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Korean Air is coming to Houston

Korean Air (Seoul) will launch four flights a week for its Seoul (Incheon) hub to Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) on May 2 according to Airline Route. The new route will be operated with Boeing 777-200 ERs.

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-2B5 ER HL7530 (msn 27945) of Korean Air  arrives at Toronto (Pearson).

Korean Air: AG Slide Show

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Will JetBlue Airways move into the void at Cleveland Hopkins?

JetBlue Airways (New York) like other carriers, is always looking at route opportunities. With United Airlines de-hubbing Cleveland Hopkins, there is now a void of air service at CLE.  According to this article by The Plain Dealer, JetBlue stated it has no plans for CLE, but it is always monitoring other airlines and their route decisions and is always considering its options.

If not JetBlue, who will move into the Cleveland market?

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Meanwhile The Plain Dealer looks at why United Airlines pulled out of its hub out at Cleveland. Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 N635JB (msn 2725) lands at Long Beach.

JetBlue Airways: AG Slide Show

SilkAir takes delivery of its first Boeing 737-800

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SilkAir (Singapore) and Boeing (Chicago and Seattle) celebrated the delivery of the carrier’s first Next-Generation 737-800 (737-8SA 9V-MGA, msn 44217). The delivery also marked the start of the airline’s transition to an all-Boeing fleet. Over the coming years, Boeing will deliver a total of 23 737-800s and 31 737 MAX 8s to SilkAir.

SilkAir’s new 737 will enter service later this month, flying to existing destinations including in Malaysia,Thailand and Indonesia. With the follow-on 737 deliveries, SilkAir will fly the aircraft to more destinations in Cambodia, Vietnam, India and the Philippines starting in March.

SilkAir is a full-service airline and the regional wing of Singapore Airlines. It currently flies more than 350 weekly flights to 45 destinations in 12 countries.

SilkAir is also celebrating its 25th Anniversary. The airline issued this statement in January:

With 25 years in the air under its wing, SilkAir, the regional wing of Singapore Airlines, will be celebrating its Silver anniversary this year. Marking its anniversary celebrations, the airline will be taking delivery of the first aircraft in its new fleet of 54 Boeing 737s in early February 2014. A total of eight planes are expected this year, with the remaining aircraft to be delivered by the end of this decade. This delivery will enable SilkAir to maintain a young and modern fleet, and cater for the airline’s continued network expansion plans by significantly growing its existing fleet. With the new aircraft, several enhancements will be offered to improve the in-flight experience for travellers including upgraded cabin interiors with more spacious overhead luggage compartments and lighting systems.

In addition to the milestone aircraft delivery, SilkAir will roll out a host of surprises and celebrations for their avid Asian traveller target. For starters, to rally consumers and involve them in SilkAir’s historic Boeing delivery, the airline will bring fans and aviation lovers together to virtually deliver the new aircraft to Singapore. Tracking the actual delivery route, from the Boeing Renton factory in Seattle to Singapore’s Changi Airport via Honolulu, Majuro and Guam, the ‘Bringing Boeing Home with SilkAir’ program is Asia’s first 25-hour flight simulator event that will allow up to 150 selected members of the public to fly a simulator SilkAir Boeing 737-800 plane into Singapore. The event will take place overnight from February 7-8, 2014 at Flight Experience Singapore, located at the Singapore Flyer.

SilkAir travellers will also be rewarded through special promotional deals where 250,000 tickets will be made available at special rates for consumers in Singapore and across the region.

Commenting on the anniversary celebrations, SilkAir Chief Executive, Mr. Leslie Thng, said “It is a tremendously exciting time for the airline, and I am honoured and humbled to be part of such a milestone celebration. I would like to pay a special tribute to our 1,500 employees who have been with us on our incredible 25 year journey. Without their unwavering support, dedication and heart, we would not be here today.”

He added, “SilkAir’s success is also due to the on-going support from our passengers and the public. Helping travellers discover Asia’s newest frontiers for the past 25 years, we are always looking at ways to enhance the journey for our customers. Our new Boeing fleet will enable us to put the passenger at the centre of our focus, with the objective to deliver a higher level of quality and experience. Despite aggressive competition, we have maintained a strong foothold in the market as a full service regional carrier and become known for offering access to unique destinations, with genuine and thoughtful service that exemplifies true Asian hospitality. Moving forward, we will continue to improve and adapt, catering to the evolving needs of travellers in Asia. For instance, to appeal to a more well-travelled audience looking for adventure, we will focus on expanding our network to unique destinations especially in key markets such as China, India and Indonesia. We will continue to build on the last 25 years, and soar to new heights of air travel excellence.”

The demand for flight travel in Asia-Pacific continues to rise, presenting vast opportunities for growth. The Boeing 737-800 delivery allows SilkAir to tap into the growing demand and explore the opening of routes across Asia for our travellers. To meet the need for more crew and pilots with the right skills to operate and run the Boeing 737 fleet, SilkAir has invested in conversion training at Singapore’s Boeing Flight Services Training Centre to equip existing staff with the skills needed for the transition.

The first aircraft is planned to enter service from February 20, 2014, flying to destinations including Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Phuket and Medan while the arrival of the second plane will allow the addition of other routes for the new aircraft including Siem Reap, Danang, Davao, Cebu and Kochi from March 17, 2014.

Since its inception, the airline’s network has expanded to cover 45 exotic destinations in 12 countries across the region. A full-service carrier that offers services and features that ensure enjoyable and reliable travel experiences, SilkAir has maintained a strong position in the intra-Asian market and is already Asia’s most awarded regional airline, with recent titles such as Regional Airline of the Year (Air Transport News 2013 Awards) as well as the TTG Asia Travel Awards Hall of Fame to its name.

Copyright Photo: Boeing. SilkAir and Boeing on Monday (February 3) celebrated the delivery of the carrier’s first Next-Generation 737-800. The delivery also marked the start of the Singapore-based airline’s transition to an all-Boeing fleet. Pictured here is a celebration with company and airline employees at Boeing Field in Seattle on Monday.

SilkAir: AG Slide Show

Video:

SilkAir logo

Route Map:

SilkAir 2.2014 Route Map

Alaska Airlines and the IAM tentatively agree on a new five-year contract

Alaska Airlines (Seattle/Tacoma) and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) have reached a tentative agreement on a new five-year contract for the carrier’s 2,500 clerical, office and passenger service employees.

The proposed contract includes pay raises and job security provisions, among other improvements.

The current three-year contract became amendable on January 1. Results of a ratification vote on the new contract are expected in early April. Contracts in the airline industry do not expire. Once they become amendable, the current contract remains in effect until a new agreement is ratified.

Copyright Photo: James Helbock/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-890 N570AS (msn 35185) decorated in the “Follow Us to Disneyland Resort – Disney Cars” motif arrives in Los Angeles.

Alaska Airlines: AG Slide Show

Southwest Airlines announces new routes from Dallas’ Love Field

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) today announced the airline will offer new nonstop service to domestic destinations from its Dallas Love Field base following the repeal of flight restrictions imposed in 1979 limiting the reach of Dallas’ most convenient airport.

Southwest will begin serving five new nonstop destinations on October 13, 2014 followed by ten additional new nonstop destinations on November 2, 2014. The addition of these 15 new nonstop destinations will bring Southwest to a total of 31 nonstop destinations from Love Field.

“The official repeal of Wright Amendment federal flight restrictions signifies a turning point for the Southwest brand not just in Dallas, but from coast-to-coast,” said Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines Chairman, President, and CEO. “We are pleased to offer this new service to the Customers of our home airport, who have waited 34 long years, and we thank the many, many folks who made this opportunity a reality.  Goodbye, Wright Amendment. Hello, America!”

Beginning October 13, 2014, Southwest Airlines will launch nonstop service from Dallas Love Field to:

  • Baltimore/Washington (BWI)
  • Denver
  • Las Vegas
  • Orlando
  • Chicago Midway

 

Beginning November 2, 2014, Southwest Airlines will launch nonstop service from Dallas Love Field to:

  • Atlanta
  • Nashville
  • Washington, D.C. (Reagan National)
  • Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • New York (LaGuardia)
  • Phoenix
  • San Diego
  • Orange County/Santa Ana
  • Tampa

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and former U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison today joined Kelly and Southwest Employees at a news conference to celebrate the momentous occasion.

The Wright Amendment, and its subsequent revisions, limit Southwest Airlines’ current nonstop all jet service from Dallas Love Field to nine states including Texas.  The repeal of the federal law rewrites the map by allowing Southwest to potentially serve an additional 41 states and the District of Columbia(Reagan National airport) from Love Field.

In May, the airline will announce the specific flight schedules and fares for the sale of the new service.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-7H4 N715SW (msn 27849) dressed in the Shamu design of SeaWorld Adventure Parks, arrives in Las Vegas.

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show

Frontier Airlines is coming to St. Augustine, Florida

Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) is coming to St. Augustine, Florida. This is the first airline service for St. Augustine (located between Daytona Beach and Jacksonville) since the demise of Skybus Airlines (2nd) (Columbus, Ohio) on April 5, 2008.

The airline has announced it will expand its service at Trenton-Mercer Airport (TTN), in Ewing, New Jersey, with the addition of nonstop service to Northeast Florida Regional Airport in St. Augustine, Florida beginning on May 2 with initial service of three flights per week.

Frontier is the only airline providing scheduled service out of Trenton-Mercer Airport (near Philadelphia).

The addition of St. Augustine / Jacksonville area brings Frontier’s total nonstop destinations served from Trenton-Mercer Airport to 14:

  • Atlanta
  • Charlotte
  • Chicago-Midway
  • Cincinnati
  • Cleveland
  • Detroit
  • Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood
  • Fort Myers
  • Indianapolis
  • Nashville
  • Orlando
  • Raleigh-Durham
  • Tampa
  • St. Augustine


All Frontier flights from Trenton/Princeton operate on 138-seat Airbus A319 aircraft.

In other news, Frontier ended service from both Madison, Wisconsin and Omaha, Nebraska t0 Washington (Reagan National) on February 1.

Read about St. Augustine’s efforts to lure another airline to this airport without airline service from Jacksonville.com: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Mark Durbin/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-111 N906FR (msn 1684) taxies at San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

Frontier Airlines: AG Slide Show

Current Route Map:

Frontier 2.2014 Route Map

Lufthansa asks the European Commission to block any Alitalia-Etihad Airways alliance

Lufthansa (Frankfurt) has called on the European Commission to block any alliance and buy-in between Alitalia (2nd) (Rome) and Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi). Etihad, which already has alliances with Aer Lingus, Airberlin and Air Serbia in Europe, is reportedly close to a deal with Alitalia according to Reuters. Lufthansa has lobbied against state-owned Gulf airlines (especially Emirates Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways) from expanding in Europe because of their unfair state aid.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 747-830 D-ABYH (msn 37832) climbs majestically from the runway at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Lufthansa: AG Slide Show

Alitalia to finalize loans of $270 million with the banks in order to keep flying

Alitalia (2nd) (Rome) is about to finalize loans of around $270 million with banks that were pledged last year as part of a plan to keep the Italian flag carrier according to Reuters. However the carrier is coming under increasing pressure on its Italian turf from lost cost carriers (especially easyJet and Ryanair) now adding flights in Italy.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner/AirlinersGallery.com. Embraer ERJ 170-200LR (ERJ 175) EI-RDF (msn 17000337) taxies at Zurich (ZRH).

Alitalia: AG Slide Show

Flybe now expects to cut 450 positions

Flybe (Exeter), currently under a reorganization aimed at cutting costs under a new CEO (Saad Hammad), expects its job cuts to be smaller than the original 500 redundancies it expected. It now expects to cut around 450 positions according to this report by Reuters.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) G-JECT (msn 4144) with the image of Matt Le Tissuer) arrives at London (Gatwick).

Flybe: AG Slide Show

RAK Airways is gone, Air Arabia to become the official airline of Ras al-Khaimah

RAK Airways (Ras al-Khaimah) remains grounded as we previously reported and will not return. Air Arabia (Sharjah) will become the official airline of Ras al-Khaimah. The airline signed a strategic partnership today with RAK’s Department of Civil Aviation (DCA).

Ras al-Khaimah is one of the Persian Gulf Arab sheikdoms and part of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Its name means “Top of the Tent”. The emirate is in the northern part of the UAE.

Air Arabia today issued this statement:

Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), Ras Al Khaimah announced today (February 2) that it has signed a strategic partnership with Air Arabia, enabling the airline to become the Emirate’s designated carrier operating services from Ras Al Khaimah International Airport. Connecting Ras Al Khaimah to several destinations in the region, the major new collaboration is set to witness a significant increase in the number of destinations accessible to residents of Ras Al Khaimah and neighboring Northern Emirates.

The launch of partnership between the low-cost pioneer and the Department of Civil Aviation, RAK is expected to support Ras Al Khaimah’s standing as an attractive tourist destination, while acting as a key catalyst for the further economic development of the Emirate. The development also means that Air Arabia now becomes the official carrier of Ras Al Khaimah Emirate.

Describing the partnership as a “unique collaboration,” His Excellency Engr. Sheikh Salem Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman, Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), Ras Al Khaimah said: “Today’s announcement is a natural step in the next stage of Ras Al Khaimah’s aviation development, driven by the Emirate’s steady economy, expanding population, growing industrial activity, and tourism. We are delighted to be entering into a strategic agreement with an extremely successful airline and are confident about the benefits this partnership will bring to the Emirate of Ras al Khaimah.”

He added: “As Ras Al Khaimah continues to position itself as an attractive tourist destination, we are confident that this partnership will help us achieve our long-term goals, benefiting from Air Arabia’s operational track record, impressive network and management expertise.”

Adel Ali, Group Chief Executive Officer of Air Arabia said: “Joining hands with DCA, Ras Al Khaimah in this new partnership aims at further developing the aviation industry in the northern Emirates and support Ras Al Khaimah’s ambitious economic plans. The Emirate’s tourism sector is witnessing a strong and steady growth and we are optimistic that this will continue to grow in the years to come.”

Ali continued: “The major collaboration is a true reflection of the strength of the UAE aviation infrastructure and potential growth. Furthermore, we are extremely confident that the launch of Air Arabia’s operations in Ras Al Khaimah Airport will further transform the travel and tourism sectors in the Emirate as well as provide customers with great accessibility and value for money air travel.”

