic airplane).

The handwriting was on the wall for the USAir (later US Airways) 737s…in fact, all of the narrow body aircraft operated by USAir. With respect to the 737s, the dwindling fleet of 737-200s was parked following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, while the last of the -300s was retired in 2013. Finally, on August 19, 2014, N435US operated the final flight of a US Airways 737, appropriately designated as flight US 737.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. There are now no longer any US Airways 737 Classics operating out of the Charlotte hub. N406US landed at CLT with 43515 cycles and approximately 65405.45 hours. The airliner was a trusted performer for the carrier and has now been retired to the desert.

“Cactus 737”, its ATC callsign, flew from Charlotte to Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) to Philadelphia and back to Charlotte on August 19, and I was able to fly all three legs on it. US Airways elected to keep the event low-key, since, after all, the “new American Airlines” is currently operating over 230 Next-Generation 737-800s, and will eventually own a fleet of over 300 of the type. But what made the trip special for me was the fact that the pilot in command, Captain Jeff Tarr, was also flying his last trip as an airline pilot.

US Airways 737-400 N435US at the gate (JS)(LRW)

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. The end of an era. N435US sits at the gate, unlikely to carry passengers again.

 

When Cactus 737 pulled into Gate D7 at 9:48 pm at CLT, there was no real fanfare for the airplane, but there was plenty of recognition for Captain Tarr.

US Airways 737-400 Captain Jeff Tarr and F-O Robert Channell (JS)(LRW)

 

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Pictured in the cockpit of N435US is Captain Jeff Tarr (left) and F/O Robert Channell (right). This also was Jeff’s retirement flight.

And, after all, that is the way it should be. Too often, an airline is defined by its aircraft, or its color scheme, or its catch phrase. But what should REALLY define an airline is it’s employees. For most of us who have been in this industry for any length of time, it’s more than a job…it’s a way of life. Most of us who have been here for awhile began working in the days when we were envied for our status as airline employees. We remember hearing, “You have one of the best jobs in the world,” rather than, “I wouldn’t have your job for anything in the world.” An airline is about people, and not just airplanes.
 Having said that, the Boeing 737 has been part of the airline I work for during my entire 33-year career. Admittedly, the Airbus offers many advantages to the passenger than the old 737 Classic. And, of course, once the merger is complete, I will, again, be working for a company that will be operating 300+ Next-Generation 737s.

US Flt 737 Crew (JS)(LRW)

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. The proud crew of flight US 737 that operated the flight from DFW to PHL and finally to CLT.

 

In my personal opinion, an Airbus simply cannot compare to a Boeing in terms of useful life and ruggedness. Why do I say this? Just consider this fact. There are still plenty of 737s around with 30+ years on their airframes. Many still haul passengers, while countless others have been converted to freight dogs. I have no idea how many 737s have been converted to cargo carriers, but I can tell you exactly how many A320s have been.
 So, vive la 737. You’ve given me a great ride.

 

Piedmont Airlines (1st): AG Slide Show

USAir: AG Slide Show

US Airways: AG Slide Show

Allegiant announces five new routes to Florida

Allegiant Air (Las Vegas) has announced new, nonstop jet service on five new Florida routes, including one route each to Punta Gorda and Sanford (near Orlando) and three to St. Petersburg/Clearwater (Tampa Bay).

New routes announced include:

Nonstop service to St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) from:

Belleville, Illinois – begins November 19, 2014
Bloomington, Illinois – begins November 21, 2014
Concord, North Carolina (near Charlotte) – begins November 13, 2014

Nonstop service to Orlando-Sanford International Airport (SFB) from:

Peoria, Illinois – begins November 14, 2014

Nonstop service to Punta Gorda Airport (PGD) from:

Huntington, West Virginia – begins Nov. 20, 2014

Allegiant differs in many ways from other U.S. airlines. The company is focused on low-cost, nonstop leisure travel, providing customers with low base fares while giving passengers the option to pay for the amenities they want, like luggage, seat assignments and priority boarding, without including the cost of things they don’t need in the price of the ticket.

Allegiant’s innovative business model has allowed it to grow from one airplane and one route 15 years ago, to offering access to low-cost, nonstop travel in more than 90 communities nationwide. This year, Allegiant has inaugurated service on 16 new routes to popular U.S. vacation destinations. Additionally, the company recently announced its 46th consecutive quarter of profitable operation while keeping its average one-way fare under $100.

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. The Airbus A319s and A320s are based at Sanford. Former easyJet Switzerland Airbus A319-112 HB-JZN (man 2387) became N302NV with Allegiant.

Allegiant: AG Slide Show

Routes from Sanford. Allegiant operates nonstop routes to SFB from small underserved markets from the eastern half of the United States to the vacation Orlando area destination.

Allegiant logo-1 (large)

Allegiant 8.2014 SFB Route Map

Is AirAsia considering an investment in Skymark Airlines?

Skymark Airlines (Tokyo-Haneda) has been retrenching. Besides the cancellation of its Airbus A380 order by Airbus, the low-fare carrier has also announced it will leave Tokyo Narita and concentrate its flights at Tokyo (Haneda). Now according to ZipanguFlyer, there may be a new development:

“On August 19, the Nikkei Shimbun reported that the AirAsia Group has started considering an investment in ailing Skymark Airlines (BC/SKY), including a possible takeover. It said that the Malaysian LCC, a very important customer for Airbus, is also talking with the European manufacturer to reduce the penalties they are seeking with Skymark for the canceled Airbus A380 order.”

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

AirAsia is currently working with new Japanese partners to launch the second version of AirAsia (Japan) next year. If this report is correct and it is consummated, it would probably be the end of Skymark Airlines and Boeing would lose a loyal Japanese customer.

Stay tuned.

Copyright Photo: Ivan K. Nishimura/Blue Wave Group. Boeing 737-81D JA73NN (man 39422) passes through Honolulu on its delivery flight.

Skymark Airlines: AG Slide Show

Cathay Pacific to retire the last passenger long-haul Boeing 747-400 on August 31 on the San Francisco route

Cathay Pacific Airways (Hong Kong) will operate its last long-haul scheduled Boeing 747 passenger flight to San Francisco on August 31. The last departure will be from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Hong Kong. The company will continue to operate Boeing 747 freighters and the 747-400 on some short-haul Asian routes (Beijing, Manila, Osaka Kansai, Sapporo, Shanghai Pudong, Taipei Taoyuan and Tokyo Haneda per Airline Route).

 

Cathay Pacific Farewell 747 Giveaway

To mark the historic occasion, Cathay Pacific is running a “Farewell 747 Giveaway” contest. 20 winners will receive a Boeing 747 model. CLICK HERE for the details.

The inaugural flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong via Vancouver was flown on a Boeing 747-200B on July 1, 1986.

Cathay Pacific SFO Inaugural 7.1.86

Above Copyright Photo: Cathay Pacific.

Top Copyright Photo: KSK/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 747-467, the Queen of the Skies, B-HOY (man 25351) in the 1994 livery gracefully climbs away from the runway at Tokyo (Haneda)

Cathay Pacific: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 747-267B VR-HIE (msn 28872) taxies at Zurich in the original 1971 green and white color scheme.

Video: Trip Report on a CP Boeing 747-400:

Is there another Icelandic ash alert coming for Europe?

