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The arbitration board issues its final decision for a joint American-US Airways flight attendant contract

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) and US Airways (Phoenix) flight attendants will now have a joint collective bargaining agreement and contract. The dispute went to arbitration and the arbitration board issued its decision.

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) issued this statement about the decision:

On December 13, the seven member Arbitration Panel, established in accordance with the Negotiations Protocol Agreement, issued its decision on the terms of the Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement. The JCBA will consist of the pay, work rules, and benefits outlined in the APFA arbitration proposal. Unfortunately, the award does not include the “me too” clauses for health plans and profit sharing for which APFA argued. The award also does not provide retroactive pay raises for Flight Attendants. APFA had argued for the wage increases to take effect December 2, 2014. Instead, the increases will take effect on January 1, 2015. The effective date of the JCBA is December 13, 2014.

First, APFA proposed that the value of $112 million is the amount that the arbitrators must add to our combined contracts to equal market based in the aggregate, which is the standard provided for in the NPA. AA stipulated to this value.

Second, APFA argued for a “me too” for health insurance, meaning that if the company were to offer another work group health insurance that differs from the health insurance in our JCBA, APFA would have the option of replacing our current insurance with such other health insurance beginning the following year. The company argued against a “me too” for health insurance.

Third, APFA argued for a “me too” for profit sharing, meaning that if another workgroup on AA’s property were given a profit sharing plan, APFA would have the option of reducing the wage rates by $50 million per year (the value allotted for profit sharing in our proposal) and adopting such profit sharing plan. The company argued against a “me too” for Profit Sharing.

Finally, APFA asked for pay rates retroactive to December 2, 2014. The company argued against retroactive pay rates.

A majority of the Panel denied APFA’s request that the JCBA contain “me-toos” regarding the medical plan and profit sharing. In both cases the Panel found that the inclusion of these provisions would push the added value of the JCBA beyond the market-based aggregate of $112 million.

A majority of the Panel also rejected APFA’s argument that the new wage rates of the JCBA be retroactive to December 2, 2014. It held that starting the pay increases prior to the effective date of the JCBA would result in its value exceeding the $112 million cap.

The two union-appointed members of the Arbitration Panel dissented from the Panel’s decision denying the “me-toos” and the retroactivity of the new wage rates.

The effective date of the JCBA is December 13, 2014, the day the decision was issued. A link to the updated contract language including the implementation letter will be uploaded to apfa.org in the next several days. The new pay rates will go into effect on January 1, 2015.

In other news, American Airlines issued this statement today about a mileage promotion:

American Airlines will reward its customers with a bonus mile promotion in 2015, making the AAdvantage program the most generous in the industry. The promotion will offer AAdvantage® and Dividend Miles® members more miles based on the distance flown, the fare purchased and the member’s elite status level.

President, AAdvantage Loyalty Program Suzanne Rubin said: “As the largest airline in the world, with a global network that spans 54 countries, our frequent flyer program must also be the best in the business. A mile flown continues to be a mile earned in AAdvantage, and now we’re going to reward customers even more when they purchase a First or Business Class ticket.”

Beginning January 1, 2015 American will reward customers that are members of either the AAdvantage or Dividend Miles programs with bonus miles for purchased First or Business Class tickets on all eligible flights marketed or operated by American or US Airways. The promotion applies to all travel between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2015.

Eligible flights for AAdvantage members include all AA and US-marketed and operated flights (including codeshare flights between the two carriers), and AA or US-marketed, partner-operated flights, including British Airways, Iberia, Finnair, Japan Airlines and Qantas. Until the company merges the frequent flyer programs in the second quarter 2015, eligible flights for Dividend Miles members will include all AA and US-marketed and operated flights (including codeshare flights between the two carriers).

The airline’s promotion provides bonus miles in addition to base mileage and elite status/class of service bonuses that customers normally earn. The amount of bonus miles earned will depend on the customer’s elite status level and the length of the flight.

American graph 12.15.14

Registration for the promotion is not necessary, as all bonus miles will be automatically added to members’ accounts after the eligible flight is complete. Additional details about the 2015 AAdvantage bonus mile offer are available at aa.com/moremiles.

As previously announced, also beginning January 1, bonus miles for AAdvantage members on Business Class tickets on American and US Airways will increase from 25 to 50 percent to align with what Dividend Miles members receive today.

Over the past year, American has rolled out enhanced benefits to members flying on either airline, including:

The opportunity to earn and redeem miles on American or US Airways, with all eligible travel on either airline counting toward elite status qualification in the program of that member’s choice

Reciprocal benefits for elite status members when flying either airline, including First and Business Class check-in, complimentary checked bags and priority security and boarding

More lounge access, with reciprocal club access for Admirals Club® and US Airways Club members

Easy access to the combined company’s expanded network through the codeshare between American and US Airways, which allows the ability to sell seats on both airlines’ flights

Bringing US Airways into the award-winning oneworld® alliance, offering more options across the Atlantic and an easier and more rewarding global travel experience to Europe and beyond

The ability to easily stay connected while customers fly with Monthly Traveler and Daily Wi-Fi passes, valid on both American and US Airways

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. US Airways’ Boeing 757-23N N204UW (msn 30886), now in American colors, exits the runway at Amsterdam.

American Airlines aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

American Airlines-US Airways aircraft slide show:

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China Airlines to launch Boeing 777-300 service to Frankfurt

China Airlines (Taipei) is planning to launch new Boeing 777-300 ER service to Frankfurt from Taipei (Taoyuan) starting on November 1, 2015. The new type will replace the current Boeing 747-400 service and will operate five days a week per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-36N ER B-18051 (msn 41821) prepares to land at Los Angeles International Airport.

China Airlines aircraft slide show:

AirAsia X firms up its order for 55 Airbus A330-900neo aircraft

AirAsia X A330-900neo (14)(Flt)(Airbus)(LRW)

AirAsia X (AirAsia.com) (Kuala Lumpur), the long haul affiliate of AirAsia (AirAsia.com) (Malaysia) (Kuala Lumpur), has placed a firm order with Airbus for 55 A330neo aircraft. This is the largest single order to date for the A330 Family and reaffirms AirAsia X’s position as the biggest A330 airline customer worldwide, having now ordered a total of 91 aircraft. The announcement covers the firming up of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for 50 A330neo signed during the Farnborough Air Show in July 2014, plus an additional five aircraft. Deliveries of the newly-ordered aircraft will begin in 2018.

The A330neo will incorporate latest generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, aerodynamic enhancements and new cabin features.

Image: Airbus. A conception image of the A330-900neo.

AirAsia X aircraft slide show:

9 air starts operations in China

9 air (9air.com) (Jiu Yuan Airlines) (Guangzhou-Baiyun) commenced operations on December 2. The first route connected Guangzhou with Zhanjiang. The new airline is a subsidiary of Juneyao Airlines.

Copyright Photo: Ivan K. Nishimura/Blue Wave Group/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8GP B-1715 (msn 39819) passes through Honolulu on delivery. B-1715 is one of three 737-800s leased from Transportation Partners (Lion Air).

 

Flydubai to add three new routes in 2015

Flydubai (Dubai) has announced the addition of three new routes to its growing network. Flights to Hargeisa (Somaliland), Chennai (India), and Nejran (Saudi Arabia) will commence in the first quarter of 2015, further expanding the carrier’s footprint to 89 destinations in 46 countries.

From March 5, 2015, Flydubai will become the first carrier to operate to Hargeisa, Somaliland from Dubai with four weekly flights. Flydubai has expanded its network in Africa in 2014 to 13 points served by 60 weekly flights.

Nejran will be added on January 10, 2015 with four weekly flights followed by Chennai on March 31, 2015 with three flights a week.

Copyright Photo: Nick Dean/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8KN A6-FDE (msn 40235) departs from Paine Field.

Flydubai aircraft slide show:

El Al’s third quarter net profit slips to only $10.1 million

El Al Israel Airlines (Tel Aviv) reported a third quarter net profit of $10.1 million, down from a net profit of $57.9 million in the same quarter a year ago. Net loss during the period of the first nine months of 2014 amounted to $13.2 million compared to a profit of $29.1 million dollars during the equivalent period in the previous year.

El Al’s CEO, David Maimon: “The results of the third quarter reflect the effect of the “Operation Protective Edge”, which caused significant harm to revenues and as a result El Al requested government assistance. This is the first time since the Second Lebanon War in 2006 in which El Al presents a significant decline in third quarter profits which is traditionally considered as its strongest quarter. In addition, the quarter was characterized by an erosion in prices which resulted in a decline in revenues per passenger.”

