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Tag Archives: 737

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

 

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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:

flyafrica.com launches operations

flyafrica.com 737-500 Z-FAA (14)(Grd)(flyarica.com)(LR)

flyafrica.com (Harare) finally launched scheduled passenger operations on August 1 from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls. The start was delayed from July 23.

The flyafrica.com fleet is made up of five Boeing 737-500s including the pictured Z-FAA.

Copyright Photo: flyafrica.com.

flyafrica.com logo

Dobrolet is forced to shut down due to European sanctions

Dobrolet (2nd) (Moscow-Sheremetyevo), Aeroflot’s wholly owned low-cost carrier subsidiary, started scheduled passenger operations from Moscow (Sheremetyevo) to Simferopol, Crimea on June 10, 2014 as we originally reported. Since then, the airline introduced a second route to Volgograd. Planned new service to Samara, Ufa, Perm, Ekaterinburg, Surgut and Kazan will be postponed until further notice.

Due to new sanctions imposed by the European Union, the leases of the Boeing 737-800s from European companies has been cancelled leaving the airline without any aircraft. The airline has been forced to suspend its own operations starting today. However the carrier is wet leasing aircraft from Orenburg Airlines to fly their schedules.

The European Union blacklisted Dobrolet on July 30, 2014 as part of a sanctions package against Russia.

The airline issued this statement (translated from Russian):

Dear passengers!

In connection with the cancellation of the contract of leasing aircraft Boeing 737-800, due to the sanctions imposed by the EU in respect of airline Dobrolet, we are forced to temporarily suspend flights on all routes from August 4, 2014.

On the route Moscow-Simferopol-Moscow all passengers with flights to September 15 inclusive, will be transported by Orenburg Airlines at the date and time specified on the ticket.

On the route Moscow-Volgograd-Moscow all passengers with flights to August 20 inclusive, will be transported by Orenburg Airlines at the date and time specified on the ticket.

Flights on other routes are temporarily canceled, passengers will automatically receive a full refund.

We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience!

Update: On August 6, 2014 the airline announced it had ordered sixteen new Boeing 737-800s to be delivered in 2017-2018. This batch of aircraft may be coming from a non-European leasing company as Boeing has not confirmed this new order.

Copyright Photo: OSDU/AirlinersGallery.com. Leased from BBAM, Boeing 737-8FZ VQ-BTS (msn 41991) arrives back at the Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO) base.

Route Map:

Dobrolet (2nd) 8.2014 Route Map

Flydubai to fly to Tehran and Mashhad in Iran

Flydubai (Dubai) today announced the launch of flights to Tehran and Mashhad, the carrier’s first two destinations in Iran.

Flights to Tehran will begin on August 11 and Mashhad on August 10. Flydubai will serve Iran with four flights a week, providing passengers with greater convenience when travelling between the United Arab Emirates and Iran. The carrier will be looking at expanding its network in the market as it continues to strengthen the trade and travel links from Dubai to the region.

The carrier, which took delivery of three new Next-Generation Boeing 737-800s in July (one is pictured above), has grown its fleet to 39 aircraft with more than 100 new Boeing aircraft on order.

Flydubai commenced its new services to Kandahar in July and Aden at the beginning of August. The airline is also set to commence flights to Moscow and Kazakhstan in September, Mumbai in October and to Sarajevo and Zagreb in December.

Top Copyright Photo: Steve Bailey/AirlinersGallery.com. The pictured Boeing 737-8KN A6-FEM 9msn 40264) was handed over to the carrier on July 14, 2014.

Flydubai: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Flydubai. According to the carrier, “Orange represents the warmth of the climate and the people and blue represents the sparkling clear sea and endless blue skies. The free flowing bands on the tail are reflective of the ever-changing coastline of Dubai”.

Flydubair tail (Flydubai)(LR)

Route Map:

Flydubai 8.2014 Route Map

FlySafair to finally launch low-fare operations on October 16

FlySafair (Johannesburg) has finally been cleared to fly. Previously the subsidiary of Safair (Johannesburg) on October 8, 2013 had been prevented from flying by a court order of the High Court of South Africa.

The new airline will now launch scheduled passenger operations on October 16 between Johannesburg and Cape Town. Services between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth will start later on October 30

Here is a list of the full schedules: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-4Y0 ZS-JRE (msn 26065) is tugged at the JNB base.

FlySafair banner

FlySafair: AG Slide Show

Safair: AG Slide Show

Video: A TV commercial for FlySafair:

Video: A short history of Safair:

QANTAS Airways to refurbish its Boeing 737-800 fleet

QANTAS Airways (Sydney) will refurbish its fleet of 67 Boeing 737-800 aircraft, providing customers with a greater level of comfort and enhanced in-flight entertainment options.

