Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) is gradually replacing its large FRONTIER billboard titles on its aircraft with equally large FLYFRONTIER.COM billboard titles. The move will be gradual as new aircraft are added or when the older aircraft need to be repainted. The move is to drive more traffic to its website.
In other news, Frontier Airlines launched new routes this week from its Denver, Colorado (DEN) hub to three new cities: Cincinnati, OH (CVG); Eugene, OR (EUG); and Fresno/Yosemite, CA. (FAT).
Following is the schedule for Frontier’s Cincinnati service:
Denver-Cincinnati (beginning May 16, 2013)
|DEN-CVG||6:59 p.m.||11:35 p.m.||Daily||A320|
|CVG-DEN||6:15 a.m.||7:15 a.m.||Daily||A320|
Following is the schedule for Frontier’s Eugene service:
Denver-Eugene (beginning May 16, 2013)
|DEN-EUG||12:15 p.m.||1:55 p.m.||Tues, Thurs, Sun||A319|
|EUG-DEN||2:35 p.m.||6:05 p.m.||Tues, Thurs, Sun||A319|
Following is the schedule for Frontier’s Fresno service:
Denver-Fresno (beginning May 17, 2013)
|DEN-FAT||12:45 p.m.||2:05 p.m.||Mon, Wed, Fri||A319|
|FAT-DEN||2:50 p.m.||6:00 p.m.||Mon, Wed, Fri||A319|
Top Copyright Photo: Frontier Airlines. Mickey, the Moose is back on newly-acquired Airbus A319-112 N954FR (msn 1786).
Bottom Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough. Airbus A320-214 N213FR (msn 4704) displays the old silver FRONTIER titles as it lands at Washington (Reagan National).
Alaska Air Cargo (Alaska Airlines) (Seattle/Tacoma) today (May 17) delivered the season’s first shipment of Copper River salmon to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. According to the airline, “the arrival of the coveted Copper River salmon marks the start of the summer salmon season and is anticipated by seafood lovers throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond.”
The Alaska Airlines plane arrived early this morning with Copper River king and sockeye salmon from three seafood processors: Ocean Beauty Seafoods, Trident Seafoods and Copper River Seafoods. At least four more Alaska Airlines flights today will transport salmon from Cordova, Alaska, to Anchorage, Alaska, Seattle and across the United States.
“We’re proud to be the first to bring wild and sustainable Copper River salmon to seafood lovers across the country, in many cases within 24 hours after the fish is caught,” said Betsy Bacon, managing director of Alaska Air Cargo. “With so much demand for sustainable wild Alaska seafood, airline crews in South-Central and Southeast Alaska will kick into high gear to ship more than 2 million pounds of salmon across our 95-city network.”
Copper Chef Cook-off
Following the arrival of the first fish, three top Seattle chefs will compete to create the best salmon recipe in Alaska Air Cargo’s annual “Copper Chef Cook-off.” Pat Donahue, executive chef of Anthony’s Restaurants and the 2010, 2011 and 2012 Copper Chef winner, will compete against executive chefs John Howie of Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bar, and Chris Bryant of Wildfin American Grill. Also competing against the three chefs in the cook-off will be Master Sgt. Robert Shulman, a 31-year U.S. Air Force Reserve chef representing the 446th Airlift Wing (AW) out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, located in Tacoma, Wash.
The chefs will have 30 minutes to prepare and serve the first catch of the season to a panel of judges, including Jay Buhner, Seattle Mariners Hall of Famer; Mike Fourtner, deckhand on the F/V Time Bandit, as featured on Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch;” Chief Master Sgt. Tony Mack, 446th AW command chief from JBLM; and Jeff Butler, Alaska Airlines’ vice president of customer service-airports and cargo.
In a special tribute to the military, 10 citizen airmen from the 446th AW, joined in the morning festivities to cheer on the four chefs and sample the season’s first Copper River salmon. Among the other onlookers awaiting the freighter’s arrival were five Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan MVP Gold members invited to sample the season’s first Copper River salmon. These frequent fliers donated 500,000 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles to Fisher House Foundation’s Hero Miles program to attend the event. Hero Miles turns donated frequent-flier miles into free airfare for wounded, injured and ill service members and/or their families who are undergoing treatment at a military or VA medical center and for other authorized events. Through Alaska Airlines’ partnership with Fisher House, the nonprofit that administers the program, nearly 6 million miles were donated last year to assist U.S. servicemembers injured and wounded in service to their country.
“The Copper Chef Cook-off helps to showcase the proud relationship the Air Force Reserves has with Alaska Airlines and hundreds of other employers and industry leaders here in Washington State,” said Chief Master Sgt. Tony Mack, 446th Airlift Wing command chief from Joint Base Lewis-McChord. “Chef is only one of hundreds of vocations in the Air Force Reserve, and allowing one of our finest to compete is a testament to the relationships we have within the community.”
Alaska Airlines and its sister carrier Horizon Air employ dozens of reservists who serve as pilots, aircraft maintenance technicians as well as other air and ground crew. An estimated 10 percent of current Alaska and Horizon employees either still serve in the military or have veteran status.
The airline will use its Twitter account, @AlaskaAir, to announce the winning Copper River salmon recipe. The recipes that will be prepared for the Copper Chef Cook-off are available to download at http://bit.ly/13qe3gS. Fish lovers are encouraged to share their own favorite salmon recipes on Twitter, using the hashtag #SalmonChef.
Enhanced seafood quality training program
Copper River salmon shipped on Alaska Air Cargo this season will arrive as fresh as possible to grocery stores and restaurants across the nation, thanks in part to a cool chain training program required of all airline employees who handle perishables. Alaska Air Cargo employees are required to adhere to strict seafood quality standards and pass an annual food quality course.
Seafood processors and shippers follow these cool-chain standards to provide a temperature-controlled environment for proper food handling. The goal is to keep seafood moving rapidly throughout its journey on Alaska Airlines and maintain a consistent temperature range from the time it leaves the water to when it arrives at stores and restaurants.
Copyright Photo: bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Alaska Air Cargo’s Boeing 737-490 (F) N709AS (msn 28896) arrives at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport hub.
Air India (Mumbai) is considering selling all eight of its Boeing 777-200 LRs (Longer Range) according to a report by Reuters. The airline is working with Boeing on the sale of the aircraft. The aircraft would be replaced with newer Boeing 787s.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-237 LR VT-ALD (msn 36303) climbs into the clear sky at Tokyo (Narita).
Transaero Airlines (Moscow) has issued the following short statement concerning its financial performance during 2012.
Transaero Airlines has published its financial results under RAS for 2012 which demonstrate the Company’s growth.
• Revenue from all activities in 2012 reached RUB 97.6bln, 13% more than in 2011
• Traffic revenue from in 2012 made up RUB 90.3bln, a 35% increase on 2011
• Revenue from asset transactions decreased by 64% and reached RUB 6.8 bln
• The Company’s revenue grew faster than prime costs and expenses.
• Transaero’s sales revenue increased 2.9 times over 2011, to RUB 7 bln
Net profit reached RUB 902 million ($28.7 million), a 51% decrease over 2011. The Company’s profit was mainly ensured by revenues from the main carrier’s activities. Transaero has achieved these results amid a significant growth of air fuel price, social payment and taxes.
In other news, the Russian airline added twice-weekly Boeing 737-500 service from St. Petersburg to Kaliningrad on May 12 in competition against Rossiya Airlines per Anna Aero.
Kaliningrad is a seaport city and the administrative capital of the Kaliningrad Oblast, the Russian exclave located between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea. This enclave is geographically separated from the rest of Russia.
Copyright Photo: Andi Hiltl/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 747-446 EI-XLD (msn 26360) approaches the Turkish resort destination of Antalya.
airBaltic (Riga) on May 12, 2013 launched a new route from Riga to Malta. The new route will offer convenient travel between the airports, and beyond to destinations in the Baltics, Scandinavia, Russia, and the CIS.
(from North Hub Riga)
|Flight frequency||Start date||Price*, Basic||Price*,
|1 flight weekly||May 12, 2013||59 LVL/ 85 EUR||315 LVL/ 449 EUR|
airBaltic will fly from Riga to Malta once a week on Sundays, the return flight from Malta to Riga will be operated also on Sundays to secure convenient connections. Passengers will board a Boeing 737-300 aircraft (above) for a flight that will last for 3 hours and 40 minutes.
airBaltic serves 60 destinations from its home base in Riga, Latvia. airBaltic offers convenient connections via North Hub Riga to its network spanning Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, CIS and the Middle East. For summer 2013, airBaltic has introduced six new destinations – Prague (Czech Republic), Heviz-Balaton (Hungary), Olbia (Sardinia, Italy), Rijeka (Croatia), Larnaca (Cyprus), and Malta.
On the financial, the struggling flag carrier stated it trimmed its first quarter net loss by over $12 million. The airline issued this statement:
Latvian airline airBaltic has improved its net result by LVL + 6.7 milllion in the first quarter of 2013, compared to the same perid a year ago.
Martin Gauss, Chief Executive Officer of airBaltic: “After improving our consolidated net result by LVL +66 million in 2012, we were again able to beat our own plan.”
For the January to March period, airBaltic achieved +41% improvement of its net result, compared to the same period a year ago. airBaltic achieved +10% yield improvement in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012, and generated LVL 44.5 million in revenues. The unit revenue, or RASK – revenue per available seat kilometer, was improved by +8% in the January to March period, compared to the same period a year ago.
airBaltic operated 9,685 flights in the first quarter of 2013, or 9% less than in the first quarter of 2012 when airBaltic operated 10,637 flights. In March 2013, airBaltic operated 3,442 flights. The airline carried 534,879 passengers in the first three months of 2013 in its network spanning Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, CIS and the Middle East, but in March 2013 the airline carried 201,757 passengers. The airline’s load factor, which represents the number of passengers as a proportion of the number of available seats, in the first quarter of 2013 was at a level of 63%, while in March it stood at 69%.
The 15-minute flight punctuality indicator for airBaltic was at a level of 83.9% in the first quarter of 2013. This means that 83 of every 100 airBaltic flights in the first quarter of 2013 departed at the planned time or with a delay of no more than 15 minutes.
For summer 2013, airBaltic has introduced six new destinations - Prague (Czech Republic), Heviz-Balaton (Hungary), Olbia (Sardinia, Italy), Rijeka(Croatia), Larnaca (Cyprus), and Malta.
Copyright Photo: Ole Simon/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-33V WL YL-BBK (msn 29332) taxies past the camera at Paris (CDG).
LOT Polish Airlines (Warsaw) has received welcome news from the European Commission of the European Union. The EC was looking into the state aid the airline received last year. The commission stated the aid did fall into the guidelines for state aid and approved the loan from the government of Poland.
Read the full story from NASDAQ: CLICK HERE
Meanwhile the struggling carrier will relaunch Boeing 787-8 jet service on June 5 to Chicago (O’Hare) and later, to New York (JFK), Toronto (Pearson) and Beijing.
Copyright Photo: Nick Dean/AirlinersGallery.com. A beautiful portrait of Boeing 787-8 SP-LRC (msn 35940) on a clear day at Paine Field near Everett.
American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) has launched a new systemwide boarding process that saves overall boarding time by allowing customers who are traveling light to board earlier. Customers traveling with one personal carry-on item that fits under the seat in front of them will be invited to board before Group 2.
The new boarding process is another example of how American is reinventing itself by continuously seeking out ways to streamline processes, creating a more efficient and enjoyable customer journey. With on-time performance being a key factor in the airline’s dependability rating, every minute saved during boarding allows American to push back from the gate earlier, resulting in a more timely departure and arrival.
“For customers, departing on time and arriving at their destination on time is a huge factor in how they feel about their overall experience,” said Carol Wright, American’s Vice President – Customer Planning. “Our tests indicate that this new boarding process will improve our dependability and on-time performance, while being easier and more enjoyable for our customers. It’s another example of our promise to put our customers at the center of everything we do.”