Bárðarbunga volcano map

The Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) has raised the threat level to orange and issued this latest statement on a current earthquake swarm at the Bárðarbunga volcano (see above). Currently there is no sign of magma moving towards the surface. Here is the full report:

Icelandic Met Office logo

Since the onset of the earthquake swarm at Bárðarbunga on Saturday morning August 16 03:00am, around 2.600 earthquakes have been detected with the earthquake monitoring network of the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO), of these around 950 since midnight (17/18th August). Several of these events were larger than magnitude 3. The swarm initially started in the Bárðarbunga caldera and has been migrating in two clusters towards the north and the east of the volcano.

On Sunday August 17, these two clusters were active east and north of Bárðarbunga. The activity in both clusters was migrating northeastwards. While the strongest events were located in the northern cluster, the highest number of events was detected in the eastern cluster. The strongest event since the onset of the swarm was detected on Monday morning 02:37 in the northern cluster. Detailed analysis revealed that its magnitude was 4.5 and it was felt in Akureyri and Lón. By Monday evening, activity has significantly decreased in the northern cluster.

The eastern cluster remains active. Two stronger pulses of activity have occurred between 10:45 and 12:00 as well as 16:50 and 17:30 this morning. Within the first pulse around noon, the cluster was again migrating northeastwards, most events are now located between Bárðarbunga and Kverkfjöll. As reported earlier, GPS ground deformation data has evidenced that the earthquake swarm is caused by magma intrusion.

Throughout the whole sequence until now (August 18 bat 20:45) the majority of events has been at 5-10km depth. No signs of migration towards the surface or any other signs of imminent or ongoing volcanic activity have been detected so far. IMO is monitoring the area around the clock very closely and will update in case of any changes.

Read the full story from Bloomberg Businessweek: CLICK HERE

Map: Google Maps.

JetBlue Airways to start Washington Reagan National-Jacksonville flights on December 18

JetBlue Airways (New York) today announced new twice-daily nonstop service from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) to Jacksonville, Florida (JAX). The new route will launch on December 18, 2014, the same day the airline also introduces new nonstop service from DCA to two other Florida destinations: Fort Myers (RSW) and West Palm Beach (PBI).

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Embraer ERJ 190-100 IGW N339JB (msn 19000490) arrives at Washington’s Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA).

JetBlue Airways: AG Slide Show

The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is still going strong at 60

The Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules reaches another major milestone on August 23 marking the 60th anniversary of its first flight at Burbank, California, in 1954.

The company has issued this statement:

To honor this historic C-130 anniversary, Lockheed Martin invites members of the worldwide Hercules community to share their C-130 memories, experiences, photos and videos. From Aug. 18 through Sept. 30, stories can be shared through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube. Stories will be collected on a Lockheed Martin-sponsored website and shared with page viewers. To ensure stories are included on this site, the hashtag “#herc60″ must be included within each post. Submissions also can be emailed to c-130-communications.gr-aero@lmco.com and they will be manually posted on the anniversary site.

In addition, special videos, photos and features saluting the C-130 will be posted daily to Lockheed Martin’s corporate webpage, Code One Magazine, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube accounts throughout the week of Aug. 18-23.

Since its debut, the C-130 Hercules has exhibited a combination of rugged tenacity, unmatched flexibility and continuous innovation that continue to make it the global airlifter choice. The C-130 has the longest, continuous military aircraft production run in history and is one of the top three longest, continuous aircraft production lines of any type.

The aircraft is widely considered as the world’s most proven workhorse. To date, more than 2,500 C-130s have been ordered and/or delivered to 63 nations. The C-130 operates out of 70 countries and has been produced in more than 70 variants. All of the C-130’s production models have been built at the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Marietta facility.

“In its first six decades, the C-130 shaped aviation history, redefined industry standards and exhibited flexibility that other aircraft have yet to match,” said George Shultz, Lockheed Martin vice president and general manager, C-130 Programs. “The C-130 remains the world’s most proven airlifter because of its ability to adapt, remain relevant and deliver results no matter the mission. As we celebrate the Hercules, we want to thank the people who designed, and now build, deliver, fly, maintain and sustain it. It’s their contributions that have kept the global C-130 fleet flying and will continue to do so for decades to come.”

The Hercules has been everywhere and is known for its ability to tackle any mission, anywhere, at any time. Aircrews have flown it to both poles, landed or airdropped military supplies to combat hot spots and performed countless relief operations around the globe. From the highest air strips in the Himalayas to landing on an aircraft carrier in the middle of the ocean, the C-130 regularly – and proudly – defies expectations.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 113,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2013 were $45.4 billion.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. The C-130 is mainly a military transport aircraft. However several airlines have operated the civilian version. Of course the civilian version, the current Lockheed 382G (L-100-30), remains a viable and tough airline transport to this day in many remote parts of the world. Even passenger carriers like Delta Air Lines have operated the Hercules on dedicated cargo routes. An earlier model, the pictured Lockheed 382E-6C Hercules (L-100-20) N9259R (msn 4176), is seen at the Atlanta base on October 3, 1969. This aircraft was delivered on October 14, 1966. Delta replaced its Curtiss C-46 freighters with this newer turboprop freighter. The dedicated freighter service was short-lived.

Delta Air Lines (historic): AG Slide Show

Hercules Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Air Canada to operate the Boeing 787 on the Toronto-Copenhagen route

Air Canada (Montreal) on October 26 will introduce the new Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner on the Toronto (Pearson)-Copenhagen route. The new aircraft will operate three days a week replacing a Boeing 767-300 ER until December 31 per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 787-8 C-GHPT (msn 35258) is parked between flights at the Toronto (Pearson) hub.

Air Canada: AG Slide Show

 

SkyWest Airlines to drop Chico, California on December 2

SkyWest Airlines (United Express) (St. George, UT) will drop Chico, California and the Chico-San Francisco route on December 2. The route is not profitable according to KRCR News. This will end commercial air service at the airport.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Mark Durbin/AirlinersGallery.com. Embraer EMB-120ER Brasilia N295SW (msn 120322) taxies at the San Francisco hub.

United Express-SkyWest Airlines: AG Slide Show

Silver Airways to drop Macon, Georgia on November 5

Silver Airways (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood and Gainesville) has notified the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) that its intends to drop Macon, GA and the Macon-Atlanta route on November 5 according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The carrier stated the route had not lived up to forecasts and it is downsizing its ATL operation.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. SAAB 340B N413XJ (msn 413) approaches the runway at Bangor.

Silver Airways: AG Slide Show

Current Route Map:

Silver 8.2014 Route Map

Horizon Air to operate seasonal flights from Las Vegas to Mammoth Lakes, California

Horizon Air (Alaska Horizon) (Seattle/Tacoma) will operate seasonal service between Las Vegas and Mammoth Lakes, California.

Horizon Air’s nonstop flight from Las Vegas to Mammoth Lakes will operate on Mondays and Thursdays between January 15 and April 6, 2015.

Horizon Air will operate the flights with the Bombardier DHC-8-402 (marketed as the Q400) turboprop aircraft on the new route.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Horizon Air now spreads its wings from Alaska to the U.S. Southwest. Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) N443QX (man 4353) in the University of Alaska Seawolves college motif departs from Anchorage.

Alaska Horizon (Horizon Air): AG Slide Show

Thai Airways to axe 1,500 jobs this year, hopes to return to profitability by the fourth quarter

Thai Airways International (Bangkok) meanwhile expects to cut 1,500 jobs this year as it expects to return to profitability in the fourth quarter according to this article by the Business Times.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Richard Vandervord/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 747-4D7 HS-TGG (msn 33771) departs gracefully from Phuket, Thailand.