Maimon added: “On the other hand, we have significant marketing achievements: the number of members of the Frequent Flyers Club in Israel and globally increased to 1.4 million members, inter alia thanks to the launching of the Flycard and Flycard Premium credit cards with 40 thousand customers ordering these cards within a few weeks. In addition, in the framework of the renewal and extension of the Company’s network of destinations, in the fourth quarter we announced the opening of a new El Al direct line to Boston and a new cooperative agreement (codeshare) signed with JetBlue Airways and American Airlines, which enables our customers to fly to a wide range of destinations in the US with high availability and convenient connections.”

The results of the third quarter of 2014:

Revenues amounted to $601.2 million dollars, compared to $643.3 million during the equivalent quarter in the previous year, a decline of 6.5%. Revenues per passenger declined by 7.3%, mainly as a result of a drop in the yield per passenger-kms, as a result of the negative effects of the ‘Operation Protective Edge’. Revenues from cargo transport increased by 4.5%, mainly as a result of an increase in the number of ton-kms flown, after setting off a decline in the yield.

Operating expenses increased by 2% to $493 million compared to $483.6 million during the equivalent quarter in the previous year. The rate of operating expenses to turnover increased from 75.2% in the third quarter of 2013 to 82.0% in this quarter. The increase in operating expenses was a result mainly of the increase in expenses for jet fuel, an increase in levies and air transition fees, and after setting-off the decline in salary and security expenses.

Salary expenses declined during the quarter, mainly due to the effect of the devaluation in the rate of the shekel compared to the dollar on the Company’s liabilities for employee benefits. The number of the Company’s employees, permanent and temporary, stood at an average of 6,216 employees, compared to 6,109 during the equivalent quarter in the previous year.

The Company’s expenses for jet fuel increased by 5.2%. The increase was due to the effect of the increase in operations and the effect of the increase in the effective price of jet fuel (which includes the results of hedging operations that the Company took). It should be mentioned that the prices of jet fuel in the market declined in the third quarter compared to the equivalent quarter in the previous year, but the Company’s hedging operations resulted in an increase in the effective price for the Company. The rate of jet fuel expenses to turnover increased from 30.3% during the equivalent quarter in the previous year to 34.1% in the third quarter. Total hedging payments in the quarter under report agregated 2.9 million dollars compared to $4.4 million receipts from hedging for the equivalent quarter in the previous year. In addition, the Company recorded expenses of $5.8 million as a result of changes in the fair value of the hedging transactions, which are not recognized as hedging (revenues of 2.4 million dollars during the equivalent quarter in the previous year).

Gross profits amounted to $108.3 million (18.0% of turnover), compared to $159.7 million for the equivalent quarter in the previous year (24.8% of turnover).

Income from operations amounted to $29.1 million, compared to $75.6 million during the equivalent quarter in the previous year.

Net financing expenses during the quarter amounted to $15.4 million compared to net financing income of $5.2 million during the equivalent quarter in the previous year, mainly due to the results of hedging the rates of exchange.

Net profit for the third quarter of 2014 amounted to $10.1 million, compared to $57.9 million for the third quarter of 2013.

Cash flows used for operating activities in the third quarter of 2014 amounted to $12.0 million compared to $56.1 million cash flows provided by operating activities during the equivalent quarter in the previous year.

The EBITDA in the third quarter of 2014 amounted to $57.3 million compared to $100.6 million during the equivalent quarter.

Results for the first nine months of 2014:

Revenues for the first nine months of the year amounted to $1,588.2 million, compared to $1,604.0 million during the equivalent period in the previous year, a decline of 1.0% due mainly to the decline in yield as a result of the increasing competition and after setting off the increase in the number of passengers flown.

Operating expenses during the first nine months of 2014 amounted to $1,357.7 million compared to $1,324.4 million during equivalent period in the previous year, an increase of 2.5%.

Salary expenses increased during the first nine months of 2014 compared to the equivalent period in the previous year, mainly due to the effect of the revaluation which occurred during most of the period of report in the average rate of the shekel against the dollar on expenses, most of which are in shekels. The increase was set off by the effect of the devaluation of the rate of the shekel compared to the dollar at the end of the period on the Company’s liabilities for employee benefits.

The Company’s expenses for jet fuel increased by 1.0% compared to the equivalent period in the previous year. This due to the changes in the fair value of hedging transactions which are not recognized as hedging, payments for hedging compared to receipts during the equivalent period in the previous year, an increase in operations and setting off the decline in the prices of jet fuel in the market. The rate to turnover increased from 32.9% to 33.5%. Total hedging payments during the period of report amounted to $1 million compared to $4.7 million of hedging receipts during the equivalent period in the previous year. In addition, the Company recorded expenses of $5.5 million as a result of changes in the fair value of hedging transaction which are not recognized as hedging (an expense of $2.4 million during the equivalent period in the previous year).

Security expenses the Company recorded a significant decline of $14.3 million as result of an increase in the rate of the State’s participation.

Gross profits during the first nine months of 2014 amounted to $230.5 million, which is a rate of 14.5% of turnover, compared to gross profits of $279.6 million (a rate of 17.4% of turnover) during the equivalent period in the previous year.

Operating income during the first nine months of 2014 amounted to $1.8 million, compared to $46.3 million during the first nine months of 2013.

Net financing expenses amounted to $20.9 million compared to $4.0 million during the equivalent period in the previous year; the increase was a result of the hedging transactions on the rates of exchange.

Net loss during the period of the first nine months of 2014 amounted to $13.2 million compared to a profit of $29.1 million dollars during the equivalent period in the previous year.

El Al’s EBITDA for the first nine months of the year amounted to $84.8 million dollars compared to $121.3 million during the equivalent period in the previous year.

Cash flows from operating activities for the first nine months of the year amounted to $147.9 million, compared to $184.6 million during the equivalent period in the previous year.

Additional data:

As of September 30, 2014, the balances of the Company’s cash, cash equivalents and short-term deposits amounted to $138.0 million dollars.

It should be mentioned that during the third quarter of 2014, the Company invested $66.2 million in fixed assets and other assets, mainly in the acquisition of an additional Boeing 737-900 aircraft, as well as repaying current loans of $48.3 million and receiving loans of $75.4 million dollars to finance the acquisition of new aircraft.

Copyright Photo: El Al’s Boeing 777-258 ER 4X-ECE (msn 36083) taxies at London (Heathrow).

El Al aircraft slide show:

 

South African Airways to add a new route to Etihad Airway’s Abu Dhabi home

South African Airways (Johannesburg) is moving closer to potential equity partner Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) with an expanded codeshare relationship as previously reported. SAA will launch a new daily route to Abu Dhabi from Johannesburg on March 29, 2015 with Airbus A330-200s.

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 ZS-SXV (msn 1249) arrives at the Johannesburg base.

South African aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Turkish Airlines is coming to Manila

Turkish Airlines (Istanbul) will start a new route from Istanbul (IST) to Manila next year. The new route will be operated three days week with Airbus A340-300 aircraft starting on March 30, 2015 according to Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A340-311 TC-JDJ (msn 023) taxies at New York (JFK).

Turkish Airlines aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Red Wings Airlines to take delivery of three former Moskovia Airlines Superjet 100s

Red Wings Superjet 100 RA-89021 (07)(Red Wings)(LRW)

Red Wings Airlines (Moscow) has announced it has opened the sale of tickets for the Moscow-Grozny route. Flights will be operated from January 2 to March 28, 2015 with newly acquired Sukhoi Superjet 100s.

Red Wings Airlines selected the Sukhoi Superjet 100 on October 8, 2014 and signed a contract to lease the three Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft from Sukhoi.

The aircraft will be handed over to the airline before the end of the 2014 season. Red Wings plans to fly the Sukhoi Superjet 100 from Moscow also to Ufa, Sochi, Chelyabinsk and Makhachkala.

According to ch-aviation Red Wings is to take delivery of the former Moskovia Airlines aircraft starting this month. RA-89001 (msn 95008) and RA-89021 (msn 95021) (above) are scheduled to arrive on or after December 22 with RA-89002 (msn 95002) set to follow in March 2015 according to ch-aviation.

Photos: Red Wings Airlines.

Red Wings aircraft slide show:

Red Wings FAs (Red Wings)(LRW)

Aeroflot to start Moscow-Samarkand flights

Aeroflot Russian Airlines (Moscow) in January is starting daily regular flights on the route Moscow — Samarkand.

Aeroflot will operate the new route with Airbus A320s from Sheremetyevo Airport Terminal D.

Samarkand is the second largest city in Uzbekistan and the capital of the Samarkand Province.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 VQ-BKU (msn 4835) arrives in London (Heathrow).