The new boarding process follows successful testing done earlier this year at American Airlines gates at airports in Austin, Texas (AUS), Baltimore (BWI), Denver (DEN), Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Fla. (FLL), Kansas City, Mo. (MCI), Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) and Washington-Dulles (IAD).
The test received overwhelmingly positive feedback from American’s customers, and agents like the new process because it allows for smoother and quicker boarding for everyone. American expects to see a notable reduction in average boarding time per flight with the new boarding process.
American is continually looking for innovative ways to enhance the customer experience. Other recent enhancements designed to give customers more choices when traveling include:
- The expansion of American’s next-generation kiosks with self-tag capabilities for checked baggage, speeding up the check-in process
- New fare choices with perks that include preferred seating, early boarding and same-day flight changes
- More power ports onboard to help customers stay charged and connected throughout their journey
American’s baggage policy allows each customer to take onboard at no charge one personal item that will fit under the seat in front of them and one bag that meets the FAA-mandated carry-on size requirements to fit into the overhead storage compartment. With the new boarding process, customers who wish to board early before Group 2 can gate-check their carry-on bag at no charge.
Copyright Photo: Joe G. Walker/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-823 WL N980AN (msn 33203) arrives at Las Vegas.
Emirates (Dubai) has announced it will add Airbus A380 service to Brisbane and Auckland.
Brisbane is set to become Emirates’ third Australian destination to welcome the airline’s flagship Airbus A380, with the announcement that Emirates will operate the A380 on the Dubai to Brisbane and Auckland route from October 1, 2013.
Adding the A380 to one of Emirates’ two daily Brisbane services will see an increase in capacity of 135 seats for sale per flight and 1,890 week, reinforcing Emirates’ commitment to its Queensland and Auckland passengers. The double-daily service is currently operated by Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft.
Together with QANTAS Airways (Sydney), from October 1 a total of six daily A380 services will operate to Dubai, offering a seamless A380 experience through Dubai International Airport’s Concourse A, the world’s first purpose built A380 concourse, to 21 A380 serviced destinations on the network including London Heathrow, Manchester, Paris and Rome.
Today’s announcement caps off a range of recent upgrades to Emirates’ Australian services, including the introduction of a daily Melbourne A380, a daily Adelaide service and a three times daily Perth service. A second A380 for Sydney from June has been announced.
Emirates sets the pace for A380 deployment, with the aircraft having carried 14 million passengers on 35,000 trips spanning 200 million kilometres since A380 operations commenced five years ago. In 2012 alone, Emirates added 11 A380s to its fleet and is the largest operator of the aircraft, with 33 in the fleet and 57 on order.
The Emirates A380 is set in a three-class configuration, with 399 seats in Economy Class on the lower level and 76 fully flat-bed, mini-pods in Business Class and 14 First Class Private Suites on the upper level. Passengers in the First Class cabin can freshen up in one of two on-board Shower Spas before joining fellow premium class travellers in the On-Board Lounge where they can enjoy complimentary beverages and canapés.
Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best.
Airbus (Toulouse) has completed the painting of the first A350 XWB (msn 001). On May 13 the new type was fully completed as it emerged in its Airbus livery out from the paintshop in Toulouse. This latest milestone shows that msn 001 is progressing well on its route to first flight.
The aircraft painting was achieved in less than seven days and follows the recent completion of msn 001’s flight-test-instrumentation (FTI) verification. Last month the aircraft underwent its engines installation, and passed a subsequent intensive phase of ground vibration tests. Msn 001 will soon start the final tests before its maiden flight this summer.
Copyright Photos: Airbus. The new airliner is officially an A350-941 with the registration of F-WXWB (msn 001).
Airberlin (airberlin.com) (Berlin) has announced its financial results for 2012. The company has returned to profitability and issued this statement:
- Net result of EUR 6.8 million ($8.7 million), 33.3 million guests
- Group revenue of EUR 4.31 billion, capacity utilization and yield increased
- Strategic partnership with Etihad Airways provides joint revenue of EUR 100 million, new code share routes expected to provide further growth
- First “Turbine” measures started – EUR 400 million until the end of 2014
- 180 positions already cut between January and the end of March 2013
- As of summer 2013, the Berlin and Dusseldorf hubs will be strengthened with increased flight frequencies and new destinations
- Revenue growth with fewer routes and increased frequencies: routes will be reduced from 523 in summer 2012 to 438 in summer 2013.
- Fleet reduction by twelve aircraft to 143 aircraft by the end of 2013
- The goal for 2013 is operational profitability, break-even at the EBIT level
Over the first months of the year, Airberlin, Germany’s second-largest airline, implemented numerous measures of the “Turbine” turnaround program. At the press conference on the 2012 results, airberlin’s CEO Wolfgang Prock-Schauer stated: “With Turbine, we are setting up airberlin in line with the market. We are becoming leaner, faster and are, at the same time, continuously improving our service and flight offers. In the first months of 2013, we have initiated a number of measures. It goes without saying that such programs have a start-up phase and start-up costs. We will reach ‘cruising altitude’ by the end of 2014.”
This two-year program will enable Germany’s second-largest airline to further expand its presence in core markets and to make structural changes aimed at making the company sustainably fit for the future. For that purpose, airberlin will further promote its integrated business model through which the company caters to tourist travelers and business clients. Up to the end of 2014, the Turbine program includes initiatives of approximately EUR 400 million, so as to achieve a sustainably competitive profit situation.
Turbine program with multiple measures started
The turnaround program comprises in particular the areas network and fleet, sales & distribution, products and services as well as operations. The first Turbine measures have already been implemented in this year’s summer flight schedule. The optimized offer strengthens airberlin’s presence in Europe and further expands the long-haul connections to North America. Airberlin is carrying out the network optimization by using the principle of increasing frequencies on economically profitable routes. The target is a robust network that is less susceptible to seasonal fluctuations and provides for more productive aircraft and personnel. As a result the airline is strengthening its long-haul hubs Berlin and Dusseldorf with additional long-haul frequencies and improved flight connections. These will increase in Berlin from ca. 7,600 to ca. 11,000, and in Dusseldorf from ca. 3,000 to ca. 4,050. At both airports, the number of weekly flight frequencies will grow by a total of 61 additional connections as compared to the previous year. At the same time airberlin has reduced economically unprofitable routes, with the number of routes decreasing from 523 to 438 on an annual comparison. With the optimized flight schedule, the fleet will be reduced from 155 aircraft at the end of 2012, to 143 aircraft at the end of 2013.
Network and station optimization will result in increased crew productivity. In the future, comprehensive aircraft maintenance (Base Maintenance) will only be carried out in Munich.
In connection with the restructuring cost reductions in personnel are necessary. Between January and the end of March 2013, 180 jobs will have been eliminated.
Airberlin is expanding its service in line with passenger requirements. From mid-year onwards, a modular catering concept will be introduced on the short and medium-haul flights. This will provide passengers with services commensurate with the duration of the flight. An example is the new Business Class seats introduced on long-haul flights.
Net profit for 2012
Airberlin concluded the 2012 business year with a return to profitability. The operating profit before interest and taxes (EBIT) of EUR 70.2 million was a significant improvement over the previous year results. The company’s net income of EUR 6.8 million marks a return to profitability and follows a loss of reported EUR 271.8 (restated: -420.4 million) in the 2011 business year.
In the past year, airberlin increased its group revenue to EUR 4.31 billion (2011: EUR 4.23 billion). While the number of passengers decreased by 5.5 per cent to 33.3 million (previous year: 35.3 million), capacity utilisation increased by 1.6 percentage points to 79.80 per cent (previous year: 78.21 per cent). This was achieved by a further fleet reduction of 15 aircraft to 155 aircraft and improvements of the flight schedule. Yield (revenue per passenger) improved by 7.7 percent to EUR 120.05 (previous year: EUR 111.43).
The spin-off of the frequent-flyer program “topbonus”, the implementation of the efficiency program “Shape & Size” and the increasing synergy effects resulting from the strategic partnership with Etihad Airways have contributed to the positive development of the operating result. In this context, Shape & Size has contributed EUR 250 million.
“The profit of the past financial year and the successful placement of the convertible bond enabled us to further stabilize the financial basis of the company. The favorable conditions, the swift placement and over-subscription of the bond demonstrate the market’s confidence in our company,” stated Airberlin’s Chief Financial Officer, Ulf Hüttmeyer. The goal for 2013 is a break-even at the EBIT level and therefore operational profitability.
The strategic partnership with Etihad Airways, which started at the beginning of 2012, has already shown positive effects within less than 12 months. By the end of 2012, codeshare routes enabled the two airlines to generate together a revenue increase of EUR 100 million. airberlin and Etihad Airways have already concluded almost 100 agreements with companies and sales partners and through synergies have further increased revenue and reduced operating costs. By further expanding codeshare routes with other Etihad Airways partners, airberlin will be able in the future to offer more destinations and increase revenue generated by codesharing. Furthermore, the strategic partnership is increasingly reducing costs for both airlines. For example, in the areas of procurement, maintenance, training and product harmonization, the two airlines are increasingly making use of their synergy potentials and expect these to reach their full potential in the coming years.
Global network established
Wolfgang Prock-Schauer assesses the advantages of the strategic partnership with Etihad Airways: “Our cooperation with Etihad Airways exceeds all our expectations.” This cooperation enabled airberlin to set up a global route network in the course of the past year. Within one year, Etihad Airways and airberlin have increased the number of codeshare routes to 90 connections and are flying to a combined 239 destinations in 77 countries. In 2012 alone, more than 320,000 passengers used the common flight network.
Airberlin’s membership in the global airline alliance, oneworld®, which started in March 2012, is also positive. The number of passengers traveling on these codeshare routes increased to 310,000 passengers.
Airberlin CEO Wolfgang Prock-Schauer added: “Our optimized route network together with the global network of our partners will enable us to be sustainably successful in the future. For that purpose, we need a functional hub in Berlin and the new airport BER that adheres to the operating times as foreseen in the official planning.”
Copyright Photo: Ole Simon. Airbus A320-214 D-ABFK (msn 4433) climbs away from Stuttgart.
Surinam Airways (Paramaribo) is celebrating 50 years as an airline. Organized in 1953, the airline commenced scheduled commercial operations on January 6, 1955 as SLM (Surinaamse Luchtvaart Maatschappij) flying from Paramaribo to Moengo with a Cessna 170B aircraft. The Surinam Airways name was adopted in 1966 and gradually replaced all references to SLM.
Read the full story from the Curacao Chronicle: CLICK HERE
Peter Sanches has written a beautiful book (we helped Peter with many of the photos) on the first 50 years of Surinam Airways: Flying on Trusted Wings: 50 Years of Surinam Airways (hardcover).
Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems. Ex-Air France Airbus A340-311 F-GLZG became PZ-TCP (msn 049) with Surinam Airways and is the European lifeline aircraft for the company flying between Paramaribo and Amsterdam.
DAE-Dutch Antilles Express (Curacao) has been barred from flying to Venezuela due to safety concerns cited by the INAC. Venezuela is its main market. DAE will take legal action against INAC and will continue operations to other destinations including Miami and Orlando. The airline will also ask the government of Curacao to take similar actions against Venezuelan carriers according to this report by El Universal.
Read the full report: CLICK HERE
In other news, DAE is considering upgrading its McDonnell DC-9-83 (MD-83) fleet (operated by Falcon Air) with newer Airbus A319s or A320s. Falcon Air would acquire and operate the new aircraft for DAE.
Top Copyright Photo: Greg Drawbaugh/DRAW Decal. The Fokker 100s will also have to be replaced at some point. Fokker F.28 Mk. 0100 (Fokker 100) PJ-DAA (msn 11310) prepares to depart from St. Maarten. All other images below by DAE.
- LATAM Airlines Group reported operating income of $114.2 million (US) for first quarter 2013, a 149.8% increase compared to the $45.7 million pro forma operating income in first quarter 2012. Operating margin reached 3.4%, an increase of 2.0 points compared to 1.4% in 2012. This result reflects a steady recovery in business operations as we advance in the process of achieving the expected synergies from the merger between LAN and TAM.