The upgrade will commence in mid-2015 and be completed within 12 months.

According to the airline, “29 of our latest 737-800 aircraft already have full seat back video on demand in-flight entertainment for each passenger, the refurbishment will see wireless Q-streaming entertainment installed on the 38 remaining 737-800 aircraft to supplement the screens that fold down from the ceiling.”

QANTAS has 67 Boeing 737-800s in its domestic fleet, and will receive four new aircraft by December. Earlier this year the last of the older Boeing 737-400s was retired. The average age of the QF Boeing 737-800’s is 6.7 years.

The installation of QStreaming on the Boeing 737s is part of a broader overhaul of QANTAS’ in-flight entertainment offering, including 100 more hours of content per month, and the introduction of Sky News, Foxtel and Fox Sports for inflight news and additional programming.

Copyright Photo: Joe G. Walker/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-838 VH-VZL (msn 34194) was delivered on April 22, 2011.

QANTAS Airways: AG Slide Show

Spring Airlines Japan launches operations today

Spring Airlines Japan (Tokyo-Narita) today (August 1) as planned, launched passenger operations from Narita International Airport to Hiroshima, Saga and Takamatsu with its 189-seat Boeing 737-800s according to ZipanguFlyer.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Rick Schlamp/AirlinersGallery.com. The pictured Boeing 737-81D N272LM (msn 39429) became JA01GR on delivery.

Spring Airlines Japan: AG Slide Show

Southwest Airlines and SeaWorld part ways, Shamu airplanes to be repainted

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) and SeaWorld have issued this joint statement:

“Southwest and SeaWorld have mutually decided not to renew their partnership when the contract expires at the end of the year. Our promotional marketing relationship began in 1988 and was one of the first of its kind – focused on co-marketing opportunities between Southwest passengers and SeaWorld visitors.

The companies decided not to renew the contract based on shifting priorities. Southwest is spreading its wings with new international service, and increased focus on local market efforts. With an increasing international visitor base, SeaWorld is looking to focus on new and growing markets in Latin America and Asia, among others.

The companies will continue to work together through Southwest Vacations. Southwest’s three specialty airplanes will return to the company’s traditional livery.

Southwest and SeaWorld have enjoyed their long relationship, and wish each other continued success.”

Southwest and SeaWorld have both been coming under a lot of public pressure on change.org in the form of a public petition calling for Southwest to separate itself from SeaWorld in the wake of the documentary Blackfish movie which criticized SeaWorld’s on-going procedures concerning the capture, training and containment of its orca whales. The death of a SeaWorld female trainer by an orca in captivity also spurred the release of the movie.

Read the petition: CLICK HERE

SeaWorld logo

SeaWorld responded to the movie Blackfish with this statement: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. The three remaining Shamu specially painted Boeing 737s will be repainted. Boeing 737-7H4 N713SW (msn 27847) arrives in Los Angeles.

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. The colorful “Penguin One” will also be erased.

Video: Blackfish movie trailer:

The new Eastern announces a new major investor

Eastern (2nd) 737-800 WL (65)(Flt-1)(Eastern)(LRW)

Eastern Air Lines (2nd) (Miami) has issued this statement:

Eastern Air Lines is pleased to announce the closing of its current equity round, with a major investment from Mr. Vincent Viola. Mr. Viola is an investor and entrepreneur whose business career has spanned over three decades. He previously rose to Chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange, and is currently the Chairman of Virtu Financial, as well as the co-founder and a significant shareholder in Independent Bank in Texas and the owner of the Florida Panthers of the National Hockey League.

Mr. Viola is also a graduate of the United States Military Academy and New York Law School and has led the funding and creation of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. Over the past 30 years he has been a leading advocate for veteran’s issues and philanthropy.

“We are extremely honored to have Mr. Viola as our major shareholder and having the benefit of his broad business experience as a board member. He is a patriot as well as a highly accomplished business and civic leader, with a strong commitment to South Florida where Eastern is headquartered”, said Ed Wegel, Eastern’s President and CEO.

Mr. Viola commented, “I am delighted to be part of the re-launch of this great American company, and look forward to working closely with Eastern’s board and management in guiding the growth of this charter airline.”

The new carrier is hiring pilots. Previously on June 30 the company issued this statement:

Eastern Air Lines Group, Inc. has announced it is now accepting pilot applications online. Eastern plans to begin operating Boeing 737- 800 aircraft from its Miami base, subject to US government regulatory approval.

“This is an exciting time in our industry and Eastern will be providing good flight crew jobs with great promotion potential as we grow with 737 Next Generation aircraft, and eventually the 737 MAX,” said Eastern’s Vice President of Flight Operations, Captain John Furneaux.

