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Four injured in an Air Canada Express (Jazz Aviation) Q400 accident at Edmonton

Jazz Aviation (Halifax) (Air Canada Express) flight AC 8481 from Calgary to Grande Prairie with 71 passengers and four crew members suffered a right landing gear collapse when it attempted an emergency landing on runway 02 at Edmonton International Airport. Four passengers sustained injuries while landing and were transported to local hospitals. The aircraft came to a rest on its right wing. The aircraft involved was Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) C-GGBF (msn 4433). The turboprop reportedly suffered a blown tire on takeoff at Calgary and the flight crew decided to divert to and attempt the emergency landing at Edmonton due to strong cross winds at Calgary. The propeller sliced through the fuselage narrowly missing a passenger on landing.

Jazz Aviation issued this statement:

A Jazz Aviation LP Q400 aircraft, operating as Air Canada Express, was involved in an incident at Edmonton International Airport at 8:30 p.m. Central Mountain Time.

Jazz flight AC 8481 was en route to Grande Prairie from Calgary. The passenger list indicates the aircraft was carrying 71 passengers and four crew members.

Four passengers have been transported to Edmonton-area hospitals and the extent of their injuries cannot be confirmed at this time. All other passengers and crew members have been evaluated by medical responders on the scene and released.

Passengers are being taken care of by Air Canada and a Jazz team is on its way to the scene.

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Blackbird Capital is born as a new aircraft leasing company

ALC logo

Air Lease Corporation (Los Angeles) has  announced that a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company entered into a joint venture with a co-investment vehicle (the “JV Partner”) arranged by Napier Park Global Capital (US) LP (“Napier Park”) for the purpose of investing in commercial aircraft and leasing them to airlines around the globe. The newly formed entity with committed equity and debt capital is named Blackbird Capital I LLC (“Blackbird Capital I”) and 90.5% of the equity is owned, through the JV Partner, by a pooled investment vehicle of long-term institutional investors managed by Napier Park. The Company owns 9.5% of the joint venture and will not consolidate the entity.

The joint venture is expected to acquire total aircraft assets of approximately $2.0 billion by year-end 2016, with up to $500 million in equity and the remainder financed by a committed $750 million warehouse credit facility (which includes an accordion feature that could make the total facility up to $1.5 billion) and other forms of debt financing. ALC will provide management services over a 12 year period to the joint venture for a servicing fee based upon aircraft assets under management. In addition, the Company expects to sell aircraft from its portfolio to the joint venture with an aggregate value of approximately $500 million by year-end 2016. Through the joint venture, ALC will manage up to $2.0 billion of additional aircraft lease transactions to better serve the airline industry.

“We are excited to partner with Napier Park and its group of institutional investors because they share ALC’s vision of creating long-term value through leased aircraft assets,” said Steven F. Udvar-Hazy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Air Lease Corporation. “Blackbird Capital I is an important partnership for ALC’s strategy to grow our management business and serves as a model that can be replicated in the future.”

“Blackbird Capital I benefits all of the parties involved, including Air Lease Corporation, its global aircraft leasing customers, Napier Park and our investors. We look forward to a successful, long-term partnership with ALC and its management team,” said James O’Brien, Napier Park’s co-Managing Partner. “This joint venture continues Napier Park’s focus on partnering with leading industry operators to support their core businesses.”

“ALC’s core aircraft leasing business has generated strong profitability and stable returns for our shareholders. Now, with Blackbird Capital I, we will be able to supplement our existing leasing platform and serve our airline customers even better by providing additional lease opportunities beyond our current orderbook and customer credit and risk parameters,” said John L. Plueger, President and Chief Operating Officer of Air Lease Corporation.

Macquarie Capital acted as financial advisor in the formation of the joint venture.

The revolving warehouse facility was arranged by BNP Paribas, as Structuring Agent, Syndication Agent and Joint Lead Arranger, Credit Suisse A.G. as Joint Lead Arranger, and includes Bank of America, N.A., The Royal Bank of Scotland plc, Citibank, N.A., and MUFG Union Bank, N.A.

Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP advised the joint venture, Munger Tolles & Olson LLP advised the Company, and Sidley Austin LLP advised Napier Park, in each case in connection with the formation of the joint venture. Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP advised the lead arrangers and the lenders in connection with the warehouse facility.

The following section provides transaction details and additional clarification in a “Question and Answer” format:

1) How does ALC benefit from the formation of Blackbird Capital I?
• Blackbird Capital I allows ALC to manage and, through its minority interest, participate in profitable lease deals that were previously passed on for various reasons, including customer concentration limits
• While purchase decisions are authorized by the joint venture board, the vehicle can serve as a sales outlet for ALC’s current fleet, while ALC continues to manage the aircraft and remains as the primary interface with the customer pursuant to the contractual servicing and management agreements
• The joint venture is managed by ALC and therefore creates a source of stable, long term management fee income for ALC based upon assets under management
• Blackbird Capital I is expected to expand ALC’s leasing footprint

2) What are the anticipated sources of aircraft to be purchased by the joint venture?
• It is expected that in building a portfolio of aircraft of up to $2.0 billion, the joint venture will acquire aircraft both externally and from ALC’s fleet
• The aircraft targeted for acquisition by the joint venture will include incremental aircraft opportunities to ALC’s current commitments
• The aircraft targeted are expected to be similar to the aircraft types and customer profiles that currently comprise ALC’s fleet

3) How will ALC account for the joint venture on its financial statements?
• ALC will recognize management fee income as earned and account for its share of ownership in Blackbird using the equity method of accounting
• ALC’s investment in the entity will be reflected in Other Assets on ALC’s balance sheet
• Blackbird Capital I will not be consolidated into ALC

Aer Lingus’ third quarter operating profit increases almost 14% to $140.1 million

Aer Lingus (Dublin) reported an operating profit of €112.9 million ($140.1 million) for the third quarter ending on  September 30 2014, up 19 percent from the €94.9 million ($117.7 million) reported a year ago.

This was the best third quarter financial report for the company since the financial crisis of 2008.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-111 EI-EPU (msn 3102) approaches the runway at London (Heathrow).

Aer Lingus aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Air Canada rouge to take over the Toronto-Lima route on May 1, 2015

Air Canada rouge (Toronto-Pearson) will take over the Toronto (Pearson)-Lima route on May 1, 2015 from mainline Air Canada where it will operate three weekly flights per Airline Route.

Top Copyright Photo: James Helbock/AirlinersGallery.com (all others by Air Canada rouge). Boeing 767-33A ER C-GHPN (msn 33424) arrives in Las Vegas.

Air Canada rouge aircraft slide show:

Air Canada rouge FAs

China Aircraft Leasing Company signs a MOU for 100 Airbus A320 Family aircraft

CALC A320 WL (Flt)(Airbus)(LR)

China Aircraft Leasing Company (CALC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Airbus for 100 A320 Family aircraft. The commitment comprises 74 A320neo, 16 A320ceo and 10 A321ceo. Including this new commitment, CALC’s total order tally with Airbus stands at 140 A320 Family aircraft.

Image: Airbus.

Adria Airways to add new routes to Berlin, Brussels, Paris and Stockholm

Adria Airways (Ljubljana) plans to introduce two new routes from Ljubljana – to Stockholm and Berlin – and two new routes from Tirana – to Brussels and Paris.

Adria will fly twice a week to the Swedish capital, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The first flight to Stockholm is scheduled for April 23, 2015. The first flight to Berlin, where Adria will fly on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, will be on April 24, 2015.

During the summer season Adria will again operate two flights a week to London, beginning on May 16, 2015, and to Manchester, from May 30, 2015 onwards.

Flights between Tirana and Brussels and Tirana and Paris will begin on March 31, 2015. Adria will connect Tirana to the Belgian and French capitals twice a week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Bombardier CRJ900 (CL-600-2D24) S5-AAU (msn 15283) taxies at Brussels.

Adria Airways aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Emirates is going to four daily flights to New York on March 8, 2015

Emirates (Dubai) has announced it is planning to launch a fourth daily service from its home and hub, Dubai International Airport to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York commencing on March 8, 2015.

The new service, flight EK 207 will depart Dubai at 14:50 hours and arrive in JFK at 20:35 hours. The return flight, flight EK 208 will depart JFK at 16:30 hours and arrive in Dubai at 13:15 the following day.

Thanks to Emirates’ code-share agreement with JetBlue Airways (B6) the new fourth daily service will allow good connectivity with JetBlue flights to points across the United States and Caribbean. At JFK, JetBlue operates from Terminal 5, while Emirates operates from the adjacent Terminal 4, allowing for fast and easy connections between flights.

Emirates and JetBlue’s partnership dates back to 2010 and has deepened over the subsequent four years, moving from an interline agreement to incorporating bilateral code-sharing, terminal co-location in Boston, and reciprocal benefits for each airline’s frequent flyers.

The fourth JFK service will be operated with one of Emirates’ fleet of Airbus A380 aircraft featuring 14 First Class Private Suites, 76 Business Class lie-flat beds and 399 Economy Class seats on the main deck. Its upper deck features Emirates’ iconic On-Board lounge for premium passengers and two unique Shower Spas for First Class passengers. All passengers on-board can enjoy access to up to 1,800 channels of films, TV shows, music and games through ice, the airline’s award-winning inflight entertainment system.

Emirates first flew to New York in June 2004 and since then has flown over 4.5 million passengers on the route. It currently operates two other nonstop services between DXB and JFK operated by Airbus A380 aircraft, and one service which routes via Milan, operated by a US-built Boeing 777. Passengers travelling in First Class and Business Class on Emirates-operated flights, as well as Skywards Platinum and Gold members, have access to the Emirates Lounge at JFK.

Read the analysis by the Wall Street Journal: Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Make Their Move on the U.S.: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-861 A6-EDA (msn 011) taxies at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York.

Emirates aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Video: Flying the Airbus A380 in Economy from Dubai to New York:

 

FlySafair continues to expand operations in South Africa

FlySafair 737-400 ZS-JRE (13)(Nose)(FlySafair)(LR)

FlySafair (Johannesburg and Cape Town) commenced low-fare scheduled operations on October 16, 2014 between Cape Town and Johannesburg, followed swiftly by the launch of the Cape Town to Port Elizabeth route last week. The new subsidiary will start the Cape Town to George route next week on November 13.

From December 3, FlySafair will launch its second base at Johannesburg O.R. Tambo airport, allowing passengers to fly from Johannesburg to George and Port Elizabeth.

Although a new entrant into the commercial market, the airline is backed by nearly 50 years of aviation experience from its holding company, Safair.

Copyright Photo: FlySafair.

FlySafair: AG Slide Show

FlySafair logo-1

Expanding Route Map:

FlySafair 11.2014 Route Map

Video: The launch of the new carrier:

 

Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings reports adjusted net income of $27.4 million for the third quarter

Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. (Atlas Air and Polar Air Cargo) (New York) has issued this financial statement for the third quarter:

Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. announced adjusted net income attributable to common stockholders of $27.4 million, or $1.09 per diluted share, for the three months ended September 30, 2014, compared with $28.6 million, or $1.13 per diluted share, for the three months ended September 30, 2013.

On a reported basis, net income attributable to common stockholders in the third quarter of 2014 totaled $27.6 million, or $1.10 per diluted share, compared with $23.7 million, or $0.94 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter.

AAWH recently placed three incremental Boeing 747 freighters, a 747-8F and two 747-400Fs, into ACMI service for the benefit of DHL Express and Etihad Cargo, the fast-growing freight division of Etihad Airways. The placements increase the number of our aircraft in ACMI to 22 from 19.

