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The ordeal of United Airlines flight UA 863 to Australia

United flight UA863 (Catherine Devine)(LR)

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

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

Read the full account from ABC News: CLICK HERE

Read the passenger accounts on #UA863: CLICK HERE

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

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

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WestJet and Delta announce a frequent flyer agreement

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

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

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

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

WestJet aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

 

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

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

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

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

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

Delta Connection-Shuttle America aircraft slide show:

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

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

The temporary service will operate as follows:

Delta 12.2014 special football flights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take a seat – it’s in the bag

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

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

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

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

Integrating sustainability

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

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

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

Photos: Alaska Airlines.

Alaska Airlines aircraft slide show:

Southwest files to serve six international destinations from Houston Hobby Airport

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

HOU logo

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

HOU International Terminal Concept (HOU)(LR)

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

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

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

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

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

Southwest aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

ANA is coming to Houston

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

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

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

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

ANA aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

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

ViajeHoy Charters logo

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

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

Havana Air Company describes itself:

Havana Air logo

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

All images by Havana Air.

Video:

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

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

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

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

Top Image: Airbus.

Finnair aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Video:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Photo: American Airlines.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

American Eagle-Republic aircraft slide show:

AeroMexico to launch Mexico City-Toronto flights

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

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

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

AeroMexico aircraft slide show:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Air Canada aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

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

United FA and iPhone 6 (United)(LRW)

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

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

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

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

Photo: United Airlines.

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

Bloomberg: Airbus may discontinue the Airbus A380 in 2018

According to a report by Bloomberg:

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

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

Read the full story: CLICK HERE

Read a follow-up story by Bloomberg Businessweek: CLICK HERE

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

According to AirlineRatings.com:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“But passengers love the showers and the lounge.”

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

“Their marketing is all wrong.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

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

Emirates aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

The new Eastern to use CAE for pilot training simulators

Eastern logo (large)

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

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

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

Qatar Airways delays the delivery of the first Airbus A350

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

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

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

Copyright Photo: Oliver Gregoire/AirlinersGallery.com.

Qatar Airways aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

 

 

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

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

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

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

Icelandair aircraft slide show:

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

ANA Takeoff App

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Additional key findings from the ANA survey:

Women are about twice as likely to be anxious about flying

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

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

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

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

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

80% of people surveyed play puzzle games

97% of these people find such games to be relaxing

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

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

Information on the survey:

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

ANA aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Video:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reported by Assistant Editor Oliver Wilcock from Manchester.

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

Flybe aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Blue Islands rejects Aurigny’s “downsize” claim

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Report by Assistant Editor Oliver Wilcock from Manchester.

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

Blue Islands aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

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

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

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

South African aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Boeing and South African Airways to use tobacco plants for biofuel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

South African aircraft slide show:

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

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

Scoot Melbourne poster

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Videos:

Scoot aircraft slide show:

Current Route Map:

Scoot 12.2014 Route Map

 

Emirates to go to double daily to Barcelona

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

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

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

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

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

Emirates aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Ethiopian Airlines launches a new route to Doha, Qatar

Ethiopian Airlines (Addis Ababa) on December 2 launched a new route to Doha, Qatar. The new route will be operated three days a week with Boeing 737 aircraft. This new addition brings the total number of international destinations to 84 and the 10th Ethiopian destination in the Middle East/Gulf region.

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-860 ET-APK (msn 40964) arrives in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Ethiopian Airlines aircraft slide show:

Air Canada outlines its new North American growth routes

Air Canada (Montreal) today announced additional details of its previously stated plans for profitable growth. Strategic enhancements include expanding its North American route network with the addition of new nonstop services from Calgary-Terrace; Calgary-Nanaimo; Vancouver-Comox; Toronto-Austin and Montreal-Mexico City. Air Canada is also increasing capacity on key domestic markets that have high volumes of leisure traffic with the expansion of Air Canada rouge to operate the airline’s new seasonal Calgary-Halifax route and current Toronto-Kelowna and Toronto-Sydney, NS services. New services are now available for purchase at http://www.aircanada.com.

“Air Canada continues to strategically add new routes in response to the strong demand in Western Canada, notably the growing business market between Calgary and Terrace/Kitimat in Northern BC, the increasing demand to and from Vancouver Island, and the continued travel demand between Western Canada and Atlantic Canada,” said Benjamin Smith, President, Passenger Airlines.

Air Canada is returning to Austin, Texas from Toronto and to Mexico City from Montreal.

Highlights of Air Canada’s 2015 North American summer schedule enhancements include:

Calgary-Terrace

New daily, year-round Air Canada Express service starts June 1, 2015 operated by Jazz Aviation LP with 50-seat Bombardier CRJ jets.

Calgary-Nanaimo

New daily, year-round Air Canada Express service starts May 1, 2015 operated by Jazz Aviation LP with 74-seat Bombardier Q400 aircraft.

Calgary-Halifax

New summer seasonal six times weekly service starts May 1, 2015 operated by Air Canada rouge with 136-seat Airbus A319 aircraft offering both premium and economy cabins of service, increasing up to ten weekly flights during peak summer period.

Vancouver-Comox

New twice daily, year-round Air Canada Express service starts May 1, 2015 operated by Jazz Aviation LP with 50-seat Bombardier Dash 8-300 aircraft.