- Net income reached $42.7 million for first quarter 2013, compared to a pro forma consolidated net income of $83.7 million for the same period in 2012, which represents a decrease of 48.9% mainly due to a foreign exchange gain of $133.4 million recognized at TAM during the first quarter 2012.
- TAM continues to make significant progress in the turnaround of the domestic Brazil passenger operations, maintaining capacity discipline with a 9.2% reduction in ASKs during the first quarter 2013 as compared to the first quarter 2012. Healthy traffic growth of 3.4%,as well as improved market segmentation and revenue management practices have resulted in strong load factor improvements of 9.5 percentage points as compared to the first quarter 2012,reaching 77.7%. This led to a significant increase in revenue per ASK,as measured in Brazilian reais. Results in U.S. dollars were affected by a 13% depreciation of the Brazilian currency during the quarter as compared to the first quarter 2012. We remain convinced that capacity discipline and an adequate segmentation of the market will provide the basis for continued healthy load factors and a significant improvement in operating results in 2013.
- We remain confident in our synergy target of between $600 and $700 million, to be fully achieved by the fourth year after the merger (June 2016). Important progress was made in recent months with the code share agreement signed between TAM and American Airlines as well as with LATAM’s election of oneworld as its global alliance. We have begun to harmonize the airlines’ frequent flyer programs,as well as advanced on cost initiatives related to contract renegotiations and process standardization. Furthermore, important synergies have been achieved through the coordination of the LAN and TAM cargo operations. We expect merger synergies to be between $250 and $300 million during 2013. However,we expect to continue to incur certain costs related to the integration process.
- Total revenues in the first quarter 2013 reached $3,409.0 million compared to pro forma revenues of $3,360.2 million in first quarter 2012. The increase of 1.5% is a result of a 1.5% increase in passenger revenues and a 38.6% increase in other revenues, partially offset by a 3.2% decrease in cargo revenues. The slight increase in revenues reflects capacity reductions in the domestic Brazil passenger operations and a more challenging environment for international passenger operations, as well as weak market demand in the cargo business. Passenger and cargo revenues accounted for 84.2% and 13.5% of total revenues, respectively, in first quarter 2013.
- During the first quarter 2013, LATAM received a total of 5 Airbus A320 family aircraft and 1 Boeing 767-300 passenger aircraft. Furthermore, the Company returned 1 Airbus A320-200 and sold 2 Airbus A318 aircraft.
Top Copyright Photo: Alvaro Romero/ModoCharlie.com. LAN Airlines’ Airbus A318-121 CC-CVR (msn 3390) carries special Telethon 2011 logo at Santiago. The snow-capped Andes Mountains are in the background.
Bottom Copyright Photo: Bernardo Andrade. TAM’s Airbus A319-132 PT-TMD (msn 4192) in the retrojet color scheme climbs away from Santos Dumont Airport in downtown Rio de Janeiro. Please click on the photo for the full-size view.
Croatia Airlines (Zagreb) today (May 15) was hit again by a strike of its employees protesting wage and job cuts as part of the state airlines’ restructuring. The airline cancelled 22 flights today per Global Post. The company issued this statement:
Current Travel Information: Strike actions announced for Wednesday, May 15, 2013
All information about flight status for Wednesday, May 15, 2013 you may find under the link below:
We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your understanding and patience.
The three unions representing the pilots and flight attendants started their strike against the company yesterday after negotiations failed to reach a new contract.
Read the full report from the Global Post: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: Bernhard Ross/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-212 9A-CTM (msn 671) in the Star Alliance motif rests between flights at Frankfurt.
Boeing (Chicago) and Southwest Airlines (Dallas) announced today the launch of the 737 MAX 7, the third member of the 737 MAX family. The carrier and launch customer for the 737 MAX program became the first airline to order the 737 MAX 7, when it converted 30 existing orders for Next-Generation 737s into orders for the 737 MAX 7.
Southwest also exercised options to add five more Next-Generation 737-800s to its fleet. These airplanes, along with the 737 MAX 7s, are part of Southwest’s ongoing effort to improve fuel efficiency and profitability. The 737 MAX 7 supports Southwest’s expanding fleet modernization effort. Southwest is expected to take its first 737 MAX 7 delivery in 2019.
“We are thrilled to announce that Southwest Airlines and Boeing have entered into an agreement for Southwest to be the launch customer for the Boeing MAX 7 series, with deliveries beginning in 2019,” said Gary C. Kelly, Southwest Airlines Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO. “The 737 MAX 7 builds on the strengths of today’s Next-Generation 737-700, incorporating the latest CFM International LEAP-1B engines is expected to reduce fuel burn and CO2 emissions by an additional 12 percent over today’s most fuel-efficient single-aisle airplane.”
The 737 MAX 7 (below) brings the most advanced engine technologies to the world’s best-selling airplane, building on the strengths of today’s Next-Generation 737-700. The 110-ft long airplane incorporates the latest CFM International LEAP-1B engines to deliver improved efficiency with the most reliability and passenger comfort in the single-aisle market. The 737 MAX 7 also will extend the range over today’s 737-700 by approximately 400 nautical miles (741 km).
“Southwest has been a valued partner in the evolution of the 737 program,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner. “We have worked together to launch several models of the 737 including the 737 MAX family in 2011. We are excited to bring the 737 MAX 7 to market with Southwest.”
With the MAX 7 conversions and exercised options for 737-800s, Southwest’s unfilled orders consist of 180 737 MAX airplanes and 137 Next-Generation 737s. The 737 MAX now has orders for 1,315 airplanes.
In other news, Southwest Airlines’ Board of Directors, at its meeting held today, significantly increased the Company’s quarterly dividend to $.04 per share from $.01 per share. Annualized, this amounts to over $100 million. The increase in the quarterly dividend will begin with the 147th consecutive quarterly dividend declared today to Shareholders of record at the close of business on June 5, 2013 on all shares then issued and outstanding. The dividend will be paid on June 26, 2013. The Board also increased the Company’s existing $1 billion share repurchase authorization to $1.5 billion. Of the remaining share repurchase authorization, an initial $250 million of Southwest common stock will be repurchased under an accelerated stock repurchase program.
Gary C. Kelly, Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO, stated: “Over the past 24 months, we have returned over 20 percent of our operating cash flows, or approximately $770 million, to Shareholders through share repurchases and dividends. I am pleased to announce several actions taken today by our Board that follow through with our commitment to deploy free cash flow1 to our Shareholders. The Board authorized an increase in our quarterly dividend payment to $.04 per share from $.01 per share. Based on yesterday’s closing stock price of $13.98, this would provide an approximate one percent annual dividend yield to our Shareholders. The Board also increased our existing $1 billion share repurchase authorization to $1.5 billion. To date, $725 million in share repurchases of the $1.5 billion authorization have been completed since August 2011. This means we have the authority to repurchase an additional $775 million of our common stock. We intend to execute an agreement today to repurchase $250 million of our shares under an accelerated stock repurchase program, which, upon implementation, will immediately bring shares back into the Company.
Top Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. With this announcement, Southwest exercised options to add five more Next-Generation 737-800s to its growing fleet. Boeing 737-8H4 WL N8308K (msn 36682) arrives at Washington (Reagan National).
Helvetic Airways (Zurich) has acquired this Airbus A319 to supplement its fleet of six Fokker 100s.
For the current summer season, Helvetic will be operating the newly-acquired Airbus A319 for Kuoni on the following routes:
|From Bern:||Heraklion||From Geneva:||Heraklion|
|Fuerteventura / Arecife|
|Las Palmas / Tenerife|
|Hurghada / Sharm El Sheikh|
Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner/AirlinersGallery.com. Captured this morning in the early morning light at Zurich, Airbus A319-112 HB-JVK (msn 1886) was leased from AWAS on May 3, 2013.
Norwegian to launch 20 new routes for the winter 2013-2014, launches its 15th route from London Gatwick
Norwegian Air Shuttle (Norwegian.com) (Oslo) is one of the fastest growing airlines in Europe and continues to launch new routes. The airline has issued this statement concerning the launch of 20 new routes for the coming winter season:
Norwegian is planning to launch 20 new routes this winter season starting in the autumn of 2013. From Stockholm, the company expands the number of direct routes to Malaga, Gran Canaria, Alicante and Tenerife.
Norwegian also announced new routes and increased frequencies on existing routes from Finland, Denmark, Norway and England.
From Sweden and Denmark, the Norwegian winter offer even more departures to several Spanish destinations. From Stockholm, Norwegian is increasing number of flights to Malaga from five to six times per week, to Las Palmas from four to five, Alicante 4-5 and Tenerife from 2 to 3 times a week.
From Gothenburg, Norwegian is increasing the number of flights to Tenerife from one to two times a week. The cvompany is increasing the Copenhagen-Malaga route from eight to nine times a week.
Norwegian has got a very nice reception in the Finnish market and the number of passengers increases constantly resulting in new routes and more departures. For the winter season, Norwegian will fly directly from Oulu to Tenerife and from Turku to Alicante. In addition to these new routes, Norwegian also extends the direct route between Oulu and Alicante in the winter program.
To meet market demand, Norwegian is also increasing flights from Helsinki to several Spanish destinations. The direct flights to Tenerife increases from two to three times a week, Alicante from four to six and Las Palmas from three to four times a week.
As previously reported, Norwegian continues to grow internationally and is launching 11 new routes from Germany to several Spanish destinations. From Hamburg, Norwegian Air Shuttle routes to Alicante, Malaga, Las Palmas and Tenerife. From Cologne launched routes to Alicante, Malaga, Las Palmas and Tenerife. From Munich there will be direct routes to Alicante, Malaga and Tenerife.
In other news, Norwegian has announced flights from London Gatwick to the popular Spanish Canary Island of Fuerteventura starting on October 30. Norwegian will fly twice a week between London Gatwick and Fuerteventura. The new route becomes the 15th route from LGW.
Norwegian has become a significant player at London Gatwick and recently established a UK base at the airport. The airline currently has three aircraft based at London Gatwick and has increased its weekly flights from 198 in 2009 to 320 by the end of the summer.
Copyright Photo: SM Fitzwilliams Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8JP WL LN-DYW (msn 39010) with the image of Thorbjorn Egner on the tail taxies past the camera at Dublin.
Flybe (Exeter) is reportedly in discussions with EasyJet (easyJet.com) (London-Luton) and others to possibly acquire its 25 landing and takeoff slots at London (Gatwick) according to this report by the BBC. Flybe has been losing money and is currently cutting costs and selling some of its assets.
Read the full report: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: Terry Wade/AirlinersGallery.com. Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) G-JEDP (msn 4085) in the unique “Low Cost, but not any cost” color scheme approaches the runway at London (Gatwick).
EasyJet (UK) (easyJet.com) (London-Luton) has reported its first half financial results:
|Total revenue (£ million)||1,601||1,465||9.3%|
|Loss before tax (£ million)||(61)||(112)||45.5%|
|Pre-tax margin (%)||(3.8)||(7.6)||+3.8ppt|
|Loss per share – basic (pence)||(12.0)||(21.2)||43.4%|
|Return on capital employed (%)1||(0.9)||(2.8)||+1.9ppt|
Revenue initiatives and the focus on maintaining EasyJet’s cost advantage, combined with competitor capacity reductions and the timing of Easter have enabled easyJet to reduce its first half pre-tax loss year on year by £51 million to £61 million.
EasyJet ended the first half of the financial year with £1,194 million of cash, a decrease of £17 million against last year. Net cash as at 31 March 2013 was £433 million compared to £42 million at 31 March 2012.
On 1 May 2013, John Barton succeeded Sir Mike Rake as easyJet Chairman. The whole team at easyJet wishes to note its thanks for Sir Mike Rake’s strong leadership of the Board for three years during which easyJet’s total shareholder return was 233%.