In addition, AAWH recently announced the expansion of our 767 CMI service in North America for DHL Express. This expansion covers four incremental 767-200 freighter aircraft owned by DHL that we expect to begin flying during the first quarter of 2015.

Adjusted earnings in the third quarter of 2014 excluded a tax adjustment of $0.1 million, or $0.01 per diluted share, related to the company’s Global Supply Systems Limited subsidiary. Adjusted earnings in the third quarter of 2013 excluded an after-tax loss of $4.5 million, or $0.18 per diluted share, on the early extinguishment of debt, and a loss of $0.3 million, or $0.01 per diluted share, on the disposal of aircraft.

Third-Quarter Results

Profitability in our ACMI business during the third quarter reflected an increase in 747-8F revenue and an increase in CMI flying, offset by an increase in maintenance expense on our -8F aircraft and lower 747-400 flying by certain ACMI customers.

In Dry Leasing, revenue and profitability grew following the addition of three 777F aircraft in January 2014 and two in July 2013, which raised our 777F fleet count to six. Each of these aircraft are leased to customers on a long-term basis.

Results in AMC Charter benefited from an increase in block hours and aircraft utilization, partially offset by a decrease in revenue per block hour due to a reduction of the average “pegged” fuel price set by the AMC. Stronger than expected demand for cargo flying and incremental passenger flying as a result of former competitors exiting the AMC Charter market drove contribution growth in the third quarter.

Profitability in Commercial Charter primarily reflected an increase in volumes and improvement in aircraft utilization compared with the third quarter of 2013. Charter operations during the quarter benefited from the broad-based uptick in demand, partially offset by additional travel and ground handling expenses from flying to high-cost locations.

Reported earnings for the period included an effective income tax rate of 29.1%, reflecting the ongoing beneficial impact of lower taxes for certain foreign subsidiaries in our Dry Leasing business.

Nine-Month Results

For the nine months ended September 30, 2014, adjusted net income attributable to common stockholders totaled $54.7 million, or $2.17 per diluted share, compared with $54.9 million, or $2.13 per diluted share, for the nine months ended September 30, 2013.

On a reported basis, nine-month 2014 net income attributable to common stockholders totaled $65.1 million, or $2.59 per diluted share, compared with $63.9 million, or $2.48 per diluted share, in the first nine months of 2013.

Cash and Short-Term Investments

At September 30, 2014, our cash, cash equivalents, short-term investments and restricted cash totaled $287.7 million, compared with $339.2 million at December 31, 2013.

The change in position reflected cash provided by operating and financing activities offset by cash used for investing activities.

Net cash used for investing activities during the first nine months of 2014 primarily related to the purchase of three 777F aircraft for our Dry Leasing business.

Net cash provided by financing activities primarily reflected proceeds from the issuance of debt in connection with the acquisitions of these aircraft. Those proceeds were partially offset by payments on debt obligations and debt issuance costs.

Share Repurchases

During the third quarter, we repurchased 458,937 shares of our common stock for $15.0 million, or 1.8% of our outstanding common stock at June 30, 2014.

Future repurchases under our remaining $45.0 million authority may be made at our discretion, and the actual timing, form and amount will depend on company and market conditions.

Outlook

Airfreight volumes continue to improve, and recent industry reports suggest that airfreight demand will grow by several percentage points in 2014 – outpacing supply and driving the first real growth since 2010. We are seeing a general increase in demand across all regions, with the greatest growth in the transpacific market. An increase in online shopping and several new high-tech product launches during peak season also continue to favor airfreight.

As a result, AAWH anticipates adjusted and reported fully diluted earnings per share of approximately $1.33 to $1.43 in the fourth quarter. AAWH is also raising its full-year 2014 adjusted earnings outlook to approximately $3.50 to $3.60 per diluted share, and our reported earnings outlook to approximately $3.92 to $4.02.

For the full year, the company expects to fly approximately 160,000 block hours, with more than 70% in ACMI, approximately 10% in AMC Charter, and the balance in Commercial Charter. The Dry Leasing segment should show dramatic growth compared with 2013. While our share of military flying, mainly in passenger service, has increased due to our ability to capitalize on additional flying opportunities and a reduction in the number of carriers serving the market, we expect an overall decline in military demand in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared with 2013.

The company also expects aircraft maintenance expense to total approximately $190 to $195 million in 2014, primarily due to performing several conditions-based engine overhauls for our 747-400 fleet during the fourth quarter. Depreciation this year is anticipated to total approximately $120 million, and core capital expenditures are expected to total about $30 to $35 million, mainly for spare parts for our expanded fleet.

Copyright Photo: The relationship with DHL continues to expand. Polar Air Cargo’s Boeing 747-47UF N416MC (msn 32838) taxies at Los Angeles.

Atlas Air: AG Slide Show

Polar Air Cargo: AG Slide Show

DHL-Polar Air Cargo: AG Slide Show

US Airways flights at LAX move to Terminal 6 today

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) is consolidating its operations at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

With the last departure last night (Wednesday, November 5), American flights operated by US Airways ended operations at Terminal 3. All US Airways ticketing and check-in, gates, baggage and customer service operations began operations at Terminal 6 this morning (November 6). US Airways ticketing and check-in counters will be located on Level 2. US Airways flights will operate out of four dedicated gates – 60, 61, 62 and 63 – with convenient access to connections on flights operated by American Airlines at Terminal 4 through an underground connector. Shuttle service is also available to Terminal 4 and the Remote Terminal for American Eagle flights.

American begins new nonstop service today (November 6) to Tampa, Florida (TPA). The airline announced last week the start of a second daily flight from LAX to London Heathrow (LHR), beginning in March 2015. American also began new, nonstop service from Los Angeles to Edmonton, Alberta, Vancouver, British Columbia, and San Antonio on October 2.

American will continue to operate at Terminal 4. Customers traveling on American Airlines and US Airways should continue to check in for flights and conduct business with the airline operating their flight.

American provides nearly 200 daily departures to 54 destinations in seven countries/territories from LAX.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-323 ER N720AN (msn 33522) departs from Los Angeles International Airport.

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

American Airlines-US Airways aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Air Canada’s third quarter adjusted net income increases to $457 million ($400.9 million US), its best quarter ever, orders two more Boeing 777-300 ERs

Air Canada (Montreal) today reported third quarter adjusted net income of C$457 million ($400.9 million US) or $1.55 per diluted share compared to adjusted net income of C$365 million ($320.2 million US) or $1.29 per diluted share in the third quarter of 2013, an improvement of $92 million ($80.7 million US) or $0.26 per diluted share. EBITDAR(1) (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and aircraft rent) amounted to $749 million compared to EBITDAR of $626 million in the third quarter of 2013, an improvement of $123 million. On a GAAP basis, Air Canada reported operating income of $526 million, an increase of $110 million from the same quarter in 2013. The airline recorded net income of $323 million or $1.10 per diluted share in the third quarter of 2014 compared to a net income of $299 million or $1.05 per diluted share in the third quarter of 2013, an improvement of $24 million or $0.05 per diluted share.

“I am extremely pleased to report Air Canada’s best financial performance of any quarter in the Corporation’s 77-year history, surpassing previous records for adjusted net income, operating income and EBITDAR,” said Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive Officer.

“Operating margin was 13.8 per cent, an increase of 1.8 percentage points over the previous year’s quarter, underscoring the effectiveness of our business transformation strategy. The recent tailwind provided by a reduction in fuel prices is a welcome development but we remain focused on further cost reductions to achieve sustainable profitability in this highly competitive industry environment. While foreign exchange rates and fuel prices have fluctuated since 2012, Air Canada remains on track to achieve the savings targeted when we announced our objective at our June 2013 Investors’ Day to achieve a 15 per cent CASM reduction from our 2012 baseline costs.

“The ratification of a ten-year agreement with our pilots provides a strong foundation to support long term profitable growth. With this additional stability and competitiveness, we are able to accelerate our fleet initiatives and capital programs with the acquisition of an additional two Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft. This will bring our Boeing 777 fleet to a total of 25 aircraft, all of which will be reconfigured to our new international cabin product standard now featured on the 787 Dreamliner aircraft entering our international fleet.

“In the third quarter, we continued to implement our commercial strategy focused on international growth and the strategic deployment of Air Canada rougeTM to compete more effectively in leisure markets. Together with the on-going renewal of the mainline fleet, we continue to build Toronto Pearson into a truly global hub with the successful launch in the quarter of new Tokyo/Haneda service, to be followed with the introduction of new year-round service to Rio de Janeiro and Panama City in December, Amsterdam in June 2015, as well as Vancouver-Osaka and Montreal-Venice seasonal services to be operated by Air Canada rougeTM. Performance of our leisure carrier subsidiary has continued to exceed our expectations. Just one year after its launch in July 2013, Air Canada rougeTM has served almost 2.5 million customers, including one million this past quarter, contributing to record system-wide load factors for the second consecutive quarter.

“I would like to thank our employees for their dedication and professionalism. Their focus on the care of our customers, along with our award-winning product, is recognized by numerous industry surveys of air travellers. This year’s Ipsos Reid Business Traveller Survey released in September confirms once again that Air Canada is the preferred airline for frequent business travellers by a continuingly growing margin across the country. Our investment in the well-being of our employees and commitment to provide progressive, best-practice programs has also been recognized with the recent naming of Air Canada as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for the second year in a row. In addition, Air Canada received top honours in the transportation category of the 2014 Canada’s Safest Employers Awards that recognize outstanding accomplishments of companies in Canada that promote the health and safety of their workers,” concluded Mr. Rovinescu.

Third Quarter Income Statement Highlights

System passenger revenues in the third quarter of 2014 amounted to $3,476 million, an increase of $299 million or 9.4 per cent from the third quarter of 2013, on an 11.0 per cent growth in traffic as yield declined 1.3 per cent year-over-year. An increase in average stage length of 2.6 per cent, due to international long-haul growth, had the effect of reducing system yield by 1.5 percentage points.

Passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) decreased 0.2 per cent from the same quarter in 2013 as the lower yield was almost fully offset by a passenger load factor improvement of 1.0 percentage points. In the third quarter of 2014, system business cabin revenues increased $31 million or 5.3 per cent on yield growth of 5.3 per cent. All markets experienced business cabin PRASM improvements year-over-year.

Operating expenses in the third quarter of 2014 amounted to $3,272 million, an increase of $209 million or 7 per cent from the third quarter of 2013 on a 9.8 per cent increase in capacity. The unfavourable impact of a weaker Canadian dollar on foreign currency denominated operating expenses (mainly U.S. dollars), when compared to same quarter in 2013, increased operating expenses by $68 million.

Air Canada’s adjusted cost per available seat mile (adjusted CASM(1)), which excludes fuel expense, the cost of ground packages at Air Canada VacationsTM and unusual items, decreased 2.9 per cent compared to the third quarter of 2013. The 2.9 per cent reduction in adjusted CASM was less than the adjusted CASM decrease of 3.5 to 4.5 per cent projected in Air Canada’s news release dated August 7, 2014. This was primarily due to higher than forecasted expenses related to employee profit sharing programs due to better than expected results and to higher than expected depreciation expense largely due to Air Canada having recorded a depreciation charge related to certain aircraft maintenance events in the third quarter of 2014.

In the third quarter of 2014, Air Canada recorded operating income of $526 million compared to operating income of $416 million in the third quarter of 2013, an improvement of $110 million or 26.4 per cent. Operating margin of 13.8 per cent improved 1.8 percentage points in the third quarter of 2014 when compared to the third quarter of 2013.