Kelowna-Toronto

More than 40 per cent increased capacity year-over-year starting June 1, 2015 with up to daily service during peak summer, deployment of 136-seat Air Canada rouge Airbus A319 aircraft offering both premium and economy cabins of service, following the transfer of this route from Air Canada.

Toronto-Austin

New daily, year-round Air Canada Express service starts May 18, 2015 operated by Jazz Aviation LP with 75-seat CRJ705 aircraft offering both premium and economy cabins of service.

Toronto-Sarasota/Bradenton

Winter seasonal service extended effective May 2 offering the only non-stop, year-round flights between Toronto and Sarasota/Bradenton, operated twice weekly by Air Canada with 97-seat Embraer 190 jets offering both premium and economy cabins of service.

Toronto-Sydney, NS

More than 40 per cent increased capacity year-over-year starting May 1 with daily deployment of 136-seat Air Canada rouge Airbus A319 aircraft offering both premium and economy cabins of service, following the seasonal transfer of this route from Air Canada.

Montreal-Mexico City

New, up to five times weekly, summer seasonal service starts May 2 operated by Air Canada rouge, with 136-seat Airbus A319 aircraft offering both premium and economy cabins of service.

Ottawa-Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood

Seasonal service now extended to year-round, operated twice weekly by Air Canada with 97-seat Embraer 190 jets offering both premium and economy cabins of service.

In addition, starting in May 2015, Air Canada will transfer to Air Canada rouge its Calgary-Varadero and Montreal-Varadero routes which will be operated with 142-seat Airbus A319 aircraft, as well as its Montreal-Martinique route operated with 136-seat Airbus A319 offering both premium and economy cabins of service.

Copyright Photo: SM Fitzwilliams Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-112 C-GITP (msn 1562) arrives in Shannon, Ireland.

Air Canada aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

JetBlue Airways is coming to Cleveland from Boston

JetBlue Airways (New York) will launch a twice daily service between Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) on April 30, 2015. CLE will be JetBlue’s 88th destination.

JetBlue plans to initially serve Cleveland with its 100-seat Embraer 190 aircraft.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Embraer ERJ 190-100 IGW N179JB (msn 19000006) now with the Blueberries tail motif arrives at the New York (JFK) hub.

JetBlue Airways aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Polet Flight suspends operations and is placed into receivership

Polet Flight (Polet Airlines) (Voronezh, Russia) suspended passenger and cargo operations on November 24. A Moscow Arbitration Court on November 28, placed the airline into administration (bankruptcy).

The airline was established and commenced operations in 1988.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Polet Flight’s Antonov An-148-100E RA-61710 (msn 4106)  exits the runway at Antalya in the special Ice Hockey Team – CSKA Moscow color scheme.

Polet Flight aircraft slide show:

Ukraine International to start new routes to Riga and Minsk

Ukraine International Airlines-UIA (Kiev) has announced it will connect Kiev with Riga and Minsk with Boeing 737 aircraft starting on March 30, 2015.

The Kiev – Riga – Kiev routing (PS 185/186) will be operated five times per week on weekdays.

Starting on April 20 and through October 25, 2015, the Kiev – Minsk – Kiev flights (PS 891/892) will be operated seven times per week.

Moreover, in summer 2015 UIA plans to launch nonstop scheduled flights from Kiev to Amman, Jordan.

Ukraine International Airlines in the summer 2015 season is also introducing Kiev – Beijing service, on board Boeing 767 aircraft. Service begins  on April 29, 2015 with two weekly flights, while the third weekly flight will be added on May 10, 2015.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. UIA’s Boeing 737-94X ER UR-PSK (msn 36086) in the Sky Airlines colors pushes back at Antalya.

Ukraine International aircraft slide show:

airBaltic to launch two new routes to Dubrovnik and Rhodes next summer

airBaltic (Riga) will launch a new weekly route between Riga and Dubrovnik, Croatia, on May 26, 2015.

In addition, the Latvian airline will also launch a new weekly route between Riga and the Greek island of Rhodes next summer, starting on June 12, 2015.

Both routes will be operated with Boeing 737-300 aircraft.

Previously the carrier announced it will start a new route connecting Riga and Aalborg, Denmark, starting on April 18, 2015.

Copyright Photo: Arnd Wolf/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-33A YL-BBI (msn 27454) arrives in Munich.

airBaltic aircraft slide show:

AeroMexico to introduce the Boeing 787 on the Mexico City-Los Angeles route

AeroMexico (Mexico City) is planning to introduce the Boeing 787-8 on the Mexico City-Los Angeles route on April 2, 2015. The upgraded route will be operated four days a week per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Set against stormy skies, Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner N965AM (msn 35307) arrives in London (Heathrow).

AeroMexico aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

 

Delta opens its exclusive Delta Arrival Lounge at London Heathrow’s Terminal 3

Delta Air Lines Reception

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) has issued this statement about their new Delta Arrivals Lounge at London Heathrow:

Delta Air Lines has opened its exclusive Delta Arrivals Lounge, at the arrivals hall of London Heathrow Terminal 3. All of Delta’s BusinessElite passengers and SkyMiles Diamond and Platinum Medallion members arriving from the United States have complimentary access into the new facility.