Thai: AG Slide Show

City Airways is grounded, stranding passengers

City Airways (Bangkok-Don Mueang) was grounded on Saturday, August 16, stranding passengers. The Thai airline, which was formed in 2011 started operations in October 2012 and specialized in flights from and to Chinese cities, was grounded by the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) for alleged safety violations.

Stranded passengers are being flown home by R Airways.

According to the South China Morning Post, co-owner Terence Mak Hung claimed the airline was safe and hilt back at the Thai authorities.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Company Profile (from their website):

City Airways Company, Ltd was established on February 24, 2011. The airline, incorporated with 200 million baht of capital, focused on the China market, is spreading its wings by adding three jetliners and launching its first scheduled domestic flights. City Airways, owned by a group of Thai, Chinese tour firms and Hong Kong airline owner, took delivery of three Boeing 737-400 single-aisle jets.

Top Copyright Photo: Jacques Guillem Collection/AirlinersGallery.com (all others by City Airways). Boeing 737-4Y0 HS-GTA (man 24688) rests at the Don Mueang Airport base between flights.

City Airways FAs (City Airways)(LR)

City Airways Ad:

City Airways Ad

City Airways (Thailand) logo

Route Map:

City Airways 8.2014 Route Map (LRW)

The Sunday Times: Monarch Airlines to cut more than 1,000 jobs, shrink the fleet to reduce its losses and find a new investor

Monarch Airlines (London-Luton and London-Gatwick) is at a critical stage in its nearly 47 years of existence. According to this article by The Sunday Times, Monarch will cut over 1,000 jobs, reduce the fleet from 42 aircraft to 30 in order to reduce losses. Long-haul flights will be dropped. The airline had previously announced it would drop charter flights and concentrate on scheduled flights. Seabury Capital is also leading the search for new investors.

A lingering question shadowing the company is its pension obligation.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Monarch service banner

Monarch Airlines talks about its history on its website:

The Group, as its exists today, came together in 1968 when Monarch Airlines was formed under the same ownership as Cosmos Holidays and Monarch Aircraft Engineering, following their establishment in 1961 and 1967 respectively.

Monarch Airlines was created to respond to the expanding charter holiday industry and demand for faster travel. In its early days Monarch operated with just two aircraft, but in the early 1970s the airline began to meet the requirements of an evolving travel market by committing to an all-jet fleet and by 1972 was carrying 500,000 passengers per annum.

The advent of mass market independent travel saw Monarch launch its scheduled division with increased routes in 1985. The Airbus A330 was added to the fleet in 1999 featuring new Premium cabin and a range of upgraded passenger benefits, followed in 2001 by the launch of Monarch’s first online booking tool. By 2007 online reservations had grown to over 90% of total bookings.

Monarch Airlines is now one of the leading scheduled carriers at its key bases at London Gatwick, across the Midlands and the north of England. Its current 30 aircraft fleet provides an annual capacity of seven million seats from six UK bases to destinations around the Mediterranean, the Canaries and to ski destinations in winter. The Airline also offers capacity to tour operators both through its scheduled and operations and traditional charter activities, where it continues with selected long-haul flying.

Monarch.co.uk logo

Monarch Airlines has always adapted to changing conditions in the marketplace:

Monarch Timeline

On the Monarch blog, in this article written by Hannah Sardar, the author interviews Commercial Revenue and Network Manager – Marjan Schöke, on how the company puts together its schedule (Monarch just announced it was dropping East Midlands as we previously reported). Here is the article which is very insightful:

My name is Hannah and I work in the social media team for Monarch. We have had a few questions about how Monarch put together a flight schedule and why we have delayed the schedule for our Summer 15 flights. So, I’ve gone straight to the man who knows, our Commercial Revenue & Network Manager – Marjan Schöke to get his insight and find out how we create a network schedule. Who better to answer your questions?

Marjan Schoke

Marjan Schoke

So Marjan, I am going to start with a broad question! In a nutshell what is the process for setting up a flights schedule?

Well, in a nutshell proves a bit tricky. Creating a flight schedule is not single process but the result of a lengthy and continuous analysis. Let me try to give you some insight into the complexity of the creation of a schedule. Marjan

The basis is the overall strategy of the company. It defines what market segments we serve, what aircraft type we are using and so on. So for a specific period we have a picture of where we want to head with our network and how many aircraft we have available for implementing this defined strategy.

As a first step in creating a schedule we evaluate many different variables including; customer demand, market trends, the economy and passenger flows in order to evaluate the future profitability of a route. In addition many inputs from operations and maintenance have to be taken into account.

We evaluate market trends in detail. One question that needs to be answered is how the economic development for next year will influence the booking and travel patterns of our customers. For instance are they taking longer or shorter breaks? How taking short breaks? And of course we need to gain an understanding what the hotel availability is for certain destinations. All of this combined enables us to forecast market growth for the coming season. Keeping in mind the competition we then define how often we want to fly each route; we then decide on the aircraft to be used for a specific flight. This gives us the information we need to create our flights schedule.

A question I’ve always wanted to know is; do all airlines work the same way when releasing a schedule? Some airlines are before and some are after Monarch, can you please tell us why?

I would not be able to confirm how all airlines plan their schedules but I can say that in my opinion, the overall process is the same for each airline. However, the way the market analysis is done will differ for each airline, also pending what customer group they are serving. Doing research for business travellers is different from research on holiday-makers.

Why is the flights schedule for summer 2015 being released in stages this year?

There are a lot of changes going on within the company. We have new management and there are many people like me who have recently joined the company. A lot of new know-how and innovative processes are brought into the company. For example in my team we have adjusted our internal processes and we are putting much more time towards listening to feedback from customers or researching travel behaviour.

Our aim is to release a stable schedule that avoids as far as possible changes a few months or even weeks before the flights. We want to avoid rescheduling flights as customer feedback states this is really frustrating for them.

So, it’s taking longer because we are doing it once and doing it right. We have had a much closer look at each individual route, spent a lot of time on making the departure times more sociable with the ultimate objective being to give flexibility and value to all our customers.

We have already released four bases – Luton, Gatwick, Birmingham and Manchester and may still add flights to these bases over the coming months however the review is on-going for Leeds Bradford. The schedule for summer 2015 will offer our customers a better service with more frequent flights to some of our most popular destinations, better weekend flight times & flexibility to book a short break or a mid or longer length holiday.

When is the best time to buy cheap flights – now, when flights have just been released… or later, when there’s a deal or promotion?

It’s always best to book as soon as you can. It is an obvious statement but, we have a fixed amount of seats available on each aircraft on each flight. The fuller the aircraft gets for a specific flight the higher the price will be. So, when no seats have been booked soon after the flight goes on sale; customers will generally get the best price. It is the objective of my team and I to fill those seats, whereas closer to the time of departure we have fewer seats available and this may increase the price.

We’ve been asked about why our flight departure and arrival timings are different this year to previous years, how would you reply to this?

We look closely at internal data, data from external sources and we gain an understanding from our own customers about which departure times suit them best and which routes they prefer. An example of this: we know that on certain routes most passengers prefer to fly back in the evening so they’ve had a full day on the beach and then they fly home. Of course this varies by route.

This is a good opportunity to explain about “airport slots” to answer this properly. A slot is the right to depart or land at a specific time at an airport. Some airports like London Gatwick are very busy as most airlines want to depart or land at similar times (the customer preferences are quite often very similar).

There is a worldwide rule that manages the arrival and departure slots.