Established in October 2003, Air Arabia PJSC, listed on the Dubai Financial Market, currently operates services to 90 destinations covering the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and the Indian Subcontinent from three operating hubs in Sharjah, UAE; Alexandria, Egypt; and Casablanca, Morocco.

The Department of Civil Aviation, Ras Al Khaimah is responsible for operation and regulation of the air transport system in Ras Al Khaimah. The DCA was established in 1974 to support the Emirate’s economic and social development.

Air Arabia 10 Years logo (Air Arabia)

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton/AirlinersGallery.com (all others by Air Arabia). Airbus A320-214 A6-ANB (msn 4524) with special “10 Years” logo celebrating its 10th Anniversary arrives back at the Sharjah hub.

Air Arabia (Sharjah): AG Slide Show

Air Arabia (Sharjah) logo

Current Route Map:

Air Arabia 2.2014 Route Map

Air Arabia (Sharjah) A320 Cockpit (Air Arabia)(LR)

United Airlines is dropping the Cleveland hub

United Airlines (Chicago) is reported to be on the verge of de-hubbing its struggling Cleveland Hopkins International Airport hub according to this report by WKYC. According to the report, a majority of the current routes routes will be dropped. CEO Jeff Smisek is quoted as saying the CLE hub is losing money and the losses cannot be sustained. A press conference is scheduled for tomorrow by Mayor Frank G. Jackson.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-924 N71411 (msn 30128) climbs away from the runway at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

United Airlines: AG Slide Show

United logo-1

United’s Current Domestic Route Map (CLE has always been in the shadow of the large Chicago O’Hare hub):

United 2.2014 Domestic Route Map

Fly Olympic starts operations in Sweden

Fly Olympic (Sweden) (Small Planet) A320-200 LY-SPC (13)(Tko) ARN (Fly Olympic)(LR)

Fly Olympic (FlyOlympic.se) (Stockholm-Arlanda) is a new Swedish airline and also an affiliate of AeroPacific AB. The company has leased and painted an Airbus A320-231 LY-SPC (msn 415) from Small Planet Airlines. According to its website, the new airline is operating from Stockholm to Asmara, Baghdad, Erbil, London (Gatwick) Mogadishu, Mykonos, Sulaymaniyah and Thira (Santorini). Flights are also operated from Gothenburg.

According to the company, Fly Olympic also teamed up with Germania to launch operations on November 25, 2013 to Erbil and Sulaymaniyah.

Copyright Photo: Fly Olympic.

Fly Olympic (Sweden) logo

UPS posts a net profit of $1.2 billion for 2013

UPS (United Parcel Service) (UPS Airlines) (Atlanta) posted net earnings of $1.2 billion for 2013. The company issued this full financial statement for the fourth quarter and 2013:

UPS released details regarding fourth quarter 2013 results. Diluted earnings per share totaled $1.25, a $0.07 decline from 2012 fourth quarter adjusted results. Average daily package volume increased 6.0%, as total deliveries in December surged 20%. Significantly higher than predicted volume and inclement weather contributed to excess operating costs in the U.S., negatively affecting results.

During the fourth quarter 2012, UPS reported a diluted earnings per share loss of $1.83, due to an after-tax, non-cash charge of $3.0 billion to account for a mark-to-market pension adjustment.

“As the retail market shifts to a direct-to-consumer model, more and more companies are leveraging UPS solutions,” said Scott Davis, UPS chairman and CEO. “As a result, we experienced an unprecedented increase in volume, exceeding even our most optimistic plans.

“The increased volume put a strain on our network, causing delays. In response, UPS deployed additional people and equipment, placing a greater emphasis on service than cost,” Davis explained. “UPS will make the necessary investments and operational improvements to ensure we meet the needs of the marketplace.”

The company expects full-year diluted earnings per share to be within a range of $5.05 to $5.30, an increase of 11%-to-16% over 2013 adjusted results.

UPS delivered 20 million packages per day during the fourth quarter. Total shipments in 2013 increased to 4.3 billion, a 3.9% improvement over 2012.

During the holiday period, global daily deliveries exceeded expectations by surpassing 29 million packages on five days, with peak volume exceeding 31 million on December 23. Also during this period, UPS experienced 10 days with delivery volume that exceeded the company’s previous high.

Cash Flow

For the year ended Dec. 31, UPS generated $5.3 billion in free cash flow, producing a net income-to-cash conversion ratio of more than 120%. The company paid dividends of $2.3 billion, an increase of nearly 9% per share over the prior year, and repurchased more than 43 million shares for approximately $3.8 billion.

U.S. Domestic Package

U.S. Domestic fourth quarter revenue improved 4.2% to $9.3 billion. Daily package volume increased 5.6% with Deferred and Ground leading the way, up 8.0% and 5.8% respectively.

Total revenue per package declined 1.3%, as lower fuel surcharges, changes in product and customer mix, as well as higher service refunds, contributed to the drop.  Shippers continue to utilize the UPS portfolio, choosing lower cost over faster delivery, as evidenced by more than 30% growth in UPS SurePost.

Operating profit totaled $1.2 billion as additional costs associated with a greater-than-expected surge in volume and weather led to a $178 million decline from the prior-year adjusted results. Increased compensation and benefit costs reflected the deployment of additional resources in an attempt to meet service commitments.  During the quarter, UPS exceeded seasonal hiring targets by more than 30,000, deploying a total of 85,000 temporary employees. In addition, the company experienced significantly higher purchased transportation expenses.

On a reported basis, the operating loss for the fourth quarter of 2012 totaled $1.8 billion as a result of the mark-to-market pension charge.

International Package

International revenue increased 5.3% to $3.4 billion on 8.8% growth in daily package volume. UPS Export products rose 9.5% per day, driven primarily by 13% growth in Europe and significant growth in the Asia-to-Europe trade lane. Non-U.S. domestic products were up 8.2% with strong growth in Poland, Italy, and Canada. During December, the segment achieved a peak volume day above four million pieces and exceeded last year’s high on 11 days.

Export yield declined 3.4% on a currency neutral basis, as a result of lower fuel surcharges and customer preference for non-premium products. Double-digit gains in Pan-European shipments also lowered revenue per piece.

Operating profit improved 7.6% to $537 million. Operating margin expanded 30 basis points to 15.9%, compared to last year’s adjusted results.

On a reported basis, the operating loss for the fourth quarter of 2012 totaled $442 million as a result of the mark-to-market pension charge.

Supply Chain & Freight

Revenue in the segment fell 5.8% to $2.3 billion, due to declines in the Freight Forwarding unit. Operating profit was flat compared to 2012 adjusted results, as improvements in Distribution offset declines in Forwarding and UPS Freight.

On a reported basis, the operating loss for the fourth quarter of 2012 was $541 million as a result of the mark-to-market pension charge.

The Forwarding unit experienced a revenue decline resulting from decreased tonnage and revenue per kilo, in International Air Freight. The Ocean Freight business reported growth in shipments and operating margin expansion.

Distribution revenue increased over the prior year period. The retail and healthcare sectors contributed to the improved results. Global footprint expanded during the year to 284 facilities, with more than 22 million square feet of space.

UPS Freight LTL revenue increased 2.3% over the prior year driven by LTL tonnage and pricing improvements.

Outlook

The company announced plans to repurchase $2.7 billion of UPS shares during 2014. Capital expenditures are anticipated to be approximately $2.5 billion. This includes accelerated deployments in operational technologies and over $500 million of increased investments in capacity expansion and hub modernization.

“While the year ended on a challenging note, we are confident in our ability to adapt and we expect much better results in 2014,” said Kurt Kuehn, UPS chief financial officer. “UPS expects balanced profitability growth across all segments in a slightly better economic environment, resulting in full-year guidance of diluted earnings per share of $5.05 to $5.30, an 11%-to-16% increase over our 2013 adjusted results.”

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 757-24A (PF) N416UP (msn 23903) prepares to arrive in Las Vegas.

UPS Airlines: AG Slide Show

Bloomberg visits UPS’ sorting hub at UPS Worldport, Louisville, Kentucky:

UPS-We Love Logistics logo

 

American Airlines Group considers new destinations from the US Airways Charlotte hub

American Airlines‘ (Dallas/Fort Worth) new CEO (and old US Airways and America West Airlines CEO) Doug Parker stated to the Charlotte Observer and others via a conference call that they plan to add “new dots on the map” for the Charlotte hub. AA executives are now reviewing the combined route map for new opportunities. CLT is now the second largest hub (behind DFW) for the American Airlines Group.

American is also adding more seats to its planes.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. The old met the new at the Charlotte hub. Allegheny Airlines became USAir, later US Airways which merged with American Airlines with US Airways management taking over the “new” American. Airbus A319-112 N700UW (msn 885) of US Airways was the first aircraft to be paint in the new American Airlines brand.

American Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

American Airlines (historic): AG Slide Show

US Airways: AG Slide Show

Flybe announces a major expansion at Birmingham with seven new routes

Flybe (Exeter) has unveiled a major expansion of its operations at Birmingham Airport with the announcement of seven new routes that includes a six times a week service to Florence, in a first for the airport; daily flights to Cologne; a six times a week service to Toulouse; a five times a week service to Alicante and four times a week to Bordeaux, Palma Mallorca and Porto.

Flybe  is also adding three of its 2×2 seat Embraer 175 jets to the airport thereby creating its biggest ever regional base with 12 aircraft, thereby creating more than 50 new Flybe jobs.

Travel is effective from April 10, 2014 to Alicante, Cologne, Florence and Porto; and from May 13 for the remaining three routes (Bordeaux, Palma and Toulouse), the majority of flights will utilize Flybe’s new 88-seat E175 jet aircraft (see above).

The company last week announced it will be boosting the frequency on three of its most popular European routes from the end of March namely those to Hanover, Milan-Malpensa and Stuttgart. 

As a result of the seven new destinations, Flybe will now operate 32 routes to and from Birmingham for the Summer of 2014 with a choice of up to 375 return flights a week totalling an impressive 1.7 million seats.

Copyright Photo: Ole Simon/AirlinersGallery.com. Embraer ERJ 170-200STD (ERJ 175) G-FBJA (msn 17000326) taxies at Dusseldorf.

Flybe: AG Slide Show

Flybe logo

Routes from Birmingham:

Flybe Birmingham 1.2014 Route Map

AirBridgeCargo add its fifth Boeing 747-8 freighter, reports its growth in 2013

AirBridgeCargo-ABC (Moscow), part of Volga-Dnepr Group and Russia’s largest cargo airline, recently celebrated the delivery of the airline’s fifth 747-8 Freighter (VQ-BRJ, msn 37670) on December 27, 2013.

With delivery of the fifth 747-8 Freighter, AirBridgeCargo continues to follow its long-term fleet modernization strategy to further improve the quality of its product. The new aircraft will be used on ABC’s existing route network linking Europe, Asia and the United States via the airline’s hub in Moscow.

At present AirBridgeCargo’s fleet consists of 12 Boeing 747s, including five Boeing 747-400ERFs (Extended Range Freighters), three Boeing 747-400 Freighters and five Boeing 747-8 Freighters.

The carrier achieved a 5% growth in cargo tonnage in 2013, with its highest ever volume of 340,000 tons across its network linking Europe, Russia, Asia and North America.

The airline reported volume growth on all of its major routes and this was matched by a 5% improvement in revenue. AirBridgeCargo’s Freight Ton-Kilometers (FTK) rose 15% in 2013, while its average load factor of 72% show a marginal 1.7% gain over the previous year.

Despite challenging market conditions in 2013, ABC continued with its long-term fleet modernisation strategy and took delivery of two more new generation freighters Boeing 747-8F. With the delivery of its fifth Boeing 747-8F in December 2013, AirBridgeCargo  completed its fleet renewal plan which began two years ago. This investment has reduced the average age of its aircraft fleet from nine years at the end of 2011 to three years at the end of 2013. At present, ABC’s fleet is one of the youngest in the air cargo industry.

AirBridgeCargo took delivery of its first Boeing 747-8F (VQ-BLQ) (see above) in January 2012, with the second and third aircraft joining its fleet in March and December 2012. The fourth new generation freighter entered service with ABC in September last year. As part of the modernization program, ABC removed four older aircraft from its fleet; two Boeing 747-200F, one Boeing 747-300F and a Boeing 747-400ERF. A further 747-400ERF will leave its fleet in 2014.

In 2013, AirBridgeCargo joined the Olympic movement with the delivery of 126 tons of broadcasting equipment as well as 214 tons of sports and lighting equipment for the 2014 Winter Olympics taking place in the Russia City of Sochi in February. The flights were performed using Boeing 747 and Boeing 737 cargo aircraft.

Copyright Photo: Bernhard Ross/AirlinersGallery.com. The first, Boeing 747-8HVF VQ-BLQ (msn 37581) taxies at Frankfurt.

AirBridgeCargo Airlines: AG Slide Show

JAL Group upgrades and introduces “Welcome! JAL New Sky” for its domestic flights

JAL Sky Wi-Fi

JAL Group (JAL-Japan Airlines) (Tokyo) has launched JAL New Sky Project, a thorough revamp of its in-flight products and services under a collective theme “Welcome! JAL New Sky”.

JAL introduces more details on the fully revamped cabin interiors and new in-flight internet service on domestic routes, which the airline released last year. Under the theme of “Pioneering Standard” and following with the project of produces and services aim to provide more comfortable experience and convenience during every journeys on domestic routes, the airline will start to introduce revamped aircraft with updated cabin interiors through May 2014, and the in-flight internet service will be provided from July 2014.

Applicable Aircraft:

Domestic Boeing 777-200/300
Domestic Boeing 767-300/300ER
Domestic Boeing 737-800
(Total of 77 aircraft according to schedule)

From May 2014 according to schedule
(In-flight internet service will start from July 2014)

JAL will provide in-flight Wi-Fi service on domestic routes, and passengers are able to access internet or in-flight entertainment website by using their Wi-Fi enabled personal terminals, Smartphone, tablet or notebook PC.

Passenger can use their own wireless LAN devices to watch Sports, gourmet, music, anime and other plentiful video programs including SKY RURUBU (travel information), flight information and JAL website for free of charge. *Some video programs are examined to be included within fee based service.

