WestJet’s first Boeing 767-300 arrives today in Calgary with a new logo

WestJet 767-300 WL (15)(Grd)(WestJet)(LR)

WestJet (Calgary) today (August 27) ushers in a new era in the airline’s 19-year history with the arrival early this morning of the first of four Boeing 767-300 extended range aircraft, allowing the airline to begin serving Europe and other regions of the world from Canada on a non-stop basis. Inaugural wide-body flights will begin in early September.

WestJet 767-300 WL (15)(Flt)(WestJet)(LR)

Featuring a new teal and blue maple leaf-themed logo (above) that will eventually appear on all WestJet aircraft, the airline’s 767s seat 262 guests and have a range of approximately 11 hours.

WestJet 767-300 Cabin (WestJet)(LR)

The aircraft will include a Plus cabin with 24 premium seats in a two-by-two configuration, hot meals and all of the other amenities associated with Plus (above). The main cabin has 238 seats, with two seats on either side of the aircraft and three in the middle. By next spring all four 767s will be equipped with WestJet Connect, the airline’s new inflight entertainment and wireless connectivity system.

The four aircraft will arrive separately over the next eight months. The aircraft that arrives today will begin service in September and operate flights between Toronto and Calgary for the next several months. With the arrival of two additional wide-bodies this fall, the 767s will be flying from Alberta to Hawaii and between Toronto and Montego Bay, Jamaica beginning in December. The fourth and final aircraft will arrive next spring just prior to the launch of WestJet’s new service to London (Gatwick) in May 2016.

Following discussions over the summer with airports across the country, the airline will announce the Canadian cities from which it will operate its summer schedule, including to London, in mid-September.

Images: WestJet.

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British Airways announces a new Boeing 787-9 route to San Jose, California

British Airways (London) has announced that it will begin service between Mineta San Jose International Airport and London Heathrow Airport from May 4, 2016. This marks the first regularly scheduled nonstop service to the UK for the city of San Jose. British Airways will operate the newest aircraft in its fleet, a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, featuring the airline’s newly designed First cabin.

British Airways logo

San Jose will be the fourth Californian city from which British Airways flies, following Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. Earlier this year British Airways introduced its super jumbo Airbus A380 onto San Francisco, providing customers with comfort, space and enhanced wellbeing for their trip to London.

 

Flight BA279 will touch down in San Jose for the first time at 6:05 pm in the evening of May 4, 2016 and BA278 will depart San Jose at 8:00 pm the same evening, arriving into London Heathrow Terminal 5 at 2:05 pm the next day.

 

The airline’s 787-9 Dreamliner will accommodate eight customers in the new First cabin, 42 seats in Club World, 39 in World Traveller Plus and 127 in World Traveller. Lower pressurization means less dry cabin air, leaving customers feeling more refreshed with less jet lag while the aircraft’s smooth ride technology reduces the effect of turbulence. Soothing mood lighting in every cabin gradually adjusts to reflect the time of day and the large windows feature electronic dimming switches.

The 787-9, the first of which is due to be delivered to British Airways in September, is 20 feet longer that its 787-8 predecessor, so as well as offering World Traveller (economy), World Traveller Plus (premium economy) and Club World (business class), there’s also room for a new First class cabin – a first for the airline’s 787 fleet.

Copyright Photo: AirlinersGallery.com.

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Norwegian to add two additional Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, 787 fleet going to 19

Norwegian Air Shuttle (Norwegian Long Haul) (Oslo) has entered into an agreement for the delivery of two new 344-seat Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. This agreement means the Norwegian carrier will have a total of 19 Dreamliners in its long-haul fleet by 2018.

According to the carrier:

“Norwegian continues to build up long-haul fleet for further international growth and has entered into agreements to lease two long-haul Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. The new aircraft are planned to enter service in the summer of 2017. Norwegian has currently eight Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners in the fleet and now another 11 Dreamliner 787-9s on order. This means that the company will have a fleet of 19 long-haul aircraft of which four will be delivered in 2016, five in 2017 and two in 2018.

 

The aircraft are leased by the Norwegian wholly owned subsidiary Arctic Aviation Assets.

Copyright Photo: SM Fitzwilliams Collection.

