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Tag Archives: 737

Southwest Airlines to operate seasonal Caribbean service from Milwaukee to both Montego Bay and Punta Cana

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) will add seasonal and weekly (saturdays) service from Milwaukee to both Montego Bay, Jamaica and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic from January 24 through April 4, 2015 per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. “Heart Two” in the form of Boeing 737-8H4 N8645A (msn 36907) painted in the dazzling 2014 livery arrives at the Baltimore/Washington (BWI) hub.

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Video: Repainting the fleet:

 

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United Airlines to pay its flight attendants $100,000 to leave the company, will recall all furloughed FAs

United Airlines (Chicago) has issued this statement:

United Airlines and the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) announced that United will offer its Flight Attendants an Enhanced Early Out Program, which allows participants a one-time opportunity to voluntarily separate from the company and receive a severance payment. United also announced that it is recalling all Flight Attendants who are on voluntary and involuntary furlough.

United will offer lump sum payouts of up to $100,000 for Flight Attendants who apply for the early out and meet certain service and eligibility qualifications, and the company will award early outs in seniority order.

“We’re excited to offer this extraordinary early out program, and we look forward to rewarding Flight Attendants who’ve contributed so much to United over the years,” said Sam Risoli, United’s senior vice president, Inflight Services. “Working together with the AFA Master Executive Council Presidents Ken Diaz, Suzanne Hendricks and Marcus Valentino, we were able to develop a program that provides great benefits, minimizes disruption to Flight Attendants due to staffing imbalances and at the same time helps us be more competitive.”

“United’s investment in this Enhanced Early Out benefits United and all our Flight Attendants represented by the AFA,” said Mike Bonds, executive vice president, Human Resources and Labor Relations. “Recalling furloughed Flight Attendants and aligning our staffing to match our flying schedule will further facilitate the company and AFA reaching a joint collective bargaining agreement. It’s another positive step in what has become a productive relationship with AFA.”

United has more than 23,000 flight attendants.

Narita-based Japanese national Flight Attendants employed by CMI, and who are not employed by United or represented by AFA, have their own severance and early-retirement terms provided in their collective bargaining agreement under Japanese law, and therefore are not eligible for the United Airlines Enhanced Early Out Program.

United has achieved joint collective bargaining agreements with a majority of its represented work force, including pilots, dispatchers, fleet service, passenger service, reservations and storekeeper workgroups. The company is engaged in expedited negotiations with the AFA and is in mediation with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), representing United’s technicians.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-724 N16709 (msn 28779) departs from Washington’s Reagan National Airport.

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SAS reports its third quarter income drops 44% to $69.5 million

Scandinavian Airlines-SAS (SAS Group) (Stockholm) despite recent personnel cuts and cost saving measures reported its fiscal third quarter income (ending on July 31) dropped 44 percent to SEK (Swedish Krona) 496 million ($69.5 million).

The group blamed the decline on its challenging market conditions especially coming from Norwegian Air Shuttle. CEO Rickard Gustafson blamed Norwegian for flooding the market with more seats than the market can handle.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

In other news, on Wednesday September 10, SAS moved in to the new Queen’s Terminal at London’s Heathrow Airport. The Queen’s Terminal, or Terminal 2, is the new home of all Star Alliance airlines that fly to Heathrow – in total 23 members.

SAS operates 21 departures and 21 arrivals at the terminal to and from the Scandinavian capitals of Stockholm, Oslo and Copenhagen
and the regional cities Gothenburg and Stavanger. SAS flight SK 500 was the first SAS scheduled flight to operate from Terminal 2.

Copyright Photo: Stefan Sjogren/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-883 LN-RPM (msn 30195) promoting the SAS Eurobonus program,  approaches runway 01R at Stockholm (Arlanda).

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Sunwing Airlines to start Ottawa-St. Petersburg/Clearwater flights on December 18

Sunwing Airlines (Toronto) will start weekly (on Thursdays) nonstop Ottawa-St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Florida (Tampa Bay) flights on December 18 with 189-seat Boeing 737-800s.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8BK C-FTJH (msn 29642) on a summer lease at Palma de Mallorca will be returning to Canada for the winter season. The airliner has been retrofitted with the new Aviation Partners Boeing Split Scimitar Winglets.

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Swiftair orders four Boeing 737-400 freighter conversions from Aeronautical Engineers

Aeronautical Engineers, Inc. (AEI) has announce that Swiftair S.A. (Madrid) has selected AEI to provide eight (8) Boeing 37-400SF passenger to freighter conversions. The contract calls for four firm orders plus an additional four options. The first aircraft, built in 1991 (msn 24438) (ex Samair) is a high gross weight Boeing 737-400 and is currently being modified at Commercial Jet Inc. in Miami, Florida, which is an authorized AEI Conversion Center. The second aircraft (msn 24445) is on location in Miami and will commence modification in mid-September. All eight aircraft will be modified at Commercial Jet Inc. in Miami, Florida.

Copyright Photo: Javier Rodriguez/AirlinersGallery.com. Swiftair is a current Boeing 737-400 operator. 737-4Q8 (F) N156GA (msn 26298) arrives at Palma de Mallorca before it became EC-MCI.

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Southwest Airlines files to serve San Jose, Costa Rica from Baltimore/Washington

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) announced today (September 12) that it has filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to add its first destination in Central America with daily roundtrip service between Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport (BWI) and Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) in San Jose, Costa Rica, beginning on March 7, 2015.

Costa Rica will be the sixth near-international country served by Southwest Airlines from its U.S. gateway cities and the first new destination in the carrier’s network after the integration of wholly owned subsidiary AirTran Airways is completed by the end of this year. Service to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and Mexico City begins on November 2, as Southwest converts existing AirTran service in those destinations. Southwest began service this summer to Aruba, The Bahamas, Jamaica, and both Cancun and San Jose del Cabo/Los Cabos, Mexico.

Southwest Airlines began service from Baltimore/Washington in September 1993, with ten flights offering scheduled service through nonstop destinations Chicago (Midway) and Cleveland. Southwest, 21 years later, is the largest carrier at BWI in terms of daily departure and, by March 2015, will fly nonstop to 60 cities with more than 200 departures a day.

In October 2006, Southwest began serving Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) and added service to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) in July 2012. By November, Southwest Airlines will be the second largest carrier at DCA in terms of seats, offering 44 flights a day to 14 destinations: Akron-Canton, Atlanta, Austin, Chicago (Midway), Dallas (Love Field), Ft. Myers/Naples, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Nashville, New Orleans, St. Louis, and Tampa.

Top Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-7H4 N214WN (msn 32486) in the Maryland One scheme arrives in Las Vegas

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Bottom Copyright Photo: Southwest Airlines. The new heart logo is directed too at its employees as it grows internationally and finalizes the AirTran merger.

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Air Transat’s parent reports adjusted 3Q net income of C$26.7 million

Air Transat‘s (Montreal) parent, Transat A.T., Inc. issued this quarterly financial statement for the fiscal third quarter (all amounts in Canadian dollars):

Transat A.T. Inc., one of the largest integrated tourism companies in the world and Canada’s holiday travel leader, posted revenues of $941.7 million for the quarter ended July 31, 2014, compared with $927.0 million in 2013, an increase of $14.7 million, or 1.6%. The Corporation recorded adjusted operating income of $46.8 million, compared with $54.4 million in 2013, and net income of $25.8 million ($0.66 per share on a diluted basis), compared with $41.1 million ($1.07 per share on a diluted basis) in 2013. Before non-operating items, Transat reported adjusted net income of $26.7 million in 2014 ($0.69 per share on a diluted basis), compared with $30.8 million ($0.80 per share on a diluted basis) in 2013.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Air Transat’s Boeing 737-8Q8 C-GTQB (msn 30696) in the Split Scimitar Wingslets is resting between flights at Toronto (Pearson).

 

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Southwest Airlines rebrands with a flashy new look and theme

Heart One. Stephen M. Keller

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) today officially unveiled this new livery, theme and logo in a special ceremony this morning in Dallas despite some images being leaked, probably from where it was painted in Victorville, CA. The first aircraft to be repainted is the pictured Boeing 737-8H4 N8642E (msn 42525) (above) delivered new on August 6, 2014.

Southwest The Heart sets us apart (LRW)

The company issued this statement this morning:

Southwest Airlines introduced a modern new look to its iconic brand today (September 8) at an event dedicated to its Employees. The airline proudly unveiled a new aircraft livery, named Heart One, airport experience, and logo. The new look puts the airline’s Heart on display, showcasing the strength of the nearly 46,000 Employees Companywide—whose dedication can be felt by every Customer each time Southwest Airlines connects them to what’s important in their life.

“Our collective heartbeat is stronger and healthier than ever, and that’s because of the warmth, the compassion, and the smiles of our People,” said Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer. “The Heart emblazoned on our aircraft, and within our new look, symbolizes our commitment that we’ll remain true to our core values as we set our sights on the future.”

It’s a big year for Southwest, as the airline introduces its legendary brand to international destinations; the repeal of the Wright Amendment is within sight; and the integration of AirTran Airways operations is on track to be completed later this year. Southwest continues to evolve, serving more than 90 destinations, and expanding its footprint in big markets like New York City and Washington, D.C.

“With all these exciting changes happening, we thought it was time for a new visual expression of our brand—one that marries our past to our present and sets the course for where we’re headed in the future,” Kelly said.

Southwest 2014 logo

NEW LOOK, SAME GREAT EXPERIENCE

The announcement of Southwest Airlines’ modern new look introduces a striking new livery design, new iconic Southwest logo (above), newly designed inflight materials and magazine, an advertising campaign that celebrates the airline’s unique personality, and a revamped experience both online and at its airport locations, all of which showcase the unique spirit and Heart of the brand, and communicate its focus on Customer care. In addition, the airline will introduce a refresh to its signature “DING!” mnemonic.

To bring this all to life, Southwest collaborated with advertising and branding partners GSD&M, Lippincott, VML, Razorfish and Camelot Communications—each an expert in their own field. The task was given to distill more than 40 years of rich history into one modern, impactful look, representing the exciting future of a one-of-a-kind airline.

“The job wasn’t to change who we are,” said Kevin Krone, Southwest’s Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “We already know who we are. The job was to keep the elements of Southwest that our Employees and Customers love, and to make them a bold, modern expression of our future.”

“With so much of Southwest’s focus firm¬ly set on the future, it was a natural time to look at our visual identity,” said Bob Jordan, Southwest Airlines Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer.

“As we developed the identity, it wasn’t just about the new livery or the logo, but about developing the total, integrated brand expression of Southwest,” said Rodney Abbot, Senior Design Partner at Lippincott.

Southwest new heart logo

“The Heart is our identity the same way the Heart of our Southwest Employees enhances the Customer experience, said Krone. “It’s the finishing touch that makes the Southwest brand unique, demonstrating that Southwest cares about each and every Customer. Even on the belly of the plane, the Heart is a symbolic reminder that we put our Hearts into every flight.”