Other alterations to our schedule are required due to slight changes in the legislation concerning cabin crew duty working times. A Monarch crew that start later in the day can for example fly longer than a crew that gets up very early in the morning and of course we need abide by the working rules set for our crew.

So, based on that answer, how do airports decide which airline gets which slot? That sounds really difficult!

Well yes it can be quite challenging at some airports. This is a lengthy process that is followed worldwide by all airlines and all slot coordinated airports. The rules are created and implemented by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and each country has a slot coordinator who is in charge of administering all the slots for the specific countries airports.

All airlines apply for the slots they require and then the initial slots are given to the airline. Whereas if an airline has flown consistently in the last season it is given the same timings (they call this a grandfather right) as before to try and give continuity.

This is why I explained sometimes we fly the exact same flight time.

However, it is possible for airlines to swap flight slots or request different times. Airlines then start to adjust their schedule once they feel confident about their slots. About two months before the summer season starts the airlines hand back all slots they don’t require and of course then a final swapping and adjustment to the schedule is completed.

Did you know? An airline is only given slot confirmation 2- 3 months before the winter or summer schedule begins. This is why sometimes we have to alter some schedule times – but this is typically within 30 minutes of the original timing. We also estimate the likely outcome of this slot allocation process so that our customers can book their holiday with more than 3 months’ notice.

Why do you decide to operate flights very early in the morning or very late at night?

An aircraft is very expensive and of course we need to utilize it as much as we can. Just to fly one flight per day within Europe “does not pay” for the aircraft.

This means we have to find the right balance between a lot of flying per day and the preferences of our customers. To find the right balance we speak to customers and research travel preferences. For example we have found that many people prefer to set off early to get the whole day at their holiday destination and this goes for coming back too.

If we depart too late in the morning we can only fly one flight per day which restricts customer choice and require us to increase the price for that flight much higher.

Why do we fly different types of planes to different locations, why aren’t they all the same?

We currently use a mix of aircraft ranging from the Airbus A320 with 174 seats to the Airbus A330 with 358 seats. Some aircraft have a longer range than others. Our A330 is being used for long-haul flying, whereas the A320 is better used within Europe. On airports where we have slot restriction – meaning we have only limited rights to take off or land at the ideal time – and very high demand for a route we might decide to use the larger aircraft. In addition; we create the schedule in a way that we can swap aircraft sizes between routes. This enables us to fly more of our customers to very popular destinations when demand is high.

If Monarch wanted to launch a new route, how does that work?

Well as I am sure you can image, a new route has to be researched well. Starting a daily flight within Europe can be very expensive. We need to be convinced that enough passengers will fly on the new route and will find it enjoyable for a holiday. We factor in “running costs” from an airline point of view including; fuel costs, the crew , the aircraft, government and airport taxes and also hotel prices when the customers arrive.

Monarch 8.2014 Map

Where do Monarch fly to? Which destinations?

Where can I fly to with Monarch?

Of course we have a look at how many passengers travel to this destination already and what the destination can offer to our customers. One example is our decision to fly to Salzburg in the winter months as a Ski destination. It offers a wide variety of ski and winter experiences has a very good infrastructure and at the same time is an interesting city destinations.

Can you please tell us why are some routes released before others?

After the schedule is approved it is exported to the Monarch sales-system and put on sale for our customers to purchase. Sometimes we decide not to put every flight on sale as we are still waiting on confirmation of airport-slots. In some instances we also wait and see whether certain destinations are booked much better than anticipated. We can then have more flights to popular destinations.

Why do some UK airports have more flights than others?

This is due to different customer demand being different from the regions. Our customer profile and preferences are very different across the UK bases we travel from.

What’s the most interesting part of the process for you Marjan? Is it quite challenging?

I’d say the most interesting part is that each individual route does has its own “personality” and typical customer which I find fascinating. My team and I like exploring this”personality” through analysing data.

And while doing so you look outside the window and see a Monarch aircraft taking off… it is a fantastic feeling to know that onboard that aircraft are customers jetting off to start their short-break weekend or holiday. This is quite rewarding.

When I first started at Monarch in March this year, I thought that the travel behaviour of customers would be the same from all the UK bases we fly from but actually in reality it’s different. Birmingham has different types of customers than those who travel in London – even if the flights from the two airports go to the same destination.

What is the most common customer misconception in your mind, about how flight schedules are put together?

Understandably our customers have their specific flight on their mind when thinking of schedules and ask why I cannot put flights at certain times in the day. Unfortunately it is not always that easy. Our customers rarely know how much complexity there is in the airline industry – though I am a big fan to make it less complex!

Hopefully I have given you some general insights just how complex it is when putting together a flight schedule.

It’s easier to think about a single aircraft taking one flight out and one flight back but we need to be strategic about how we move those aircraft around and make sure we are flying to and from the places our customers want to go and we need to do this for all 42 aircraft in the fleet!

Having the overview over the flow of an aircraft (and even the whole fleet) is one of the most interesting things in aviation as every aspect of an airline comes together. My colleagues and I absolutely love our jobs, as you can probably guess! I hope that helps explain everything for you and our customers.

I think it’s safe to say I’ve learnt just how complex putting together an airline schedule is, thanks so much for you time.

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton/AirlinersGallery.com. With the long-range routes being cut, Monarch’s two 374-seat Airbus A330-200s will be dropped from the fleet. The last three Boeing 757-200s are also being retired from the fleet at the end of the summer season 2014. Airbus A330-243 G-SMAN (man 261) taxies at Geneva.

Monarch Airlines: AG Slide Show

Monarch Video:

Sunwing Airlines fights back, will launch package charter flights from Buffalo, New York

Sunwing Airlines (Toronto-Pearson) has seen some of its Canadian traffic being syphoned by U.S. carriers with vacation flights leaving from close-by U.S. cities like Buffalo, New York. Canadian citizens have been crossing the border to catch the cheaper flights at these close-by U.S. airports. Now the Canadian carrier has decided to do the same thing.

The carrier is introducing two new services in association with Sunwing Vacations. Departing from Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF) on Saturdays, services to Cancun International Airport (CUN) will begin on January 17, 2015 and operate until May 9, 2015, while flights to Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ) will be available between February 14, 2015 and May 9, 2015.

The new routes represent the first direct scheduled international destinations to be offered, increasing the number of airports accessible via a direct connection from Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

Sunwing Airlines’ nonstop flights are operated on Boeing 737-800 series aircraft which seat 189 passengers.

According to the carrier, these “low cost, high frills” flights enable travellers to start off their vacation in style with a complimentary welcome glass of champagne. Passengers will also be able to sit back and relax while enjoying award winning onboard service along with Hot & Fresh Bistro meals served with a choice of wine plus complimentary in-flight entertainment and children’s activity kits.

Sunwing travellers departing from Buffalo this winter will be able to choose from a broad selection of all-inclusive vacation packages in both Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and Cancun, Mexico. Offering an array of properties and exclusive products to suit a number of different tastes and budgets ranging from adults only to group and family vacations, Sunwing resorts in both locations stand out for their beachfront settings, wealth of land and water sports, varied dining options and children’s activities.

Introductory pricing for a one-week vacation from Buffalo to Cancun starts from just $1135 + $140 taxes per person, based on double occupancy at Oasis Tulum departing on January 17, 2015. Buffalo departures to Punta Cana start from just $1195 + $170 taxes per person, based on double occupancy at Vista Sol Punta Cana departing on May 2, 2015.