Eastern is hiring Line Pilots and Check Airmen. The airline will initially hire a cadre of ten Captains and then additional hires of 25 to 30 pilots. Favorable consideration will be given to pilots with Boeing 737 and 757/767 type ratings. The airline expects pilots will have an extraordinary opportunity to advance rapidly during Eastern’s growth phase.

In addition, Eastern will offer compensation packages comparable to those of similar airlines.

Minimum qualifications include:

Valid FAA ATP Certificate
Current FAA First Class Medical Certificate
Valid FCC Restricted Radio Telephone Operator Permit
Favorable background check, including PRIA records examination, criminal history records check and National Driver Registry check
Bachelor degree
Current passport and legal eligibility to work in the United States
Current US driver’s license
Captain flight time minimums:
7000 hours total fixed-wing PIC/SIC flight time
2000 hours fixed-wing, turbo jet, PIC flight time
First Officer flight time minimums:
3000 hours total fixed-wing PIC/SIC flight time
1000 hours fixed-wing, turbo jet and/or turbo prop, PIC flight time

In addition to pilots, Eastern is seeking to fill a variety of other positions listed on the Career Opportunities page of its website. Interested and qualified candidates are encouraged to apply online.

Image: Eastern Air Lines.

Eastern Airlines (1st) Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Ryanair posts a fiscal first quarter net profit of $264.1 million, an increase of 152%

Ryanair (Dublin) has announced a fiscal first quarter (Q1) net profit of €197 million ($264.1 million), an increase of 152% over last year.

The ultra low-fare airline cautioned that this result was distorted by the timing of a very strong Easter in Q1 with no holiday period in the prior year comparable. Traffic grew to 24.3 million as load factors rose by 4% points to 86%. Average fare rose by 9%, boosted by a strong Easter period, while total revenues were up 11% to €1.496 billion. Unit costs fell by 2%, excluding fuel they rose by 1%.

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said:

“Q1 profits were boosted by a strong Easter (but are somewhat distorted by the absence of Easter on the prior year Q1). The earlier launch of our summer schedule and actively raising our forward bookings has delivered a 4% increase in load factor to 86% and enabled us to better manage close-in yields. Ancillary Revenues rose 4% in line with traffic growth, as airport and baggage fee reductions were offset by the rising uptake of allocated seating.“

New Routes and Bases.

Our four new bases at Athens, Brussels, Lisbon and Rome are performing strongly, as customers switch to Ryanair’s lower fares and our industry leading customer service. Our strategy to raise forward bookings continues to drive higher load factors and we expect to release our summer 2015 schedule in mid-September, some 3 months earlier than last year.

This winter we will open four new bases in Cologne, Gdansk, Warsaw and Glasgow (Intl.) as well as substantially increasing new routes and frequencies at Stansted and Dublin as we invest heavily in our network to build schedules on key city pairs to make them more attractive for business customers.

We are overrun with growth offers from primary European airports whose incumbent flag and regional carriers continue to cut capacity and traffic. These new airports along with our existing 69 bases offer Ryanair significant growth opportunities as the first of our 180 new Boeing order delivers this September. These new aircraft, with the benefit of the much weaker US$, will drive significant cost efficiencies over the next 5 years.

Customer Experience Improvement.

Our “Always Getting Better” program has delivered significant improvement to the customer experience. In addition to the initiatives launched last September which included allocated seating, free second carry-on bags, and an easier to use website with a “fare finder” facility, we launched our family product in June. In July we released our industry leading mobile app (including mobile boarding passes) which has been very positively reviewed by independent commentators and our customers and has reached 1m downloads in the 10 days since its release. In September we will launch Ryanair’s business service which will include same day flight changes, bigger bag allowances, premium seat allocation, and fast-track through security at many Ryanair airports. This new service along with our new routes, improved schedules and wider GDS distribution, will make Ryanair’s low fares much more accessible to, and attractive for business customers. We will continue this winter to rapidly develop both our website and mobile platform to deliver more innovative features and services in addition to the lowest fares to our customers.

Fuel

We are 90% hedged for FY15 at approx. $96 p.bl, which will deliver savings of €50m this year at current market rates. This is lower than the €70m previously guided due to increased volumes in H2. We have also hedged 55% of our H1 FY16 fuel needs at approx. $95 p.bl and weaker US$ which will deliver a 2% fall in our unit fuel cost at current market rates.

Bond Issue

The BBB+ rating awarded by S&P and Fitch makes Ryanair the highest rated airline in the world. This rating reflects the strength of our Balance Sheet and our highly cash generative business model and enabled us in June to issue our first €850m unsecured Eurobond at a coupon of 1.875% fixed for 7 years. This attractively priced financing (which was 7 times oversubscribed) will further reduce our aircraft ownership costs over the next 5 years.