Aeroflot aircraft slide show:

Belavia Belarusian Airlines to introduce the Boeing 737-800 on the Minsk-Barcelona route

737-800 Belavia Artwork

Belavia Belarusian Airlines (Minsk) is getting ready to take delivery of its first Boeing 737-800 (737-8K5 EW-437PA, msn 27988, ex D-AHFP) leased from AerCap.

Previously on June 26, 2014 Belavia announced it had reached an agreement with Boeing on an order for three 189-seat Next-Generation 737-800 airplanes.

Belavia currently operates six Boeing 737-500s and seven 737-300s.

Belavia is planning to initially operate the new type on the Minsk-Barcelona route starting on May 16, 2015 per Airline Route.

Image: Boeing.

Belavia aircraft slide show:

 

Iberia to add six new routes from Madrid next summer

Iberia (Madrid) is planning to add six new destinations for the next summer season. The flag carrier will add service from Madrid to Budapest (starting on June 2, 2015, three weekly flights), Catania (June 20, one weekly), Florence (March 29, six weekly), Funchal (July 4, twice weekly), Hamburg (March 30, four weekly) and Palermo (June 23, weekly) per Airline Route.

Additionally Iberia Express will add Edinburgh (March 29, four weekly), Naples (June 1, three weekly) and Verona (June 2, three weekly).

Copyright Photo: Iberia’s Airbus A320-214 EC-MCS (msn 6244) taxies at London’ Heathrow Airport.

Iberia aircraft slide show:

Iberia (2013) logo

Map of Iberia’s expansion:

Iberia new routes 2015 map and graph

 

TAP Portugal to increase the frequency on the Miami route

TAP Portugal (Miami) from June 28 through September 22, 2015 will go to daily service on the Lisbon-Miami route. Ironically this is the summer rainy season for Miami, the off season for North American visitors. The route is operated with Airbus A330s and A340s.

Copyright Photo: Pedro Baptista/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330223 CS-TOH (msn 181) in the Star Alliance livery arrives at the Lisbon hub.

TAP Portugal aircraft slide show:

 

VivaAerobus is coming to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport

VivaAerobus (Monterrey) will launch new international service to DFW International Airport from two of Mexico’s largest cities, Guadalajara and from Monterrey, starting on March 28, 2015. The low cost carrier will use Airbus A320 aircraft and will operate out of DFW’s International Terminal D three times per week. VivaAerobus also plans to launch service from DFW to Cancun in July of 2015.

VivaAerobus currently serves 21 destinations in Mexico with hubs in Monterrey and Cancun, and also serves three U.S. destinations in addition to DFW Airport. Headquartered in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, Viva Aerobus is co-owned by IAMSA, Mexico’s largest bus company conglomerate, and the founders of Ryanair, Europe’s biggest low-cost carrier.

When service begins in March, VivaAerobus will become the eighth international carrier to start service at DFW since 2011, extending the Airport’s recent run of international expansion. Since 2011, DFW has added 25 new international routes, 18 of those to new international destinations.

Copyright Photo; Greenwing/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 EI-ERH (msn 2157) was formerly operated by Livingston.

VivaAerobus aircraft slide show:

VivaAerobus logo

Current route map:

VivaAerobus 12.2014 Route Map

Interjet expands its Miami operations

Interjet (Mexico City) is expanding its operations in Miami. The airline is launching a new route connecting Cancun with Miami International Airport (MIA) on December 18. The new route will operate six days a week.

The carrier’s regular Mexico City-Miami will be increased to 18 flights a week on January 7, 2015.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 XA-BAV (msn 5372) arrives in Miami.

Interjet aircraft slide show:

Interjet wavy logo

Current routes from Mexico City:

Interjet 12.2014 MEX Route Map

 

EasyJet announces 19 new routes for summer season 2015

EasyJet (UK) (easyJet.com) (London-Luton) is continuing it’s ever-expanding route map by announcing 19 new routes for the summer season of 2015.

The new routes were released on the carrier’s website. They are as follows:

Amsterdam – Corfu (June 30) twice weekly
Amsterdam – Ibiza (June 30) three times weekly
Amsterdam – Palermo (June 29) twice weekly
Bristol – Bilbao (April 19) twice weekly
Bristol – Isle of Man (April 19) four times weekly
Bristol – Zakinthos (May 13) once weekly
Hamburg – Alicante (March 30) twice weekly
Hamburg – Bologna (March 29) three times weekly
Hamburg – Irakleion (June 27) twice weekly
Hamburg – Paris Orly (March 29) once daily
Hamburg – Pisa (March 30) twice weekly
Hamburg – Thessaloniki (June 29) twice weekly
Lisbon – Ponta Delgada (March 29) three times weekly
London Luton – Split (June 16) three times weekly
Manchester – Kefalonia (June 16) twice weekly
Manchester – Split (June 17) twice weekly
Newcastle – Corfu (June 7) once weekly
Newcastle – Rhodes (June 4) once weekly
Newcastle – Split (June 2) twice weekly

Sophie Dekkers, easyJet’s UK Director, said:

“We’re pleased to be continuing our growth with additional new routes for next summer placed on sale today.”

“This underlines our commitment to both leisure and business passengers across the UK, making it easy and affordable for them to connect to a choice of summer destinations and we expect our new routes to be especially popular.”

 

Reported by Assistant Editor Oliver Wilcock from Manchester.

Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-111 G-EZGA (msn 4427) lands at EuroAirport serving Basel/Mulhouse/Freiburg..

EasyJet (UK) aircraft slide show:

British Airways announces new flights to Greece from London City Airport

British Airways (London) has announced new flights to Greece from London City Airport for the summer of 2015. The British flag carrier announced seasonal services to Mykonos and Thira (Santorini) for operation from June 29 to September 6, 2015. The routes will be operated with Embraer ERJ 190s by BA CityFlyer.

The route schedule released by BA is as follows:

London City – Mykonos: Four Times Weekly

BA2221 LCY 1040 – 1615 JMK E90 134
BA2221 LCY 1245 – 1820 JMK E90 7
BA2220 JMK 1705 – 1900 LCY E90 134
BA2220 JMK 1920 – 2115 LCY E90 7

London City – Thira: Twice Weekly
BA2223 LCY 1040 – 1620 JTR E90 25
BA2222 JTR 1705 – 1900 LCY E90 25

BA’s general manager commercial at London City, Luke Hayhoe, said to wharf.co.uk: “London City is no longer just a business airport as our growing leisure schedule shows.

“In recent years we have launched new flights to many popular summer sun spots in Spain, Italy and France, now we are delivering what our customers have asked for – some Greek Island destinations.”

Reported by Assistant Editor Oliver Wilcock from Manchester.

Copyright Photo: Nik French/AirlinersGallery.com. Embraer ERJ 190-100SR G-LCYM (msn 19000351) taxies at Manchester.

British Airways aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

British Airways-BA CityFlyer aircraft slide show:

Air Canada launches year-round service to Rio de Janeiro

Air Canada (Montreal) has inaugurated new nonstop service between Toronto (Pearson) and Rio de Janeiro – Galeão International Airport with the departure of flight AC 098. The year-round flight to Brazil’s “Marvelous City” will complement Air Canada’s existing daily nonstop service to Sao Paulo and further drive Air Canada’s international expansion strategy.

Three-times-weekly service is being operated with a Boeing 767-300 ER aircraft with 24 International Business Class and 187 Economy seats.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 767-38E ER C-GDUZ (msn 25347) departs from London (Heathrow).

Air Canada aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Ryanair to add Deauville, France on April 3, 2015

Ryanair (Dublin) has announced that it is extending it’s summer 2015 schedule from London Stansted Airport, with a new route to Deauville, France. This is in addition to the previously announced four new summer 2015 routes to Ponta Delgada (Azores), Cologne, Glasgow and Edinburgh and increased flights on 24 existing routes to and from London (Stansted).

The new route to Deauville will operate twice weekly on Mondays and Fridays from April 3, 2015.

Reported by Assistant Editor Oliver Wilcock from Manchester.

Copyright Photo: SM Fitzwilliams Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. Up close and person. Boeing 737-8AS EI-EVK (msn 40298) launches into the sky at the Dublin base.

Ryanair aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

United to drop four more routes from Cleveland

United Airlines (Chicago) continues to downsize its Cleveland station, creating new opportunities for other carriers. On March 5, 2015, the carrier will drop the route to Dallas/Fort Worth, followed by Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, Fort Myers and Tampa in Florida on April 7, 2015 according to Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-824 N76505 (msn 32834) with Aviation partners Boeing Split Scimitar Winglets climbs away from the runway at Los Angeles International Airport.

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

 

Reuters: Airbus is confident it can deliver the first A350 to Qatar Airways within 10 days

Airbus (Toulouse) is confident it can prepare the first Airbus A350-900 for delivery to launch customer Qatar Airways (Doha) within 10 days according to this report by Reuters.

The original delivery ceremony was scheduled for December 13.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Eurospot/AirlinersGallery.com. The first delivery A350, the pictured A350-941 F-WZFA (msn 006) will become A7-ALA on the handover, whenever that occurs.

Qatar Airways aircraft slide show:

London ATC goes down temporarily

LHR (9-04)(Aerial)(KDB)(LRW)

Dozens of flights to and from Heathrow airport were delayed or cancelled due to a power outage at air traffic control, European air traffic control authority Eurocontrol said on Friday. London airspace was briefly closed.

Heathrow, which is the UK’s busiest airport, reported earlier: “There is a power outage at the NATS control center in Swanwick which is affecting UK airspace.”

“Flights are currently experiencing delays. We will update passengers as soon as we have more information.”

London Gatwick, Stansted and Luton Airports are accepting arrivals but have suspended departures.

A number of flights were held over the English Channel.

Manchester Airport meanwhile says it is unaffected by the airspace closure and claims it is ready to accept any London bound diverted flights..

London airspace has been effectively closed until 7pm due to a power outage at a control centre.

People travelling have been warned to expect severe delays.

NATs have said: “We can confirm that a technical problem has been reported at Swanwick air traffic control centre. We apologise for any delays and our incident response team has been mobilised. Every possible action is being taken to assist in resolving the situation and to confirm the details. Further information will be released as it becomes available.”

The state-of-the art centre at Swanwick has been subject to a number of computer glitches since Nats moved there from its old headquarters in West Drayton in west London in the early part of the last decade.

One of the worst problems was a year ago – on Saturday December 7 2013 – when thousands of passengers were left stranded when hundreds of flights were grounded following a technical fault at the Hampshire centre.

Read the analysis by Bloomberg Businessweek: CLICK HERE

Report by Assistant Editor Oliver Wilcock from Manchester.

Top Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. An aerial photo of London Heathrow Airport.

Bottom Image: SPA. A rare radar image – no flights airborne over the London area during the ground stop.

London Radar

Embraer delivers the 1,100 E-Jet

AeroMexico connect ERJ 190-100 XA-GAW (06-110 E-Jets)(Grd) MEX (Embraer)(LRW)

Embraer delivered the 1,100th E-Jet production aircraft on December 10 during a ceremony held in the AeroMexico hangar, at the Benito Juárez International Airport, in Mexico City. The aircraft, an ERJ 190 model, is also the 200th aircraft from the E-Jet family flying in Latin America.

AeroMexico operates a fleet of 62 Embraer jets through its regional brand and subsidiary, AeroMexico Connect (Aerolitoral): 27 ERJ 190s, six ERJ 170s, three ERJ 175s, and 26 ERJ 145s.

The first delivery of an E -Jet in Latin America occurred in 2005. Currently, eight airlines, from seven countries, operate the E-Jets in the region, where Embraer is the leader in the segment of jets up to 130 seats, with a 70% market share.

In June 2013, Embraer launched the second generation of the E-Jets family – the E-Jets E2 – the first of which is slated to enter service in 2018.

Copyright Photo: Embraer. The pictured ERJ 190-100LR XA-GAW (msn 19000679) carries a special “1100 E-Jets” emblem.

AeroMexico Connect aircraft slide show:

Randy Tinseth of Boeing counters Airbus’ claim the A321neo is a Boeing 757 replacement

3D imagery, 737 MAX, MAX, 737 MAX 7, 737 MAX8, 737 MAX 9

Randy Tinseth, the vice president of marketing for the Boeing Commercial Airplanes in Seattle responded to claims airline customers are still waiting for a true Boeing 757 replacement. Randy also countered Airbus’ claims the proposed A321neo is a 757 replacement.

Randy wrote the following on his Randy’s Journal:

There’s been a lot of talk lately about a replacement for the 757. The fact is, today’s 737 and other airplanes its size already fly 90 percent of flights that used to be operated with a 757. And in the future, that number will jump to 95 percent thanks to airplanes like the 737 MAX.

For example, take Norwegian. They recently announced plans to use the 737 MAX 8 on transatlantic routes beginning in 2017. Other large 757 operators have publicly noted their continued discussions with Boeing around airplanes for trans-Atlantic missions.

Meanwhile, Airbus claims its proposed long ranger version of the A321neo is a true 757 replacement. In reality, it falls short in two big ways. It can’t match the 757’s range, and it can’t carry as many passengers.

The 737 MAX 9 and the A321neoLR are both capable of North Atlantic range by adding auxiliary tanks, with the 737 MAX 9 flying the mission more efficiently. The A321neoLR needs three auxiliary tanks and increased takeoff weight— while the 737 MAX 9 could do the mission with just one auxiliary tank, allowing for more cargo space.

The 737 MAX is a great airplane that’s sized right for the heart of the single-aisle market— along with the right range capabilities. It’s a key part of our overall product development strategy, that along with the 777X and 787-10, is set for the next decade.

As for that space in between the upper end of the 737 and the 787-8, we continue to talk with our customers to better understand their needs in the future.

Image: Boeing. The Boeing 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9.

“Living in the Age of Airplanes” is coming in April

 

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/101896187″>Living in the Age of Airplanes — Trailer #1</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/airplanesmovie”>Living in the Age of Airplanes</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

National Geographic Studios has acquired the global theatrical rights to the film “Living in the Age of Airplanes,” which takes audiences on an epic journey through 18 countries and across all seven continents as it presents a unique perspective on how the airplane has changed the world. It will be available to 15/70 flat and dome film screens and to all digital screens when it is released worldwide on April 10, 2015.

Produced and directed by Brian J. Terwilliger (“One Six Right”), “Living in the Age of Airplanes” is narrated by actor and pilot Harrison Ford and features an original score by Academy Award®-winning composer and pilot James Horner (“Avatar,” “Titanic”). The film was shot in 95 locations around the globe, from remote places like the South Pole and the Maldives to historically significant sites of ancient civilizations. The narrative weaves together the profound ways that aviation has transformed our lives, connecting countries and cultures while expanding horizons and minds.

“Since we were all born into a world with airplanes, it’s hard to imagine that jet travel itself is only 60 years old, just a tick on the timeline of human history,” said Terwilliger. “Yet practically overnight, our perception of crossing continents and oceans at 500 mph has turned from fascination to frustration. I want to reignite people’s wonder for one of the most extraordinary aspects of the modern world.”

“‘Living in the Age of Airplanes’ is the perfect film for National Geographic,” said Mark Katz, president of distribution for National Geographic Studios. “Its visuals are breathtaking, it tells an amazing story and will engage audiences on a variety of levels, from adventure to geography to exploration and more, which aligns completely with National Geographic’s mission to inspire, illuminate and teach.”

The ordeal of United Airlines flight UA 863 to Australia

United flight UA863 (Catherine Devine)(LR)

United Airlines (Chicago) flight UA 863 from San Francisco to Sydney did go as planned. That is an understatement for the 251 passengers on board the flight.

The aircraft, a Boeing 777-200 ER, after the long flight from San Francisco to Sydney was diverted to Canberra due to debris on the runway at Sydney. The runway at SYD was closed for only 35 minutes but two United aircraft were on reserve fuel and had to divert. The flight when it was arrived at Canberra was unable to process its passengers by Customs and Immigration because they were unavailable to process the passengers at the mainly domestic airport. The flight crew also was out of legal flying time. The passengers were stuck on the tarmac for 7 hours. Some passengers had been traveling for over 30 hours.

Read the full account from ABC News: CLICK HERE

Read the passenger accounts on #UA863: CLICK HERE

Top Twitter Photo by Catherine Devine: Passengers were feed on the tarmac.

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

WestJet and Delta announce a frequent flyer agreement

WestJet (Calgary) has announced a reciprocal frequent flyer agreement with Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) , a code-share partner with WestJet since 2012.

The agreement allows WestJet Rewards members to earn WestJet dollars on flights marketed and operated by Delta Air Lines, with access to Delta’s extensive global network of more than 300 destinations on six continents.

In addition to the new accrual agreement, WestJet now also offers WestJet Rewards members the ability to use WestJet dollars on all code-share flights marketed by WestJet and operated by Delta. The two airlines will continue to work together to expand their relationship even further, including the introduction of full reciprocal redemption in the coming year that will allow members to redeem for destinations beyond WestJet’s current network.

Copyright Photo: Eddie Maloney/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8CT C-GWBU (msn 39075) of Westjet with Aviation Partners Boeing Split Scimitar Winglets arrives in Las Vegas.

WestJet aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

 

Shuttle America to operate nine additional Embraer ERJ 170s for Delta Air Lines

Republic Airways Holdings Inc. (Indianapolis) has announced it has reached an amendment to its Capacity Purchase Agreement (“CPA”) with Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) to operate nine additional 69-seat Embraer ERJ 170 (E170) aircraft. The aircraft are scheduled to be placed into service between the 3rd quarter of 2015 and the 2nd quarter of 2016 and will operate for a term of six years per aircraft. In addition, the Company and Delta have agreed to extend the term of the agreement for the existing 14 ERJ 170 aircraft by four years, or through October 2021, and the existing 16 ERJ 175 aircraft by approximately five years, or through February 2024. Both types are operated for Delta by subsidiary Shuttle America.

The nine additional ERJ 170 aircraft will either be sourced internally by the Company or with used aircraft available in the open market.

Republic Airways Holdings Inc., based in Indianapolis, Indiana, is an airline holding company that owns Chautauqua Airlines, Republic Airlines and Shuttle America.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Embraer ERJ 170-100SU N870RW (msn 17000138) arrives in Washington (Reagan National).

Delta Connection-Shuttle America aircraft slide show:

Delta adds nonstop service to Los Angeles and New Orleans for college football postseason games

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) has added nonstop service to Los Angeles and New Orleans from several destinations to accommodate customers traveling to the NCAA college football’s postseason games.

The temporary service will operate as follows:

Delta 12.2014 special football flights

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 757-351 N590NW (msn 32990) departs from Los Angeles.

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

Alaska Airlines’ old seats will fly again as carry-on bags

Alaska seat-to-bag (Alaska)(LR)

Alaska Airlines (Seattle/Tacoma) has published this recycling story on their company blog.alaskaair.com:

Reclaimed leather from replaced airplane seats will fly again as carry-on bags, thanks to a collaboration between Alaska Airlines and an innovative design team.

Alaska’s discarded leather found new life in the hands of Mariclaro, which makes bags and accessories from sustainable materials.
Bags made from Alaska Airlines leather: The Atlas Collection

Alaska seat-to-bag 2 (Alaska)(LR)

“It’s very exciting to see someone developing a grass-roots business from something that we were just going to throw away,” said Pete Roberts, a program manager in Alaska’s maintenance and engineering department and a member of the company’s Green Team, a group dedicated to driving environmental efforts.

When Alaska began refreshing its fleet of Boeing 737-800s and -900s with new Recaro seats (complete with power outlets in every seat by the end of this month), the leather appeared destined for a landfill. That’s when members of Alaska’s Green Team stepped up to find someone who could use it.

“The material is perfect for this project – the high-quality airplane leather seat covers are made to last,” said Sven Schlegel, who co-founded Mariclaro. “One of our basic missions is to show that you can turn waste materials declared for the landfill into designs that look sleek and last forever – guaranteed for another million miles!”

Take a seat – it’s in the bag

In addition to the carry-on bags, the designers have made purses and laptop bags, some with airplane seat-belt buckle closures.
recycled leather bagBag made from recycled Alaska Airlines seat leather.

The bags are available to buy through the Mariclaro website, and Alaska began selling some of the bags, purses and passport covers at the Alaska Airlines Company Store at 20833 International Boulevard in SeaTac.

“This collaboration is a fun example of how our airline is living our mission of sustainability and really making a difference in the world,” said Greg Mays, Alaska’s vice president of maintenance and engineering. “By partnering with these innovative designers, we’re not only diverting waste from local landfills, but we’re giving people a chance to own a piece of Alaska’s history. It’s not often that people can own a bag that has already traveled more miles than they have.”

In all, Alaska has given more than 6,000 reclaimed leather seat covers to 11 recipients, including a local Boy Scout troop, the Washington State Department of Corrections and the International Academy of Design and Technology in Seattle. That represents more than 18,000 pounds of leather that otherwise would have been thrown away.

Integrating sustainability

Alaska is an airline-industry leader in integrating sustainable practices into its business, as part of the company’s efforts to be a greener neighbor within the communities where it flies. Alaska is the only U.S. domestic carrier to recycle “mixed recyclables” – glass, paper, plastic and aluminum – on every flight. Alaska has cut waste by more than 50 percent per passenger since 2010, saving nearly 2,900 tons of recyclables that otherwise would have gone to landfills.

Earlier this year, Alaska announced aggressive sustainability goals, pledging to decrease fuel consumption by 20 percent (gallons flying one passenger one mile) and use a sustainable aviation biofuel at one or more airports by 2020. Improvements in fuel efficiency have saved Air Group more than 10 million gallons of fuel since 2011, and Air Group has reduced its greenhouse gases by more than 30 percent per revenue mile since 2004.

Alaska installs fuel-saving winglets on aircraft, uses cutting-edge satellite navigation procedures and switched to electric vehicles for airport operations at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, among other measures. The International Council on Clean Transportation ranked Alaska Airlines No. 1 in fuel efficiency among U.S. domestic airlines last year.

Photos: Alaska Airlines.

Alaska Airlines aircraft slide show:

Southwest files to serve six international destinations from Houston Hobby Airport

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) filed applications today (December 11) with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) requesting approval to serve six destinations in Latin America with new, daily, nonstop service from William P. Hobby Airport in Houston. After receiving U.S. government approval of the new service, Southwest will begin selling these flights at Southwest.com, offering Customers nonstop options between Houston (Hobby) and four destinations in Mexico—Cancun, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, and San Jose del Cabo/Los Cabos—as well as flights to San Jose, Costa Rica, and Belize City, Belize. Service to Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City, Belize, adds a second destination in Central America, a seventh country, and the 96th city on the Southwest route map.

HOU logo

The new Houston flights will be made possible by the completion of an estimated $156 million five-gate international concourse now under construction at Hobby. The completed project will increase capacity for all airport functions and add a Federal Inspections Services (FIS) facility to streamline U.S. Customs and Border Protection screening and baggage processing for arriving international passengers.

HOU International Terminal Concept (HOU)(LR)

Image: Houston Hobby Airport. A concept drawing of the new international concourse.

The Houston Hobby International Terminal Project will add five new gates, enabling scheduled international service from Hobby. Southwest is working in conjunction with the City of Houston, which is preparing for the new facility with surrounding infrastructure improvements including a new parking facility, central utility plant and roadway improvements throughout the Houston Hobby Airport district. A study conducted by Houston Airport System estimates the Houston Hobby International Terminal Project would add 10,000 jobs to the region and provide a $1.6 billion impact annually to the local economy. The study also expects the expanded facility to bring an additional 1.6 million air travelers each year.

Southwest is currently selling nonstop service on Saturdays between Houston (Hobby) and Queen Beatrix International Airport in Oranjestad, Aruba beginning on March 7, 2015. The Aruba flights are made possible by U.S. CBP Pre-clearance procedures, which provide U.S. border inspection in certain foreign countries including Aruba. This will allow Southwest Customers arriving at Hobby Airport from Aruba to deplane without further CBP inspections into the domestic terminal, quickly claim baggage and depart the airport, or make seamless connections to many of the more than 40 domestic destinations Southwest currently serves nonstop from Houston (Hobby).

One of Southwest Airlines’ original cities, Houston supports the fifth busiest operation in the carrier’s network of more than 90 airports across six countries, with approximately 150 departures a day from Houston (Hobby). More than 3,200 Southwest Employees are Houston-based and foster community and business partnerships across greater Houston that, in 2013 alone, bolstered nearly 170 nonprofit organizations with more than $900,000 in local charitable donations.

Top Copyright Photo: Brandon Farris/AirlinersGallery.com. Brand new Boeing 737-8H4 WL N8654B (msn 37045) lands at Boeing Field in Seattle. Delivery is imminent.

Southwest aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

ANA is coming to Houston

ANA (All Nippon Airways) (Tokyo) has announced it will launch a new route from Tokyo (Narita) to Houston (Bush Intercontinental) starting on June 12, 2015 with Boeing 777-300 ERs.

ANA will also increase the number of flights from Tokyo to Singapore and Bangkok by introducing twice daily services from Narita to these two cities in addition to the existing double daily service from Haneda Airport. Flights from Singapore and Bangkok arriving in Narita early morning will increase the number of North American cities that can be connected and will, together with the evening flight, greatly increase the convenience of Asia-North America connections at Narita.

Houston will be ANA’s tenth destination in North America.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-381 ER JA786A (msn 37948) with the special “Forward as one Japan” markings arrives at Narita International Airport near Tokyo.

ANA aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Vision Airlines to operate Cuban charters for ViajeHoy under the “Havana Air” name

ViajeHoy Charters logo

ViajeHoy Charters dba Havana Air (Miami) starting today (December 11) will start using the aircraft of Vision Airlines (Las Vegas). The aircraft will carry Havana Air titles. The tour operator has been using Swift Air’s (2nd) (Phoenix) Boeing 737-400s. The company operates charters from Miami to Havana (HAV) and Santa Clara (SNU) in Cuba.

Havana Air-Vision 737 (14)(Grd)(Havana Air)(LR)

Havana Air Company describes itself:

Havana Air logo

Havana Air staff has over 25 years experience in corporate travel and leisure travel planning. Our senior officers fully understand the needs and requirements of this sector of travel and have served some of the nation’s largest companies. With this expertise, we can assist those companies now seeking to participate in travel to Cuba under new OFAC General License guidelines. We have a great deal of experience in serving both the pharmaceutical and telecommunications industries and would be pleased to assist your company with facilitating travel to Cuba under the appropriate OFAC guidelines. We also encourage those in the field of journalism or government organizations to allow us to assist them as well, as our organization has over a dozen years of experience in serving the U.S. Government travel.

All images by Havana Air.

Video:

Finnair firms up its options for eight Airbus A350s, will trade in four A340-300s

Finnair A350-900 (10)(Flt-1)(Airbus)(LRW)

Finnair (Helsinki) has firmed up the eight Airbus A350 XWB aircraft options in its 2006 A350 order placed with Airbus. The eight A350s will be delivered to Finnair starting in 2018. The firm up of the options increases the total number of Finnair’s A350 orders to 19.

Finnair’s current long-haul fleet consists of seven Airbus A340 aircraft and eight A330 aircraft. The long-haul fleet is planned to grow, on average, by one new-generation energy-efficient aircraft per year between 2016 and 2020. Based on the current delivery schedule of A350s, Finnair will receive the first four aircraft in the second half of 2015, seven A350s between 2016 and 2017, and eight A350s between 2018 and 2023. Finnair plans to phase out its A340 aircraft by the end of 2017, following the successful delivery and entry into service of A350 XWB. As a part of the deal Airbus has also agreed to acquire four Airbus A340-300 aircraft currently owned by Finnair in 2016 and 2017.

Top Image: Airbus.

Finnair aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Video:

American’s delivery of the first Boeing 787 is delayed to the first quarter of 2015

American 787-8 N800AN (13)(Name)(American)(LR)

American Airlines‘ (Dallas/Fort Worth) first Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, registered as N800AN (msn 40618) (above) is delayed according to a report in The Dallas Morning news.

N800AN was due to be delivered this month. The first 787-8 was scheduled to enter revenue service in early 2015 initially on domestic routes.

American has 42 Boeing 787s on order including 16 787-8s and 26 787-9s, with 58 options. The airline was scheduled to take delivery of two 787s this year, 11 in 2015, 13 in 2016 and nine in 2017. However these two first 787s have now slipped to the first quarter of 2015.

American spokesman Matt Miller stated in the article the lie-flat seats in the premium cabin were part of the delay.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Photo: American Airlines.

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

American to add Gogo inflight wireless services to all two-class regional jets

American Airlines Group (Dallas/Fort Worth) has announced as a part of its $2 billion investment to give customers a world-class travel experience, American Airlines will upgrade its regional fleet by adding Gogo inflight wireless services to all two-class regional jets. Nearly 250 of American’s regional aircraft will have inflight wireless Internet service installed by 2016. With this installation, the world’s largest airline will have the largest fleet of connected regional jets.

American currently has nearly 850 aircraft with Gogo services and leverages Gogo’s air-to-ground (ATG) service and its next generation ATG-4 technology. Approximately 70 of these 850 aircraft are two-class regional jets.

Having ordered more than 500 new aircraft – with nearly two planes arriving each week through 2016 – American will offer customers the youngest fleet of any U.S.-based network carrier. New aircraft deliveries include 90 large regional jets, the Embraer 175 and Bombardier CRJ900. These modern and fuel-efficient 76-seat jets provide customers with a top-tier regional product with First Class, Main Cabin Extra and Main Cabin seating, larger overhead bins, more spacious lavatories and leather seats with adjustable headrests.

The American Eagle and US Airways Express regional networks operate about 2,600 daily flights for American Airlines and US Airways, respectively. These flights serve 240 destinations throughout the United States, Canada, the Bahamas, the Caribbean and Mexico. Eventually all regional service will be operated under the American Eagle brand and livery.

American marked the one-year anniversary of its merger earlier this week by announcing more than $2 billion in investments to give its customers a world-class travel experience. These investments include expanding inflight entertainment and connectivity. The airline is adding satellite-based Internet access to its international fleet including all Boeing 777s and 787s, Airbus A330s, and retrofitted Boeing 767-300s and 757s. New 737s, nearly all new A321s, as well as retrofitted A319s also will have power ports in every row. All new widebody deliveries, including 777-300 ERs and 787s, come with power at every seat, allowing customers to charge their laptops and personal electronic devices from gate to gate. American also will be investing in fully lie-flat seats, more inflight entertainment options, a new, modern design for Admirals Club lounges worldwide, and an upgraded assortment of complimentary healthy food, cocktails and more.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.comRepublic Airlines’ (2nd) Embraer ERJ 170-200LR (ERJ 175) N137HQ (msn 17000231) arrives at the Charlotte hub.

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

American Eagle-Republic aircraft slide show:

AeroMexico to launch Mexico City-Toronto flights

AeroMexico (Mexico City) has announced that it will offer a new daily flight between Toronto (Pearson) and Mexico City as of May 4, 2015, becoming the second destination it serves in Canada.

The new route will be operated with Boeing 737-700 aircraft configured with 124 passenger seats, including 12 seats in Clase Premier —the Aeromexico Business Class cabin.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-752 XA-GMV (msn 35118) promoting Los Cabos as a destination, arrives in Los Angeles.

AeroMexico aircraft slide show:

Air Canada to become the launch customer of Boeing’s new landing gear exchange program

Boeing (Chicago, Seattle and Charleston) has announced that Air Canada (Montreal) is the launch customer for Boeing’s new landing gear exchange programs for 777-300 ER (Extended Range) and 777-200 LR (Longer Range) airframes.

Under the agreement, Air Canada will receive fully overhauled and certified landing gear shipsets for its fleet of 17 777-300 ERs and six 777-200 LRs during scheduled maintenance cycles. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Boeing currently provides landing gear overhaul and exchange solutions to more than 80 customers on the MD-11, 717, Next-Generation 737, Boeing Business Jet, 747-400, 757-300, 767-300 ER and the 777-200 ER airframes. With a Boeing global network of repair service centers, airline customers receive certified landing gear support anywhere around the world. Boeing provides quick, reliable access to landing gear repair, exchanges and overhauls, which greatly reduces maintenance time and quickly returns airplanes to revenue service.

In addition to its Landing Gear Overhaul and Exchange Program, Boeing provides expendable, rotable, repairable and consumable parts to customers around the globe, giving them a competitive edge in their markets. Products and services include Boeing-proprietary, industry-standard and vendor-proprietary parts; leasing options; and repair and overhaul services.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Air Canada’s Boeing 777-333 ER C-FNNW (msn 43250) departs from London (Heathrow).

Air Canada aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

United Airlines’ flight attendants to receive Apple’s iPhone 6 cell phones

United FA and iPhone 6 (United)(LRW)

United Airlines (Chicago) today announced the carrier will equip its flight attendants with Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus, putting important safety and service information at flight attendants’ fingertips while enhancing their ability to meet customers’ needs.

The airline will begin distribution to its more than 23,000 mainline flight attendants during the second quarter of 2015. Upon introduction, the devices will have the ability to handle most onboard retail transactions and will enable access to company email, united.com and the company’s Intranet as well as policies and procedures manuals.

Future enhancements include replacing the flight attendants’ printed safety manual with an electronic version on their iPhones and providing real-time reporting and improved follow-up on aircraft cabin issues and repairs. Additionally, United plans to develop a number of customer-focused tools for the device.

The deployment of iPhone 6 Plus for United flight attendants follows the airline’s deployment of iPads to pilots beginning in 2011, in a move toward creating paperless aircraft and flight decks. United has renewed the iPad pilot program with iPad Air 2.

Photo: United Airlines.

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

Bloomberg: Airbus may discontinue the Airbus A380 in 2018

According to a report by Bloomberg:

“Airbus Group NV raised the prospect of discontinuing its A380 superjumbo as soon as 2018, the first admission that it may have misjudged the market for the double-decker after failing to find a single airline buyer this year.

While Airbus will break even on the plane in 2015, 2016 and 2017, that outlook doesn’t hold for 2018, forcing the company to either offer new engines to make the A380 more attractive or discontinue the program, Chief Financial Officer Harald Wilhelm told investors at a meeting in London on December 10.”

Read the full story: CLICK HERE

Meanwhile Emirates President Tim Clark criticized other airlines for not ordering the Super Jumbo:

According to AirlineRatings.com:

“The chief of the world’s largest airline has criticized airlines for not buying more A380 super jumbo’s as Airbus hints at closing the production line down in 2018.

Responding to a Bloomberg report about Airbus CFO, Harald Wilhelm, telling investors in London on Wednesday that Airbus is considering closing the A380 line because of a lack of orders, Emirates President Sir Tim Clark warned that with air travel due to double in the next ten years to 7 billion passengers, airlines and airports will need giant jets like the 517 seat A380.

“The A380 is a passenger magnet. We operate five a day from Dubai to London’s Heathrow and they are 95 per cent full,” Mr Clark told Airlineratings.com in an exclusive interview.

“Airlines are too conservative and have not put the right interiors into their A380s.”

“Some of the interiors are a disgrace and used 1970s thinking,” Mr Clark told Airlineratings.com.

“We put all our premium seats on the upper deck and economy on the main deck, but others have mixed them which is inefficient.”

“Our competitors laughed at us when we put showers and a lounge in the A380.”

“But passengers love the showers and the lounge.”

“The A380 is a great aircraft. If airlines don’t believe they can fill an A380 then their business model is wrong,” said Mr Clark.

“Their marketing is all wrong.”

Emirates has 55 A380s in service with orders for a further 85. However sales to other airlines have almost dried up.

Airbus is considering an upgrade of the A380 -called the A380neo- with new engines and aerodynamic improvements.

Mr Clark said the new model, if built, will have excellent economics, as good as the Boeing 777X that Boeing will introduce in 2018.

“And we will buy 140 of the A380neos” Mr Clark told Airlineratings.com.

“As long as I am around I am going to continue to fight the battle for the A380.”

“This is a great aircraft and the world needs it.”

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Emirates’s Airbus A380-861 A6-EDG (msn 023) arrives in London (Heathrow).

Emirates aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

The new Eastern to use CAE for pilot training simulators

Eastern logo (large)

Eastern Air Lines (2nd) (Miami) has announced it has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with CAE, the flight simulator manufacturer, under which CAE will provide Eastern with flight training solutions as it grows its fleet of Boeing 737-800 and MAX aircraft and eventually the Mitsubishi Regional Jet.

The new Eastern is planning to re-establish an Eastern Flight Training Academy in Miami.

The first Boeing 737-800 is due to arrive from Shannon, Ireland via a fuel stop in Miami on December 19.

Qatar Airways delays the delivery of the first Airbus A350

Qatar Airways (Doha) has delayed “indefinitely” the delivery of the first Airbus A350-900. According to AFP an Airbus spokesperson stated “We are working very closely with Qatar Airways to meet our common goal to deliver the first A350 XWB very soon”. No reason for the delay was given. The delivery of the first Airbus A380 was also delayed previously.

Qatar Airways and Airbus (Toulouse) had previously announced the delivery of the first of its 80 Airbus A350 XWB aircraft was set to take place in Toulouse, France, on Saturday, December 13. The pictured A350-941 F-WZFA (msn 006) was due to be handed over as A7-ALA.

The first commercial service was due to be on the Doha-Frankfurt route starting on January 15, 2015 but this is now delayed.

Copyright Photo: Oliver Gregoire/AirlinersGallery.com.

Qatar Airways aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

 

 

Icelandair finds tentative labor peace with its pilots, rolls out a new Northern Lights logo jet

Icelandair Group (Icelandair) (Keflavik) and the Icelandic Airline Pilots Association (FIA) have signed a tentative collective bargaining agreement that is valid until September 30, 2017. The agreement will now be presented to FIA members that will vote on the agreement.

Björgólfur Jóhannsson, President and CEO of Icelandair Group: “If ratified, this new three year agreement with FIA is an important milestone that will enable us to aim for continued organic growth.”

Copyright Photo: Matt Varley/AirlinersGallery.com. Icelandair has just painted its Boeing 757-256 TF-FIU (msn 26243) in this striking Northern lights/Aurora Borealis color scheme at Norwich.

Icelandair aircraft slide show:

Here is a new app: ANA introduces a smartphone app to help you relax during takeoff!

ANA Takeoff App

ANA-All Nippon Airways (Tokyo) has introduced a new smartphone app to help you relax during the takeoff. Here is the official release:

A new survey, commissioned by All Nippon Airways (ANA) for the US market, has found that 72% of U.S. airline passengers have felt anxious about flying before. The most anxious flyers find takeoff to be the most stress-inducing part of the journey (68%), which is why Japan’s largest airline, ANA, developed ‘ANA Takeoff Mode’, specifically designed to relax and take people’s minds off the takeoff. The app can be downloaded for free in the Apple App store here: CLICK HERE

#ANA Launches New Smartphone App Designed to Relax Flyers During Takeoff

The ‘ANA Takeoff Mode’ app takes the form of a simple but absorbing puzzle where users have to maneuver a ball on screen to collect points, with relaxing music playing in the background. What really makes the app truly unique; however, is that it measures the amplitude and frequency response of the ambient noise inside the aircraft cabin. When the aircraft’s engines are at full throttle during takeoff, the audio profile triggers a special animation and message for the user. (The surrounding environment may affect how the app detects takeoff.)

The puzzle aspect of the game should prove particularly appealing. In the ANA survey, puzzle games ranked second only to listening to music when it came to ways that passengers relaxed while flying (61% of people relax by listening to music; 56% by playing puzzle games). Reading, watching TV and falling asleep came in not far behind (54%, 48% and 46% respectively).

The ‘ANA Takeoff Mode’ is one of the first smartphones apps to take advantage of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s announcement on October 31, 2013 that airlines can safely expand passenger use of Portable Electronic Devices during all phases of flight.

“ANA offers a unique flight experience with staff paying attention to even the smallest detail to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable flight for all our customers. Consideration has gone into every stage of the passenger journey, from our flagship lounges in Tokyo to our award winning ‘Connoisseurs’ inflight dining experience. Now we hope that the ‘ANA Takeoff Mode’ will ease and relax flyers, allowing them to enjoy their flight with ANA from the very beginning.” said Masaki Yokai, VP Marketing & Sales The Americas.

Additional key findings from the ANA survey:

Women are about twice as likely to be anxious about flying

Of the subgroup who almost always get anxious about flying, 63% are women, 37% men

Older people (45 yrs+) are much calmer about flying than younger people (18-44yrs)

Of the always anxious group 66% are younger than 45 yrs old

Of the calm group 47% are younger than 45 yrs old

Anxious flyers are most concerned about takeoff (68%), whereas people who get stressed about flying less frequently find the thought of turbulence more anxiety inducing (60%)

80% of people surveyed play puzzle games

97% of these people find such games to be relaxing

46% of people say they find flying during Thanksgiving or Christmas period more stressful than other times of the year

Top reasons for this extra stress are crowded airports (69%) and delayed flights (63%)

Information on the survey:

ANA commissioned an online survey of 1,000 air travelers from across the U.S. The survey was fielded from October 29 to November 2, 2014.

ANA aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Video:

Flybe calls for domestic flights from South Ruislip’s RAF Northolt until a new runway is built at Heathrow or Gatwick

Flybe (Exeter) has told MPs that South Ruislip’s RAF Northolt, a Royal Air Force base in the Northwest section of the greater London area, should be opened up for domestic flights until a new runway is built at either Heathrow or Gatwick Airports.

The London Evening Standard is reporting that Britain’s largest regional airline said “there is a need for early wins” in freeing up flight slots before either Gatwick or Heathrow expands, which won’t be until well into the 2020s, in written evidence handed to the Transport Select Committee.

The Airports Commission will recommend which major airport of the two should get an extra runway after May’s UK General Election. But either choice could be heavily delayed as environmental campaigners and local groups mount legal challenges to any expansion.

Flybe said Northolt, which will celebrate its centenary next year and was home to fighter squadrons involved in the Battle of Britain, could be “a temporary ‘satellite’ facility for regional services that do not currently have air traffic until new runway capacity is built and operational”.

The low-cost airline’s submission also repeated calls for the reform of Air Passenger Duty, which ranges from £13 to £194 a flight depending on distance and class of travel.

Reported by Assistant Editor Oliver Wilcock from Manchester.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) G-JEDM (msn 4077) is pictured at Amsterdam.

Flybe aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Blue Islands rejects Aurigny’s “downsize” claim

Blue Islands (Jersey, UK) has rejected claims made by partner company Aurigny Air Services (Guernsey) that it is “substantially downsizing”.

Aurigny, which provides ground services for Blue Islands at Jersey Airport as part of a cooperation agreement signed by the two carriers last year, has blamed the company for 30 potential redundancies.