All Sunwing Vacations packages include award winning Sunwing Airlines’ Champagne Service, which features a complimentary glass of champagne, hot towel service, Hot & Fresh Bistro meals™ served with a choice of wine at lunch and dinner, and complimentary in-flight entertainment, including first run movies and a generous 20 kg free baggage allowance. For just $40 more per flight segment, travellers can upgrade to Sunwing’s Elite Plus service, which features advance seat selection, separate check-in at a majority of airports, advance boarding, 30 kg baggage allowance, priority baggage handling, and extra legroom seats.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-86Q C-FEAK (msn 30292) taxies at Palma de Mallorca on a summer lease.

Sunwing Airlines: AG Slide Show

 

United Airlines to start San Francisco-Montrose, Colorado flights

United Airlines (Chicago) will start twice-weekly United Express service, operated by SkyWest Airlines (St. George, UT) CRJ700s, between its San Francisco hub and Montrose, CO on December 20 per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Bombardier CRJ700 (CL-600-2C10) N763SK (msn 10228) of SkyWest Airlines departs from Los Angeles.

United Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

United Express-SkyWest: AG Slide Show

American to launch new American Eagle routes from Philadelphia and Dallas/Fort Worth

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) will start daily American Eagle service from its (US Airways) hub to both Jacksonville, FL and New Orleans on September 26. The routes will be operated by Embraer 175 aircraft operated by Republic Airlines (2nd) according to Airline Route.

In addition, American Eagle (operated by ExpressJet Airlines CRJ200s) will launch new daily service from the Dallas/Fort Worth hub to Meridian and Laurel, Mississippi.

Finally American will suspend service on three European routes this winter (resuming next summer): Chicago (“hare)-Dusseldorf, Chicago (O’Hare)-Manchester and New York (JFK)-Dublin per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. Operated by Republic Airlines, Embraer ERJ 170-200LR (ERJ 175) N426YX (msn 17000397) taxies at Baltimore/Washington.

American Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

American Eagle-Republic (2nd): AG Slide Show

 

BizCharters starts scheduled charter flights from the Chicago area to the New York and Washington areas

BizCharters, Inc. (DuPage County, IL) is a new charter operator that provides public charter flights operated by FAA certified direct air carriers under the terms of DOT Public Charter Regulations. According to the carrier, “based in West Chicago, IL at the DuPage County Airport, BizCharter’s main objective is to serve the business traveler, providing convenient, healthy, stress-free and exceptional business class jet charter service eliminating all the hassles commonly found in airline travel.”

The BizCharters management team has analyzed US Department of Transportation (DOT) data to identify markets with high airline traffic and to serve those markets with public jet charter flights between DuPage Airport (DPA) in West Chicago, IL, Morristown, NJ (New York City area) and Washington DC (Dulles) area airports. The company also serves Midway Airport in Chicago.

Read the article by Chicago Business: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. EMB-135LR (ERJ 135) N234BZ (msn 145388) rests at the FBO at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) on August 15 in full company colors.

Video: Company video:

Biz Charters logo

Current Schedule:

Biz Charters 8.2014 Schedule

Ethiopian Airlines and United Airlines to start a codeshare agreement on August 30

Ethiopian Airlines (Addis Ababa) has announced that it has entered into a codeshare agreement with United Airlines (Chicago), effective on August 30, 2014.

Ethiopian, the biggest airline in Africa, currently flies to 82 international destinations across five continents operating a young and modern fleet, such as Boeing 787 and 777 aircraft. The carrier provides daily services to Washington Dulles Airport (IAD) using the Boeing 777 or Boeing 787 aircraft with convenient and easy connections through its main hub in Addis Ababa (ADD) to 49 cities across Africa.

The new codeshare agreement between the two Star Alliance member airlines covers the Addis Ababa–Washington, D.C. trunk route, as well as points in Africa and the U.S.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-260 LR ET-ANO (msn 40771) of Ethiopian Airlines lands at Washington’s Dulles International Airport (IAD).

Ethiopian Airlines: AG Slide Show

United Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

Finnair slips into the red with a 2Q net loss of $32 million, faces an uncertain economic outlook

Finnair (Helsinki) reported a second quarter net loss of €23.9 million ($32.0 million), completely reversed from a €18.1 million net profit ($24.2 million) in the same quarter a year ago. Additionally Finnair could be severely impacted on its Asian routes if Russia implements airspace restrictions for European carriers on its trans-Siberian routes.

Here is the full report:

Finnair Group interim report January 1 – 30 June 30, 2014

Finnair Plc. Interim report 15 August 2014 at 09:30 EET

April–June 2014

Turnover declined by 7.2% to 565.7 million euros (609.7).

The operational result was -19.6 million euros (7.5).

Net cash flow from operating activities stood at 69.2 million euros (101.2), and cash flow from investments totalled -92.2 million euros (-46.5). The cash flow from investments includes aircraft sale and leaseback arrangements implemented during the review period as well as advance payments for the first A350 aircraft.

Unit cost per available seat kilometre excluding fuel, (CASK excl. fuel), decreased by 2.4 per cent from the previous year’s level.

Unit revenue per available seat kilometre (RASK) fell by 5.8%.

Finnair updates its guidance and estimates its turnover in 2014 to be significantly lower than in 2013 and its 2014 operational result to show a significant loss.

CEO Pekka Vauramo:

The second quarter of 2014 was difficult. Finnair’s turnover declined by 7.2 per cent year-on-year to 565.7 million euros. The factors affecting the decrease in turnover included a substantial decline in unit revenue, the loss of external turnover resulting from the restructuring of aviation services, and the weak development of tour operator Aurinkomatkat Suntours. The impact of the weak economic prospects in Finland on domestic demand and intensified international competition, particularly in long-haul traffic, had a negative effect on our unit revenue. The appreciation of the euro against our other primary revenue currencies continued to weaken our unit revenue from passenger traffic. The challenging operating environment has also been reflected in the revenue development of other airlines.

Our passenger load factors in April–June improved year-on-year, and at the same time we made progress with our cost reduction program. I am pleased that our cost reduction targets and market-based approach have been met with understanding also among our personnel, and that we were able to reach agreement on the necessary cost reductions with some of our personnel groups. However, these positive steps were not sufficient to compensate for the drop in revenue, and our operational result declined to a substantial loss at 19.6 million euros in a quarter traditionally strong for Finnair.

Achieving the cost reductions we are pursuing and reaching market level costs in all cost categories is absolutely essential in this financial situation. Finnair is very committed to achieving a competitive cost level and structure.

Outlook

Outlook on August 15, 2014:

The ongoing uncertain economic outlook in Europe and Asia is contributing to weak consumer demand in our main markets. Air traffic is expected to grow moderately in 2014. Finnair, however, will not be able to benefit from that growth without progress in its cost reduction program and its target cost structure in place.

Finnair estimates its turnover in 2014 to be significantly lower than in 2013. Fuel costs are expected to remain high. Due to delays in the personnel cost reduction negotiations and the unfavourable market conditions driving the decline in unit revenue, Finnair estimates that its 2014 operational result will show a significant loss.

Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A321-231 WL OH-LZK (msn 5961) arrives at Rome (Fiumicino).

Finnair: AG Slide Show

Aeroflot and Transaero must obtain prior approval to fly over the Ukraine

The Ukrainian government (Kiev) is taking countermeasures after Russia banned Ukrainian airlines from flying over Russian airspace, severely impacting Ukrainian International Airlines (Kiev) as previously reported.