Financial and Capital Management Highlights

At September 30, 2014, unrestricted liquidity (cash, short-term investments and undrawn lines of credit) amounted to $2,802 million (September 30, 2013 – $2,412 million). Air Canada’s principal objective in managing liquidity risk is to maintain a minimum unrestricted liquidity level of $1.7 billion.

At September 30, 2014, adjusted net debt(1) amounted to $4,623 million, an increase of $272 million from December 31, 2013. The airline’s adjusted net debt to EBITDAR ratio improved to 2.8 at September 30, 2014 versus a ratio 3.0 at December 31, 2013. Air Canada uses this ratio to manage its financial leverage risk and its objective is to maintain the ratio below 3.5.

In the third quarter of 2014, free cash flow(1) reflected an improvement of $57 million from the third quarter of 2013 on higher cash flows generated from operating activities partly offset by an increase in capital expenditures with the addition of two Boeing 787 aircraft.

For the 12 months ended September 30, 2014, return on invested capital (ROIC(1)) was 11.4 per cent versus 10.2 per cent for the 12 months ended September 30, 2013. Air Canada’s goal is to achieve a sustainable ROIC of 10 to 13 per cent by 2015.

Current Outlook

Air Canada expects fourth quarter 2014 system ASM capacity, as measured by available seat miles (ASMs), to increase by 7.75 to 8.75 per cent when compared to the fourth quarter of 2013. Air Canada expects that its fourth quarter 2014 system ASM capacity growth will be comprised of an increase in the total number of seats dispatched (system) of 6.25 to 7.25 per cent and an increase in average stage length (system) (measured by ASMs divided by seats dispatched) of approximately 1.5 per cent when compared to the same quarter in 2013.

Air Canada continues to expect its full year 2014 system ASM capacity to increase by 7.0 to 8.0 per cent. The projected system capacity increase is expected to be achieved at a unit cost which is below historical levels. For the full year 2014, Air Canada continues to expect an increase in the total number of seats dispatched (system) of 5.0 to 6.0 per cent when compared to the full year 2013. Average stage length (system) is expected to increase approximately 2.0 per cent year-over-year.

Air Canada also continues to expect its full year domestic ASM capacity to increase by 4.0 to 5.0 per cent when compared to 2013. For the full year 2014, Air Canada continues to expect an increase in the total number of seats dispatched (domestic) of 3.5 to 4.5 per cent while average stage length (domestic) is expected to increase approximately 0.5 per cent when compared to the full year 2013.

For the fourth quarter of 2014, Air Canada expects adjusted CASM to decrease in the range of 1.0 to 2.0 per cent when compared to the fourth quarter of 2013.

For the full year 2014, Air Canada now expects adjusted CASM to decrease in the range of 2.5 to 3.5 per cent from the full year 2013 (as opposed to the 3.2 to 4.2 per cent decrease projected in Air Canada’s news release dated August 7, 2014), the result of increased estimates for employee profit sharing programs and higher depreciation expense related to the accounting treatment of certain maintenance events in the third quarter of 2014.

Air Canada expects its full year 2015 system capacity to increase by 9.0 to 10.0 per cent when compared to the full year 2014.

Approximately 55 per cent of this forecasted capacity increase will be through the continued lower-cost growth of Air Canada rougeTM while approximately 38 per cent of the capacity growth will be directed at targeted international markets operated by the mainline carrier, primarily through the introduction of additional Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
Given that a large part of this capacity growth is driven by increased seat density and longer-haul flying, for the full year 2015, seats dispatched, on a system-wide basis, are expected to increase by 6.0 to 7.0 per cent while stage length is expected to increase approximately 3.0 per cent versus the full year 2014.
Air Canada expects its full year 2015 domestic ASM capacity to increase by 4.0 to 5.0 per cent, with a large part of the growth focused on the airline’s transcontinental services.

The increase on transcontinental services is partly driven by the positioning of certain Boeing 777 and 787 aircraft at Air Canada’s major hubs in Toronto and Vancouver.

In addition, in 2015, Air Canada expects to replace eight of its Embraer 190 aircraft with three Airbus A321 and two Airbus A320 aircraft. In order to better match capacity with demand for the 2015 summer season, the airline plans to take delivery of these five replacement aircraft prior to the start of the summer season while the eight Embraer 190 aircraft are only expected to exit the mainline fleet in the latter part of 2015. The overlap of this interim lift is forecasted to account for approximately 30 per cent of the projected domestic capacity growth in 2015.

For the full year 2015, seats dispatched in the domestic market are expected to increase by 2.5 to 3.5 per cent while stage length is expected to increase approximately 1.5 per cent versus the full year 2014.

Air Canada’s outlook assumes annual Canadian GDP growth of 2.0 to 2.5 per cent for 2014 and 2015. Air Canada also expects that the Canadian dollar will trade, on average, at C$1.12 per U.S. dollar in the fourth quarter of 2014 and C$1.10 for the full year 2014 and that the price of jet fuel will average 82 cents per litre for the fourth quarter of 2014 and 90 cents per litre for the full year 2014. For the full year 2015, Air Canada also expects that the Canadian dollar will trade, on average, at C$1.11 per U.S. dollar and that the price of jet fuel will average 88 cents per liter.

Financial Notes:

(1) In the third quarter of 2013, Air Canada recorded an interest charge of $95 million related to the purchase of its senior secured notes due in 2015 and 2016.
(2) Adjusted net income (loss) and adjusted net income (loss) per share – diluted are non-GAAP financial measures. Refer to section 16 “Non-GAAP Financial Measures” of Air Canada’s Third Quarter 2014 MD&A for additional information.
(3) EBITDAR (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, impairment and aircraft rent) is a non-GAAP financial measure. Refer to section 16 “Non-GAAP Financial Measures” of Air Canada’s Third Quarter 2014 MD&A for additional information.
(4) Unrestricted liquidity refers to the sum of cash, cash equivalents, short-term investments and the amount of available credit under Air Canada’s revolving credit facilities. At September 30, 2014, unrestricted liquidity was comprised of cash and short-term investments of $2,528 million and undrawn lines of credit of $274 million. At September 30, 2013, unrestricted liquidity was comprised of cash and short-term investments of $2,309 million and undrawn lines of credit of $103 million.
(5) Free cash flow (cash flows from operating activities less additions to property, equipment and intangible assets) is a non-GAAP financial measure. Refer to section 7.5 “Consolidated Cash Flow Movements” of Air Canada’s Third Quarter 2014 MD&A for additional information.
(6) Adjusted net debt (total debt less cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments plus capitalized operating leases) is a non-GAAP financial measure. Refer to section 7.3 “Adjusted Net Debt” of Air Canada’s Third Quarter 2014 MD&A for additional information.
(7) Return on invested capital (“ROIC”) is a non-GAAP financial measure. Refer to section 16 “Non-GAAP Financial Measures” of Air Canada’s Third Quarter 2014 MD&A for additional information.
(8) Operating statistics (except for average number of FTE employees) include third party carriers (such as Jazz Aviation LP (“Jazz”) and Sky Regional Airlines Inc. (“Sky Regional”)) operating under capacity purchase agreements with Air Canada.
(9) Adjusted CASM is a non-GAAP financial measure. Refer to section 16 “Non-GAAP Financial Measures” of Air Canada’s Third Quarter 2014 MD&A for additional information.
(10) Reflects FTE employees at Air Canada. Excludes FTE employees at third party carriers (such as Jazz and Sky Regional) operating under capacity purchase agreements with Air Canada.
(11) Average stage length is calculated by dividing the total number of available seat miles by the total number of seats dispatched.
(12) Includes fuel handling expenses. Economic fuel price per litre is a non-GAAP financial measure. Refer to sections 4 and 5 “Results of Operations” of Air Canada’s Third Quarter 2014 MD&A for additional information.
(13) Revenue passengers are counted on a flight number basis which is consistent with the IATA definition of revenue passengers carried.

In other news, Air Canada today said that along with the addition of two new Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft to its widebody fleet, it will expand the introduction of its new International Business Class product to include all Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft, seven more than previously announced. It will also reconfigure the aircraft to include its new Premium Economy cabin. Air Canada’s three-cabin international product and seating standard will therefore be extended to all 25 of the carrier’s Boeing 777-300 ER and 777-200 LR aircraft consistent with seating on its new Boeing 787-8 and -9 Dreamliner fleet.

Air Canada will also reconfigure its fleet of eight Airbus A330-300 aircraft to offer customers the option of its new Premium Economy cabin. The current Economy and International Business Class cabins of its A330-300 fleet will remain unchanged. Conversion of Air Canada’s Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 aircraft is planned to begin in the fourth quarter of 2015 and is expected to be completed by the second half of 2016.

Air Canada’s new international product offers three cabins of service highlighted by comfortable ergonomic seating that features 180-degree lie-flat seats in its International Business Class cabin. Visit 787.aircanada.com for details and a virtual tour of the Air Canada’s new international product currently featured on its Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

Air Canada’s new International Business Class cabin features up to 30 lie-flat Executive Pods on its Boeing 787-8 and -9 aircraft and up to 40 on Boeing 777-300 ER and -200 LR aircraft once converted, with an adjustable pneumatic cushion system that can be extended into a fully flat sleeping position. International Business Class features include:

An adjustable pneumatic cushion headrest offers a massage feature, unique for an airline in business class.

The personal entertainment screen with touch handset, at 18 inches, is the largest offered by a North American airline in business class.

Universal power and USB outlets are available at each seat.

Espresso and cappuccino service for International Business Class customers on Boeing 787 Dreamliner and 777 aircraft.
A 1-2-1 configuration guarantees direct aisle access with window views.

Air Canada is the only North American carrier to offer enhanced seating in Premium Economy with generous personal space, wider seats and greater legroom and recline. Premium Economy features 21 seats on its Boeing 787 aircraft and, once converted, 24 on Boeing 777 aircraft and 21 seats on Airbus A330 aircraft. Each seat is equipped with a 9- or 11-inch enhanced definition intuitive touch personal entertainment screen, as well as universal power and USB outlets. Air Canada’s Premium Economy cabin service offers premium meals, complimentary bar service and priority check-in and baggage delivery at the airport.

Air Canada’s new Economy cabin standard features slimline seats that provide personal space consistent with the comfort of Air Canada’s current Economy cabin. Each Economy seat on the Boeing 787 and 777 fleets will be equipped with a 9-inch enhanced definition intuitive touch personal entertainment screen with USB outlet and a universal power outlet available at arm’s reach.

Air Canada’s Dreamliner fleet will consist of a total of 15 787-8 aircraft and 22 of the larger capacity 787-9 aircraft. All 37 Boeing 787 aircraft are scheduled to be delivered by the end of 2019. As Air Canada takes delivery of new widebody aircraft for its mainline fleet, current Boeing 767 aircraft will be transferred to its leisure carrier subsidiary, Air Canada rouge.

Copyright Photo: Rob Rindt/AirlinersGallery.com. Air Canada is adding two additional Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft. This will bring the AC Boeing 777 fleet to a total of 25 aircraft, all of which will be reconfigured to the new international cabin product standard now featured on the 787 Dreamliner aircraft. Boeing 777-333 ER C-FNNQ (msn 43251) is pictured on the ground at Vancouver, British Columbia.

