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Azul to fly to Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood starting on December 1 and Orlando on December 15

Azul Linhas Aereas Brasileiras (Campinas-Viracopos) has filed with the National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) for its approval for flights to Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood (FLL) and Orlando (MCO). If approved, FLL service will start on December 1 and MCO service on December 15 with its new Airbus A330-200s.

Schedule:

Azul FLL MCO 8.2014 Schedule

Copyright Photo: Rodrigo Cozzato/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 EI-FEL (msn 527) is pictured at Belo Horizonte (CNF).

Azul: AG Slide Show

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AAIB: Flybe captain’s prosthetic arm became detached resulting in a hard landing

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) of the United Kingdom has issued its report on the hard landing of Flybe‘s (Exeter) Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) G-JECJ (man 4110) on February 12, 2014 at Belfast City Airport, Northern Ireland with 47 passengers and four crew members:

Synopsis:

During the landing flare, in gusty conditions, the commander’s prosthetic arm became detached, control was lost, and a heavy landing resulted.

History of the flight

The aircraft was on a scheduled commercial air transport flight from Birmingham to Belfast City, with the commander, in the left flight deck seat, as pilot flying. It was night, and although there was no low cloud affecting the airport, the wind at Belfast was a strong west-south-westerly, gusting up to 48 kt. Before the approach, the commander checked that his prosthetic lower left arm was securely attached to the yoke clamp which he used to fly the aircraft, with the latching device in place.

Although gusts over the crosswind limit for the aircraft were reported, the final wind report from ATC was within the limit, and the approach continued. The commander disconnected the autopilot and flew the aircraft manually. As he made the flare manoeuvre, with somewhat more than flight idle torque still applied, his prosthetic limb became detached from the yoke clamp, depriving him of control of the aircraft. He made a rapid assessment of the situation and considered alerting the co-pilot and instructing him to take control. However, because the co-pilot would have had little time to assimilate the information necessary to take over in the challenging conditions, the commander concluded that his best course of action was to move his right hand from the power levers onto the yoke to regain control. He did this, but with power still applied, and possibly a gust affecting the aircraft, a normal touchdown was followed by a bounce, from which the aircraft landed heavily.

Safety action

The commander commented that he would in future be more cautious about checking the attachment on his prosthesis, as his check may have dislodged the latching mechanism; that he would brief his co-pilots about the possibility of a similar event; and that they should be ready to take control at any time.

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) G-JECJ (msn 4110) lands at Southampton.

Flybe: AG Slide Show

Virgin America to expand its schedule from Dallas Love Field on April 29, 2015

Virgin America (San Francisco) has announces that it will expand its schedule out of Dallas Love Field (DAL) to include four daily nonstop round trips to Washington Reagan National Airport (DCA), San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) by adding one new daily nonstop in each of these markets as of April 29, 2015. This expansion is in addition to the four daily nonstop round trip flights to New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA) that will begin on October 28, 2014 and the three daily nonstop roundtrip flights to Washington D.C., San Francisco and Los Angeles that begin on October 13, 2014. The new flights will take Virgin America to sixteen departures per day from Love Field. The airline will be the only carrier at Love Field to offer three classes of service (including a First Class cabin and a Main Cabin Select premium economy service) as well as WiFi, in-seat power outlets, confirmed seating and touch-screen seatback entertainment to every guest.

The airline also announced that it will extend its popular second daily roundtrip flight between San Francisco and Austin Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) that it started in July 2014 as part of the airline’s core schedule.

Beginning April 29, 2015, Virgin America’s flight schedule from Dallas Love Field is as follows (frequencies announced today indicated in bold):

Virgin America 8.2014 DAL Schedule

Virgin America’s current network of destinations includes Austin, Boston, Cancun, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth (ends October 13, 2014), Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Los Cabos, Newark, New York (JFK), Orlando, Palm Springs (seasonal), Philadelphia (suspends October 6, 2014), Portland, Puerto Vallarta, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C. (IAD and DCA). Later this fall, the carrier will launch service from Dallas Love Field (October 13, 2014) and New York’s LaGuardia Airport (October 28, 2014).

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 N634VA (msn 3359) arrives at New York (JFK).

Virgin America: AG Slide Show

 

Spirit Airlines moves up the start dates of five new routes

Spirit Airlines (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood) will take delivery of some of its Airbus A320 “Fit Fleet (TM)” planes sooner than originally planned and has moved up the start date for daily flights in five routes.

The new Airbus A320 planes will arrive this fall and will be added to Spirit’s current fleet of 58 Airbus aircraft.

Here’s the summary of the changes:
Route New Start Date Original Start Date Frequency
—————————————————————————-
Atlanta – Chicago/O’Hare will now start October 24, 2014 instead of November 2, 2014 operates Daily
—————————————————————————-
Atlanta – Detroit October 24, 2014 November 2, 2014 Daily
—————————————————————————-
Chicago – New Orleans October 30, 2014 November 6, 2014 Daily
—————————————————————————-
Detroit – New Orleans October 30, 2014 November 6, 2014 Daily
—————————————————————————-
Boston – West Palm Beach* November 14, 2014 November 21, 2014 Daily
—————————————————————————-
* = seasonal service

In addition to these new routes, Spirit recently added/will add service
on the following new routes between August and December this year:
Route Service Start Date Frequency
——————————————————————-
Ft. Lauderdale – New Orleans August 1, 2014 Daily
——————————————————————-
Houston/Bush – New Orleans August 1, 2014 Daily
——————————————————————-
Atlanta – Houston/Bush August 1, 2014 Daily
——————————————————————-
Kansas City – Chicago/O’Hare August 7, 2014 Daily
——————————————————————-
Kansas City – Dallas/Ft. Worth August 7, 2014 Daily
——————————————————————-
Kansas City – Detroit August 7, 2014 Daily
——————————————————————-
Kansas City – Las Vegas August 7, 2014 Daily
——————————————————————-
Kansas City – Houston/Bush August 8, 2014 Daily
——————————————————————-
Ft. Lauderdale – Houston/Bush September 3, 2014 Daily
——————————————————————-
Houston/Bush – San Diego September 3, 2014 Daily
——————————————————————-
Latrobe/Pittsburgh – Ft. Myers December 18, 2014 Tue/Thu/Sun
——————————————————————-
Latrobe/Pittsburgh – Tampa December 19, 2014 Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat
——————————————————————-

Copyright Photo: Dave Campbell/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 N601NK (msn 4206) taxies to runway 09L at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL).

Spirit Airlines: AG Slide Show

JetBlue Airways to provide iPad minis to its flight attendants

JetBlue iPad Mini (JetBlue)(LRW)

JetBlue Airways (New York) has announced it will provide each inflight crewmember with an iPad mini for use as a point of sale and document management device. Crewmembers who will be working Mint flights, JetBlue’s new premium service offering between New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX) and soon San Francisco (SFO), will be among the first to use this new technology onboard, and by April 2015, every inflight crewmember will have a device for onboard use.

In addition to deploying tablets, the airline is also debuting the In-Flight Service Assistant (IfSA), a purpose-built application and crew portal through which crewmembers can access key business applications to help facilitate the delivery of exceptional customer service and enhance operational efficiency while onboard. JetBlue also plans on releasing other core business applications that will provide Crewmembers with easy access to any forms, manuals and other resources that will streamline its operation and enhance the airline’s award winning service.

“We’ve recently made a number of exciting and innovative onboard enhancements to enrich the customer experience, such as expanding inflight entertainment, introducing Fly-Fitm and being the first US carrier to allow customers to use portable electronic devices gate-to-gate,” said Joanna Geraghty, Executive Vice President, Customer Experience, JetBlue Airways. “It’s clear the connected cabin is the next big thing, and with the introduction of iPad minis, our inflight crewmembers will be able to know more about our customers onboard and will have a better sense of real time opportunities and challenges on the ground as we look for ways to enhance our customers’ experience with that information. With this new tool, the possibilities are endless.”

Currently, JetBlue’s inflight crewmembers can use the IfSA app on their iPads to access an electronic manifest that not only shows if there are customers with special needs onboard, but also identifies TrueBlue and Mosaic customers. The iPads also assist crewmembers in completing onboard purchases as a point of sale device and contains translation technology that can translate questions, comments or concerns from customers in any language.

By December 2015, not only will inflight crewmembers be able to access their schedules, review their hotel and transportation information and acknowledge changes, but the airline can potentially provide them with limited access to customers’ JetBlue flight and onboard purchase history in an effort to personalize the onboard experience for better customer relationship management.

Since the successful implementation of iPads for JetBlue’s pilots as electronic flight bags in November 2013, the iPad mini was subsequently deployed for the inflight crew. Now, both groups can conveniently work together in a connected environment and provide real-time responses to any number of situations that may arise. Additionally, inflight crewmembers will have the ability to preempt or proactively address service recovery issues while onboard.

JetBlue is progressively rolling out Fly-Fi satellite broadband internet service across its fleet. As of today, 61 Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft were outfitted with this lightning fast service.

Copyright Photo: JetBlue Airways.

JetBlue Airways: AG Slide Show

Monarch Airlines to leave East Midlands in April 2015

Monarch Airlines (London-Luton) has announced that it will cease flying from its base at East Midlands Airport by the end of April 2015.

The decision to close the base is part of a strategic review under the leadership of Andrew Swaffield, who was recently appointed Chief Executive of The Monarch Group. Through a review of its network strategy, the airline is focussing on offering customers greater flight frequency and more sociable departure times to short-haul European destinations from its main UK bases. These changes are already reflected in Monarch’s summer 2015 schedule.

The change is part of the next phase in Monarch’s transformation to become a scheduled European low-cost carrier. Monarch aims to complete the transition in advance of the arrival of its new narrow-bodied aircraft fleet of thirty Boeing 737 MAX 8s, announced last month, which are expected to start entering service in 2018.

Monarch’s base at Birmingham is the nearest alternative for customers used to flying with the airline from East Midlands Airport and is only 37 road miles away. Monarch has recently launched its schedule for summer 2015 from Birmingham.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A321-231 G-OZBG (msn 1941) taxies at Palma de Mallorca (PMI).

Monarch Airlines: AG Slide Show

Delta to move its Boston Delta Shuttle flights to Terminal C at LaGuardia Airport

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) will move New York operations of its Delta Shuttle between Boston-Logan International Airport and New York’s LaGuardia Airport from the Marine Air Terminal to Terminal C beginning on November 2.

Boston Shuttle customers will enjoy new departure and arrival facilities at LaGuardia in Terminal C as well as upgraded service to Boeing 717 aircraft. The move is part of Delta’s strategy of adding bigger aircraft on more routes.

In 2012, Delta completed renovations to Terminal C as part of its $160 million investment to modernize and connect Terminals C and D at LaGuardia and opened a new 7,600 square foot Delta Sky Club featuring a full wall of windows with runway views. Customers will also have access to Delta’s five new restaurants with menus led by celebrity chefs, an expansive food hall and fresh markets.

Weekday flights depart near the top of the hour from 6 a.m. through 8 p.m. and will be operated by Delta using Boeing 717 aircraft which accommodates 110 passengers including 12 First Class seats in a two by two configuration, 15 Economy Comfort and 83 economy seats in a two by three configuration. Boston-based customers will now be able connect through Delta’s LaGuardia hub for access to 64 additional cities.

Delta Shuttle service began on its Boston to New York and Washington, D.C. to New York routes on September 1, 1991 after Delta completed the purchase of the Pan Am Shuttle. For nearly a quarter century the Delta Shuttle has been a core part of its New York operations. In June 2010, Delta added New York to Chicago-O’Hare service to the Shuttle operation.

Customers flying the Delta Shuttle between New York-LaGuardia and Boston will enjoy:

Convenient, top of the hour schedule for Delta Shuttle customers including 15 weekday departures

Check-in as close as 15 minutes prior to departure without bags or 30 with checked bags

Dedicated check-in counters exclusively for Shuttle customers

Expedited security screening with nearby access to TSA Pre-Check lanes for eligible passengers

Dedicated gates – located near the Delta Sky Club in LaGuardia’s Terminal C – with access to complimentary coffee and newspapers for all customers including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Financial Times and power at the gate

Advanced seat selection on all Delta Shuttle flights and complimentary access to Economy Comfort seats for SkyMiles Gold, Platinum and Diamond Medallion members at the time of booking

Two classes of service with complimentary upgrades for SkyMiles Medallion members when available.
Complimentary onboard snacks including bagels in the morning before 10:30 a.m. or gourmet nut mix for flights after 10:30 a.m.

Complimentary beverages in-flight including craft beer and wine in all classes of service

Cocktails available for purchase in economy

Access to in-flight Wi-Fi on all Shuttle flights

Access to power from every seat on the Boeing 717 aircraft

The November 2014 schedule between New York–LaGuardia and Boston is below.