According to the Moscow Times, “Ukraine demanded that Russian airlines Aeroflot Russian Airlines (Moscow) and Transaero Airlines (Moscow) obtain permission for every flight they make over its territory, because these airlines fly over Crimean airspace which Ukraine considers to be closed.”

The new airspace rule became effective on August 14.

European airlines could face additional airspace restrictions by Russia on trans-Siberian routes following sanctions by the European Union of Russian due to its on-going interference in the Ukraine. If this “airspace war” continues to escalate, airlines like Finnair (Helsinki) could be severely impacted as previously reported.

Ironically Russia and the Ukraine were former members of the old Soviet Union.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

In other news, Transaero is planning to introduce a weekly St. Petersburg-Vienna route (flown with Boeing 737-300s) starting on October 31.

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton/AirlinersGallery.com. Aeroflot’s Boeing 737-8LJ VP-BRF (msn 41195) completes its final approach to Dubai International Airport (DXB).

Aeroflot Russian Airlines: AG Slide Show

Transaero Airlines: AG Slide Show

 

Jazz Aviation’s parent, Chorus Aviation, posts a higher 2Q net profit of $36.5 million

Chorus Aviation (Halifax), the parent of Jazz Aviation (Air Canada Express) (Halifax), reported a second quarter net profit of C$36.5 million ($33.5 million). This basically quadruples its second quarter 2013 net income of C$7.9 million (&.2 million) of the previous year.

Here is the full report:

For the second quarter 2014, Chorus reported EBITDA of $50.7 million compared to $48.0 million in the same quarter 2013, an increase of $2.7 million. Operating income was $34.3 million, $2.6 million higher than the same period 2013. Adjusted net income of $22.2 million or $0.18 per basic share was up by $0.8 million or $0.01 per basic share over the second quarter 2013. Chorus incurred $4.5 million in employee separation program costs in the second quarter versus $2.2 million in the same period in 2013. Chorus has invested $17.2 million in employee separation since the inception of this cost savings program in the first quarter of 2013.

For reporting purposes, at each quarter end, Chorus converts its US denominated aircraft debt into equivalent Canadian dollars based on the prevailing exchange rate. Chorus manages its exposure to currency risk on such long-term debt by billing related lease payments within the Capacity Purchase Agreement (‘CPA’) with Air Canada in the underlying currency (US dollars) related to the aircraft debt. In the second quarter of 2014, Chorus had an unrealized foreign exchange gain of $14.3 million versus an unrealized foreign exchange loss of $13.5 million in the same period of 2013.

Financial Performance –Second Quarter 2014 Compared to Second Quarter 2013

Operating revenue increased from $410.3 million to $417.8 million, representing an increase of $7.5 million or 1.8%. Controllable revenue increased by $9.0 million or 3.5%. This increase occurred primarily as a result of rate increases made pursuant to the CPA of $5.8 million, a favourable US dollar exchange rate of $5.2 million, and a $0.3 million increase in incentives earned under the CPA with Air Canada. These increases were offset by decreased CPA Billable Block Hours of $2.3 million.

Pass-through revenue decreased by $2.1 million or 1.4% from $148.7 million to $146.6 million, which included a decrease of $8.7 million related to airport and navigation fees and terminal handling services. (Effective January 1, 2014, Air Canada entered into a commercial agreement with the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (‘GTAA’) that encompasses Chorus’ Air Canada Express operations. GTAA costs related to landing, terminal and other airport user fees, which are treated as pass-through costs under the CPA, are now paid directly by Air Canada pursuant to this agreement.) This decrease was offset by an increase of $7.3 million related to fuel costs driven primarily by an increase in jet fuel prices. The sale of consignment inventory was the primary factor in other revenue increasing by $0.6 million.

Operating expenses increased from $378.6 million to $383.6 million, an increase of $5.0 million. Controllable costs increased from $229.9 million to $237.0 million, an increase of $7.0 million or 3.1%. Pass-through costs decreased from $148.7 million to $146.6 million, a decrease of $2.1 million or 1.4%.

Salaries, wages and benefits increased by $2.7 million from $100.7 million to $103.4 million. Adjusted salaries, wages and benefits (adjusted by removing employee separation program costs and capitalized major maintenance overhaul labour costs), which includes pension, incentive compensation and other employee benefits, decreased by $0.9 million after incurring an increase in stock based compensation of $0.8 million due to a change in accounting policy. Employee separation program costs incurred during the three months ended June 30, 2014 were $4.5 million, an increase of $2.3 million over the same period of 2013. These costs include employee separation program costs of $2.1 million in 2014 related to the commencement of outsourcing of passenger handling services under applicable collective agreements. Salaries and wages were also affected by fewer labour costs being capitalized as a result of reduced major maintenance overhauls on owned aircraft of $1.4 million.

Aircraft maintenance expense increased by $4.0 million from $37.9 million to $41.9 million partially as a result of an unfavourable US dollar exchange rate on certain maintenance material purchases of $2.7 million and increased other maintenance costs of $2.6 million. These increases were offset by decreased Block Hours of $1.3 million.

Other expenses decreased by $0.8 million from $32.0 million to $31.2 million. The decrease was the result of reduced general overhead expenses.

Non-operating income increased by $27.8 million from a non-operating expense of $19.2 million to a non-operating income of $8.6 million. The strengthening of the Canadian dollar during the quarter contributed to a foreign exchange gain of $11.8 million compared to a foreign exchange loss of $13.0 million in the same period last year. During the quarter, Chorus redeemed the remaining balance of the convertible debentures, which accounted for a decrease in interest accretion of $0.3 million and a decrease in interest expense of $1.5 million. Interest expense related to long-term debt decreased by $0.8 million due to planned principal repayments. Chorus met employment conditions required in order to obtain the maximum annual forgiveness of a portion of the forgivable loan from the province of Nova Scotia, and as such $0.5 million was recorded in other income.

EBITDA was $50.7 million compared to $48.0 million in 2013, an increase of $2.7 million or 5.7%, producing an EBITDA margin of 12.1%.

Operating income of $34.3 million was up $2.6 million or 8.1% over second quarter 2013 from $31.7 million.

Net income for the second quarter of 2014 was $36.5 million or $0.30 per basic share, an increase of $28.6 million from $7.9 million. On an adjusted basis, net income was $22.2 million or $0.18 per basic share, an increase of $0.8 million from $21.4 million. A reconciliation of these non-GAAP measures to their nearest GAAP measure is provided in Chorus’ Management’s Discussion and Analysis dated August 13, 2014.

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Bombardier CRJ705 (CL-600-2D15) C-GLJZ (msn 15051) approaches the runway at Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson International Airport (YYZ).

Air Canada Express-Jazz Aviation: AG Slide Show

Air Canada launches an enhanced Preferred Seats program

Air Canada (Montreal) has launched an enhanced Preferred Seats program that offers customers the choice of more seats with additional legroom aboard its North American flights while also making it easier to book a Preferred Seat through multiple channels, including the web, airport kiosks and mobile devices. Details on Preferred Seats are available at http://www.aircanada.com/en/travelinfo/traveller/seatselection/preferredseats.html.

Preferred Seats typically provide 35 inches (88.9 cm) of legroom compared to standard Economy seats that offer between 31 and 33 inches (78.74 cm – 83.82 cm). Given their popularity since the option to purchase them was first introduced in 2009, Air Canada recently completed a reconfiguration of its narrow-body aircraft to add more Preferred Seats fleetwide in its Economy Cabin. For example, on its 97-seat Embraer 190 aircraft it has increased the number of Preferred Seats to 24 from eight, while on its 146-seat Airbus A320 aircraft the number has been increased to 36 from 16. Seat charts showing Preferred Seat locations on Air Canada aircraft are available at http://www.aircanada.com/en/about/fleet/index.html. Preferred Seats are also available on Air Canada mainline wide-body aircraft and Embraer 175 aircraft operated by SkyRegional for Air Canada Express.