Several Blue Islands routes from Jersey Airport have been terminated, prompting the Guernsey national carrier to claim it makes its ground operation there “unviable”.

In a statement to the BBC, Blue Islands said Aurigny had “chosen to abandon Jersey”:

“To suggest a ‘substantial downsize’ is utterly wrong,” the Channel Islands airline said.

“This year Blue Islands will fly in excess of 330,000 passengers, 65% up from 2013.

“Unfortunately, rather than adapting its ground handling operation to ensure it remained viable, Aurigny have chosen to abandon Jersey.”

The two airlines announced a code share deal in 2013 under which Blue Islands aircraft took over the Jersey-Guernsey route while Aurigny provided ground services and sold seats.

Aurigny, which is owned by the States of Guernsey, said the Jersey-Guernsey route agreement between the firms would be unaffected by the closure of its ground operation in Jersey.

Report by Assistant Editor Oliver Wilcock from Manchester.

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Britten Norman BN-2A Mk. 3-1 Trislander G-LCOC (msn 366) taxies at Bournemouth.

Blue Islands aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Acting CEO of South African Airways demands the company implement a 90-day turnaround plan

South African Airways (Johannesburg) continues to lose money and up until now has relied on state funding. However the SAA board recently appointed Mr. Nico Bezuidenhout as the new acting Chief Executive Officer of the struggling airline. Mr. Bezuidenhout has given the company a 90-day turnaround plan to turnaround the loss-making company by March according to EWN. The new CEO is warning the company is facing insolvency unless the plan is fully implemented. The airline has also reportedly reached out to Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) for a possible minority investment and guidance by the fast-growing Gulf carrier. Etihad has been investing in struggling carriers and helping to turn them around and also feed traffic to its Abu Dhabi hub.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

In other news, South African Airways announced on December 2 that it has commenced adding additional frequencies to its network which will substantially increase air services to some of its key African routes.

According to the airline, “The additional capacity injection answers the commercial mandate of the Long-Term Turnaround Strategy (LTTS), and is in response to positive market growth. As of yesterday, Harare (Zimbabwe) and Maputo (Mozambique), have included additional frequencies, with Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo), and Mauritius to follow.”

“The strengthening of these routes comes in the wake of positive load factors and increased traffic between the countries,” says SAA Acting Chief Executive Officer Nico Bezuidenhout. Presently, GDP growth in Mozambique (7% – African Development Bank) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (8.1%- African Development Bank) exceed World Bank growth statistics for the continent (4.7%-2013) while South Africa’s trade and demand for leisure and business travel to Mauritius is growing at a steady pace. “Air lift services traditionally lead GDP in all markets and also track the rate of increased leisure travel, investment and business engagement between South Africa and its continental peers.”

Effective December 1, SAA increased frequencies between Johannesburg and Maputo by 24% from 17 to 21 weekly frequencies, effective 1 December Johannesburg and Harare from 18 to 19 every week (6%), effective 4 December Johannesburg and Kinshasa from 6 to 7 a week (17%) and effective 4 December Johannesburg and Mauritius from 9 to 10 weekly frequencies (11% increase).

Finally, Air China and South African Airways (SAA) have announced the further strengthening of their bilateral cooperation within the Star Alliance as part of the strengthened cooperation between the two countries.

The key element in this strengthened relationship will be some network reconfiguration for both airlines to provide better passenger and cargo services between South Africa and China and countries adjacent to both.

Copyright Photo: Fred Freketic/AirlinersGallery.com. The company has already retired the Airbus A340-200s. The fuel-inefficient Airbus A340-300s are likely to be the next type to retired and replaced in any reorganization. Airbus A340-313 ZS-SXC (msn 590) taxies at New York’s JFK International Airport.

South African aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Boeing and South African Airways to use tobacco plants for biofuel

Boeing (Chicago, Seattle and Charleston) and South African Airways (SAA) (Johannesburg) has announced that South African farmers will soon harvest their first crop of energy-rich tobacco plants, an important step towards using the plants to make sustainable aviation biofuel.

Boeing and SAA, along with partners SkyNRG and Sunchem SA, also officially launched Project Solaris, their collaborative effort to develop an aviation biofuel supply chain with a nicotine-free tobacco plant called Solaris. In Limpopo province, company representatives and industry stakeholders visited commercial and community farms where 123 acres (50 hectares) of Solaris have been planted.

Oil from the plant’s seeds may be converted into bio-jet fuel as early as next year, with a test flight by SAA as soon as practicable.

“SAA continues to work towards becoming the most environmentally sustainable airline in the world and is committed to a better way of conducting business,” said Ian Cruickshank, Environmental Affairs Specialist, SAA Group. “The impact that the biofuel program will have on South Africans is astounding: thousands of jobs mostly in rural areas, new skills and technology, energy security and stability and macro-economic benefits to South Africa, and of course, a massive reduction in the amount of CO2 that is emitted into our atmosphere.”

“It is very exciting to see early progress in South Africa towards developing sustainable aviation biofuel from energy-producing tobacco plants,” said J. Miguel Santos, managing director for Africa, Boeing International. “Boeing strongly believes that our aviation biofuel collaboration with South African Airways will benefit the environment and public health while providing new economic opportunities for South Africa’s small farmers. This project also positions our valued airline customer to gain a long-term, viable domestic fuel supply and improve South Africa’s national balance of payments.”

The farm visits followed the announcement in August that Boeing, SAA and SkyNRG were collaborating to make aviation biofuel from the Solaris plant, which was developed and patented by Sunchem Holding. If the test farming in Limpopo is successful, the project will be expanded in South Africa and potentially to other countries. In coming years, emerging technologies are expected to increase aviation biofuel production from the plant’s leaves and stems.

Sustainable aviation biofuel made from Solaris plants can reduce lifecycle carbon emissions by 50 to 75 percent, ensuring it meets the sustainability threshold set by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB). Airlines have conducted more than 1,600 passenger flights using aviation biofuel since the fuel was approved for commercial use in 2011.

Boeing is the industry leader in global efforts to develop and commercialize sustainable aviation biofuel. In addition to its collaboration in Southern Africa, Boeing has active biofuel development projects in the United States, Middle East, Europe, China, Japan, Southeast Asia, Brazil and Australia.

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton/AirlinersGallery.com. South African is a large Boeing 737 operator and the test is likely to be performed on a Boeing 737-800. Boeing 737-844 ZS-SJS (msn 32632) arrives back at the Johannesburg hub.

South African aircraft slide show:

Scoot to operate Boeing 787s to Melbourne, will now inaugurate Boeing 787-9 service on January 16

Scoot (Singapore) has announced it will start a new route on November 1, 2015 from Singapore to Melbourne, Australia. The new route will be operated five days a week with the new Boeing 787-9s.

Scoot Melbourne poster

Scoot is now planning to inaugurate Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner service on January 16, 2015 on the Singapore-Perth route.

Scoot 787-9 9V-OJA (12)(Grd) PAE (Boeing)(LR)

Photo: Boeing. The first Scoot Boeing 787-9 is the pictured 9V-OJA (msn 37112) due to imminent delivery. The 787-9s will replace the existing Boeing 777-200 ERs.

On October 24, 2012 it was announced Scoot, the long-haul low-cost subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, agreed to acquire twenty Boeing 787 aircraft for delivery commencing in late 2014.

The twenty fuel-efficient aircraft will be used to replace Scoot’s Boeing 777-200 fleet and facilitate the airline’s ongoing expansion.

Scoot’s 787s will sport a brand new interior as well as the 787’s enlarged windows and unique interior climatic system for a superior level of comfort.

The 20 aircraft were originally ordered by parent company Singapore Airlines. Selection of engines to power the fleet will be made at a later date.

Videos:

Scoot aircraft slide show:

Current Route Map:

Scoot 12.2014 Route Map

 

Emirates to go to double daily to Barcelona

Emirates (Dubai) has announced plans to offer a double daily service to Barcelona, less than three years after its initial launch to the city.

From May 2, 2015 Emirates will add a further 3724 seats per week to Barcelona increasing overall capacity by 51 percent. The extra service will be operated by a Boeing 777-200 LR in a three class configuration, complementing the airline’s already successful daily Airbus A380 service.

Flight EK 188 will depart Dubai at 1545 and arrive at Barcelona El Prat Airport at 2100. Flight EK 189 will take off daily from Barcelona at 2245 and land in Dubai at 0725 the following day.

In addition to Barcelona, Emirates also operates a double daily service to Madrid. Emirates first launched flights to Spain in 2010 and now offers a total of 21,042 seats per week to and from the country.

Copyright Photo: Boeing 777-21H LR (Longer Rang) A6-EWG (msn 35578) taxies to the runway at Los Angeles International Airport.

Emirates aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

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