Delta Shuttle LGA-BOS Schedule (LRW)

 

 

Delta Shuttle flights between New York and Chicago-O’Hare International Airport or Washington Reagan-National Airport will continue to operate from LaGuardia’s Marine Air Terminal operated by Delta Connection partner, Shuttle America using Embraer E175 aircraft.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Ex-AirTran Airways Boeing 717-2BD N995AT (msn 55139), now with Delta, arrives at Washington (Dulles).

Delta Air Lines (current): AG Slide Show

Airbus completes its round-the-world A350 test flight

Airbus (Toulouse) has issued this statement about the series of worldwide test flights for its new A350-900:

The world’s newest widebody airliner, the Airbus A350-900, has successfully completed a series of Route Proving trials, receiving an enthusiastic welcome at each of the 14 cities it has visited over the past three weeks. At the technical Route Proving the aircraft must demonstrate its readiness for airline operations on a global scale. This last series of trials is required for Type Certification, which is expected in Q3 this year.

The A350 XWB completed its Route Proving after landing in Toulouse, France on August 13th (17:00 UTC) coming from Helsinki, Finland. The exercise took the flight test aircraft, msn 005, across the globe on an impressive 20-day trip flying over the North Pole, each ocean and stopping at 14 major international airports world-wide. During its World Tour, the aircraft flew approximately 81,700 nm /151,300 km in some 180 flight hours, with all flights performing on schedule. The aircraft was operated by Airbus flight crews as well as Qatar flight crews on the route from Doha to Perth, Moscow and Helsinki. The Airworthiness Authority pilots from the European Aviation Safety Agency also participated and flew the aircraft on two legs.

A major highlight was the trip from Johannesburg Tambo International Airport, located at 5,558 feet (1,694m) above sea level, to Sydney, demonstrating the A350’s excellent performance at high altitude airports. The flights from Johannesburg to Sydney and Auckland to Santiago de Chile demonstrated also its capability to fly ultra-long-haul routes or Extended range Twin Operations (ETOPS).

“The aircraft has performed remarkably well confirming the high level of maturity that it has been demonstrating all the way during our development and certification tests. We are set for the Type Certification in the coming weeks, as planned”, said Fernando Alonso, Senior Vice President Flight & Integration Tests, and added: “I truly believe that the aircraft is fit to enter into service and perform to the expectations of our Customers.”

The technical Route Proving commenced on July 24th in Toulouse/France and comprised the following destinations: Frankfurt, Singapore and Hong-Kong. On the third trip, the aircraft visited Johannesburg, Sydney, followed by Auckland, Santiago de Chile and Sao Paulo. The fourth and final journey included Perth followed by Doha, Moscow and Helsinki.

At each destination, the A350 XWB performed as expected and on schedule. Checks were made on standard maintenance as well as typical airport operations and compatibility. The automatic landing capability of the A350 XWB was also successfully demonstrated during a local flight performed at Johannesburg.

The A350 XWB is the latest addition to the market-leading Airbus Widebody product line. Offering its customers a 25% reduction in fuel-burn, the all-new mid-size long-range A350 XWB Family comprises three versions from 276 to 369 seats. The A350 has carbon fibre fuselage and wings and sets new standards in terms of passenger experience, operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness. At the end of June 2014, the A350 XWB had won 742 orders from 38 customers worldwide.

Copyright Photo: Eurospot. Airbus A350-941 F-WWYB (msn 005) arrives back at Toulouse.

Finnair unveils its Airbus A350-900 cabin design

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

Finnair (Helsinki) is one of the first customers to unveil its new cabin design for its new Airbus A350s which are on order. The company has issued this statement and photos:

As the European launch customer of the next-generation Airbus A350 XWB (extra wide body) aircraft (above), Finnair has completed the cabin design of its new flagship longhaul product due to enter service next year. Created by top Helsinki firm dSign Vertti Kivi & Co, also the designer of Finnair’s new Premium Lounge at Helsinki Airport, the A350’s bright and spacious cabin features large panoramic view windows and comfortable seating arrangements in both classes. Gradual changes in dynamic ambient LED lighting ease customers into a relaxing flight experience and help create a calming and fresh atmosphere. All Finnair A350s will also be equipped with Wi-Fi for greater passenger enjoyment and connectivity.

“We have worked hard to create a special customer experience onboard the new A350XWB aircraft and are proud to bring Finnish design to Finnair’s passengers,” says designer Vertti Kivi. “Our Space Alive concept means dynamic lighting, colours and moods to suit the time of day, destination or season. For example, when descending in the East the aircraft can be awash in warm orange tones, or surface interiors may glow in fresh blue hues when arriving in Helsinki.”

The Airbus A350 also features an advanced pure air filtration system that changes the air in the cabin every two to three minutes. Draft-free air management, adjustable multiple temperature zones and a lower cabin pressure also enhance the well-being of passengers and crew.

Finnair A350 Business Class Cabin (Finnair)(LRW)

Business Class.

The 297-seat configuration includes 46 seats in Business Class in a 1+2+1 layout, ensuring direct aisle access to all Business Class passengers. The Zodiac Cirrus III seats convert to fully flat beds, while a 16-inch touch-screen inflight entertainment system comes programmed with films, TV shows, music and other digital content on demand in numerous languages. Seats in Business Class also come equipped with AC and USB power outlets.

Finnair A350 Business Class seat (Finnair)(LRW)

Zodiac Cirrus III wide and long full-flat bed seat.

The Economy Class cabin features comfortable Zodiac Z300 slim-line seats with a 31-inch seat pitch in a 3+3+3 layout. At the front of the Economy Class cabin are 43 Economy Comfort seats, with comfier headrests, high-quality headphones and four extra inches of leg room. All seats in Economy include an 11-inch touch screen inflight entertainment system and USB power outlets.

Finnair A350 Economy Class seat (Finnair)(LRW)

Economy Class Zodiac Z300 slim-line seat with 6″ recline.

“Since Finnair’s founding in 1923, we have had a long history of operations using the most advanced aircraft available,” says Finnair CEO Pekka Vauramo. “As the first European operator of the A350 we are proud to carry forward this tradition on behalf of our passengers, whose safety and comfort remain our first priority.”

Finnair plans to begin operating its first A350s in the second half of next year, initially serving Shanghai, Bangkok and Beijing, with Hong Kong and Singapore A350 service to be added in 2016. Finnair has 11 firm orders and 8 options for A350 aircraft, which will form the backbone of the company’s long-haul fleet and drive expansion plans.

The eco-smart design of the A350 also brings more than 25 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency and operating cost over the previous generation of aircraft in its class, significantly reducing the carbon footprint of Finnair and its passengers.

Copyright Images: Finnair.

Finnair: AG Slide Show

Virgin America’s flight attendants vote to be represented by the TWU

Virgin America (San Francisco) flight attendants have voted to represented by the TWU. The TWU issued this statement:

A majority of flight attendants at Virgin America has voted in favor of union representation by the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU), the federal National Mediation Board reported today. This is the first work group at the airline to vote for a union. TWU received 430 votes, 58 percent of those voting, compared with 307 who voted against forming a union. The election was conducted between July 16 and August 13 by telephone and Internet and 828 Inflight Team Members (ITMs) were eligible to vote.

“We’re excited about what this election means for Inflight Team Members,” said Adam Croteau, a Los Angeles-based ITM, a term the airline uses to describe its flight attendants. “We ran a very positive campaign and we believe that we can make positive changes at the airline by giving flight attendants a voice.”

Many ITMs at Virgin America were drawn to the Transport Workers Union because of TWU’s success in bargaining contracts for 11,000 flight attendants at Southwest Airlines.

“Part of Southwest Airline’s success is due to the airline’s flight attendants, all of whom are TWU members. Having a union behind them gives Southwest flight attendants the comfort and freedom to do their jobs well,” said Armando Fierros, a Los Angeles-based ITM. “TWU also fosters autonomy for its local unions, unlike some labor organizations. We want to run our own union and create a union culture that is uniquely suited to meet the needs of ITMs employed at this award-winning airline.”

“Virgin America bills itself as an ‘upscale’ airline and prides itself on that service that ‘team members’ offer,” said TWU’s International Executive Vice President John Samuelsen, who attended the vote count at the National Mediation Board in Washington, DC with a group of Virgin flight attendants, “With this vote, flight attendants will have a say on how to further improve Virgin along with their own work lives. This is a chance to make the airline better for both customers and workers.”

In July, the privately held company filed for an initial public offering with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Only yesterday, Virgin America Inc. reported that its second-quarter profit and revenue increased, largely due to the airline filling more seats.

“We want to see Virgin America prosper,” said TWU International President Harry Lombardo. “As the airline grows and becomes an increasingly profitable and larger public company, we also want our members to be recognized for their contribution to the airline’s success. We will now focus on gaining a contract that’s fair for our new members.”

Negotiations for a first contract will begin in the fall.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-112 N525VA (msn 3324) approaches the runway at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD).

Virgin America:

Hawaiian to fly between San Francisco and Kahului, Maui

Hawaiian Airlines (Honolulu) has announced it will offer nonstop service between San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Kahului Airport (OGG) beginning November 20, 2014.

The nonstop service between San Francisco and Maui will begin with flights four times a week from November 20, 2014 before moving into daily service beginning December 17, 2014. The new daily service will add a total of more than 210,000 seats to both San Francisco and Maui travel markets per year, and will be operated by Hawaiian Airlines’ wide-body, twin-aisle Airbus A330-200 aircraft, which seats 294 passengers, with 18 in First Class and 276 in the Main Cabin.

Copyright Photo: Ivan K. Nishimura/Blue Wave Group/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 N395HA (msn 1469) departs from the Honolulu base.

Hawaiian Airlines: AG Slide Show

 

QANTAS unveils a new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander special livery

QANTAS Link-Sunstate DHC-8-400 VH-LQM (14-RECOGNISE)(Tail)(QANTAS)(LRW)

QANTAS Airways (Sydney) has unveiled a new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander special color scheme on Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) VH-LQM (msn 4450) operated by QANTAS Link partner Sunstate Airlines: QANTAS issued this statement and photos:

QANTAS has joined the movement to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution by unveiling a new QANTAS Link Q400 aircraft showcasing a large RECOGNISE logo on its livery.

In addition to the aircraft livery unveiled at today’s event, QANTAS Link will soon embark on displaying a smaller version of the RECOGNISE logo on its entire fleet of 31 Q400 aircraft, ensuring the message is spread across the country.

About RECOGNISE

RECOGNISE is the movement of Australians campaigning for the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution and to ensure there is no place for discrimination in our founding document. The movement has wide support from across the political spectrum and in the Australian community from grassroots supporters and many major institutions, non-government organisations, companies, sporting codes and faith groups.

About QANTAS’ commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians:

QANTAS has a longstanding commitment to value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage, cultures and peoples and to recognise the original custodians of Australia. A Reconciliation Action Plan has been in place since 2007 and QANTAS currently holds partnerships with the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence, Career Trackers, Bangarra Dance Theatre, Clontarf, the Indigenous Marathon Project, Supply Nation, Engineering Aid Australia, Jawun, Lirrwi Yolngu Tourism Aboriginal Corporation, the Yothu Yindi Foundation, the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation and RECOGNISE.

Copyright Photos: QANTAS Airways.

QANTAS Airways: AG Slide Show

QANTAS Link-Sunstate DHC-8-400 VH-LQM (14-RECOGNISE)(Nose)(QANTAS)(LRW)

Surf Air orders 15 Pilatus PC-12 NG aircraft, plus 50 options

Surf Air PC-12s (LRW)

Surf Air (Santa Monica), the nation’s first All-You-Can-Fly membership airline, announced a total order of up to 65 new Pilatus aircraft (15 firm orders and 50 options) to be delivered over the next five years, with a total order value of approximately $312 million. The first 15 aircraft are being financed by a $65 million senior facility from White Oak Global Advisors, alongside an additional $8 million equity round from new and existing investors, bringing the total equity raised to $17 million. With this order the company has formed an unprecedented exclusive partnership with Pilatus Aircraft whereby Surf Air will be the only membership-based operator to utilize the PC-12 NG in the United States.

“In just our first year, Surf Air has enjoyed incredible demand from consumers—more than our existing fleet of planes will be able to accommodate going forward,” said Surf Air CEO, Jeff Potter. “With over 900 members now, we believe prospective members understand our value proposition—and now with 65 more aircraft committed for delivery and additional equity investment funds, we look forward to the opportunity to significantly expand this industry changing ‘All-You-Can-Fly’ membership model in California and other regions of the country.”

Under the strong leadership of airline and membership club veteran Potter and serial entrepreneur and venture investor Shahani, Surf Air has grown memberships in 2014 from 250 members to 900 members with an additional 350 member deposits on hold waiting for additional aircraft and routes. Venture Investors who participated in the new equity round included existing investors Anthem Ventures, Velos Partners and Base Ventures with participation from new investors FF Ventures, Plus Capital and several others. In addition, a number of notable angel investors participated in the round including Bill Woodward, Rick Caruso, Dennis Phelps and Jared Leto.

Each new Pilatus NG aircraft will be configured in an eight-seat all executive class interior to ensure a high level of comfort, class and convenience.