Progress against strategic objectives:
Drive demand, conversion and yields across Europe
- Total revenue per seat increased by 8.6% year on year on a constant currency basis, and by 5.8% per seat on a reported basis, to £53.39 as the half year benefited from an early Easter, competitor capacity retrenchment, returns focused changes to EasyJet’s network and improvements to its revenue management system.
- Average load factors increased by 1.7 percentage points to 88.6% whilst capacity grew by 3.3% to 30 million seats.
Maintain cost advantage
- Cost per seat excluding fuel grew by 3.4% on a constant currency basis and by 3.1% on a reported basis to £38.89. Year on year cost increases were largely driven by increased charges at regulated airports and from higher weather related disruption and de-icing costs.
- EasyJet lean delivered an incremental £25 million of savings in the period.
Build strong number 1 and 2 network positions
- Successful deployment of capacity from Madrid base which was exited in December 2012 to strengthen easyJet’s position in Edinburgh, Manchester, Gatwick, Geneva, Lisbon and Lyon.
Disciplined use of capital
- In the six months to 31 March 2013, EasyJet has returned £85 million or 21.5 pence per share to shareholders through the increased payment of ordinary dividend, at three times earnings cover.
- Further to the January 2013 IMS, easyJet has signed sale and operating leaseback agreements for 12 new A320 and 12 of the oldest A319 aircraft.
- Significant improvements have been made in underperforming routes increasing overall network returns.
- easyJet is in the final stages of the commercial evaluation of the next generation of short-haul engine technology. The process has been subject to high standards of governance. In the event that the Board of easyJet concludes that an order will be in the interest of all shareholders, easyJet will bring a proposal to shareholders that will cover both the next generation of deliveries, which are likely to be after 2017, and a plan for the bridging period from 2015 to 2017.
Commenting on the results, Carolyn McCall, easyJet Chief Executive said:
“EasyJet delivered a strong first half performance, demonstrating the Company’s structural advantage in the European short-haul market against both legacy and low cost competition, and a continuing resilience against a challenging European macro-economic environment.
Our performance reflects measurable progress against EasyJet’s four key strategic objectives that have been amply demonstrated by a significant reduction in the loss for the first half and significant improvement in ROCE over the same period.
Whilst there is always the potential for unexpected events to impact short term financial performance, the outlook for the second half of the financial year combined with the strong reduction in first half losses means that EasyJet expects to deliver improved returns and profitability for the year ending 30 September 2013.”
In other news, the company is nearing a decision to order the re-engined Airbus A320neo or the Boeing 737 MAX.
Read the full story and analysis by Reuters: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-111 G-EZBR (msn 3088) with the special Airbus 100 markings stops at Paris (CDG).
Copa Holdings, S.A. (Copa Airlines) (Panama City) has announced financial results for the first quarter of 2013 (1Q13). The terms “Copa Holdings” or “the Company” refer to the consolidated entity. The following financial information, unless otherwise indicated, is presented in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). See the accompanying reconciliation of non-IFRS financial information to IFRS financial information included in financial tables section of this earnings release. Unless otherwise stated, all comparisons with prior periods refer to the first quarter of 2012 (1Q12).
OPERATING AND FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
- Copa Holdings reported net income of US$113.8 million for 1Q13, or diluted earnings per share (EPS) of US$2.56. Excluding special items, Copa Holdings would have reported an adjusted net income of $124.4 million, or $2.80 per share, a 37.3% increase over adjusted net income of US$90.6 million and US$2.04 per share for 1Q12.
- Operating income for 1Q13 came in at US$142.6 million, a 27.9% increase over operating income of US$111.6 million in 1Q12. Operating margin for the period came in at 22.2%, compared to 20.5% in 1Q12, as a result of lower unit costs.
- Total revenues increased 18.0% to US$641.3 million. Yield per passenger mile decreased 0.8% to 17.6 cents and operating revenue per available seat mile (RASM) decreased 1.5% to 14.0 cents. However, adjusting for a 6.3% increase in length of haul, yields and RASM increased 2.2% and 1.5%, respectively.
- For 1Q13, robust demand trends resulted in passenger traffic (RPMs) growth of 19.5% on a 19.9% capacity expansion. Consolidated load factor came in at 76.9%, or 0.3 percentage points below 1Q12.
- Operating cost per available seat mile (CASM) decreased 3.6%, from 11.3 cents in 1Q12 to 10.9 cents in 1Q13. CASM, excluding fuel, decreased 4.7% to 6.5 cents.
- Cash, short term and long term investments ended 1Q13 at US$733.4 million, representing 31.2% of the last twelve months’ revenues.
- During the first quarter, Copa Airlines took delivery of two Boeing 737-800 aircraft. As a result, Copa Holdings ended the quarter with a consolidated fleet of 85 aircraft.
- For 1Q13, Copa Holdings reported consolidated on-time performance of 90.0% and a flight-completion factor of 99.7%, maintaining its position among the best in the industry.
|Consolidated Financial &
|1Q13||1Q12||% Change||4Q12||% Change|
|Revenue Passengers Carried (’000)||1,926||1,714||12.4%||1,899||1.4%|
|Load Factor||76.9%||77.2%||-0.3 p.p.||75.7%||1.2 p.p.|
|PRASM (US$ Cents)||13.5||13.7||-1.2%||12.9||4.4%|
|RASM (US$ Cents)||14.0||14.2||-1.5%||13.5||3.6%|
|CASM (US$ Cents)||10.9||11.3||-3.6%||11.1||-2.5%|
|CASM Excl. Fuel (US$ Cents)||6.5||6.8||-4.7%||6.8||-4.1%|
|Breakeven Load Factor (1)||58.7%||61.2%||-2.5 p.p.||61.6%||-2.9 p.p.|
|Fuel Gallons Consumed (Millions)||60.1||51.3||17.1%||58.4||2.9%|
|Avg. Price Per Fuel Gallon (US$ Dollars)||3.34||3.33||0.4%||3.34||0.1%|
|Average Length of Haul (Miles)||1,832||1,724||6.3%||1,772||3.4%|
|Average Stage Length (Miles)||1,123||1,066||5.4%||1,090||3.1%|
|Average Aircraft Utilization (Hours)||11.3||10.9||3.1%||11.0||2.7%|
|Operating Revenues (US$ mm)||641.3||543.3||18.0%||599.8||6.9%|
|Operating Income (US$ mm)||142.6||111.6||27.9%||104.3||36.8%|
|Operating Margin||22.2%||20.5%||1.7 p.p.||17.4%||4.9 p.p.|
|Net Income (US$ mm)||113.8||95.9||18.7%||86.6||31.4%|
|Adjusted Net Income (US$ mm) (1)||124.4||90.6||37.3%||89.3||39.3%|
|EPS – Basic and Diluted (US$)||2.56||2.16||18.5%||1.95||31.5%|
|Adjusted EPS – Basic and Diluted (US$) (1)||2.80||2.04||37.1%||2.01||39.4%|
|# of Shares – Basic and Diluted (’000)||44,387||44,341||0.1%||44,409||0.0%|
(1) Breakeven Load Factor, Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EPS for 1Q13, 1Q12, and 4Q12 exclude non-cash charges/gains associated with the mark-to-market of fuel hedges. Additionally, for 1Q13 excludes a US$13.9 million charge related to the devaluation of the Venezuelan currency.
Note: Attached to this press release is a reconciliation of non-IFRS financial measures to the comparable IFRS measures.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-86N WL HP-1826CMP (msn 38031) approaches the runway for landing at Los Angeles International Airport.
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JetBlue Airways (New York) and Emirates (Dubai) today announced their intention to expand their current partnership to include bilateral codesharing, pending FAA and DOT regulatory approval and subject to receipt of foreign government operating authority. Under the expanded agreement, JetBlue will place its “B6″ airline code on all flights currently operated by Emirates between the U.S. and Dubai International Airport, as well as between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Milan, Italy.
The agreement deepens a three-year partnership between JetBlue and Emirates. Emirates started placing its code on select JetBlue-operated flights in April 2012, expanding an interline agreement that dates back to 2010. Current codeshare routes offered by Emirates on JetBlue-operated flights cover 28 destinations including Boston, Chicago, Orlando and Puerto Rico. Since March this year, Emirates also began placing its code on additional JetBlue routes, including Bridgetown, Barbados, Cancun, Mexico, Montego Bay, Jamaica and Santo Domingo, Santiago and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Through the existing agreement, customers enjoy the convenience of a single combined ticket for Emirates and JetBlue-operated flights, plus other benefits including one-stop check-in and baggage transfer.
Members of Skywards, the Emirates reward program, can earn miles on JetBlue-operated flights and also redeem miles for flights to any of JetBlue’s 77 destinations (and counting) throughout the Americas. Similarly, members of JetBlue’s TrueBlue loyalty program can earn points for Emirates-operated flights worldwide.
Emirates’ global network encompasses 133 destinations in 77 countries across six continents and the airline currently operates 56 passenger flights per week between Dubai and the U.S. including flights from Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C. and the twice daily A380 service from JFK to Dubai International Airport. , Emirates’ extensive network gives travellers in the U.S. access not only to the carrier’s home of Dubai, the commercial and tourism hub of the United Arab Emirates and the Gulf region, but also to cities across Africa, India, and throughout Asia Pacific.
From New York JFK, Emirates offers two daily nonstop flights to its global hub at Dubai International Airport – both aboard its flagship A380 – offering travellers fine dining, personalized service and multi award-winning entertainment options. From Washington Dulles, Emirates offers one daily nonstop flight to Dubai.
Top Copyright Photo: Stephen Tornblom. Airbus A320-232 N779JB (msn 3811) (Real Salt Lake-2009 Champions) taxies from the gate at Long Beach.
Bottom Copyright Photo: Stephen Tornblom. Airbus A380-861 A6-EDN (msn 056) carefully taxies at New York (JFK).
Boeing (Chicago) has delivered a 767-300 ER (extended range) to MIAT Mongolian Airlines (Ulaanbaatar), the first-ever direct purchase delivery to the airline.
“This is a momentous step forward for MIAT Mongolian Airlines as we continue to enhance our fleet,” said Jargalsaikhan Gungaa, President and CEO of MIAT Mongolian Airlines. “We are pleased with the comfort, range and payload of the new 767-300ER and we look forward to introducing it into our long-haul fleet.”
Mongolia’s flag carrier completed a historic order in 2011 at the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C., marking the first time in more than two decades that the airline extended its route network by purchasing Boeing airplanes instead of leasing them.
“We congratulate MIAT Mongolian Airlines on the delivery of their first direct purchase 767-300ER,” said Ihssane Mounir, senior vice president of Sales for Northeast Asia, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “With the new passenger-pleasing cabin interior and low operating costs, Boeing is confident that the 767-300ER will play an important role as MIAT Mongolian Airlines continues expanding into new markets.”
Copyright Photo: Nick Dean. Boeing 767-34G ER JA-1021 (msn 41519) was handed over to the carrier on May 13.
Norwegian and Virgin Atlantic pilots to cooperate on the Boeing 787 training and long-haul expertise, will expand in Germany
Norwegian Long Haul (Norwegian Air Shuttle) (Oslo) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Virgin Atlantic Airways (London). The agreement enables Norwegian to tap into Virgin Atlantic’s expertise on long-haul operations, while Virgin Atlantic’s instructors will receive pilot training on board Norwegian’s brand new 787-8 Dreamliner. Norwegian’s first Dreamliner is due for delivery at the end of June.
The cooperation with Virgin Atlantic will enable Norwegian’s long-haul pilots to make use of the airline’s vast long-haul experience. Virgin Atlantic will make all its training material available to Norwegian.
Virgin Atlantic’s pilots to train on board Norwegian’s 787 Dreamliner
At the same time, Virgin Atlantic’s 787 instructors will conduct the final part of their pilot training on board Norwegian’s Dreamliners. Virgin Atlantic’s most experienced instructors will continue flying on board Norwegian’s aircraft until the airline receives its first 787 Dreamliner in September 2014, just over a year after Norwegian’s first Dreamliner delivery.