Shareholder returns

In FY14 we completed €482m of share buybacks as part of our commitment to return €1 billion to shareholders over a 2 year period. We now plan to return another €520m via a special dividend of 37.50 cents per ordinary share (subject to AGM approval) to be paid in Q4 FY15. This brings the total returns to shareholders since 2008 to over €2.5bn which is more than 4 times the €585m originally raised from shareholders since our 1997 IPO.

Outlook

Based on these Q1 results and our strong forward bookings it is clear that we are on track to deliver a strong H1, during which traffic will grow by 3%, and fares will rise by 6% subject to late booking fares in Aug. and Sept. However we would strongly caution both analysts and investors against any irrational exuberance in what continues to be a difficult economic environment, with some company-specific challenges in H2.

We expect H2 to be characterized by a much softer pricing environment as many competitors are lowering fares, partly in response to Ryanair’s strong forward bookings. Added to this Ryanair will aggressively raise capacity this winter by 8% (7% in Q3 and 10% in Q4) to take advantage of growth discounts and build out business friendly frequencies from Dublin and Stansted in particular. These initiatives will inevitably put downward pressure on fares and (mindful of last winter’s weak pricing environment) we continue to expect H2 yields to fall by between 6% to 8% which will result in full year yields rising by only 2%. Unit costs (ex-fuel) for FY15 will rise by approx. 4%, which is slightly better than the 5% increase we originally guided, due to higher H2 traffic volumes which will be positive for unit costs.

In summary, we now expect full year traffic to grow by 5% to 86m. This increased traffic and higher load factors, combined with a slightly improved performance on unit costs allows us to cautiously raise our full year profit after tax guidance (from the previous range €580m to €620m) to a range of €620m to €650m. However this guidance, which is about a 21% rise over last year’s net profit, is heavily, reliant upon the final outturn for H2 yields over which we currently have zero visibility”.

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8AS EI-CSW (msn 29935) in the old small-titled 1994 livery arrives at Stansted Airport near London.

Ryanair:

 

FAA proposes a $12 million civil penalty against Southwest Airlines, Southwest has 30 days to respond

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) (Washington) has issued this statement concerning Boeing 737 maintenance issues by Southwest Airlines (Dallas) and a contractor:

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing a $12 million civil penalty against Southwest Airlines for failing to comply with Federal Aviation Regulations in three separate enforcement cases related to repairs on Boeing 737 jetliners operated by the Dallas-based airline.

The FAA alleges that beginning in 2006, Southwest conducted so-called “extreme makeover” alterations to eliminate potential cracking of the aluminum skin on 44 jetliners. The FAA conducted an investigation that included both the airline and its contractor, Aviation Technical Services, Inc., (ATS) of Everett, Wash. Investigators determined that ATS failed to follow proper procedures for replacing the fuselage skins on these aircraft. FAA investigators also determined that ATS failed to follow required procedures for placing the airplanes on jacks and stabilizing them. All of the work was done under the supervision of Southwest Airlines, which was responsible for ensuring that procedures were properly followed.

Southwest returned the jetliners to service and operated them when they were not in compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations, the FAA alleges. The regulatory violations charged involve numerous flights that occurred in 2009 after the FAA put the airline on notice that these aircraft were not in compliance with either FAA Airworthiness Directives or alternate, FAA-approved methods of complying with the directives. The FAA later approved the repairs after the airline provided proper documentation that the repairs met safety standards

“Safety is our top priority, and that means holding airlines responsible for the repairs their contractors undertake,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Everyone has a role to play and a responsibility to ensure the safety of our transportation system.”

During its investigation, the FAA found that ATS workers applied sealant beneath the new skin panels but did not install fasteners in all of the rivet holes during the timeframe for the sealant to be effective. This could have resulted in gaps between the skin and the surface to which it was being mounted. Such gaps could allow moisture to penetrate the skin and lead to corrosion. As a result of the improper repairs, these airplanes did not comply with Federal Aviation Regulations.

The FAA also alleges that ATS personnel failed to follow requirements to properly place these airplanes on jacks and shore them up while the work was being performed. If a plane is shored improperly during skin replacement, the airframe could shift and lead to subsequent problems with the new skin.

In the third case, the FAA alleges that Southwest Airlines failed to properly install a ground wire on water drain masts on two of its Boeing 737s in response to an FAA Airworthiness Directive addressing lightning strikes on these components. As a result, the aircraft were not in compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations. The airplanes were each operated on more than 20 passenger flights after Southwest Airlines became aware of the discrepancies but before the airline corrected the problem.

“The FAA views maintenance very seriously, and it will not hesitate to take action against companies that fail to follow regulations,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.

Southwest Airlines has 30 days from the receipt of the FAA’s Civil Penalty letter to respond to the allegations.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-3H4 N363SW (msn 26574) prepares to land at Baltimore/Washington (BWI).

Southwest Airlines:

Malaysia Airlines considers a new name, brand and livery

Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur), owned by a majority share by a holding company of the Malaysian government, is considering changes in the the wake of the two tragic accidents this year.

According to RT.com, the government is considering a rebrand, a different ownership restructure, a possible new name and an adjustment of its route network.

Malaysia Airlines is very likely to change.

As far as the livery, the two ill-fated Boeing 777-200 ERs wore the older 1987 livery (above) which features the red and blue Kelantan Wau Bulan (Moon Dragon Kite) tail logo which has been seen in the headlines over and over, especially with the debris in eastern Ukraine. Any brand refresh would probably retire this iconic and historic logo.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Richard Vandervord/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8FZ 9M-MLH (msn 31723) is pictured in action at Phuket, Thailand in the 1987 color scheme.

Malaysia Airlines: AG Slide Show

Below Copyright Photo: Ivan K. Nishimura/AirlinersGallery.com. Malaysia refreshed the red and blue Kelantan Wau Bulan (kite) livery in 2010 with this new twin arc look while retaining the kite tail logo. Boeing 737-8H6 9M-MSE (msn 40147) passes through Honolulu on delivery.

Below Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. When Malaysia introduced the new Airbus A380, the airline unveiled this special A380 livery (for only the A380s) in 2012. The red and blue kite morphed into a blue kite for the A380s. Is this enough of a change? Probably not. Airbus A380-841 9M-MNB (msn 081) departs from London (Heathrow).

Bottom Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati/AirlinersGallery.com. When MSA was split into Malaysian Airline System (MAS) and Singapore Airlines, Malaysian (later Malaysia Airlines) originally introduced this livery in 1972. As you will note, the original livery featured a red and white kite tail logo. Dropping this historic logo will be a tough decision for the airline but unfortunately it is now a tarnished logo. Boeing 737-2H6 9M-MBH (msn 20926) prepares to depart from the gate at Kuala Lumpur.

Poll:

 

American to introduce the Miami to Cap-Haitien, Haiti route on October 2

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) will launch new daily service between Miami International Airport (MIA) and Cap-Haitien, Haiti (CAP), adding a new international destination to the airline’s growing global network. Customers can now book travel on the new route for travel beginning October 2, 2014, subject to government approval.

The new route supplements American’s long-standing service to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and will be operated with a Boeing 737-800.

Copyright Photo: Luimer Cordero/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-823 N980AN (msn 33203) arrives at the Miami hub.

American Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

Norwegian continues to build up its presence at London’s Gatwick Airport, reports a 2Q net profit of $20.5 million

Norwegian Air Shuttle’s (Norwegian.com) (Oslo) route network from London Gatwick continues to expand. Norwegian is adding four new destinations this winter; Madeira and La Palma for the sun-seekers and Grenoble and Salzburg for the ski enthusiasts.

Norwegian is also increasing the number of weekly departures on its routes from London Gatwick to Lanzarote, Rome and Larnaca.

From October 28 and November 1, respectively, Norwegian offers sun-seekers two weekly flights from London Gatwick to the Portuguese island of Madeira and one weekly flight to La Palma in the Canary Islands. Those more keen on white and powdery conditions in the Alps this winter, can from December 13 fly nonstop to Grenoble and Salzburg once a week.

Today, Norwegian is a major player at London Gatwick airport. The airline established a crew base at the airport in 2013 and now offers 41 routes from London Gatwick. Norwegian has eight Boeing 737-800 aircraft based at London Gatwick today as well as around 90 pilots and 200 cabin crew members.

On the financial side, Norwegian (NAS) reported a second quarter 2014 net profit of 128 million NOK ($20.5 million). According to the carrier, “The second quarter is characterized by strong growth and a record high load factor, and influenced by significant, one-off costs, a weak Norwegian currency and high oil prices. The strike from labor union Parat earlier this year alone cost Norwegian over 100 million NOK in lost revenue.

The second quarter figures also reflect Norwegian’s growth strategy and the company’s goal to fill all its new seats. Despite significant costs related to the start-up of the long-haul operation and higher costs due to the weak Norwegian currency, the unit cost (CASK) is down, strengthening Norwegian’s competitive advantage further. Over the past year, Norwegian has introduced seven Dreamliner aircraft to its long-haul operation.

The total revenue in the second quarter was over 5 BNOK, up 26 percent from the same quarter last year. The pre-tax result (EBT) was -137 MNOK. 6.4 million passengers chose to travel with Norwegian during the second quarter, which is an increase of 16 percent and almost 900 000 passengers more than the same period last year. The company’s traffic growth (RPK) was considerably higher at 46 percent, which reflects that each of Norwegian’s passengers on average flies significantly longer than they did a year ago.”