How it works: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Surf Air. N805SA, N806SA and N807SA getting ready in San Carlos for flights to Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and Truckee.

Surf Air logo

Current Route Map:

Surf Air 8.2014 Route Map (LRW)

UPS pilots want cargo pilots to be included in Part 117 regulations due to crew fatigue

UPS Airlines’ (United Parcel Service) (Atlanta and Louisville) pilots, represented through the Independent Pilots Association, have issued this statement concerning the current regulations excluding cargo pilots from Federal crew rest standards:

On the eve of the first anniversary of the fatal crash of United Parcel Service Flight 1354, UPS pilots are calling for an end to the carve-out of all-cargo airline operators from FAR Part 117, the new pilot rest and operating rules enacted by Congress. On August 14, 2013, at 4:47 AM CDT, UPS Flight 1354 crashed on approach to Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, killing Captain Cerea Beal, Jr. and First Officer Shanda Fanning.

“What we didn’t know then, but suspected, was the role fatigue played in this accident,” said Captain Robert Travis, President of the Independent Pilots Association. “Once the Cockpit Voice Recorder transcripts were released there was no doubt. Cerea and Shanda told us on the CVR* that they were fatigued and wanted one level of safety in commercial aviation.”

Part 117, which became effective for passenger carriers on January 4, is the first major revision of pilot flight and duty limits and rest requirements in 60 years. This new rule is science-based and designed to mitigate fatigue among commercial pilots. Disturbingly, all-cargo airlines are carved out of Part 117 for “political” reasons, as noted last week by the FAA’s Federal Air Surgeon, Dr. James Fraser.

“This carve-out puts our nation’s entire aviation system at risk,” said Jim Hall, former Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. “A tired pilot is a tired pilot, regardless of the plane he or she may be flying. By excluding cargo pilots from Part 117, the FAA is failing to adhere to its mission of making safety the first priority in aviation. If the FAA believes even one life lost in an accident is too many, the principle should also apply to cargo pilots.”

From the moment the FAA announced the cargo carve-out, the IPA has fought to reverse it. This includes suing the FAA.

“We had no choice but to lead this fight,” said Travis. “The crash of UPS Flight 1354 has intensified our efforts. Tragically, Capt. Beal said to our Scheduling Committee Chairman just before the fatal flight, ‘these schedules over the past several years are killing me.’ We owe it to Cerea and Shanda, their families and every pilot, whether flying passengers or packages, to end this dangerous exclusion. As we mark this difficult anniversary, I call on the FAA to end the cargo carve-out and apply one level of safety to all commercial aviation.”

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A300F4-622R N155UP (msn 841) crashed on August 14, 2013 while on approach from the north to Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, Birmingham, Alabama. The crew was operating cargo flight 5X 1354 from the Louisville hub to Birmingham. N155UP is pictured on the cargo ramp at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport before the tragic accident.

UPS:

Vistara is selected as the name for the Tata-Singapore joint venture

Vistara A319 (Vistara)

Vistara is the name of the new joint venture airline that wants to start premium service in October in India. The joint venture is between Singapore Airlines and the Tata Sons.

Vistara has leased 20 Airbus A320 Family aircraft, including seven A320neo aircraft, to be added to the fleet over the next five years. The airline will take delivery of its first aircraft in September and will have a fleet of five by the end of the year.

The name Vistara in Sanskrit means limitless expanse.

Tata is also involved in a joint venture with AirAsia with the start of AirAsia India.

Read the full article from Bloomberg Businessweek: CLICK HERE

Image: Vistara.

United ends July with its best on-time performance in four years, rewards employees with a cash bonus

United Airlines (Chicago) has announced that it is rewarding all eligible employees with a cash bonus for exceeding the airline’s on-time arrival and departure performance goals for the month of July. United’s goal for on-time performance is to be first or second among the largest four U.S. carriers. The on-time arrival rate is based on flights arriving within 14 minutes of the scheduled arrival time. Eligible employees also earned an additional cash bonus for exceeding United’s customer satisfaction goal for July, resulting in a total payout of $125 per eligible employee for the month.

Despite challenges across the system and runway construction at San Francisco – one of the airline’s largest hubs – United ended July with its best July on-time performance in four years. The performance was an improvement over the same month last year as well as June of this year. United’s mainline and United Express D :00 were also better than target and better than last year’s performance.

“While we still have room for improvement, we’re seeing a lot of momentum as we work to create a more reliable and efficient airline,” said Greg Hart, United’s executive vice president and chief operations officer. “These bonuses are further proof that the actions we are taking are paying off.”

Five of United’s seven hubs had the best July A :14 performance since 2010, with the airline’s Los Angeles hub leading the pack. United also placed first or second of the four largest U.S. carriers in A :14 for 13 of the last 18 days of the month.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-924 ER N37422 (msn 31620) climbs away from the Los Angeles station.

United Airlines (current):

Virgin America reports second quarter net income of $37 million

Virgin America (San Francisco) today reported its financial results for the second quarter of 2014 with operating income of $47.1 million and net income of $37.0 million. The airline posted an operating margin of 11.8 percent – a 4.4 point improvement over the second quarter of 2013, driven largely by a 7.8 percent growth in revenue per available seat mile (RASM) over the prior year period.

Second Quarter 2014 Financial Highlights

Operating Revenue: Total operating revenue of $398.8 million, an increase of 6.1 percent over the second quarter of 2013.

Revenue per Available Seat Mile (RASM): RASM increased 7.8 percent compared to the second quarter of 2013, to 12.46 cents. Year-over-year RASM growth was driven by a 5.0 percent increase in yield and a 1.2 point increase in load factor.

Cost per Available Seat Mile (CASM): Total CASM increased 2.7 percent compared to the second quarter of 2013, to 10.99 cents. CASM excluding fuel costs for the quarter increased 3.9 percent year-over-year, to 6.87 cents, primarily due to higher labor and airport costs.

Operating Income: Second quarter of 2014 operating income increased by 69.1 percent over the second quarter of 2013 to $47.1 million with an operating margin improvement of 4.4 points year-over-year.

Net Income: Net income for the quarter increased fourfold year-over-year, from $8.8 million to $37.0 million. Virgin America’s year-to-date net income improved by $52.2 million from a net loss of $37.5 million for the six months ended June 30, 2013 to net income of $14.6 million for the six months ended June 30, 2014, an improvement of 7.5 margin points.

Capacity: Available seat miles (ASMs) for the second quarter of 2014 decreased 1.6 percent year-over-year. The airline ended the quarter with 53 Airbus A320-family aircraft.
Liquidity: Unrestricted cash was $180.0 million as of June 30, 2014.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Virgin America now has 53 Airbus A319s and A320s. Airbus A320-214 N840VA (msn 4616) completes its final approach to the runway at Los Angeles International Airport.

Virgin America: AG Slide Show

Lufthansa’s CEO Carsten Spohr outlines his plans for the new low-cost, long-haul subsidiary

Lufthansa‘s (Frankfurt) CEO Carsten Spohr has outlined his plans for a new unnamed low-fare long-range subsidiary to Reuters. The new subsidiary would initially operate either with seven Boeing 767-300s or Airbus A330s. If successful, he would quickly upgrade to newer Airbus A350s or Boeing 787s (Lufthansa does not have any 787s on order).

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

In other news, the Lufthansa Group has issued this statement concerning Erbil in northern Iraq:

Following a reassessment of the security situation in Iraq, the Lufthansa Group continues to suspend its flights to Erbil until further notice.

Affected by this decision are flights by Austrian Airlines, which usually offers daily services to the city in Iraq from Vienna, as well as flights by Lufthansa, which operates to Erbil from Frankfurt twice a week.

On the financial side, the Lufthansa Group reported a first half net loss of €79 million ($106 million), reduced from a net loss of €203 million in the same period a year ago.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-343 D-AIKN (msn 922) arrives in New York (JFK).

Lufthansa: AG Slide Show

Jet Airways to discontinue the JetKonnect brand

Jet Airways (Mumbai) has issued this statement about consolidating all of its operations under a stronger Jet Airways brand:

Jet Airways has announced that it will streamline and align its domestic operation, creating a strong, uniform Jet Airways master brand, simultaneously revitalizing its product and service offering.

Naresh Goyal, Chairman of Jet Airways, said: “The publication of our first quarter results shows we have made demonstrable progress in the implementation of our three-year turnaround strategy to return Jet Airways to profitability.

“However there are still challenges in the very competitive market in which we operate. Our next critical step will be re-establishing Jet Airways as a master brand in India.

“This means harnessing our proud heritage and original values in one consistent, predictable and clearly recognisable brand.

“Over the next few months, you will see this brand reflected across our entire business – in the livery, staff uniforms, the interiors, the product and service offering, and the frequent flyer program.

“I give you my commitment, that by the end of the year, Jet Airways will have the best domestic full-service product in India. We will always be competitive to ensure our customers get the best value for their money.”

Subject to government approvals, the Jet Airways master brand will cover the whole fleet including services currently operated by JetLite, to deliver a consistent, high quality experience for guests. The Jet Airways master brand will provide operational flexibility across the airline’s domestic fleet.

JetKonnect logo

JetLite currently operates a fleet of 11 aircraft under the JetKonnect™ brand deployed across Jet Airways’ domestic network which includes more than 50 cities. These aircraft will be progressively repainted in the Jet Airways livery over the coming months.

In order to address the challenges of the increasingly competitive domestic market and better meet the needs of the Indian travelling public, the airline will further enhance its domestic product offering, including improving connectivity within India and to and from international services, along with the expansion of codeshare partnerships.

A full service Business Class offering will implemented across all operations to ensure a premium experience on the ground and in the air, along with reciprocal frequent flyer rewards and recognition in partnership with Etihad Guest.

Domestic Economy Class will provide a differentiated offering to address the needs of travellers seeking value and competitive fares, while ensuring service continuity with inbound international flights.

The enhanced domestic offering will provide a quality product with exclusive value adds, including premium seating, lounge passes, and higher baggage allowances than competitors.

Uniquely, JetPrivilege, which has recently announced an enhanced accrual and redemption structure, will provide more benefits and privileges for Jet Airways domestic frequent flyers. In addition to the minimum 500 miles per flight, they will now also gain tier and recognition benefits and be able to redeem domestic miles on international flights of Jet Airways and Etihad Airways, with plans to expand the benefits to its partner airlines

In conclusion, Naresh Goyal said: “These exciting changes once again demonstrate Jet Airways unwavering commitment to provide our guests with an exceptional experience whenever they travel.

“By taking care of our guests, we ensure the success and relevance of our business in the future.”

Jet Airways currently operates a fleet of 112 aircraft, which include 10 Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft, 8 Airbus A330-200 aircraft, 4 Airbus A330-300 aircraft, 72 next generations Boeing 737-700/800/900/900 ER aircraft and 15 ATR 72-500 and 3 ATR72-600 aircraft. With an average fleet age of 5.08 years, the airline has one of the youngest fleet of aircraft in the world.

Flights to 74 destinations span the length and breadth of India and beyond, including Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Bangkok, Brussels, Colombo, Dammam, Dhaka, Doha, Dubai, Hong Kong, Jeddah, Kathmandu, Kuwait, London (Heathrow), Muscat, New York (Newark), Paris, Riyadh, Sharjah, Singapore and Toronto.

JetKonnect is a dedicated product designed to meet the needs of the low fare segment. JetKonnect will also offer guests a Premiere service on nearly all domestic routes. With its mixed fleet of Boeings and ATR aircraft with nearly 251 daily flights connecting 46 destinations across India, JetKonnect provides more flexibility and choice to its guests. JetKonnect’s convenient schedules, reliable service and low fares, promise to bring greater value and a seamless flying experience to our customers.

Jet Airways and JetKonnect together operate over 465 daily flights, both domestic and international.

Previously effective on March 25, 2012, all JetLite and Jet Airways Konnect services began to operate under the JetKonnect brand.

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-85R VT-JFW (msn 42799) was delivered new to the company on July 23, 2014 in the 2007 livery.

Jet Airways: AG Slide Show

Air Malta secures its new AOC from EASA

Air Malta (Luqa) has secured its new Air Operators Certificate (AOC) from EASA. All European carriers are expected to procure their new EASA AOC by October 28, 2014. The airline issued this statement

Air Malta is proud to be the first Maltese Operator out of more than 20 operators holding an Air Operators Certificate (AOC), to have successfully completed the transition to the new European Regulations. The national airline has subsequently been issued with a European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AOC in July 2014 from the Civil Aviation Directorate of Transport Malta.

The airline had to follow Commission Regulation (EU) No. 965 laying down technical requirements and administrative procedures related to air operations particularly those requirements for Commercial Air Transport.

The extensive process for applying and obtaining regulatory approval involved a gap analysis between the current and new legislation. In order to comply with the new Regulations and transition to an EASA AOC, Air Malta was required to perform a thorough review of all policies and procedures.