Air Canada aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Hong Kong Airlines to increase frequencies to both Bangkok and Haikou

Hong Kong Airlines (Hong Kong) will add additional frequencies to to both Bangkok and Haikou, which, according to the airline “have always been tourists’ favorite destinations in the Hong Kong Airlines’ network (below)”. Hong Kong Airlines (HKA) will increase the frequency of its Haikou route service to 11 flights a week, starting on December 1, 2014. Capacity on the Bangkok route will also be expanded with a sixth daily service, commencing on December 19, 2014.

Top Copyright Photo: Gerd Beilfuss/AirlinersGallery.com (all others by HKA). Airbus A320-214 F-F-WWIA (msn 5264) became B-LPF on delivery.

Hong Kong Airlines aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Hong Kong Airlines FAs

Hong Kong Airlines logo-1

Route Map:

Hong Kong Airlines 11.2014 Route Map

Video: Flying (from a passenger’s perspective) from Hong Kong to Bangkok:

Etihad Airways expands its relationship with Jet Airways with new Indian frequencies

Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) has announced that Mumbai and Delhi will become its first destinations in India to be served with triple-daily flights, strengthening its partnership with Jet Airways into and out of India.

Both cities will be upgraded from their current double-daily frequencies, with the third daily flight to Mumbai starting on February 15, 2015 and to Delhi on May 1, 2015.

Along with Jet Airways’ services, both airlines will connect Abu Dhabi to 14 Indian cities, with over 200 return flights each week. This includes five flights a day to Mumbai, four flights a day to New Delhi, three flights a day to Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kochi, two flights a day to Ahmedabad and Kozhikode, and daily flights to Jaipur and Trivandrum.

Etihad Airways will also launch a daily service to Kolkata, capital of West Bengal, on February 15, 2015 to support its long-term development plan in India, and Jet Airways has announced it will soon launch daily services between Abu Dhabi and Goa, Lucknow and Pune.

In addition to the airline’s network developments, Etihad Airways has upgraded its aircraft on a number of Indian routes, including the debut of three-class, wide-body aircraft on select flights. The airline will also operate its new Boeing 787-9 on Mumbai evening services in January 2015.

Copyright Photo: Greenwing/AirlinersGallery.com. The pictured Airbus A330-243 A6-EYH (msn 729) is Etihad Airways’ part of the joint Etihad-Alitalia color scheme to promote the upcoming Expo Milano 2015.

Etihad Airways aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Video: The Expo Milano 2015 Airbus A330-200 logojet:

ClipperJet announces private jet membership flights between Los Angeles and New York

ClipperJet Logo

ClipperJet, Inc. (Santa Ana-Orange County) has announced private Gulfstream IV (G4) jet flights between the Los Angeles area and the New York area. The company issued this statement:

ClipperJet Inc., North America’s premier private jet experience, today (November 5) announced the official launch of the company’s exclusive individual and corporate memberships between Los Angeles and New York. For a little more than the cost of one premium airfare ticket, individuals can enjoy the private, luxurious experience of air travel, free of airport congestion, long security lines and overcrowded commercial flights. Designed for individuals traveling frequently between Los Angeles and New York City, the ClipperJet experience cuts the overall travel time in half while still offering all of the same premium amenities offered by major airlines. ClipperJet employs its own ground staff and in-flight crew members to ensure every passenger’s needs are taken care of during the flight. ClipperJet’s aircraft fleet consists of Gulfstream IV (G4) twin-jet aircraft capable of making the transcontinental flight from Los Angeles to New York to in just over four hours. Additional city pairs will be added in the future. ClipperJet is different by design – Members can reserve up to four one-way flights per month and take advantage of unlimited standby travel. ClipperJet is the most cost effective way to travel for entertainers, business persons, frequent travelers and more!

“After spending many years in airplanes as both a pilot and a passenger, I am honored to announce ClipperJet Inc. has officially launched the brand and is now beginning to sell transcontinental memberships to what we feel is the real future of private, exclusive air travel,” said James Occhipinti, CEO, ClipperJet Inc. “We know there are several different business models out there for private business jet travelers but nothing like what we’ve created here at ClipperJet. For about the cost of one, round-trip premium flight from New York to Los Angeles, someone can buy a membership on ClipperJet and have twice the amount of flights in addition to access to an unlimited number of 24-hour standby flights each month. There is nothing like this available and we are very confident that business travelers and other frequent fliers who travel regularly between New York and LA will realize the amazing value and top-quality service that ClipperJet has to offer.”

ClipperJet has chosen the Gulfstream IV (G4) twin-jet aircraft because of its impeccable quality and safety record in private and business aviation. Each aircraft will feature a custom hand-made interior consisting of top quality fabrics and materials to provide each passenger with a 5-star concierge level of service. The check-in procedures and ClipperJet’s ability to fly faster than commercial airlines can reduce the overall travel time by up to five hours allowing professionals and other individuals to save a substantial amount of time. ClipperJet will also offer access to a variety of livery services, including limousine and town car services.

As part of the company launch announcement, ClipperJet has also debuted an all-new website to showcase their business model and exclusive flight experience at http://www.flyclipperjet.com/. The website contains information about the aircraft, in-flight amenities, membership packages as well as several images of the aircraft and their interiors.

CipperJet, Inc. was founded in 2013 and based in Orange County, California. ClipperJet Inc. is a transcontinental luxury travel company bridging the gap between premium-class commercial flights and private jets for travelers flying between Los Angeles and New York. Exclusive membership offers customers the benefits of travel made easy, eliminating wait times, delays and security concerns at a reasonable price point. With this unique and exclusive business model, ClipperJet members are able to experience luxurious bi-coastal travel that is virtually unlimited.

QANTAS Airways introduces new entertainment options

QANTAS logo

QANTAS Airways (Sydney) has implemented its new and improved inflight entertainment program giving customers more choice and variety and more regular and in-depth news coverage as a result of its new partnership with Sky News, Foxtel and Fox Sports.

QANTAS customers will be able to view a complete package of news, sport, entertainment and lifestyle programs with the partnership marking the start of a comprehensive transformation of Qantas’ inflight entertainment programming.

QANTAS is the only Australian airline to give its customers an inflight entertainment solution on every aircraft no matter what cabin they are traveling in.

New inflight entertainment features:

More news – QANTAS customers will enjoy multiple daily news bulletins on international and domestic flights seven days a week.

More exposure – A new international Australian news service called Australia Channel will broadcast live to Qantas’ international network of lounges so customers returning home will be able to watch the latest news, sport and business updates from Australia. Domestic customers will also enjoy this service.

More sport – Fox Sports content will be on offer for customers including highlights packages, interviews and documentaries.

More variety – A Foxtel Picks channel will showcase a library of lifestyle, drama, food, sport and entertainment programming from the likes of The Lifestyle Channel, Fox8, Showcase, the History Channel and Comedy Channel.

More content – Customers can expect more volume in popular categories including double the number of new releases and blockbusters, kid’s and drama content. Four times more business programming.

More music – Customers can now listen to a greater selection of music with triple the number of albums added each quarter.

QANTAS has also engaged Stellar Entertainment, a full-service content service provider, offering world-class IFE. The partnership has already seen QANTAS double its number of new releases and blockbusters, adding 100 hours of additional content.

Bottom Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-842 VH-OQC (msn 022) arrives in London (Heathrow).

QANTAS Airways aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

airBaltic adds two new routes

airBaltic (airBaltic.com) (Riga) on October 30 launched a new route connecting Vilnius and Amsterdam. The new route will operate three days a week. Previously on October 28 the company started a new route connection between Tallinn and Paris (CDG). The Paris route will operate four days a week. Both routes are being operated with Boeing 737s.

Top Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com (all others by airBaltic). Ex-United Boeing 737-522 YL-BBM (msn 26680) arrives in Zurich.

airBaltic Aircraft Slide Show:

airBaltic FAs

Route Map for routes from Riga:

airBaltic logo

airBaltic Riga 11.2014 Route Map

SeaPort Airlines to launch nonstop Kansas City-Great Bend flights on November 9

SeaPort C-208B N1029Y (Tail) and Crew (SeaPort)(LR)

SeaPort Airlines (Portland, Oregon) has received approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to start an alternate service pattern for air service from Great Bend, Kansas. The new service will replace current scheduled service to Wichita Mid-Continent Airport with nonstop service to Kansas City International Airport. This service pattern will be implemented on Sunday, November 9, and will include two daily round trip flights Monday – Friday, and one round trip flight on both Saturday and Sunday.

Kansas City International Airport currently offers flights to 43 nonstop destinations operated by 11 airlines. The new nonstop service to Kansas City International will also connect with Alaska Airlines flights out of Kansas City to Seattle/Tacoma and beyond, which can be booked as a single itinerary under the SeaPort Airlines interline and e-ticketing agreement with Alaska Airlines by December 1.

The route will be operated with Cessna 208B Grand Caravans.

Copyright Photo: SeaPort Airlines. The pilots of the airline supported National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

Route Map:

SeaPort 11.2014 Route Map

Atlantic Airways to start Edinburgh, Scotland flights on March 30

Atlantic Airways (Vagar, Faroe Islands) will start a new route next summer to Edinburgh, Scotland. The route will be operated twice-weekly with Airbus A319s starting on March 30, 2015 per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Atlantic Airways Airbus A319-112 OY-RCI (msn 3905) taxies at Amsterdam.

Atlantic Airways: AG Slide Show

The first new Eastern Boeing 737-800 is rolled out of the paint shop at Shannon

Eastern Air Lines (2nd) (Miami) this week will take delivery of its first Boeing 737-800. Today (November 4) the former Kenya Airways Boeing 737-8AL 5Y-KYB (msn 35070) was rolled out of the Eirtech hangar at Shannon in full Eastern livery. The 737 is named the “Spirit of Captain Eddie Rickenbacker” and will become N276EA on delivery. N276EA is due to arrive in Miami later this week.

Copyright Photo: Malcolm Nason/AirlinersGallery.com.

The original Eastern aircraft slide show:

Video: TV commercials from the original Eastern Airlines:

Finnair’s third quarter net profit declines by 38% to $20.8 million

Finnair (Helsinki) reported a third quarter net profit of €16.6 million ($20.8 million) ending on September 30, down over 38% from the amount of €27 million ($33.8 million) reported for the same quarter in 2013.

CEO Pekka Vauramo commented:

“Finnair’s passenger and cargo revenue for July–September declined year-on-year, causing our turnover to decrease to 622.7 million euros. The decline in unit revenue, caused primarily by the strengthening of the euro against key Asian currencies, continued in the third quarter, although at a slower rate than earlier in the year. Growth in passenger volume and the progress of cost reduction measures were not sufficient to compensate for the weak revenue development, as our operational result fell to 26.7 million euros.

In order for Finnair’s profitability to improve, it is essential that we increase unit revenues and maintain tight control over costs. By the end of September, we had nearly achieved the overall target for our 200-million-euro cost reduction program. The program will be completed by the end of the year. The savings agreements we concluded with pilots and cabin crew in September and October will contribute to our cost competitiveness from 2015 onwards. I am very pleased with the outcome of the negotiations, as they not only produce cost savings, but also enable us to continue to develop our operations together with our personnel.

In August, we announced a number of product upgrades with which we pursue additional revenue. We expect our first A350 aircraft, which join our fleet in late 2015, to show an impact on our profitability from 2016 onwards. A significant improvement in revenue before that, however, would require a substantial recovery in domestic market demand and a substantial decrease in the world market price of fuel.” -

Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-112 OH-LVA (msn 1073) completes its final approach to the runway at Zurich.