“Introducing a new aircraft type to an airline is an extensive affair. It is therefore important that we learn from each other,” says Director of Flight Operations Norwegian Long Haul, Torstein Hoås.
A great advantage to both parties
“Virgin Atlantic is a successful long-haul airline with almost 30 years of Trans-Atlantic experience. It will be very beneficial for us to receive this support. At the same time, we are looking forward to helping Virgin Atlantic introduce the 787 Dreamliner to its fleet. The cooperation will be a great advantage to both parties,” he continues.
Virgin Atlantic will be the launch customer in Europe of the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, a slightly bigger version of the 787-8 Dreamliner. In the agreement signed on Friday, Virgin Atlantic states that it will train a number of Norwegian pilots on board its future Dreamliners.
“Virgin Atlantic are delighted to announce our training partnership with Norwegian. Our combined experience is being effectively utilised to ensure the safe and efficient introduction of the Boeing 787 aircraft to our fleet. We have much in common with Norwegian, having similar high quality training requirements, which has allowed our partnership to take shape,” says Captain Dave Kistruck, GM of Flight Operations for Virgin Atlantic.
In other news, Norwegian is expanding in the Germany-Spain market. The company has issued this statement:
Norwegian Air Shuttle continues its European expansion. The company has announced that it will launch new routes from Hamburg, Cologne and Munich to several Spanish destinations this autumn.
“The expansion in the German market is part of our future strategy to expand our presence outside of the Nordic region in order to meet the strong competition in the airline industry. We see that Germans frequently choose Norwegian when flying to Scandinavia and we believe that there is a demand for a quality airline that offers inexpensive fares between Germany and Spain. We are looking forward to welcoming passengers on board our modern and more eco-friendly aircraft,” said CEO of Norwegian Bjørn Kjos.
From the end of October, Norwegian launches brand new routes between Germany and Spain and will fly to Malaga, Alicante, Gran Canaria and Tenerife from Hamburg and Cologne. From Munich, Norwegian will offer flights to Malaga, Alicante and Tenerife.
Norwegian is Europe’s third largest low-fare airline. As one of the fastest growing airlines in Europe, it is establishing itself outside of the Nordic region by opening bases in the UK and Spain. At the end of the month, Norwegian will, as the first European low-fare airline, commence long-haul flights to the US and Asia.
Hamburg-Malaga (November 1), 3 weekly flights, from EUR 29,- one way
Hamburg-Alicante (November 1), 3 weekly flights, from EUR 29,- one way
Hamburg-Gran Canaria (October 27), 2 weekly flights, from EUR 49,- one way
Hamburg-Tenerife (October 27), 2 weekly flights, from EUR 49,- one way
Cologne-Malaga (October 31), 3 weekly flights, from EUR 29,- one way
Cologne-Alicante (November 1), 2 weekly flights, from EUR 29,- one way
Cologne-Gran Canaria (October 28), 2 weekly flights, from EUR 49,- one way
Cologne-Tenerife (October 28), 2 weekly flights, from EUR 49,- one way
Munich-Malaga (November 1), 2 weekly flights, from EUR 39,- one way
Munich-Alicante (October 31), 2 weekly flights, from EUR 39,- one way
Munich-Tenerife (October 29), 2 weekly flights, from EUR 59,- one way
Copyright Photo: Norwegian Air Shuttle.
Turkish Airlines (Istanbul) has finalized a firm order for 40 737 MAX 8s, 10 737 MAX 9s and 20 Next-Generation 737-800 jets, valued at $6.9 billion at list prices. The order, originally announced as a commitment last month, also includes options for an additional 25 737 MAX 8s and is the largest Boeing order in Turkish Airlines’ history.
This announcement brings the total number of 737 MAXs ordered to date to 1,285 and Boeing currently has more than 3,100 unfilled orders for 737s.
Turkish Airlines currently operates more than 85 Next-Generation 737s.
Copyright Photo: Andi Hiltl. Boeing 737-8F2 TC-JFU (msn 29781) approaches Zurich for landing.
Aeroflot Russian Airlines (Moscow) as we first reported on November 19, 2012, is getting ready to introduce this 1956 retrojet.
Aeroflot issued this statement back in November:
On November 12, 2012 the open Internet voting for Aeroflot new aircraft retro livery was finished. Celebrating the company’s 90th Anniversary, an airplane in a heritage livery will join the Aeroflot fleet in 2013.
In the middle of this summer Aeroflot addressed to its passengers through social networks, asking about their vision of expected Aeroflot jubilee events. As a result, more than 45 per cent of our flyers wished to see one of the national carrier’s aircraft in a retro livery.
So, the voting in Aeroflot official Facebook group had begun. There were four candidates representing four different types of painting historically worn by Aeroflot airplanes. More than 2500 passengers participated in the voting process, and the livery of one of the first world’s jet airliners – Tupolev Tu-104 (appeared in 1956) was declared a winner.
During the voting Aeroflot received from its passengers a lot of useful recommendations and remarks, which will allow updating and improving of the color scheme of the livery.
One of the brand new A320 aircraft to make part of Aeroflot fleet in the first middle of 2013 will wear a retro livery. The painting itself will be made at the Airbus manufacturing plant.
Copyright Photo: Eurospot. The pictured brand-new Airbus A320-214 has been painted in a modified 1956 almost-retro livery. Still carrying the test registration of F-WWIF, the airframe will be delivered as VP-BNT (msn 5614). The airliner is pictured at Toulouse today.
WestJet (Calgary) today announced the launch of new daily, nonstop service between Brandon, Manitoba and Calgary. The service will be operated by WestJet Encore’s fleet of Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) NextGen turboprop aircraft.
Details of the new daily service between Brandon and Calgary are:
|3242||Calgary at 9:50 a.m.||Brandon at 12:50 p.m.||September 3, 2013|
|3243||Brandon at 1:20 p.m.||Calgary at 2:35 p.m.||September 3, 2013|
WestJet Encore will take delivery of its first two Canadian-built, 78-seat Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft in June 2013 and add five more by the end of the year. WestJet has firm orders for a total of 20 Q400s and options for an additional 25 over the next six years.
Turkish Airlines (Istanbul) has announced it will fly to Isparta (Turkey), Santiago De Compostela (Spain), Valetta (Malta) and Salzburg (Austria) following the May 2 addition of Friedrichshafen to its growing network.
Beginning on May 20, the carrier will add roundtrip flights between Istanbul and Isparta (Turkey) and will be operated three times weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Isparta flight times as planned starting on May 20;
*All times are in LMT.
Another destination in Spain…
With existing services to Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Malaga and Bilbao, Turkish Airlines adds flights to Santiago De Compostela as its 6th destination in Spain. Beginning May 21, Santiago De Compostela flights will be operated three times per week on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays in both directions.
Santiago De Compostela flight times as planned starting on May 21;
|TK1319||Tuesday, Friday, Sunday||Istanbul||09:00||Santiago De Compostela||12:45|
|TK1320||Tuesday, Friday, Sunday||Santiago De Compostela||13:50||Istanbul||19:15|
*All times are in LMT.
Turkish Airlines’ 226th destination in 100 country, Malta flights begins on May 25, 2013. Roundtrip flights between Istanbul and Malta will be operated three times per week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Malta flight times as planned starting on May 25;
|TK1369||Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday||Istanbul||12:35||Malta||14:20|
|TK1370||Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday||Malta||15:15||Istanbul||18:35|
*All times are in LMT.
Expansion in Austria as well…
With existing services to Vienna, Turkish Airlines now adds flights to Salzburg as its second destination in Austria. Beginning on May 28, roundtrip flights between Istanbul and Salzburg will be operated four times per week on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Salzburg flight times as planned starting on May 28;
|TK1381||Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday||Istanbul||12:15||Salzburg||13:45|
|TK1382||Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday||Salzburg||14:45||Istanbul||18:05|
*All times are in LMT.
Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth. Boeing 737-8F2 TC-JGA (msn 29785) lands at Basel/Mulhouse/Freiburg.
Virgin America (San Francisco) has reported its financial results for the fourth quarter of 2012, full-year 2012, and the first quarter of 2013. The airline reported its first-ever fourth quarter operating profit in the quarter ending in December 2012, with a 4.4 point improvement in operating margin over the fourth quarter of 2011. In addition, Virgin America improved financial results in the first quarter of 2013, significantly narrowing its operating loss from the same period the year prior. For the first quarter of 2013, Virgin America reported a 69 percent year-over-year improvement in operating results compared with the first quarter of 2012, driven by an 18 percent growth in RASM.
Highlights of the two quarters are as follows:
Fourth Quarter 2012 Financial Highlights
- Virgin America achieved its first-ever fourth quarter operating profit with $5.1 million of operating income, an improvement of $13.2 million, compared with the fourth quarter of 2011.
- Fourth quarter revenue per available seat mile (RASM) increased by 9 percent, the highest in the domestic industry.
- Available seat miles (ASMs) increased by 16 percent, primarily the result of increases to the fleet size early in 2012.
- The airline recorded operating revenues of $350.4 million in the fourth quarter, a year-over-year increase of 27 percent.
- Its average fare increased 14 percent year-over-year, indicative of growing awareness and guest loyalty that Virgin America has built in its markets through its industry-leading product and service.
- Cost per available seat mile (CASM) excluding fuel increased by 6 percent compared to the year earlier quarter, largely a result of the airline’s change in strategy to reduce aircraft utilization and eliminate seasonally weaker frequencies.
- The average fuel cost per gallon during the quarter was $3.00, a decline of 6 percent year-over-year.
- EBITDAR increased to $65.1 million in the fourth quarter, a year-over-year improvement of 54 percent.
- The airline held $76 million in unrestricted cash as of December 31, 2012.
First Quarter 2013 Financial Highlights
- Virgin America reduced its operating loss by $33.6 million or 69 percent year-over-year, posting a modest operating loss of $15 million.
- The Company significantly outpaced the entire U.S. airline industry with year-over-year RASM growth of 18 percent.
- ASMs decreased by 4 percent year-over-year, as the airline focused on improving its schedule for business travelers and eliminating seasonally weak frequencies during the winter.
- Its average fare increased by 19 percent over the year earlier quarter, continuing the trend demonstrated in the fourth quarter of 2012 of increased demand by guests for Virgin America’s product.
- Operating revenues were $301.3 million, an increase of 13 percent from the first quarter of 2012.
- CASM excluding fuel increased by 8 percent year-over-year, primarily due to reduced utilization of the fleet.
- EBITDAR increased seven fold to $44.7 million from $6.5 million in the same period a year-ago.
- Unrestricted cash was $58 million as of March 31, 2013.
“We’re pleased with our first-ever fourth quarter operating profit and the progress we have seen in the first quarter – traditionally the most challenging period for our industry,” said David Cush, Virgin America’s President and CEO. “Our improved financial performance reflects the changes we made last year to optimize our winter network schedule as we slow our growth. And it also reflects the growing guest awareness and loyalty we’ve seen as our network has grown. We’ve always said that once people fly us, they stick with us – and show a preference for our service. Our industry-leading RASM growth for the past six months is a testament to that and to the work of a team that has truly delivered on the promise of creating the best guest experience in the skies.”
The airline’s full-year 2012 operating loss was $31.7 million. The Company’s operating margin for 2012 improved by 0.2 points, to (2.4) percent, compared with 2011. Year-over-year, revenue grew by 29 percent in 2012, to $1.3 billion, on a 27 percent increase in capacity. Virgin America added six Airbus A320 family aircraft to its fleet during 2012, ending the year with an operating fleet of 52 aircraft. The airline ended 2012 with $76 million in unrestricted cash.
Virgin America completed a major two-year growth phase during 2012, having taken delivery of 25 aircraft between the second quarter of 2010 and the second quarter of 2012, almost doubling the size of the fleet. With this major growth phase largely behind the Company, Virgin America is now experiencing improved revenue performance across its network. Virgin America took delivery of one aircraft in the first quarter of 2013, increasing its total operating fleet to 53 aircraft. The Company does not expect to increase its fleet size again until 2015, when aircraft on order from Airbus are scheduled for delivery. The Company expects continued improved year-over-year financial performance throughout the remainder of 2013 as a result of the slower growth strategy.