Record high load factor

Norwegian realized a strong production growth (ASK) of 41 percent. The growth is, naturally, stronger in new markets. Despite Norwegian’s strong capacity growth, the company is still filling its seats. The load factor in this quarter was 80 percent, up three percentage points from the same quarter last year, which is record high for a second quarter.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8JP LN-NGT (msn 41125) taxies at Palma de Mallorca (PMI) with Anton K.H. Jakobsen on the tail.

Norwegian: AG Slide Show

Current routes from London Gatwick:

Norwegian 7.2014 LGW Route Map (LRW)

Ryanair to launch new Manchester winter services

Ryanair (Dubin) has announced it will launch a new Manchester winter route to/from Shannon as part of an extended Manchester winter 2014 schedule, with 24 routes in total, including four other new routes to Barcelona, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria and Lisbon and extra frequencies to Madrid, Riga and Rome.

Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8AS EI-DPK (msn 33610) arrives for landing at Tenerife Sur.

Ryanair: AG Slide Show

 

Delta to introduce Seattle/Tacoma-Puerto Vallarta flights on December 20

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) is adding another new route from its growing Seattle/Tacoma hub. SEA-Puerto Vallarta, Mexico service will be initiated on December 20 with Boeing 737-800s. The route will be operated on a weekly basis (three days a week during the Christmas-New Year holidays) per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-832 N390DA (msn 30536) climbs away from the runway at Los Angeles International Airport.

Delta Air Lines (current):

 

Turkish Boeing 737-9F2 TC-JYA is pulled to safety and passengers evacuated after a fuel truck catches on fire in Nigeria

Turkish Airlines (Istanbul) Boeing 737-9F2 ER TC-JYA (msn 40973), pictured above, was reportedly slightly damaged at Kano, Nigeria on Tuesday night (July 22) as it was being refueled. The fuel truck, which was refueling the airliner, suddenly caught on fire. The Boeing 737 was quickly pulled out of the way and the passengers were safely evacuated, just in time. The aircraft was in-transit from Kano to N’djamena, Chad as flight TK 587. The flight was cancelled pending an inspection for any damages.

Read the full report from the Guardian: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: James Helbock/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-9F2 ER N973TK (msn 40973) became TC-JYA when it was handed over on December 9, 2011.

Turkish Airlines: AG Slide Show

 

Southwest reports record second quarter net income of $485 million

Southwest Airlines Company (Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways) (Dallas) today reported its second quarter 2014 results:

Record quarterly net income, excluding special items*, of $485 million, or $.70 per diluted share, compared to second quarter 2013 net income, excluding special items, of $274 million, or $.38 per diluted share. This exceeded the First Call consensus estimate of $.61 per diluted share.

Record quarterly net income of $465 million, or $.67 per diluted share, which included $20 million (net) of unfavorable special items, compared to second quarter 2013 net income of $224 million, or $.31 per diluted share, which included $50 million (net) of unfavorable special items.

Record quarterly operating income of $775 million. Excluding special items, record quarterly operating income of $819 million, resulting in a 16.3 percent operating margin**.

Return on invested capital*, before taxes and excluding special items, for the 12 months ended June 30, 2014, of 17.1 percent, as compared to 8.5 percent for the 12 months ended June 30, 2013.

Gary C. Kelly, Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer, stated:

“We are very pleased with our strong second quarter earnings performance. Net income, excluding special items, of $485 million, or $.70 per diluted share, represents our fifth consecutive quarter of record profits. The successful execution of our strategic initiatives continues to contribute significantly to these record profits. Second quarter 2014 total operating revenues reached an all-time quarterly high of $5.0 billion, benefiting from an 8.5 percent year-over-year increase in passenger revenues. Also, we were very pleased with our cost performance. Operating expenses benefited from our strategic initiatives, as well, and were comparable to second quarter last year.

“My hearty congratulations and thanks go to our hard-working and dedicated Employees for our outstanding second quarter results, which resulted in record quarterly profitsharing expense of $127 million. Over the last twelve months, our exceptional earnings performance, combined with our actions to prudently manage our invested capital, produced a 17.1 percent pre-tax return on invested capital, excluding special items (ROIC). This positions us well to meet or exceed our 15 percent pre-tax ROIC target for full year 2014.

“Our network development and optimization efforts continue, and we are very pleased with the performance across our system. Second quarter load factor and passenger revenue yield were records, even with a large percentage of the route system in the conversion or development stage. We announced our initial nonstop offerings from Dallas Love Field with the upcoming sunset of the Wright Amendment restrictions on October 13, and nearly tripled the flights we currently offer at Reagan National Airport, effective November 2 this year. On July 1, we inaugurated international service on Southwest Airlines, with flights to Oranjestad, Aruba; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and Nassau/Paradise Island in The Bahamas. We plan to fully convert AirTran’s remaining international markets and domestic flying by the end of this year. We expect roughly flat 2014 available seat miles, year-over-year, and intend to expand the network in a disciplined manner. For 2015, we currently expect our available seat miles to increase, year-over-year, largely driven by a two to three percent growth in seats from the upgauging of our fleet, along with a higher percentage of our fleet in revenue service post-integration.

“During second quarter, we announced the selection of Amadeus to implement the Altéa reservations solution to support our domestic network, following the successful implementation of Amadeus’ international solution this year. This allows us to replace the legacy reservation system used by Southwest. The AirTran reservation system is expected to be retired at this year’s end.

“Our balance sheet, liquidity, and cash flows remain strong. At the end of second quarter 2014, we had $4.0 billion in cash and short-term investments. For first half 2014, net cash provided by operations was $2.46 billion, and capital expenditures were $907 million, resulting in strong free cash flow* of $1.55 billion. We repaid $119 million in debt and capital lease obligations during first half 2014, and intend to repay an additional $440 million in debt and capital lease obligations in the second half of this year. Thus far this year, we have returned $652 million to Shareholders through the payment of $97 million in dividends and the repurchase of $555 million in common stock. As always, we are committed to maintaining our financial strength and enhancing value to our Shareholders.”

Financial Results and Outlook

The Company’s second quarter 2014 total operating revenues increased 7.9 percent, while operating unit revenues increased 8.4 percent, on a 0.4 percent decrease in available seat miles and a 2.2 percent increase in average seats per trip, all as compared to second quarter 2013. Second quarter 2014 passenger revenues were $4.8 billion, which was an increase of 9.0 percent on a unit basis, as compared to second quarter 2013. A change to previously recorded estimates of tickets expected to spoil in the future resulted in additional passenger revenue of $47 million in second quarter 2014.

Thus far, July passenger revenue trends and bookings are strong. Based on these trends, and considering the strength of the year-ago comparison, the Company expects July 2014 passenger unit revenues to increase in the three percent range, as compared to July 2013.

Total operating expenses in second quarter 2014 increased 0.6 percent to $4.2 billion, as compared to second quarter 2013. Second quarter 2014 profitsharing expense was a record $127 million, compared to $78 million in second quarter 2013. The Company incurred costs (before profitsharing and taxes) associated with the acquisition and integration of AirTran, which are special items, of $38 million during second quarter 2014, compared to $26 million in second quarter 2013. Cumulative costs associated with the acquisition and integration of AirTran, as of June 30, 2014, totaled $466 million (before profitsharing and taxes). The Company expects total acquisition and integration costs to be approximately $550 million (before profitsharing and taxes). Excluding special items in both periods, total operating expenses in second quarter 2014 increased 0.7 percent to $4.2 billion, as compared to second quarter 2013.

Second quarter 2014 economic fuel costs were $3.02 per gallon, including $.05 per gallon in favorable cash settlements from fuel derivative contracts, compared to $3.06 per gallon in second quarter 2013, including $.05 per gallon in unfavorable cash settlements from fuel derivative contracts. Based on the Company’s fuel derivative contracts and market prices as of July 21, 2014, third quarter 2014 economic fuel costs are expected to be in the $2.95 to $3.00 per gallon range, compared to third quarter 2013’s economic fuel costs of $3.06 per gallon. As of July 21, 2014, the fair market value of the Company’s hedge portfolio through 2018 was a net asset of $381 million. Additional information regarding the Company’s fuel derivative contracts is included in the accompanying tables.

Excluding fuel and oil expense, profitsharing, and special items in both periods, second quarter 2014 operating costs increased 1.1 percent from second quarter 2013, and increased 1.7 percent on a unit basis. Based on current cost trends, and excluding fuel and oil expense, profitsharing, and special items, the Company expects a year-over-year increase in its third quarter 2014 unit costs, comparable to the second quarter 2014 year-over-year increase.

Operating income in second quarter 2014 was $775 million, compared to $433 million in second quarter 2013. Excluding special items, operating income was $819 million in second quarter 2014, compared to $479 million in the same period last year, a 71.0 percent increase year-over-year.

Other expenses in second quarter 2014 were $29 million, compared to $70 million in second quarter 2013. The $41 million decrease primarily resulted from $3 million in other losses recognized in second quarter 2014, compared to $47 million recognized in second quarter 2013. In both periods, these losses included ineffectiveness and unrealized mark-to-market amounts associated with a portion of the Company’s fuel hedging portfolio, which are special items. Excluding these special items, second quarter 2014 had $15 million in other losses, compared to $12 million in second quarter 2013, primarily attributable to the premium costs associated with the Company’s fuel derivative contracts. Third quarter 2014 premium costs related to fuel derivative contracts are currently estimated to be $15 million, compared to $22 million in third quarter 2013. Net interest expense in second quarter 2014 was $26 million, compared to $23 million in second quarter 2013.