Finnair aircraft slide show:

Video: Business class on Finnair:

SAS to launch new nonstop European routes starting on March 29, 2015

Scandinavian Airlines-SAS (Stockholm) is opening six new nonstop routes from Scandinavian airports to major European cities, two of which are completely new routes: for the first time, SAS customers can fly to Salzburg and Ankara with SAS for their summer vacation.

Ankara, capital and second-largest city in Turkey, will be the second Turkish destination served by SAS, Gazipasa near Alanya being the first.

As well as launching nine new summer routes, including a new inter-Scandinavian route between Bergen and Gothenburg, SAS is adding more frequencies on inter-Scandinavian routes in winter 2014/2015 and will continue to do so into summer 2015. This includes more nonstop flights between Stavanger and Trondheim and between Bergen and Ålesund. The Copenhagen-Gothenburg route is getting two additional daily departures, bringing the total to eight in the summer timetable. The Stockholm-Gothenburg route is also getting a new morning departure on Mondays in both directions.

In addition to the new routes, SAS is also re-opening its popular 2014 holiday destinations in the 2015 summer timetable to popular destinations such as Chania, Palermo and Pisa.

Timetables for new routes:

Denmark

- Copenhagen-Edinburgh: Departures on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, with daily departures in the summer peak season. First departure March 29, 2015.
- Copenhagen-Ankara: Departure on Saturday, and on Monday and Wednesday in the summer peak season. First departure April 04, 2015.

Sweden

- Stockholm-Budapest: Departures on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. No departures in the summer peak season. First departure March 29, 2015.
- Stockholm-Faro: Departure on Saturday, and on Wednesday in the summer peak season. First departure April 04, 2015.
- Stockholm-Ankara: Departure on Tuesday. First departure June 30, 2015.
- Gothenburg-Alanya (Gazipasa): Departure on Wednesday. First departure July 01, 2015.
- Gothenburg-Dublin: Departure on Saturday, and on Wednesday and Sunday in the summer peak season. First departure April 04.

Norway

- Oslo-Salzburg: Departure on Saturday. First departure May 23.
- Bergen-Gothenburg: Departures on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. No departures in the summer peak season. First departure March 30.

Timetables for expanded and re-opened routes

Expansion of inter-Scandinavian routes

Copenhagen-Gothenburg: Increased from six to eight daily departures
Oslo-Bergen: Up to 16 daily departures
Stavanger-Trondheim: More direct flights
Bergen-Ålesund: More direct flights
Stockholm-Gothenburg: New morning departure in both directions.
Stockholm-Luleå: Increased from seven to nine departures in both directions on Sunday.

Re-opened peak summer routes

Denmark

From Copenhagen to Dubrovnik, Split, Pula, Montpellier, Biarritz, Chania, Thessaloniki, Palermo, Napoli, Pisa, Gazipasa and Alicante.
From Billund, the route to Gazipasa in Turkey is re-opening.

Norway

From Trondheim to Malaga and Barcelona.
From Bergen to Split, Dubrovnik, Nice, Malaga, Barcelona and Alanya (Gazipasa).
From Stavanger to Split, Nice, Malaga, Barcelona and Alanya (Gazipasa).
From Kristiansand to Split.
From Oslo to Dubrovnik, Pula, Olbia, Pisa, Palermo and Pristina.

Sweden

From Gothenburg to Pula, Nice, Athens, Pristina, Alicante and Palma de Mallorca.
From Stockholm to Chania, Cagliari, Olbia, Biarritz, Palermo, Pisa, Pristina, Bristol and Bodø.

Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-783 LN-RPK (msn 28317) arrives at Zurich.

SAS Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

IAG reports a third quarter net profit of $751 million

International Airlines Group (IAG) (British Airways, Iberia, Iberia Express and Vueling Airlines) (London) reported a third quarter net profit of €598 million ($751 million) up 3.1% from €580 million ($728.4 million) in the same quarter a year ago.

The airline group issued this full statement:

NINE MONTHS RESULTS ANNOUNCEMENT

International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) presented Group consolidated results for the nine months to September 30, 2014.

IAG period highlights on results:

  • Third quarter operating profit €900 million (2013: €690 million) before exceptional items, €210 million better than last year
  • At constant currency, third quarter passenger unit revenue down 0.9 per cent and non-fuel unit costs down 4.5 per cent
  • Revenue for the quarter up 8.5 per cent to €5,866 million, up 6.9 per cent at constant currency
  • Fuel unit costs for the quarter down 7.5 per cent at constant currency
  • Operating profit for the nine months €1,130 million (2013: €657 million) before exceptional items, €473 million better than last year
  • Exceptional charge of €82 million for currency re-evaluation
  • Cash of €5,064 million at September 30, 2014, up €1,431 million on 2013 year end
  • Adjusted gearing down 4 points to 46 per centPerformance summary:

Nine months to September 30

Financial data € million

2014

2013

Higher / (lower)

Passenger revenue

13,435

12,299

9.2 %

Total revenue

15,155

14,113

7.4 %

Operating profit before exceptional items

1,130

657

Exceptional items

(82)

(309)

Operating profit after exceptional items

1,048

348

Profit after tax and exceptional items

694

77

Basic earnings per share (€ cents)

33.4

3.2

Operating figures

2014

2013

Higher / (lower)

Available seat kilometres (ASK million)

190,234

172,234

10.5 %

Revenue passenger kilometres (RPK million)

153,537

140,220

9.5 %

Seat factor (per cent)

80.7

81.4

(0.7pts)

Passenger revenue per RPK (€ cents)

8.75

8.77

(0.2)%

Passenger unit revenue per ASK (€ cents)

7.06

7.14

(1.1)%

Non-fuel unit costs per ASK (€ cents)

5.00

5.21

(4.0)%

€ million

At September 30,

At December 31,

Higher / (lower)

2014

2013

Cash and interest-bearing deposits

5,064

3,633

39.4 %

Adjusted net debt(1)

5,547

5,701

(2.7)%

Adjusted gearing(2)

46%

50%

(4pts)

(1) Adjusted net debt is net debt plus capitalised operating aircraft lease costs.
(2) Adjusted gearing is adjusted net debt, divided by adjusted net debt and adjusted equity.

Willie Walsh, IAG Chief Executive Officer, said:

“This quarter we are reporting an operating profit before exceptional items of €900 million. At constant currency, revenue was up 6.9 per cent with non-fuel unit costs down 4.5 per cent and fuel unit costs down 7.5 per cent.

“We continued to grow capacity efficiently and both our non-fuel and fuel unit cost performances were strong with the latter boosted by the introduction of new, more efficient aircraft into our fleet.

“British Airways made an operating profit of €607 million, compared to €477 million last year, and grew capacity while retaining its focus on cost control. Iberia’s operating profit increased to €162 million from €74 million last year highlighting its strong cost discipline combined with the continued benefits of restructuring. Vueling continued to grow, developing new bases in Italy and Belgium, with an operating profit of €140 million compared to €139 million last year.

“In the nine months, we made an operating profit of €1,130 million before exceptional items, up by €473 million from last year”.

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton/AirlinersGallery.com. Iberia improved its financial performance with labor stability which was one of the main drivers for a better financial performance of the group in the third quarter. Iberia’s Airbus A320-214 EC-MCS (msn 6244) taxies at Geneva in the new look.

British Airways: AG Slide Show

Iberia: AG Slide Show

Iberia Express: AG Slide Show

Vueling Airlines: AG Slide Show

Thomas Cook Airlines is coming to Reno, Nevada

Thomas Cook Airlines (UK) (Manchester) will launch seasonal twice-weekly Airbus A330-200 London (Gatwick)-Reno flights from December 19, 2015 through April 9, 2016 per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 G-OYMT (msn 301) taxies at Baltimore/Washington (BWI).

Thomas Cook Airlines (UK) Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Thai Airbus A330-321 HS-TEG operating as flight TG 47 overruns the runway at Khon Kaen, Thailand

Thai Airways International (Bangkok) flight TG 47 scheduled to operate from Khon Kaen to Bangkok with Airbus A330-321 HS-TEG (msn 112) aborted the takeoff and skidded off the runway as it attempted to takeoff last night (November 3) There were no injuries according to the National. The incident closed the airport and a Nok Air flight was forced to divert to another airport.

Read the full report with photos: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-321 HS-TEG departs from Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) before the incident.

Thai Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

WestJet reports record third quarter net earnings of C$85.4 million

WestJet (Calgary) has announced its third quarter 2014 results, with record adjusted net earnings of $85.4 million (all amounts in Canadian dollars), or $0.66 per diluted share. This compares with the net earnings of $65.1 million, or $0.50 per diluted share reported in the third quarter of 2013, up 31.2 per cent and 32.0 per cent, respectively. Based on the trailing twelve months, the airline achieved a return on invested capital of 13.8 per cent, compared with the 13.7 per cent reported in the previous quarter. These adjusted results exclude a pre-tax non-cash loss of $45.5 million associated with the previously disclosed sale of 10 of our oldest Boeing 737 aircraft.

In September, WestJet announced the launch of its new WestJet Rewards tiers program, which will make frequent guests eligible for higher WestJet dollar earn rates on WestJet flights, additional companion flights, and new easy-to-use flight benefits. Here is a video of “Profit Share” from two years ago:

Video Above: Twice per year, in November and May, WestJet shares a portion of its profits with its employees. According to the airline, “We make a fun video to play at our profit share party and this is just one of a long list of videos we’ve made over the past few years. Enjoy!”

Top Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8CT C-GWSZ (msn 37092) in the special “Magic Plane” color scheme promoting Walt Disney World arrives in Los Angeles.

WestJet: AG Slide Show

Virgin America reports 3Q net income of $41.6 million, expects to raise around $320 million from its pending IPO

Virgin America (San Francisco) reported its financial results for the third quarter of 2014 with an operating income of $52.3 million and net income of $41.6 million. The airline posted an operating margin of 12.9 percent – a 1.4 point improvement over the third quarter of 2013, driven largely by a 5.5 percent growth in revenue per available seat mile (RASM) over the prior year period.

Third Quarter 2014 Financial Highlights:

Operating Revenue: Total operating revenue of $405.5 million, an increase of 4.7 percent over the third quarter of 2013.

Revenue per Available Seat Mile (RASM): RASM increased 5.5 percent compared to the third quarter of 2013, to 12.60 cents. Year-over-year RASM growth was driven by a 0.6 percent increase in yield and a 3.0 point increase in load factor. The RASM performance continues the trend of strong RASM growth for the airline, which reported 9 percent RASM growth year-over-year for its Full Year 2013 results.

Cost per Available Seat Mile (CASM): Total CASM increased 3.8 percent compared to the third quarter of 2013, to 10.98 cents. CASM excluding fuel costs for the quarter increased 5.5 percent year-over-year, to 6.84 cents, primarily due to a provision for teammate profit sharing. CASM, excluding both fuel and profit-sharing costs, increased 2.0 percent, to 6.61 cents.

Operating Income: Third quarter of 2014 operating income increased by 17.9 percent over the third quarter of 2013 to $52.3 million with an operating margin improvement of 1.4 points year-over-year.

Net Income: Net income for the quarter increased 24.2 percent year-over-year, from $33.5 million to $41.6 million. Virgin America’s year-to-date net income improved by $60.2 million from a net loss of $4.0 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2013, to net income of $56.2 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2014.

Capacity: Available seat miles (ASMs) for the third quarter of 2014 decreased 0.8 percent year-over-year. The airline ended the quarter with 53 Airbus A320-family aircraft.

Liquidity: Unrestricted cash was $184.5 million as of September 30, 2014.