In addition to slowing growth by deferring new aircraft deliveries, Virgin America made targeted changes to its network schedule in the first quarter to optimize seasonal flying and better match supply with winter demand. These changes resulted in a 17 percent reduction in the average daily utilization of the fleet to 10.3 hours per aircraft per day. While the reduced schedule was a major driver behind the 18 percent improvement in RASM, it also contributed to an 8 percent increase in CASM excluding fuel costs. The airline ended the quarter with $58 million in unrestricted cash.
Balance Sheet Improvements
The airline also announces today that it has recently reached agreements with investors to modify the interest rate on a large portion of existing debt and to eliminate certain indebtedness to restructure its balance sheet. The restructuring eliminated $290 million of debt as of December 31, 2012, and approximately $20 million of accrued interest recorded in the first quarter of 2013. If this restructuring had been in place on January 1, 2013, Virgin America’s first quarter net loss would have been reduced by approximately $20 million. These changes with investors are a first step toward preparing the Company for access to the public markets at a future date.
In addition, the Company closed an additional $75 million debt financing that was fully funded at the closing. This additional liquidity will further strengthen Virgin America’s improving financial position.
As a result of these balance sheet and liquidity initiatives, the Company expects its interest expense for the second half of 2013 to be approximately $20 million, or roughly one third of the interest expense recorded in the second half of 2012.
“With the strong improvement in first quarter 2013 financial performance, we are on track for a significant operating profit for the full year,” said David Cush. “The agreements reached with our investors enhance the improvements we are seeing in our business, and are a first step in modifying the Company’s capital structure to one more in line with public companies. With this solid improvement to our capital structure, we now expect to achieve a net profit in the second half of 2013, and are well positioned for sustained healthy financial performance in 2014 and beyond.”
Virgin America continued to drive significant growth in 2012: expanding its fleet from 46 aircraft in January 2012 to 52 aircraft in December 2012 (in March 2013, the carrier took delivery of its 53rdaircraft, which came into service in April); achieving major carrier status as defined by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT); launching service to Philadelphia, Portland, Ore., and Washington D.C.’s Reagan National Airport; and in December announcing plans to inaugurate Newark service from both San Francisco and Los Angeles in 2013.
- In 2012 the Virgin America achieved an 83.5 percent cumulative A-14 on-time ranking, compared to the industry average of 81.9 percent.
- The airline’s baggage handling rate for 2012 was 0.87 mishandled baggage reports per 1,000 guests, placing it first among all U.S. carriers reporting to the DOT for baggage reliability.
- Virgin America took the top honors for the fifth consecutive year as “Best Domestic Airline” in the prestigious Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards readers’ survey as well as the Condé Nast Traveler’s 2012 Readers’ Choice Awards.
- Virgin America was named the best airline in 2012 in the Airline Quality Rating, a joint research project conducted annually by faculty at Wichita State University and Purdue University that looks at airlines’ on-time performance and baggage handling, involuntary denied boarding and the customer complaint rates as reported by the DOT.
Key milestones achieved in the fourth quarter of 2012 include:
- The airline added three new interline partners.
- The airline introduced codeshare and agreed upon frequent flyer partnerships with Singapore Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines.
- In December, the airline announced plans to begin flying to Newark Liberty International Airport from both SFO and LAX.
- In December, the airline opened its first ever domestic lounge, the Virgin America Loft at LAX.
- In December,the airline entered into a codeshare agreement with Singapore Airlines.
- In December, the airline inaugurated the only nonstop flight offered from the New York City area (JFK) to Palm Springs with new winter seasonal service between the two cities.
Key milestones achieved in the first quarter of 2013 include:
- In January, the airline announced plans for new daily service between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
- In February, the airline announced plans for new daily service between San Jose and Los Angeles. Also in February, the airline announced plans for new daily service between San Francisco and Austin, Texas and new summer seasonal service between San Francisco and Anchorage, Alaska.
- In March, the airline announced the appointment of industry veteran Steve Forte as its chief operating officer.
Copyright Photo: Mark Durbin. Airbus A320-214 N361VA (msn 5515), the first with Sharklets, pushes back from the gate at the SFO base.
Pacific Wings Airlines (Kahului and Mesa) is planning to close down its inter-island Hawaiian scheduled passenger services on June 15 according to local media reports by HawaiiNewsNow. The airline has not yet made an announcement or confirmed the report.
The airline will apparently continue to operate its mainland Essential Airline Services (EAS) as New Mexico Airlines.
Read the full story: CLICK HERE
Top Copyright Photo: Ivan K. Nishimura/Blue Wave Group. Pacific Wings has recently scaled back its colorful rainbow livery (below) to this unspectacular white livery (above). Cessna 208B Grand Caravan N302PW (msn 0984) sits at Honolulu between flights. All other photos by Pacific Wings Airlines and New Mexico Airlines.
Lakeshore Express Aviation is moving its base from Chicago (Midway) (MDW) to Pontiac, Michigan (Oakland County International Airport) (PTK) near Detroit. The charter airline will start scheduled passenger services between Pontiac and Chicago Midway on June 6 with four roundtrips per week according to the carrier’s website. The flights will depart from the Atlantic Aviation facility at MDW on the south side. Flights will depart from the private terminal at PTK on the southwest side of the airport.
Flights are operated by Pentastar Aviation Charter (Pontiac) using this 30-seat SAAB 340B. A service between Chicago (Midway) and Pellston, Michigan began in June 2011.
The current schedule between Chicago (Midway) and Pellston:
Top Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen. Formerly operated by Colgan Air, SAAB 340B N9CJ (msn 224) is now painted in the colors of Lakeshore Express.
California Pacific Airlines (Carlsbad) is still struggling to get airborne as we have previously reported. Following a break through with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on an issue (runway length?) that previously delayed the application for a Part 121 AOC, the FAA has now informed the paper airline that it does have enough personnel to review the application due to budget cuts demanded by Congress under sequestration according to this update by U-T San Diego. The application to fly is now suspended.
Will this would be airline ever get a chance to fly scheduled flights?
Read the full story and vote: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: James Helbock. Embraer ERJ 170-100LR N760CP (msn 17000006) sits forlornly at the Carlsbad, California base without any place to go.
Kuwait Airways (Kuwait City) is planning to order 10 Airbus A350-900s and 15 A320neo aircraft according to this report by Reuters.
Read the full report: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: Paul Denton. The new Airbus aircraft will replace the older Airbus aircraft. Aging Airbus A300B4-605R 9K-AME (msn 721) taxies at Geneva.
Guest Editor Joel Chusid
Low Cost Goes Upscale
It’s pretty rare when an LCC (industry terminology for “low cost carrier”) adds frills, but airBaltic is trying something new starting this month. The Riga-based Latvian airline allows passengers to pre-order one of 20 tempting meals from their online website. Those who do place orders will be served on board first. We’re not talking pre-wrapped sandwiches, folks. Hot meals such as fish souvlaki over rice with a smoked trout starter, chocolate cake and wine are available on flights of more than 90 minutes, and on shorter flights, cold meals such as shrimp salad with cherry tomatoes and quail eggs with white wine and dessert. For breakfast, there are omelets and pancakes. The selections range from Latvian cuisine to seasonal and children’s offerings and a chef’s special, and there are additional options available for those with special dietary needs. Should you forget to order before you get to the airport, you can still order lasagna up to forty minutes before departure. Take a look at their 14-page menu online here: http://www.airbaltic.com/upload_file/Pre-order-menu.pdf. You can customize your meal by clicking and dragging your choices on to a virtual tray. Pre-ordering meals isn’t new, but this may be a first for an LCC. I do remember the days of yore when people could order the seafood platter on American Airlines in advance for free, and in coach! US Airways has been offering a similar advance pre-order service to selected overseas markets for the past year.
Leave it to Branson
The airline industry has been home to many colorful personalities, but Sir Richard Branson is arguably the most daring and certainly good natured. Two years ago, Branson, the CEO of Virgin, bet Tony Fernandes, the owner of AirAsia X on which of their racing teams would win, and Branson lost. The loser had to agree to don the bright crimson female uniform, complete with makeup and heels, of a flight attendant at the other’s airline and work a flight. Well, Branson lost the wager, and on May 12 he “worked” AirAsia X’s flight 237 from Perth to Kuala Lumpur. Tickets were sold for $400 one way with $100 going to the Starlight Foundation. Branson was required to meet the airline’s grooming standards, which means shaving his legs, but, at this writing, I hadn’t yet heard if the beard was a casualty!
Taking Golf to New Heights
As “The Official Airline of Golf Lovers”, leave it to Southwest to do something crazy. On March 31 they held a putting contest down the aisle!
One Thanksgiving eve some years ago, on my way from DFW to San Diego, I witnessed a passenger who had mistakenly boarded the flight in error. They discovered this on the runway takeoff queue, and there was no way that plane was going back to the gate. The worst part is the passenger had originated in San Diego and had planned to board the flight at the adjacent gate to Atlanta; instead he got to go back home. This was a real Thanksgiving turkey! And there are stories, albeit fairly infrequent, of airline personnel boarding unaccompanied children on the wrong plane. Well, this past March United accepted Hendrix, an English springer spaniel, as an unaccompanied pet, at Newark bound for Phoenix. Ten minutes before the flight was due to land in Phoenix, a United employee called Edith Albach and informed her that Hendrix was on his way to Ireland in error! Upon arrival at Dublin, Hendrix was walked and fed and then put back on the plane to Newark where he was reunited with his owner, on a stopover, before continuing on to Phoenix. The poor pup was on three flights for over 24 hours!
Now You See It, Now You Don’t
Turkish Airlines, one of the world’s fastest growing airlines, made it into the news when their flight attendants were told they could no longer wear red or dark pink lipstick or nail polish so as to not impair the “visual integrity” of its staff. This sparked an outcry on social media, and the union got involved. Just a few days later, the CEO reversed the order, blaming the misguided rule on overzealous junior managers.
Fresh Daily Airline News from World Airline News: CLICK HERE
Now you can stay and now dine on a Boeing 747 in Stockholm (story with photos and video): CLICK HERE
Jumbo Stay (Jumbo Hostel) (Stockholm) is now offering the opportunity to stay and now dine on the wing of a Boeing 747 based at Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport. The company is now advertising the following:
“Jumbo Stay is not just a hostel, its also an exciting place to go on an excursion for the whole family and for aviation enthusiasts. Non house guests are very welcome to have a look inside the airplane and to learn abouts its history. In our café you can purchase breakfast, coffee, cookies, ice cream, sandwiches and warm meals.
For the best view of the airplane and of the taxiway-runway, you will now have the possibility to walk along our left wing observation deck and experience the feeling of standing on top of a real Jumbo Jet’s wing.
Everybody is welcome to come and enjoy the view and to have a cup of coffee!”
The preserved Boeing 747-212B was originally delivered to Singapore Airlines as 9V-SQE (msn 21162) on March 30, 1976. However the airframe has also served with Pan Am (N727PA), Nationair (Canada) (C-FNXP), Garuda Indonesia, Cathay Pacific, Tower Air (N514DC and N620FF), Air Club International (C-GCIH), Transjet Airways (SE-RBN), Northeast Airlines (3D-NEE) and Jet Midwest (N981JM).
For more information: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photos: Stefan Sjogren. The Jumbo now carries advertising. Visitors can now have breakfast, lunch or even dinner on the wing of Jumbo Hostel at Stockholm Arlanda. You can see a fence on the wing is now protecting visitors from falling off the Boeing 747-212B.
Below is a view of the wing walking installation. Tables and chairs are provided on the wing!
In the front of the plane there is an elevator and stair case connecting to the main and upper decks of the Jumbo with the ground level.