The Arrivals Lounge offers a number of amenities tailored to suit customers arriving in London from overnight flights. Customers are invited to freshen up in one of eleven private showers featuring amenities by New York’s Malin+Goetz and take advantage of on-site butler services including clothes press and shoe shine.

Meanwhile, multiple breakfast offerings are available including Starbucks Coffee, lighter fare such as fresh fruit, pastries, yogurt and cereals and prepared to order a la carte items. Wi-Fi is available throughout the Arrivals Lounge, plus a business center and a selection of the day’s newspapers. Staff are also on hand to assist with any future Delta travel plans.

BusinessElite customers also have private car access to the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Wing on departure at Terminal 3, which enables them to go from car to Clubhouse in less than 10 minutes. The pre-booked service allows passengers to use the Private Security Channel, beating the queues and leaving more time prior to boarding.

Last month, Delta announced it will begin flying nonstop between Philadelphia and Heathrow in April 2015, alongside its new flights from Seattle/Tacoma and Los Angeles to London Heathrow.

The Delta Arrivals Lounge will be open daily from 6:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

Photos: Delta Air Lines.

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

Delta Air Lines Main Lounge

Maldivian to lease a new Airbus A321 from ALC

Maldivian (Male), the national airline of the Maldives, and Air Lease Corporation (Los Angeles) announced the long term lease contract of one Airbus A321-200 (msn 2599). The aircraft will be delivered in the first quarter of 2015 and will join the Airbus A320 (above) already operated by the airline, also on long term lease from ALC.

Maldivian will operate the A321 on lease from ALC on its growing network connecting Male, Maldives with cities in South Asia, China and Southeast Asia.

Maldivian logo-1

Maldivian is owned and operated by Island Aviation Services Ltd. and is the national airline of the Republic of the Maldives, operating an extensive scheduled domestic and international flight network.

The airline currently operates a diverse fleet including two Bombardier DHC-8-200s (Q200s), five DHC-8-300s (Q300s), a single Airbus A320 and three de Havilland Canada DHC-6-300 Twin Otters.

In other news, Maldivian’s fourth seaplane, a DHC-6-300 Twin Otter, is schedulled to arrive at Ibrahim Nasir Airport (INIA) tonight (December 9). The national carrier brought its first DHC-6 Twin Otter in April 2014.

Top Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 8Q-IAN (msn 2347) was delivered on October 3, 2012. The new type entered revenue service on November 15, 2012 to Chennai and Dhaka. Today Maldivian’s A320 flies to Chennai (India), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Chongqing and Wuhan (China) further expanding our services internationally to cater to the demands of the Chinese market. The Airbus A320 has a capacity of 152 seats. (14 Bussiness & 138 Economy class seats).

Maldivian Celebrating 2 Years A320

Bottom Copyright Photo: Maldivian.

Maldivian DHC-8 (Maldivian)(LR)

AeroMexico starts nonstop Monterrey-New York flights

AeroMexico (Mexico City) has started new daily and nonstop service to Monterrey, Mexico from New York (JFK) on Embraer 190 jet airliners with 99 passenger seats, 11 of which are in Clase Premier, AeroMexico’s business class cabin.

This new route is in addition of AeroMexico’s five daily flights from New York (JFK) to Mexico City – one in codeshare with Delta Air Lines – and to its daily nonstop service to Cancun.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Embraer ERJ 190-100LR XA-EAC (msn 19000145) arrives in Los Angeles.

AeroMexico Connect aircraft slide show:

Air Canada is coming to Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Air Canada (Montreal) is coming to Dubai with a new Boeing 787 Dreamliner route from the Toronto (Pearson) hub. The airline issued this statement:

Air Canada today said that it will launch nonstop service between Toronto and Dubai beginning in November 2015. The new route will extend the airline’s international network farther into the Middle East at a time of increased travel between North America and the region.

“The introduction of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to Air Canada’s fleet this year has been a catalyst for our international expansion plans, which will receive an additional impetus in 2015 when the larger Dreamliner 787-9 series aircraft begins to enter the fleet. The Dreamliner has brought international air travel to a new level of comfort and Air Canada has further enhanced the experience with its award-winning, three-cabin service.”

Air Canada currently serves the region primarily through an extensive joint venture with its JV and Star Alliance partner Lufthansa over Frankfurt and Munich. In addition, the new route will build on Air Canada’s existing codeshare relationship with Etihad Airways, with whom it codeshares on three flights a week between Toronto and Abu Dhabi, in the UAE.

Since last December, Air Canada has announced new international service to Delhi, Amsterdam, Rio de Janeiro, Osaka, Tokyo-Haneda and Panama City. Including Dubai, Air Canada now serves or has announced service to a total of 66 international destinations on five continents from its Toronto global hub.

The three-times-weekly service starts on November 3, 2015. Flights will be operated with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner in a three cabin configuration, including next generation lie-flat seats in International Business Class, a Premium Economy cabin, and upgraded In-Flight Entertainment available at every seat throughout the aircraft.

Schedule:

Air Canada YYZ-DXB Schedule

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner C-GHPQ (msn 35257) arrives at the Toronto (Pearson) hub.

Air Canada aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

EVA Air to add Houston on June 19, 2015

EVA Air (Taipei) will open the planned Taipei (Taoyuan)-Houston (Bush Intercontinental) route on June 19, 2015. The new route will be operated three days a week.

Update: On December 15 EVA Air made this announcement:

EVA Air will initiate nonstop flights between Taipei and Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) on June 19, 2015. The airline will start the new service with three flights a week and increase frequency to four on July 1, 2015.

EVA will serve the route with a brand-new Boeing 777-300 ER equipped with WiFi, the latest inflight entertainment system and SMS roaming service that passengers can use to send and receive short messages on their own mobile phones. The aircraft is scheduled for delivery in May 2015 and will be specially painted nose-to-tail with Texas–sized Hello Kitty and Sanrio characters. It will have 333 seats, configured with 39 in Royal Laurel Class business, 56 in Elite premium economy and 238 in Economy.

Further enhancing the convenience of its routing, the airline will fly the new Hello Kitty Jet between Taipei and Singapore in addition to using it for Houston service.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Now repainted from the special “Boeing 777-300ER” livery, Boeing 777-35E ER B-16702 (msn 32640) arrives in Los Angeles.

EVA Air aircraft slide show:

Virgin Atlantic is assessing a London-Lusaka route

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) is assessing the opportunity of a direct route to the Zambian capital, with founder Sir Richard Branson saying the airline will “consider the possibilities” of launching the route according to The Post in Zambia.

The airline’s owner has also advised the Zambian government to ensure local entrepreneurs are able to invest in the country and thrive.

Two major European carriers, British Airways and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, previously abandoned direct flights to the Zambian capital. Both within the space of a year; rendering the African nation without a direct flight service between Lusaka and a respective European capital.

The government has consistently intimated that a national carrier is in the pipeline, but progress still depends on the final decision the nation’s Cabinet will make.

Addressing a media briefing at Lusaka’s Radisson Blu Hotel on Friday, December 5, Sir Branson said the Virgin Group will look at the feasibility of establishing a direct London-Lusaka route but would first have to assess how viable the Zambian market would be in view of the two recent pull-outs by other carriers.

“It seems a great pity that you [Zambia] don’t have a direct service to the UK. When I leave, I will look at the feasibility. I certainly don’t promise that we could make a success of it, but we will certainly have a look at it and see whether we can make the figures work,” he said.

Read the full story: CLICK HERE

Reported by Assistant Editor Oliver Wilcock from Manchester.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com.

Virgin Atlantic aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Air France-KLM and Lufthansa take a stand against Norwegian Air International

NAI Scheme (ALPA)

Air France-KLM (Paris and Amsterdam) and Lufthansa (Frankfurt) and other interested parties have petitioned the European Commission on denying the application of Norwegian Air International (Dublin). ALPA (above) has also taken a strong stand against NAI.

The parties issued this open letter to the EC:

To: President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and First Vice-President Frans Timmermans

Cc: Commissioners Violeta Bulc and Marianne Thyssen

9.3 million jobs in danger!

We request a firm stance of the new European Commission against abuses of European social standards in the field of aviation!

A new airline has been established called “Norwegian Air International” that wants to offer scheduled services from the UK to the US. They have received an Irish license for this and they intend to employ crewmembers from Thailand that are hired through a Singaporean agency.

Competition in aviation is intense and it keeps us sharp. However, through business models like this we risk entering a downward spiral to the social bottom, risking thousands of qualified European jobs. European aviation currently provides 9.3 million jobs and adds 512 billion Euros to European GDP.

Your new Commission has chosen the strengthening of Europe’s competitiveness as its no. 1 priority and wants to give a stronger boost to jobs, growth and investment.

How can the Commission strengthen aviation’s competitiveness if it allows such abuses of European standards?

If we allow Norwegian Air International to start employing Thai crew on the EU-US routes, others will soon follow and jobs will be lost inside the European Union and created elsewhere. In the maritime sector we have already seen this same scenario play out, resulting in the loss of tens of thousands of jobs. It would be foolish to let the same happen to aviation. Therefore we need your support.

We count on you!

The US has temporarily denied Norwegian Air International’s request for a foreign carrier permit. The European Commission should now take a strong stance and prevent Norwegian Air International from abusing European social standards and legislation through employing Thai crew. We need to preserve European jobs instead of outsourcing them to other continents.

If the European Commission is serious about its jobs and growth commitment, we deserve your support. 9.3 million aviation colleagues count on you.

 

Signed on November 21, 2014 by

Norwegian Petiition Signatures

Frontier Airlines to drop the Cleveland-Chicago O’Hare route on January 3

Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) is dropping the Cleveland-Chicago (O’Hare) route on January 3, 2015 per Airline Route. The carrier currently operates four weekly flights. The route was part of Frontier’s build-up at CLE in the wake of United Airlines de-hubbing the airport.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Formerly operated by USA 3000 Airlines, Airbus A320-214 N261AV (msn 1615) with an Atlantic Puffin on the tail departs from Los Angeles International Airport. The jetliner is now registered as N218FR.

Frontier Airlines aircraft slide show:

 

 

United to add United Express service between the Houston hub and Peoria

United Airlines (Chicago) is hoping this announcement will play well in Peoria. The carrier is adding United Express service between the Houston (Bush Intercontinental) hub and Peoria, Illinois. The new daily route will be launched on March 5, 2015 with Embraer ERJ 145s operated by ExpressJet Airlines (Houston) per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Mark Durbin/AirlinersGallery.com. Embraer ERJ 145XR (EMB-145XR) N16147 (msn 145749) is pictured on the ramp at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.

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

United Express-ExpressJet Airlines aircraft slide show:

 

Envoy Air pilots are now at a critical decision point

Envoy Air (formerly American Eagle Airlines) (Dallas/Fort Worth) is at a critical point in its history. The subsidiary of the American Airlines Group (AAG) has been shrinking as the pilots of Envoy Air continue their often tense negotiations with AAG management. The AAG has been reassigning Envoy aircraft as the Envoy pilot base shrinks.

Now the Envoy MEC, representing the pilots of Envoy, has reached another tentative agreement (TA) with AAG management. This TA will now go to the pilots for their vote. It is likely to be the final vote on a new contract. Sam Pool, Envoy MEC Chairman, has sent this message to the Envoy pilots:

December 7, 2014

Fellow Envoy Pilots,

The Envoy MEC reconvened early this morning in Washington, DC to consider a final proposal from company representatives. After another full day of intense negotiations and discussions, late tonight the MEC approved a tentative agreement (TA), endorsing and supporting its ratification by the membership. The MEC believes this TA is the best obtainable agreement, and provides the best path forward for Envoy pilots given our circumstances.

To say this has been a difficult process is an understatement. All quadrants of our diverse pilot group will be affected by some factors of this agreement, and our reps have not taken this decision lightly. It has been one year since this process began, and to this end, our negotiators, officers and the entire ALPA leadership have ensured that they have achieved as much as possible in return for the re-fleeting of our airline.

We’ve reached a point where the final decision rests with you, and a ratification vote will be conducted in the near future. The MEC is planning roadshows beginning this week, and will conduct several all pilot conference calls. We will provide you a list of specific times and locations for all roadshows and pilot conference calls in a future email.

Thank you for your continued professionalism and support.

In Unity
Sam Pool
Envoy MEC Chairman

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Bombardier CRJ700 (CL-600-2C10) N534AE (msn 10312) of Envoy Air awaits its next assignment from the Chicago O’Hare Airport hub.

American Eagle-Envoy Air aircraft slide show:

Delta redefines its cabins, upgrades the Premium Economy options

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) today announced it is also redefining its travel products with this announcement:

Delta Air Lines is redefining the products it offers customers to further distinguish the choices available to them. Delta will offer best-in-class options for each of its customer segments with innovative multi-cabin experiences. Customers will have five products to choose from, including Delta One, First Class and Delta Comfort+ which offer premium amenities. Main Cabin and Basic Economy service will offer value options with Delta’s high standards of service.

Delta 727 First Class (LRW)

Photo: Delta Air Lines. The new Boeing 737 First Class.

“We’re providing Delta customers with a thoughtful, well-defined spectrum of options as they make decisions about travel,” said Glen Hauenstein, Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer. “Whether a customer prioritizes the perks of Delta One or the value of Basic Economy, every seat comes with impeccable service and unmatched reliability.”

Providing an easy-to-recognize range of products and a high level of service is the latest step in Delta’s strategy to offer differentiated experiences to customers seeking to tailor travel to their specific needs.

Delta 737 Comfort Plus (LRW)

Photo: Delta Air Lines. The Delta Comfort Plus cabin.

Starting March 1, 2015, Delta customers can choose between:

Delta One, formerly BusinessElite, is offered on long-haul international routes; also between New York-JFK and Los Angeles or San Francisco*
First Class is offered on short-haul international and domestic routes**
Delta Comfort+ offers an upgraded experience on all two cabin aircraft around the world
Main Cabin experience is provided everywhere Delta flies offering a high standard of customer service
Basic Economy offers Main Cabin service with fewer flexibility options available in select markets.

*Delta One full flat-bed and Delta Comfort+ seat upgrades between New York and San Francisco are projected to be complete in the spring of 2015. **Select international flights may offer Business Class service in lieu of First Class. Amenities in the Business cabin may vary by flight and aircraft.

Chart of services by class:

Delta Air Lines Branded Products Chart

Read the analysis by Bloomberg Businessweek: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. The “Spirit of Seattle” arrives in Los Angeles. Boeing 737-932 ER N809DN (msn 31915) has been decorating with the special markings.

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

Video: Delta Air Lines is introducing branded products to further distinguish the variety of choices to improve the travel experience. Each of the five distinct products – Delta One, First Class, Delta Comfort+, Main Cabin and Basic Economy – will be available starting March 1, 2015.

American celebrates its first anniversary with US Airways, outlines an upgraded travel experience going forward

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) and US Airways (Phoenix) are celebrating one year under the same American Airlines Group ownership group as they continue the merger process towards a single operating certificate. Meanwhile US Airways continues to paint its fleet in the new American brand. American Airlines has outlined its plans to upgrade the travel experience for its passengers in 2015 with this report:

One year after closing its merger, American Airlines is looking ahead to 2015 and beyond with more than $2 billion in investments to give its customers a world-class travel experience.

“Now that we have the network to compete globally, we’re going to deliver a product that’s better than our competitors,” said Doug Parker, American Airlines chairman and CEO. “Refreshed cabins and clubs, modernized ticket counters, improved technology and new aircraft are further examples of how American is ‘going for great’ – providing our outstanding team members the tools they need to deliver a great experience for our customers.”

These capital investments include fully lie-flat seats; international Wi-Fi; more in-flight entertainment options; a new, modern design for Admirals Club lounges worldwide; and an upgraded assortment of complimentary healthy food, cocktails and more.

American closed the merger with US Airways on December 9, 2013, and has made significant progress in combining the two airlines.

Customers now have full access to the combined network thanks to the world’s largest codeshare. They can also earn and redeem miles on flights operated by American and US Airways and receive reciprocal access to clubs and upgrades. American’s cargo operation now functions as a single airline and planning is well underway for the major projects that will make American one airline during 2015. Meanwhile, American has posted consistent profits and has begun returning cash to shareholders through a stock buyback and dividend program implemented earlier this year.

Fleet

American Airlines is taking delivery of nearly 100 aircraft in 2014, giving it the youngest fleet of any U.S.-based network carrier, with an average aircraft age of 12.3 years. In addition, American will take delivery of 112 aircraft next year and 84 in 2016. Orders include the Airbus A320 family, A350-900s, Boeing 737 MAX, 777-300ERs and 787s, which will make American’s fleet even younger, more modern and fuel efficient. The airline continues to see success with its unmatched transcontinental service on the award-winning “A321T” (officially A321-231), which has the only true First Class service between the West Coast and New York.

Seats

American is upgrading the customer experience on several aircraft types that customers already fly today. Whether flying domestic or international, customers want recharging capabilities, comfort, and more modern features. American is delivering this to them with a new cabin environment onboard certain Boeing 757s and 767-300s, and a complete nose-to-tail overhaul on more than 90 Airbus A319s and all Boeing 777-200s. The investments mean that every First Class and Business Class seat on nearly every American Airlines widebody jet will feature fully lie-flat and direct aisle access seats.

Boeing 777-200 – The first refurbished 777-200 is already in service, featuring a Business Class seat designed especially for American Airlines customers, with direct aisle access and a private flying experience. The plane will have a modern interior – including a walk-up bar – with unique lighting, a dramatic archway and a spacious look. Main Cabin Extra will be added and all Main Cabin seats will have in-seat entertainment systems. All 47 aircraft are scheduled to be retrofitted by the end of 2016.

Boeing 757 – Aircraft used on trans-Atlantic and Latin America flights will get fully lie-flat seats in Business Class. Customers flying in the Main Cabin will also benefit from a refreshed cabin, power ports and in-flight connectivity.

Airbus A319 – One of the workhorses of the legacy US Airways fleet is scheduled for all new seats. Planned improvements include new seats throughout First Class and Main Cabin, and adding 24 Main Cabin Extra seats and power outlets throughout the cabin to charge personal electronic devices. All 93 A319s will be retrofitted and in service by the end of 2016.

Boeing 767-300 – Eleven refurbished aircraft are already in service and 14 more will be complete in 2015. The cabin will feature fully lie-flat seats with direct aisle access in Business Class and a refreshed Main Cabin. In addition, these aircraft will receive satellite in-flight connectivity.

Entertainment, W-Fi and Power

These investments also will include expanding in-flight entertainment and connectivity.

New Boeing 737-800s, nearly all new Airbus A321s, as well as retrofitted Airbus A319s will have power ports in every row. All new widebody deliveries, including Boeing 777-300 ERs and 787s, come with power at every seat, allowing customers to charge their laptops and their personal electronic devices from gate to gate.

In premium cabins, American is upgrading to the latest Bose® headset, the QC®25, on all flights to South America, Europe and Asia, as well as transcontinental flights.

Customers’ access to the Internet will soon extend around the globe. American is adding satellite-based Internet access on all 777s and A330s, as well as all of the retrofitted 767-300s and 757s, and all 787s, providing connectivity for international flights.

Admirals Club lounges

This year American Airlines celebrated the 75th anniversary of the industry’s first VIP lounge, the Admirals Club lounge in New York, which forever changed the air travel experience. In 2015, American will begin rolling out a modern design across its global network of lounges.

Admirals Club customers will see new and expanded complimentary food options, refurbished restroom and shower facilities, toiletry amenities, and improved technology for customers to use before flights. Additional healthy food items include Greek yogurt and oatmeal for breakfast, hearty soup offerings in every club, crudites and desserts. Additional improvements will continue to roll out in the coming months.

“We invented the airport lounge and in 2015 customers can expect us to reinvent the lounge experience,” said Fernand Fernandez, vice president of Global Marketing. “The same way we transformed transcontinental travel with the award-winning A321T, we will transform every aspect of our clubs with a remodeled design and furnishings, new food choices, and a first class assortment of wines and cocktails.”

Airport experience

American is also improving the customer’s passage through the airport by removing barriers between customers and agents, reducing queues and congestion, and keeping tech-savvy customers connected with charging stations for their devices. With the help of updated lobby designs, newer, faster and more reliable kiosks at check-in counters, and 400 additional kiosks in gate areas, customers will enjoy a faster, more streamlined experience.

Customers will also see 500 worktables with 12 power outlets each and seating for eight people near gates at all hub and gateway airports so they can charge their devices before their flight.

Premium services

American’s partnership with Cadillac improves the travel experience for the most loyal customers with tight transfer times as they are escorted to their next gate in luxury vehicles. The exclusive service is available now at Los Angeles International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and New York’s LaGuardia and Kennedy airports.