JAL is the first Japanese carrier ever to provide in-flight Internet service (fee based) on domestic routes, using Gogo®’s communications satellites. Passengers will be able to access internet, send/receive e-mails and SNS etc. via their own smartphone, tablet and notebook computer and other wireless LAN devices during the flight.

The new leather seating in J-class and Economy class will be made from the same high-quality genuine leather used for seats installed in luxury vehicles. The airline’s plan is to revamp all the cabin seats in both classes on the domestic routes. In addition, carpet installed throughout the cabin will also be replaced to match the redesigned interiors.

Seating in JAL’s popular Class J will offer slightly wider space for passengers to enjoy their time in-flight, and the new genuine leather covered seats will evoke a feeling of luxury. The seat pitch in Class J is 97cm in average which is approximately 18cm more legroom than it in Economy Class.

20140130_SKY NEXT_fig7_en.jpg20140130_SKY NEXT_fig8_en.jpg

Based on the concept “air-like lighting”, the cabin atmosphere can be easily changed according to the flight hours, the season, and the natural rhythm of time to create a relaxing ambience and a feeling of Japan.

 

20140130_SKY NEXT_fig9_en.jpg

First class service will be installed on nine domestic Boeing 767-300ER from the Fall of 2014.

20140130_SKY NEXT_fig11_en.jpg

Copyright Photo: Japan Airlines (JAL Group).
Japan Airlines: AG Slide Show

An inside look at Emirates state-of-the-art aircraft paint shop at Dubai

Emirates (Dubai) has provided this unique inside look at how it operates the world largest state-of-the-art aircraft paint shop:

Emirates, a global connector of people and places, operates the world’s largest fleets of Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s, and to serve these aircraft, it runs the world’s largest state-of-the-art aircraft paint hangar owned by an airline.

Located at Dubai International Airport, Emirates’ paint hangar is more than twice the size of a football field, and has been designed to deliver quality that exceeds even the standards of aircraft manufacturers.

A Boeing 777 is stripped of its exterior paint in the Emirates paint hangar.

In 2013, Emirates’ advanced paint hangar completely stripped 21 aircraft (or nearly 10% of its fleet) of exterior paint and gave them a brand new coat. It took 6,550 hours in total, or 273 days and nights of non-stop stripping and repainting, to complete these “make-overs”.  In addition to these major projects, the paint shop was kept fully engaged with over 60,000 other paint touch-up jobs on the exteriors and interiors of the aircraft, as well as cabin items.

“Our aircraft livery is one of the most recognisable and visible aspects of our brand. It is what people see in the sky, and the first thing our passengers see at their boarding gates. We take pride in maintaining our aircraft to the highest possible standards, and it is important our planes look pristine on the outside as well as on the inside,” said Adel Al Redha, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, Emirates.

“It’s not just about looking good. The paint coat has to withstand fierce weather conditions, including severe wind, bitter cold and searing heat, and an exterior coat that is clean of debris and imperfections improves aerodynamics and reduces fuel consumption. Emirates already flies a young and efficient fleet, but with fuel prices at consistently high levels, every little bit of efficiency counts,” he added.

Emirates previously had a minor paint booth in its Dubai hub to manage minor jobs while outsourcing the big projects to an external supplier.  Building its own paint hangar has helped the airline to better control total quality, and co-ordinate flight operations scheduling. Since the paint hangar started operations in August 2010, it has completed 59 full aircraft “strip-and-repaint” projects and several hundred thousand aircraft component paintings.

After every seven to eight years in service, Emirates fully strips its aircraft of their exterior colour and gives them a brand-new coat. A Boeing 777 requires a team of 26 to 30 people for a full strip-and-repaint project, which is turned around in just 12 to 13 days.

Emirates’ paint hangar operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It employs highly skilled and specialised staff for this purpose, and uses the latest technologies and systems including fully-controlled environments that regulate temperature, humidity and airflow – all of which are critical factors for the perfect glossy coat.

Since the airline’s launch in 1985, all Emirates aircraft wear their white coat with the iconic golden Emirates letters and tail fin in the colours of the flag of the United Arab Emirates.

The branding underwent a subtle change only once in 2000. The flag was redesigned to appear as though it was flowing in the wind and the letters assumed the new Emirates typeface making them softer and more in-keeping with the Arabic calligraphy. The new look had a buoyant tone making it more contemporary, yet retained the classic look which had become well-known since 1985.

Emirates’ first A380, which entered service in August 2008, will be due for a full repaint in 2015. Emirates operates the largest fleet of A380 with 44 in total and an additional 96 on order. It also operates the world’s largest fleet of Boeing 777s with 132 in service and 210 more on order.

Copyright Photo: Emirates:

Emirates: AG Slide Show

Video:

Brussels Airlines announces a major European expansion with nine new destinations

Brussels Airlines‘ (Brussels) CEO Bernard Gustin revealed the new commercial strategy of Brussels Airlines. In recent months, the airline has been working hard on the improvement of its productivity and decreased by 10 percent its cost structure. At the same time the company invested heavily in service and comfort for its passengers. The efforts led to a significant passenger growth, increased passenger satisfaction and improved profitability. This has allowed the company to invest in the expansion of its network. This spring and summer several new routes will be added to the Brussels Airlines schedule. Therefore two additional Airbus A319 aircraft will be added to the fleet over the following months.

In total nine new summer destinations were announced, as well as two new year-round destinations. It is the largest network expansion in the history of the company. With Ajaccio, Athens, Bari, Bastia, Cagliari, Figari, Malta, Montpellier and Seville, the airline is adding popular summer holiday destinations to its portfolio. The new year-round services to Krakow and Warsaw illustrate a strong investment in the Polish market. The flight frequencies to several existing destinations (Florence, Palermo, Marseille, Catania and Madrid) will also be increased, which results in a total of 400,000 additional seats offered in 2014.

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-113 OO-SSP (msn 644) climbs away from Geneva.

Brussels Airlines: AG Slide Show

 

 

 

Norwegian hires 170 American flight attendants

Norwegian Long Haul (Norwegian Air Shuttle) (Norwegian.com) (Oslo) has been recruiting for American employees since October 2012 to serve as flight attendants. The airline has received over 5,500 applications for the 300 open positions. So far it has hired 170 flight attendants for based positions in New York and Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood. Another 130 FAs will be hired. Some of the recruits have finished their training and are already flying as we previously reported.

All new employees work under U.S. pay standards and conditions.

Norwegian’s long-haul routes in 2014:

Bangkok: Oslo and Stockholm
New York City: Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Oslo and London
Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood: Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen and London
Los Angeles: Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen and London
San Francisco: Oslo and Stockholm
Orlando: Oslo

Copyright Photo: Norwegian. Some of the new U.S. recruits are pictured.

Norwegian: AG Slide Show

Video: New crew members talk about working for Norwegian:

 

Sky King ceases all operations

Sky King‘s (Lakeland) remaining employees were notified on January 26, 2014 that Sky King, Inc. was ceasing operations. On January 6, 2014, President Frank Visconti was replaced by Dr. Daniel Carson, formerly of Vision Airlines. According to this article by AviationPros.com, Lakeland Linder Regional Airport Director Gene Conrad confirmed the charter airline has suspended operations at LAL.

Sky King in late 2013 returned most of its fleet as it lost some business including many of its charters flights to Cuba.

The company never really recovered after Direct Air went out of business on March 13, 2012 causing Sky King to filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization on March 16, 2012. It filed again on August 31, 2012.

The company originally commenced operations in July 1990, based in Sacramento, California. Its first customer, the NBA Sacramento Kings, was the reason for its name which was also the name of an old TV show.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Luimer Cordero/AirlinersGallery.com. Most of the aircraft did not have titles. Boeing 737-4Q8 N916SK (msn 24706) wore C&T Charters titles, one its Cuban charters clients.

Sky King: AG Slide Show

Southwest Airlines to add 27 daily flights at Washington’s Reagan National Airport

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) has confirmed it has been notified of its winning bid in an auction for 54 slots–allowing 27 additional daily flights–that will bring more competition to Reagan National Airport, three miles from downtown Washington, D.C.  Details of the carrier’s bid to acquire divested slots remain confidential under terms of the deal and are subject to final approval of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and completion of customary written agreements.  The additional slots will translate to an increase in Southwest’s service at Reagan National from 17 daily departures to 44 daily departures.  The carrier plans to announce destinations, schedules, and fares for the additional flights later this quarter and anticipates it will begin flying in the third quarter of 2014.

The slots that Southwest will purchase at Reagan National became available as a result of a settlement of litigation last Autumn by the U.S. Department of Justice against the merger of American Airlines and US Airways.  In a separate development, Southwest recently announced new service between Reagan National and Kansas City International Airport beginning Feb. 1, 2014.

In addition to Southwest’s presence at Washington Reagan National Airport (DCA) and Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), Southwest offers the greater Baltimore/Washington region more than 200 daily departures from Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport (BWI) to nearly 60 cities and, beginning on July 1, 2014, will offer new daily service on Southwest between BWI and Aruba, The Bahamas, and Jamaica, launching a new international chapter for both the carrier and Maryland’s largest airport.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-7H4 N486WN (msn 33852) of Southwest Airlines with the “Free Bags Fly Here” sticker arrives at Washington’s Ronald Reagan National Airport on the River Approach.

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show

Island Air introduces a new “pineapple” color scheme

Island Air (Hawaii) (Honolulu) has introduced a new colorful livery. The first aircraft to wear the new livery is this former American Eagle-Executive Airlines ATR 72-210 registered as N342AT (msn 345). The turboprop is named “Lana’i”. This new look replaces the short-lived 2012 “Lei” color scheme. N342AT was painted this month on the mainland.

Oracle Corporation’s CEO Larry Ellison acquired most of the island of Lanai from David H. Murdock. On February 26, 2013, Island Air announced the sale of the airline to Ellison. Ellison appointed Paul Casey, former CEO of Hawaiian Airlines and President of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau as the company’s new President and CEO. Casey has trimmed routes and settled on the ATR 72 to serve its routes in Hawaii.

The island airline issued this statement:

Island Air has introduced its new logo. The new symbol for the airline is the native ‘i‘iwi bird, which was prized by the Hawaiian ali‘i.

 

“The new logo is part of our company’s restructuring to align ourselves with an improved and enhanced level of service,” said Island Air CEO Paul Casey. “It symbolizes a revitalized company with deep roots in Hawaiʻi and a strong commitment to the community and our customers.”

 

Signage with the new logo has already been installed at airport ticket counters in Honolulu, Līhuʻe, Kahului, Lāna‘i and Moloka‘i. The new logo will be phased in over the next several months, and also be reflected in Island Air’s digital and print communications, collateral, vehicles, and on the airline’s ATR 72 64-seater aircraft.

 

The ‘i‘iwi bird is a species of the Hawaiian honeycreeper found on the islands of Hawai‘i, O‘ahu, Maui and Kaua‘i. It holds a special place in Hawaiian culture. One of Hawaiʻi’s most beautiful birds, the ʻiʻiwi was prized by Hawaiians for its striking vermillion feathers, which were used to make feather capes, helmets and other symbols of Hawaiian royalty.

 

Island Air also announced its support of The Nature Conservancy, by joining the Hawaiʻi Nature Conservancy’s Corporate Council, for the Environment, as a Corporate Conservator. Island Air’s donation will be used as part of The Nature Conservancy’s efforts to protect and preserve the native habitat of the i’iwi, a threatened indigenous Hawaiʻi species, found in Nature Conservancy preserves on Maui, Kauaʻi and Hawaiʻi Island.

 

“The Nature Conservancy is devoted to protecting Hawaii’s native forest habitat for all native species of animals and plants including the ‘i‘iwi,” said Suzanne Case, The Nature Conservancy’s Hawaiʻi executive director.  “Not only are these forest areas critical to the survival of Hawaiʻi’s globally unique creatures, they are also the source of all the fresh water for our islands.  We are thrilled and grateful to welcome Island Air into the Conservancy’s distinguished roster of sponsors from the business community.”

 

The new logo was designed by Wall-to-Wall Studios in Honolulu.

Copyright Photo: Ivan K. Nishimura/Blue Wave Group. N342AT shines on the ramp at the Honolulu International Airport after its long ferry flight from the mainland.

Island Air (Hawaii): AG Slide Show

Island Air logo

Current Route Map: Island Air has scaled back its operations since the Larry Ellison takeover.

Island Air 1.2014 Route Map

American Airlines to launch the Dallas/Fort Worth-Shanghai route on June 11

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) today announced the schedule for its new service between Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport (PVG), further strengthening its commitment to serving the Asia-Pacific region. Customers can begin booking flights on the new route Sunday, Feb. 2, for travel starting June 11.

Operated as part of American’s joint business agreement with fellow oneworld® alliance member Japan Airlines (JAL) (Tokyo), the new route complements American’s existing service to Shanghai from its hubs at Los AngelesInternational Airport (LAX) and Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD). Through oneworld member airlines and their affiliates, American’s customers have access to more than 145 destinations within Asia. In addition, customers traveling from Shanghai will now have access to nearly 200 destinations throughout North, Central and South America through American’s extensive network out of Dallas/Fort Worth.

The new route will operate daily with a Boeing 777-200 aircraft on the following schedule:

Daily DFW-PVG Service Schedule (all times local)

AA 127
Departs DFW at 10:55 a.m.
Arrives at PVG at 2:55 p.m. the following day

AA 128
Departs PVG at 4:50 p.m.
Arrives at DFW at 6:10 p.m.

Last year, American also announced that it will begin its first-ever nonstop service to Hong Kong, reinforcing American’s commitment to strengthen its global presence and meet customer demand for travel to key international markets. The service to Hong Kong from Dallas/Fort Worth, also launching June 11, will add a new destination to the airline’s international network.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-223 ER N752AN (msn 30260) completes the final approach to the runway at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

American Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

American Airlines (historical): AG Slide Show

South African Airways to operate nonstop flights to New York (JFK) now starting on March 9

South African Airways (Johannesburg) has announced that it is resuming its nonstop flights between Johannesburg, South Africa, and New York – JFK International Airport.  The nonstop flight will resume on March 9, nearly three weeks ahead of its original schedule of March 28.