Customers can further personalize their travel by selecting a Preferred Seat for individual legs of their journey or entire trip through a simplified process at the time of booking or at any time prior to boarding on http://www.aircanada.com. Air Canada is also expanding its kiosk and mobile functions for booking Preferred Seats up until time of boarding that will be available starting at the end of August. The cost for Preferred Seats starts at $20 per flight segment for a Tango fare and varies with the length of each flight leg and a customer’s Altitude frequent flier status.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-211 C-FKOJ (msn 330) arrives in Anchorage.

Air Canada: AG Slide Show

Planely Speaking: Power Shift; Gulf Carriers Threat to Alliance Airlines

Guest Editor Aaron Newman

Guest Editor Aaron Newman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Editor Aaron Newman

Power Shift; Gulf Carriers Threat to Alliance Airlines

By Aaron Newman

There are not many days that go by without seeing news come from the Middle East’s emergent airlines. Emirates Airline (Dubai), Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) and Qatar Airways (Doha) have been populating the headlines with large aircraft orders, launching new routes, new state-of-the art airports, and lavish onboard improvements. These three airlines have made established legacy carriers across the globe uneasy as they present a real threat to the established airlines bottom line. Alliance airlines like British Airways, KLM-Air France, Lufthansa, American and United have long dominated trans-oceanic high-yielding business markets. Are these industry mainstays slowly losing their grip?

Emergence of Gulf CarriersGulf Carriers - Come fly with us

Rapid economic development of Persian Gulf countries in the 1970’s and 80’s were due largely in part of the discovery of vast oil and gas reserves and the growth of OPEC. This caused large amounts of capital to flow into these small Gulf nations. Over time, small oil nations began looking for ways to diversify their country’s portfolio in a fear that oil reserves will eventually run out. These three state owned airlines are now an integral part of their countries respective economies. Qatar Airways for example, claims to count for 11% of the state’s GDP. Supported by friendly regulatory environments, government spending on airport infrastructures, and new, reliable long-haul aircraft, these carriers have transitioned from small regional airlines to global mainstays in a decade’s time.

 

 

Keys to Success

Access to cheap capital; the Gulf States have access to large cash reserves from oil and gas resources. This enables Persian Gulf nations to finance rapid growth, and offers support with airport development and infrastructure.

Graph Source: wsj.comGulf Carriers Taking Off

Regional competition; the Gulf airlines cooperate on many issues but also vigorously compete with each other, creating the need for efficient operations and continual product development to attract new customers.

Geography; the Middle East is ideally placed to link major global population centers. It sits at a cross-road between Europe, Africa and Asia.

Emerging market demand; demand from emerging markets is rising fast as a rapidly growing middle class has the time and money to consider travelling by air for leisure and business. The Gulf is located between the mature economies of Europe and the emerging markets of South East Asia, India, China and Africa.

A New Formidable Opponent

The Gulf airlines have combined home markets of only 7.5 million people, and so must rely on connecting passengers with a hub and spoke system. European airlines have been particularly hard hit by this, watching their natural customers travel on Gulf carriers instead of the country’s national carrier. Christoph Franz, former CEO of Lufthansa Group, highlights the challenging future of his prior company on a new Emirates route from Lisbon to Dubai saying , “we are talking about passengers who until now were primarily attracted by flights from Lisbon to Munich, in order to go on to Asian destinations. At least part of them are not flying via Germany anymore,” he says. “In the beginning we were talking about a competitive threat on paper – now we are talking about reality in our markets” (ft.com).

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. Etihad Airways Airbus A340-642 A6-EHF (msn 837) departs from London’s Heathrow Airport.

In a June warning to its investors, Lufthansa cautioned the possibility of downward revisions to the airlines earnings outlook. Chief Financial Officer Simone Menne cited pricing pressure from the Gulf carriers’ expansion into Europe as a major contributing factor. Gulf airlines, which are adding capacity in major European cities such as Paris and London, are also ramping up service in secondary cities like Barcelona and Hamburg. This means that they’re grabbing market share from the European carriers not only at their hubs, but also at their spokes.

Competing on American SoilGulf carriers - Average Age

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gulf three now send nearly 120 large, new planes weekly to a growing number of American cities (WSJ.com). Though the United States and Canada are geographically better positioned than their European counterparts, the Gulf carriers still pose a credible threat. Airlines and governments in North America have been fighting back where they can. In Canada, the government has limited the number of planes that Etihad, Emirates and Qatar can land at its airports–a move to protect Air Canada, and its partner Lufthansa.

Graph Source: Emirates.

“Essentially, these are not airlines—they’re governments,” said Delta CEO Richard Anderson. “They have the ability to gain advantages in markets because profitability doesn’t matter.” He said the U.S. government should revisit its air treaties with other nations to ensure there is “equity” in commerce (wsj.com). Many industry analysts say U.S. opposition has slight chance of slowing down the Gulf carriers in the deregulated era. Washington is unlikely to alienate its Mideast allies, and Boeing, the U.S.’s biggest exporter, gets 10 percent of its wide-body orders from the Gulf carriers.

Looking Into the Future

With a backlog of more than 500 wide body aircraft orders, do not expect these airlines growth to subside. According to a recent report by Credit Suisse, Etihad Airways, Emirates, and Qatar Airways will increase the number of seats offered on their Europe-to-Asia flights between 8 and 18 percent a year between now and 2020 (thefinancialist.com). I believe you will continue to see these airlines enter more secondary markets to grab market share from legacy carriers. I envision cities like Chengdu, Sapporo, Brasilia, and Charlotte N.C. as cities that Gulf carriers will have their eyes on for future growth. With new airports and new aircraft, growth is inevitable; at this point it is not a matter of if Gulf carriers will continue to grow, but it appears to be a matter of when and where.

What can European, Southeast Asian and North American airlines do in response to the new threat to their long-haul business? Airlines must first cut costs. This is critical, particularly for European airlines to remain competitive. For example, Lufthansa needs to reduce costs on flights to Southeast Asia by 40 percent to stay competitive. Another example, according to Credit Suisse, Air France and IAG (British Airways Parent Company) has 30 percent higher unit costs on flights to Southeast Asia than some Asian competitors, Turkish Airlines, and Emirates (thefinancialist.com). Secondly, airlines could reduce route competition and shelter revenue by developing mutual partnerships with the Gulf carriers.  These relationships would make it easier for both Eurasian and North American carriers to get more customers into the Middle East, India and developing nations in Africa with little investment required. As the saying goes; if you can’t beat em,’ join em.’

Emirates: AG Slide Show

Etihad Airways: AG Slide Show

Qatar Airways: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Stefan Sjogren/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-861 A6-EDJ (msn 009) of Emirates arrives at London (Heathrow).

 

V Air to start operations in the fourth quarter of 2014

V Air logo explanation (V Air)(LRW)

V Air (Taipei) intends to launch low-fare services from Taipei in the last quarter of 2014. The first route will be between Taipei (Taoyuan) and Bangkok (Don Mueang) according to Want China Times with A321-200s leased from its parent, TransAsia Airways (Taipei).