For customers who desire a private check-in experience, American will continue to offer exclusive service with Flagship Check-In at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Miami International Airport, and New York Kennedy.

Copyright Photo: Fred Freketic/AirlinersGallery.com. American Airlines’ Airbus A321-231 N112AN (msn 5991) taxies at the New York (JFK) hub.

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

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

Blue Islands decides to codeshare with CityJet

Blue Islands (Jersey, UK) as we previously reported, is dropping its services to Amsterdam, Paris (CDG), and Zurich. Instead it will start a new codeshare agreement with CityJet (Dublin). Amsterdam (January 4, 2015), Paris (CDG) (January 5) and Zurich (December 31, 2014) are being eliminated from Jersey as the company slims its network.

London City Airport reported on their site:

“Blue Islands, the Channel Islands airline, is joining forces with one of Europe’s leading regional airlines, CityJet. This new partnership will provide those travelling from the Channel Islands with easy access to major European cities on hundreds of connecting codeshare flights every week from London City Airport through the CityJet network.”

Read the full story: CLICK HERE

In a statement on wharf.co.uk, CityJet’s chief commercial officer Patrick Lukan said: “This codeshare opens a number of new European destinations for Blue Island passengers through our extensive network from London City Airport, together with increased choice, convenience and flexibility.”

Blue Islands’ managing director Rob Veron said: “Just one booking takes care of everything, passengers can check in bags to their final destination across Europe, improving the overall customer experience. Also, the extra flight to London City means there is more choice when visiting London for half day trips to the City when needed.”

The connecting flights to Amsterdam and Paris will begin on January 5, 2015.

Blue Islands is also ending its twice-weekly Zurich service on that date. Future dates for connecting flights are to be announced.
The new service between Jersey and London City will take off at 1pm and return to the island at 2.40pm.

Flight capacity between London City and Jersey will also increase by 45% when Blue Islands launch an additional lunchtime service to the capital.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Report by Assistant Editor Oliver Wilcock from Manchester.

Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner/AirlinersGallery.com. ATR 42-300 G-DRFC (msn 007) taxies at Zurich.

Blue Islands: AG Slide Show

QANTAS Airways Airbus A380 VH-OQG diverts to Perth due to an “air conditioning” problem, another A380 returns to Sydney

QANTAS Airways (Sydney) flight QF 2 from London (departing on December 6) to Sydney with a stop in Dubai with Airbus A380-842 VH-OQG (msn 047) was forced to make an emergency “controlled descent” this morning (December 8) over the Indian Ocean. The flight descended from 39,000 feet to 10,000 fleet. The A380 landed safely in Perth in Western Australia. QANTAS blamed the problem on a faulty air conditioning system.

QANTAS Airways issued this statement:

QANTAS Flight QF 2 travelling from Dubai to Sydney diverted to Perth due to a fault with the air conditioning. The fault occurred about 1 hour from Perth.

As a precaution the Captain descended the aircraft to 10,000 feet and requested a priority landing.

The aircraft landed safely and was inspected by engineers.

As the crew reached their maximum duty limits before the issue could be fixed on the ground, customers have been provided with overnight accommodation and will be booked on the next available services today to their destination.

Read the full story from The Sydney Morning Herald: CLICK HERE

In another inflight event, also involving an Airbus A380 (VH-OQD), flight QF 7 from Sydney to Dallas/Fort Worth was forced to turn around four hours into the flight. The airline issued this statement:

Our Sydney to Dallas flight (QF 7) returned to Sydney after about four hours in the air due to a technical issue that impacted seat power, the in-flight entertainment system and some of the toilets.

While the aircraft could have continued flying safely to Dallas/Fort Worth, the decision was made to return to Sydney in the interests of passenger comfort on what is a long flight.

We’ve sincerely apologized to our customers for their patience and understanding for what was a frustrating experience.

Customers who don’t live in Sydney have been put up in hotels for the night and all others given transport home. We’ve rebooked customers on another flight to Dallas/Fort Worth leaving tomorrow morning.

The aircraft was an Airbus A380 and it landed back in Sydney at 1030 pm (2230).

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. VH-OQG departs from London (Heathrow).

QANTAS Airways aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

SAS acquires Cimber, Cimber to receive 12 Bombardier CRJ900s from SAS

Scandinavian Airlines-SAS (Stockholm) has acquired Cimber A/S (Sonderborg and Copenhagen). SAS issued this statement this morning:

SAS has entered into an agreement to acquire 100% of the shares in Cimber A/S.

Since 2004, SAS has had a wet lease agreement (aircraft and crew) with Cimber A/S (Cimber) that has a cost efficient production platform for regional jet operation. The acquisition provides SAS with an opportunity to transfer production with smaller aircraft to Cimber, consisting of 12 Bombardier CRJ900s with a base in Copenhagen. As a result, a more focused and flexible production can be achieved.

The acquisition of Cimber, will give SAS access to a specialist within regional flights with a very competitive production platform that complements SAS’ production of larger Airbus and Boeing aircraft. Due to expected synergies, the acquisition of Cimber can also provide opportunities for SAS to maintain and develop regional routes within the network for the benefit of SAS customers, says Rickard Gustafson, SAS President & CEO.