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Delta: Gulf carriers concede huge subsidies

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) is striking back with a new rebuttal in the on-going dispute over alleged government subsidies between the U.S. “Big Three” (American, Delta and United) and the Gulf “Big Three” (Emirates, Etihad and Qatar). Here is Delta’s new statement:

Delta logo

Gulf carriers have effectively conceded they have received tens of billions of dollars in subsidies and other benefits from their governments. That’s just part of what the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies revealed Monday in its 400-page response to the U.S. Department of Transportation that disproves statements to the contrary by Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways, and demonstrates real harm to U.S. carriers and jobs.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday, “The Abu Dhabi government last year injected $2.5 billion into Etihad Airways … in violation of air treaties with the U.S. government. The previously undisclosed cash injection is detailed in state-owned Etihad’s financial statements, which were made public on Monday by the Partnership.”

The article quoted Jill Zuckman, chief spokesperson for the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies that represents Delta, American, United and several labor groups, including the Air Line Pilots Association.

“Etihad’s own financials prove that it is not a commercially viable enterprise and owes its continued existence to massive government subsidies from the United Arab Emirates,” Zuckman said.

The Street on Tuesday also cited the Partnership’s filing when it reported on harm Gulf carriers are causing U.S. airlines and their partners.

“In four U.S. gateway cities – Boston, Dallas, Seattle and Washington, D.C. – the combined decline in the year after Emirates began service to its Dubai hub ranged between 8 and 21 percent,” the article stated.

Zuckman again was quoted: “Not only have the Gulf carriers failed to meaningfully stimulate new traffic, but the data clearly show losses — that entry by a Gulf carrier into a U.S. gateway city is followed by an actual decline in U.S. carrier bookings. The subsidized Gulf carriers are distorting the global marketplace, harming the U.S. airline industry and threatening American jobs and airline service to communities across the U.S.”

Open and Fair Skies logo

Click to view the Partnership’s complete rebuttal filing.

In a Q&A with Politico this week, Delta CEO Richard Anderson explained how long-standing U.S. trade policy is relevant to this issue:

Normally when you have a bilateral trade relationship, whether it’s for aviation or steel or agricultural products, two countries enter into a bilateral trade negotiation so that both of them can stimulate the marketplace and enjoy access and enjoy the opportunity in kind of a roughly equal way, both parties. Their economies end up improving.

In this case, it’s been almost all a predominant share shift away from U.S. carriers onto the United Arab Emirates and Qatar traveling over Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar to the Far East, to India and the Southeast.

Do you think it would be a whole lot better if we let foreign countries dump their agricultural products in here? Grocery prices would be lower, right? And why don’t we let steel companies? Why do we take any action? … And if we let steel in, General Motors’ and Ford’s car prices will go down.

That’s not been our trade policy. What our trade policy has been is to try to find that reasonable middle ground to make sure you don’t have any outliers in terms of dumping [because of] government-subsidized capacity. That’s why I think there’s a reasonable accommodation here with our government.

In January the Partnership issued a report illustrating that the three Gulf carriers have received more than $42 billion in subsidies and other benefits over the past decade from their home governments in violation of bilateral Open Skies policies.

The departments of Transportation and Commerce opened an official docket to collect public comment on the issue in June, to which thousands of submissions were made by the Aug. 3 deadline, including those by Gulf carriers that attempted to rebut, but did not disprove, massive government subsidies and other benefits.

Over the past several months an array of stakeholders including airline employees, mayors, governors, prominent aviation economists, business leaders, and members of Congress have weighed in, calling for the U.S. government to quickly open consultations with the United Arab Emirates and Qatar to ensure Open Skies agreements are being adhered to so all airlines can compete on a level playing field.

Airbus: Fleets in Russia and the CIS to more than double by 2034

Airbus (Toulouse) has issued this forecast for Russia and the CIS:

Airbus logo (large)

According to the latest Airbus Global Market Forecast (GMF), the Russia & CIS air passenger market will more than double in the next 20 years, with over 2,000 aircraft needed by 2034, compared to the 922 in operation today to meet the countries’ growing demand for air travel. Airbus’ forecast shows that over 1,280 of these aircraft will be new deliveries, valued at US$150 billion, comprising 1,100 single-aisles, 160 twin-aisles and 24 very large aircraft. These additional aircraft will satisfy both fleet replacement needs and future growth for the intra-regional CIS and international market.