For the six months ended June 30, 2014, total operating revenues increased 5.2 percent to $9.2 billion, while total operating expenses decreased 0.4 percent to $8.2 billion, resulting in operating income of $991 million, compared to $503 million for the same period last year. Excluding special items, operating income was $1.1 billion for first half 2014, compared to $591 million for first half 2013.

Net income for first half 2014 was $617 million, or $.88 per diluted share, compared to $283 million, or $.39 per diluted share, for the same period last year. Excluding special items, net income for first half 2014 was $611 million, or $.87 per diluted share, compared to $328 million, or $.45 per diluted share, for the same period last year.

Balance Sheet and Cash Flows

As of June 30, 2014, the Company had $4.0 billion in cash and short-term investments, and a fully available unsecured revolving credit line of $1 billion. Net cash provided by operations during second quarter 2014 was $1.34 billion, and capital expenditures were $500 million, generating strong free cash flow of $838 million. The Company repaid $73 million in debt and capital lease obligations during second quarter 2014.

During second quarter 2014, the Company returned $282 million to its Shareholders through the payment of $42 million in dividends and the repurchase of $240 million in common stock, or 7.6 million shares. The Company completed its previous $1.5 billion share repurchase program with the repurchase of $20 million in common stock in early May. On May 14, 2014, the Company’s Board of Directors authorized a new $1 billion share repurchase program, along with a 50 percent increase in the Company’s quarterly dividend. Under the new $1 billion share repurchase program, the Company repurchased an additional $220 million in common stock during second quarter 2014, including $200 million repurchased under an accelerated share repurchase program with a third party financial institution. During second quarter 2014, pursuant to the accelerated share repurchase program, the Company advanced $200 million to the financial institution and received six million shares of the Company’s common stock, representing an estimated 75 percent of the shares the Company expects to purchase under the accelerated share repurchase program. The specific number of shares that the Company ultimately will repurchase under the accelerated share repurchase program will be determined generally based on a discount to the volume-weighted average price per share of the Company’s common stock during a calculation period to be completed during third quarter 2014. At settlement, under certain circumstances, the third party financial institution may be required to deliver additional shares of common stock to the Company, or under certain circumstances, the Company may be required to deliver shares of its common stock or may elect to make a cash payment to the third party financial institution. Pursuant to the settlement of the $200 million accelerated share repurchase program executed in first quarter 2014, the Company received an additional 1.7 million shares in common stock during second quarter 2014, bringing the total shares repurchased under the first quarter accelerated share repurchase program to 8.6 million.

Fleet

During second quarter 2014, the Company’s fleet increased by seven to 683 aircraft at period end. This reflects the second quarter 2014 delivery of 12 new Boeing 737-800s and three pre-owned Boeing 737-700s, as well as the retirement of one Boeing 737-500. In addition, the Company removed seven Boeing 717-200s from service during second quarter 2014 in preparation for transition out of the fleet.

Boeing 737 NG Delivery Schedule:

Southwest 737NG Delivery Schedule 7.2014 (LRW)

Notes:

*Additional information regarding special items is included in the accompanying reconciliation tables, and see Note Regarding Use of Non-GAAP Financial Measures.
**Operating margin, excluding special items, is calculated as operating income, excluding special items, divided by operating revenues.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-7H4 N280WN (msn 32533) in the Penguin One special livery arrives in Los Angeles.

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show

AirTran Airways: AG Slide Show

Alaska Air Group reports a net profit of $165 million for the second quarter

Alaska Air Group, Inc., (Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air) (Seattle/Tacoma) today reported second quarter 2014 GAAP net income of $165 million, or $1.19 per diluted share, compared to $104 million, or $0.74 per diluted share in the second quarter of 2013. Excluding the impact of mark-to-market fuel hedge adjustments of $13 million ($8 million after tax, or $0.06 per diluted share), the company reported record adjusted net income of $157 million, or $1.13 per diluted share, compared to adjusted net income of $105 million, or $0.74 per diluted share, in 2013.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Mark Durbin/AirlinersGallery.com. Alaska Airlines has already added Aviation Partners Boeing Split Scimitar Winglets to 12 Boeing 737 aircraft. Boeing 737-890 N588AS (msn 35685) with SS Winglets taxies at San Francisco.

Alaska Airlines: AG Slide Show

Alaska Horizon: AG Slide Show

Horizon Air: AG Slide Show

 

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