Analysis by Bloomberg Businessweek and its pending IPO: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 N849VA (msn 4991) with the special champion “Giants-Fly Together” logo arrives in Washington.

Virgin America: AG Slide Show

Spirit Airlines to start Latrobe-Las Vegas flights on April 16, 2015, issues its “State of Hate” report

Spirit Airlines (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood) has announced new daily service from Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe (near Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania to Las Vegas starting April 16, 2015.

Spirit currently offers year-round flights to Orlando and Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, with seasonal service to Myrtle Beach, Fort Myers (starting December 18, 2014) and Tampa (starting December 19, 2014).

In other news, the airline that people love to hate, has issued its “State of Hate” report on what passengers do not like with airlines:

People hate air travel. When given the opportunity, consumers have very little trouble expressing their hate against airlines. In fact thousands of people unleashed their hate last summer when Spirit Airlines opened itself to feedback asking people why they hate to fly. The airline has now released the results of this feedback in their “State of Hate Report.”

Last July Spirit announced their “Hug The Haters” campaign along with the “Hate Thousand Miles Giveaway” where they encouraged consumers to share their frustrations with flying, and in return gave the “haters” 8,000 FREE SPIRIT® miles to use on future Spirit flights. The response was overwhelming. In just a few days, almost 30,000 people shared their hate.

The report made it clear air travel is a hassle and annoys people, no matter which airline you fly. Spirit assumed that since they asked for the candid feedback, most of the hate would be directed at them. To their surprise, 60 percent of the responses they received were frustrations with airlines other than Spirit.

“I think if any organization asks for feedback you would expect the vast majority of responses would be directed at the company that seeks it,” said Spirit’s President and CEO Ben Baldanza. “But in this case we were surprised that most consumers chose to share their frustrations about other airlines.”

Spirit has taken the feedback, compiled the data, and today released what they call “The State Of Hate” report which can be found at www.hatethousandmiles.com.

“Airlines mess up and air travelers get frustrated,” added Baldanza. “Spirit is listening and willing to be transparent enough to admit where we can do things better. The feedback we received makes it clear no airline is immune from upsetting their customers, and at Spirit we can do a better job of explaining how flying with us is different.”

Here are some of the results of the State of Hate Report:

20% of consumers who responded hate airline seats. They hate everything about them: size, shape, getting to them, leg room, and reclining.
16% shared their frustrations with lost bags and baggage policies.
15% complained about delays and airline customer service.
The report also lists the different types of complaints and which airlines have the highest percentage of complaints by category. Not surprisingly, Spirit led the pack in frustrations about its “fee” structure.

“We don’t look at them as fees, they are options that our customers can choose, or not depending on how much money they wish to save,” said Baldanza. “But this clearly shows we need to continue educating our customers about our business model. Our experience shows once customers understand how much money they save with our model, they like it a lot.”

As has come to be expected, Spirit took the feedback and had some fun with it. Another surprising aspect of the feedback was the level of vitriol and expletives used in many of the hate messages. Spirit created a “Vulgarity Index” showing the different curse words that are used to describe the respondents hate for air travel. The report also contains a fun and irreverent newscast presenting the results of the report with puppets as the news anchors.

“The bottom line is, airline travel is frustrating,” continued Baldanza. “So the least we can do is keep offering the lowest fares in the industry to help lessen some of the hate. This allows our customers to have more money to spend once they get to the place they want to be, instead of spending their entire travel budget on the cost of a plane ticket.”

Video: CNBC’s Jim Cramer interviews CEO Ben Baldanza about their financial performance:

Spirit Airlines: AG Slide Show

Delta to expand its customer Porsche service at LaGuardia, SeaTac and Detroit

Delta Porsche Service (Delta)(LRW)

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) will expand its customer Porsche service to New York’s LaGuardia Airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and Detroit Metropolitan Airport this month. Through its pioneering partnership between a U.S. airline and automotive manufacturer, Delta and Porsche have transferred more than 35,000 high-value customers in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St. Paul and New York-JFK in the last year.

The program began as a trial at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in 2011 and expanded to Los Angeles, New York-JFK and Minneapolis-St. Paul in 2013. During a typical day more than 100 high-value customers are transferred from gate-to-gate at Delta’s largest hub in Atlanta. Transferring select SkyMiles Diamond Medallion customers with Porsche vehicles is just another way that Delta delivers exceptional customer service for its most valuable flyers while providing a unique travel experience.

There are 19 Porsche vehicles used across the Delta system to whisk customers quickly between connecting gates. Follow a behind-the-scenes video experience with 19 year Delta employee, Dawn, as she transfers three of Delta’s customers at its Minneapolis-St. Paul hub:

The service cannot be requested or reserved but is provided to Diamond Medallion customers based on a number of factors including the day’s flight operations, connections times between flights for customers and a member’s status. Once customers are added to the priority list for the service by Delta’s Elite Services team, they are greeted at the aircraft boarding door and escorted with their baggage to an awaiting vehicle and on to their connecting gate.

Copyright Photo: Delta Air Lines.

Delta Air Lines: AG Slide Show

 

Air France is coming to Vancouver

Air France (Paris) is coming to Vancouver. The airline will launch the Paris (CDG)-Vancouver route on March 29, 2015 with five weekly Boeing 777-200 ER weekly flights.

Copyright Photo: Ole Simon/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-228 ER F-GSPB (msn 29003) taxies at the Paris (CDG) hub.

Video: Just Planes goes for a ride on the Boeing 747-400:

Air France Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

NokScoot is granted its AOC, still prepares to launch operations in early 2015

NokScoot (NokScoot Company) (Bangkok-Don Mueang)  is the new joint venture between budget airline Scoot (Singapore) (49%) and Nok Air (Bangkok) (51%). The new airline will commence scheduled low-fare flights from Bangkok’s downtown Don Mueang International Airport in the first quarter of 2015 with three ex-Scoot Boeing 777-200s. Scoot is replacing its Boeing 777-200s (above) with new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. Boeing 787-9 9V-OJA (msn 37112) is being prepared currently by Boeing for delivery.

Video: Scoot’s first Boeing 787 being assembled:

NokScoot received its Air Operators Certificate (AOC) on October 30, 2014.

Video: Nok Air welcomes Scoot:

Top Copyright Photo Jacques Guillem Collection/AirlinersGallery.com (all others by NokScoot). The current ex-Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-200s with Scoot Air will soon become redundant which was a driving reason for the joint venture.

NokScoot logo (large)

NokScoot 10.2014 Ad

Southwest Airlines today introduces Beats Music on this WiFi-enabled and marked Boeing 737-700

Southwest Airlines introduces Beats Music on WiFi-enabled aircra

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) today (November 3) introduced Beats Music on its WiFi-enabled aircraft. The airline issued this statement:

Southwest Airlines is giving Customers a new reason to pack their headphones! Beginning today, Beats Music is providing a uniquely curated music experience onboard Southwest Airlines WiFi-enabled aircraft.

Customers accessing Beats Music onboard have an opportunity to listen to wide-ranging music programming in pop, rock, country, and other genres to hear fresh new artists and the hottest songs, which are handpicked by Beats Music expert curators. Accessing the service inflight is on the house and includes a library of hundreds of playlists. Not sure what to listen to, but feel like Jet-Setting with your BFF to Pop? The Sentence offers a continuous playlist just for you, customized by your response to four questions about location, activity, surroundings, and musical preference.

The new entertainment service was introduced today at a live demonstration onboard the official Beats Music-decaled Boeing 737 aircraft (above and below).

Southwest Airlines introduces Beats Music on WiFi-enabled aircra

 

To celebrate, a special playlist was created that will come to life with live concerts from a couple of the artists on select Southwest flights at 35,000 feet! The official Beats Music aircraft is planned to depart from Dallas Love Field to Chicago-Midway on flight 732 with Cobra Starship onboard. Customers on this flight will get a Southwest Airlines VIP backstage pass to the most elevated live concert they’ve ever experienced, with an opportunity to meet and receive autographs from the band. Southwest Airlines also is celebrating with Customers on Flight 1527 with Elephant Revival, flying from Portland to Denver.

Beats Music is a music subscription service that combines expert curation with the best technology, so you get music that’s right for you every time. Customers can stream a selection of Beats Music playlists through the Southwest entertainment portal, which is powered by Global Eagle Entertainment Inc., using their personal electronic devices onboard Southwest Airlines WiFi-enabled aircraft. Global Eagle Entertainment is a worldwide provider of media content, technology, and connectivity solutions to the travel industry. Through the industry’s most comprehensive product and services platform, Global Eagle Entertainment provides airlines with a wide range of inflight solutions including WiFi, movies, television, music, interactive software, as well as portable IFE solutions, content management services, e-commerce solutions, and original content development.

The service provided on the Southwest entertainment portal will be compatible with major mobile devices and operating systems, including iOS and Android, as well as most web browsers, and is designed to ensure a seamless and superior quality playback.

Copyright Photos: Southwest Airlines’ Boeing 737-7H4 N909WN (msn 32458) is the first aircraft to wear the special Beats Music markings.

Southwest Airlines Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Southwest Airlines introduces Beats Music on WiFi-enabled aircra

Video: Southwest’s executives celebrate Halloween:

LIAT to downsize its fleet in 2015, possible staff cuts

LIAT – The Caribbean Airline (Antigua) has issued this statement about the reduction of its fleet from 11 aircraft to nine and possible staff cuts:

LIAT is about to embark on its annual budget planning exercise and to put in place its operational plans for 2015.

As a result of the airline’s fleet transition program, LIAT will be a smaller airline in 2015 than in 2014, operating a fleet of nine aircraft as opposed to 11 in 2014.

LIAT Chief Executive Officer David Evans said: “Like any responsible business we have to examine our cost base and if we fly fewer aircraft in 2015 than in 2014, we also need to reduce our costs to reflect this. We have also been mandated by our Board of Directors to ensure that our costs reflect the level of activity that we carry out. It is too early to say what impact there may be on jobs as a result of this, and the company will consult with its staff and their representatives over its plans before making any announcement.”

LIAT, The Caribbean Airline, operates a modern fleet of ATR 42 and ATR 72 aircraft across a regional network of 18 destinations. It is owned by regional shareholders, with the majority being the Governments of Barbados, Antigua & Barbuda and St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

Copyright Photo: Raul Sepulveda/AirlinersGallery.com. ATR 72-212A (ATR 72-600) V2-LIA (msn 1077) stops at San Juan, Puerto Rico.

LIAT Aircraft Slide Show:

LIAT logo

Route Map:

 

LIAT 10.2014 Route Map

VietJet Air’s first direct delivery A320 from Airbus makes its first flight, 63 A320s on order

VietJetAir.com A320-200 F-WWBP (VN-A697)(11)(Tko) TLS (Airbus)(LRW)

VietJet Air’s (VietJetAir.com) (Ho Chi Minh City) first A320 on order from Airbus has reached a new production milestone, with the aircraft having successfully performed its first flight in Toulouse, France. Appearing in its colorful livery (above), the aircraft now enters the final acceptance phase prior to delivery to VietJetAir by the end of 2014.

This A320 is the first of up to 100 A320 that will be acquired by the airline under a deal finalised in February this year. The acquisition plan covers firm orders with Airbus for 63 aircraft, plus 30 purchase rights. In addition the airline will lease seven more aircraft from third party lessors.

The aircraft will join an existing fleet of 16 leased A320s at the fast-growing carrier and will be operated on the airline’s expanding network of domestic and regional services.

In other news, VietJet Air will open a new route connecting Thanh Hoa City and Ho Chi Minh City, helping to tap growing demand for travel between the north central city and the southern hub. The inaugural flight will take off from Ho Chi Minh City on November 25, 2014. The flight duration for this new route is one hour and 55 minutes. The daily flight will depart Ho Chi Minh City at 9 am (0900) and land in Thanh Hoa at 10.55 am (1055). On the return leg, the flight will take off at 11.30 am (1130) in Thanh Hoa and arrive in Ho Chi Minh City at 1.25 pm (1325).

Top Copyright Photo: Airbus (all others by VietJet Air). Airbus A320-214 F-WWBP (msn 6341) will become VN-A697 on delivery.

VietJetAir.com Fleet

VietJetAir.com FAs

VietJetAir Aircraft Slide Show:

Video: The now famous VietJet Air in-flight bikini show:

Alaska Airlines expands its seasonal route network from the Pacific Northwest to Mexico

Alaska Airlines (Seattle/Tacoma) this week will begin service from the Pacific Northwest to Mexico, just in time for winter. The airline kicks off its new nonstop service between Seattle/Tacoma and Cancun on November 6. Flights will operate daily through April 27, 2015. The airline also is offering new nonstop flights from Portland, Oregon, to Puerto Vallarta starting November 4 through April 26, 2015 and to Los Cabos starting Nov. 20 through April 27, 2015.

Alaska 11.2014 Mesxico Expansion Graph

All times are based on local time zones.

Alaska Airlines began flying to Mexico a quarter century ago and now operates 240 flights a week during the winter between the West Coast and Mexico—more than any other carrier. Alaska flies an average of 1.5 million passengers a year to seven Mexico beach destinations—Cancun, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Loreto, Los Cabos, Manzanillo, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta—in addition to Guadalajara and Mexico City.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-890 N590AS (msn 35887) with Aviation Partners Boeing Split Scimitar Winglets departs from Anchorage bound for Seattle/Tacoma.

Alaska Airlines Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Southwest takes over AirTran routes to Punta Cana and Mexico City, launches eight new routes from Love Field

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) reached a milestone in the final stage of its integration of wholly owned subsidiary AirTran Airways by launching Southwest-branded flights to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and Mexico City. All international flights between seven destinations outside the United States and the carrier’s nine U.S. gateway cities are now flown by Southwest.

Southwest has completed the integration of booking and frequent flyer functions into Southwest.com, referring all Customers who visit airtran.com to Southwest.com. All bookings for remaining flights on AirTran Airways flown through December 28, 2014, will now be made through Southwest.com and all of AirTran’s A+ Rewards Members have Rapid Rewards accounts in the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® frequent flyer program, which offers unlimited reward seats, no blackout dates, and points that don’t expire. (Flight or Partner earning activity required every 24 months. Benefits apply to points transactions. All Rapid Rewards rules and regulations apply.)

The expansion of service at Dallas Love Field continued with the launch of additional eight nonstop destinations, following the launch of nonstop itineraries to seven cities that began last month. New flights began yesterday (November 2) between Dallas (Love Field) and Atlanta, Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood, Nashville, New York (LaGuardia), Phoenix, Orange County/Santa Ana, San Diego, and Tampa.

Additional nonstop service between the San Francisco Bay Area and North Texas begins after the first of next year when new flights between Dallas Love Field and both San Francisco (SFO) and Oakland (OAK) begin on January 6, 2015.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. The sun will be setting next month for AirTran Airways when the last Boeing 717 flight is operated between Atlanta and Tampa on December 28. All of the AirTran 717s will be leased to Delta. Boeing 717-231 N985AT (msn 55090) banks on its final turn on the river approach to Washington’s Reagan National Airport (DCA).

AirTran Airways: AG Slide Show

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show

Video: A first for Southwest, a wedding at 32,000 feet:

JetBlue Airways launches its new “Fly It Forward” program

JetBlue Airways (New York) has issued this announcement:

JetBlue Airways launched Fly It Forward, a social movement inspired by its own crewmembers and carried on by customers passing along one ticket on a continuous journey throughout the JetBlue network. Fly It Forward fliers are fulfilling a dream, joining a humanitarian effort or making a meaningful impact on the world. The program starts with an act of humanity and a great story to tell; awarding a flight to a deserving individual. Once a trip is complete, the flier will then pass that opportunity on to the next traveler they help select, continuing a chain of goodness that will travel throughout the JetBlue network. JetBlue and its ad agency, Mullen, developed this program to create a tangible manifestation of the brand’s mission — to inspire humanity.

To celebrate the launch, JetBlue released a video (above) featuring the first four fliers to participate in Fly It Forward.

Highlighting the virtues of the program, the video also calls for the public to submit their own nominations for deserving travelers for the next fliers to choose from so they can continue to Fly It Forward.

The Fly It Forward site will be the hub of all conversations and activity, documenting each flier’s story and encouraging consumers to share their nominations. Twitter serves as the lead social platform, where consumers submit or nominate stories using #FlyItForward. New winners will be selected by the previous fliers and announced every other week as the Fly It Forward ticket travels across the JetBlue network.

As a brand dedicated to treating people with humanity, evidenced by its consistent delivery of unparalleled customer service, JetBlue looked to its crewmembers to unearth stories of potential Fly It Forward nominees. These crewmembers played a critical role in providing the foundation for today’s launch.

To date, JetBlue crewmembers have enabled the ticket to travel between four fliers from Chicago, New York, Seattle and Haiti. Stories span the themes of inspiration, resilience and perseverance, the pursuit of one’s passion, and dedication to youth education and community relations. One of the featured fliers includes Louis Elneus, who established the first public library in Haiti. Nominated by Crewmember Jay Sequiera, Louis returned to Haiti to deliver new books for the start of the school year as he continues to inspire youth education and literacy.

And now JetBlue is enlisting the public to help continue this journey. Consumers can follow the stories as they unfold at jetblueflyitforward.com and help write the next chapter by submitting their own entry or by nominating a story through Twitter using #FlyItForward.

Video:

JetBlue Airways Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

SmartWings is adding four new routes from Warsaw, Poland

SmartWings (smartwing.com) (Prague) is adding more routes and flights from Warsaw, Poland. Warsaw-Lanzarote was added yesterday (November 1) following by the Warsaw-Fuerteventura route tomorrow (November 3). Warsaw-Las Palmas will be added on November 4 and  Warsaw-Tenerife Sur (South) on November 6 per Airline Route.

SmartWings is a brand name of  Travel Service, a.s. (Travel Service Airlines) with regular flights from its base at Prague Airport.

During the year, SmartWings offers flights to more than forty popular destinations and resorts throughout and outside Europe with departures from Prague, Brno and Ostrava. Every summer season SmartWings brings flights to new destinations as well an increase of frequencies to the current ones.

Travel Service, a.s., the largest airline in the Czech Republic, has been operating in the market for 15 years. Travel Service, a.s. is the leader of the charter market in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and it has a noticeable share in Poland. Apart from charter flights, Travel Service has also been conducting regular lines under the brand SmartWings since 2004 and since 2007 with private charter flights.

SmartWings operates Airbus A320s, Boeing 737-700s and 737-800s.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-82R OK-TSG (msn 30666) taxies at Antalya, Turkey.

SmartWings Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

 

TAME to launch Guayaquil-Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood flights on November 20

TAME Linea Aerea del Ecuador (Quito) will launch its second route to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) on November 20 when it adds three weekly flights from Guayaquil. The new route will operate with Airbus A320s.

Copyright Photo: Rodrigo Cozzato/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 HC-COC (msn 1368) approaches the runway at Sao Paulo (Guarulhos).

TAME Aircraft Slide Show:

 

 

American Airlines to add two new Boeing 757 routes from New York JFK next summer to Birmingham and Edinburgh

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) is adding two Boeing 757-200 summer seasonal routes from New York (JFK) to both Birmingham and Edinburgh in the United Kingdom on May 7, 2015. Both routes will be operated on a daily basis.

Update: American formally announced the new Birmingham flights on November 3 with this statement:

American Airlines customers will soon have access to a new destination when Birmingham, England (BHX) joins the network of the world’s largest airline.

New daily service from New York’s John F. Kennedy International (JFK) is scheduled to begin May 7 with a Boeing 757. Customers may begin booking travel on these flights now. Birmingham will be American’s fifth destination in the United Kingdom.

Flights leave JFK at 7 p.m. (1900) daily, arriving in Birmingham at 7:10 a.m. (0710). Flights from Birmingham will depart at 10 a.m. (1000), arriving at JFK at 12:55 p.m. (1255).

As previously reported, American is restoring the Miami-Frankfurt route on May 14, 2015 with Boeing 767-300s.

In other news, American will end Dallas/Fort Worth-Rio de Janeiro service on February 21, 2015 per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Fred Freketic/AirlinersGallery.com. American’s Boeing 757-223 N187AN (msn 32381) arrives in New York (JFK).

American Airlines: AG Slide Show

 

Space tourism is reassessed after Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo explodes and crashes near Mojave, California

Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo

Virgin Galactic’ SpaceShipTwo yesterday (October 31) at 10:51 am PDT tragically exploded and crashed near Mojave, California after it experienced an in-flight “anomaly”. Virgin Atlantic Airways’ Richard Branson has been promoting space tourism and has reportedly collected more than $80 million for future flights at $250,000 for each ticket. Yesterday’s fatal crash is a major setback for the program which is committed to moving forward in its quest for space flights.

The flight was the first test flight of SpaceShipTwo with new plastic-based fuel, replacing the original—a rubber-based solid fuel. The crash killed the first officer and the captain was seriously injured.

Bloomberg Businessweek explores the program from a business perspective (see below).

Virgin Galactic logo

STATEMENT FROM VIRGIN GALACTIC

Virgin Galactic’s partner Scaled Composites conducted a powered test flight of SpaceShipTwo earlier yesterday (October 31). During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of the vehicle. The WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft landed safely.

The Virgin Galactic team is cooperating with our partners at Scaled Composites and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) as well as local authorities. We understand that the NTSB is scheduled to arrive in Mojave on Saturday Nov. 1) to commence their investigation, which is expected to last several days.

Local authorities have confirmed that one of the two Scaled Composites pilots died during the accident. The other pilot parachuted to the ground and is being treated at a local hospital. All of us at Virgin Galactic are deeply saddened by yesterday’s events. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of all those affected by this accident.

George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic, provided the following statement:

“Our primary thoughts at this moment are with the crew and family, and we’re doing everything we can for them now. I’d like to recognize the work of the first responders who we work with in the Antelope Valley for their efforts on behalf of the team. We’re also thinking of the team members that we have at the companies that have been working on this program.

Space is hard and October 31 was a tough day. We are going to be supporting the investigation as we figure out what happened today. We’re going to get through it. The future rests in many ways on hard days like this, but we believe we owe it to the team, that has been working so hard on this endeavour, to understand this and to move forward. And that is what we’ll do.”

Virgin's Richard Branson

Sir Richard Branson (above) is on his way to Mojave and is expected to arrive by early Saturday morning.

Bloomberg Businessweek: The Virgin Galactic Crash and the Risks of Space Tourism: CLICK HERE

Photos: Virgin Galactic.

Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo 1

Video:

FedEx Express requests NMB mediation for a new pilots contract

FedEx Express (Memphis), a subsidiary of FedEx Corporation (Memphis), has formally requested assistance from the National Mediation Board (NMB) to expedite its ongoing pilot negotiations. The NMB is the U.S. governmental agency that oversees labor agreements for entities covered by the Railway Labor Act (RLA), such as airlines, railroads and express companies.