The airline’s fleet will consist at first of three A321 aircraft and will be expanded by two additional aircraft each year.

V Air A321-200 WL (14) model (V Air)(LRW)

A model of the A321 in the bear color scheme.

According to the airline, The bear was chosen by the public in January to represent the airline, the smiling bear embodies all of the elements of “positive energy” needed by a new company entering the market: voyage, vision, vitality, and victory.

Images: V Air.

V Air bear

Cathay Pacific’s first half net profit rises to $44.7 million, will retire its Airbus A340s by the end of 2017

Cathay Pacific Airways (Hong Kong) reported a first half net profit of HK $347 million ($44.7 million), up from a net income of HK $24 million ($3.1 million) in the same period a year ago.

The airline issued this first half report:

The Cathay Pacific Group reported an attributable profit of HK $347 million (all amounts in Hong Kong dollars) for the first six months of 2014. This compares to a profit of HK $24 million in the first half of 2013. Earnings per share were HK 8.8 cents compared to earnings per share of HK 0.6 cents for the corresponding period in the previous year. Turnover for the period rose by 4.6% to HK $50,840 million.

A number of factors had a significant negative impact on the Group’s business in the first six months of 2014. The principal adverse factors were reduced passenger yield, continued weakness and over-capacity in the air cargo market, the continued high fuel price and a weak performance from an associated company, Air China.

Fuel remains the Group’s most significant cost. In the first half of 2014 fuel costs increased by 5.2% compared to the same period in 2013. Fuel accounted for 37.9% of total operating costs, which represents a 0.9 percentage point decrease compared with the corresponding period in 2013. In the first half of 2014, hedging activities resulted in a gain of HK $1,024 million. A significant amount of this gain is unrealised. Cathay Pacific continues to increase fuel efficiency by modernising its fleet. It is also focused on controlling costs.

The Group’s passenger revenue in the first six months of 2014 increased by 4.4% to HK $36,520 million compared to the same period in 2013. Capacity increased by 5.3% as a result of the introduction of new routes (to Doha and Newark) and increased frequencies on existing long-haul routes. The load factor increased by 2.3 percentage points to 83.6%, but the increase in passenger numbers was at the expense of yield, which fell by 3.5% to HK 66.6 cents. Passenger demand was strong in all classes of travel on long-haul routes. Demand on regional routes was generally robust, although strong competition put downward pressure on yield and demand was weak on certain Southeast Asian routes.

The Group’s cargo revenue for the first half of 2014 was HK $11,663 million, a rise of 3.4% compared to the same period in the previous year. Yield for Cathay Pacific and Dragonair decreased by 6.9% to HK $2.17. Capacity increased by 10.8%, while the load factor rose by 0.8 percentage points to 63.2%. Over-capacity in the industry remains a major concern and has made it difficult to increase rates. The airlines continued to manage capacity in line with demand in the first half of 2014. More cargo was carried in the bellies of passenger aircraft, reflecting increased use of Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft. Its new cargo terminal in Hong Kong is operating smoothly and now provides services for airlines outside the Cathay Pacific Group.

The Cathay Pacific Group continues to modernize its fleet. In the first six months of 2014 it took delivery of five new aircraft: two Boeing 777-300 ERs, two Airbus A330-300s, and (for Dragonair) one Airbus A321-200. Two Boeing 747-400 passenger aircraft were retired during the period. As part of agreements entered into with The Boeing Company in 2013 the airline is selling its six Boeing 747-400F freighters back to The Boeing Company. Four of these freighters are now parked and all six will have left the fleet by 2016. In the first half of 2014, we planned the accelerated retirement of 11 Airbus A340-300 aircraft. Four of these aircraft will be retired by the end of 2015 and the remaining seven will be retired by the end of 2017. At June 30, 2014 it had 90 aircraft on order for delivery by 2024. In the second half of 2014, Cathay Pacific and Dragonair will take delivery of 11 new aircraft. Two of them were delivered in July and two of them were scheduled to be delivered in August. Four Boeing 747-400 passenger aircraft will be retired, two of them were retired in August.

Cathay Pacific introduced passenger services to Doha and Newark in March and has announced the introduction of services to Manchester and Zurich from December 2014 and March 2015 respectively. Flights were added on the Chicago, Los Angeles and Osaka routes. The airline stopped flying to Abu Dhabi, Karachi and Jeddah but improved its schedules on other Middle Eastern routes. Dragonair started flying to Denpasar-Bali and Penang and increased services on a number of other routes. For cargo, Cathay Pacific tagged Mexico City onto its Guadalajara cargo service and increased it from two to three flights per week. It began flying freighters to Columbus in the United States in March. It will add Calgary in Canada to the network in October.

New Business Class, Premium Economy Class and Economy Class seats have been installed in all Cathay Pacific’s Boeing 777-300 ER and long-haul Airbus A330-300 aircraft. Installation of new Regional Business Class seats is almost complete. The update of First Class seats in Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft will be finished by March 2015. New Business and Economy Class seats had been installed in 23 Dragonair aircraft by the end of June. The first Dragonair aircraft to be fitted with new First Class seats entered service in February.

The Group (which accounts for its share of Air China’s results three months in arrear) recorded a loss from Air China in the first half of 2014. Air China’s results were adversely affected by a difficult operating environment and substantial foreign exchange losses caused by the depreciation of the Renminbi. In June, Cathay Pacific announced a substantial injection of capital and loans into Air China Cargo by its shareholders. This injection is to provide funds to assist the carrier to renew its fleet and improve the performance of its main cargo business.

Cathay Pacific Chairman John Slosar said: “The operating environment for the Cathay Pacific Group – and the aviation industry as a whole – remains challenging. We face significant competition in our passenger business. This makes it difficult to maintain yields. The air cargo business remains problematic because of excess capacity. Intense competition similarly puts pressure on yield. On the plus side, we continue to strengthen our passenger network and the connections available through Hong Kong. The high quality of our products and services increases our attractiveness to passengers. We expect our new freighter fleet and new cargo terminal to allow us to compete successfully in the air cargo market in the long term.

We expect business to be better in the second half of 2014. Our financial position remains strong and will enable us, despite the current difficult trading conditions, to maintain the quality of our products and services and to continue with our long-term strategic investment in the business. As always, we remain committed to strengthening the world class aviation hub in our home, Hong Kong. Finally, we are particularly pleased that in July, Cathay Pacific was named the World’s Best Airline in the annual World Airline Awards run by Skytrax. This is the fourth time we have received this award, which is decided by public voting.”

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. As the report indicates, Cathay Pacific is accelerating the retirement of its older Boeing 747-400F freighters and the pictured Airbus A340-300s. In the first half of 2014, Cathay Pacific accelerated retirement of its 11 Airbus A340-300 aircraft. Four of these aircraft will be retired by the end of 2015 and the remaining seven will be retired by the end of 2017. Airbus A340-313 B-HXL (man 381) completes its final approach to London (Heathrow).

Cathay Pacific: AG Slide Show

KLM leases two additional Boeing 777-300 ERs from Air Lease Corporation

Air Lease Corporation (Los Angeles) has announced long term lease agreements with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (Amsterdam) for two additional new Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft, scheduled for delivery in the second half of 2016 and early 2017. These aircraft placements are in addition to the two new 777-300 ER aircraft scheduled for lease from ALC to KLM in early 2015 and early 2016, all from ALC’s order book.

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-306 ER PH-BVK (msn 42172) of KLM taxies at the Amsterdam base.

KLM: AG Slide Show

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