The acquisition, includes Cimber’s option to receive CO2emission rights for the years 2015-2020. The nominal value of these rights currently amount to approximately MDKK 35 subject to the EU Commission’s approval of the Danish allocation plan for European Aviation Allowances (EUAA) for 2015-2020.

The discontinuation of Cimber’s current fleet of Bombardier CRJ200s and ATR 72s will be implemented as already communicated and decided by Cimber.

The value of the transaction is MDKK 20 with final payment in April 2015. The transaction must be approved by relevant Competition Authorities, and is subject to other customary conditions.

Copyright Photo: Pedro Baptista/AirlinersGallery.com. As previously reported, Cimber is retiring its CRJ200s. CRJ200 (CL-200-2B19) OY-RJB (msn 7419) arrives in Lisbon with “Flying for Scandinavian Airlines” and SAS titles.

SAS aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Aegean Airlines Group reports strong passenger growth and an increased profit of $96.5 million for the first 9 months

Aegean Airlines Group (Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air) (Athens) reported its net profit for the first nine months increased 33 percent to €78.6 million ($96.5 million).

The airline group issued this statement:

Aegean Airlines Group reported a strong set of nine month 2014 results, driven by successful network expansion and Olympic Air synergies. Consolidated revenue increased by 10% to €736 million, pre-tax earnings improved to €105.4 million from €75.9 million while net earnings rose by 31% to €78.6 million from €60 million in 2013.

Αegean Airlines and Olympic Air carried 7.9 million passengers in the 9-month period to September 2014, an increase of 14% compared to 2013 with load factor at 79%. Traffic in the domestic network increased by 16% with the market showing good elasticity to lower fares. International traffic rose by 12%, with traffic out of Athens registering a higher growth rate of 18% on the back of Aegean’s network expansion and a strong rebound for the city’s incoming tourism.

Operating cash flow improved to €124 million, resulting to cash & short term investments rising to €264m at the end of September, despite the share capital return which took place in July 2014 as well as pre-delivery payments to Airbus in relation to the recently announced aircraft order.

Mr. Dimitris Gerogiannis, Managing Director, commented:

“We have managed to deliver improved commercial and financial results, driven by synergies from Olympic Air integration, network optimization targeting improved connectivity as well higher tourist flows. Our expansion strategy has yielded positive results in a period of intensifying competition and despite traffic weakness demonstrated from the Russian market.

We will continue to invest in growing our fleet and capacity for 2015, adding destinations and penetrating new source markets for Greek tourism. Our key priorities involve continuous investments in growing our network, achieving scale economies as well as focusing on new service offerings to our passengers within a fast changing competitive environment that does offer however significant opportunities to grow further.”

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Olympic Air is gradually being integrated into Aegean. Olympic Air now just operates aircraft of one manufacturer, Bombardier, under its brand, essentially now a regional feeder airline for Aegean Airlines. Former Flybe Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) G-JECV (msn 4148) is now SX-BIT with Olympic Air.

Aegean Airlines aircraft slide show:

Helvetic Airways to lease the seven Niki Embraer 190s

Helvetic Airways (Zurich) is planning to lease the seven 112-seat Niki (flyniki.com) (Vienna) Embrear ERJ 190-100LRs from lessor Bernina Aircraft Leasing which acquired the aircraft according to ch-aviation. This will be a new type for the carrier. The first four will be operated by Helvetic for Swiss replacing four Swiss European Air Lines RJ100s. The other three will be operated by Helvetic on expansion routes.

Helvetic will operate the following routes for Swiss using the new Embraer 190s starting late this month:

Zurich to Dusseldorf, Prague and Warsaw starting on December 22.

Zurich to Belgrade starting on January 3, 2015 per Airline Route.

Niki is retiring the Embraer 190 from its fleet.

In other related news, the company has announced new services next summer season to Olbia (from Bern), Brindisi (from Bern), Bordeaux (from Zurich),  Calvi (from Zurich), Lamezia Terme (from Zurich), Shannon (from Zurich), Palma de Mallorca (from Bern/Zurich), Greek Islands (from Bern/Zurich) and the Canary Islands (from Zurich).

Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner/AirlinersGallery.com. Embraer ERJ 190-100LR OE-IXG (msn 19000435) at Zurich will soon transition to Zurich-based Helvetic Airways.

Helvetic Airways aircraft slide show:

Primera Air continues to expand from Scandinavia and Iceland

Primera Air (Scandinavia) (Copenhagen) is opening up new routes for the current winter season. On October 26, the company launched weekly service from Gothenburg and Malmo to Dubai (Al Maktoum), Helsinki to Fuerteventura and Las Palmas and from Malmo to Tenerife Sur.

Furthermore, late this month, the airline will start four new weekly routes; Aalborg-Las Palmas (December 19), Copenhagen-Billund-Lanzarote (December 19), Aarhus-Tenerife Sur (December 20) and Aalborg-Fuerteventura (December 22) per Airline Route.

In other related news, Primera Air (Iceland) (Keflavik) launched a new route to New York (JFK) on November 16 after acquiring rights to serve the United States.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-86N OY-PSD (msn 28618) taxies at Palma de Mallorca.

Primera Air (Scandinavia) aircraft slide show:

Primera Air logo (large)

 

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