One of the main changes in the new legislation involves having a Safety Management System (SMS), which replaces the current Accident Prevention and Flight Safety Program. Air Malta introduced SMS over last winter, and in the process changed its safety processes and held appropriate SMS training for its entire workforce. SMS is a powerful tool in enhancing safety within an airline.

On presentation of the Air Operators Certificate (AOC), Louis Giordimaina, Air Malta’s Chief Executive Officer said: “Once again, our national airline has demonstrated to be the leader in the industry on our Islands and this is due to our experienced human resources in the area.”

Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-112 9H-AEG (msn 2113) arrives in Zurich.

Air Malta: AG Slide Show

Allegiant announces Cincinnati-Las Vegas flights

Allegiant Air (Las Vegas) today announced new, nonstop service from Cincinnati to Las Vegas beginning on December 18.

The new flights will operate twice weekly between the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) and Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS) beginning on Thursday, December 18, 2014. This announcement brings the total number of destinations served by Allegiant from CVG to seven, including service to Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood and Mesa (near Phoenix) announced just last month.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. McDonnell Douglas DC-9-83 (MD-83) N424NV (msn 49421) departs from Las Vegas McCarran International Airport.

Allegiant: AG Slide Show

Scoot and Tigerair win anti-trust immunity for their alliance

Scoot (subsidiary of Singapore Airlines) (Singapore) and Tigerair (Singapore) have been granted anti-trust immunity by the Competition Commission of Singapore for their new alliance.

The two airlines issued this joint statement:

Singapore-based budget airlines Scoot and Tigerair Singapore (Tigerair) are pleased to announce that the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) has granted the carriers anti-trust immunity (ATI), following their notification for decision to the CCS on January 28, 2014.

The approval follows a thorough review by the CCS which included a public consultation. Both carriers operate highly complementary networks, with Tigerair focusing on shorter-haul journeys while Scoot’s emphasis is on medium-long haul routes of four or more hours. On relevant routes operated by both Tigerair and Scoot, the ATI will enable the airlines to coordinate schedules and pricing which promises to offer customers a better spread of flight choices, and thus greater flexibility when organising their itineraries.

The alliance will also enable Scoot and Tigerair to collaborate closely on connecting traffic via Changi airport, supporting the Singapore aviation hub and broader economy. Scoot’s customers from its network in China, such as Tianjin and Nanjing, will be able to enjoy fuss- free connections onto Tigerair’s extensive network in South East Asia and India. Conversely, Tigerair’s customers will have a greater choice of destinations currently served by Scoot’s medium haul operations.

Commenting on the ATI approval, Group CEO of Tigerair, Mr Lee Lik Hsin, said “We are extremely delighted to have been granted ATI by the CCS. Besides allowing us to further strengthen our alliance with Scoot, this development will also empower both Scoot and ourselves to deliver even greater flexibility and value to our customers through the coordination of schedules and routes. This is not just a positive development for Tigerair and Scoot – it is also win-win partnership between the alliance and our customers.”

Scoot’s CEO, Mr Campbell Wilson, said “We are very pleased that the CCS has granted immunity, in so doing recognising the value closer co-operation will bring to the residents, hub and economy of Singapore. We look forward to working more closely with Tigerair, building on the foundation already laid, to fully realise these benefits and bring even greater connectivity, choice and convenience for all our guests.”

The ATI also allows for closer cooperation in other areas such as sales, pricing, scheduling and systems integration. Scoot and Tigerair have an existing interline cooperation and the ATI approval allows the airlines to build upon the current arrangements.

Taken together, Scoot and Tigerair Singapore operate a total of 33 aircraft, comprising 6 Boeing 777-200s and 27 Airbus A320/319s, serving a total of 46 destinations in 15 countries from Singapore and offer more than 450 weekly flights and about 169,000 seats every week.

On the financial side, Tiger Airways Holdings Limited (Tigerair) reported an operating loss of $16.4 million (Singapore dollars) for the fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2014 (1QFY15), compared to an operating loss of $6.2 million recorded in the previous corresponding quarter (1QFY14).

Top Copyright Photo: Nik French/AirlinersGallery.com. Ex-Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-212 ER 9V-OTC (msn 28509) of Scoot departs from Tokyo (Narita).

Scoot: AG Slide Show

Tigerair: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Richard Vandervord/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 9V-TRK (msn 5697) with Sharklets arrives in Bangkok.

Scoot’s Current Route Map (Scoot also has an alliance with Nok Air of Thailand):

Scoot logo

Scoot 8.2014 Route Map

Tigerair Destinations:

Tigerair logo

Tigerair 8.2014 Route Map

 

Ukraine International is forced to reroute flights around Russia

Ukraine International Airlines-UIA (Kiev) and other other Ukrainian airline have been banned by Russia from using Russian airspace in retaliation to sanctions by the European Union due to the on-going conflict between Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine and the military of the Ukraine. Russia is reportedly considering restrictions on other European airlines for their trans-Siberian flights after Aeroflot’s subsidiary Dobrolet (2nd) (Moscow) was grounded by EU sanctions due to the Ukrainian conflict.

The airline issued this statement:

UIA is deeply concerned with destructive actions of the Russian authorities and their controversial stand on transit flights of Ukrainian airlines banned from transit over the Russian territory.

Russia’s unilateral actions of banning flights force UIA to significantly lengthen its air routes from Ukraine to the East. This will lead to increase in operating costs by 15-20%, as well as to flight delays, which will cause significant discomfort to passengers.

According to the Main Air Traffic Management Center of the Unified Air Traffic Management System of the Russian Federation, the Russian authorities refuse processing UIA’s application to perform flights from Kiev to Kazakhstan, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan through permitted entry points to the airspace of the Russian Federation.

UIA informs that it is forced to operate flights on lengthened routes, and expresses apologies to all of its passengers and partners for the discomfort caused due to a fault of the Russian authorities.

The company is deeply concerned about the fact that the Russian authorities are trying to use air transport as a tool for political pressure, cynically ignoring the interests of thousands of citizens from dozens of countries being the UIA passengers.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Former United Airlines Boeing 767-322 ER UR-GEA (msn 25280) arrives in Bangkok.

Ukraine International: AG Slide Show

Southwest Airlines launches Mexican flights to Cancun and San Jose del Cabo/Los Cabos

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) launched its initial service to Mexico with inaugural flights over the weekend.  The nonstop routes previously served by wholly owned subsidiary AirTran Airways now operate daily between Orange County/Santa Ana and San Jose del Cabo/Los Cabos, Mexico, and between Cancun and both Atlanta and Baltimore/Washington.

Saturday-only service on Southwest between Milwaukee and Cancun begins August 16, 2014.

The Company plans to fully convert all international and domestic service currently flown by AirTran to Southwest by the end of this year. The carriers’ flights schedules are published through March 6, 2015, and are available for purchase at southwest.com.

AirTran Airways continues to operate daily service between Mexico City and Orange County/Santa Ana until the route converts to Southwest Airlines service on Nov. 2, 2014.

Southwest Airlines began international service on July 1 with flights to Oranjestad, Aruba; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and Nassau, The Bahamas, in the Caribbean. International service from Denver begins Oct. 7. Additional international service from Chicago (Midway), Austin, and San Antonio begins Nov. 2, the same day Southwest Airlines begins serving Punta Cana, Dominican Republic*, and Mexico City.

*subject to Government approvals

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-7H4 N228WN (msn 32496) departs from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show

63% of Americans do not have a preferred airline

TheStreet Annoying Air Travel Infographic

Despite efforts by U.S. carriers to build brand loyalty and frequent flyer programs, a poll by TheStreet indicates there may be a lot more “brand unloyality” than previously thought. In addition, the add-on fees for checked bags and other “extras” still angers a lot of the traveling public. TheStreet issued this statement about their survey:

Despite the airline industry’s best efforts to encourage brand loyalty and to convince passengers that paying for checked bags is logical, most Americans do not favor any specific airline. A new poll, conducted for TheStreet (NASDAQ: TST) by GfK1, took a look at consumer preferences when it comes to flying.

The survey found that:

63% of Americans do not have an airline they prefer to fly and only 5% consider getting frequent flier miles to be the most important consideration when selecting a flight.

When it comes to what annoys consumers the most, 73% are annoyed by high ticket costs, 70% find bag fees to be annoying, 68% are annoyed by cancelled or delayed flights, 64% are annoyed by uncomfortable seats, 63% are annoyed by rude staff, 56% are annoyed by charging for snacks and 48% are annoyed by closing the gate early.

When selecting a ticket, outside of price, consumers say non-stop service is the most important consideration, which was cited by 28% of respondents; followed by time of departure, with 20% saying this is the most important; airline’s reputation, with 15% and frequency of service, with 11%. Of the options, fewer see getting frequent flier miles as the most important consideration, cited by just 5%.
Asked whether they had ever complained to an airline, 23% of respondents said they had. Of those, 60% said they were satisfied with the response.

“The airline industry believes that bag fees are immensely logical and that airlines are able to build customer loyalty, but our new poll shows that most Americans still hate bag fees and feel little loyalty to individual airlines,” said Ted Reed, TheStreet’s Transportation Reporter.

The full story from TheStreet is available online: CLICK HERE

About the Survey

Methodology: OMNITEL is a weekly national telephone omnibus service from GfK, a division of GfK Custom Research North America. The sample for this OMNITEL wave consists of 1,004 total completed interviews, of which approximately 750 consist of landline telephone exchanges and about 250 are made up of cell phone exchanges. Interviews were conducted from July 25-27, 2014. The margin of error on weighted data is +/- 3 percentage points for the full sample.

About TheStreet

TheStreet, Inc. (www.t.st) is the leading independent digital financial media company providing business and financial news, investing ideas and analysis to personal and institutional investors worldwide.

SunExpress Germany to start weekly Dortmund-Istanbul flights

Sun Express Airlines (Germany) (Frankfurt) will start weekly Dortmund-Istanbul (Sabiha Gokcen) service with Boeing 737-800s starting on November 7.

Earlier this year the parent Turkish airline placed orders for 50 aircraft from the Boeing, including 25 737-800NG (Next Generation) aircraft and 15 737 MAX 8 aircraft. The company also has options for ten Boeing 737 MAX 8s.

Copyright Photo: Bernhard Ross/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8EH D-ASXL (msn 35835) taxies at the Frankfurt base.

SunExpress (Germany): AG Slide Show

 

Singapore Airlines to bring the Airbus A380 to Auckland

Singapore Airlines (Singapore) will introduce the Airbus A380 on the Singapore-Auckland, New Zealand route on October 27 per Airline Route. The flight will operate daily.

Copyright Photo: Andi Hiltl/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-841 9V-SKJ (msn 045) lands in Zurich.

Singapore Airlines:

Iberia’s new Airbus A321 basketball world championship logo jet

Iberia (Madrid) is promoting the basketball world championship to be played in Spain this month.

The aircraft involved is Airbus A321-213 EC-JLI (msn 2563).

Video: Iberia.

Iberia: AG Slide Show

JetBlue’s flight 704 to New York has a rejected takeoff at San Juan due to an engine fire

JetBlue Airways (New York) has issued this statement:

Flight 704 SJU – JFK (Airbus A321)

186 Customers and 6 Crew

On August 9, flight 704 SJU-JFK had a rejected takeoff at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport. We are currently investigating the cause. Customers and Crew were evacuated via slide. No major injuries were reported.

Customers were given the option to be re-accommodated on Flight 8104 SJU – JFK.

From CNN: “A JetBlue Airways flight departing from Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico, was evacuated Saturday evening after one of its engines caught fire, according to a Federal Aviation Administration statement”.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

The aircraft involved is Airbus A321-231 N903JB (msn 5783), delivered new on October 7, 2013.

Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com.

JetBlue Airways: AG Slide Show

Sepahan Airlines Iranian-built An-140-100 crashes near Tehran, 48 killed

Sepahan Airlines (Tehran) Hesa IrAn-140-100 registered EP-GPA (msn 9005) (above) has crashed today (August 10) while departing from Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport with 42 passengers and six crew members. The airliner was on a flight to Tabas, Iran. The jetliner crashed into a residential area. All 48 people on board have perished according to the BBC.

According to Wikipedia, the Iranian-built IrAn-140 is a license-built version of the Antonov An-140, assembled by HESA in Shahin Shahr, Iran from complete kits supplied by Antonov.

Photos from FARS News Agency: CLICK HERE

Read the report form the BBC: CLICK HERE

Read the report from Aljazeera: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Mrd Asa/MyAviation.ir

 

Mongolian Airlines to extend southwards to Singapore on September 24

Mongolian Airlines (MIAT) (Ulaanbaatar) on September 24 will extended a new route to Singapore via Beijing. The new route will be operated twice-weekly with Boeing 737-800s per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Former Ryanair Boeing 737-8AS EI-CSG (msn 29922) arrives in Beijing.

Mongolian Aircraft Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Current Route Map:

Mongolian 8.2014 Route Map

China Southern Airlines launches nonstop Guangzhou-New York service

China Southern Airlines (Guangzhou) on August 6 launched nonstop 309-seat Boeing 777-300 ER service to New York (JFK), its first route to the U.S. East Coast. It is also the longest nonstop flight for the country of China.