Airbus’ GMF foresees that in the next 20 years airlines in the Russia & CIS region will continue to renew their fleets by introducing more new fuel-efficient models, while gradually phasing out older and second hand aircraft. The region’s economy will gain positive momentum and grow yearly at 2.4% in the coming 20 years, with some countries, such as Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, demonstrating a higher annual growth of around four to five per cent.

“The Russia & CIS market has always been of key strategic importance to Airbus, and we believe it will continue to grow, even with the recent challenges in the region, as air traffic has proven to be resilient to crisis around the globe. We look forward to seeing Airbus deliveries increasing in Russia & CIS to achieve a 50% market share,” said Christopher Buckley, Airbus Executive Vice President Sales. “We forecast traffic growth in terms of Revenue Passenger Kilometers (RPK) to, from and within the Russia & CIS region to increase at 4.8 per cent per year on average over the next 20 years, which is above the world average of 4.6 per cent. The region’s highest traffic growth is expected to be on international destinations to the Middle East (+6.6%), followed by traffic to Asia-Pacific (+5.9%) and Latin America (+5.3%).”

Since Airbus delivered its first aircraft to Aeroflot in 1992, 28 airlines in the Russia & CIS region now operate over 340 Airbus models, including both its popular single-aisle and wide-body families. Over the last five years, Airbus’ fleet in Russia has doubled and the number of operators is constantly expanding.

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Korean Air becomes the first airline to operate both versions of the Boeing 747-8

Korean Air (Seoul) and Boeing (Chicago, Seattle and Charleston) yesterday (August 25) marked the delivery of the airline’s first 747-8 Intercontinental. The new fuel-efficient jet is the first of 10 747-8 passenger airplanes the carrier has on order.

Top Copyright Photo: Royal S. King/AirlinersGallery.com. The pictured Boeing 747-8B5 HL7630 (msn 40905) was handed over to the carrier on August 25. The Jumbo is seen landing after a test flight at Paine Field near Everett, WA.

With this delivery, Korean Air becomes the first airline in the world to operate both the passenger and freighter versions of the 747-8. Korean Air currently operates seven 747-8 Freighters.

Korea’s flag carrier currently operates a fleet of 87 Boeing passenger airplanes that includes 737, 747 and 777s. The airline also operates an all-Boeing cargo fleet of 28 747-400, 747-8 and 777 Freighters.

With a range of 7,730 nautical miles (14,310 km), the 747-8 Intercontinental offers 16 percent savings in fuel consumption and emissions over its predecessor, the 747-400, while generating 30 percent less noise. The airplane also features an all-new, 787 Dreamliner-inspired interior that includes a new curved, upswept architecture giving passengers a greater feeling of space and comfort.

Korean Air’s jet is configured with 368 seats and features the brand new First Class Kosmo Suite 2.0, which include a sliding door and higher partitions to provide added privacy for passengers. The suites are also equipped with updated in-flight entertainment systems, with large 24-inch high-definition monitors and new handheld touch remotes.

Above Photo: Boeing.

The airline’s Business Class Prestige Suites (above) will feature staggered seating and privacy panels, along with 18-inch high definition touch screens.

Korean Air’s Aerospace Division is a key Boeing partner on both the 747-8 and 787 programs, supplying the distinctive raked wing-tips for each model. They are also one of two suppliers producing the new 737 MAX Advanced Technology (AT) Winglet.

Korean Air logo

Korean Air, with a fleet of 161 aircraft, is one of the world’s top 20 airlines, and operates more than 430 flights per day to 128 cities in 45 countries. It is a founding member of the SkyTeam alliance, which together with its 20 members, offers its 612 million annual passengers a worldwide system of more than 16,000 daily flights covering 1,052 destinations in 177 countries.

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Below Photo: Boeing. The staircase to the Upper Deck.

Delta to offer two new seasonal routes next summer across the Atlantic

 

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) and Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) will offer customers two new routes across the Atlantic with the introduction of Delta’s nonstop service from Salt Lake City to London (Heathrow) and New York (JFK) to Edinburgh, Scotland, beginning in May 2016.

Starting May 1, 2016, Salt Lake City will be Delta’s eighth U.S. destination from Heathrow and the only nonstop service between London and the Mountain West.

Daily nonstop service between New York-JFK and Edinburgh will begin on May 26, 2016. Delta’s new service from Scotland’s capital city joins Virgin Atlantic’s three times weekly summer seasonal service from Glasgow to Orlando.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 767-332 ER N1613B (msn 32776) arrives in Los Angeles.

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