The company and its pilots, who are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), have been engaged in contract talks for more than a year. The current contract became amendable on February 25, 2013 and the two sides reached a tentative agreement on 20 of the 31 contract sections in September 2014.

Under the RLA, the terms and conditions of the existing contract between the company and ALPA do not expire until the full multi-step RLA process is exhausted. In the meantime, the progression of negotiations into the mediation stage has no impact on company operations or its ability to provide highly reliable service to customers.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-FS2 N862FD (msn 37733) arrives on a cold day at Anchorage.

FedEx Express Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

 

Michael O’Leary: Ryanair will benefit from struggling European carriers

Ryanair - Michael O'Leary (MF)

Ryanair’s (Dublin) flamboyant CEO expects his ultra low fare airline will benefit from pullbacks by some European carriers. O’Leary believes Scandinavian Airlines-SAS, Alitalia and Airberlin are carriers he expects to either shrink or merge according to this article by The Irish Times.

O’Leary also believes Aer Lingus (Ryanair owns a minority share), Iberia, Olympic Airlines and TAP Portugal also will face either cutbacks or consolidation.

O’Leary has also signed a contract extension with Ryanair through September 2019.

Read the full story: CLICK HERE

 

WestJet today launches seasonal Winnipeg-Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood flights

WestJet (Calgary) today launched new weekly, seasonal, nonstop service between Winnipeg and Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, Florida. Flights out of the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson Airport operate every Saturday until April 25, 2015.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-7CT C-FEWJ (msn 32769) arrives in Los Angeles.

WestJet: AG Slide Show

JetBlue Airways today launches three seasonal routes from Boston

JetBlue Airways (New York) today (November 1) launches three new seasonal routes from Boston Logan International Airport (BOS). JetBlue now offers seasonal weekly services to Liberia, Costa Rica; Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic; and Saint Lucia.

Earlier this year, the carrier introduced service from Boston to Detroit, Michigan, and Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, Georgia.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 N828JB (msn 5723) with Sharklets departs from Washington (Reagan National).

JetBlue Airways Aircraft Slide Show:

Icelandair to resume operations at Orlando International Airport on September 4, 2015

Icelandair (Keflavik) will resume services to Orlando International Airport (MCO) starting on September 4, 2015. The airline is also adding an extra weekly flight to the sunny destination taking the service up to four times a week on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. The carrier is moving from Sanford back to MCO. The airline drops Orlando service during the summer months.

Copyright Photo: Andi Hiltl/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 757-256 TF-FIZ (msn 30052) arrives in Zurich.

Video: Just Planes video of the Icelandair Boeing 757:

Icelandair: AG Slide Show

Air Armenia suspends operations until December 20

Air Armenia (Yerevan) has suspended all operations until at least December 20 as it reorganizes. The company started operations on March 18, 2003. The airline has issued this statement:

Air Armenia logo-1

On October 22 it has turned a year, as the airline “Air Armenia” has been implementing transportation of passengers. This is reported by the press service of the airline “Air Armenia”. The report, particularly, is transmitted as follows: “Over the past year airline “Air Armenia”, as the only Armenian air carrier, served passengers implementing flights to Russia and Europe.

The year for airline “Air Armenia”, as for the only Armenian air carrier, was full of both achievements and undesired, unexpected events. According to the extended information, during the summer there were taken some measures to obstruct the activity of the airline, aiming to discomfit the Armenian air carrier. This can create desirable conditions for foreign airlines to provide independent policy and monopoly control over the Armenian sky.

On September 11 of this year, through the media sources Russian air navigation stated that airline “Air Armenia” was going to be disabled to realize flights to Russian Federation since September 21. This announcement caused a great harm and a lot of trouble for the only Armenian air carrier.

The statement of Russian air navigation was also spread in Armenia by the Armenian media sources, which led to the fall of airline prestige, causing huge financial losses. The statement brought up a panic among the passengers, the creditors and the debetors. Many passengers began returning already purchased air tickets. A huge mass of the passengers refused being served by the Armenian air carrier. Ticket sales dropped by, more than, 60%. While all the lenders were demanding their money back, ignoring the previous agreement on the transfer schedule, the debetors refused to transfer the money got from the air ticket sales, bringing the possibility of ticket returns as an explanation. In this case they would have to return the money back to passengers.

The two airplanes (A320s), operated by airline “Air Armenia” are now in the Netherlands, getting some maintenance. Maintenance of the airplanes is a mandatory procedure that is implemented in the framework of the agreement with the company, giving these airplanes on credit.

In addition to the panic and uncertainty of the society, A320 owners demanded the planned maintenance of an airplane and a non-planned one of another airplane as well. They insisted on holding the maintaining process in the airport of theirs so as to be safe. Surprisingly, the airline “Air Armenia” managed to find the energy, strength and resources to organize some flights with just one airplane.

The disinformation, spread by 1in.am on October 22 also caused a lot of serious problems for airline “Air Armenia” causing even more losses. Air ticket sales in Armenia decreased by 80%. At the same time, many agents held the revenue in case of possible return of the money.

As a result, the profit dropped to a critical minimum, and the transportation of passengers was impossible. In this situation, the airline has decided to take some radical actions leading to financial reconstruction, flights graphic’s improving until December 20, making an emphasis on the flights being highly demanded.

At the current time, we plan to collect some financial sources to be able to get back the 2 A320 airplanes, so as to go live with all the flights according to the winter schedule, announced previously starting from December 20.

The only Armenian airline “Air Armenia” thanks all the loyal passengers and partners, bringing apologies for this unpleasant situation and the inconvenience.

Top Copyright Photo: OSDU/AirlinersGallery.com (all others by Air Armenia). Airbus A320-214 EK32039 (msn 1439) approaches the runway at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow.

Air Armenia Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Air Armenia FA

Alitalia to add new flights to both Berlin and Dusseldorf on December 15 in association with partner Airberlin

Alitalia (2nd) (Rome) on December 15 will inaugurate new daily service to Berlin and Dusseldorf from Rome (Fiumicino), Milan (Linate) and Venice.

New Alitalia flights to Berlin and Dusseldorf will operate daily during the winter season using Embraer 175 aircraft offering 2 classes of service: “Excellent”- Alitalia’s business class for international routes, and “Classic”, Alitalia’s economy class service.

New flights between Italy and Germany have strategic importance for Alitalia. With the introduction of the new flights to Berlin and Dusseldorf in 2015, Alitalia will offer approximately 370,000 more seats, an increase of 66% over 2014. Alitalia currently offers direct flights from Rome to Munich, and Rome and Milan Linate to Frankfurt.

Alitalia’s increase of seats offered to Germany during 2014 resulted in 60% more passengers carried over 2013.

The new flights will operate in codeshare with partner Airberlin (Berlin), Germany’s second largest airline.

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton/AirlinersGallery.com. Embraer ERJ 170-200LR (ERJ 175) EI-RDB (msn 17000331) departs from Geneva.

Alitalia (2nd) Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

SriLankan Airlines takes delivery of its first Airbus A330-300

SriLankan Airlines (Colombo), the national carrier of Sri Lanka, yesterday (October 30) took delivery of its first (of six) Airbus A330-300 becoming a new operator for the type. The wide-body aircraft arrived at Colombo International Airport, having flown from Toulouse, France, and joins the airlines’ existing fleet of A320, A321, A330-200 and A340-300 aircraft. SriLankan will take delivery of a further five A330-300s.

SriLankan Airlines and Airbus embarked upon a long-term, strategic partnership in 1993 when the airline began operating the A320 and A340. It has since grown to be an all Airbus operator, and is now an award winning carrier, expanding and diversifying its wide range of products and services to drive the country’s ongoing boom in tourism and economic development.

The carrier will introduce the new type on November 9 on a one-time Colombo-London (Heathrow) roundtrip followed by the Colombo-Bangkok-Guangzhou route on November 11 and finally the Colombo and Tokyo (Narita) route on November 15. The airline will also use the new type to Beijing and Shanghai (Pudong).

Top Copyright Photo: Oliver Gregoire/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-343 F-WWYX (msn 1564) became 4R-ALL on the handover.

SriLankan Airlines: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Airbus. The airline celebrates the signifiant milestone at the delivery ceremony.

SriLankan A330-300 4R-ALL (99)(Grd)(Ceremony) TLS (Airbus)(LRW)

Monarch Airlines finalizes its deal with Boeing for 30 737 MAX 8s + 15 options

Monarch 737 MAX 8 (11)(Flt)(Boeing)(LR)

Monarch Airlines (London-Luton) and Boeing (Chicago and Seattle) today finalized an order for 30 737 MAX 8s worth more than $3.2 billion at current list prices. The order, originally announced at the Farnborough International Airshow in July when Monarch selected Boeing as its preferred bidder for fleet replacement, includes options for 15 additional 737 MAX 8s and marks the beginning of the British carrier’s transition to an all-Boeing single-aisle fleet.

The 737 MAX has accumulated 2,325 orders to date from 48 customers and is the fastest selling airplane in Boeing history.

Headquartered at London Luton Airport, but also operating from five other U.K. bases – London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, East Midlands and Leeds-Bradford – Monarch predominantly serves holiday destinations around the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands as well as European ski resorts. Founded in 1968, the British carrier will move to a cost effective and uniform fleet of 737 MAX 8s within the next decade.

As previously reported, on October 24, Monarch Airlines and other parts of Monarch Holdings Limited, the UK’s leading independent leisure travel group, completed a restructuring program and sale of 90 percent of the group to Greybull Capital LLP under which it secured £125 million of permanent capital and liquidity facilities.

Image: Boeing.

Monarch Airlines: AG Slide Show

Air Canada’s pilots ratify the new contract

Air Canada (Montreal) has announced its pilots, represented by the Air Canada Pilots Association, have ratified a new 10-year contract. The company issued this statement:

Air Canada welcomes today’s confirmation by the Air Canada Pilots Association that its members have ratified a landmark agreement on collective agreement terms for ten years.

“This ten-year agreement with the Air Canada Pilots Association is a ground-breaking development which allows us to accelerate the implementation of our business strategy on a win-win basis with our pilots,” said Calin Rovinescu, President and CEO of Air Canada. “The new agreement provides greater stability and long term cost certainty as well as a framework for a strong partnership with our pilots. It is also the most tangible indication of the shift in culture underway at Air Canada.

“With this agreement now in place, we can focus our efforts on long-term profitable growth at both Air Canada and Air Canada rouge for the benefit of our employees and all of Air Canada’s stakeholders. I thank the teams representing both ACPA and management for their insight, commitment and determination in reaching this agreement.”

The agreement is subject to certain openers and benchmarks over the 10 year period.

In addition to labor stability and long term cost certainty, the agreement also provides for increased flexibility with respect to regional airline capacity purchase agreements to help ensure cost competitiveness. In addition, it facilitates the evolution of Air Canada rouge TM into a stronger leisure carrier with improved fleet renewal flexibility and terms. As well, the agreement provides additional codeshare and joint venture flexibility and scope.

The agreement has been approved by the Air Canada Board of Directors.

The Air Canada Pilots Association membership comprises approximately 3,000 pilots.

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Air Canada rouge is the winner with this new agreement. The leisure brand of Air Canada will continue to add aircraft and routes. Boeing 767-333 ER C-FMXC (msn 25588) arrives in Las Vegas.

Air Canada: AG Slide Show

Air Canada rouge: AG Slide Show

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