While SAA’s New York-Johannesburg flight has continued to operate on a nonstop daily basis, the return flight has been temporarily making a one hour refuelling stop in Dakar, Senegal, due in part to lower travel demand during the winter months. The nonstop flight will be timed to arrive in New York in the early morning, allowing customers to quickly connect on flights to points throughout North America.

The nonstop flight schedule is as follows (all times are local):

Flight SA 203 departs Johannesburg at 8:25 pm (2025), arrives New York JFK at 6:40 am (0640) the next day Flight SA 204departs New York JFK at 11:15 am (1115), arrives Johannesburg at 8:00 am (0800) the next day.

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton/AirlinersGallery.com. South African Airways’ Airbus A340-642 ZS-SNH (msn 626) departs from the Johannesburg hub.

South African Airways: AG Slide Show

 

Ukraine International to launch service to New York (JFK) on April 25

Ukraine International Airlines (Kiev) despite the current political turmoil in the Ukraine, will launch its first ever nonstop service from Kiev (Boryspil International airport) to New York (John Kennedy International Airport) on April 25, 2014. Starting June 23, 2014, Kiev – New York nonstop scheduled flights will be operated daily.

Flight schedule :

Flight

Destination

Days

Departure *

Arrival*

PS231

Kiev – New York

1234567

11:00

14:20

PS232

New York – Kiev

1234567

00:30

17:20

*Local time

The new route will be operated with Boeing 767-300 aircraft in a three-class cabin layout – Business, Premium Economy, and Economy.

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

Ukraine International Airlines: AG Slide Show

Etihad Regional SAAB 2000 HB-IZG nose wheel breaks on landing at Paris

Etihad Regional (Darwin Airline) (Lugano) SAAB 2000 HB-IZG was involved in a landing accident at Paris (Charles de Gaulle) on January 28. The aircraft was operating flight F7 250 from Leipzig with 16 passengers and three crew members. The nose gear was damaged on landing.

Read the full report from Express (with photo): CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Andi Hiltl/AirlinersGallery.com. SAAB HB-IZG (msn 010) arrives at Zurich before the incident.

Darwin Airline:AG Slide Show

JetBlue Airways to acquire 12 slot pairs at Washington Reagan National Airport, reports fourth quarter and 2013 financial results

JetBlue Airways (New York) has been informed that its bid for 12 slot pairs at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) has been provisionally accepted. These assets became available as a result of divestitures mandated by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in the American Airlines-US Airways merger.

Once approved by DOJ, JetBlue expects to add 12 new roundtrip flights at Washington’s popular, close-in airport. The airline plans to introduce nonstop service to cities it does not currently serve from DCA, expanding the benefits of its award-winning service to more communities, as well as add more flights on some existing routes.

JetBlue first entered the Reagan National market in 2010 and today offers 18 daily roundtrip flights to Boston, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, Orlando, Tampa, as well as the airport’s only nonstop service to San Juan, Puerto Rico. With its new slots, JetBlue will operate up to 30 roundtrips per day at DCA.

On the financial side, JetBlue Airway Corporation issued its financial report for the fourth quarter and the entire year of 2013:

JetBlue Airways Corporation reported its results for the fourth quarter and full year 2013:

  • Operating income of $115 million in the fourth quarter. This compares to operating income of $44 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. For the full year 2013, JetBlue reported operating income of $428 million. This compares to operating income of $376 million for the full year 2012.
  • Pre-tax income of $77 million in the fourth quarter. This compares to pre-tax income of $1 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. For the full year 2013, JetBlue reported pre-tax income of $279 million. This compares to a pre-tax income of $209 million for the full year 2012.
  • Net income for the fourth quarter was $47 million, or $0.14 per diluted share. This compares to JetBlue’s fourth quarter 2012 net income of $1 million, or $0.00 per diluted share. For the full year 2013, JetBlue reported net income of $168 million, or $0.52per diluted share. This compares to net income of $128 million, or $0.40 per diluted share for the full year 2012.

Operational Performance

JetBlue reported record fourth quarter operating revenues of $1.4 billion. Revenue passenger miles for the fourth quarter increased 7.1% to 8.7 billion on a capacity increase of 8.3%, resulting in a fourth quarter load factor of 80.9%, a decrease of 1.0 point year over year.

Yield per passenger mile in the fourth quarter was 14.35 cents, up 6.5% compared to the fourth quarter of 2012. Passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) for the fourth quarter 2013 increased 5.3% year over year to 11.62 cents and operating revenue per available seat mile (RASM) increased 5.6% year over year to 12.77 cents.

Operating expenses for the quarter increased 8.7%, or $100 million, over the prior year period. Interest expense for the quarter declined 8.4%, or $5 million as a result of JetBlue’s debt reduction strategy. JetBlue’s operating expense per available seat mile (CASM) for the fourth quarter increased 0.4% year over year to 11.70 cents. Excluding fuel and profit sharing, CASM increased 0.6% to 7.30 cents.

Over the course of 2013, JetBlue improved its return on invested capital (ROIC) to 5.3%. “We remain committed to improving ROIC by one percentage point per year on average,” said Mark Powers, JetBlue’s Chief Financial Officer. “We recognize that while we have more work to do to improve returns, we believe we have a plan in place to achieve these goals in 2014.”

Fuel Expense and Hedging

JetBlue continued to hedge fuel to manage price volatility. Specifically, during the fourth quarterJetBlue hedged approximately 28% of its fuel consumption and managed approximately 12% of its fuel consumption using fixed forward price agreements (FFPs). This resulted in a realized fuel price of $3.10 per gallon, a 3.1% decrease over fourth quarter 2012 realized fuel price of $3.20. JetBluerecorded $3 million in losses on fuel hedges that settled during the fourth quarter.

JetBlue has managed approximately 24% of its first quarter projected fuel requirements using a combination of FFPs, jet fuel swaps and caps. Based on the fuel curve as of January 23rd, JetBlueexpects an average price per gallon of fuel, including the impact of hedges, FFPs and fuel taxes, of$3.13 in the first quarter.

Liquidity and Cash Flow

JetBlue ended the year with approximately $627 million in unrestricted cash and short term investments. In addition, JetBlue maintains $550 million in undrawn lines of credit. For the full year 2013, JetBlue generated $758 million of operating cash flow and had capital expenditures of $637 million, including $453 million of aircraft investments. As a result, JetBlue generated $121 million in free cash flow in 2013.

During 2013, JetBlue repaid $510 million in debt and capital lease obligations, including approximately $248 million in the fourth quarter. In addition, JetBlue prepaid approximately $94 million of aircraft related debt in December. JetBlue recorded a $3 million loss in non-operating income during the quarter in connection with this prepayment. JetBlue expects this transaction will generate $25 million in interest expense savings over the next six years. JetBlue plans to repay approximately $470 million in debt and capital lease obligations in 2014, including approximately$235 million in the first quarter.

JetBlue has increased its pool of unencumbered aircraft from one to 23 and decreased its total debt balance by approximately $550 million since 2011, thereby decreasing the financial risk in the business. “We remain focused on continuing to strengthen our balance sheet as we expect to continue to generate free cash flow and purchase aircraft with cash in 2014,” said Mr. Powers.

First Quarter and Full Year Outlook

JetBlue expects first quarter results to be adversely impacted by severe weather in the Northeast during the beginning of January, which resulted in the cancellation of approximately 1,800 flights. The severe weather reduced JetBlue’s total revenue by an estimated $45 million and reduced operating income for the first quarter by approximately $30 million.

For the first quarter of 2014, CASM is expected to be increase between 0.0% and 2.0% versus the year-ago period. Excluding fuel and profit sharing, CASM in the first quarter is expected to increase between 3.0% and 5.0% year over year.

CASM for the full year is expected to increase between 1.0% and 3.0% over full year 2013. Excluding fuel and profit sharing, CASM in 2014 is expected to increase between 3.0% and 5.0% year over year.

Capacity is expected to increase between 2.5% and 4.5% in the first quarter. For the full year, capacity is expected to increase between 5.0% and 7.0%.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Embraer ERJ 190-100 IGW N316JB (msn 19000291) completes the River Approach into Reagan National Airport on the Virginia side of the Potomac River.

JetBlue Airways: AG Slide Show

 

US Airways puts the first American Airlines painted aircraft into revenue service this morning

US Airways (American Airlines Group) (Phoenix) has painted its first aircraft in American Airlines‘ (Dallas/Fort Worth) 2013 new livery. The pictured Airbus A319-112 N700UW (msn 885), formerly painted in the Star Alliance color scheme (which US Airways is leaving), was placed into revenue service early this morning (January 30) from the Charlotte hub to New York’s La Guardia Airport as flight US 2060.

American Airlines 2013 logo

US Airways issued this statement:

American Airlines today (January 30) entered into service the first legacy US Airways aircraft, an Airbus A319, painted in the American Airlines livery. The newly dressed plane, tail number N700UW, debuted its freshly painted fuselage with service from Charlotte to New York’s LaGuardia Airport on flight 2060.

The Airbus A319 recently spent 13 days receiving its makeover. In anticipation of the new coat of paint, the existing paint was gently removed, the aircraft sanded and washed. Following the metallurgical exfoliation, the seams were sealed, the aircraft masked and 80 gallons of specially chosen paint applied to the exterior. A final detailing was completed to ensure the highest shine before sending the plane out the door and back to work.

This past December, following the close of the merger with US Airways, a survey was launched allowing employees from both airlines to vote whether to change or to maintain American’s current livery. InJanuary 2014 the voting results were announced to keep the new flag tail livery.

The airline will be adding the new look to its entire fleet of aircraft over the next few years. Approximately 640 aircraft are in line to receive the makeover, with newly arriving legacy American Airlines aircraft already outfitted in the new colors and US Airways aircraft delivered in the new colors beginning this June.  By the end of second quarter 2014 American Airlines anticipates that more than 275 mainline and regional aircraft will have been painted in the new livery.

Top Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. History was recorded early this morning at Charlotte (CLT) by Jay Selman. All US Airways aircraft repainted in American’s colors will have a special “Operated by US Airways” inscription by the front door until the two AOCs are merged into one operating certificate.

Bottom Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-112 N700UW  returns to Charlotte today after completing its round trip to and from New York.

US Airways: AG Slide Show

American Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

American Airlines (historic): AG Slide Show

Spirit Airlines announces Chicago O’Hare-Oakland service

Spirit Airlines (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood) has announced new nonstop service between Oakland International Airport (OAK) and Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD). This new service will consist of one daily nonstop flight starting on May 1, 2014.

In other news, Spirit Airlines has also announced new nonstop service from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and the Thurgood Marshall Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI). This new service will consist of one daily nonstop flight in each market operating from May 1, 2014 through November 1, 2014.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-132 N515NK (msn 2698) climbs away from the runway at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport.

Spirit Airlines: AG Slide Show

Allegiant Air reports its fourth quarter (44th consecutive profitable quarter) and 2013 financial results

Allegiant Travel Company (Allegiant Air) (Las Vegas) meanwhile has reported the following financial results for both the fourth quarter and full year 2013, as well as comparisons to prior year equivalents:

Allegiant 1.2014 Financial Chart

“We are very proud to report our 44th consecutive profitable quarter,” stated Maurice J. Gallagher, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Allegiant Travel Company. “This is the second consecutive year that we have grown both full year EBITDA and operating margin.  As we continue to add more efficient Airbus aircraft to our operating fleet, we have the opportunity to continue margin improvement going forward.  Thank you for the tireless efforts of our Team Members whose contributions were critical to our successful 2013.”

Notable fourth quarter and full year 2013 company highlights

  • Added the Airbus A320 and A319 onto the Allegiant operating certificate
  • Ended 2013 with three A319 and five A320 aircraft in service.  Added two more A320 aircraft in January 2014
  • Retired five MD-80 aircraft
  • Completed the conversion of 51 MD-80 aircraft to 166 seats.  Will add two more MD-80 aircraft configured with 166 seats to the fleet in March 2014.  We expect our MD-80 fleet to remain at 53 aircraft for the foreseeable future
  • Returned $83 million to shareholders through the repurchase of 913,806 shares in 2013
  • Paid a special dividend of $2.25 per share in early January 2014
  • Added 44 new routes in 2013.  Announced five new routes and two new cities starting service first quarter 2014
  • Delivered Allegiant2Go Mobile Boarding Pass functionality in the fourth quarter
  • Broadened third-party purchase options via one-way package and hotel-only booking path
  • Executed a new agreement with a large Las Vegas gaming company for the pre-purchase of rooms at discounted rates
  • Entered into a new three year agreement with Enterprise Holdings Inc. for the sale of rental cars
  • Included on the 100 America’s Best Small Companies list by Forbes magazine

Fourth quarter and full year 2013 revenue performance

  • Full year ancillary air-related charges per passenger has increased every year for eight consecutive years
  • 16th consecutive quarter of year over year increases in total fare, four percent higher than a year ago
  • Fourth quarter Florida TRASM grew by two percent despite a 35 percent growth in ASMs
  • Same store routes, those operated in both the fourth quarter 2013 and 2012, generated a three percent increase in TRASM

Fourth quarter and full year 2013 cost performance

  • Full year 2013 fuel expense per ASM declined six percent primarily due to a two percent decrease in gallons per passenger.  This fuel savings more than offset the one percent increase in average fuel cost per gallon.  Full year system ASMs per gallon increased seven percent versus 2012
  • Full year 2013 CASM ex fuel rose five percent versus last year in part because aircraft utilization declined four percent.  CASM ex fuel was also negatively impacted by expenses due to an operational disruption in September, and the FAA shutdown and the subsequent delay in placing A320s into service in December.  The A320 delay drove higher expense in aircraft lease rentals as we contracted with other carriers for sub-service to fly scheduled flights, reduced crew productivity and increased expenses to temporarily assign flight crews to bases to support unplanned MD-80 flying in place of planned A320 flying
  • Fourth quarter salary and benefits expense increased 17 percent due to a 13 percent increase in full time equivalent employees to support fleet growth and more inflight staff to crew larger gauge MD-80 aircraft, increased bonus accrual which is tied to higher levels of profitability and higher stock compensation expense
  • Fourth quarter sales and marketing expense increased 46 percent due to advertising to support the launch of new routes
  • Fourth quarter aircraft lease rental expense was $5.5 million due to having two leased aircraft (none a year ago) and $4.2 million of sub-service expense due to the delays in planned A320 flying
  • Fourth quarter other expense increased 16 percent due to increases in flight crew training, contractor IT development resources, and losses on consignment and disposal of assets
  • Certain fourth quarter non-cash expenses totaled $5.4 million for the quarter and $19.3 million for the year.  Please see the non-cash expense table in the Non-GAAP presentation for further detail
Full year and first quarter 2014 cost trends
  • Full year CASM ex fuel is expected to increase between four and seven percent due to a more normalized maintenance and repair expense of between $100 thousand and $110 thousand per aircraft per month, start-up expenses in non-airline subsidiaries (which do not generate airline capacity or ASMs) and continued investment in operations and IT management
  • First quarter 2014 CASM ex fuel is expected to increase between 13 and 15 percent due to expenses associated with the delay in training A320 crews resulting from the FAA shutdown and its continued effects and the subsequent delay in placing the A320 on the certificate, lower than planned capacity growth due to the same issue, higher maintenance expense due to substantially more heavy maintenance events scheduled in the quarter, and start-up expenses in two new non airline initiatives which do not generate airline capacity or ASMs.  The effects of the A320 delays and non-airline activities are expected to account for 53 percent of the increase in CASM ex fuel for the quarter

Third party products performance

  • Full year transportation net revenue (revenue derived from car rentals) increased 11 percent
  • Las Vegas represented 82 percent of hotel net revenue in 2013, down from 87 percent in 2012 and 90 percent in 2011
  • Full year hotel net revenue excluding the effect of an air discount increased 25 percent versus last year.  In the fourth quarter of 2012, the company phased out offering an air discount tied to hotel sales in order to increase overall company profitability

Balance Sheet highlights:

  • Returned $42 million to shareholders through a special dividend of $2.25 per share
  • Repurchased 913,806 shares of common stock for $83 million in 2013.  The company has $40 million in repurchase authority remaining
  • Cumulative return of capital in the form of re-purchases of shares and special dividends totals $277 million as of January 2014
  • $178 million in capital expenditures during 2013,  83 percent for the purchase of eight Airbus series aircraft and a new headquarters building
  • Issued $106 million in debt in 2013,  $96 million secured by eight A320 series aircraft and $10 million by the new headquarters building
  • Paid down $23 million in debt including $10.5 million previously secured by four 757 aircraft.  $9 million in debt remains secured by the remaining two 757 aircraft in our fleet as well as a term loan due in 2017 of $122 million secured by MD-80 aircraft and parts
  • 2014 CAPEX is expected to be between $60 and $80 million primarily driven by two A320 purchases occurring at the end of 2014 and IT projects
Unaudited (millions) 12/31/2013 12/31/2012 Change
Unrestricted cash* $387.1 $352.7 9.8 %
Total debt $234.3 $150.9 55.3 %
Total Allegiant Travel Company stockholders’ equity $375.7 $400.5 (6.2 )%
For the Year
ended December 31,
Unaudited (millions) 2013 2012 Change
Capital expenditures $177.6 $105.1 69.0%

* – Unrestricted cash includes investments in marketable securities.

At this time, Allegiant Travel Company provides the following guidance to investors, subject to revision.

Guidance, subject to revision
Revenue guidance January 2014 1Q14
Estimated PRASM year-over-year change 6.5 to 8.5% (2) to 0%
Estimated TRASM year-over-year change 2 to 4% (4) to (2)%
Fixed fee and other revenue guidance 1Q14
Fixed fee and other revenue (millions) $1 to $3
Capacity guidance
System 1Q14 2Q14 FY14
Departure year-over-year growth 8 to 12% 10 to 14%
ASM year-over-year growth 10 to 14% 8 to 12% 9 to 13%
Scheduled
Departure year-over-year growth 8 to 12% 10 to 14%
ASM year-over-year growth 10 to 14% 8 to 12% 9 to 13%
Cost guidance 1Q14 FY14
CASM ex fuel – year-over-year change 13 to 15% 4 to 7%
CASM – year-over-year change 4 to 6% 1 to 4%
Assumed fuel cost per gallon $3.32 $3.22
CAPEX guidance FY14
Capital expenditures (millions) $60 to $80

 CASM ex fuel – cost per available seat mile excluding fuel expense
CASM – total operating expenses / system ASMs
Fuel assumptions are modeled as of January 20, 2014

Aircraft fleet plan by end of period
Aircraft YE13 1Q14 YE14 YE15
MD-80 (150) 1 - - -
MD-80 (166*) 51 53 53 53
757 6 6 6 6
A319 3 3 4 10
A320 5 7 7 9
Total 66 69 70 78

Aircraft listed in table above include only in service aircraft
* – MD-80s converted to 166 seats from 150 seats

Copyright Photo: James Helbock/AirlinersGallery.com. Allegiant is now operating three Airbus A319s and seven A320s.  Airbus A319-112 N310NV (msn 2224) approaches the runway at Los Angeles International Airport.

Allegiant Air:AG Slide Show

Allegiant Air’s pilots to meet with investors and analysts about safety concerns

Allegiant Air‘s (Las Vegas) pilots have issued this statement:

Allegiant Air’s pilots, represented by the Allegiant Air Pilots Executive Council, an employee group of Allegiant Travel Company (Las Vegas) and pilots represented by Teamsters Local Union 1224 in Wilmington, Ohio, announced plans to begin formal dialogues with Allegiant stakeholders and other influential voices in the financial community, including institutional shareholders, equity analysts, corporate lenders and insurers, in order to address operating and safety concerns that exist at the airline.

INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS LOGO

“Allegiant management has turned a deaf ear to serious operational concerns raised by the pilots,” said Capt. David Bourne, Director of Airline Division at the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. “We believe Allegiant’s financial backers have a right to know what is going on and be given a chance to weigh in on vital changes needed for Allegiant’s long-term success before it’s too late.”

“Allegiant’s low-cost model works if it can actually support the growth of the business,” Bourne said, “However, management’s lack of operational know-how and flat-out resistance to put badly needed investments into infrastructure is taking a significant toll on flight operations, which could ultimately jeopardize flight safety. It’s obvious to us that the major service disruptions over the last several months, ranging from multiple fleet shutdowns, chronic staffing and equipment shortages, significant ramp-up in 3rd party contracting for scheduled flights and sub-servicing and the shutdown of the company’s training department, all flow from the short-sighted decisions being made at the top.”

“It is very unusual for a company’s training department to be shut down,” said Dan Wells, President of Teamsters Local 1224. “Allegiant has yet to even acknowledge the training shutdown, much less show its pilots a plan for corrective action or indicate if those changes will adequately satisfy Federal Aviation Administration concerns. Many Allegiant pilots have been delayed in training for months, which we believe is driving a major increase in outsourcing due to the shortage of company pilots to fly scheduled flights and re-route equipment back to hubs and maintenance centers.”

“Management has ignored repeated requests for clarity on the training program by both the union and Allegiant’s own pilots,” Bourne said. “We’ve filed a Freedom of Information Act submission with the FAA on the matter, but the agency’s only reply was that there is an ongoing investigation at the company. In the meantime, Allegiant pilots continue to bend over backwards to work with the company to address the very significant issues that are interfering with the ability of Allegiant flight crews to do their jobs properly and service customers effectively. We are hopeful that conversations with investors and other Allegiant stakeholders will lead to a breakthrough on some of the key obstacles affecting the future of the airline.”

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Allegiant Air’s Boeing 757-204 WL N904NV (msn 26967) arrives at the Las Vegas base.

Allegiant Air: AG Slide Show

Boeing introduces a special Seattle Seahawks Boeing 747-8 logo jet for the Super Bowl

Seahawks-Boeing 747-8F N780BA (14)(Grd) PAE (Boeing)(LR)

Boeing (Chicago and Seattle) yesterday (January 29) revealed a 747-8 Freighter (N770BA) painted in the livery of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. The livery commemorates the team’s National Football Conference Championship and upcoming appearance in Super Bowl XLVIII.

Boeing is a sponsor of the Seattle Seahawks and has partnered with the team for more than a decade on programs in the Puget Sound area.

“The Seahawks have been an inspiration to our entire community throughout this incredible season,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner. “We’re honored that we could join together two Northwest icons, the Seahawks and the 747, for this special salute from the entire Boeing team.”

This 747-8 is owned by Boeing and currently being used for flight testing. The special livery features the distinctive Seahawks logo and a “12” on the tail to salute the team’s fans. The airplane will make its first flight in its new livery on Thurs., January 30.

“The 747 team is proud that one of our airplanes could be used as a tribute to the Seahawks’ success this season and a rallying cry for the team as they prepare for the Super Bowl,” said Eric Lindblad, vice president and general manager, 747 program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “The partnerships we have with the Seahawks and others are making a positive difference in the communities where Boeing employees live and work. We join with all Seahawks fans in wishing the team success on Sunday.”

Boeing 747-8 Seahawks Livery Fun Facts

  • Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson’s longest pass this season, 80 yards (240 ft.), was almost the same length as a 747-8 fuselage (243.5 ft.)
  • Russell Wilson threw for 3,357 yards (10,071 ft.) this season, similar to the runway takeoff distance for a 747-8 (10,650 ft.)
  • Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin can dash the full length of the 747-8 main deck, 180 ft., in less than seven seconds
  • Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch can squat with 16 economy seats (30 lbs. per seat)
  • A 747-8 Freighter can carry 121 million Skittles candies, or 302,400 one lb. bags
  • It would take 144 747-8 passenger airplanes (Intercontinentals) to carry all the Seahawks fans in CenturyLink Field (67,000 seats)
  • The 747-8 can cover the length of a football field in one second at takeoff
  • Seahawks fans’ Guinness World Record for crowd noise is approximately 38 times louder than the 747-8 at departure

On January 30 the Boeing Seattle Seahawks 747 took to the skies over Washington in advance of the team’s appearance Sunday in Super Bowl XLVIII.

The airplane’s flight pattern took it past Seattle landmarks including the Space Needle and CenturyLink Field, home of the Seahawks. The 747-8 then flew over Eastern Washington in a pattern that formed the number “12,” a salute to all Seahawks’ fans.

“You may remember that we drew a ‘747’ over the continental United States during 747-8 certification flight testing,” said Boeing 747 chief pilot Mark Feuerstein “Although the ’12’ is smaller in scale, the pride and sense of community behind it make it feel just as big for the entire Boeing team.”

Boeing is a sponsor of the Seattle Seahawks and has partnered with the team for more than a decade on programs in the Puget Sound area.

Copyright Photo: Boeing. Boeing 747-87UF N770BA (msn 37564) pushes out of the paint shop at rainy Paine Field.

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Biman Bangladesh Airlines to resume flights to New York on June 4, Frankfurt in April

Biman Bangladesh Airlines (Dhaka) is planning to resume nonstop Dhaka-New York (JFK) flights on June 4 according to the Daily Star. There will be two flights a week. The route was suspended in July 2006. Biman is leasing two Boeing 777-200 ERs from EgyptAir for five years in order to resume the service to New York. The first aircraft will arrive next month and second in march according to the article.

New service to Frankfurt starts in April.

The company is also taking delivery on two new Boeing 777-300 ERs in February and March which will allow the company to retired the last McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 on February 20 as previously reported.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-3E9 S2-AFP (msn 40123) completes its final approach into London’s Heathrow Airport.

Biman Bangladesh Airlines: AG Slide Show

Biman Bangladesh logo

Norwegian to start Stockholm Heraklion, Crete flights on June 26

Norwegian Air Shuttle (Norwegian.com) on June 26 will launch the Stockholm (Arlanda) – Heraklion with one weekly flight. Norwegian will now have two destinations in Crete, Chania and Heraklion. In addition to a new route to Crete increased number of flights to Tel Aviv, Larnaca and Riga.

Copyright Photo: Arnd Wolf/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8JP LN-DYO (msn 40868) arrives in Salzburg.

Norwegian: AG Slide Show

Virgin Australia celebrates 10 years of international flying, announces new codeshares

Virgin Australia Airlines (Brisbane) today celebrated 10 years of international flights, announcing eight new international codeshare services.

Virgin Australia 10 Years Internationally logo

The airline’s first international flight, DJ 007 departed from Christchurch, New Zealand at 11 am on January 29, 2004 for Brisbane, Australia.

Virgin Australia Original 2004 International Crew (Virgin Australia)(LR)

Copyright Photo: Virgin Australia. The cockpit crew of the original flight DJ 007.

Since then, the airline has grown from offering one international destination to offering over 400 destinations worldwide. Virgin Australia operates to 16 destinations internationally and through its strategic alliance partners, offers 386 codeshare and interline destinations across the world.

The eight new international codeshare services include Seattle/Tacoma and Boston with Delta Air Lines, Zurich, Minsk, Medina and Rome with Etihad Airways and Athens and Brunei with Singapore Airlines.

Copyright Photo: John Adlard/AirlinersGallery.com (all others by Virgin Australia). Airbus A330-243 VH-XFB (msn 372) departs the runway at Sydney.

Virgin Australia: AG Slide Show

Emirates to fly Airbus A380 double-daily service to Moscow starting on August 1

Emirates (Dubai) will serve its Moscow route from Dubai with a double daily Airbus A380 service starting on August 1.

This second A380, which will operate as flight EK 133/134, replaces the existing Boeing 777 operation and increases seat capacity on the route by 15%.

Top Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-861 A6-EEL (msn 133) arrives in Los Angeles.

Emirates: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Emirates.

Emirates A380 Bar (Emirates)(LR)

Bloomberg Businessweek: If you live near an airline hub, you probably pay more

Bloomberg Businessweek logo

Not all airports are equal according to Bloomberg Businessweek. In this article by Justin Bachman, the writer compares ticket prices and finds prices at major airline hubs are higher than non-hub airports.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Air Tahiti Nui raises the bar on airline videos

Air Tahiti Nui (Papeete) has produced a new video (above) using the relatively new Go Pro camera (and other cameras) to produce a new state of the art airline video. The Go Pro camera is revolutionizing photography with its unusual angles and ability to go places not normally seen before. OK, all airlines, top this.

If you are in a cold weather climate right now, this video may help you to warm up (especially for our friends in ice-bound Atlanta, Georgia).

More information about the Go Pro camera: CLICK HERE

Air Tahit Nui: AG Slide Show

Horizon Air paints its two new Bombardier Q400 Nanook and Seawolf planes

Horizon Air (Alaska Horizon) has released this statement and videos:

Nanook and Seawolf fans can now watch school spirit come to life in two new time-lapse videos. Set to school songs provided by each university, the videos show the painting of Alaska Airlines’ newest university-themed aircraft, celebrating the University of Alaska Anchorage (N443QX) and the University of Alaska Fairbanks (N441QX).

Alaska Horizon DHC-8-400 N443QX (14-UAA Seawolves)(Flt)(Horizon Air)(LR)

The spirited paint themes feature school colors and mascots from each university. The aircraft will begin flying primarily between Anchorage and Fairbanks and Anchorage and Kodiak when Alaska Airlines’ sister carrier, Horizon Air, introduces the Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) to the state of Alaska on March 3.

Alaska Horizon DHC-8-400 N441QX (13-UAA Nanooks)(Flt)(Horizon)(LR)

Fifty painters from Associated Painters in Spokane, Wash., worked on each plane, taking six days, using 15,360 linear feet of masking tape, and channeling some serious university pride.

The UAF and UAA planes are the 10th and 11th university-themed aircraft flown by Horizon since 2008. Other paint themes represent the universities of Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington, as well asBoise State, Montana State, Oregon State, San Diego State and Washington State. Alaska Airlines recently unveiled the “Spirit of Education,” a specially themed Boeing 737-900ER dedicated to the students and staff of Raisbeck Aviation High School in Tukwila, Wash.

Horizon Air is a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group and flies to 39 cities in the western United States, Canadaand Mexico.

About the University of Alaska Fairbanks 
The University of Alaska Fairbanks is the state’s Land, Sea and Space Grant institution, enriching the lives of Alaskans through teaching, research and service at campuses in Fairbanks, Kotzebue, Nome, Betheland Dillingham; six campus centers in interior Alaska and the Aleutians; and dozens of sites throughout the state. As Alaska’s research university and a world leader in arctic research, UAF offers scientists and students unparalleled opportunities in Alaska’s vast dynamic laboratory. Founded in 1917, UAF is the birthplace of the University of Alaska system and continues to inspire innovation throughout Alaska’sdiverse communities.

About the University of Alaska Anchorage 
The University of Alaska Anchorage is an intersection for academic exploration, adventure and transformative experiences in and out of the classroom. Alaska’s largest university, UAA houses colleges and schools in Anchorage, the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, Kenai, Homer, Kodiak and Valdez. UAA students experience hands-on education through academics, research, leadership opportunities and mentorship with our community partners in state, across the country and globally.

Alaska Horizon: AG Slide Show

Horizon Air: AG Slide Show

Videos: Horizon Air: N443QX above and N441QX below:

Boeing reports fourth quarter and 2013 financial results and onward guidance

The Boeing Company (Chicago) reported fourth-quarter revenue of $23.8 billion and core earnings per share (non-GAAP) that increased 29 percent* to $1.88, driven by strong performance across the company’s businesses and higher deliveries (Table 1). Fourth-quarter core operating earnings (non-GAAP) of $1.8 billion includes a $406 million non-cash charge to settle A-12 litigation dating back to 1991, retiring a longstanding risk to the company. Excluding the A-12 charge, fourth-quarter 2013 core operating earnings increased 22 percent* to $2.2 billion and core operating margin increased to 9.4 percent*. Core and GAAP earnings per share includes a charge of $0.34 per share related to A-12 partially offset by a benefit of $0.28 per share for a tax regulation change.

Revenue rose 6 percent in the full year to a record $86.6 billion and core earnings per share increased 20 percent* to a record $7.07. Full-year 2013 GAAP earnings per share was $5.96.

Core earnings per share guidance for 2014 is set at between $7.00 and $7.20, while GAAP earnings per share guidance is established at between $6.10 and $6.30. Revenue guidance is between $87.5 and $90.5 billion, including commercial deliveries of between 715 and 725. Operating cash flow before pension contributions* is expected to be approximately $7 billion, while operating cash flow guidance is set at approximately $6.25 billion.

“Strong fourth-quarter results underscored an outstanding full year of core operating performance that drove record revenue and earnings and increased returns to shareholders,” said Boeing Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim McNerney.

“Our Commercial Airplanes business accelerated delivery of its record backlog by successfully increasing production rates while also achieving important development milestones on the 737 MAX and 787-9 and launching the new 787-10 and 777X models with an unprecedented customer response. Our Defense, Space & Security unit overcame a tough operating environment to record expanded revenue, earnings and margins while executing to our commitments on the KC-46A tanker and developing and delivering important new capabilities to customers, such as the P-8 maritime aircraft and the Inmarsat-5 satellite,” said McNerney.

“For 2014, we remain focused on maintaining our commercial airplanes market leadership, strengthening and repositioning our defense, space and security business and continuing to meet the needs of our customers by improving productivity, executing to development plans and delivering our unmatched portfolio of innovative aerospace products and services.”

Table 2. Cash Flow Fourth Quarter Full Year
(Millions) 2013 2012 2013 2012
Operating Cash Flow Before Pension Contributions* $1,409 $4,204 $9,721 $9,058
      Pension Contributions ($29) ($37) ($1,542) ($1,550)
Operating Cash Flow $1,380 $4,167 $8,179 $7,508
Less Additions to Property, Plant & Equipment ($638) ($495) ($2,098) ($1,703)
Free Cash Flow* $742 $3,672 $6,081 $5,805

Operating cash flow in the quarter was $1.4 billion, reflecting commercial airplane production rates, strong core operating performance and timing of receipts and expenditures (Table 2). During the quarter, the company repurchased 7.6 million shares for $1.0 billion and paid $0.4 billion in dividends, reflecting a 10 percent increase in dividends paid compared to the same period of the prior year. Based on the strong cash generation and outlook, in December, the board of directors authorized an additional $10 billionshare repurchase program and raised the quarterly dividend 50 percent.

Table 3. Cash, Marketable Securities and Debt Balances Quarter-End
(Billions) Q4 13 Q3 13
Cash $9.1 $10.0
Marketable Securities 1 $6.2 $5.9
Total $15.3 $15.9
Debt Balances:
The Boeing Company, net of intercompany loans to BCC $7.0 $7.0
Boeing Capital Corporation, including intercompany loans $2.6 $2.6
Total Consolidated Debt $9.6 $9.6
1 Marketable securities consists primarily of time deposits due within one year classified as “short-term investments.”

Cash and investments in marketable securities totaled $15.3 billion at year-end (Table 3), down from$15.9 billion at the beginning of the quarter. Debt was $9.6 billion, unchanged from the beginning of the quarter.

Total company backlog at year-end was a record $441 billion, up from $415 billion at the beginning of the quarter, and included net orders for the quarter of $48 billion. Backlog is up $51 billion from prior year-end, reflecting $135 billion of net orders in 2013.

Segment Results

Boeing Commercial Airplanes

Table 4.  Fourth Quarter Full Year
($ in Millions) 2013 2012 Chg 2013 2012 Chg
Deliveries 172 165 4% 648 601 8%
Revenues $14.6B $14.1B 4% $52.9B $49.1B 8%
Earnings-Ops $1,506 $1,266 19% $5,795 $4,711 23 %
Opg Margin 10.3% 8.9% 1.4 Pts 10.9% 9.6% 1.3 Pts

Boeing Commercial Airplanes fourth-quarter revenue increased to $14.7 billion and full-year revenue increased to a record $53 billion on higher delivery volume. Fourth-quarter operating margin improved to 10.3 percent and full-year operating margin grew to 10.9 percent on the higher volume, favorable delivery mix and continued strong operating performance (Table 4).

During the quarter, the company launched the 777X with 259 orders and commitments. During the year, the 787 program completed first flight of the 787-9, successfully launched the 787-10 and began operating at a 10 per month production rate in final assembly. The 737 program delivered at a record production rate of 38 per month and has won nearly 1,800 firm orders for the 737 MAX since launch. In 2013, a record 648 commercial aircraft were delivered. In January 2014, the company reached an eight-year contract extension through 2024 with the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers District 751 (IAM).

Commercial Airplanes booked 465 net orders during the quarter and 1,355 during the year. Backlog remains strong with 5,080 airplanes valued at a record $374 billion.

Boeing Defense, Space & Security

Table 5.  Fourth Quarter Full Year
(Dollars in Millions) 2013 2012 Chg 2013 2012 Chg
Revenues
Boeing Military Aircraft $4,395 $4,037 9% $15,936 $16,019 (1)%
Network & Space Systems $2,272 $2,024 12% $8,512 $7,911 8%
Global Services & Support $2,188 $2,282 (4)% $8,749 $8,677 1%
Total BDS Revenues $8,855 $8,343 6% $33,197 $32,607 2%
Earnings from Operations
Boeing Military Aircraft $441 $313 41% $1,465 $1,489 (2)%
Network & Space Systems $233 $138 69% $719 $562 28%
Global Services & Support $280 $300 (7)% $1,051 $1,017 3%
Total BDS Earnings from Ops $954 $751 27% $3,235 $3,068 5%
Operating Margin 10.8% 9.0% 1.8 Pts 9.7% 9.4% 0.3 Pts

Boeing Defense, Space & Security’s fourth-quarter revenue increased 6 percent to $8.9 billion, while operating margin increased to 10.8 percent (Table 5). For the full year, revenue increased 2 percent to$33.2 billion, while operating margin increased to 9.7 percent.

Boeing Military Aircraft (BMA) fourth-quarter revenue increased to $4.4 billion, reflecting higher deliveries. Operating margin increased to 10.0 percent, reflecting the higher deliveries and strong performance. During the quarter, BMA achieved Initial Operating Capability (IOC) on the P-8A Poseidon aircraft.

Network & Space Systems (N&SS) fourth-quarter revenue increased to $2.3 billion, reflecting higher delivery volume and mix, and operating margin increased to 10.3 percent on strong performance. During the quarter, N&SS was awarded a contract for a fourth Inmarsat-5 satellite.

Global Services & Support (GS&S) fourth-quarter revenue was $2.2 billion, reflecting lower volume in integrated logistics. Operating margin was 12.8 percent. During the quarter, GS&S was awarded contracts for the B-52 and B-1 bomber modifications and upgrades.

Backlog at Defense, Space & Security was $67 billion, of which 37 percent represents orders with international customers.

Additional Financial Information

Table 6. Additional Financial Information Fourth Quarter Full Year
(Dollars in Millions) 2013 2012 2013 2012
Revenues
Boeing Capital Corporation $105 $129 $408 $468
Other segment $22 $27 $102 $106
Unallocated items and eliminations $123 ($358) ($65) ($610)
Earnings from Operations
Boeing Capital Corporation $9 ($12) $107 $88
Other segment income/(expense) ($99) $31 ($156) ($186)
Unallocated items and eliminations excluding unallocated pension/postretirement expense ($532) ($200) ($1,105) ($492)
Unallocated pension/postretirement expense ($323) ($212) ($1,314) ($899)
Other income, net $15 $23 $56 $62
Interest and debt expense ($96) ($112) ($386) ($442)
Effective tax rate 14.0% 36.3% 26.4% 34.0%

At quarter-end, Boeing Capital Corporation’s (BCC) net portfolio balance was $3.9 billion down from $4.1 billion at the beginning of the quarter. BCC’s debt-to-equity ratio was 5.0-to-1. Other segment earnings decreased $130 million in the quarter partly due to higher asset impairment expense.

Unallocated items and eliminations excluding unallocated pension/postretirement expense increased in the fourth quarter of 2013 primarily due to a $406 million charge associated with the A-12 settlement. Total pension expense for the fourth quarter was $717 million, up from $576 million in the same period last year. The company’s income tax expense was $201 million in the quarter, compared to $557 million in the same period of the prior year, due to a $212 million benefit recorded in fourth-quarter 2013 for a tax regulation change.

Outlook

The company’s 2014 financial guidance (Table 7) reflects continued strong performance in both businesses.

Table 7. Financial Outlook
(Dollars in Billions, except per share data) 2014
The Boeing Company
Revenue $87.5 – 90.5
Core Earnings Per Share* $7.00 – 7.20
Earnings Per Share $6.10 – 6.30
Operating Cash Flow Before Pension Contributions* ~ $7
Operating Cash Flow 1 ~ $6.25
Boeing Commercial Airplanes
Deliveries 2 715 – 725
Revenue $57.5 – 59.5
Operating Margin ~ 10%
Boeing Defense, Space & Security
Revenue
Boeing Military Aircraft ~ $15
Network & Space Systems ~ $7.7
Global Services & Support ~ $7.8
Total BDS Revenue $30 – 31
Operating Margin
Boeing Military Aircraft ~ 9.5%
Network & Space Systems ~ 8.5%
Global Services & Support ~ 10.5%
Total BDS Operating Margin ~ 9.5%
Boeing Capital Corporation
Portfolio Size Lower
Revenue ~ $0.3
Pre-Tax Earnings ~ $0.05
Research & Development ~ $3.2
Capital Expenditures ~ $2.5
Pension Expense 3 ~ $3.1
Effective Tax Rate 4 ~ 31%
1 After discretionary cash pension contributions of $0.75 billion and assuming new aircraft financings under $0.5 billion
2 Assumes approximately 110 787 deliveries
3 Approximately $1.1 billion is expected to be recorded in unallocated items and eliminations
4 Assumes the extension of the research and development tax credit
* Non-GAAP measures. Complete definitions of Boeing’s non-GAAP measures are on page 7, “Non-GAAP Measures Disclosures.”

Boeing’s 2014 revenue guidance is established at between $87.5 and $90.5 billion. Core earnings per share guidance is set at between $7.00 and $7.20, and earnings per share guidance is expected to be between $6.10 and $6.30. Total company 2014 operating cash flow before pension contributions is expected to be approximately $7 billion, while operating cash flow is expected to be approximately $6.25 billion in 2014, including $0.75 billion of discretionary pension contributions. Total company pension expense in 2014 is expected to be approximately $3.1 billion (of which approximately $2.0 billion is expected to be recorded in core operating earnings and $1.1 billion recorded in unallocated items and eliminations).

Commercial Airplanes’ 2014 deliveries are expected to be between 715 and 725, which includes approximately 110 787 deliveries. Revenue at Commercial Airplanes is expected to be between $57.5 and $59.5 billion with operating margins of approximately 10 percent. Defense, Space & Security’s revenue for 2014 is expected to be between $30 and $31 billion with operating margins of approximately 9.5 percent.

Boeing Capital Corporation expects that its aircraft finance portfolio will continue to decline in 2014, as new aircraft financing of less than $0.5 billion is expected to be lower than normal portfolio runoff through customer payments and depreciation. Boeing’s 2014 R&D forecast is approximately $3.2 billion, and capital expenditures for 2014 are expected to be approximately $2.5 billion. Boeing’s effective tax rate is expected to be approximately 31 percent in 2014, which assumes the extension of the research and development tax credit.

Non-GAAP Measures Disclosures

We supplement the reporting of our financial information determined under U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) with certain non-GAAP financial information. The non-GAAP financial information presented excludes certain significant items that may not be indicative of, or are unrelated to, results from our ongoing business operations. We believe that these non-GAAP measures provide investors with additional insight into the company’s ongoing business performance. These non-GAAP measures should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for the related GAAP measures, and other companies may define such measures differently. We encourage investors to review our financial statements and publicly-filed reports in their entirety and not to rely on any single financial measure. The following definitions are provided:

Core Operating Earnings, Core Operating Margin and Core Earnings Per Share

Core operating earnings is defined as GAAP earnings from operations excluding unallocated pension and post-retirement expense. Core operating margin is defined as core operating earnings expressed as a percentage of revenue. Core earnings per share is defined as GAAP diluted earnings per share excluding the net earnings per share impact of unallocated pension and post-retirement expenseUnallocated pension and post-retirement expense represents the portion of pension and other post-retirement costs that are not recognized by business segments for segment reporting purposes. Management uses core operating earnings, core operating margin and core earnings per share for purposes of evaluating and forecasting underlying business performance. Management believes these core earnings measures provide investors additional insights into operational performance as they exclude unallocated pension and post-retirement costs, which primarily represent costs driven by market factors and costs not allocable to government contracts. A reconciliation between the GAAP and non-GAAP measures is provided on page 14.

Core Operating Margin and the Increase in Core Operating Earnings Excluding A-12 Settlement Charge

The company is disclosing the core operating margin and the increase in core operating earnings in the fourth quarter of 2013 over the fourth quarter of 2012 excluding the A-12 settlement charge in the fourth quarter of 2013. Management believes it is useful to occasionally exclude certain items that are not reflective of underlying performance and that can distort period to period performance comparisons. Management uses similar measures for purposes of evaluating and forecasting underlying business performance. A reconciliation between the GAAP and non-GAAP measures is provided on page 14.

Operating Cash Flow Before Pension Contributions

Operating cash flow before pension contributions is defined as GAAP operating cash flow less pension contributions. Management believes operating cash flow before pension contributions provides additional insights into underlying business performance. Management uses operating cash flow before pension contributions as a measure to assess both business performance and overall liquidity. Table 2 provides a reconciliation between GAAP operating cash flow and operating cash flow before pension contributions.

Free Cash Flow

Free cash flow is defined as GAAP operating cash flow less capital expenditures for property, plant and equipment additions. Management believes free cash flow provides investors with an important perspective on the cash available for shareholders, debt repayment, and acquisitions after making the capital investments required to support ongoing business operations and long term value creation. Free cash flow does not represent the residual cash flow available for discretionary expenditures as it excludes certain mandatory expenditures such as repayment of maturing debt. Management uses free cash flow as a measure to assess both business performance and overall liquidity. Table 2 provides a reconciliation between GAAP operating cash flow and free cash flow.

Copyright Photo: Nick Dean/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 747-8KZF N50217 (msn 36137) became JA12KZ on delivery.

Hawaiian Holdings reports 4Q GAAP net income of $17 million, $52 million for 2013

Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (Honolulu), parent company of Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. (Honolulu), reported its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year 2013.

  • Operating income grew to $34 million in the fourth quarter compared to $12 million in the prior year period.  For the full year, operating income grew to $134 million compared to $129 million in the prior year period.
  • Pre-tax income of $28 million in the fourth quarter compared to a loss of $6 million in the prior year period.  For the full year, pre-tax income of $86 million was flat compared to the prior year period.
  • GAAP net income in the fourth quarter of $17 million or $0.31 per diluted share compared to a loss of $3 million in the prior year period or $(0.07) per diluted share. For the full year, GAAP net income of $52 million or $0.98 per diluted share compared to $53 million or $1.01 per diluted share in the prior year period.
  • Adjusted net income, reflecting economic fuel expense, in the fourth quarter of $12 million or $0.22 per diluted share compared to $0.1 million in the prior year period or $0.00 per diluted share. For the full year, adjusted net income, reflecting economic fuel expense, of $47 million or $0.88 per diluted share compared to $56 million or $1.06 per diluted share in the prior year period.
  • Unrestricted cash and cash equivalents of $423 million compared to $406 million in the prior year period.

Mark Dunkerley, the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer, commented that “the fourth quarter’s results continued the trend in improving financial performance after a difficult start to the year. Demand remains strong in our markets and we have strategies to mitigate cost pressures. We are looking forward to the year ahead confident in the great job done by our employees taking care of our customers on the ground and in the air. They remain the core asset of our business and the source of great pride among us all.”

Statistical data, as well as a reconciliation of the reported non-GAAP financial measures, can be found in the accompanying tables.

Liquidity and Capital Resources

As of December 31, 2013 the Company had:

  • Unrestricted cash and cash equivalents of $423 million.
  • Available borrowing capacity of $67 million under Hawaiian’s Revolving Credit Facility.
  • Outstanding debt and capital lease obligations of approximately $806 million consisting of the following:
  • $430 million outstanding under secured loan agreements to finance a portion of the purchase price for seven Airbus A330-200 aircraft.
  • $154 million outstanding under secured loan agreements to finance a portion of the purchase price for 15 Boeing 717-200 aircraft.
  • $111 million in capital lease obligations to finance the acquisition of an Airbus A330-200, two Boeing 717-200 aircraft and aircraft-related equipment.
  • $35 million outstanding under secured floating rate notes for two Boeing 767-300 ER aircraft.
  • $76 million of outstanding Convertible Senior Notes.

2013 Highlights

Operational

  • Ranked #1 nationally for on-time performance for all reported months in 2013 except for January by the U.S. Department of Transportation Air Travel Consumer Report.
  • Ranked the #1 domestic carrier for travel to Hawai’i by Travel + Leisure.
  • Successfully implemented multiple upgrades to our Revenue Management and Inventory Systems.

Fleet and financing

  • Added five new A330-200 aircraft and returned / retired four Boeing 767-300.
  • Took delivery of one ATR 42-500 twin-turboprop aircraft to inaugurate new service to Moloka’i and Lana’i in 2014.
  • Executed a purchase agreement with Airbus for 16 new A321neo aircraft for delivery between 2017 and 2020, with purchase rights for an additional nine aircraft.  The long-range, single-aisle aircraft will complement Hawaiian’s existing fleet of twin-aisle aircraft used for long-haul flying between Hawai’i and the U.S. West Coast.
  • Financed six Airbus A330-200 aircraft deliveries (one delivery in 2013 and five 2014 deliveries) with Enhanced Equipment Trust Certificates (EETC) at a blended rate of 4.13%.

Product and loyalty

  • Enhanced inflight experience on Boeing 767-300 aircraft by becoming the only U.S. carrier to offer the Apple iPad mini as a replacement for the prior portable entertainment system.
  • Entered into a new credit card agreement with Barclays Card for a new co-branded credit card effective January 1, 2014.
  • Announced the introduction of new Extra Comfort economy seating on all A330-200 aircraft beginning in the third quarter 2014.
  • Expanded our frequent flyer partnership with American Airlines.
  • Entered into new frequent flyer and code-share agreements with China Airlines.

New routes and increased frequencies

  • Honolulu to Auckland, New Zealand three-times-weekly service launched in March.
  • Honolulu to Sendai, Japan three-times-weekly service launched in June.
  • Honolulu to Taipei, Taiwan three-times-weekly service launched in July.
  • Announced Honolulu to Beijing, China three-times-weekly service beginning in April 2014, pending government approval.
  • Announced the reintroduction of daily non-stop service from Honolulu to Oakland beginning in January 2014, an increase from four-times-weekly.  Also, announced seasonal service, during the summer of 2014, between Oakland and Kona, three-times-weekly and between Oakland and Lihu’e, four-times-weekly.
  • Announced seasonal service, during the summer of 2014 between Los Angeles and Kona, three-times-weekly and between Los Angeles and Lihu’e, four-times-weekly.
  • Announced daily non-stop service from Maui to Los Angeles, beginning in July 2014.
  • Announced additional service from Honolulu to Brisbane from three-times-weekly to four-times-weekly, beginning in March 2014.

First Quarter and Full Year 2014 Outlook

The table below summarizes the Company’s expectations for the first quarter ending March 31, 2014 and the full year ending December 31, 2014, expressed as an expected percentage change compared to the results for the quarter ended March 31, 2013 or the year ended December 31, 2013, as applicable (the results for which are presented for reference).

First
Quarter
Item 2013 Guidance
Cost per ASM Excluding Fuel (cents) 8.28 Up 5% to up 8%
Passenger Revenue Per ASM (cents) 11.11 Up 4% to up 7%
Operating Revenue Per ASM (cents) 12.37 Up 4.5% to up 7.5%
ASMs (millions) 3,965.8 Up 1% to up 3%
Gallons of jet fuel consumed (millions) 53.9 Up 0.5% to up 2.5%
Full Year
Item 2013 Guidance
Cost per ASM Excluding Fuel (cents) 7.88 Up in the low single digits
ASMs (millions) 16,785.8 Up 4% to up 7%

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 767-33A ER N587HA (msn 33421) taxies at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Hawaiian Airlines: AG Slide Show

Will the Eastern name and brand return to Miami? CEO Ed Wegel wants to fly Airbus A320s in Eastern colors

Eastern Air Lines Group, Inc., (2nd) (Miami) has filed an application with the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity.  Eastern plans on commencing its Part 121 certification with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) shortly and has retained legal counsel and consultants for this purpose.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to launch an airline bearing the iconic Eastern Air Lines name,” said Eastern’s President and CEO Edward Wegel. “We have recruited a world class board of directors and a highly experienced management team to guide and lead this effort.”

Eastern logo (large)

Eastern Air Lines Group, Inc. was formed to re-launch Eastern Air Lines as a passenger airline using the Airbus A320 aircraft from its main base of operations at Miami International Airport (MIA).  Eastern’s headquarters is located in Building 5A at MIA.

Eastern Air Lines Group, Inc. is not affiliated with the former Eastern Air Lines, which operated from 1928 to 1991 as one of the largest U.S. domestic air carriers.

For more information visit www.easternairlines.aero and follow @FlyEastern.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. The original Eastern Airlines was the U.S. launch customer of the Airbus A300. Airbus A300B4-103 N213EA (msn 092) taxies to the gate (now American Airlines’ Terminal D on the north side) at Eastern’s old Miami International Airport hub. Eastern sold its Latin American routes to American Airlines.

Eastern Airlines (original): AG Slide Show

Atlasjet is coming to London Luton

Atlasjet Airlines (Istanbul-Ataturk) is coming to London. Luton Airport has been selected at its airport of entry into this important summer market. The Turkish carrier will launch nonstop services from Istanbul (Ataturk) to London (Luton) on May 2 per Airline Route. The new route will operate four days a week with Airbus A320s.

Top Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com (all others by Atlasjet). Airbus A320-232 TC-OGI (msn 640) taxies past the camera at Antalya.

Atlasjet: AG Slide Show

Atlasjet FAs (Atlasjet)(LR)

Finnair to increase flights to Lapland

Finnair (Helsinki) and the biggest tour operators in Lapland have agreed upon a three-year partnership to increase flights to Lapland as well as a marketing collaboration. Beginning in November 2014, with the start of the winter timetable season, Finnair will significantly add to its Lapland flight schedule. Flights will be added particularly from Helsinki to Kittilä, Ivalo and Kuusamo. Timetables have been drawn up to provide passengers with good connections between Lapland and European and Asian destinations via Helsinki.

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 OH-LXF (msn 1712) arrives in London (Heathrow).

Finnair: AG Slide Show

Videos:

Celebrating 90 Years of Flying:

 

Aeroflot transfers 49% of the shares of Aurora Airlines to Sakhalin Oblast

Aurora A319-100 VP-BWK (13)(Grd)(Aurora)(LR)

Aeroflot Russian Airlines (Moscow) has transferred 49% of the shares of JSC Aurora Airlines to Sakhalin Oblast.

The transaction follows an agreement signed on November 6, 2013 in the presence of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev between Aeroflot and Sakhalin Oblast regarding joint ownership of Aurora Airlines. Under the agreement, shares of Aurora Airlines will be transferred in tranches from Sakhalin Oblast to other regions in the Far Eastern Federal District.

This transfer represents an important step in the creation of Aurora as a single carrier serving the whole of Russia’s Far East. The project will be developed through close cooperation with the administrations of regions in the Russian Far East.

Aurora Airlines was created following an order issued by the Prime Minister. Aurora is being built on the basis of two Far Eastern regional airlines, SAT Airlines and Vladivostok Avia, which since 2011 have been part of Aeroflot Group. Aurora Airlines aims to promote the social and economic development of Russia’s Far East by creating a more efficient and accessible system of passenger flights.

The creation of the Far Eastern regional airline is part of Aeroflot Group’s strategy to create a major airline group capable of competing on the global market. The strategy includes the establishment of three regional hubs, in the Southern, North-Western and Far Eastern federal districts. The Group aims to almost triple flight numbers by 2025, making Aeroflot Group one of Europe’s five biggest airlines by passenger numbers and turnover, and a top-20 global carrier.

Aeroflot’s share in the new company will be not less than 51%. Aurora Airlines launched operations in November 2013 after its first Airbus A319 (VP-BWK) (above) was painted and delivered. A Boeing 737-500 (RA-73002) is also flying in their colors.

Sakhalin Oblast according to Wikipedia is a federal subject of Russia (an oblast) comprising the island of Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands in the Far East. The oblast has an area of 33,600 square miles. Its administrative center and the largest city is Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.

Besides people from other parts of the former Soviet Union, the oblast is home to Nivkhs and Ainu, with the latter having lost their language in Sakhalin recently.

All Images: Aurora Airlines (SAT Airlines).

Aeroflot: AG Slide Show

Aurora logo-1 (small)

Route Map: Combined SAT Airlines and Valdivostok Avia route map:

Aurora 1.2014 route map

 

Monarch partners with visitlondon.com to bring more Italian and Spanish tourists to London

Monarch Airlines (London-Luton) has announced it is partnering with visitlondon.com on their campaign, ‘The London Story’ (http://www.visitlondon.com/story). The partnership will last until the end of February. The partnership between Monarch Airlines and visitlondon.com aims to encourage Spanish and Italian travellers to come and explore the diversity of what London has to offer.

London - VisitLondon.com logo

The London Story brings the city to life with a series of films featuring proud Londoners, who work in the capital, talking about what they love about London. The microsite, hosted on visitlondon.com and available in Spanish and Italian, showcases iconic parts of the capital as well as the lesser-known inspiring places which are dotted all around the city.

Each story is told in a two minutes video, allowing visitors to get to know the real people of London. They include iconic characters behind some of London’s best known landmarks and unsung heroes who bring the city to life: Mark, park manager for the Royal Parks; Alex, pier manager on the Thames; Barney, Yeoman of the Ward from the Tower of London; and Rebecca, colouring artist at Madame Tussauds.

One of the Londoners telling his ‘London Story’ is Monarch cabin crew member Jairo Chinea Santos who stars as Monarch’s ambassador for the campaign and tells why he likes calling London home. In the video, Jario explains how he treats each of his customers like a guest, welcoming them on board Monarch’s aircrafts with a big smile.

Editor’s Note: All airlines interested in increasing the number of passengers they carry should be partnering with their home city to promote their home town as an undiscovered destination. There are million of stories at each destination. Well done Monarch and visitlondon.com.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 G-ZBAB (msn 5581) with Sharklets taxies at Palma de Mallorca.

Monarch: AG Slide Show

Video: One of the video segments about the London Underground:

Air Transat orders Spilt Scimitar Winglets for its new Boeing 737-800s

Air Transat logo-1

Aviation Partners Boeing (APB) (Seattle) today announced that Air Transat (Montreal) has ordered Split Scimitar Winglets for its fleet of Boeing Next Generation 737-800 aircraft.  APB’s newest program is the culmination of a five year design effort using the latest computational fluid dynamic technology to redefine the aerodynamics of the Blended Winglet into an all-new Split Scimitar Winglet. The unique feature of the Split Scimitar Winglet is that it uses the existing Blended Winglet structure, but adds new strengthened spars, aerodynamic scimitar tips, and a large ventral strake.  APB looks forward to receiving FAA certification for Split Scimitar Winglets within the next several days.

APB will develop and certify the Split Scimitar Winglet System for several variants of the Boeing Next Generation 737 series of aircraft including the structurally provisioned and non-provisioned 737-700, 737-800, 737-BBJ, the structurally provisioned 737-900 and the 737-900 ER.

Air Transat has leased in for the winter season Boeing 737-8K2 F-GZHD (msn 29650) from Transavia France on January 15.

Air Transat: AG Slide Show

American Airlines Group reports its combined fourth quarter and full year financial results

American Airlines Group Inc. (American Airlines and US Airways) (Dallas/Fort Worth) today reported fourth quarter and full year 2013 results.

  • As the result of the merger which closed on Dec. 9, 2013, US Airways Group became a subsidiary of AMR Corporation which changed its name to American Airlines Group Inc. (AAG)
  • Fourth quarter 2013 combined net profit was $436 million on a non-GAAP basis excluding net special charges. This represents a $478 million improvement versus the company’s combined fourth quarter 2012 non-GAAP net loss of $42 million excluding net special credits
  • 2013 combined net profit was $1.9 billion on a non-GAAP basis excluding net special charges, a $1.5 billion improvement versus the company’s combined 2012 non-GAAP net profit of $407 million excluding net special charges
  • The company ended the year with $10.3 billion in total cash and investments. Since the merger, the company has used more than $300 million of cash to reduce its diluted shares outstanding by approximately 14 million

For the fourth quarter 2013, AAG reported a GAAP net loss of $2.0 billion, which includes $2.4 billion of net special charges. This compares to a net profit of $262 million, which includes $350 million of net special credits in the fourth quarter 2012. AAG’s GAAP financial results include the results for US Airways only for the period from the completion of the merger on Dec. 9, 2013 through Dec. 31, 2013.

For full year 2013, GAAP net loss was $1.8 billion, which includes $3.1 billion of net special charges. This compares to a full year 2012 net loss of $1.9 billion, which includes $1.7 billion of net special charges.

The company believes it is more meaningful to compare year-over-year results for American Airlines and US Airways on a combined basis, which is a non-GAAP formulation that combines the results for AMR Corporation and US Airways Group. Therefore, it includes the results of US Airways Group for the full period (not just the period since the merger closed). See the accompanying notes in the Financial Tables section of this press release for further explanation of this presentation, including a reconciliation of GAAP to non-GAAP financial information.

Fourth quarter 2013 combined net profit was $436 million on a non-GAAP basis excluding net special charges. This compares to a combined non-GAAP net loss of $42 million excluding net special credits for the same period in 2012. Based on a diluted share count of 742 million, fourth quarter 2013 diluted earnings per share was $0.59 on a non-GAAP basis.

For 2013, the company’s combined net profit was $1.9 billion on a non-GAAP basis excluding net special charges. This represents a $1.5 billion improvement over the company’s combined 2012 non-GAAP net profit of $407 million excluding net special charges.

“The early returns on our merger are very positive,” said Doug Parker, CEO of American Airlines Group Inc. “Our teams are working well together and our customers are already beginning to see the benefits of our combined network. We have much work ahead, but believe we are on our way to restoring American as the greatest airline in the world. These financial results are evidence of the strong foundation we have in place and we anticipate improving upon these results as we further integrate our operations in 2014.”

Merger Integration 

Since closing the merger on December 9, 2013, the company has made significant progress in integrating American Airlines and US Airways. Key accomplishments include:

  • Launched the first phase of codesharing which offers customers improved access to the company’s global network by allowing them to book select flights on both airlines’ networks
  • Provided reciprocal benefits for Club members and Elite members, including priority check-in, waiver of fees for checked bags, complimentary access to preferred seats, priority security, early boarding and priority baggage delivery
  • Allowed AAdvantage® and Dividend Miles members to earn and redeem miles when traveling across either airline’s network
  • Trained more than 85,000 customer-facing employees

Revenue and Cost Comparisons

On a combined basis, total revenues in the fourth quarter were $10.0 billion, up 8.7 percent versus the fourth quarter 2012 on a 3.4 percent increase in total available seat miles (ASMs). Fourth quarter combined consolidated passenger revenue per ASM (PRASM) was 13.64 cents, up 5.0 percent versus the fourth quarter 2012, driven by a 5.3 percent increase in yield.

Strong demand and high load factors led to 2013 total combined revenues of $40.4 billion, which were up 4.7 percent versus 2012. Full year combined consolidated PRASM was 13.67 cents, up 2.6 percent versus 2012.

Total combined operating expenses in the fourth quarter were $9.7 billion, up 7.0 percent over fourth quarter 2012. Combined fourth quarter mainline cost per available seat mile (CASM) was 14.17 cents, up 4.2 percent on a 3.6 percent increase in mainline ASMs versus fourth quarter 2012. Excluding special charges, fuel and profit sharing, mainline CASM was flat compared to the fourth quarter 2012, at8.49 cents. Regional CASM excluding special charges and fuel was 15.73 cents, up 1.8 percent on a 1.6 percent increase in regional ASMs versus fourth quarter 2012.

For the full year 2013, total combined operating expenses were $37.8 billion, up 0.6 percent versus 2012. Excluding special charges, fuel and profit sharing, combined mainline CASM decreased 3.1 percent to 8.37 cents versus 2012. Regional CASM excluding special credits and fuel increased 1.1 percent to 15.38 cents versus 2012.

Liquidity and Financing Transactions

As of December 31, 2013, American had $10.3 billion in total cash and investments, of which $1.0 billion was restricted. The company also has an undrawn revolving credit facility of $1.0 billion. Approximately $710 million of this unrestricted cash balance was held as Venezuelan bolivars, valued at the weighted average applicable exchange rate of 6.04 bolivars to the dollar. The period of time to exchange those funds into dollars and repatriate them has been increasing and is presently more than a year. On January 24, 2014, the Venezuelan government announced that a newly-implemented system will determine the exchange rate (currently 11.36 to the dollar) for repatriation of income from future ticket sales, and introduced new procedures for approval of repatriation of local currency. American is working with Venezuelan authorities regarding the timing and exchange rate applicable to the repatriation of funds held in local currency.

During the fourth quarter, the company elected to pay approximately $300 million in tax withholdings for employees under the Plan of Reorganization in lieu of issuing shares of common stock, thereby reducing the number of shares issued under the Plan by approximately 13 million. On January 9, 2014, the first distribution date, the company paid approximately $23 million in additional employee tax withholdings in lieu of issuing approximately 1 million shares of common stock. The company may make a similar election on future distribution dates as both a service to our team members and an indication of our confidence in the value of our common stock.

Additional balance sheet and liquidity detail will be included in the company’s Form 10-K to be filed in February.

During the fourth quarter, the company engaged in these additional financing transactions:

  • Completed the American Airlines offering of the Series 2013-2B EETC in aggregate face amount of $512 million and the Series 2013-2C EETC in aggregate face amount of $256 million
  • Amended the American Airlines term loan facility and the revolving credit facility to lower the applicable LIBOR margins to 3.0% for both offerings. As part of this amendment, the LIBOR floor with respect to the term loan facility was reduced from 1.0% to 0.75%
  • Utilized the floating rate debt market to refinance eight US Airways aircraft (six A321s and two A320s) at significantly reduced rates
  • Financed two US Airways spare engine deliveries with a floating rate debt facility originated in 2012 while negotiating an interest rate reduction for the entire facility
  • On Jan. 16, 2014 the company also amended the US Airways term loan facility, to lower the applicable LIBOR margin from 3.0% to 2.75% for Tranche B1. In addition, the LIBOR floor was reduced from 1.0% to 0.75% on both the Tranche B1 and Tranche B2 loans

Special Charges

In the fourth quarter, the company recognized a combined total of $2.4 billion in net special charges, including:

  • $2.2 billion in net reorganization charges consisting primarily of a deemed claim to employees, professional fees and estimated allowed claim amounts
  • $497 million in operating expense net special charges primarily related to the pilot memorandum of understanding that became effective upon merger close, merger related costs and professional fees and a charge related to the pilot long-term disability obligation
  • $324 million in non-cash income tax benefits primarily related to gains recorded in Other Comprehensive Income, offset in part by a charge related to deferred tax liabilities on indefinite lived assets
  • $31 million in operating revenue net special credits related to a change in accounting method resulting from the modification of the company’s AAdvantage® miles agreement with Citibank
  • $21 million in non-operating net special charges primarily related to interest charges to recognize post-petition interest expense on unsecured obligations

Notable Accomplishments

Additional Integration Related

  • On December 9, 2013, US Airways Group became a subsidiary of AMR Corporation which changed its name to American Airlines Group Inc. The company’s common stock began trading on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker “AAL”. Union presidents and more than 1,000 of the company’s employees joined American’s senior management team for the televised NASDAQ opening bell ceremony
  • Announced the new leadership team through the Managing Director level
  • Co-located our revenue management team to ensure the company is executing pricing and revenue management strategies as one organization
  • Took the unprecedented step of asking team members to vote to select the aircraft livery of the merged carrier. More than 60,000 team members participated

Fleet/Network

  • Continued to modernize its fleet with new, fuel-efficient aircraft. The company inducted thirteen Airbus A320 family aircraft, two A330-200 aircraft, five Boeing 737-800 and one Boeing 777-300 aircraft into its fleet
  • Signed agreements with Bombardier Inc. and Embraer S.A. to purchase 90 new 76-seat regional jets that will replace smaller, less efficient 50-seat regional aircraft scheduled for retirement
  • Began nonstop service between its largest hub at Dallas/Fort Worth and Bogota, Colombia and Roatan, Honduras and announced proposed new service between Dallas/Fort Worth and Hong Kong and Shanghai
  • Began nonstop service between its Miami hub and Curitiba and Porto Alegre, Brazil
  • Expanded the company’s international reach from its hub at Charlotte, North Carolina with the announcement of new, seasonal summer service to Barcelona, Spain; Brussels, Belgium; Lisbon, Portugal and Manchester, England
  • Announced the company will begin service to Edinburgh, Scotland from its Philadelphia hub this summer
  • Held the grand opening of an expanded Terminal F in PHL, the exclusive home of US Airways Express. The airport project which was managed by the company, quadrupled the facilities central area to 37,000 square feet and added 20 new food, beverage and retail outlets for our customers

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. American’s Boeing 767-323 ER N388AA (msn 27448) arrives at the Miami hub.

American Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

American Airlines (historic): AG Slide Show

US Airways: AG Slide Show

Southwest Airlines to retire the AirTran Airways name and brand by the end of this year

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) intends to retire the AirTran Airways name, brand and remaining international and domestic routes by the end of this year according to Southwest CEO Gary Kelly at his press conference announcing the first Southwest international routes.

Southwest acquired AirTran in 2011 and has been gradually transferring planes, people and routes to Southwest as it works on the integration.

It will be the end of the carrier and an era.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. With the lease transfer of the AirTran Boeing 717s to Delta Air Lines the special liveries are rapidly going away. AirTran was a big believer in the special schemes. Formerly with TWA, Boeing 717-231 N936AT (msn 55058) in the Indianapolis Colts NFL team colors arrives at Baltimore/Washington (BWI) in the past.

AirTran Airways: AG Slide Show

AirTran logo

Remaining AirTran routes from the Atlanta hub:

AirTran 1.2014 ATL Route Map

Video: A previous AirTran TV Commercial:

Video: A company video celebrating its 10th Anniversary back in 2010:

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