Chorus Aviation Inc. (Jazz Aviation) (Air Canada Express) (formerly Air Canada Jazz) (Halifax) has issued its first quarter 2013 earnings, and is revising its quarterly dividend to $0.075 per share from $0.15 per share. The company reported first quarter net income of C$9.2 million ($9 million), down almost 65 percent from the $26.2 million profit in the first quarter a year ago.
First Quarter 2013 Highlights:
- Operating revenue of $416.3 million.
- EBITDA1 of $34.2 million.
- Operating income of $20.8 million.
- Net income of $9.2 million, or $0.07 per basic share.
- Adjusted net income1 of $14.7 million, or $0.12 per basic share.
- Billable Block Hours of 97, 202.
“The first quarter delivered solid results; however, two items negatively impacted the bottom line,” said Joseph Randell, President and Chief Executive Officer, Chorus. ”In our continued efforts to improve operational efficiency and to reduce costs, we enacted a voluntary separation program for our more senior pilots and maintenance employees. The severance cost of $5.7 million will provide a return within the next two years as ongoing operational costs are reduced. This expense, when factored with the unrealized foreign exchange loss of $5.6 million into the adjusted net income for the quarter, increases earnings per share to the current market consensus of $0.17 per basic share.”
Chorus and Air Canada are involved in an ongoing complex arbitration process regarding the 2009 Benchmark. Chorus remains confident in its position that the Controllable Mark-up of 12.5% in the Capacity Purchase Agreement (‘CPA’) should not change as a result of the arbitration. Accordingly, no amounts have been recorded in the accounts of Chorus in 2010, 2011, 2012 or 2013 related to the Air Canada claim. Management has determined that it is not probable that the Air Canada claim will be successful, and it is not practicable to determine an estimate of the possible financial effect, if any, with sufficient reliability.
However, in any litigation process there is always some risk of an adverse outcome. This risk combined with the extended duration of the arbitration has created the risk of a material retroactive amount owing to Air Canada for the period commencing January 1, 2010 should Air Canada succeed in its claim for a material fleet age adjustment in its favour. The longer this process continues without resolution, the larger the amount of any potential retroactive payment.
In addition, Chorus’ $80.2 million convertible debentures come due in December 2014. Chorus anticipates that an increase in liquidity will provide increased flexibility in addressing the maturity of those debentures, in the context of challenging conditions for the airline industry and global economic uncertainty. Those debentures, issued in November 2009, were used to pay part of the term debt of $115.0 million which was established at the time of the Chorus initial public offering in 2006 and matured in February 2010. As a result, Chorus believes that strengthening its cash position during this period is prudent.
Chorus will continue to manage its financial leverage ratios, such as its adjusted net debt to equity ratio which has increased as a result of the financing of its new Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) aircraft fleet. Such continued accretive investment in fleet renewal may occur either through refurbishment of the classic Bombardier DHC-8-100 and DHC-8-300 series aircraft or further investment in new generation aircraft.
In consideration of these factors, Chorus has reduced its quarterly dividend from $0.15 per share to $0.075 per share going forward. This will enable Chorus to retain additional cash of $9.3 million per quarter.
While Chorus has current cash available to pay the dividend at the previous rate, the Board of Directors has determined that, given the factors discussed above, it is prudent and advisable to conserve Chorus’ financial resources.
“We have, and continue to prudently manage our financial resources,” continued Mr. Randell. “The regional airline industry is changing dramatically both here and south of the border. Competition is increasing significantly. We must continue in our efforts to reduce costs, strengthen the fundamentals of our business, and improve our financial position to ensure we have the flexibility required to effectively respond and compete in our ever-changing markets.”
The Board of Directors will continue to assess the dividend payment on an ongoing basis.
Financial Performance -First Quarter 2013 Compared to First Quarter 2012
Operating revenue decreased from $437.1 million to $416.3 million, representing a decrease of $20.8 million or 4.8%. Passenger revenue, excluding pass-through costs, decreased by $6.4 million or 2.5% primarily as a result of no activity in the quarter for Thomas Cook; offset by rate increases made pursuant to the CPA with Air Canada, an increase in Billable Block Hours of 0.8%, a $0.2 million increase in incentives earned under the CPA, and a higher US dollar exchange rate. Pass-through costs decreased from $176.7 million to $162.0 million; a decrease of $14.7 million or 8.3%, which included a decrease of $1.8 million related to fuel costs. Other revenue increased by $0.2 million.
Operating expenses decreased from $407.4 million to $395.5 million, a decrease of $12.0 million or 2.9%. Controllable Costs increased by $2.7 million, or 1.2%; offset by a decrease in pass-through costs of $14.7 million.
Salaries, wages and benefits increased by $3.1 million primarily as a result of voluntary employee severance costs related to flight crew and maintenance employees, wage and scale increases under new collective agreements, and increased pension expense resulting from a revised actuarial valuation; offset by a reduction in the number of full time equivalent employees and higher capitalized salaries and wages related to major maintenance overhauls.
Depreciation and amortization expense increased by $0.5 million, primarily related to the purchase of Q400 aircraft, increased capital expenditures on aircraft rotable parts and other equipment, and increased major maintenance overhauls; offset by certain assets having reached full amortization and a change in estimate related to the residual value of the Dash 8-100 and 300 aircraft.
Aircraft maintenance expense decreased by $2.4 million as a result of a $4.6 million reduction related to no activity for Thomas Cook; offset by an increase in engine maintenance activity due to engine charges for the CRJ705 and Dash 8 – 300 aircraft of $1.2 million, increased other maintenance costs of $0.5 million and an increase in the US-dollar exchange rate on certain material purchases of $0.5 million.
Aircraft rent decreased by $5.4 million primarily as a result of no expense in the quarter for Thomas Cook aircraft and the return of CRJ aircraft.
Other expenses increased by $1.3 million primarily due to increased professional fees, increased travel and training costs associated with the Q400 aircraft and increased general overhead expenses.
Non-operating expenses increased by $9.0 million. This change was mainly attributable to an increase in foreign exchange of $8.8 million (of which $8.9 million was related to an increase in unrealized foreign exchange loss on long-term debt and finance leases) and increased interest expense related to Q400 aircraft financing of $1.0 million; offset by $0.8 million in other income related to a government grant.
EBITDA1 was $34.2 million compared to $42.6 million in 2012, a decrease of $8.4 million or 19.6%, producing an EBITDA margin of 8.2%. Standardized Free Cash Flow was negative $110.9 million, impacted primarily by the continuing growth capital expenditures related to the purchase of Q400 aircraft.
Operating income of $20.8 million was down $8.8 million or 29.7% over first quarter 2012 from $29.6 million.
Net income for the first quarter of 2013 was $9.2 million or $0.07 per basic share, a decrease of $17.0 million or 64.9% from $26.2 million or $0.21 per basic share. On an adjusted basis, net income was $14.7 million or $0.12 per basic share, a decrease of 35.4% or $0.06 per basic share from $22.8 million or $0.18 per basic share.
1Non-GAAP Financial Measures
EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and obsolescence) is a non-GAAP financial measure commonly used throughout all industries to view operating results before interest expense, interest income, depreciation and amortization, gains and losses on property and equipment and other non-operating income and expenses. Management believes EBITDA assists investors in comparing Chorus’ performance on a consistent basis without regard to depreciation and amortization, which are non-cash in nature and can vary significantly depending on accounting methods and non-operating factors such as historical cost. EBITDA should not be used as an exclusive measure of cash flow because it does not account for the impact on working capital growth, capital expenditures, debt repayments and other sources and uses of cash, which are disclosed in the statement of cash flows which form part of the financial statements.
STANDARDIZED FREE CASH FLOW
Standardized Free Cash Flow is defined as cash flows from operating activities, as reported in accordance with GAAP, less total capital expenditures and dividends.
ADJUSTED NET INCOME
Adjusted net income and adjusted earnings per share are calculated by adjusting net income by the amount of any unrealized foreign exchange gains and losses on long-term debt and finance leases. During the first quarter of 2013, Chorus recorded an $5.6 million loss in unrealized foreign exchange on long-term debt and finance leases. These adjustments more clearly reflect earnings from an operating perspective.
Copyright Photo: Keith Burton. Bombardier CRJ705 (CL-600-2D15) C-FCJZ (msn 15040) arrives at the Toronto (Pearson) hub.
Jazz’s current route map:
United Airlines (Chicago) announced today that it will begin daily flights from its hub at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on November 5, 2013.
The flight will depart Chicago at 8:20 a.m. (0820), arriving in San Juan at 2:57 p.m. (1457). The return flight will depart San Juan at 3:55 p.m. (1555) and arrive in Chicago at 7:13 p.m. (1913). The route will be operated with Boeing 737-900 aircraft with seating for 20 in United First, 51 in Economy Plus and 96 in Economy. The airline also announced that it will add a second daily flight for the holiday season from December 4 – January 5, 2014.
Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems. Boeing 737-924 ER N75429 (msn 30130) prepares to land at Los Angeles.
The Emirates Group (Emirates Airline) (Dubai) has announced it 25th consecutive year of profit and company-wide growth ending the year in a strong position despite continuing high fuel prices and a weak global economic environment. The financial year also ended with some very positive newly reached capacity milestones throughout the business.
The company posted an AED 3.1 billion ($845 million) net profit, up 34 per cent from last year. Even with external challenges, the Group’s revenue reached AED 77.5 billion ($21.1 billion) an increase of 17 per cent over last year’s results. The Group’s cash balance grew by 53 per cent reaching a solid AED 27.0 billion ($7.3 billion).
“Achieving our 25th consecutive year of profit in a financial year with our largest ever increase in capacity across the network is an achievement that speaks to the strength of our brands and our leadership,” said His Highness (H.H) Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group.
“Throughout the 2012-13 financial year the Group has collectively invested over AED 13.8 billion (US$ 3.8 billion) in new aircraft, products, services and handling facilities as well as the newly opened JW Marriott Marquis Hotel in Dubai. This investment has resulted in an increased customer base and a rise in global brand awareness. Every dirham that we earn is strategically placed back into our business and it is this tenacious approach that has allowed the Group to maintain such strong and consistent profitability under challenging circumstances.”
Despite a difficult operating environment, the Group continued to invest in and expand on its employee base, increasing its overall staff count by 12 per cent to 68,000.
Emirates continued with its growth plan and during the financial year saw the largest increase in capacity in the airline’s history receiving a staggering 34 new aircraft, the highest in any single year and an unprecedented achievement. These aircraft were funded by raising more than $7.8 billion, also a first, through a variety of financing structures. Overall capacity measured in Available Tonne Kilometres (ATKMs) increased by 5.5 billion ton-kilometers. Other significant capacity increases include launching 10 new destinations across six continents, shipping more than 2 million tonnes of cargo for the first time and carrying an additional 5.4 million passengers over last year, the highest increase in a financial year.
In the 2012-13 financial year Emirates’ fuel bill increased by 15 per cent over last year to reach AED 27.9 billion ($7.6 billion). With total operating costs increasing by 16 per cent compared to a revenue increase of 17 per cent over last year.
“Managing volatile exchange rates, coupled with a persistently high fuel bill accounting for 40 per cent of our total expenditures, has required continued strong resolve,” added Sheikh Ahmed. “Even with these lingering challenges we continue to grow and remain profitable despite the industry norms because we continue to rely on our proven business model and understanding of the marketplace.”
“Staying the course, our strategy for growth has reaped high benefits this past financial year, which has been our strongest ever in relationship to capacity growth,” said Sheikh Ahmed. “Emirates seat load factor over the last three years has been 80 per cent despite our increase in capacity by 44 per cent during the same period, showing the continued global demand for our product. In addition our capacity measured in terms of Available Tonne Kilometres (ATKMs), which includes passenger and cargo capacity, crossed the 40 billion tonne-kilometres mark, another first for Emirates.”