Copyright Photo: Royal S. King/AirlinersGallery.com. Brand new Boeing 777-31B ER B-2007 (msn 43221) prepares to depart from Paine Field near Everett.

China Southern Airlines Aircraft Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Gulf Air to start a new route to Moscow on October 28

Gulf Air (Bahrain) has announced the launch of nonstop services to Moscow from October 28, 2014. The airline will operate four flights per week to Domodedovo International Airport – 42 kilometers (26 miles) south-southeast from the center of Moscow and the city’s largest airport in terms of passenger and cargo traffic.

This route announcement follows Gulf Air’s recent commencement of services to a number of destinations including Sialkot in Pakistan, Tehran in Iran and the Greek capital, Athens, this year.

Gulf Air flights to Moscow’s Domodedovo International Airport will be operated by Airbus A320 aircraft in a two-class configuration of 14 Falcon Gold seats and 96 seats in Economy.

Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 A9C-AF (msn 4158) arrives in Dubai.

Gulf Air Aircraft Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Wizz Air adds more routes from Riga, Vilnius and Warsaw

Wizz Air (Budapest) has announced further expansion in Riga. The airline will deploy a second Airbus A320 aircraft at Riga Airport from April 22, 2015 adding 3 new services: Hamburg Lübeck, Stavanger and Liverpool will be operated twice weekly, each. The airline has also increased frequencies on some of its most popular routes in the summer 2015 season. The London Luton service will be operated 11 times per week, while the service to Doncaster Sheffield will increase to 3 weekly flights also from April 22, 2015.

With these 3 new services Wizz Air is now offering a total of 11 routes to 6 countries from Riga.

Additionally Wizz Air has announced further expansion of its low fare route network in Lithuania. From April 22, 2015 the airline will start operating flights from Vilnius to Frankfurt (Hahn) three times a week, Belfast and Malmo twice a week, each. Frequencies on existing services will also increase in the summer 2015 season. Routes from Vilnius to Dortmund and Stavanger will be operated 4 times per week, while services to Doncaster Sheffield, Bergen and Sandefjord will increase to 3 weekly flights from April 22, 2015.

With the latest addition to the network, Wizz Air now offers 19 routes to 12 countries from Vilnius, bringing the total seat capacity in 2015 to over 1 million seats.

Finally, Wizz Air has announced further expansion in Warsaw Chopin. From January 17, 2015 the airline will launch two new winter services to ski destinations, connecting Warsaw with Verona and Turin with one flight per week. The airline will also deploy a fifth Airbus A320 aircraft adding 6 new services from March 29, 2015. Four weekly flights will operate from Warsaw to Dortmund, two weekly flights to Larnaca and Lisbon and weekly services to Alicante, Catania and Malta. The airline has also increased frequencies on some of its most popular routes from Warsaw in the summer 2015 season. London Luton, Brussels Charleroi, Milan Bergamo, Budapest, Paris Beauvais, Eindhoven, Glasgow and Liverpool will be operated with more weekly flights than before starting on March 29, 2015.

With these 8 new services Wizz Air is now offering a total of 30 routes to 16 countries from Warsaw Chopin Airport. This announcement follows earlier growth in the Polish regions of Gdansk, Katowice, Poznan, Szczecin and Warsaw Chopin where Wizz Air has increased services in a bid to bring more of its low fare services to all Polish consumers.

Lisbon, the latest, 100th addition to Wizz Air’s destination map is the capital of Portugal and one of the oldest cities in the world, older than London, Paris and Rome.

In August 2014 Wizz Air celebrates the 10th anniversary of operations from the Polish capital. In the past 10 years a total of 9 million passengers chose the airline’s low fares and great services in Warsaw. With the addition of the fifth Airbus A320 aircraft, Wizz Air’s investment rises to above $400 million (US) and the base grows to close to 200 employees.

Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-233 HA-LPF (msn 1834) lands in Basel/Mulhouse/Freiburg.

Wizz Air Aircraft Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Alitalia and Etihad Airways finalize their €1,758 million deal

Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) and Alitalia (2nd) (Rome) today announced that they have signed the transaction implementation agreement which will result in a €1,758 million ($2.36 billion) investment to build a reinvigorated Alitalia as a competitive, sustainably profitable business.

The recapitalized Italian national airline will now be able to invest in a comprehensive strategic business plan which will see new long-haul routes from Rome and Milan, a revitalized brand, and a greater focus on Italian tourism and trade promotion. Italian travellers will be able to benefit from a wider choice of destinations while new global connections will boost inbound tourism.

Etihad Airways’ investment of €560 million will be provided through a combination of equity injections, asset purchases and other financing facilities and funding arrangements to re-structure the airline’s balance sheet. This is to be complemented by a further equity investment of €300 million from existing core Alitalia shareholders, including Intesa San Paolo (€88m), Poste Italiane (€75m), UniCredit (€63.5m), Atlantia (€51m), IMMSI (€10m), Pirelli (€10m) and Gavio (€2.5m).

Additionally, up to €598 million in financial restructuring of short and medium term debt has been provided by financial institutions and existing bank shareholders. €300 million of new loan facilities have also been extended by Italian financial institutions.

Etihad Airways will take a 49 per cent shareholding in Alitalia, for an investment of €387.5 million. Its total investment also includes €112.5 million to acquire a 75 per cent interest in Alitalia Loyalty Spa, which operates MilleMiglia, the airline’s frequent flier programme, and the purchase by Etihad Airways of five pairs of slots at London’s Heathrow Airport valued at €60 million. The slot pairs will be leased back to Alitalia on an arm’s length basis. The transaction is due to be completed on 31 December 2014.

Completion of the equity investment remains subject to completion by Alitalia and its key private and public stakeholders of certain conditions precedent and is also subject to final regulatory approvals.

Etihad Airways President and Chief Executive Officer, James Hogan, said: “For Etihad Airways, this is a strategic, long-term commercial investment. On completion, we are committed, with the other shareholders, to build a reinvigorated Alitalia as a competitive, sustainable and profitable business that can operate successfully in the global air travel market.

“We believe in Alitalia. It is great brand with enormous potential. With the right level of capitalization and a strong, strategic business plan, we have confidence the airline can be turned around and repositioned as a premium global airline once again.

“Alitalia is the perfect ambassador for Italy and all that it represents. As we revitalise the brand, the airline will increasingly embody all that we recognise as quintessentially Italian – the history, culture, food and fashion. It must be an airline of which Italians can be proud.

“However ultimately it has to work as a business and the goal is for sustainable profitability from 2017.”

Mr Hogan said he recognized that many steps had been taken by current Alitalia shareholders, management and workers to stabilise the business ahead of new investment.

“Alitalia can succeed and it can grow again but it needs to build from solid foundations. We have made it clear from the start that our entire investment should be focused on supporting the implementation of the new business plan, which will see this goal come to fruition.

“The winners from this successful strategy will be Italian and international travellers, who will see better service, new routes and greater competitive choice; Alitalia’s employees, who can look forward to a brighter future over the long term, in a business which will grow again; and the Italian people, who can be proud once again of their national airline.

“There is a long road ahead, first to complete the transaction and then to deliver this new vision. Today marks a critical step on that journey and we are proud to take our place as a strategic investor in the new Alitalia.”Gabriele Del Torchio, Chief Executive Officer of Alitalia, said: “This is an excellent outcome for Alitalia. We have had to take some tough decisions in a very robust negotiation process but we have achieved the consensus we require to create the right shape and size for Alitalia in the future.

“This investment will provide financial stability and enable us to position Alitalia, and the travel and tourism industry in Italy, for long-term growth.

“And for this important result I’d like to thank all the Alitalia staff – men and women, managers and workers, pilots, crew and office staff – who have worked with passion and commitment for our new launch. The transition to a sustainable and profitable Alitalia has required tough decisions but we all share the conviction that this new beginning, oriented towards growth, will bring new opportunities for everyone.”

The comprehensive business plan provides for the revitalization of Alitalia’s brand, to embody all the things for which Italy is renowned – food, fashion, culture and lifestyle – in a ‘Made in Italy’ premium service concept and guest experience.

This will be accompanied by the implementation of measures to drive increased inbound tourism into Italy and to support the country’s economic growth.

While maintaining the relevance of short-haul routes, the proposed network plan focuses on the profitable growth of long-haul flying from both Rome Fiumicino and Milan Malpensa. This will include flights to new destinations, increased frequency in certain existing markets and an enhanced network to Abu Dhabi to capitalise on growing traffic between Italy and the UAE, and provide Alitalia’s passengers with seamless connectivity to Etihad Airways’ global network.

Starting from Winter 2014, Alitalia will increase frequency between Rome Fiumicino and Abu Dhabi from five per week to a daily service, and commence a new daily service between Milan Malpensa and Abu Dhabi. This flying will complement Etihad Airways’ existing daily services on these markets and open up a range of new connecting opportunities for passengers of both airlines.

From Summer 2015, Alitalia will also begin to implement connections between other Italian cities and Abu Dhabi, with plans for direct flights from markets such as Venice, Catania and Bologna.

Rome Fiumicino will emerge as a larger European intercontinental hub, with up to five new routes over the next four years, while long-haul flights from Milan Malpensa will more than double to 25 flights a week by 2018. Alitalia’s widebody fleet is planned to grow by a third, while its narrowbody fleet will be rightsized to meet the requirements of the new network plan.

Members of the MilleMiglia frequent flier program will be able to ‘earn and burn’ on Etihad Airways and partner airlines, with future integration of the programmes planned.

While network integration and optimization will deliver top-line revenue growth for Alitalia, the cost synergies inherent in the partnership will provide substantial opportunities. These include streamlined hub operations, and joint procurement in the areas of aircraft, engines, maintenance-repair-operations, training, catering, ground-handling and fuel. The partnership will also pave the way for the redesigning and automating processes and working arrangements in line with best practice, and the adoption of leading IT platforms.

To better serve the Italian cargo market, which is the third largest in Europe, Alitalia’s cargo business will be relaunched and expanded, with the establishment of a centre of excellence in Northern Italy, investment in handling capabilities at Italian airports, and the optimization of an integrated cargo network.

James Hogan said: “Italy is a hugely important market for Etihad Airways, from both trade and tourism points of view. The UAE is Italy’s top trading partner in the Middle East and North Africa region, and is home to more than 10,000 Italian citizens and 300 Italian companies.

“The possibilities when we knit together our network with those of our existing equity partners, including airberlin, Air Serbia, Etihad Regional, Jet Airways, Virgin Australia, Air Seychelles and Aer Lingus, and of course our strategic codeshare partner, KLM-Air France, will provide the most compelling customer offering.”

Etihad Airways currently operates daily services from Abu Dhabi to Rome and Milan, which complement Alitalia’s five flights a week from Rome to Abu Dhabi. The two airlines also codeshare to a total of 31 other destinations.

Video: Watch the press conference:

Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil/AirlinersGallery.com. Alitalia is very likely to receive a brand overhaul including a new aircraft livery. Airbus A330-202 EI-EJO (msn 1327) arrives back at the Rome (Fiumicino) hub painted in the updated 2006 livery.

Alitalia (2nd): AG Slide Show

Etihad Airways: AG Slide Show

Delta continues to drop routes from Memphis

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) is continuing to drop routes from the former Northwest Airlines hub at Memphis, TN. The carrier will drop its MEM routes to both Austin and Denver in September according to The Daily News in Memphis. For MEM passengers, Delta will continue to funnel traffic to its large Atlanta hub.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-114 N346NB (msn 1796) taxies to the runway at Memphis International Airport (MEM).

Delta Air Lines (current): AG Slide Show

Malaysia proposes to take full control of Malaysia Airlines, airline’s board of directors decides to table the proposal for now

Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur) has issued this short statement about the intention of the government of Malaysia to take full control of the airline:

We have received notice of Khazanah’s intentions to take full ownership and delist Malaysia Airlines. Our Board of Directors will be deliberating this proposal and an official response from the company will be issued later.

During this period, our business operations remains unchanged.

We appreciate your patience and cooperation on this matter.

The initial statement was followed by this statement to table the government proposal for consideration at a later day:

An announcement has been made to Bursa Malaysia that the Malaysia Airlines Board of Directors has deliberated on the offer made by Malaysia Airlines’ majority shareholder, Khazanah Nasional Berhad (“Khazanah”) and resolved to table the proposed SCR to shareholders at an Extraordinary General Meeting to be scheduled at a later date.

Malaysia Airlines will continue to operate all our current flights, schedules and reservations. Our focus remains on delivering the world class customer service that we are known for around the world.

Here is the original full statement of Khazanah, the strategic investment fund of the government of Malaysia:

Khazanah Proposes to De-list Malaysian Airline System Berhad

We are pleased to announce that Khazanah Nasional Berhad (“Khazanah”) has today submitted a formal request to the Board of Directors of Malaysian Airline System Berhad (“MAS”) to undertake a selective capital reduction and repayment exercise (“Proposed SCR”) of MAS’ ordinary shares. The proposal will enable minority ordinary shareholders of MAS to receive a capital repayment amount of RM0.27 per ordinary share. This represents a 12.5% premium to closing price on 7 August 2014 and a 29.2% premium to the 3-month volume weighted average market price (“VWAMP”). Upon successful completion of the Proposed SCR, Khazanah will become the sole ordinary shareholder of MAS, which would lead to a de-listing of MAS.

In June 2014, Khazanah had announced that it was in the midst of undertaking a comprehensive review of MAS, in consultation with the Special Shareholder, the Minister of Finance Incorporated. Khazanah further clarified that subject to the necessary approvals from the relevant authorities, it would announce the proposed restructuring scheme within a period of 6 to 12 months. We reiterate that the proposed restructuring will critically require all parties to work closely together to undertake what will be a complete overhaul of the national carrier on all relevant aspects of, inter alia, the airline’s operations, business model, finances, human capital and regulatory environment. Nothing less will be required in order to revive our national airline to be profitable as a commercial entity and to serve its function as a critical national development entity.

In this regard, today’s proposal for de-listing represents the first stage of the restructuring scheme. Further, Khazanah is in the final stages of completing the overall restructuring proposal, and upon due process and approvals from the relevant authorities, regulators and the Special Shareholder, the Minister of Finance Incorporated, we envisage that additional detailed plans will be announced by the end of this month.

Khazanah is the strategic investment fund of the Government of Malaysia entrusted to hold and manage the commercial assets of the Government and to undertake strategic investments. Khazanah is involved in various sectors such as power, telecommunications, banking, healthcare, airport management, infrastructure, leisure and tourism, property development, broadcasting, investment holding, and technology. Some of the key listed companies in Khazanah’s investment portfolio include Telekom Malaysia Bhd., Tenaga Nasional Bhd., CIMB Group, Axiata Group Bhd., IHH Healthcare Bhd., Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd., and UEM Sunrise Bhd.

Copyright Photo: Richard Vandervord/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8H6 9M-MXA (msn 40128) departs from Phuket, Thailand painted in the retrojet livery of 1972 for its 40th Anniversary celebration in 2012.

Malaysia Airlines: AG Slide Show

Air New Zealand provides a sneak peek for its new Hobbit safety video coming in October

Air New Zealand Safety Video (ANZ)(LR)

Air New Zealand (Auckland), the official airline of Middle-earth, is giving fans a sneak peek at its next inflight safety video, an epic tale which will conclude the airline’s highly successful three year association with The Hobbit Trilogy.

The video will celebrate the third and final film in The Hobbit Trilogy – The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and the airline’s partnership with the film franchise and feature cameo appearances from director Sir Peter Jackson, Weta Workshop co-founder Sir Richard Taylor and cast members of the films.

The yet to be titled safety video was shooting this week amidst dramatic Central Otago, New Zealand scenery under the direction of Taika Waititi of Boy and What we do in the Shadows fame. Taika Waititi will also make a special cameo appearance as ‘The Wizard’.

Air New Zealand Chief Marketing and Customer Officer Mike Tod says the video will be a real celebration of Middle-earth and all that it has to offer.

“Air New Zealand has been the official airline of Middle-earth for more than a decade now and we want to mark the final film in The Hobbit Trilogy in a very special way. This video brings together iconic New Zealand film locations with some of the famous faces and Taika Waititi’s signature directing style. We can’t wait to unveil it on board later this year,” says Mr Tod.

Air New Zealand has invested several million dollars into global marketing campaigns and initiatives to celebrate the Hobbit films and attract visitors to New Zealand including branding two Boeing 777-300 long haul aircraft with Hobbit imagery (see below).

Above Copyright Photo: Wingnut/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-319 ER ZK-OKO (msn 38407) displays the image of Smaug, the dragon, as it departs the runway at Los Angeles International Airport.

Above Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-319 ER ZK-OKP (msn 39041) was the first ANZ Triple Seven in the special “The Airline of Middle Earth – The Hobbit” livery.

The airline’s latest safety video follows on from the highly successful An Unexpected Briefing released in 2012 which has become a global hit, with more than 12 million views online (see below).

Above Video: Air New Zealand.

The new safety video is expected to be rolled out across the airline’s fleet from late October 2014.

Top Copyright Photo: Air New Zealand. Safety video director Taika Waititi is pictured on the set. An Orc tests out Air New Zealand’s new Premium Economy seat.

Air New Zealand: AG Slide Show

Below Video: How Air New Zealand does social (one of most successful uses of social media by any airline):

Iberia celebrates 60 years of flying to New York

Iberia (Madrid) this week is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its first flight from Madrid to New York and return on August 3, 1954 on a 74-seat Lockheed 1049E Super Constellation. Five days later, on August 8, 1954, Iberia started regular service with three roundtrips a week between the two cities.

Today, 60 years later, Iberia serves the route with 17 roundtrips a week mainly flown with Airbus A340-600s and A330-300s.

Iberia: AG Slide Show

Video: Iberia.

Spirit Airlines and its flight attendants reach a tentative agreement for a new contract

Spirit Airlines‘ (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood) flight attendants, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), announced a tentative agreement with management on a new contract. According to the union,  the agreement “includes immediate economic improvements, as well as protection of industry-leading healthcare and key quality of life provisions. The agreement, reached with the assistance of the National Mediation Board (NMB), would cover the nearly 1,400 flight attendants and more as the airline continues to grow.”

Terms of the agreement were unanimously approved by AFA’s Spirit Airlines leadership, will now be sent to the membership for ratification. The leadership unanimously recommends a vote in favor of the agreement. Voting instructions will be mailed on September 10 and the results of electronic balloting will be announced immediately following the vote close on October 1 at Noon Eastern Time. Full details of the tentative agreement will not be made public until the Spirit AFA membership has had an opportunity to review the terms.

According to the union, “This deal follows the overwhelming rejection of an earlier management offer by the union’s membership. The union re-tooled its proposals based on the members’ feedback following that earlier vote, incorporated changes to reflect that membership input and pressed management for substantial economic improvements. AFA credited the NMB’s Senior Mediator Pat Sims and Mediator Mike Tosi with guiding the negotiations to a successful conclusion.”

Spirit Airlines issued this statement:

Spirit Airlines and its flight attendants, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), announced that they reached a tentative agreement for a five-year contract. The tentative agreement, which is subject to ratification by the flight attendant membership, planned for fourth quarter 2014, was unanimously supported by the union’s leadership. The agreement was reached with the assistance of the National Mediation Board.

“We’re very pleased to have agreed on a tentative agreement that recognizes the contributions of our flight attendants, who play a key role in providing safe, reliable, friendly service to our customers,” said John Bendoraitis, Spirit’s Chief Operating Officer. “I want to thank the National Mediation Board, AFA leadership and the negotiating committees for helping us reach a mutually favorable agreement. We look forward to continuing our close working relationship with our AFA partners and Spirit flight attendants.”

Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 N611NK (msn 4996) lands at Baltimore/Washington (BWI).

Spirit Airlines: AG Slide Show

Copa Holdings reports net income of $118.2 million for the second quarter

Copa Holdings, S.A. (Copa Airlines and Copa Airlines Colombia) (Panama City) reported net income of $118.2 million (US) for the second quarter, or diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $2.66 (US). Excluding special items, Copa Holdings would have reported an adjusted net income of $115.9 million (US), or $2.61 per share, a 36.4% increase over adjusted net income of $85.0 million (US) and $1.92 per share for the second quarter.

Operating income for second quarter came in at $131.2 million (US), a 34.3% increase over operating income of $97.7 million (US) in the second quarter. Operating margin for the period came in at 19.5%, compared to 16.5% in the second quarter, as a result of higher unit revenues.

In other news, Copa Airlines will add two new routes, from Panama City to Campinas, Brazil and Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba.

New destinations:

Campinas, Brazil: Copa Airlines will offer one daily flight to Campinas, its eighth destination in Brazil. Called the “Silicon Valley” of Brazil, Campinas is home to the second largest concentration of research and development centers in the country. It is also boasts Brazil’s fourth-largest financial sector. The new flight will begin operating in December 2014.

Cayo Santa María, Cuba: Copa Airlines will offer two weekly flights to its second destination in Cuba, increasing tourist access to beautiful beaches; hotel accommodations including many “all inclusive” hotels, approximately 12,500 rooms, 5-star hotels and the the Pedraplén de Caibarién, an impressive 48km road stretching across the sea to Cayo Santa Maria, awarded the international “Puente de Alcántara” prize for best Latin American civil works. This new flight will also begin operation in December 2014.

With the addition of these new destinations, by the end of 2014 Copa Airlines will offer flights to 69 destinations in 30 countries in North, Central, and South America and the Caribbean from its Hub of the Americas at Tocumen International Airport in Panama City, Panama. The Hub of the Americas continues to offer more international flights to destinations in Latin America than any other airline.

During the first six months of 2014, Copa Airlines added four new Boeing Next Generation 737-800 aircraft equipped with the innovative Split Scimitar Winglets to its fleet, bringing its total to 94 aircraft.

During the second half of 2014, Copa will add four new high-tech Boeing 737-800 Next Generation aircraft, bringing its fleet total to 98 aircraft and increasing the number of available seats by 10 percent over 2013.

Top Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com (all others by Copa). Boeing 737-8V3 HP-1714CMP (msn 40891) arrives at Las Vegas.

Copa Airlines: AG Slide Show

The “Hub of the Americas”:

Copa Airlines PTY Hub of the Americas (Copa)(LR)

Routes from the Panama City hub:

Copa logo

Copa Airlines 8.2014 PTY Route Map

Air Canada reports record second quarter 2014 results of $139 million

Air Canada (Montreal) today reported second quarter adjusted net income (1) of $139 million (all amounts in Canadian dollars) or $0.47 per diluted share compared to adjusted net income of $115 million or $0.41 per diluted share in the second quarter of 2013, an improvement of $24 million or 21 per cent. EBITDAR (1) (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and impairment, and aircraft rent) amounted to $456 million compared to EBITDAR of $385 million in the second quarter of 2013. On a GAAP basis, Air Canada reported net income of $223 million or $0.75 per diluted share in the second quarter of 2014 compared to a net loss of $23 million or $0.09 per diluted share in the second quarter of 2013. Air Canada’s second quarter 2014 EBITDAR and GAAP net income results included favourable tax-related provision adjustments of $41 million. These provisions are excluded from Air Canada’s adjusted (net income and CASM) results.

“I am pleased to report that Air Canada delivered its best second quarter financial performance in the Corporation’s history, surpassing last year’s records in all three measures of operating income, adjusted net income and EBITDAR,” said Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive Officer. These results underline the significant incremental progress being achieved through our various value-enhancing strategies, as they continue to be implemented.

“In addition to seeing good year-over-year revenue growth in all of our five markets, we have also seen a marked increase in the number of international and U.S.-originating customers choosing Air Canada for their global travel plans. Investments by Air Canada and our industry partners to provide a seamless transfer experience at Canada’s major hubs are starting to show results. The performance of Air Canada rougeTM has exceeded expectations and allows Air Canada to now compete more effectively in leisure markets on a more cost effective basis. Combined with Air Canada’s other cost transformation strategies, adjusted CASM decreased 4.7 per cent from the previous year’s quarter.

“During the quarter, Air Canada took delivery of the first two of 37 firm orders for the Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft and a third since, in July (above). The renewal of our international fleet with these next-generation aircraft will provide us with significant improvements in fuel efficiency and allow us to offer customers superior comfort and amenities. We look forward to realizing the full benefits of our international fleet renewal as new aircraft enter the mainline fleet.

“I am especially pleased that once again international air travellers surveyed by the independent UK-based research firm, Skytrax, selected Air Canada as Best Airline in North America for the fifth year in a row. This honour recognizes the professionalism of our employees and their commitment to taking care of our customers, as well as our investment in providing an award-winning product on board our aircraft and on the ground.

“Looking ahead, we remain focused on maintaining the momentum to transform Air Canada into an increasingly profitable company for our shareholders and employees, and executing on our four core priorities: cost transformation, international growth, customer engagement and culture change,” concluded Mr. Rovinescu.

Second Quarter Income Statement Highlights

System passenger revenues amounted to $2,965 million, an increase of $208 million or 7.5 per cent from the second quarter of 2013, on a 9.9 per cent growth in traffic as yield declined 2.1 per cent year-over-year. Average stage length, on a system-basis, increased 2.5 percent from the same quarter of 2013 and had the effect of reducing yield by 1.5 percentage points. Passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) decreased 0.8 per cent from the same quarter in 2013 on the lower yield as passenger load factor improved 1.1 percentage points. In the second quarter of 2014, system premium cabin revenues increased $14 million or 2.4 per cent on yield growth of 3.6 per cent partly offset by a traffic decline of 1.2 per cent.

Operating expenses amounted to $3,060 million, an increase of $177 million or 6 per cent from the second quarter of 2013 on an 8.5 per cent increase in capacity. Included in Other operating expenses in the second quarter of 2014 were favourable tax-related provision adjustments of $41 million. The unfavourable impact of a weaker Canadian dollar on foreign currency denominated operating expenses (mainly U.S. dollars), when compared to same quarter in 2013, increased operating expenses by $110 million. This unfavourable currency impact on operating expenses was partially offset by a favourable currency impact on passenger revenues of $70 million.

Air Canada’s adjusted cost per available seat mile (adjusted CASM(1)), which excludes fuel expense, the cost of ground packages at Air Canada VacationsTM and unusual items, decreased 4.7 per cent compared to the second quarter of 2013. The 4.7 per cent reduction in adjusted CASM surpassed the adjusted CASM decrease of 3.5 to 4.5 per cent projected in Air Canada’s news release dated May 15, 2014, largely the result of ASM capacity coming at the top end of the expected range and a slight improvement in the value of the Canadian dollar versus what Air Canada assumed in its May 15, 2014 projections.

In the second quarter of 2014, Air Canada recorded operating income of $245 million compared to operating income of $174 million in the second quarter of 2013, an improvement of $71 million. Air Canada’s second quarter 2014 operating income results included favourable tax-related provision adjustments of $41 million.

Financial and Capital Management Highlights

At June 30, 2014, unrestricted liquidity (cash, short-term investments and undrawn lines of credit) amounted to $2,954 million (June 30, 2013 – $2,139 million). Air Canada’s principal objective in managing liquidity risk is to maintain a minimum unrestricted liquidity level of $1.7 billion.

In April 2014, Air Canada completed a private offering of US$400 million of 7.75 per cent senior unsecured notes due 2021 and received net proceeds of approximately $432 million.

At June 30, 2014, adjusted net debt (1) amounted to $4,309 million, a decrease of $42 million from December 31, 2013. The airline’s adjusted net debt to EBITDAR ratio was 2.9 at June 30, 2014 versus a ratio 3.0 at December 31, 2013. Air Canada uses this ratio to manage its financial leverage risk and its objective is to maintain the ratio below 3.5.

In the second quarter of 2014, free cash flow (1) reflected a decline of $183 million from the second quarter of 2013, reflecting primarily the acquisition of two Boeing 787 aircraft.

For the 12 months ended June 30, 2014, return on invested capital (ROIC (1)) was 11.0 per cent versus 8.8 per cent for the 12 months ended June 30, 2013. Air Canada’s goal is to achieve a sustainable ROIC of 10 to 13 per cent by 2015.

Pension Highlights

Based on actuarial valuations completed in the second quarter of 2014, the aggregate solvency surplus in Air Canada’s domestic registered pension plans as at January 1, 2014 was $89 million whereas the solvency deficit at January 1, 2013 was $3.7 billion. The elimination of the $3.7 billion deficit and the surplus generated were largely the result of the following factors: (i) a 13.8 per cent return on investments during 2013, (ii) the implementation of pension benefit amendments which decreased the solvency deficit by approximately $970 million, (iii) contributions made by Air Canada in respect of 2013 of $225 million in respect of the solvency deficit and (iv) the application of a prescribed discount rate of 3.9 per cent to calculate its future pension obligations. Refer to section 9.7 “Pension Funding Obligations” of Air Canada’s 2013 MD&A dated February 12, 2014 for additional information on Air Canada’s pension funding obligations.

Current Outlook

For the third quarter of 2014, Air Canada expects its system ASM capacity, as measured by available seat miles (ASMs), to increase in the range of 9.0 to 10.0 per cent when compared to the third quarter of 2013.

Air Canada now expects its full year 2014 system ASM capacity to increase in the range of 7.0 to 8.0 per cent (as opposed to the 6.5 to 8.0 per cent growth projected in Air Canada’s news release dated May 15, 2014) and its full year domestic ASM capacity to increase in the range of 4.0 to 5.0 per cent when compared to 2013 (as opposed to 3.0 to 4.0 per cent growth projected in Air Canada’s news release dated May 15, 2014). The projected system capacity increase is expected to be achieved at a unit cost which is below historical levels. The change in projected domestic ASM capacity is primarily driven by the use of larger aircraft on transcontinental routes in support of the airline’s international expansion strategy.

Air Canada expects the ASM capacity growth to be comprised of an increase in the total number of seats dispatched (system) in the third quarter and full year 2014 in the range of 6.5 to 7.5 per cent and 5.0 to 6.0 per cent, respectively, when compared to same periods in 2013.

For the third quarter of 2014, Air Canada expects adjusted CASM to decrease in the range of 3.5 to 4.5 per cent when compared to the third quarter of 2013.

Taking into account Air Canada’s adjusted CASM performance in the second quarter of 2014, for the full year 2014, Air Canada now expects adjusted CASM to decrease in the range of 3.2 to 4.2 per cent from the full year 2013 (as opposed to the 3.0 to 4.0 per cent decrease projected in Air Canada’s news release dated May 15, 2014).

Air Canada’s outlook assumes Canadian GDP growth of 2.0 to 2.5 per cent for 2014. Air Canada also expects that the Canadian dollar will trade, on average, at C$1.08 per U.S. dollar in the third quarter of 2014 and C$1.09 for the full year 2014 and that the price of jet fuel will average 90 cents per litre for the third quarter of 2014 and 91 cents per litre for the full year 2014.

Notes:

1) Adjusted net income (loss) and adjusted net income (loss) per share – diluted are non-GAAP financial measures. Refer to section 16 “Non-GAAP Financial Measures” of Air Canada’s Second Quarter 2014 MD&A for additional information.
(2) EBITDAR (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, impairment and aircraft rent) is a non-GAAP financial measure. Refer to section 16 “Non-GAAP Financial Measures” of Air Canada’s Second Quarter 2014 MD&A for additional information.
(3) Unrestricted liquidity refers to the sum of cash, cash equivalents, short-term investments and the amount of available credit under Air Canada’s revolving credit facilities. At June 30, 2014, unrestricted liquidity was comprised of cash and short-term investments of $2,615 million and undrawn lines of credit of $339 million. At June 30, 2013, unrestricted liquidity was comprised of cash and short-term investments of $2,107 million and undrawn lines of credit of $32 million.
(4) Free cash flow (cash flows from operating activities less additions to property, equipment and intangible assets) is a non-GAAP financial measure. Refer to section 7.5 “Consolidated Cash Flow Movements” of Air Canada’s Second Quarter 2014 MD&A for additional information.
(5) Adjusted net debt (total debt less cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments plus capitalized operating leases) is a non-GAAP financial measure. Refer to section 7.3 “Adjusted Net Debt” of Air Canada’s Second Quarter 2014 MD&A for additional information.
(6) Return on invested capital (“ROIC”) is a non-GAAP financial measure. Refer to section 16 “Non-GAAP Financial Measures” of Air Canada’s Second Quarter 2014 MD&A for additional information
(7) Operating statistics (except for average number of FTE employees) include third party carriers (such as Jazz Aviation LP (“Jazz”) and Sky Regional Airlines Inc. (“Sky Regional”) operating under capacity purchase agreements with Air Canada.
(8) Adjusted CASM is a non-GAAP financial measure. Refer to section 16 “Non-GAAP Financial Measures” of Air Canada’s Second Quarter 2014 MD&A for additional information.
(9) Reflects FTE employees at Air Canada. Excludes FTE employees at third party carriers (such as Jazz and Sky Regional) operating under capacity purchase agreements with Air Canada.
(10) Average stage length is calculated by dividing the total number of available seat miles by the total number of seats dispatched.
(11) Includes fuel handling expenses. Economic fuel price per litre is a non-GAAP financial measure. Refer to sections 4 and 5 “Results of Operations” of Air Canada’s Second Quarter 2014 MD&A for additional information.
(12) Revenue passengers are counted on a flight number basis which is consistent with the IATA definition of revenue passengers carried.

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

Air Canada: AG Slide Show

Western Global Airlines receives its Part 121 AOC, will start cargo operations with two MD-11Fs

WGA logo

Western Global Airlines-WGA (Sarasota/Bradenton) according to ch-aviation, will begin cargo operations with a fleet of two McDonnell Douglas MD-11 freighters (N415JN, msn 48415 and N435KD, msn 48435). Both freighters will be leased from Neff Air. The company has issued this statement:

Western Global Airlines LLC (WGA), a low cost, high quality all-cargo carrier, announced on August 4 that it received final FAA certification and has been issued a Part 121 Air Operator Certificate. In addition, WGA has been certified by the U.S. DOT to be fit, willing, and able to engage in interstate and foreign air transportation of property and mail. WGA plans to commence operations immediately.

Founder and CEO, Jim Neff, said, “We are very pleased by these approvals. As the first newly certified U.S. based wide-body air cargo operator in almost a decade, WGA is poised to offer the global marketplace a new large-scale, customer-oriented platform, focused on low cost, flexible service and high reliability. We also expect to benefit from the relative shortage of wide-body cargo carriers in the market today.” In addition to being WGA’s CEO, Mr. Neff also serves as CEO and Chairman of Helsinki based Nordic Global Airlines, Ltd. (NGA) and has had an unparalleled career in air cargo and aviation dating back to Flying Tiger Line, Continental Airlines, Emery Worldwide and Burlington Air Express. He was the founder and CEO of Southern Air Inc. from 1999 until 2010.

Mr. Neff added, “For me, this is the culmination of a lifelong dream. Having created and built the air systems for many of the leading U.S. based cargo operators over the past 30 plus years, I believe that the current global economic reality calls for freighter services to be both lower cost and more responsive to customers. This is the driving force and the vision behind WGA.”

WGA’s management team was hand-picked by Mr. Neff from among the industry’s most knowledgeable and experienced innovators. The company will begin operations with a fleet of MD-11Fs leased from Neff Air LLC, an affiliated leasing company which owns ten GE powered MD-11Fs and two GE powered 747-400BCFs directly without debt. WGA’s business plan is based on enabling its customers to profitably grow their air cargo business by seamlessly outsourcing all or part of their freighter operation to WGA. WGA’s sister company, NGA, has been providing low cost, flexible, and reliable service to the European market for the past three years with a fleet of four MD-11Fs leased from Neff Air. Going forward, the company expects to develop the WGA/NGA platforms jointly to achieve marketing and operational synergies to maximize service responsiveness, flexibility, and operating efficiencies.

 

Republic Airways Holdings’ 2Q income rises to $20.1 million

Republic Airways Holdings Inc. (Indianapolis) reported its financial results for the second quarter of 2014. Key points include:

Republic’s pre-tax income from continuing operations for the second quarter of 2014 was $33.3 million, or $0.63 per diluted share, a 23.3% increase over the previous year. Republic’s income from continuing operations for the second quarter of 2014 was $20.1 million, or $0.38 per diluted share. This is a $4.0 million, or $0.08 per diluted share, increase from the previous year.

Republic’s pre-tax income from continuing operations for the six-month period was $56.1 million, or $1.06 per diluted share, a 21.2% increase over the previous year. Republic’s income from continuing operations for the six-month period was $34.1 million, or $0.65 per diluted share. This is a $6.6 million, or $0.12 per diluted share, increase from the same six-month period of the previous year.

On April 7, 2014, Republic’s Board of Directors authorized management to use up to $75.0 million of unrestricted cash to buy back common shares and/or early retire convertible debt during the following 12 months. Pursuant to the authorization, Republic redeemed a $22.3 million convertible note, leaving $52.7 million remaining on the share repurchase and convertible debt retirement authorization. The repayment of the convertible note reduced the Company’s dilutive share count by about 2.2 million shares for the quarter.

“I am pleased we were able to report improved second quarter financial results, as we remain focused on executing on our strategic plan to simplify and streamline our business,” said Republic’s CFO Timothy Dooley.

“Last Friday, Republic celebrated 40 years of commercial passenger service and our long-term success would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of my 6,500 co-workers. I would like to thank them for their diligence and commitment to our mission to provide safe, clean and reliable service to our airline partners and our guests on board,” said Republic’s Chairman, President and CEO Bryan Bedford.

Operating Revenue Highlights

Operating revenues increased $6.3 million, or 1.9%, from the second quarter of 2013 to $343.0 million in the second quarter of 2014. Fixed-fee service revenue increased $20.2 million, or 6.4%, to $337.1 million due to increased Q400 flying with United Airlines and increased E175 flying with American Airlines. Passenger service revenue decreased $13.8 million because of the removal of E190 aircraft operating under pro-rate agreement with Frontier Airlines.

Operating Expense Highlights

The increase in wages and benefits expenses of 8.6% or $7.3 million was primarily due to an increase in E175 operations, an increase in the cost of benefits we provide to our employees and new pilot flight and duty rest regulations (FAR 117).

Fuel expense for the second quarter of 2014 decreased $6.6 million, or 54.1%, to $5.6 million primarily due to a 57.6% decrease in gallons consumed related to the elimination of pro-rate flying for Frontier. Fuel expense is primarily attributable to our fixed-fee charter operations and is a pass-through to our partner.

Landing fees and airport rents decreased $7.8 million, or 54.2%, primarily due to United Airlines beginning to pay all landing fees in June 2013, coupled with the decrease in our small jet operations.

The increase in depreciation and amortization of 16.9%, or $6.1 million, was primarily related to the increase in the E175 fleet.

Fleet Highlights

As of June 30, 2014, Republic operated a fleet of 237 aircraft. Through June, the Company has removed 23 ERJ aircraft from CPA service, and has taken delivery of 11 E175 aircraft and expects to take delivery of 13 E175 aircraft during the remainder of 2014. As of June 30, 2014, within its fixed-fee and charter agreements, the Company operated 45 aircraft with 44-50 seats and 192 aircraft with 69-99 seats.

Balance Sheet and Liquidity

The Company’s total cash balance decreased $14.2 million to $286.5 million as of June 30, 2014, compared to December 31, 2013. Restricted cash increased $0.8 million, to $24.8 million, from December 31, 2013, due to the escrow requirements under fixed-fee charter agreements. The Company’s unrestricted cash balance decreased $15.0 million, to $261.7 million, from December 31, 2013, due to the redemption of the $22.3 million convertible note on April 7, 2014. A consolidated balance sheet and summary cash flow statement have been included in the tables section of this release.

The Company’s debt increased to $2.27 billion as of June 30, 2014, compared to $2.17 billion at December 31, 2013, primarily related to the financing of 11 new E175 aircraft purchased for our American Airlines fixed-fee agreement. As of June 30, 2014, about 97% of the Company’s debt is at a fixed interest rate. The Company has significant long-term lease obligations for aircraft that are classified as operating leases and are not reflected as liabilities on the Company’s consolidated balance sheet. At a 6% discount factor, the present value of these lease obligations was about $0.53 billion and $0.59 billion as of June 30, 2014, and December 31, 2013, respectively.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. With the sale of subsidiary Frontier Airlines in September 2013, Republic no longer operates Embraer 190s for Frontier as pictured in the past. As a result, revenue dropped by $13.8 million because of the removal of the ERJ 190 aircraft operating under pro-rate agreement with Frontier Airlines. Republic currently operates five E190s for Caesars Entertainment for gambling charters. Now gone, Embraer ERJ 190-100 IGW N175HQ (msn 19000216) climbs away from Los Angeles International Airport in full Frontier colors.

Frontier Airlines (2nd)-Republic Airlines (2nd): AG Slide Show

Virgin America ups the ante on domestic food service

Virgin America seat and food service (Virgin America)(LR)

Virgin America (San Francisco) talks about its snack and meal service on its blog (in the wake of the American Airlines and US Airways announcement):

When we launched our airline (exactly seven years ago on Friday!), we introduced something pretty special to our cabins – a “food button”.

Yes that’s right – a button that allows you to order your favorite snacks and meals, straight to your seat in sky.

We were the first airline in the US to offer this unique, on-demand service and it remains really popular among our guests today. But have you ever wondered how it works?

The answer is ‘through a very handy device’, which interacts with our Red® in-flight entertainment system, letting our InFlight Teammates know when you feel like a snack. And starting today, we’re rolling out shiny new models for our InFlight Teammates to use across our fleet.

Vigin America Nexus 7 tablet (Virgin America)(LR)

The Nexus 7 tablet from Google (above) will replace our existing tablets, providing a thinner, lighter and faster solution and a state-of-the-art 7-inch touch screen. Our InFlight Teammates took the devices for a 30-day test run and shared great feedback, allowing them to deliver an even more efficient service to our guests.

And the best part – the tablets will give us a great foundation for the future, with the ability to constantly enhance the software and make the service even more personalized for our guests…so watch this space!

We expect the rollout of the new tablets to be complete as early as next week and in the meantime, we’re coming up with a special name for the new tablets. Slick Rick, Tiny Tim…what do you think we should call our clever new devices?

Copyright Photos: Virgin America.

Virgin America: AG Slide Show

Island Air to suspend all operations tomorrow due to two approaching hurricanes

Hawaii Hurricanes map

Island Air logo

Island Air (Honolulu) and all airlines serving Hawaii are facing the possibility that two approaching hurricanes (Hurricanes Iselle and Julio) could make landfall somewhere in the island chain tonight and tomorrow. The Big Island of Hawaii is under a hurricane warning. The rest of the island chain is under a tropical storm warning. The airline has issued this statement:

Thursday, August 7 afternoon flights serving Maui and Lanai have been cancelled. Flights servicing Kauaʻi on Thursday, August 7 will operate on a normal schedule.

All airline operations have been suspended on Friday, August 8.

The following are the final four Maui and Lana‘i 8/7 flights:
HNL – OGG: Flight 410 departing HNL 11:50 a.m.
OGG – HNL: Flight 411 departing OGG 1:02 p.m.
HNL – LNY: Flight 304 departing HNL 9:50 a.m.
LNY – HNL: Flight 303 departing LNY 10:50 a.m.

Normal flight schedule to resume Saturday, August 9, 2014.

Island Air advises its guests that the Hawaiian Islands may be subject to significant tropical storm conditions beginning Thursday evening, August 7 and extending through Monday evening, August 11. To check on time status please visit our Flight Status page.

Island Air will waive reservation change fees and differences in fares for guests who need to change their travel plans. The Reservations department will maintain extended hours of 6am – 10pm Thursday and Friday, returning to 7am to 6pm on Saturday. Guests who are ticketed for travel on Island Air from August 7, 2014 through August 12, 2014 will be permitted to change their flight without charge by contacting reservations at 1-800-652-6541. Changes must be made prior to the departure of originally scheduled flights.

Hawaiian Airlines is also waiving any fees for passengers to make changes.

Hawaiian logo

Hawaiian Airlines has issued this statement:

Hurricane & Tropical Storm Update:

Due to the storm systems that are currently approaching the Hawaiian Islands, our Reservations Department is receiving an extremely high volume of calls – because of this, you may experience longer than normal wait times. We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience and thank you for your patience as we work to reduce the call queues.

Customers are advised to check HawaiianAirlines.com for the latest updates on scheduled flights.

Effective immediately, Hawaiian Airlines will waive reservation change fees and differences in fares for customers who need to change their travel plans because of Hurricane Iselle and Hurricane Julio.

Customers holding tickets for travel on Hawaiian Airlines flights on August 7 or August 8, 2014 will be permitted to change their reservation without charge provided that:

Ticket was issued on/before August 4, 2014

Affected flight(s) is/are scheduled for travel on August 7-8, 2014

Change must be made prior to departure time of originally scheduled flight and ticketed on/before August 12, 2014

Change may be made to new flights that begin on/before August 12, 2014

If you would like to change your reservation, you can do so by calling our Reservations Department at 1-800-367-5320 or you can also do it online at HawaiianAirlines.com by using our Change Flight option. Please note that if you change your reservation online, you will be required to pay the applicable change fee and fare difference, but may request a refund of the change fee and fare difference paid, provided that your change falls within the guidelines below. Upon approval, we will process your refund within 7 days to the form of payment used. Please submit your request for reimbursement via our Consumer Affairs Office.

Keep in mind that applicable difference in fare(s) will be waived provided that change is made to same class of service (i.e. Coach to Coach or First Class to First Class) and there is no change to origin and destination. Reroutes are permitted with waiver of change fee and will be subject to applicable fare difference. Extra Comfort or preferred seat charges may be refunded if the same seat is not available on the new flight or if flight is cancelled.

Normal refund rules will apply. There will be no waiver of any applicable cancellation fees for refundable tickets and no refunds permitted on non-refundable tickets related to this event.

All the best to our friends in Hawaii!

Map: NOAA.

United introduces passport scanning with their mobile app

United Airlines (Chicago) became the first U.S. airline to offer customers the ability to scan their passports to check in for international flights via their iOS and Android mobile devices. United is offering customers the opportunity to use passport scanning functionality on the airline’s mobile app as the carrier completes testing.

United app

Customers may access the passport scanning feature when checking in for international flights in the 24 hours before departure. After initiating the app’s check-in feature, customers will have the option of verifying their existing stored passport data or scanning their passport. The app uses the mobile device’s camera feature to capture travelers’ passports, similar to a mobile banking deposit. Jumio Inc., a credentials management company, will then verify the passport for additional security. Once the verification process is complete, customers may obtain a boarding pass. Customers requiring additional travel documentation, such as visas, will continue to check in at the airport.

United app for Passport

“We are focused on building the most useful travel app in the industry for our customers,” said Scott Wilson, United’s vice president of merchandising and ecommerce. “The new passport scanning feature saves valuable time and provides customers with more options to control their travel experience.”

United will collect feedback during the testing phase of passport scanning functionality with the goal of further improving the product and launching additional customer-friendly features utilizing this technology.

Last year, United launched its all-new mobile app, and since then more than 13 million customers have downloaded it. CIO Magazine recently selected United as a recipient of its prestigious CIO 100 Award, recognizing the airline’s commitment to improving the customer experience with mobile technology. Later this year, United will begin to introduce its all-new united.com website, providing customers a simplified, clearer and faster user experience.

In 2007, United became the first U.S. airline to introduce mobile boarding passes, and it is the first U.S. carrier to offer mobile boarding at all 214 domestic airports it serves. United currently offers mobile boarding at 54 international airports, more than any other U.S.-based carrier.

Copyright Photo: Mark Durbin/AirlinersGallery.com. Up close. United’s sleek Boeing 767-424 ER N69059 (msn 29454) rotates on the runway and departs from the San Francisco international hub.

United Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

Alaska Airlines’ new TV commercial with Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson

Alaska Airlines (Seattle/Tacoma) has introduced this new TV commercial, mostly for showing in the Pacific Northwest hometown market featuring Seattle Seahawks and Super Bowl champion quarterback Russell Wilson.

In addition, Boeing 737-990 ER N453AS (msn 36354) is now wearing special “Go Russell!” markings.

Alaska 737-900ER WL N453AS (90-Go Russell)(Close-Up)(Alaska)(LRW)

Copyright Photo: Alaska Airlines.

The airline issued this short statement with the video above:

Champions never rest. We’ve enlisted the support of our Chief Football Officer quarterback Russell Wilson to put our employees through the paces at a specially designed training camp.

The NFL teams have started their pre-season schedule.

Alaska Airlines: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Nick Dean/AirlinersGallery.com. Now repainted, Boeing supported the hometown Seahawks during the previous Super Bowl with this Boeing 747-87UF N770BA (msn 37564) which was painted in the colors of the National Football League (NFL) team.

British Airways to suspend flights to Freetown and Monrovia due to Ebola virus fears

British Airways (London) is suspending the London (Heathrow)-Freetown-Monrovia until at least the end of the month due to Ebola virus fears.

Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil/Airlinersgallery.com. Boeing 767-336 ER G-BZHA (msn 29230) arrives at the London (Heathrow) hub.

British Airways: AG Slide Show

Emirates today arrives in Chicago

Emirates (Dubai) today (August 6) will arrive in Chicago. The fast-growing airline commenced a daily nonstop passenger service to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport from Dubai.

The new service will operate as flight EK 235, departing from Dubai International airport at 9:45 a.m. (0945) and arriving at O’Hare at 3:25 p.m. (1525) The return flight, EK 236, will depart O’Hare at 8:35 p.m. (2035) and arrive in Dubai at 7:10 p.m. (1910) the next day. The route will be served by the U.S.-built Boeing 777-200 LR aircraft powered by GE90 engines.

In addition to passenger service, the Chicago-Dubai flight will carry up to 17 tons of cargo per flight and increase trade links between the two cities. Emirates began operating cargo service to Chicago in 2013. Currently, Emirates SkyCargo flies a twice-weekly, dedicated freight service out of O’Hare that carried nearly 12,000 tons of cargo last year.

Emirates began passenger services to the U.S. in 2004 with services to New York. The airline has steadily added more U.S. routes over the past decade. Chicago is the ninth U.S. gateway to join the Emirates network, following the launch of the Boston service in March. In the past decade, Emirates has flown more than 9 million people to and from the U.S. and is the airline which carries the most amount of passengers between the U.S. and Middle East. To cater to that demand, Emirates is upsizing services on its Dallas/Fort Worth, San Francisco and Houston (Bush Intercontinental) routes to its iconic double-decker A380 aircraft in late 2014.

Emirates is the largest operator of Boeing 777 aircraft in the world, with a fleet of 128 passenger aircraft and 11 freighters. The airline is a launch customer of Boeing’s new 777X. In November 2013, Emirates placed the largest single order in commercial aviation history for 150 777X aircraft valued at $76 billion. Based on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s aerospace export multiplier, this order will support more than 400,000 jobs in the United States.

The flight to Chicago is scheduled as a 14-hour, 40-minute flight.

Copyright Photo:Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-21H LR A6-EWA (msn 35572) arrives in Los Angeles.

Emirates: AG Slide Show

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