“For more than three decades, GSD&M has partnered with Southwest Airlines, so we certainly understand and believe in the power of Southwest’s Heart,” said Marianne Malina, President of GSD&M. “We were thrilled with the opportunity to partner with an extraordinary and talented team to bring Southwest’s love of People front and center. This work is a celebration of the great brand that Southwest has become and, most importantly, where it’s headed next.”

Southwest Airlines and its partners did comprehensive research and held numerous focus groups with Employees and Customers to determine how best to create the new look. The airline heard that it was important to remain unique and to retain its personality; for these reasons, Southwest continues to use the vibrant color palate and striped tail that has long identified the carrier, while adding a modern touch, proudly displaying the Southwest name on the side of the fuselage and presenting the Heart on the aircraft belly. Southwest has had several different liveries and logos throughout its 43-year history; remaining current and relevant is critical to the sustainability and future growth of the brand.

As a legendary low-fare carrier, Southwest doesn’t make a change this bold without first assessing cost impact. The approach and focus with this launch has been with the intent to remain cost-neutral by using a phased rollout. Aircraft will receive the newly painted livery within the aircraft’s existing repainting schedule, with new aircraft delivered in the new Heart livery. In addition, many of the future airport conversions will be integrated into existing and upcoming airport improvement projects. Because Southwest is taking this cost-conscious approach to the conversion of planes and airports, it might be some time before Customers and Employees see the new design in person.

Heart One. Stephen M. Keller

Copyright Photo: Southwest Airlines. The company again has bold new fuselage titles for good visibility.

Here is the message from Chairman, President and CEO Gary Kelly:

Forty-three years ago, Southwest launched a low-fare revolution that is still alive and well today. Ignited by a Maverick Spirit and a passion for serving others, we set out to do things differently than the other guys. Today, the world is a much different place than it was back in 1971. Our industry landscape is hardly recognizable, and our Customers’ travel habits have evolved. Southwest has evolved too — but we have never stopped smiling.

We’ve been hard at work over the past decade transforming Southwest to be just as relevant and successful for the next four decades. We enhanced our cabin interiors, installing WiFi and offering free live TV onboard (thanks to DISH®!). With the Boeing 737-800 series aircraft, we’re bringing on larger airplanes that are better suited for longer flights. We expanded in big markets like New York City and Washington, D.C. and revamped our Rapid Rewards® Frequent Flyer program. We acquired AirTran Airways, and we’re in the final stages of integrating our two airlines to become one by the end of this year. The AirTran integration set the stage for Southwest to launch international service for the first time in our history, which we did in July. And next month, a federal law (the Wright Amendment) restricting where we can fly domestically from our home airport of Dallas Love Field will be lifted — giving us the freedom to serve more nonstop markets from our hometown.

With all these exciting changes happening, we thought it was time for a new visual expression of our brand — one that marries our past to our present and sets the course for where we’re headed in the future. So this month, we’re introducing a modern, new look. You’ll see it throughout your experience with us. Our new logo showcases a Heart — fitting for a Company whose very core has always been fueled by the heartbeat of its People. Our collective heartbeat is stronger and healthier than ever, and that’s because of the warmth, the compassion, and the smiles of our People. This Heart symbolizes our commitment to you that we’ll remain true to our core as we set our sights on the future.

What started as a revolution has undergone an evolution. But we haven’t changed what we stand for: low fares, a convenient flight schedule, and the friendliest Employees in the world. Our Purpose is to connect you, our valued Customer, to the moments that are most important in your life, through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel. That was true in 1971, and it’s just as true today. So, while our look may be new, our DNA is the same — with the big Heart and big smile you have come to LUV. Thanks for coming along for the ride!

All images by Southwest Airlines.

Read the analysis by Bloomberg Businessweek: CLICK HERE

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What do you think?

Video: The unveiling of the new brand:

Video: The evolution of the heart logo:

Video: Repainting the first aircraft:

Boeing launches the 200-seat 737 MAX 200 with Ryanair

Ryanair 737-MAX 8 Artwork

Boeing (Chicago and Seattle) launched the newest member of the 737 MAX family today (September 8) with a commitment from Ryanair (Dublin) for 100 airplanes. Europe’s leading low-cost carrier will be the first airline to operate the 737 MAX 200, a variant based on the successful 737 MAX 8 that can accommodate up to 200 seats, increasing revenue potential and providing customers up to 20 percent better fuel efficiency per seat than today’s most efficient single-aisle airplanes.

In addition to the commitment, valued at $11 billion at current list prices, Ryanair has options to purchase another 100 737 MAX 200s.

“Ryanair is proud and honored to become the lead operator of Boeing’s ‘gamechanger’ 737 MAX 200, which will expand our fleet to 520 aircraft by 2024 and create another 3,000 new jobs for pilots, cabin crew and engineers in Europe, while allowing us to grow traffic from 82 million last year to over 150 million annually by 2024,” said Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary.

“These new “gamechanger” aircraft will allow Ryanair to lower our costs and airfares, while improving our customer experience with more leg room and the Boeing Sky Interior, as we roll out new offers, particularly for our Business Plus and Family Extra customers. As many of Europe’s flag carriers cut capacity on short haul routes, Ryanair looks forward to using these new Boeing 737 MAX 200s to grow at many more of Europe’s primary airports,” said O’Leary

Boeing developed the 737 MAX 200 in response to the needs of the fast growing low-cost sector, which is forecasted to account for 35 percent of single-aisle airline capacity by 2033. While the heart of the single-aisle market will remain at 160 seats, the 737 MAX 200 will provide carriers like Ryanair with up to 11 more seats of potential revenue and up to 5 percent lower operating costs than the 737 MAX 8, driving economic growth and increasing access to air travel.

With the addition of the 737 MAX 200, the 737 MAX family offers the right capacity to meet the needs across the single-aisle market.

“The 737 MAX 200 is the perfect fit for Ryanair, providing improved efficiencies, 20 percent lower emissions, increased revenues and a high level of passenger comfort,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner. “The new variant will play a significant role in enabling the airline to continue to expand its operations, while providing passengers across Europe with outstanding value. For everyone at Boeing, it is an honor to launch the 737 MAX 200 with Ryanair, one of the world’s most successful all-Boeing operators.”

Based on the 737 MAX 8 airframe, the 737 MAX 200 can accommodate up to 200 seats by incorporating a mid-exit door increasing the exit limit. The airframe is 2.2 meters longer than the A320neo, giving customers more flexibility and space in the cabin, and offering a better solution at both the heart of the single-aisle market (160 seats) and at maximum passenger configurations.

Standard across the 737 MAX family, Ryanair’s 737 MAX 200s will be configured with the passenger inspired Boeing Sky Interior, featuring modern sculpted sidewalls and window reveals, LED lighting that enhances the sense of spaciousness and larger pivoting overhead stowage bins.

With 2,239 orders from 46 customers worldwide, the 737 MAX family offers customers superior fuel efficiency, economics and passenger comfort in the single-aisle market.

Headquartered in Ireland’s capital city, Ryanair operates more than 1,600 flights daily from 69 bases connecting 186 destinations in 30 countries. Currently operating more than 300 Next-Generation 737-800s, Ryanair took delivery of its first 737 in 1994, and now operates the largest fleet of Boeing airplanes in Europe. With a team of more than 9,500 highly skilled professionals, the airline is expected to fly more than 86 million passengers this year.

Image: Boeing.

Read the analysis by Bloomberg Businessweek: CLICK HERE

Ryanair: AG Slide Show

A new color scheme is also coming for Southwest Airlines

Southwest with a heartSouthwest Plane Palooza

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) is also planning to make an announcement tomorrow (September 6). It is believed the company is planning to introduce a new livery too.

A Boeing 737-800 is expected to be rolled out tomorrow at Dallas’ Love Field showing a new blue, yellow and red color scheme.

Southwest logo

Like Frontier, Southwest issued this short teaser comment:

We’ve been working on something special. And Monday, we’ll get to the heart of the matter.

DFWTower.com has published photos of a Southwest 737-800 in a hangar with the new design. It does not appear to be a special livery. The main changes, an apparent deeper shade of blue and white fuselage titles: CLICK HERE

This will be third basic livery for Southwest:

Top Image: Southwest Airlines. Southwest recently had a “Plane Palooza” voting contest for its special liveries on Facebook. The finalists were Florida One and Lone Star One. Naturally for the Texas-based airline, Lone Star One won.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Reflecting an American Southwest look, Southwest started operations with this orange, red and mustard color scheme. When Southwest launched intrastate operations in Texas on June 18, 1971 this was the color scheme on its three Boeing 737-200s. Boeing 737-2H4 N21SW (msn 20345) (+ the other two) are seen at the Love Field base. The full titles ran up the rear fuselage and the tail. Later the titles were shortened to just “Southwest” and were placed alone on the tail.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. The current “Canyon Blue” fuselage top livery was introduced in 2001. Boeing 737-3H4 N608SW (msn 27928) departs from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Southwest Airlines Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

In other news, Southwest is recycling its old leather seats. According to CNN, “Southwest Airlines after a large-scale redesign of many of its 737 aircraft, the carrier found itself with an excess of 80,000 leather seat covers — enough to fill the Empire State Building.

Southwest dubbed the initiative “Luv Seat: Repurpose with Purpose,” and reached out to potential partners to take the used leather, but found that there were few takers.

Following the advice of Bill Tiffany, a Southwest VP who grew up in Kenya, the airline started looking towards Africa for recipients of the used leather. Rather than just donating the goods and leaving it there, the airline decided to take a more holistic approach, giving the materials to NGOs that will use them to provide job training and health education.

The main partner is SOS Children’s Villages Kenya, which is providing paid apprenticeships and training to orphaned youth, who in turn make shoes and soccer balls from the leather. The shoes are given to Maasai Treads, who distributes them as part of a campaign to fight debilitating foot parasites. The soccer balls are donated to Alive & Kicking, a charity that uses sport to educate young people on HIV/AIDS and malaria prevention.”

Great idea Southwest. Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Photo courtesy of Southwest Airlines.

Southwest seats made into soccer balls (Southwest)

The proposed return of the Air Florida brand as a public charter carrier

Air Florida (3rd) (St. Petersburg/Clearwater) is the latest return of an historic brand following the return of PEOPLExpress and Eastern. The paper airline has posted this plan and information on their new website:

Air Florida Kiss Us Hello

Air Florida is a privately-held start-up carrier, incorporated as a Florida Corporation In 2014. The company has filed for registration of all logos and indicia of the iconic carrier (Air Florida 1st, 1971-1984), and will operate initially as a public charter carrier.

The carrier Is expected to name the executive team of Aviation Solutions, Inc., of Dallas, TX to manage all phases of operation.

We have reached an agreement In principle with Xtra Airways of Boise, ID for the provision of multiple Boeing 737-400 aircraft (and crews) on an ACMI lease program.

Air Florida (3rd) logo (small)

The carrier is also in discussion for a similar lease arrangement for one McDonnell Douglas MD-11 aircraft for long-haul service, initially proposed to be (Los Angeles-St. Petersburg/Clearwater-San Juan.

While Air Florida will indeed provide leisure travel services from under-served airports In the Northeast and Midwest to various destinations in our home state. Many of the cities in our launch service will become focus cities upon further expansion. The carrier will offer connecting flights and point-to-point service between Northeast and Midwest destinations.

In addition to providing both low-fare leisure and business travel, a key philosophy behind the start-up is a return to the original Air Florida’s K.I.S.S. (Keep It Sweet & Simple) principles. Air Florida does not intend to add hidden or ‘A La Carte’ fees to its fares, but will work to keep fares low while offering our customers what should be expected in air travel.

Air Florida 8.2014 Proposed Route Map

We intend to commence service in early 2015 with service from St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Daytona Beach and Ft Lauderdale/Hollywood to Chicago (Gary), St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Allentown (Lehigh Valley) and Worcester.

The would-be airline is currently in discussions to lease Embraer EMB-120 turboprops as feeder flights for its proposed long-range routes operated with Boeing 737-400s.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. The 1979 blue and green color scheme of the original Air Florida is seen on Boeing 737-2T4 N56AF (msn 22369).

The original Air Florida aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Air France-KLM to retire the Martinair McDonnell Douglas MD-11 freighters in 2015 and 2016, will expand Transavia leisure flights

Air France (Paris) and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (Amsterdam) (Air France-KLM Group) issued this statement about its shrinking and unprofitable freighter fleet including Martinair‘s (Amsterdam) McDonnell Douglas MD-11 freighter fleet:

At its meeting on September 4, 2014, the Air France-KLM Board of Directors examined the findings of the strategic review of its full-freighter operations which was launched earlier this year.

On top of the ongoing reduction of the full-freighter fleet, and facing a slower than expected recovery in demand, the Board of Directors has decided to reduce the full-freighter fleet based in Amsterdam to 3 aircraft in operation by the end of 2016. Five MD-11s will be phased out on an accelerated basis during 2015 and 2016.

By then, the Group will operate five full-freighter aircraft: 2 Boeing 777Fs in Paris and 3 Boeing 747 ERFs in Amsterdam, compared with a total of 14 in 2013.

The group intends to find alternative employment internally for all affected staff. It will engage in consultations on this matter with the Works Council and trade unions of the companies involved.

The Group will remain a major player in the cargo sector in Europe through its extensive belly network effectively supplemented by a limited number of full-freighter aircraft.

This adjustment of the full-freighter fleet is part of a broader strategic vision designed to increase cargo contribution to the group. Other measures include a strong focus on specialized products such as pharmaceuticals and express, as well as investment in state-of-the-art IT infrastructure and E-developments, further cost reduction and expansion of partnerships.

In other news, the Air France-KLM Group will expand its leisure operations under the Transavia brand with new bases outside of Paris and Amsterdam. The Group issued this statement:

At its meeting on September 4, 2014, as proposed by its Chairman and CEO Alexandre de Juniac, the Air France-KLM Board of Directors approved the group’s development project on the leisure market in Europe.

This development will take place under the Transavia brand from the two existing airlines – Transavia France and Transavia the Netherlands – and new bases will be opened in other European countries.

This project will strengthen the development of Transavia France (Paris) and Transavia Airlines (Amsterdam) in the Netherlands. The terms of these developments are the subject of consultations in both countries.

The group is positioning itself as a major player in this rapidly growing market in Europe.

This project is part of the group’s new plan for growth and competitiveness, Perform 2020, which will be presented in details to investors and to the press on September 11.

Air France-KLM have also unveiled its new “Perform 2020″ program which replaces its “Transform 2015″ program. Here is the formal plan:

Air France-KLM unveiled its new Perform 2020 strategic plan.

Perform 2020 is the successor to Transform 2015, which represented the first phase in the Group’s turnaround. While maintaining the imperatives of competitiveness and the ongoing strengthening of the Group’s financial position, this growth plan will focus on the following three strategic areas:

  •   Selective development to increase exposure to growth markets
  •   A product and services upgrade targeting the highest international level
  •   An ongoing improvement in competitiveness and efficiency within the framework of strictfinancial disciplineAir France-KLM’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Alexandre de Juniac, made the following comments:
    “Transform 2015 will be completed by the year end having fully delivered on its objective of significantly improving the Group’s competitiveness and delivering a €1 billion-plus reduction in costs. Perform 2020, the strategic plan we are launching today, will be supported by two main levers: growth, which we are looking to capture in a number of areas, and competitiveness combined with financial discipline which should continue to ensure firm foundations for the development of Air France-KLM. This is why the ambitious initiatives we are launching today will go hand in hand with redoubled efforts to reduce costs and restructure activities which remain loss-making. By 2020, we will have built an air transport Group focused on a leading long-haul network at the heart of global alliances, with a portfolio of unique brands, restructured short and medium-haul operations with a reinforced presence in the low cost segment in Europe, leadership positions in cargo, maintenance and catering, and a significantly improved risk profile both operationally and financially.”

    1 See definition in appendix
    2 At constant currency, fuel price and pension cost

Business review

In an environment which remains challenging but with profitable growth opportunities across all the Group’s markets, Air France-KLM plans to reinforce its key strengths, namely its network, its products and services, and its brands, while adjusting its portfolio of activities.

The development of the passenger hub business based on an upgraded product offer, an increased customer focus and a stronger positioning of brands. Benefiting from the broadest long-haul network on departure from Europe, the Group will be able to continue to capture growth opportunites particularly via the reinforcement of strategic partnerships.

The Group will maintain strict capacity discipline with growth in passenger capacity expected to be around 1% to 1.5% for the 2015-2017 period.

The Group will continue to restructure its point-to-point operations, aiming at a return to operating breakeven by 2017. In addition to the full impact of the measures launched in 2013, this objective will be reached thanks to new initiatives to restructure the network and reduce costs, together with the creation of a single business unit combining HOP and the Air France point-to-point operations.

The accelerated development of Air France-KLM in the European leisure market, under the Transavia brand, based on the two existing companies – Transavia France and Transavia Netherlands – and new bases to be created in other European countries. In a growth market, the Group plans to build on the results achieved within the framework of Transform 2015 to move to a more pan-European scale. By 2017, Transavia will rank amongst the leading low cost carriers in Europe, operating a fleet of 100 aircraft and carrying more than 20 million passengers. This business should contribute an additional €100 million of EBITDAR in 2017. With profitability being impacted by ongoing ramp-up costs, the Group is targeting operating profits by 2018.

The finalization of cargo repositioning: a significant reduction in the full-freighter fleet, from 14 aircraft in operation in 2013 to 5 aircraft at the end of 2016, should enable this business to return to operating breakeven in 2017 (versus a loss of €110 million in 2013 and a €200 million loss including bellies). The group will maintain a small full-freighter fleet as an important commercial lever to support its revenue premium on bellies. The Group will remain a major player in the European cargo sector thanks to its extensive belly network, but with only very limited remaining exposure (15% of capacity) to full-freighter volatility.

The recent development of the maintenance business has proven successful, with increased profitability and rapid growth in the order book. The Group will pursue its growth in this segment, particularly in engines and components, including via targeted acquisitions. This business should generate an additional €50 million to €80 million of EBITDAR in 2017, depending on acquisitions.

From a selective capex management while adopting a disciplined approach to growth opportunities. financial perspective, Air France-KLM plans to pursue the reduction in its unit costs and The Group will leverage the structured approach implemented within the framework of Transform 2015 to maintain unit cost reduction at an annual rate of 1% to 1.5%. To achieve this target, the group will go beyond traditional efforts directed at reducing unit costs (e.g. reduction in external expenses, purchasing policy and renewal of the long-haul fleet). This will involve the ongoing restructuring of uncompetitive activities and implementing a systematic review of processes using benchmarking based on profit centers. It will also entail negotiating with staff on the achievement of productivity gains paving the way to growth.

A progressive increase in fleet capex will be undertaken within the framework of strict capex control. Investment will remain below its pre-2012 level. Dedicated sources of funding will be allocated to significant development opportunities to ensure control over credit ratios. For example, the first phase in Transavia expansion will be financed by the €339 million proceeds generated from the partial disposal of Amadeus shares on September 9.

Medium-term financial targets to 2017

As a result of all these initiatives, Air France-KLM has set itself the following Group financial targets:

  •   EBITDAR up by 8% to 10%5 per year between 2013 and 2017
  •   An adjusted net debt/EBITDAR4 ratio of below 2.5 in 2017
  •   Base businesses to consistently generate annual positive free cash flowThese targets are consistent with a ROCE of 9% to 11% in 2017.

Read the analysis by Bloomberg Businessweek: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. Martinair’s McDonnell Douglas MD-11 (F) PH-MCS (msn 48618) prepares to land at London’s Stansted Airport.

Air France: AG Slide Show

KLM: AG Slide Show

Martinair: AG Slide Show

Transavia Airlines (Netherlands): AG Slide Show

Transavia Airlines (France): AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Transavia Airlines’ (Netherlands) Boeing 737-8K2 PH-HZA (msn 28373) with a Kulula underside taxies at the Amsterdam base.

 

Alaska Airlines starts Seattle/Tacoma-Detroit service

Alaska Airlines (Seattle/Tacoma) yesterday (September 4) launched nonstop service from its Seattle/Tacoma hub to Detroit. Detroit becomes Alaska Airlines’ 77th nonstop destination out of Seattle/Tacoma.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Alaska is proud to be all Boeing, a close partnership for the crosstown companies. Boeing 737-890 N512AS (msn 39043) in the special Boeing Dreamliner scheme arrives in Los Angeles.

Alaska Airlines: AG Slide Show

 

Southwest’s pilots applaud the DOT decision concerning the application of Norwegian Air International

Southwest Airlines‘ (Dallas) pilots, represented by SWAPA, have issued this statement:

The Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA) commends the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) for denying Norwegian Air International (NAI) a temporary foreign air carrier operating authorization. NAI is a subsidiary of Norwegian Air which is located in Norway. NAI has sought to operate service to the U.S. as an Irish airline where it has no operating flights or history of operations.

“The denial of a temporary operating authorization is applauded by the pilots of Southwest Airlines,” said SWAPA Governmental Affairs Chair Captain Paul Jackson. “We agree with Secretary Foxx’s assertion that the application of Norwegian Air International is not in the public interest.”

This denial is only for the temporary application and is not a denial of the full application approval for a foreign carrier exemption with the DOT by NAI. The pilots of Southwest Airlines have opposed the application of NAI from early in the process due to the company’s “flag of convenience” strategy that locates the airline away from their home country of Norway. The NAI application for a foreign carrier operating authorization has been on file with the DOT since early this year. It is opposed by airline employees and management across the U.S. and the EU.

“We encourage Norwegian to join the marketplace under the labor laws and rules of their home country and not seek a scheme to avoid them,” Captain Jackson continued. “We strongly believe that our product and the work of our industry can stand up to any competitor if they play by the rules in place and do not seek to lower costs at any price.”

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-7H4 N953WN (msn 36668) taxies to the runway at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Southwest Airlines Aircraft Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Air China and Kunming Airlines sign a codeshare agreement

Air China (Beijing) and Kunming Airlines (Kunming) signed a codeshare cooperation agreement in the city of Kunming on September 3, 2014, and the two carriers will start code share in the form of free marketing on each other’s selected domestic flights from September 15, 2014.

According to the agreement, the two carriers will connect the city of Kunming to their respective route networks. With the cooperation, Air China will put its code CA on the nearly 500 weekly flights of 26 routes operated by Kunming Airlines, which will extend its route network to the cities of Yunnan province and other neighboring cities. At the same time, Kunming Airlines will put its code KY on about 210 weekly flights of 9 routes operated by Air China, which will extend its network to most of China’s big and medium-sized cities.

In financial news, Air China reported a first half net profit of CNY 510 million ($82.8 million), down 55% for the same period a year ago.

Top Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-89L B-5425 (msn 36743) of Air China arrives at the Beijing (Capital) hub.

Air China Aircraft Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Bottom Copyright Photo: Ivan K. Nishimura/AirlinersGallery.com. Kunming Airlines’ Boeing 737-87L B-1926 (msn 41111) passed through Honolulu on delivery.

Sunwing Airlines to operate weekly New Orleans-Punta Cana charters

Sunwing Airlines (flysunwing.com) (Toronto) starting on May 14, 2015 will operate weekly charter flights from New Orleans to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic on behalf of Vacation Express per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-86J C-GOWG (msn 37757) with Aviation Partners Boeing Split Scimitar Winglets taxies at Toronto (Pearson).

Sunwing Airlines:

Southwest to drop three Caribbean routes from Atlanta

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) effective March 1, 2015 will drop two weekly international routes from Atlanta; Aruba and Montego Bay. The company will also drop the Atlanta-San Juan route on March 7, 2015 per Airline Route.

Effective on March 7, 2015 Southwest will add weekly San Antonio-New Orleans service.

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-7H4 N436WN (msn 32456) departs from New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA).

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show

Alaska launches Seattle/Tacoma-Baltimore/Washington flights today

Alaska Airlines (Seattle/Tacoma) launched daily round-trip service today (September 2) between Seattle/Tacoma (SEA) and Baltimore/Washington (BWI).

With the new BWI flight, coupled with the airline’s Detroit service starting on September 4 and Albuquerque service starting on September 18, Alaska Airlines will offer 273 peak-day departures to 78 destinations from Seattle/Tacoma (SeaTac), more than three times that of any other airline.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-890 N586AS (msn 35189) with Aviation Partners Boeing Split Scimitar Winglets taxies to the runway at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Alaska Airlines: AG Slide Show

Flydubai adds three more routes, reaches 80 destinations

Flydubai (Dubai) has announced the addition of three new east African routes, bringing the total number of destinations in the carrier’s network to 80. With the launch of flights in September 2014 to Bujumbura in Burundi, Entebbe in Uganda and Kigali in Rwanda, Flydubai will fly to nine destinations in Africa.

In addition to operating between Dubai and these three new cities, Flydubai has obtained the rights to carry passengers between Uganda and Burundi.

Rwanda and Burundi are home to some of the most biodiverse places. Filled with numerous volcanoes, nature reserves and the second deepest lake in the world, the two countries also have one third of the world’s remaining Mountain Gorillas and one third of Africa’s bird species. While tourism is the largest contributor to Rwanda and Burundi’s economies, Uganda is considered one of Africa’s most progressive economies and is emerging as one of the leading commercial centres within Africa.

Within Africa, Flydubai currently operates flights to Alexandria in Egypt, Khartoum and Port Sudan in Sudan, Juba in South Sudan, Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa as well as Djibouti’s capital Djibouti.

Flydubai will operate seven flights a week between Entebbe and Dubai starting from September 28, 2014.

Flydubai will operate two flights a week between Bujumbura and Dubai via Entebbe starting from September 30, 2014.

Flydubai will operate two flights a week between Entebbe and Bujumbura starting from September 30, 2014.

Flydubai will operate three flights a week between Kigali and Dubai via Entebbe starting from September 27, 2014.

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8KN A6-FDN (msn 40241) approaches the runway at Dubai International Airport (DXB).

Flydubai: AG Slide Show

Expanded route map: Flydubai 8.2014 Route Map

 

Flights MH 370 and MH 17 continue to impact Malaysia Airlines, second quarter loss grows

Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur) reported a larger second quarter net loss of RM307 million ($97.4 million) for the three months ended June 30, 2014.

The company continues to suffer as a result of the March 8, 2014 disappearance of flight MH 370 and the shooting down of flight MH17 on July 17, 2014.

Here is the complete financial statement by the company:

The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370 in March 2014 continued to impact the airline’s second quarter financial results with Malaysia Airlines’ reporting a net loss of RM307 million for the three months ended June 30, 2014. Adding to the earlier loss of RM443 million in first quarter, the national carrier’s first half 2014 results stood at a loss of RM750 million, 65% more than the previous corresponding period in 2013.

For the three months ended June 2014, Group revenue fell 5% to RM3.59 billion compared to one year ago as a result of lower yield and seat factor following the MH 370 tragedy. The lower revenue coupled with a marginal 2% increase in cost, principally due to fuel cost for the quarter, resulted in a net loss After Tax of RM307 million after taking into consideration depreciation (RM223 million), finance costs (RM119 million) and unrealized forex gains (RM52 million).

Having lost substantial potential revenue from the popular MATTA Fair in early March and the decision by MAS to impose a deliberate advertising black-out in March and April due to the tragedy of MH 370, more aggressive marketing activities picked up in May and June.

The market responded positively to the Malaysia Airlines Travel Fair (MATF) held in May which saw sales increase 29% and higher than average daily sales compared to previous fairs that ran earlier in the year. MATTA Sabah, MATF Penang plus a greater push in all markets around the world further helped sales and restored confidence in MAS.

Seat factor which fell 9.5 points in May to 68.9% was seen to pick up in June to return to above the 80% levels again.

For the second quarter 2014, capacity rose 9% year-on-year based on improved aircraft utilization; however traffic remained the same year-on-year. Consequently, the airline’s seat factor recorded a fall of 6.7 points for the Quarter to 73.7% compared to 80.4% in the previous year. Malaysia Airlines carried 4.2 million passengers in the months of April to June 2014.

Fuel expenditure in second quarter 2014 rose 10% to RM1.53 billion compared with the previous corresponding period due to a rise in fuel price and weakening of the Ringgit against the US Dollar.

In an effort to reduce fuel costs and increase productivity, Malaysia Airlines brought forward the retirement of its older Boeing 737-400 fleet from end 2014 to mid-June. As at mid-August, the Group’s fleet comprised 127 aircraft. Of this, Malaysia Airlines’ operates 88 aircraft, which includes 54 Boeing 737-800s, 15 Airbus A330s and 6 Airbus A380s. The average age of the fleet for the Group as at June 30, 2014 is 5.28 years.

For the first half of 2014, total revenue fell 2%, however total expenditure grew 4%. Fuel costs, representing 43% of total expenditure, was 12% higher. Earnings before Interest, Taxation, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) stood at negative RM134 million for the first half of 2014 against a positive RM258 million in the same period one year ago. Depreciation charges (RM460 million) and finance costs (RM241 million) continued to remain high.

Despite increases in capacity and revenue as well as cost saving measures and productivity improvements, the Group has continued to report weak financial performance.

The weak financial performance has made Malaysia Airlines acutely aware of the need to restructure the Company’s operations, even prior to the double tragedies of MH 370 and MH 17. The occurrence of the two incidences within a short span of 4 months served to worsen the situation further.

“We operate in a harsh business environment of stiff competition from regional and global carriers and high operational costs. Coupled with the impact of the two tragedies which have damaged our brand, the need to restructure the Company was accelerated. The full financial impact of the double tragedies of MH 370 and MH 17 is expected to hit Malaysia Airlines in the second half of the year”, said Ahmad Jauhari.

“Our Company has had to undergo a thorough re-examination and re-evaluation in order to reposition ourselves as a stronger and more sustainable Malaysia Airlines for the future”, said Ahmad Jauhari.

On August 8, 2014, majority shareholder, Khazanah Nasional Berhad, announced its intention to take full ownership of Malaysia Airlines and delist it from Bursa Malaysia. If approved, it will put into action a plan to restructure the airline group towards returning it to profitability.

Yesterday (August 29) the airline issued this statement about the recovery plan for the national airline:

The Board of Malaysia Airlines welcomed the release by Khazanah Nasional Berhad (“Khazanah”), its majority shareholder, of “Rebuilding a National Icon: The MAS Recovery Plan” – a plan to facilitate the airline’s achievement of sustained profitability and competitiveness. It also acknowledged receipt of a letter from Khazanah relating to Khazanah’s planned investment in MAS to facilitate its delisting from the main market of Bursa Malaysia and restructuring, and the terms of such funding.

At its last Annual General meeting on June 25, Chairman of MAS, Tan Sri Md Nor Yusof, and Managing Director and Group Chief Executive Officer, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, made clear that even before the disappearance of MH370, radical change was already firmly on the Board’s agenda. The urgency for change, evident through our continued poor performance, was also accelerated by the loss of MH 17.

The publication of the Recovery Plan follows the formal request by Khazanah to the MAS Board of Directors to undertake a Selective Capital Reduction (“SCR”) exercise made on August 8, 2014. The SCR will be put to shareholders’ vote at an Extraordinary General Meeting to be convened in due course.

In parallel, MAS’ senior leaders have been engaging with almost 2,500 staff at multiple locations across the Group, to hear their views and concerns resulting from plans to take the Company private and restructure.

We, together with representatives of the employees’ unions, met this morning with Khazanah. We will continue this process of engagement with all parties including directly with employees and with representatives of the employees’ unions.

In the meantime, there will be no disruption to our current service. We will continue to fly, honor existing reservations, and plan future travel. The announcement on August 8 and this Plan will have no impact on the current fares we offer our customers and corporate accounts nor our membership in the oneworld alliance.

We are an award winning airline– including having won World’s Best Cabin Crew numerous times. It is our duty and honour to serve and we will continue to do so with pride and care.

In his foreword to the Recovery Plan, the Prime Minister called on Malaysia Airlines, all those who work with Malaysia’s national carrier and all Malaysians to play their part in ensuring today’s Plan becomes an enduring success. We look forward to playing our role and being a part of this effort to ensure that Malaysia Airlines becomes a profitable and sustainable national carrier of which all Malaysians can be truly proud.

Copyright Photo: Ole Simon/AirlinersGallery.com. Malaysia Airlines retired its last Boeing 737-400 in mid-June 2014. Boeing 737-4H6 9M-MMA (msn 26443) arrives in Singapore.

Malaysia Airlines: AG Slide Show

9 air takes delivery of its first Boeing 737-800, preparing to start operations

9 air (9air.com) (Nine Star Airways) (Guangzhou and Bangkok) as we previously reported is a new budget airline in China. On August 27 the new company took delivery of its first Boeing 737-800, the pictured 737-8GP B-1715 (msn 39819). The company hopes to launch scheduled passenger operations next month when a second aircraft is delivered.

According to Reuters, 9 Air finalized its order for 50 Boeing 737 jets, becoming the second Chinese carrier which operates an all-Boeing fleet.

The order includes a mix of Boeing Next-Generation 737 jets and 737 MAX aircraft.

9 air is owned by privately held Juneyao Airlines which is an Airbus A320 operator.

Nine Star Airways also intends to operate Airbus A320s from Bangkok.

Copyright Photo: Ivan K. Nishimura/Blue Wave Group/AirlinersGallery.com. B-1715 passes through Honolulu. B-1715 is one of three 737-800s leased from Transportation Partners (Lion Air) which are being leased in order to start operations.

 

Malaysia Airlines struggles to fill its seats

Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur) continues to be in a crisis mode. Based on some recent online photos showing many open seats on its flights, The Mirror is reporting the airline is dispatching flights with rows of empty seats as it struggles in the wake of two highly-reported accidents.

Meanwhile a restructuring plan for the beleaguered company is expected to be announced soon.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Ivan K. Nishimura/AirlinersGallery.com. Both Airbus and Boeing could suffer if the airline is downsized. Malaysia has been loyal to both manufacturers. Brand new Boeing 737-8H6 9M-MSJ (msn 40152) passes through Honolulu on delivery.

Malaysia Airlines: AG Slide Show

IAM files for mediation at Southwest Airlines

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) has issued this statement against Southwest Airlines (Dallas):

After more than two years of direct talks with Southwest Airlines, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) announced it will file for mediation with the National Mediation Board (NMB), the federal agency that oversees contract negotiations in the airline industry.

“Southwest earned nearly a billion dollars last year, is on pace to report a larger profit for this year, has the most productive workforce in the airline industry and yet refuses to offer any real improvements,” said IAM District 142 President Tom Higginbotham. “Management is hell-bent to move to a risky variable compensation system as opposed to offering guaranteed wage increases. It’s clear this is a numbers oriented airline instead of a people oriented airline.”

Coupled with Southwest’s deteriorating labor relations, the carrier’s operational performance has plummeted. The carrier has among the worst on-time arrival rate in the airline industry, it ranks among the bottom in mishandled baggage and hovers at the top of the airline industry in denied boardings.

“Southwest has merged its way to super-profits and is doing everything it can to stonewall its employees from sharing fairly in the success they’ve worked so hard to create,” continued Higginbotham. “This is greed, pure and simple and the IAM will not stand for it.”

If the IAM’s application for federal mediation is granted by the NMB, the agency then begins the process of attempting to resolve the differences between the parties via mediated discussions. If no agreement can be reached through mediation, the Railway Labor Act (RLA)—the federal law that governs collective bargaining in the airline industry—has several mechanisms to bring both sides together, including arbitration and a possible strike.

The IAM represents approximately 6,000 passenger service and reservation agents at the carrier and has never before had to utilize the NMB’s mediation services to achieve an agreement with Southwest.

The IAM represents over 100,000 workers in the airline and railroad sectors and is the largest transportation union in North America.

Meanwhile Southwest issued this statement about “listening” to its internal and external customers through a new “Listening Center”:

On August 26 Southwest Airlines unveiled a Listening Center devoted to engaging with Employees and Customers in real time. Located at Southwest Airlines Headquarters in Dallas, the Listening Center is the first of its kind in the domestic airline industry. It serves as the airline’s nerve center, integrating traditional media, social media, and operational data to allow various functions to move quickly and efficiently from insight to action.

The Listening Center is staffed seven days a week with Southwest Employees from the Customer Relations, Communication, and Marketing departments. The Employees are available around the clock to answer questions, engage with Customers, and share feedback across the organization to enhance the Customer experience.

“The Listening Center symbolizes our commitment to listening to our internal and external Customers, and taking that feedback to make smarter business decisions,” said Linda Rutherford, Vice President Communication & Outreach at Southwest Airlines. “As we continue to evolve as a social business, we’ll connect with our Employees and Customers in ways that are meaningful to them.”

The Listening Center works closely with Southwest’s Network Operations Control center (NOC), and has staffed a satellite Listening Center within the heart of the NOC to relay real-time feedback from Customers as operational challenges arise. The satellite Listening Center allows Employees on the Social Media Team to proactively communicate with Customers as operational updates become available.

“The best companies are innovating at the speed of the customer,” said Scott McCorkle, chief executive officer, Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud. “Utilizing our technology, Southwest Airlines is connecting with their customers to deliver a phenomenal customer experience.”

Southwest Airlines is regarded as a pioneer in the social media space and has been recognized in many ways for embracing social technologies. The Nuts About Southwest Blog is a PR News Hall of Fame inductee, and many social media campaigns and Social Media Team members have been awarded best-in-class recognitions.

The Listening center was designed by Corgan and built by Structure Tone. The visualizations displayed within the facility are powered by Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud’s Radian6 Command Center and Crowd Reactive. The technology allows Southwest to quickly identify hot topics, influencers, trends, and consumer-generated media.

Copyright Photo: Eddie Maloney/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8H4 N8305E (msn 36683) touches down in Las Vgeas.

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show

United Airlines to offer Newark-Sarasota/Bradenton flights this winter and spring

United Airlines (Chicago) will offer seasonal service to Sarasota/Bradenton, Florida (SRQ) this winter and spring from February 12 through May 15 from its Newark hub. The temporary route will be operated with 154-seat Boeing 737-800 aircraft according to News 13. United currently serves SRQ with year-round daily service to Chicago (O’Hare).

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-824 N78509 (msn 31638) arrives in Toronto (Pearson).

United Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

PEOPLExpress is coming to Orlando on October 16

PEOPLExpress (Vision Airlines) 737-400 N745VA (14)(Apr)(Peoplexpress)(LRW)

PEOPLExpress Airlines (2nd) (Vision Airlines) (Newport News/Williamsburg) has announced new, nonstop service between Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport and Orlando International Airport effective on October 16.

The popular Florida destination will be the eighth city served from its Newport News base and the first new city since PEOPLExpress announced its initial destinations in May.

PEOPLExpress launched service June 30 to Newark, New Jersey, Boston and Pittsburgh from Newport News and has since added West Palm Beach, Florida, and Atlanta. Service to New Orleans starts on August 28 with St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Florida, on August 29 to complete its initial growth.

Since its inaugural flights, PEOPLExpress has carried nearly 40,000 customers on more than 450 flights.

Service to Orlando begins on October 16 with flights on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Introductory fares start at $89 each way. Reservations are now open for the new route.

Copyright Photo: PEOPLExpress. Operated by Vision Airlines, Boeing 737-405 N745VA (msn 24271) is now being operated in PEOPLExpress (2nd) colors.

Expanded Route Map:

PEOPLExpress (2nd) 8.2014 Route Map

 

QANTAS’ passengers will be able to use personal electronic devices starting tomorrow

QANTAS Airways (Sydney) today issued this statement:

From tomorrow afternoon QANTAS customers will be able to use their personal electronic devices such as smart phones, tablets and music players in flight mode, for the duration of each flight, providing uninterrupted access to work and entertainment.

QANTAS was approved to revise its personal electronic device policy by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority today following new guidance on the safe use of personal electronic devices inflight.

Advice for customers:

Devices can be used whether passengers are boarding via aerobridge or transiting across tarmac.

Once aircraft doors are closed for departure, devices will need to be in ‘flight mode’.

Customers are required to secure handheld devices by holding them or placing them in a seat pocket during taxi, take-off and landing. Larger items such as laptops will still need to be stowed.

Customers are still required to listen to all inflight safety briefings and comply with cabin crew instructions.

Mobile and smart phones will still not be able to be used to make calls or send texts from the air.

QANTAS plans to lift restrictions on electronic devices across the entire QANTAS Group for regional, domestic and international flights.

QANTAS Link and Jetstar Airways are in the final stages of preparing their submission to CASA for the extended use of personal electronic devices.

The changes to CASA’s ruling on personal electronic devices inflight follows an announcement by the United States’ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in October last year that it would allow passengers to leave their electronic devices on through all phases of flight if individual airlines could prove that it did not interfere with the operation of the aircraft.

Experts from airlines, aircraft manufacturers, passenger groups, pilot associations, flight attendants, and mobile services have since been investigating the impact of personal electronic devices inflight.

Until today, devices in Australia were required to remain off until the seatbelt sign turned off, meaning passengers were unable to use them while the aircraft was taxiing to the runway or through much of the climb or descent.

In addition, QANTAS is working towards enabling customers to use their own devices to access 350 hours of on-demand entertainment from gate to gate on selected Domestic and International aircraft. Initially this functionality would encompass Apple devices including iPads and iPhones, followed by laptops and Android devices at a later stage.

Customers would only need to download a Q Streaming app to their device, or connect via their browser to the Q Streaming Inflight Entertainment network to access movies, TV shows and music. Qantas will continue to offer complimentary tablets for customers to access Q Streaming on a number of aircraft types.

The new policy will apply to all QANTAS Domestic and QANTAS International flights from 3:00pm tomorrow (August 26).

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-838 VH-VXS (msn 33725) prepares to taxi from the gate at Denpasar on the island of Bali, Indonesia.

QANTAS Airways: AG Slide Show

Pegasus Airlines slips into the red for the first half of 2014

Pegasus Airlines (flypgs.com) (Istanbul) slipped into the red, reporting a net loss of TL 17.9 million ($8.2 million) for the first half of 2014. This unfavorably compares to a net profit of TL 44.1 million ($20.2 million) for the same period a year ago.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com (others by Pegasus). Boeing 737-82R TC-CPG (msn 40880) approaches the runway at EuroAirport.

Pegasus logo

 

Pegasus 737-800 Tails (Pegasus)(LR)

Pegasus Airlines: AG Slide Show

 

Jay Selman’s An Inside Look: Farewell to 406

Guest Editor Jay Selman

Guest Editor Jay Selman

Farewell to 406

by Guest Editor Jay Selman

In over 50 years, I have lost count of how many airplane flights I have taken. I’ve flown on airliners, military airplanes, corporate jets, private aircraft, and helicopters. I’ve flown in just about every airliner from the Comet to the Concorde. I’ve flown from Greensboro, North Carolina to Winston-Salem, a 7-minute (maybe) hop, and I’ve flown from New York to Hong Kong. I’m saying this to say that I have taken some memorable flights, but the vast majority of the airplanes I’ve flown in don’t stick in my mind.

One flight that I do vividly remember occurred on September 15, 1988, when I flew on N406US (man 23876), from Boeing Field in Seattle to Greensboro, North Carolina. 406 was a Piedmont Airlines Boeing 737-401, just one of well over 12,000 737s that have been built or are on order. What made it special was the fact that it was the first 737-400 in the world to be delivered to a customer, and I was privileged to be on that delivery flight, 26 years ago.

Piedmont 737-400 N406US (88-1st 737-400)(Grd) BFI (JET)(LRW)

Copyright Photo: Jim “Jet” Thompson. Boeing 737-401 N406US is towed out at Boeing Field on a cloudy Seattle day with a special “First Boeing 737-400″ banner.

Piedmont was one of the early operators of the 737-300, a vastly-upgraded version of the venerable 737-200. Powered by a pair of CFM-56 engines, the 737-300 represented a tremendous advantage in terms of economy, power, and lowered noise levels inside and outside the cabin. The -300 was an immediate hit with airlines and passengers. A year after the first -300 entered service, Boeing offered the -400, featuring a 10-foot fuselage stretch over the -300. Needing a replacement for its fleet of aging 727-200s, Piedmont became the launch customer for the -400, with an initial order for 25. In 1987, USAir announced that it had reached an agreement to acquire Piedmont. 20 737-400s of Piedmont’s original order were delivered, and USAir ordered an additional 35 of the type and, in all, the company eventually operated 55 737-400s.

By the time that 406, named the Thomas H Davis Pacemaker in honor of the founder of Piedmont Airlines, was ready to leave her nest in Seattle, Piedmont was heading toward a merger with USAir, and she was delivered in a hybrid color scheme of a bare metal fuselage and a Piedmont blue cheat line. As a useless bit of trivia, only four Piedmont 737-400s were delivered with a blue stripe: 406, 407, 408, and 409. The rest came on property with the red USAir cheat line.

Piedmont 737-400 N406US (88)(Ldg) CLT (JS)(LRW) 10.88

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. N406US wears the Piedmont metal transition livery as it lands in Charlotte.

Boeing did a nice job of catering the first-ever delivery of a -400, and there was cause for celebration. It was, indeed, an historic event. Yet, the mood among most of the Piedmont people was a bit subdued, as reality set in that the company we loved was on its way toward non-existence. William Howard had recently stepped down as President and CEO of Piedmont, and his replacement, Tom Schick, was onboard, along with a number of other airline dignitaries, most of whom were, for all practical purposes, in a lame-duck environment. 406 was even delivered with a USAir registration, rather than its originally-allocated N404P. While it was still an historic and exciting moment, there was not complete joy.

For me, the highlight of the entire flight was after we landed in Greensboro. As we came to a stop, I looked out the window and saw Piedmont founder Tom Davis himself standing at the bottom of the airstairs. Not only was he a legend, but also a true gentleman. He also had a gift for remembering faces and names, and as I reached the bottom of the steps, he shook my hand and, without hesitation, told me, “Jay, I expect to see some good pictures of our new plane from you.” (He got some!)

On August 5, 1989, Piedmont Airlines ceased to exist, as everything Piedmont became USAir. Altogether, USAir operated 55 out of the 482 737-400s that Boeing built. Still, I always found myself smiling when I would see 406. I knew she was special. Fast forward 25 years. Years ago, under the leadership of Stephen Wolfe and Rakesh Gangwal, US Airways (as the company had since rebranded itself) elected to hitch its wagon to the Airbus narrow-body product. Slowly but surely, 737s were being replaced with a mix of Airbus A319s, A320s, and A321s.

US Airways 737-400 Patches (JS)(LRW)

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Metal patch on N406US.

During her time in service with Piedmont/USAir/US Airways, 406 served the company well. She was not involved with any significant incidents, although the number of patches on the fuselage suggests there may have been more than a couple of minor issues throughout her life. She did suffer some minor damage when a loading bridge came in contact with the pitot tubes and angle-of-attack indicator located just in front of the forward entry door. This was not an uncommon problem with the 737 Classics, and a loading bridge operator always has to take extra care with these model 737s. Altogether, seven different engines hung on each wing of 406, and a total of 17 auxiliary power units (APUs) were installed in the tail of 406, and over its lifetime, she underwent many B-Checks and C-Checks. These numbers are fairly consistent with the average maintenance activities of a 737 of this age. For the record, 406 was the first 737-400 to wear the final US Airways color scheme.

US Airways 737-400 N406US (05)(Apr) CLT (JS)(LRW)

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. A nice flying portrait of N406US in the final (2005) US Airways color scheme.

Her last revenue flight occurred on August 1, when she arrived from Pittsburgh at Charlotte. Maintenance personnel worked on her for three days, getting 406 ready for her last flight. Finally, early in the morning of August 5, 25 years to the day of the Piedmont/USAir merger, 406 was ready for her last flight as a US Airways-operated trip.

US Airways 737-400 Data Plate (JS)(LRW)

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. The original Boeing data plate.

I met Captains Gene Thomas and Doug Christen, who were going to do the honors of flying “Cactus 9240” from Charlotte to Tucson, Arizona. Each of them had several thousand hours in the 737, and although both of them had plenty of seniority to hold positions on the company’s “big iron”, they elected to stay on the 737 until the very end because of their love of the aircraft. Captain Thomas retired shortly after ferrying 406 to Tucson, and Captain Christen has moved on to the Boeing 757/767. They both praised the 737 as being a real “pilot’s airplane”, and will miss flying them. They were both struck by the historic significance of both aircraft 406 and the date, August 5.

US Airways 737-400 N406US pilots for final flight (JS)(LRW)

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Captains Gene Thomas and Doug Christen.

As the pilots cranked the engines, it felt a little strange sitting in Row 2 of an empty airplane. Brakes were released at 9:20 am local, and Captain Thomas guided 406 to the end of Runway 36C at Charlotte. A few minutes later, Cactus 9240 was given takeoff clearance. With no passengers or cargo onboard, we were airborne in around 3000 feet at 9:27 am. 406’s final flight had begun.

US Airways 737-400 Jay in cabin (JS)(LRW)

Copyright Photo: Jay in the empty cabin of N406US en route to the desert.

Since this flight was operated under Part 91 rules, the pilots were permitted to leave the door of the flight deck open, and I was able to enjoy a view not only of the cockpit, but the world beyond the cockpit windows. The pilots were kind enough to take time to explain to me a lot about what goes on behind those perpetually-closed doors. They both talked about their love for the 737. Along with both of them agreeing that it is a plane that pilots fly, rather than program, they both commented on the robustness of the 737 airframe. As one of them noted, “Quite a few of our old 737s have been converted to cargo carriers, and will continue to fly for quite a few years. How many A320s have been converted to freight dogs?”

US Airways 737-400 N406US cockpit (JS)(LRW)

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. The cockpit of N406US.

Unlike the nicely-catered delivery flight 26 years ago, I sat alone in 406’s cabin, eating a Jersey Mike’s sub that I brought along, and drinking a bottle of water that catering left onboard after stripping the interior of any equipment that could be used on other aircraft. It gave me a chance to wander around this historic airplane and savor this one last flight in her. Truth be told, I was probably one of handful of people who really appreciated the significance of 406, but that’s okay. I was given the chance to fly on her this one last time. I am not one who keeps a log of all the planes I have flown in, but I do know that I’d flown in 406 at least a dozen times over the years.

US Airways N406US final approach TUS (JS)(LRW)

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. The final “Final Approach” as US Airways for N406US.

Captain Thomas said that during her final flight, 406 performed flawlessly. She did not produce a single squawk during the flight, and every flight parameter was met or exceeded. Sooner than I would have wanted, we began our descent into Tucson, where we followed an Air Force KC-135 on visual approach to Runway 11L. Captain Thomas greased the lightly-laden 406 onto the runway at 10:09 am local time, and we then taxied back to the facilities of Ascent Aviation Services. Ascent is a premiere narrow body maintenance and storage center located at Tucson International Airport. Several ex-US Airways 737s are stored there, where they will either be readied for a new operator, or broken up and sold for parts. The fate of 406 is uncertain as of this writing. Captain Christen said that typically, a plane will sit for two or three months as their owners look for another operator. After a certain point, it will be scrapped. I would certainly like to see her fly again, as she has plenty of life left in her, but the fate of 406 has yet to be determined as of this writing.

US Airways 737-400 N406US aircraft in storage TUS (JS)(LRW)

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Aircraft in storage at Ascent Aviation Services in Tucson awaiting their fates.

At 10:15 am, Captain Thomas shut down the engines of 406 for the last time as a US Airways flight. Over nearly 26 years, she had accumulated 69967.4 total flight hours, and 47032 cycles. We climbed down the airstairs, and posed for a couple of final pictures. And that was it. The Ascent technicians hooked 406 up to a tug and towed her to a spot in between two other 737s awaiting their fates. I took one last photo of an historic plane, and a special airliner to me, and then I hopped into a truck to take me to the terminal for my flights home. This had been one flight I won’t forget.

US Airways 737-400 N406US towed into position at TUS (JS)(LRW)

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. N406US is pushed into its storage spot at Tucson (TUS) next to a Solaseed Air Boeing 737-400 which was just retired.

Boeing 737 Slide Show: AG Slide Show

US Airways: AG Slide Show

Solaseed Air to retire the last Boeing 737-400 on September 30

Solaseed Air (formerly SNA-Skynet Asia Airways) (Miyazaki) is planning to retire its last Boeing 737-400 on September 30, becoming an all Boeing 737-800 operator according to Airline Route. The 737-400 is currently being operated on the Tokyo (Haneda) to Kumamoto, Nagasaki and Oita routes.

Read more from ZipanguFlyer: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-4Y0 JA737E (msn 26069) taxies at Haneda Airport (Tokyo International Airport) in Tokyo.

Solaseed Air: AG Slide Show

Solaseed Air Logo

Jet2 to add four new routes from Leeds/Bradford for the summer of 2015

Jet2 (Leeds/Bradford) has announced four new destinations for the summer of 2015 for Leeds/Bradford: Antalya, Kefalonia, Malta and Enfidha Airport in Tunisia starting on May 27, 2015..

The company is also adding new services from its key Northern airports; East Midlands, Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle.

In other news, Jet2.com and Jet2holidays have announced further expansion plans at Glasgow Airport, including new routes, an additional aircraft (the sixth at GLA) plus even more seats for summer 2015. The new routes include Prague – a brand new route for Glasgow airport – plus Antalya, Larnaca and Malta.

Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-377 G-CELB (msn 23664) wears the special Yorkshire livery.

Jet2: AG Slide Show

Ryanair launches daily Dublin-Brussels flights, wants to acquire Cyprus Airways

Ryanair (Dublin) on August 21 launched new daily Dublin-Brussels (Zaventem) service (three roundtrips daily) as part of an extended Dublin winter 2014 schedule, with nine new routes and increased flights on 21 existing routes to/from Dublin Airport. This new Brussels Zaventem route complements Ryanair’s existing Dublin-Charleroi (near Brussels) route.

The nine new routes from Dublin are to Basel, Brussels (Zaventem), Bucharest, Cologne, Glasgow, Lisbon, Marrakesh, Nice and Prague.

In other news, Ryanair will soon be in talks with the government of Cyprus about a possible takeover of loss-making Cyprus Airways (Larnaca) according to this report by Reuters. Ryanair believes it can turn around the failing carrier. Nearly 20 companies have submitted non-binding expressions of interest about Cyprus Airways.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8AS EI-DHN (msn 33577) touches down at EuroAirport near Basel.

Ryanair: AG Slide Show

Urumqi Air to launch operations now on August 29 in northwest China

Google Maps - Urumqi Air

Urumqi Air (Urumqi, Xinjiang) is a new airline in China. The new airline is a joint venture between the HNA Group and the state-owned Urumqi Urban Construction Investment Company Limited.

Urumqi Air will be based at Ürümqi Diwopu International Airport, in the capital of Xinjiang in the remote northwest part of China (please see map above).

Urumqi Air took delivery of Boeing 737-84P B-2157 (msn 32600) from Hainan Airlines on August 20 which will provide the technical support and three leased Boeing 737 aircraft for the new carrier. The parent HNA Group will control 70 percent of the stock. Operations are due to start now on August 29, delayed from August 15.

Read the full report from Travel Daily Asia: CLICK HERE

The logo “integrates the three-color Adlai silk and flying dove, which highlights the geographical reputation of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, symbolizing peace and friendship” according to wcarn.com.

Map: Google Maps.

PAL Airlines stops flying mining charters

PAL Airlines (Santiago) has ceased flying mining charters. In early August, sources inside the airline said they will no longer fly domestic charters, becoming a ground services provider and possibly, operating the southern hemisphere charters to tropical destinations, blaming the current economic situation in Chile, the open skies policy and the stop in mining investments.

This happened after losing its AOC for the second time in the year.

A mining charter flight was operated on August 4. This is likely the last flight.

The airline has shut down its website.

The Chilean airline started operations in 2003 as Principal Airlines-Aerolinea Principal de Chile.

Thanks to Alvaro Romero, reporting from Chile.

Copyright Photo: Alvaro Romero/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-2K9 CC-ACD 9msn 23404) is pictured in the past at the Santiago base.

PAL Airlines: AG Slide Show

SAS arrives in Houston from Stavanger, Norway

Scandinavian Airlines-SAS (Stockholm)  is now connecting Houston, Texas, with Stavanger in Norway through six days a week nonstop air service. The initiative is expected to significantly strengthen the economic and cultural ties that already exist within the oil and gas industry in the regions. The route will be operated by a business version of the Boeing 737-700 aircraft and will have a SAS Long Haul Business Class concept on board with just 44 comfortable business seats, in-flight entertainment and full-service meals.

Departures from Stavanger will be daily, except Tuesdays, at 4:00 pm arriving in Houston (Bush Intercontinental)  at 7:40 pm (1940) the same day. SAS will depart from Houston to Stavanger daily except Tuesdays at 9:35 pm (2135) arriving the next day in Stavanger at 2.20 pm (1440). SAS will be the only airline with nonstop service between Scandinavia and Houston.

In addition to the Houston-Stavanger route, SAS also operates nonstop service from Newark to Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm, from Chicago (O’Hare) to Copenhagen and Stockholm, and from Washington, D.C. and San Francisco to Copenhagen.

Copyright Photo: Stefan Sjogren/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-705 LN-TUD (msn 28217) arrives at the Stockholm (Arlanda) hub.

SAS: AG Slide Show

Jay Selman’s Inside Look: US Airways operates the last Boeing 737 Classic revenue flight

Guest Editor Jay Selman

Guest Editor Jay Selman

An Inside Look: The End of a Classic Era

by Jay Selman

When I was hired by Piedmont Airlines (Winston-Salem) in 1981, the Boeing 737 reigned supreme. We were taking delivery of brand new Boeing 737-200s, and oh how I loved those birds. They were short and fat, and NOISY in an era when noise was still acceptable! In the early days of my airline career, I was on an airplane virtually every weekend. Those were the days when an airline could make money with a 50% load factor, and on those rare occasions when a flight did fill up, there was usually room in the cockpit for a company employee. I’d venture to say that 95% of my flights during the first 10 years of my career were in 737s.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-201 N736N (msn 19420) of Piedmont waits for its next assignment at Atlanta. The -200 is painted in the original 1974 livery.

By 1985, the 737-300 had joined the Piedmont fleet. Although it still had the 737 designation, it seemed to be a whole new animal. Those CFM-56 engines were massive compared to the JT-8Ds on the -200s, and the 737-300 promised significant increases in payload and range, as well as significant reductions in fuel burn. Oh yes, and they were QUIET. In fact, a common complaint among crewmembers flying the -300 was that they had to lower their voices so that passengers would not join in their conversations. The cockpits of Piedmont’s -300s still had the old “steam gauges” but they also had greatly improved avionics, and even a lovely feature called “Autoland”, which the company was never actually certified to use.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-301 N307P (msn 23259) of Piedmont wears the updated white top 1974 color scheme.

Piedmont was the launch customer for the Boeing 737-400, essentially a stretched -300, and in September, 1988, I had the good fortune to fly on the delivery flight of N406US, the first 737-400 in the world to be delivered by Boeing.

 

Copyright Photo: Nigel P. Chalcraft/AirlinersGallery.com. The first delivered -400, Boeing 737-401 N406US (msn 23876) taxies at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood in the bare metal 1988 livery.

At one time, Piedmont was able to claim the title of the world’s largest operator of the Boeing 737. No wonder I had a love affair with the Seven Three throughout my career in the airline industry.

In 1989, Piedmont and USAir merged and I was now working for USAir. The merger brought a large number of different aircraft types to my company, but I still loved the 737.

 

Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. Suddenly the Piedmont name and brand were going way. USAir later gave way to US Airways as a brand.

Then in 1997, USAir CEO Steven Wolf shocked the aviation community by announcing an order for up to 400 narrow-body Airbus aircraft. Ultimately, this would reduce the composition of the company’s narrow-body fleet to one basic type (the A319, A320, and A321 are all the same basic airplane).

The handwriting was on the wall for the USAir (later US Airways) 737s…in fact, all of the narrow body aircraft operated by USAir. With respect to the 737s, the dwindling fleet of 737-200s was parked following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, while the last of the -300s was retired in 2013. Finally, on August 19, 2014, N435US operated the final flight of a US Airways 737, appropriately designated as flight US 737.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. There are now no longer any US Airways 737 Classics operating out of the Charlotte hub. N406US landed at CLT with 43515 cycles and approximately 65405.45 hours. The airliner was a trusted performer for the carrier and has now been retired to the desert.

“Cactus 737”, its ATC callsign, flew from Charlotte to Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) to Philadelphia and back to Charlotte on August 19, and I was able to fly all three legs on it. US Airways elected to keep the event low-key, since, after all, the “new American Airlines” is currently operating over 230 Next-Generation 737-800s, and will eventually own a fleet of over 300 of the type. But what made the trip special for me was the fact that the pilot in command, Captain Jeff Tarr, was also flying his last trip as an airline pilot.

US Airways 737-400 N435US at the gate (JS)(LRW)

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. The end of an era. N435US sits at the gate, unlikely to carry passengers again.

 

When Cactus 737 pulled into Gate D7 at 9:48 pm at CLT, there was no real fanfare for the airplane, but there was plenty of recognition for Captain Tarr.

US Airways 737-400 Captain Jeff Tarr and F-O Robert Channell (JS)(LRW)

 

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Pictured in the cockpit of N435US is Captain Jeff Tarr (left) and F/O Robert Channell (right). This also was Jeff’s retirement flight.

And, after all, that is the way it should be. Too often, an airline is defined by its aircraft, or its color scheme, or its catch phrase. But what should REALLY define an airline is it’s employees. For most of us who have been in this industry for any length of time, it’s more than a job…it’s a way of life. Most of us who have been here for awhile began working in the days when we were envied for our status as airline employees. We remember hearing, “You have one of the best jobs in the world,” rather than, “I wouldn’t have your job for anything in the world.” An airline is about people, and not just airplanes.
 Having said that, the Boeing 737 has been part of the airline I work for during my entire 33-year career. Admittedly, the Airbus offers many advantages to the passenger than the old 737 Classic. And, of course, once the merger is complete, I will, again, be working for a company that will be operating 300+ Next-Generation 737s.

US Flt 737 Crew (JS)(LRW)

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. The proud crew of flight US 737 that operated the flight from DFW to PHL and finally to CLT.

 

In my personal opinion, an Airbus simply cannot compare to a Boeing in terms of useful life and ruggedness. Why do I say this? Just consider this fact. There are still plenty of 737s around with 30+ years on their airframes. Many still haul passengers, while countless others have been converted to freight dogs. I have no idea how many 737s have been converted to cargo carriers, but I can tell you exactly how many A320s have been.
 So, vive la 737. You’ve given me a great ride.

 

Piedmont Airlines (1st): AG Slide Show

USAir: AG Slide Show

US Airways: AG Slide Show

Is AirAsia considering an investment in Skymark Airlines?

Skymark Airlines (Tokyo-Haneda) has been retrenching. Besides the cancellation of its Airbus A380 order by Airbus, the low-fare carrier has also announced it will leave Tokyo Narita and concentrate its flights at Tokyo (Haneda). Now according to ZipanguFlyer, there may be a new development:

“On August 19, the Nikkei Shimbun reported that the AirAsia Group has started considering an investment in ailing Skymark Airlines (BC/SKY), including a possible takeover. It said that the Malaysian LCC, a very important customer for Airbus, is also talking with the European manufacturer to reduce the penalties they are seeking with Skymark for the canceled Airbus A380 order.”

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

AirAsia is currently working with new Japanese partners to launch the second version of AirAsia (Japan) next year. If this report is correct and it is consummated, it would probably be the end of Skymark Airlines and Boeing would lose a loyal Japanese customer.

Stay tuned.

Copyright Photo: Ivan K. Nishimura/Blue Wave Group. Boeing 737-81D JA73NN (man 39422) passes through Honolulu on its delivery flight.

Skymark Airlines: AG Slide Show

City Airways is grounded, stranding passengers

City Airways (Bangkok-Don Mueang) was grounded on Saturday, August 16, stranding passengers. The Thai airline, which was formed in 2011 started operations in October 2012 and specialized in flights from and to Chinese cities, was grounded by the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) for alleged safety violations.

Stranded passengers are being flown home by R Airways.

According to the South China Morning Post, co-owner Terence Mak Hung claimed the airline was safe and hilt back at the Thai authorities.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Company Profile (from their website):

City Airways Company, Ltd was established on February 24, 2011. The airline, incorporated with 200 million baht of capital, focused on the China market, is spreading its wings by adding three jetliners and launching its first scheduled domestic flights. City Airways, owned by a group of Thai, Chinese tour firms and Hong Kong airline owner, took delivery of three Boeing 737-400 single-aisle jets.

Top Copyright Photo: Jacques Guillem Collection/AirlinersGallery.com (all others by City Airways). Boeing 737-4Y0 HS-GTA (man 24688) rests at the Don Mueang Airport base between flights.

City Airways FAs (City Airways)(LR)

City Airways Ad:

City Airways Ad

City Airways (Thailand) logo

Route Map:

City Airways 8.2014 Route Map (LRW)

Sunwing Airlines fights back, will launch package charter flights from Buffalo, New York

Sunwing Airlines (Toronto-Pearson) has seen some of its Canadian traffic being syphoned by U.S. carriers with vacation flights leaving from close-by U.S. cities like Buffalo, New York. Canadian citizens have been crossing the border to catch the cheaper flights at these close-by U.S. airports. Now the Canadian carrier has decided to do the same thing.

The carrier is introducing two new services in association with Sunwing Vacations. Departing from Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF) on Saturdays, services to Cancun International Airport (CUN) will begin on January 17, 2015 and operate until May 9, 2015, while flights to Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ) will be available between February 14, 2015 and May 9, 2015.

The new routes represent the first direct scheduled international destinations to be offered, increasing the number of airports accessible via a direct connection from Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

Sunwing Airlines’ nonstop flights are operated on Boeing 737-800 series aircraft which seat 189 passengers.

According to the carrier, these “low cost, high frills” flights enable travellers to start off their vacation in style with a complimentary welcome glass of champagne. Passengers will also be able to sit back and relax while enjoying award winning onboard service along with Hot & Fresh Bistro meals served with a choice of wine plus complimentary in-flight entertainment and children’s activity kits.

Sunwing travellers departing from Buffalo this winter will be able to choose from a broad selection of all-inclusive vacation packages in both Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and Cancun, Mexico. Offering an array of properties and exclusive products to suit a number of different tastes and budgets ranging from adults only to group and family vacations, Sunwing resorts in both locations stand out for their beachfront settings, wealth of land and water sports, varied dining options and children’s activities.

Introductory pricing for a one-week vacation from Buffalo to Cancun starts from just $1135 + $140 taxes per person, based on double occupancy at Oasis Tulum departing on January 17, 2015. Buffalo departures to Punta Cana start from just $1195 + $170 taxes per person, based on double occupancy at Vista Sol Punta Cana departing on May 2, 2015.

All Sunwing Vacations packages include award winning Sunwing Airlines’ Champagne Service, which features a complimentary glass of champagne, hot towel service, Hot & Fresh Bistro meals™ served with a choice of wine at lunch and dinner, and complimentary in-flight entertainment, including first run movies and a generous 20 kg free baggage allowance. For just $40 more per flight segment, travellers can upgrade to Sunwing’s Elite Plus service, which features advance seat selection, separate check-in at a majority of airports, advance boarding, 30 kg baggage allowance, priority baggage handling, and extra legroom seats.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-86Q C-FEAK (msn 30292) taxies at Palma de Mallorca on a summer lease.

Sunwing Airlines: AG Slide Show

 

Aeroflot and Transaero must obtain prior approval to fly over the Ukraine

The Ukrainian government (Kiev) is taking countermeasures after Russia banned Ukrainian airlines from flying over Russian airspace, severely impacting Ukrainian International Airlines (Kiev) as previously reported.

According to the Moscow Times, “Ukraine demanded that Russian airlines Aeroflot Russian Airlines (Moscow) and Transaero Airlines (Moscow) obtain permission for every flight they make over its territory, because these airlines fly over Crimean airspace which Ukraine considers to be closed.”

The new airspace rule became effective on August 14.

European airlines could face additional airspace restrictions by Russia on trans-Siberian routes following sanctions by the European Union of Russian due to its on-going interference in the Ukraine. If this “airspace war” continues to escalate, airlines like Finnair (Helsinki) could be severely impacted as previously reported.

Ironically Russia and the Ukraine were former members of the old Soviet Union.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

In other news, Transaero is planning to introduce a weekly St. Petersburg-Vienna route (flown with Boeing 737-300s) starting on October 31.

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton/AirlinersGallery.com. Aeroflot’s Boeing 737-8LJ VP-BRF (msn 41195) completes its final approach to Dubai International Airport (DXB).

Aeroflot Russian Airlines: AG Slide Show

Transaero Airlines: AG Slide Show

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

United Airlines (current):

Jet Airways to discontinue the JetKonnect brand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JetKonnect logo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jet Airways: AG Slide Show

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

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

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

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

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

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

*subject to Government approvals

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

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show

SunExpress Germany to start weekly Dortmund-Istanbul flights

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

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

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

SunExpress (Germany): AG Slide Show

 

Mongolian Airlines to extend southwards to Singapore on September 24

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

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

Mongolian Aircraft Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Current Route Map:

Mongolian 8.2014 Route Map

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

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

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

During this period, our business operations remains unchanged.

We appreciate your patience and cooperation on this matter.

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

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

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

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

Khazanah Proposes to De-list Malaysian Airline System Berhad

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

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

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

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

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

Malaysia Airlines: AG Slide Show

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

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

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

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

New destinations:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copa Airlines: AG Slide Show

The “Hub of the Americas”:

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

Routes from the Panama City hub:

Copa logo

Copa Airlines 8.2014 PTY Route Map

Flyvista launches operations from Tbilisi, Georgia to Tehran, Iran

Flyvista 737-300 4L-AJC (14)(Tail)(Flyvista)(LRW)

Flyvista (Tbilisi) started scheduled passenger operations on August 4 with the pictured Boeing 737-33R 4L-AJC (msn 28873). The first route was twice-weekly service from Tbilisi, Georgia to Tehran, Iran.

Top Copyright Photo: Flyvista.

flyVista large logo

Bottom Copyright Photo: Flyvista. Flyvista celebrated its official launch together with TAV Georgia.

Flyvista launch (Flyvista)(LRW)

Boeing, South African and SkyNRG partner to produce biofuel from the tobacco plant

Boeing (Chicago and Seattle), South African Airways (SAA) (Johannesburg) and SkyNRG announced they are collaborating to make sustainable aviation biofuel from a new type of tobacco plant. This initiative broadens cooperation between Boeing and SAA to develop renewable jet fuel in ways that support South Africa’s goals for public health as well as economic and rural development.

“It’s an honor for Boeing to work with South African Airways on a pioneering project to make sustainable jet fuel from an energy-rich tobacco plant,” said J. Miguel Santos, managing director for Africa, Boeing International. “South Africa is leading efforts to commercialize a valuable new source of biofuel that can further reduce aviation’s environmental footprint and advance the region’s economy.”

SkyNRG is expanding production of the hybrid plant known as Solaris as an energy crop that farmers could grow instead of traditional tobacco. Test farming of the plants, which are effectively nicotine-free, is underway in South Africa with biofuel production expected from large and small farms in the next few years. Initially, oil from the plant’s seeds will be converted into jet fuel. In coming years, Boeing expects emerging technologies to increase South Africa’s aviation biofuel production from the rest of the plant.

“By using hybrid tobacco, we can leverage knowledge of tobacco growers in South Africa to grow a marketable biofuel crop without encouraging smoking,” said Ian Cruickshank, South African Airways Group Environmental Affairs Specialist. “This is another way that SAA and Boeing are driving development of sustainable biofuel while enhancing our region’s economic opportunity.”

“We strongly believe in the potential of successfully rolling out Solaris in the Southern African region to power sustainable fuels that are also affordable,” said Maarten van Dijk, Chief Technology Officer, SkyNRG.

In October 2013, Boeing and SAA said they would work together to develop a sustainable aviation biofuel supply chain in Southern Africa. As part of that effort, they are working with the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials to position farmers with small plots of land to grow biofuel feedstocks that provide socioeconomic value to communities without harming food supplies, fresh water or land use.

Boeing is the aviation industry’s leader in the development of sustainable aviation biofuel, working with partners in the United States, Europe, China, Middle East, Brazil, Japan, South Africa, Australia and other countries. When produced sustainably, aviation biofuel reduces carbon emissions by 50 to 80 percent compared to petroleum jet fuel through its lifecycle. Airlines have conducted more than 1,500 passenger flights using biofuel since the fuel was approved in 2011.

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-844 ZS-SJU (msn 32644) of South African Airways arrives back at the Johannesburg hub.

South African Airways: AG Slide Show

American and US Airways to end first class meals for flights under 3 hours

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) and US Airways (Phoenix and Dallas/Fort Worth) (American Airlines Group) are ending meal service for its first class passengers for flights under three hours according to Bloomberg Businessweek. Snacks only “service” will start on September 1.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-823 N801NN (msn 29565) approaches the runway at New York (JFK).

American Airlines (current livery): AG Slide Show

US Airways: AG Slide Show

Southwest Airlines announces new nonstop service between Dallas Love Field and both San Francisco and Oakland

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) has announced two additional destinations from Dallas (Love Field). Flights between Dallas and both San Francisco International Airport and Oakland International Airport begin on January 6, 2015.

The carrier previously announced its post Wright Amendment offerings from Dallas (Love Field) which, along with the additions of Oakland and San Francisco, gives Dallas Customers access to a total of 33 destinations via nonstop service on Southwest Airlines by January 6, 2015.

Beginning October 13, 2014, Southwest will add nonstop service from Dallas (Love Field) to Baltimore/Washington, Chicago (Midway), Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando, and Ronald Reagan Washington National.

On November 2, 2014, Southwest will add additional nonstop city offerings from Dallas (Love Field) to Atlanta, Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood, Nashville, New York (LaGuardia), Phoenix, San Diego, Orange County/Santa Ana, and Tampa.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8H4 N8301J (msn 36980) “Warrior One” lands in Las Vegas.

Southwest Airlines:

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