Highlighting its sound financials and investor confidence, Emirates raised more than AED 28.6 billion (US$ 7.8 billion) in new funding mainly to secure its on-going fleet expansion, a record amount for the airline. This impressive total included US$ 587.5 million financing for additional A380’s with a bond that used the debt capital market in the U.S., a first for a non-U.S. airline in years. Emirates also issued a 10-year amortised Sukuk for US$ 1 billion and raised US$ 750 million with a 12-year amortised bond matched to the payment cycle for the aircraft. It further includes more than AED 20 billion (US$5.4 billion) raised through finance and operating leases.
“We move into the new financial year with confidence and a clear vision of where we are headed. We understand that succeeding in this industry requires determination and we are unapologetic about our drive to be the best,” added Sheikh Ahmed. “We strive to provide superior customer experiences and as our customers’ expectations increase so do the expectations we set for ourselves. With the help of our 68,000 strong multicultural work force we have no doubt that the year ahead will again be more profitable than the last.”
Emirates revenue reached a record high of AED 73.1 billion ($19.9 billion) growing by 17 per cent when compared to the 2011-12 financial year. Although the average price of jet fuel did not increase over last year, it remains high and has impacted Emirates’ bottom line with the airline’s profit at AED 2.3 billion (US$ 622 million) representing an increase of 52 per cent over last year’s results.
Carrying a record 39.4 million passengers, an increase of 16 per cent, Emirates logged a robust Passenger Seat Factor, at 80 per cent, remaining consistent with last year’s results. With an increase in seat capacity-Available Seat Kilometres (ASKMs) of 18 per cent the result highlights a strong consumer desire to fly on Emirates’ state-of-the-art aircraft.
Passenger yield remained steady with 30.5 fils (8.3 US cents) per Revenue Passenger Kilometre (RPKM)
Revenue generated from across Emirates’ six regions continues to be well balanced, with no region contributing more than 30 per cent of overall revenues. East Asia and Australasia remained the highest revenue contributing region with AED 20.9 billion (US$ 5.7 billion) up 15 per cent from 2011-12. Europe, up 18 per cent to AED 20.1billion (US$ 5.5 billion) and the Americas up 24 per cent to AED 8.3 billion (US$ 2.3 billion) saw the most significant growth, reflecting new destinations as well as increased frequency and capacity to these regions.
Across the rest of the globe Emirates saw strong revenue increases from West Asia and the Indian Ocean up 13 per cent to AED 8.0 billion (US$ 2.2 billion), Gulf/Middle East up 13 per cent to AED 7.1 billion (US$ 1.9 billion) and Africa with AED 6.7 billion (US$1.8 billion) in revenue, up 10 per cent.
Emirates premium seat factor remained strong despite the global financial uncertainty. Premium and overall seat factor for the airline’s flagship Airbus A380 aircraft outperformed the network, highlighting the continued demand for the product from passengers.
With a further 198 aircraft on order worth over $71 billion, combined with the airline’s increasing worldwide passenger traffic, Emirates’ is set to continue to drive considerable economic growth in the countries that it serves.
Forging ahead with its intricately planned expansion, Emirates received 34 new wide-body aircraft during the year including 20 Boeing 777-300 ERs, 10 Airbus A380s and 4 Boeing 777 LRFs compared with last year’s 22 aircraft. With an increased fleet, Emirates launched 10 new destinations in 2012-13 including Ho Chi Minh City, Barcelona, Lisbon, Erbil, Washington, DC, Adelaide, Lyon, Phuket, Warsaw and Algiers.
Looking forward to 2013-14, Emirates has to date announced four new routes; Haneda, Clark in the Philippines, Stockholm and Milan to New York.
New A380 destinations for the airline in 2012-13 included; Amsterdam, Melbourne, Singapore and Moscow. Bringing the total number of A380 destinations to 21. In addition, a second A380 was deployed on the existing Paris and New York routes, making both now a double daily A380 service. Two of our aircraft to London Heathrow were also upgraded to A380s, making all five daily flights now A380s.
Focusing on our customer touch points, Emirates opened three new dedicated airport lounges during the year including Milan and the new First Class and Business Class Concourse A facilities at Dubai Airport, which are among the largest in the world, bringing the total number of Emirates lounges to 35. The existing Business Class lounge in Dubai Airport’s Concourse C was also refurbished to provide passengers with an enhanced experience.
Defying the industry trend, the 2012-13 financial year has been a strong one for Emirates SkyCargo who for the first time reported a revenue over AED 10 billion reaching AED 10.3 billion ($2.8 billion) mark, an 8 per cent increase over last year.
Emirates SkyCargo’s tonnage increased 16 per cent reaching a remarkable 2.1 million tonnes in a shrinking airfreight market, highlighting its ability to grow revenues against the industry norm. This year, freight yield per Freight Tonne Kilometer (FTKM) decreased by 6 per cent.
Contributing 15 per cent of Emirates’ total transport revenue Emirate SkyCargo continues to play an integral role in the company’s expanding operations.
At the end of the financial year, Emirates SkyCargo freighter fleet totalled 10 aircraft – eight on operating lease and two on wet lease.
Copyright Photo: Paul Denton. Airbus A380-861 A6-EDZ (msn 107) with the special Expo 2020 Dubai UAE markings arrives at the Dubai hub.
EasyJet (UK) (stylized as easyJet) (London-Luton) and its partners Airbus and Nicarnica are planning the final stage of testing for the AVOID technology. Last week EasyJet flew back a ton of volcanic ash from Iceland collected by the Institute of Earth Sciences in Reykjavik. The ash, dried to create the consistency of fine talc, will be used in a unique experiment which is planned for this summer.
The next phase of testing will involve two Airbus test planes, one of which has the ability to disperse the ash into the atmosphere, thereby creating an artificial ash cloud for a second Airbus test aircraft with the AVOID technology fitted to detect and avoid at over 30,000 feet.
The experiment, which is expected to be conducted in August, will take place when the Seviri and Calypso satellites are aligned to be able to image the ash cloud from space thereby helping to prove the accuracy and effectiveness of the AVOID technology.
Ian Davies, easyJet’s Engineering Director, commented: “The threat from Icelandic volcanoes continues and so finalizing the approval of the AVOID technology is as crucial now as ever to ensure we never again see the scenes of spring 2010 when all flying ceased for several days.
“Transporting a ton of volcanic ash from Iceland is an important step in the final journey of testing the technology and moving towards commercial certification.”
Dr Fred Prata, inventor of the AVOID technology, said: “This is the perfect science experiment. We will know exactly how much ash we have placed in the atmosphere, and also its concentration and composition. AVOID will then measure it and demonstrate the technology.”
Manfred Birnfeld, Senior flight Test Engineer for Airbus, said: ”We are all working towards reducing the impact of volcanic ash clouds, and the technology being developed in AVOID could prove valuable in identifying airspace free of ash contamination and provide data for pilots and airlines on the precise localisation of ash clouds.
“This is why Airbus is supporting the development of AVOID and we hope this system will contribute towards three dimensional, dynamic mapping tools to allow the airlines to take necessary decisions for a safe flight under the full knowledge of current location of ash clouds.”
The AVOID system can be likened to a weather radar for ash. Created by Dr Fred Prata, Chief Technology Officer at Nicarnica Aviation, the system comprises of infrared technology (developed by the U.S. military) fitted to aircraft to supply images to pilots and an airline’s operations control center. The images will enable pilots to see an ash cloud, up to 100 kilometers ahead of the aircraft and at altitudes between 5,000 feet and 50,000 feet, thus allowing them to make small adjustments to the plane’s flight path to avoid any ash cloud. The concept is very similar to weather radars which are standard on commercial airliners today.
On the ground, information from aircraft with AVOID technology would be used to build an accurate image of the volcanic ash cloud using real time data. This could open up large areas of airspace that would otherwise be closed during a volcanic eruption, which would benefit passengers by minimising disruption.
Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth. Airbus A319-111 G-EZIK (msn 2482) touches down at EuroAirport serving Basel/Mulhouse/Freiburg.
Gol Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes S.A. (Gol Transportes Aéreos) (Sao Paulo) has announced a key milestone in its partnership with Delta Air Lines (Atlanta): the implementation of Gol code-share on Delta’s flights from Brasilia to Atlanta.
The companies together offer approximately 380 destinations in more than 62 countries.
“The code-share implementation which has now started and will be done in six phases from May to August,” said Paulo Miranda, Alliances and Strategy manager for Delta Air Lines. “Besides the route from Brasilia to Atlanta, soon we will be integrating all flights operated by Delta between Brazil and the United States to Atlanta and flights to the John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and to Detroit and as part of the codeshare agreement”, he emphasizes.
The route from Brasilia to Atlanta is already available to be acquired at Gol channels and the first flight will take place on May 20. The second phase will include flights from Goiania, Belo Horizonte, Curitiba and Porto Alegre all via Brasilia to Atlanta. This action allows baggage to be labeled and dispatched to final destination.
Copyright Photo: Tony Storck. Boeing 737-8EH WL PR-GUI (msn 35844) arrives in Miami.
American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) today (May 9) launched daily nonstop service between Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and Incheon International Airport (ICN) in Seoul, South Korea.
The new service is operated as part of American’s joint business agreement with fellow oneworld®alliance member Japan Airlines-JAL (Tokyo).
The new route is operated with a Boeing 777-200 ER aircraft (above), featuring 16 Flagship Suite seats in First Class that transform into fully lie-flat 6-foot-6-inch beds with drop-down armrests. The aircraft will also feature inflight entertainment at every seat, including Korean movies and pop music (K-Pop), Hollywood movies (with Korean audio or subtitles), and games.
Daily DFW-ICN Service Schedule
- Departs DFW at 10:20 a.m. CT
- Arrives at ICN at 2:50 p.m. KST the following day
- Departs ICN at 4:50 p.m. KST
- Arrives at DFW at 4:05 p.m. CT the following day
Copyright Photo: Brian Peters. Boeing 777-223 ER N775AN (msn 29594) taxies at the large DFW hub.
Boeing (Chicago) has rolled out of the factory the first 787 Dreamliner to be built at the increased production rate of seven airplanes per month. The airplane, which rolled out earlier this week, is the 114th 787 to be built overall and the 100th 787 to be built at the Everett, Washington, factory.
Boeing’s 787 program is on track to achieve a planned 10 per month rate by year-end. The production rate accounts for airplanes built at the Everett Final Assembly facility, the Everett Temporary Surge Line and Boeing South Carolina.
To date, 50 787s have been delivered to eight airlines. The program has more than 800 unfilled orders with 58 customers worldwide.
Copyright Photo: Boeing.
Video: CLICK HERE
JetBlue Airways (New York) today announced its intent to serve Port-au-Prince, Haiti with daily nonstop service from both New York City and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood. From Toussaint Louverture International Airport (PAP) in the Haitian capital, JetBlue plans to offer one daily nonstop flight to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and twice daily flights to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), subject to receipt of government operating authority. Port-au-Prince will be JetBlue’s 82nd BlueCity with service to begin on December 5, 2013.
Destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean now make up almost one-third of JetBlue’s route network. In the Caribbean, JetBlue is the largest carrier in terms of capacity in both Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, offering more flights than any other carrier. JetBlue flies to more than ten countries, including Aruba. Barbados, and the Bahamas. This June, the airline is set to begin nonstop service between Fort Lauderdale and Medellin, Colombia, and in November to Lima, Peru, subject to receipt of government operating authority.
JetBlue’s flights from New York to Port-au-Prince will be operated with its comfortable Airbus A320 fleet with seating for 150, while flights from Fort Lauderdale will be operated on its spacious 100-seat Embraer 190 fleet.
Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Embraer ERJ 190-100 IGW N206JB (msn 19000025) arrives at runway 9L at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
Routes from Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood:
Rossiya Russian Airlines (St. Petersburg) in April retired its last Boeing 737-500.
Read the full account (in Russian) from ATO.RU: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: Stefan Sjogren. Boeing 737-548 EI-CDD (msn 24989) in the Pulkovo colors prepares to land at Stockholm (Arlanda).
Routes from St. Petersburg: