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Tag Archives: A330-200

Virgin America and China Eastern Airlines announce a new codeshare agreement

Virgin America (San Francisco) and China Eastern Airlines (Shanghai) today announce a codeshare agreement to offer seamless booking and travel from Shanghai, China to multiple destinations across the United States. The new agreement will see China Eastern place its two-digit flight code (MU) on a range of Virgin America routes from Los Angeles and San Francisco – including West Coast flights to Boston, Chicago, Dallas Love Field, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, Las Vegas, Newark, New York (JFK), Seattle/Tacoma, San Diego and Washington Dulles (Dulles). This will open a world of choice and convenience for travel between Asia, China, and the United States, offering a one-stop booking process and one-stop check-in, including seamless boarding passes and baggage handling for the entire journey. Codeshare flights can be booked today for travel from December 17, 2014.

The two airlines also announce today that starting next year the two airlines will launch reciprocal frequent flyer benefits. Members of China Eastern’s frequent flyer program will be able to earn Eastern Miles when traveling on all Virgin America flights and redeem their Eastern Miles for reward flights on all Virgin America routes. Members of Virgin America’s Elevate frequent flyer program will also be able to earn Elevate points when flying across China Eastern’s network as well as redeem their Elevate points for international reward flights on any route operated and marketed by China Eastern.

China Eastern offers daily direct flights from Shanghai to San Francisco and from Shanghai to Los Angeles.

The codeshare partnership expands on the two airlines’ existing interline agreement, which commenced in May 2013. China Eastern is Virgin America’s fifth codeshare agreement and joins the airline’s growing partner portfolio.

Top Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Virgin America’s Airbus A320-214 N846VA (msn 4894) rotates on the runway at New York (JFK).

Virgin America aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

China Eastern aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Olivier Gregoire/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 F-WWCG (msn 1588) wears the new look for China Eastern Airlines. It will become B-5962 on delivery.

Azul arrives in Orlando

Azul arrives in Orlando (Azul)(LRW)

Azul Linhas Aereas Brasileiras (Campinas), Brazil’s largest airline by number of cities served, yesterday (December 15) inaugurated daily nonstop service to and from Orlando, its second international destination. The airline’s first arrival landed at Orlando International Airport at 5:10 pm (1710) and the first outbound flight departed or Sao Paulo (Campinas) at 7:45 pm.

From its new $1.5 billion terminal at Sao Paulo-Campinas International Airport, located 60 minutes from the city, Azul conveniently connects to popular destinations including Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Salvador and Iguacu Falls.

Photos: Orlando International Airport. The inaugural flight was operated with the pictured Airbus A330-243 PR-AIZ (msn 527).

Azul aircraft slide show:

Azul A330-200 PR-AIZ (08)(Nose)(Azul)(LRW)

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South African Airways to add a new route to Etihad Airway’s Abu Dhabi home

South African Airways (Johannesburg) is moving closer to potential equity partner Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) with an expanded codeshare relationship as previously reported. SAA will launch a new daily route to Abu Dhabi from Johannesburg on March 29, 2015 with Airbus A330-200s.

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 ZS-SXV (msn 1249) arrives at the Johannesburg base.

South African aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

TAP Portugal to increase the frequency on the Miami route

TAP Portugal (Miami) from June 28 through September 22, 2015 will go to daily service on the Lisbon-Miami route. Ironically this is the summer rainy season for Miami, the off season for North American visitors. The route is operated with Airbus A330s and A340s.

Copyright Photo: Pedro Baptista/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330223 CS-TOH (msn 181) in the Star Alliance livery arrives at the Lisbon hub.

TAP Portugal aircraft slide show:

 

Lufthansa Group outlines its plans for 2015, unveils the new Eurowings brand

Eurowings A320-200 and A330-200 (14)(Flt)(LRW)

Lufthansa Group (Frankfurt) has issued this report as a result of the meeting of the Deutsche Lufthansa AG Executive Board. The board gave approvals for the new Wings low-cost subsidiary and the launch of the new Eurowings.

Highlights include:

• Focus on 2015 as the year of ‘New Lufthansa Premium Quality’

• New European and intercontinental flight products under the “Eurowings” brand, and lease-in of up to seven Airbus A330-200s

• Letter of Intent with SunExpress for Eurowings long-haul routes

• Further structural development of Group airlines’ worldwide distribution

• Key financial indicator of “earnings after cost of capital” to replace “cash value added”

Here is the full report:

2015 should bring increasingly good news for customers and passengers of the Lufthansa Group, according to the plans of the Deutsche Lufthansa AG Executive Board. For the Group’s member airlines, fleet renewals and the completion of a number of major refurbishment projects should provide state-of-the-art aircraft cabins and five-star inflight travel comfort. The first quarter of 2015 will see Lufthansa German Airlines conclude the installation of its new First Class throughout its long-haul fleet; the second quarter will witness the completion of the new Business Class installation program; and the third quarter will see the new Premium Economy available on all of Lufthansa’s intercontinental aircraft. All the new long-haul aircraft of which Lufthansa will take delivery next year will have all the new cabins already installed. And the modernization of the long-haul fleet will be further pursued in 2015 with the arrival of two more Airbus A380s and four new Boeing 747-8s. Also slated for delivery next year are a further Boeing 777F for Lufthansa Cargo and ten short- and medium-haul aircraft of the Airbus A320 family.

“2015 will be the year of ‘Lufthansa Premium Quality’,” said Carsten Spohr, Chairman & CEO of the Deutsche Lufthansa AG Executive Board, on the occasion of the meeting of the company’s Supervisory Board today. “Whichever cabin they travel in, our inflight guests will be able to see and feel that Lufthansa is a premium-service airline which is one of the leaders in its field by any global benchmark. We will also be moving the entire Lufthansa Group further forward with our ‘7 to 1’ program,” Carsten Spohr continued. “And we presented the progress we have made in our various action areas here to our Supervisory Board today. As well as promoting innovation, it’s enhancing our quality and our efficiency that are particular focuses for us in all our concepts for new and further growth. And these enhancements will open up new opportunities for us in growth markets.”

‘New Growth Concepts’ action area

The Supervisory Board gave the formal go-ahead to the ‘Wings’ concept presented by the Executive Board at its meeting today, and approved the lease of up to seven Airbus A330-200 aircraft for the new low-cost operation’s intercontinental routes.

The Supervisory Board further approved the development of the ‘Eurowings’ concept, under which – within an umbrella framework – the Lufthansa Group’s Eurowings and Germanwings airlines, along with further flight operations in Europe, should acquire new customers by offering quality products at attractive prices in the form of low-cost short- and long-haul air travel services from the end of 2015 onwards.

The new products, which will be primarily aimed at the private travel sector, will help the airlines of the Lufthansa Group secure their strong positions in their home markets of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Belgium in the point-to-point travel segment, too, in the longer term.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/113519746″>The New Eurowings</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user19954503″>Bruce Drum</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Video Above: The Lufthansa Group. The “New Eurowings”

“The ‘New Eurowings’ is our response to one of the major challenges confronting Europe’s airline industry,” Carsten Spohr explains. “For several years now we’ve been facing fierce competition from the rapidly-growing low-cost carriers in the point-to-point travel segment, not only in Germany but throughout Europe, too. And we are sure to see this competition extend more and more to the long-haul travel segment in the years ahead. Our ‘New Eurowings’ is our innovative response, which will enable us to fashion our own markets here.”

“Innovative concepts with substantially lower costs combined with the strengths, skills and expertise of the Lufthansa Group: that’s our recipe for success,” Spohr continues. “And our new ‘New Eurowings’ product will offer both outstanding value for money and the strongest quality, reliability and safety credentials.”

The ‘New Eurowings’ concept follows the successful transfer of Lufthansa’s non-hub routes to Lufthansa Group subsidiary Germanwings. The program of transferring all Lufthansa routes not serving its Frankfurt and Munich hubs should be completed in early January 2015.

Eurowings (2014) logo (large)

In an initial step, the two already-existing airlines Germanwings and Eurowings will continue to perform their flight operations with their current networks and crews, under the umbrella of the new concept. For the new European operations the present Eurowings fleet, which consists of 23 Bombardier CRJ900 jets, will be replaced with up to 23 Airbus A320s between February 2015 and March 2017. Ten new A320s have been ordered to this end, while up to 13 further A320s will be reassigned to Eurowings from existing orders held by the Lufthansa Group. This will give the ‘New Eurowings’ a standardized fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft by the end of 2017, along with the further cost benefits that will derive from these advanced aircraft’s fuel-efficient credentials. Further routes will also be added to the Eurowings network, operated from a new Eurowings base outside Germany, in the course of 2015.

In addition to its European network, the ‘New Eurowings’ will also begin to add long-haul services to its low-fare product range from the end of 2015 onwards, in collaboration with German-Turkish airline SunExpress. To this end, a Letter of Intent has been signed with SunExpress, a joint-venture company of Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines, under which the intercontinental services to be offered under the Eurowings brand will be flown under the air operator certificate (AOC) of SunExpress Deutschland and with SunExpress Deutschland cockpit and cabin crews. The first intercontinental destinations to be served will include points in Florida, Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean. The new flights will initially be operated by a fleet of three Airbus A330-200 aircraft each offering 310 seats. The Eurowings long-haul fleet should then be gradually expanded to up to seven A330-200s over the next few years.

As with the already-successful Germanwings concept, the new Eurowings long-haul products will offer customers a choice of ‘Best’, ‘Basic’ and ‘Smart’ fares. Home base for the new long-haul fleet will initially be Cologne/Bonn Airport; and Cologne will also be the home of the Wings carriers’ commercial management operations.

‘Efficient and Effective Organization’ action area: Lufthansa Group to reshape member airlines’ field sales structures

The Lufthansa Group will be realigning the field sales structures of its member airlines with effect from 1 March 2015, in response to the new demands of the world’s sales markets. In future, all the Group’s global field sales will be the responsibility of a single Group wide entity. The new arrangement should provide greater field sales harmony within the Lufthansa Group, in both product and distribution-technology terms.

‘Value-Based Management’ action area: “earnings after cost of capital” to replace “cash value added” as key financial indicator for corporate decisions

The Deutsche Lufthansa AG Executive Board also presented the Supervisory Board with a new value-based management concept at the latter’s meeting today which should be adopted at Deutsche Lufthansa AG in the course of the coming year. The new concept will see two new key financial indicators – earnings after cost of capital (EACC) and return on capital employed (ROCE) – replace the key financial indicator of cash value added (CVA) which is currently used in all decision-making processes and for the remuneration of executive staff from 2015 onwards.

The new key financial indicators are easier to calculate, which should help anchor value-based management even more firmly within the Lufthansa Group. The new figures show whether the capital employed is achieving sufficiently high results to increase the company’s value, and should thus ensure that all corporate decisions are as sustainably-minded as possible.

All images by the Lufthansa Group.

Hawaiian to add seasonal routes to Hawaii again on May 20, 2015

Hawaiian Airlines (Honolulu) is bringing back its seasonal nonstop service between Oakland and Los Angeles, and Līhu’e, Kaua’i and Kona, Hawai’i Island beginning on May 20, 2015. Additionally, the airline is adding a second daily seasonal nonstop flight between Los Angeles and Maui that will start on June 11, 2015.
Hawaiian Airlines

The seasonal Oakland and Los Angeles services between islands of Kaua’i and Hawai’i will add nearly 110,000 air seats to both travel markets over 15 to 18 weeks of service, and will be operated by Hawaiian Airlines’ wide-body, twin-aisle Boeing 767-300 ER aircraft, seating 264 passengers in a two-class cabin, with 18 in First Class and 246 in the Main Cabin. Guests will get to enjoy iPad minis available for rent exclusively on the airline’s Boeing 767 aircraft, featuring more than 100 hours of the latest Hollywood releases, television shows, and a variety of exciting interactive games.

With the addition of both seasonal services, both Līhu’e Airport and Kona International Airport will have a Hawaiian Airlines wide-body aircraft arriving every day of the week next summer.

More than 53,000 air seats will be added to both Los Angeles and Maui’s travel markets over 14 weeks of service when the seasonal daily flights start on June 11, 2015. The seasonal daily service addition will be operated by Hawaiian Airlines’ wide-body, twin-aisle Airbus 330-200 aircraft, which seats 294 passengers with 18 in First Class, 40 Extra Comfort and 236 in the Main Cabin.

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. The second daily Los Angeles-Maui flight will be operated with Airbus A330-200s. Airbus A330-243 N392HA (msn 1404) taxies at New York (JFK).

Hawaiian Airlines aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

 

Azul arrives today in Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood

Azul Linhas Aereas Brasileiras (Sao Paulo) operated its first international flight today (December 2), landing at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport at 5 am (0500). Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood is Azul’s first international route. The airline’s inaugural departure will leave for Sao Paulo (Campinas) at 7 pm (1900) this evening.

According to the airline, “Since its debut six years ago on December 15, 2008, Azul has flown more than 100 million customers, changing the face of competition in the Brazilian domestic aviation market. The airline’s 145-aircraft fleet currently operates one-third of Brazil’s daily departures with more than 850 flights, serving 105 destinations throughout Brazil. From its new $1.5 billion terminal at Sao Paulo-Campinas International Airport, located 60 minutes from the city, Azul conveniently connects to popular destinations including Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Salvador and Iguacu Falls.

Flights will depart Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood (FLL) at 7 pm (1900), arriving the next day at Sao Paulo-Campinas (VCP) at 6:20 am (0620). Returning flights leave VCP at 11:27 pm (2327, arriving the following day at FLL at 5 am (0500).

In two weeks, on December 15, which is also the airline’s sixth anniversary, Azul will inaugurate daily service between Orlando International and Sao Paulo-Campinas.

In other news, Azul is planning an IPO according to Reuters. Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Rob Finlayson/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 PR-AIZ (msn 527) climbs away from Campinas International Airport.

Azul aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Alitalia to launch new Abu Dhabi routes on March 29, 2015 from Milan Malpensa and Venice

Alitalia (2nd) (Rome) on March 29, 2015 will launch new routes from Milan (Malpensa) and Venice to Abu Dhabi, tripling its frequency to the Capital of the United Arab Emirates with a total of 42 round-trip flights between Italy and Abu Dhabi.

The new Alitalia flights from Milan and Venice – in addition to Alitalia’s Rome (Fiumicino) – Abu Dhabi flight, which began on December 1, 2012 – will be in codeshare with Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) (subject to the necessary government approvals), already providing service from Abu Dhabi to Rome and Milan.

The codeshare agreement between Alitalia and Etihad Airways provides 46 code-shared flights operated by the two companies worldwide. Alitalia and Etihad Airways respective flights between Rome, Milan and Venice (as of March 29, 2015) to Abu Dhabi are code-shared, as well as a number of routes departing from Abu Dhabi and from Rome Fiumicino.

Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-202 EI-EJJ (msn 1225) Arrives in Rome (Fiumicino).

Alitalia (2nd) aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Alitalia and Etihad Airways receive European Commission approval for Etihad to save the Italian airline

Alitalia (2nd) (Rome) and Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) has received permission from the European Commission to permit Etihad to acquire a 49 percent share in the Italian carrier for €387.5 million and also implement their strategic partnership. Finally Alitalia has found its savior.

Alitalia and Etihad Airways jointly issued issued this statement:

Alitalia and Etihad Airways are pleased to confirm that they have received merger clearance from the European Commission under EU Regulation No. 139/2004. They can therefore proceed with the proposed strategic partnership announced in August.

Following the completion of its review, the European Commission on Friday (November 14) confirmed that the partnership complies with the European regulations on competition. In line with previous cases, the airlines undertook commitments aimed at facilitating the entry of new airlines on the Rome to Belgrade route.

The parties continue to work together with a view to completing the transaction before the end of the year.

President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, James Hogan, said: “We are delighted to be able to move forward with this process and look forward to a positive outcome and the final conclusion of a our transaction with Alitalia.

“An equity investment in Alitalia will be beneficial not only for the both airlines, but, more importantly, it will give more choice and broader travel opportunities to business and leisure travellers into and out of Italy.”

Gabriele del Torchio, Chief Executive Officer of Alitalia, said: “This is an excellent outcome for Alitalia. This investment will provide financial stability and a foundation for impressive long-term growth for the Company and for the travel and tourism industry in Italy, in which Alitalia is a fundamental player.

Top Copyright Photo: Alitalia’s Airbus A321-112 EI-IXI (msn 494) pushes back from the gate at London’s Heathrow Airport displaying the 1960 retrojet colors.

Alitalia aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Etihad Airways aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Greenwing/AirlinersGallery.com. Both Alitalia and Etihad have painted an Airbus A330 with these promotional Expo Milano 2015 markings.

 

Etihad Airways expands its relationship with Jet Airways with new Indian frequencies

Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) has announced that Mumbai and Delhi will become its first destinations in India to be served with triple-daily flights, strengthening its partnership with Jet Airways into and out of India.

Both cities will be upgraded from their current double-daily frequencies, with the third daily flight to Mumbai starting on February 15, 2015 and to Delhi on May 1, 2015.

Along with Jet Airways’ services, both airlines will connect Abu Dhabi to 14 Indian cities, with over 200 return flights each week. This includes five flights a day to Mumbai, four flights a day to New Delhi, three flights a day to Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kochi, two flights a day to Ahmedabad and Kozhikode, and daily flights to Jaipur and Trivandrum.

Etihad Airways will also launch a daily service to Kolkata, capital of West Bengal, on February 15, 2015 to support its long-term development plan in India, and Jet Airways has announced it will soon launch daily services between Abu Dhabi and Goa, Lucknow and Pune.

In addition to the airline’s network developments, Etihad Airways has upgraded its aircraft on a number of Indian routes, including the debut of three-class, wide-body aircraft on select flights. The airline will also operate its new Boeing 787-9 on Mumbai evening services in January 2015.

Copyright Photo: Greenwing/AirlinersGallery.com. The pictured Airbus A330-243 A6-EYH (msn 729) is Etihad Airways’ part of the joint Etihad-Alitalia color scheme to promote the upcoming Expo Milano 2015.

Etihad Airways aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Video: The Expo Milano 2015 Airbus A330-200 logojet:

Thomas Cook Airlines is coming to Reno, Nevada

Thomas Cook Airlines (UK) (Manchester) will launch seasonal twice-weekly Airbus A330-200 London (Gatwick)-Reno flights from December 19, 2015 through April 9, 2016 per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 G-OYMT (msn 301) taxies at Baltimore/Washington (BWI).

Thomas Cook Airlines (UK) Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

American Airlines introduces a combined AAdvantage frequent flyer program

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) today released this announcement about its frequent flyer program:

American Airlines AAdvantage® and US Airways Dividend Miles® members will become part of the same frequent flyer program in the second quarter of 2015. The AAdvantage loyalty program will combine mileage balances and align elite levels and qualification criteria. It will also introduce the new upgrade policy for elite status members flying on American and US Airways.

In early 2015, members who have an account in both programs will have the opportunity to match their accounts. This is the next step before the program integration, which will offer customers a more seamless experience whether their flight is on American or US Airways. American began offering reciprocal benefits to AAdvantage and Dividend Miles members in January 2014, just one month after the close of the merger.

A comprehensive explanation of the changes for AAdvantage and Dividend Miles members can be found at aa.com/aadvantage2015.

AAdvantage Elite Status Membership Levels

AAdvantage offers three levels of elite status membership – AAdvantage Executive Platinum, Platinum and Gold. Customers will continue to qualify for elite status based on elite-qualifying miles, points or segments. The current 100-segment threshold for Executive Platinum will continue until Dec. 31, 2014. On Jan. 1, 2015, the segment qualification requirement for Executive Platinum will be 120 segments for the 2016 membership year.

When the programs are combined, the four elite status levels in the Dividend Miles program will be mapped to the three elite status levels of the AAdvantage program:

American Elite Graph

Combining Accounts in the Second Quarter

For customers who have an account in both programs and have matched their accounts early in the year, American will move their current Dividend Miles elite-qualifying activity, award mileage balances and Million Miler balances into their existing AAdvantage account in the second quarter of 2015. AAdvantage elite status will be based on the member’s combined elite-qualifying activity from 2014 to determine status valid through February 2016. At the same time, their year-to-date 2015 qualifying balances will be combined to determine status through February 2017. If combining a member’s elite qualifying balances results in their reaching a new elite status level, American will honor that status level when the programs combine.

For Dividend Miles members who do not have an AAdvantage account, American will create one for them. Each of these members’ balances will then be transferred automatically to the new account in the second quarter of 2015.

For AAdvantage members who do not have a Dividend Miles account, no action is needed; they will retain their existing AAdvantage number and account.

500-Mile and Complimentary Upgrades

Once the programs combine in the second quarter of 2015, all elite members will receive complimentary, auto-requested upgrades on eligible American-marketed and operated flights less than or equal to 500 miles. Executive Platinum members will continue to receive complimentary upgrades on all 500-mile upgrade eligible flights, regardless of the length of the flight. Additionally, all complimentary upgrades will be automatically requested for each member at the time of booking. Elite member upgrade benefits will continue to work differently for American and US Airways flights initially until the airlines are on a common reservation system later in 2015.

The upgrade policy for elite members traveling on American-marketed and operated flights in eligible markets will be as follows:

American Elite Graph 1

Additional Benefits

AAdvantage Executive Platinum and Dividend Miles Chairman’s Preferred members now receive a complimentary alcoholic beverage and snack item when those members travel on US Airways flights in the Main Cabin, as they receive on American.

Starting Jan. 1, 2015, before the programs are combined, bonus miles for AAdvantage members on Business Class tickets on American and US Airways will increase from 25 to 50 percent to align with what Dividend Miles members receive today. Executive Platinum and Chairman’s Preferred members will also enjoy complimentary same-day flight changes on American Airlines.

Once the programs are combined in the second quarter of 2015, AAdvantage members will be able to redeem miles for upgrades and AAnytime® Awards for travel on American and US Airways flights. Executive Platinum members in the combined program will receive eight systemwide upgrades as they do in the current program today, and those upgrades will be valid on both American and US Airways marketed and operated flights.

Since January 2014, American has rolled out enhanced benefits to members flying on either airline, including:

1. The opportunity to earn and redeem miles on American or US Airways, with all eligible travel on either airline counting toward elite status qualification in the program of that member’s choice

2. Reciprocal benefits for elite status members when flying either airline, including First and Business Class check-in, complimentary checked bags and priority security and boarding

3. More lounge access, with reciprocal club access for Admirals Club® and US Airways Club members

4. Easy access to the combined company’s expanded network through the codeshare between American and US Airways, which allows the ability to sell seats on both airlines’ flights

5. Bringing US Airways into the award-winning oneworld® alliance, offering more options across the Atlantic and an easier and more rewarding global travel experience to Europe and beyond

6. The ability to easily stay connected while customers fly with Monthly Traveler and Daily Wi-Fi passes, valid on both American and US Airways

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. The first US Airways Airbus A330-200 to be repainted is the pictured A330-243 N288AY (msn 1441) departing from the Charlotte hub.

American Airlines Aircraft Slide Show (Current): AG Slide Show

American Airlines-US Airways:

AG Slide Show

Emirates arrives in Budapest

Emirates (Dubai) yesterday (October 27) as planned launched a daily nonstop service to Budapest, marking its first entry into Hungary.

Emirates’ daily flight to Budapest is operated with a wide-body Airbus A330-200 aircraft in a two-class configuration. The inaugural flight was welcomed by Jost Lammers, Chief Executive Officer, Budapest Airport, along with partners from the travel trade and local media, at a special reception held at the airport. A contingent comprising His Excellency Zoltan Jancsi – Ambassador of Hungary to the United Arab Emirates and other business leaders, accompanied by senior Emirates representatives, was present on the inaugural flight.

Emirates’ Airbus A330-200 will offer 27 seats in Business Class and 251 Economy Class seats.

Flight EK 111 will depart Dubai at 0820 and will arrive at Budapest Airport at 1135. The return flight, EK 112 will depart at 1505 and will arrive at Dubai International Airport at 2330.

Copyright Photo: Emirates A330-243 A6-EKW (msn 316) taxies at London (Heathrow).

Emirates Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Greybull Capital finalizes its 90% acquisition of Monarch Airlines, will return 10 aircraft

Monarch Airlines (London-Luton) has a new ownership structure. Gerbil Capital LLP has finalized its acquisition yesterday (October 24) of the 90 percent of the stock of the airline. The airline issued this statement:

The Board of Monarch Holdings Limited (Monarch Airlines), is pleased to announce the completion of its strategic review and restructuring program under which it has secured ₤125 million of permanent capital and liquidity facilities provided by Greybull Capital LLP anchored by a ₤50 million capital commitment, with contributions from the Group’s prior shareholders, principally the Mantegazza family. Greybull also acquired 90% ownership interest in Monarch, with the remaining 10% passing to the Group’s defined pension scheme and ultimately the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).

The Civil Aviation Authority has renewed the Group’s ATOL licence.

Greybull is a family office that manages investments in private companies across a diversified range of industry sectors. Greybull will provide significant capital to Monarch in order to grow the Group and build on its long-established heritage and trusted brand name.

Under the leadership of new Chief Executive Andrew Swaffield, Monarch has undertaken a comprehensive strategic review of all areas of the business, from operations to ownership and financing. The aim of the review has been to create the optimum structure to realize the significant opportunity to build on Monarch’s respected brand and distinctive offer to its customers in the European scheduled leisure carrier market.

The main outcomes of Monarch’s strategic review and restructuring, which have led to the successful transaction with Greybull, are:

1. Optimize fleet from 42 to 34 aircraft, and revised agreements with lessors to either mark-to-market or early return of 10 aircraft from the current fleet

2. Securing a new Boeing fleet order for 30 737 MAX 8 aircraft with deliveries from 2018 to 2020, providing a cost-effective and uniform fleet by late 2020

3. Both long-haul and charter flying to end by April 2015

4. Airline network to specialize on Monarch’s ‘heartland’ of scheduled short-haul European leisure routes, with increased average frequencies, aircraft utilization, productivity and profitability

5. Focus on five UK airport bases – London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, London Luton and Leeds-Bradford – and closure of East Midlands from summer 2015

6. Material concessions agreed with employees across the Group to enable the successful restructuring, including reductions in pay of up to 30%, with more than 90% of unionized staff voting to accept changes, and some 700 redundancies, two-thirds of which were voluntary
Reduction of the Group’s operating cost base, in line with other low-cost carriers, and increased efficiencies across the business
Resolution of the Group’s pension deficit through agreement with the Pensions Regulator, PPF and the Trustee of the Monarch Airlines

7. Limited Retirement Benefits Plan which will result in the Plan being assessed for entry into the PPF. The PPF would then hold a 10% stake in the Group, in line with its principles in restructurings such as this. The Pensions Regulator has cleared the restructuring. The pension deficit as per the company’s balance sheet was previously £158 million and the current estimated shortfall to secure full benefits is around £660 million.

Monarch Group CEO, Andrew Swaffield, said:

“I am delighted to welcome the Greybull team as the new owners of the Monarch Group. We have a shared vision for the strategic direction and prospects for the business, and I am looking forward to working with them to implement the exciting plans for building our future.”

“I would personally like to thank all Monarch employees who have been hugely supportive of the initiatives which were essential to complete this transaction. I am very proud to be leading such a team – together we will be building a great future for the Group.”

Commenting on behalf of the selling shareholders, Fabio Mantegazza said:

“We are very proud to have created one of the most loved aviation brands in the UK over the last 46 years. We think that now is an appropriate time to allow new shareholders to take Monarch into the future, with secure financial backing and clear strategic goals and we wish the Group every success.”

Said Greybull Partner Marc Meyohas:

“We are delighted to acquire Monarch and invest our capital into a very strong brand with great potential in all its markets and are grateful for the selling shareholders’ support in achieving this transaction. We see this as a long-term investment and hope we can be very supportive shareholders throughout Monarch’s next chapter.”

Advisers:

Seabury Securities (UK) Ltd., a unit of Seabury Group, acted as lead investment banker, along with co-adviser Dean Street Advisers, to the Monarch Group on the transaction with Greybull Capital LLP. Seabury Advisors LLC served as Monarch’s lead restructuring adviser and industrial consultant with respect to crafting the turnaround plan with Monarch’s management group. KPMG LLP and Short Partners LLP served as additional restructuring advisers. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP and Bird and Bird LLP served as legal advisers to Monarch.

Greybull was advised by Zolfo Cooper LLP as financial adviser and Forsters LLP as legal counsel.

PricewaterhouseCoopers served as adviser to the selling shareholders.

In August 2014, Monarch confirmed it was undergoing a strategic review with the objective of determining the optimal structure to take the company forward. The Group sees a significant opportunity to build on the respected Monarch brand and distinctive customer offer, in order to create a focused and efficient scheduled European leisure carrier. Part of this strategy involves a major investment into its aircraft fleet. In July 2014, Monarch announced Boeing was the preferred bidder for its narrow-bodied fleet replacement, with 30 Boeing 737 MAX 8s for delivery from Q2 2018. At current list prices, this aircraft deal would be worth $3.1 billion. This transformational investment will enable Monarch to operate as efficiently as any European low-cost carrier.

As part of the strategic review, the Board of Monarch identified a number of cost-reduction initiatives that needed to be addressed in order to compete effectively in its chosen markets, specifically the scheduled European short-haul leisure market. With the strong support of all of Monarch’s stakeholders, including its employees, unions, third-party suppliers and regulators, a number of initiatives were set in motion and have been agreed to create a far stronger Group.

Greybull has private equity investments in various sectors including pharmaceuticals, semiconductors, energy, industrials, retail and leisure. It is a long-term active investor with significant or controlling stakes in all of its companies. Within its portfolio Greybull owns significant assets including:

Plessey Semiconductors Limited, where since 2010 Greybull has supported management’s plans to restructure and re-develop the company and has financed add-on acquisitions
New Era Petroleum Inc. Since 2010 Greybull has backed New Era with both working capital to develop its activities and capital to acquire and re-develop oil fields in the US
Arc Specialist Engineering Limited is a conglomerate of businesses in the steel industry. Greybull fully financed Arc and has been successfully trading the company since becoming its majority shareholder in 2013

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. As part of the restructuring all long-haul routes are being dropped as the “new Monarch” focuses on its core UK Heartland cities with popular short-haul routes to sunny destinations. Monarch is retiring its last two Boeing 757-200s and likely the pictured Airbus A330-200s as the long-haul routes are dropped. The company will focus around the Airbus A320/A320 Family aircraft until the new Boeing 737 MAX 8s are delivered. Airbus A330-243 G-SMAN (msn 261) is pictured taxiing at Palma de Mallorca. Is a new livery coming under the new owners?

Monarch Airlines Aircraft Slide Show:

Alitalia and Etihad Airways unveil two Airbus A330-200s in an unique Expo Milano 2015 livery

Alitalia (2nd)-Etihad A330-200 (14-Expo Milano 2015)(Tko)(Alitalia)(LRW)

Alitalia (2nd) (Rome) and Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) have unveiled two aircraft in a unique Expo Milano 2015 livery to mark their co-sponsorship of the global event.

Expo 2015 will be held in Milan from May 1, 2015 to October 31, 2015 with an estimated 20 million visitors expected to attend the event of which more than a third will travel to the northern Italian city by air.

Alitalia (2nd)-Etihad Expo Milano 2015 logo

Alitalia and Etihad Airways held joint simultaneous events at Malpensa Airport in Milan and Abu Dhabi Airport to unveil the two Airbus A330-200 aircraft, to audiences gathered in both locations as well as thousands watching online around the world.

The Alitalia A330-200 and the Etihad Airways A330-200, both in the eye-catching special livery, operated their first flights on Tuesday, October 21, between Rome and Abu Dhabi and will carry the Expo Milano 2015 “feeding the planet, energy for life” message worldwide.

Flight frequencies to and from Milan are set to increase during Expo 2015 when Alitalia will commence daily flights to Milan Malpensa from Abu Dhabi and from Shanghai, that will be introduced in the next months, after approval by European authorities, and Alitalia will also increase domestic and international flights. These flights will connect with Etihad Airways’ services throughout the Middle East and with markets in the Indian sub-continent, Southeast Asia, and Africa.

Alitalia and Etihad Airways will link Milan with 560 unique online and codeshare destinations across the globe.

The new Alitalia service to Abu Dhabi will complement Etihad Airways’ successful daily passenger flights and regular freight flights between Milan and Abu Dhabi and contribute to the two airlines’ commitment to develop Malpensa as a global air cargo hub.

In addition to the joint liveried aircraft, Alitalia and Etihad Airways are offering a number of business initiatives including all-inclusive packages and special fares targeted at families, seniors, business travellers and young people for Expo Milano 2015.

The two air carriers are also implementing an integrated marketing and communication plan including onboard and ground announcements for their flights, as well as offers to loyalty program members, print and digital campaigns, and social media activities.

Alitalia and Etihad Airways will have a pavilion throughout Expo 2015 with an interactive social hub that will enable guests to enjoy activities in Milan whether in the city or around the world.

All images by Alitalia and Etihad Airways.

Alitalia (2nd): AG Slide Show

Etihad Airways: AG Slide Show

Alitalia (2nd)-Etihad A330-200 (14-Expo Milano 2015)(Grd)(Alitalia)(LRW)

Video: The press conference to unveil the new promotional design:

Hawaiian Holdings reports adjusted third quarter net income of $49.5 million

Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (Honolulu), parent company of Hawaiian Airlines, reported its financial results for the third quarter of 2014.

GAAP net income in the third quarter of $35.6 million or $0.56 per diluted share.

Adjusted net income, reflecting economic fuel expense, in the third quarter of $49.5 million or $0.79 per diluted share, an increase of $12.7 million or $0.10 cents per diluted share year-over-year.

Operating revenue per available seat mile (RASM) increase of 4.6% and passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) increase of 2.2%.

Unrestricted cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments of $582 million.

Announced new service from San Francisco to Maui beginning November 2014.

Operated Los Angeles to Kona, three-times-weekly, and Los Angeles to Lihu’e, four-times-weekly, summer seasonal service through the beginning of September.

Operated Oakland to Kona, three-times-weekly and Oakland to Lihu’e, four-times-weekly, summer seasonal service through the beginning of September.

Operated Los Angeles to Maui second daily summer seasonal service through the beginning of September.

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 N393HA (msn 1422) arrives in Las Vgeas.

Hawaiian Airlines: AG Slide Show

QANTAS Airways unveils its new Airbus A330 Business Suite

QANTAS Airways (Sydney) has unveiled and introduced its new Airbus A330 international Business Class product. The airline issued this statement and photos:

QANTAS logo (large)

QANTAS customers are set to enjoy a new standard of luxury on international flights to Asia, Hawaii and key domestic routes, with the airline unveiling the final design of new Business Suites to feature on its A330 fleet, to be progressively introduced from later this year.

QANTAS A330 Business Suite  1 (QANTAS)(LRW)

Designed in collaboration with Marc Newson, the new Business Suite will be available on all 28 of QANTAS’ A330 aircraft, offering the world’s first seats to allow customers to recline in their seat from take-off through to landing.* The Suites also offer fully-flat beds and direct aisle access for every Business Class passenger in a 1-2-1 layout.

QANTAS A330 Business Suite  2 (QANTAS)(LRW)

QANTAS A330 Business Suite  3 (QANTAS)(LRW)

The Vantage XL seat, manufactured by Thompson Aero Seating, was developed and customised extensively by Qantas after ergonomic trials and inflight monitoring with a panel of experts and ongoing feedback from customers.

QANTAS Economy Recaro seat (QANTAS)(LRW)

The Economy cabins on all international A330s will be fitted with a next-generation model of the award-winning Recaro seat (above), an earlier version of which has been extremely popular with QANTAS customers on the Airbus A380 and refurbished Boeing 747 aircraft. Economy seats on the A330-200s for QANTAS Domestic will also be refreshed.

Customers in both cabins on the international A330 aircraft will be able to enjoy the latest Panasonic eX3 inflight entertainment system, with larger seatback touchscreens in addition to Q Streaming technology, enabling them to stream content from an extensive entertainment library directly to their own devices.

Domestic Business Class customers on A330 aircraft will also enjoy the same Panasonic eX3 system, while Economy customers will have an individual inflight entertainment experience through either seatback touchscreens or devices provided by QANTAS in every seat.

The work to refresh the aircraft interiors – which will take about one month for each – will start at QANTAS’ heavy maintenance facility in Brisbane next month. The first of the domestic refurbished A330 aircraft will take to the skies in late December from the east coast to Perth, and the first international A330 will commence flying in January 2015.

International and domestic routes currently serviced by QANTAS A330s:

· Sydney-Melbourne

· Sydney-Brisbane

· Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane to Perth

· Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane to Singapore

· Melbourne/Brisbane to Hong Kong

· Sydney-Bangkok

· Sydney-Jakarta

· Sydney-Manila

· Sydney-Honolulu

· Sydney-Shanghai

* Subject to final CASA certification.

Business Suites and Panasonic eX3 entertainment systems to be progressively introduced on A330 aircraft from December 2014.

Read the analysis by Bloomberg Businessweek: CLICK HERE

QANTAS Airways: AG Slide Show

Video:

Airberlin to drop the Berlin Tegel-Miami route on May 4, 2015

Airberlin (airberlin.com) (Berlin) is dropping the Berlin (Tegel)-Miami route on May 4, 2015 per Airline Route. The airline was planning to continue the route through next summer but this has now apparently changed. It is uncertain if the route will be added back for the following prime winter season. Airberlin was also feeding Oneworld partner American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) at the Miami hub.

Airberlin is adding frequencies to the New York (JFK) and Los Angeles routes.

Copyright Photo: Luimer Cordero/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-223 D-ABXA (msn 288) in the Oneworld motif arrives at Miami International Airport (MIA).

Airberlin: AG Slide Show

 

Air Transat to fly to Budapest, Hungary next summer

Air Transat (Montreal) has announced it is adding a new destination, Budapest, Hungary, to its trans-Atlantic program for 2015, as well as increasing seats and frequencies on many of its European routes, including Paris, London, Barcelona, Athens, Lisbon, Marseille, Nantes, Rome and Venice.

The new route will be routed from Toronto (Pearson) to Montreal (Trudeau) and finally to Budapest with Airbus A330s from June 17 through October 8, 2015.

 

Besides service to secondary cities in France, the carrier is now offering twice-daily flights to Paris from Montreal and six a week from Toronto. Air Transat also remains the only airline offering direct flights to Paris from Quebec City, Calgary and Vancouver.

In addition, Air Transat announced a new connection between Halifax, Nova Scotia) to St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador and finally to London (Gatwick), with two weekly Boeing 737-800 flights in the high season, in response to strong demand from travellers in the region. The route will be operated from June 17 through September 3, 2015.

Elsewhere in Canada, the carrier will increase flight frequencies on its London routes as well, offering 10 weekly departures from Toronto, two each from Montreal and Halifax, six from Vancouver, and three from Calgary.

Flights will also be added to Athens and Barcelona from Montreal and Toronto, and to Lisbon from Montreal.

In 2015, Air Transat will no longer offer flights to Germany from Western Canada, and will no longer fly to Turkey. Although the airline is eliminating service between Montreal and Istanbul, Air Transat will continue to market that destination, with land tours sold under the Transat Holidays and Transat Discoveries brands.

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 C-GTSZ (msn 971) of Air Transat departs from Toronto (Pearson).

Air Transat: AG Slide Show

Air Transat Aircraft Slide Show:

Airbus to cut the monthly A330 production rate from 10 to 9 aircraft as it transitions to the new A330neo

Airbus (Toulouse) has decided to adjust the production rate for its A330 Family from the current rate 10 to 9 aircraft a month in the fourth quarter of 2015 as it transitions towards the A330neo.

Since 2013, Airbus has been building 10 A330 Family aircraft each month, the industry’s highest ever production rate for this aircraft size category.

Copyright Photo: Eurospot/AirlinersGallery.com. Demonstration aircraft Airbus A330-223F F-WWYE (msn 1004) became TC-JDO with Turkish Airlines.

Airbus A330s from around the world Slide Show:

KLM is coming to Edmonton

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (Amsterdam) will launch Amsterdam-Edmonton Airbus A330-200 flights starting on May 3, 2015. The new route will be operated four days a week.

On November 3 KLM confirmed the new destination however delaying the start to June 22, 2015 with this announcement:

The flights will be operated on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, including Fridays effective June 22, 2015.

In catering to customer requirements, KLM will offer three different passenger classes on board the A330-200: 30 seats in World Business Class, 178 seats in Economy Class and 35 seats in the Economy Comfort zone (offering 10 cm more legroom, back supports capable of reclining twice as far, and priority deboarding). Schedule

The flight departs from Amsterdam at 2:35 PM (1435) and arrives at 3:35 PM (1535) local time in Edmonton. The return flight departs at 6:10 PM (1810) from Edmonton and the arrival in Amsterdam is at 10:45 AM (1045), the next day.

The Air France-KLM Group operates flights to five destinations in Canada, with departures from Amsterdam Schiphol and Paris Charles de Gaulle: Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal (operated by KLM and Air France), Calgary and Edmonton (operated by KLM).

Air France-KLM has a codeshare agreement with Canadian carrier WestJet. This offers passengers access to 30 extra routes in Canada connecting to the worldwide Air France-KLM network. About Edmonton Edmonton is the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta and is also the fifth largest city in Canada after Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary. It is the largest economic center of northern Alberta, and an important city for the oil and gas industry.

Copyright Photo: AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-203 PH-AOK taxies at London’s Heathrow Airport.

KLM: AG Slide Show

IAG converts eight Airbus A330-200 options into firm orders for Iberia

Iberia A330-200 (13)(Flt)(Airbus)(LRW)

IAG (British Airways and Iberia) (London) has decided to convert eight A330-200 options, previously announced, into firm orders for Spain’s flag carrier Iberia, which will become a new operator of the A330-200. The aircraft will be delivered from the end of 2015 and will be equipped with GE CF6 engines. Iberia’s all Airbus fleet already includes eight A330-300s.

Iberia today operates an all Airbus fleet, including 13 A319, 12 A320, 18 A321, 8 A330-300, 8 A340-300 and 17 A340-600. On August 1, 2014, the new A330s were announced alongside an order for eight Airbus A350-900 aircraft. In total they will replace 16 A340 family aircraft in Iberia’s long-haul fleet. The airline flies to more than a 100 destinations in 38 countries.

Image: Airbus.

Iberia: AG Slide Show

Hainan Airlines arrives in Paris

Hainan Airlines (Haikou and Beijing) on September 3, took off for the first time to Paris. Hainan’s flight HU 7907 took off from Hangzhou International Airport at 9:15 pm (2115), making a stop at Xi’an Xianyang International Airport, before heading on to Paris (CDG). This is the airline’s fifth European route following its routes to Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Brussels and Berlin. The launch of the service will provide new opportunities for further political, economic and cultural exchanges and cooperation between China and France, as 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the countries.

Hainan Airlines held inaugural flight ceremonies at Hangzhou Xiaoshan International and Xi’an Xianyang International airports on September 3, with representatives from local government agencies and airline partners as well as Hainan Airlines chairman and vice president in attendance. Passengers onboard the inaugural Airbus A330 flight received gifts from the Hainan Airlines staff before the plane took off for its maiden flight to Paris, the city of romance.

According to Hainan Airlines’ head of marketing, the flight will be offered twice-weekly, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. HU 7907 departs Hangzhou at 8:50 pm (2050) and arrives in Xi’an at 11:10 pm (2310), then departs Xi’an the next day at 1:00 am (0100) and arrives at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport at 6:55 am (0655). The return flight, HU 7908, departs Paris at 2:25 pm (1425) and arrives the next day in Xi’an at 6:45 am (0645), then departs Xi’an at 8:45 am (0845) and arrives in Hangzhou at 10:50 am (1050) (arrival and departure times are local).

The route will be operated using an Airbus A330-200 wide-body aircraft. The plane’s cheery and spacious cabin seats 36 in Business Class and 186 in Economy Class. The Business cabin is configured with 180-degree flat-bed seats with built-in gentle massage and 74 inches of space separating each seat. In addition, wide HD LCD screens and adjustable reading light serve to make sure passengers feel comfortable in a private environment.

Since 1993, Hainan Airlines has evolved from a regional to an international airline with several long haul intercontinental routes. The airline has launched routes to Chicago, Boston and Paris in recent years. According to the Sino-French Joint Press Communique, which emphasized building a peaceful, democratic, prosperous and progressive world, both China and France seek to strengthen mutual benefits and win-win results in civil aviation and the aviation industry. This provides Hainan Airlines with strong policy support and confidence to speed up the build-out of its international route network.

Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner/AirlinersGallery.com. Hainan Airlines’ Airbus A330-243 B-6118 (msn 881) taxies at Zurich.

Hainan Airlines: AG Slide Show

Virgin Australia CEO: “The 2014 Financial Year has seen one of the most difficult operating environments in the history of Australian aviation”, loses $332.2 million in its fiscal year

Virgin Australia Holdings Limited (Virgin Australia Airlines) (Brisbane) reported a Statutory Loss after Tax of A$355.6 million ($332.2 million) including the impact of equity accounted investments. Financial performance for the 2014 Financial Year was impacted by the confluence of excess market capacity, weak consumer sentiment, continued economic uncertainty and the $51.6 million cost of the carbon tax.

Virgin Australia Chief Executive Officer John Borghetti said: “The 2014 Financial Year has seen one of the most difficult operating environments in the history of Australian aviation.

“While the Virgin Australia Group performed well in attracting high yielding passengers and containing cost growth over the full year, underlying revenue performance was impacted by the challenging operating conditions.

“Notwithstanding these conditions, it was important for the Virgin Australia Group to complete the Game Change Program strategy and strengthen our balance sheet in order to deliver sustainable returns for shareholders over the long-term.

“Over the 2014 Financial Year, the Group further increased revenue from the Corporate and Government market segment, which now represents over 25 per cent of our domestic revenue, far exceeding our original goal of 20 per cent.

“Furthermore, our success in integrating the Skywest8 business has enabled us to significantly grow revenue from the Charter segment, increasing comparative revenue by around 30 per cent on the 2013 Financial Year. We have also positioned our loyalty program Velocity Frequent Flyer as a significant value driver for the Group, with the highest annual membership acquisition in the program’s history and a significant increase in member engagement.

“The Group’s cost program delivered a significant reduction in cost growth over the second half of the 2014 Financial Year, with growth in Cost per Available Seat Kilometre (Underlying CASK)9 including fuel and foreign exchange halving to approximately 2 per cent – a strong performance given we had lower capacity growth and we continue to invest in product and service initiatives for our customers.

“As a result of several major balance sheet initiatives executed during the year, the Virgin Australia Group finished the year with a total cash position of $783.8 million and an unrestricted cash position of $541.0 million.

“Virgin Australia also re-entered the Australian domestic budget market through the acquisition of a 60 per cent interest in Tigerair Australia at the beginning of the 2014 Financial Year. Over the last 12 months Virgin Australia has worked with Tiger Airways Holdings Limited and Tigerair Australia to overhaul revenue and accounting systems, develop the management team, improve asset utilisation and enhance the operational platform. Tigerair Australia’s performance needs to be viewed in the context of overall industry performance and weak consumer sentiment, particularly in the last quarter of the year, which has a more pronounced impact on low cost carriers. As a result of progress made during the 2014 Financial Year, and in particular marked increases in customer satisfaction, Tigerair Australia is now well positioned to benefit from a recovery in the domestic market when conditions improve.

“While the 2014 Financial Year has been an extremely tough year for the industry, I am confident that the Virgin Australia Group is in a strong strategic position going forward.

“This next period for us is about maximising the Group’s potential, by extracting value from the business and generating sustainable profitability”, Mr Borghetti said.

Financial and Operating Performance

“Total Group Revenue increased 7.1 per cent to $4,306.6 million on the 2013 Financial Year, including the additional revenue associated with the acquisition of Skywest. While revenue growth in the leisure and regional segments was subdued, this was partially offset by revenue growth in the Corporate and Government, Charter and Interline and Codeshare segments.

“Group Yield increased by 1.2 per cent, driven by a change in customer mix and improved access to global distribution channels following the introduction of the SabreSonic system in January 2013.

“The recently acquired Skywest business has now been fully integrated into the Virgin Australia platform and we are seeing positive performance from the Charter business which has increased its comparative revenue contribution by 30 per cent this financial year.

“International revenue increased 2.6 per cent compared to the 2013 Financial Year against the backdrop of strong competition and a particular weakness in the South East Asian market.

“As we outlined in February, Virgin Australia increased its focus on driving down costs during the second half of the 2014 Financial Year. Over the half, we implemented a number of major cost reduction initiatives including programs to reduce overall employment and procurement costs, as well as introducing a new Fuel Management System, targeting 2 per cent fuel efficiency savings by the end of Financial Year 2015.

“While there was a material increase in overall costs this year due to the full year impact of the Skywest acquisition in April 2013, Underlying CASK growth was well contained over the year, with a particularly strong performance in the second half.

“Virgin Australia incurred $117.3 million of restructuring costs11 during the 2014 Financial Year as a result of the balance sheet initiatives undertaken, the completion of strategic investments and the optimisation of the business platform. The business has also taken a restructuring provision for the exit of the two original Airbus A330 aircraft, as part of our program to reduce our future cost base through further fleet optimisation, and has booked an asset impairment charge of $56.9 million, driven predominantly by excess capacity and competitive pressure in the South East Asian market.

“We continued to exceed business efficiency project targets, delivering cumulative efficiency gains of more than $191 million and remain on track to deliver cumulative productivity gains of more than $400 million over the three years to 30 June 2015.

“With Virgin Australia’s major shareholders equity accounting their investments in Virgin Australia from 1 July 2014, it was appropriate for Virgin Australia to align its accounting policies with those of its shareholders and other industry participants. Consequently, a revised maintenance policy in relation to leased aircraft has been adopted which required a restatement of prior financial year results in the Appendix 4E. As a result of the adoption of this maintenance policy, there is an increase in the opening retained earnings and the equity of the business of $67.2 million.

“Virgin Australia operates a very successful Australian dollar designated hedging program, providing a large degree of short term certainty and longer term participation and protection. The program achieved effective fuel and foreign exchange rates during the 2014 Financial Year, delivering a result that was significantly favourable compared to spot prices.

“In order to reduce the volatility of reported financial performance attributed to the hedging program, Virgin Australia will adopt AASB 9 – Financial Instruments early, from 1 July 2014. As a result of the early adoption of this accounting standard, future statutory financial results going forward are expected to reflect reduced accounting ineffectiveness and deferral of time value of options until maturity for qualifying hedges. In the 2014 Financial Year, time value of options has been separately identified from the underlying results in anticipation of adopting this standard. The 2013 comparatives have been restated in the Financial Year 2014 ASX presentation to reflect this treatment.

“Virgin Australia acquired a 60 per cent interest in Tigerair Australia on July 8, 2013, with our share of equity-accounted losses for the 2014 Financial Year amounting to $46.1 million. Despite the challenging operating conditions, Tigerair Australia carried 500,000 more passengers than the previous year, with passenger numbers increasing to 3.3 million for the 2014 Financial Year.

“In terms of capacity growth, Virgin Australia recorded normalised growth of 0.112 per cent across the domestic network (excluding Tigerair Australia) for the 2014 Financial Year.

“Importantly, during the 2014 Financial Year, domestic Revenue Load Factors expanded 1.8 percentage points to 76.9 per cent, supported by a record 17.3 million customers choosing to fly with us.

“Virgin Australia is focused on delivering on time services for all of our customers and we have achieved an On Time Performance (OTP) of 84.0 per cent for the 2014 Financial Year, an increase of 2.9 percentage points compared to the prior corresponding period”, Mr Borghetti said.

Cash Position

“Virgin Australia paid down approximately $200 million in Gross Debt during the second half of the 2014 Financial Year and finished the year with a total cash balance of $783.8 million and an unrestricted cash balance of $541.0 million, up $203.3 million and $214.5 million respectively on 30 June 2013.

“We have significantly enhanced our balance sheet and liquidity through initiatives such as the issue of Enhanced Equipment Notes in October 2013, the Entitlement Offer in November 2013 and the sale and lease back of our Brisbane based office in May 2014. The proposed transaction with Velocity Frequent Flyer announced today will see a further boost to the liquidity position of the Group.

“Virgin Australia remains focused on maintaining a strong unrestricted cash balance and continues to review ways to utilise resources more efficiently”, Mr Borghetti said.

Game Change Program Strategy Update

“When we introduced the Game Change Program, it was a long-term strategy to reshape the airline and establish the Virgin Australia Group as a long-term player in all key segments of the Australian aviation market.

“Over the 2014 Financial Year, the Group focused on fast-tracking the completion of the Game Change Program and finished the strategy ahead of schedule.

“I am pleased to report that we have now increased our percentage of domestic revenue from the Corporate and Government market segment to more than 25 per cent, far exceeding our original strategic goal of 20 per cent. This is an enormous credit to all of our team members, who have worked tirelessly to ensure we could attract this important market segment.

“As a result of the important alliances we have forged and the implementation of SabreSonic, we have developed a comprehensive global virtual network and accessed growth markets around the world. In just a few years, the business has grown from offering around 150 destinations to more than 460 destinations and increased interline and codeshare traffic by more than 300 per cent.

“At the same time we have completed the important process of integrating and aligning the airline operations and brands, delivering and investing in one strong Virgin Australia brand that is recognised around the world.
“Under the Game Change Program, Velocity Frequent Flyer has gone from strength to strength, expanding its global network to over 460 destinations and offering competitive earn and redemption rates and unique member rewards. Over the last four years, the program has doubled membership numbers to 4.5 million and has built the widest retail offering of any program in Australia. Velocity has achieved a range of industry accolades, including recognition in five categories at the 2014 Freddie Awards, the highest achievement of any airline program at these global awards.

“Completing the transformation of the in-flight and on-the-ground experience under the Game Change Program has been a key focus for the business during the 2014 Financial Year, with significant enhancements to our lounge network, in-flight entertainment and catering”, Mr Borghetti said.

“It is thanks to the tireless efforts of every one of our team members that we have successfully implemented this strategy ahead of schedule in a challenging environment. We have transformed the business and our research indicates that we have now established Virgin Australia as the airline of choice14. Therefore we can confidently say that “The Game” has changed.

“I would like to thank all of our team members for their passion and dedication in delivering the strategy”, Mr Borghetti said.

Virgin Vision 2017

“Now that we have completed the Game Change Program, this next period for us is about maximising the Group’s potential, by extracting value from the business and generating sustainable profitability. To do this, we need to increase the growing customer loyalty to the Virgin Australia Group. That is what will assure our business of a stable future revenue stream and enable us to deliver sustainable profitability as the market recovers.

“A few years ago, many travellers were wedded to our competitor because they had no other viable alternative. The Game Change Program essentially created an indifference15 and helped to dislodge those travellers loyal to the incumbent airline group, so that they were happy to travel with either of us, whilst building a Virgin Australia loyalty base.

“Going forward, we no longer want to create an indifference for this group, we want to convert more of them to our loyalty base. Therefore, our Virgin Vision to 2017 is to become Australia’s favourite airline group.

“Over the next three years, the Virgin Australia Group will focus on six key areas: capitalising on growth business opportunities, driving yield enhancement, implementing a new cost program, optimising the balance sheet, setting a new standard in customer experience and developing our people to their full potential”, Mr Borghetti said.

Capitalizing on growth business opportunities

Velocity Frequent Flyer

“Velocity Frequent Flyer will be one of our key growth businesses, as we aim to build one of the world’s leading loyalty programs. Today’s announcement regarding a strategic transaction for Velocity Frequent Flyer is just the beginning. This transaction represents an opportunity to accelerate growth and value for Velocity and the Virgin Australia Group. Over the next three years we plan to grow membership to more than 7 million, further diversify Velocity’s partner mix, increase partner numbers and strengthen member engagement in both points earned and points redeemed.

Charter

“Charter also represents a significant opportunity for the Group to grow and diversify revenue. Our Charter business has had a very successful first year, delivering comparative revenue growth of around 30 per cent for the 2014 Financial Year, from a combination of new contracts, growth from existing clients and the launch of our first charter operations on the East Coast. This business continues to represent strong growth opportunities for the Group, and we expect it to deliver more than $200 million in revenue by 30 June 2017.

Freight

“In the 2015 Financial Year, we will launch a Freight division, which will leverage off our current Regular Passenger Transport and Charter capability. We expect the freight business to grow on a similar trajectory to our new charter business with revenue expected to treble to between $150 and $200 million over the next three years to 30 June 2017.

Tigerair Australia

“Our investment in Tigerair Austraia presents an important opportunity for the Group to participate in the growth of the budget market segment.

“The Tigerair business has undergone the first year of its transformation program, which sets out a clear path to profitability. The focus over the next three years will be on successfully executing this program, to achieve profitability in Financial Year 2017.

“This includes:

Further improving customer satisfaction – Customer experience is a major driver of revenue growth and will be a strong focus for Tigerair Australia, with significant progress already made during the 2014 Financial Year.
Driving incremental revenue growth – Tigerair Australia has implemented a number of revenue enhancing initiatives this year, including a new revenue management system. Further initiatives to help drive incremental revenue growth will be rolled out.

Delivering cost synergies – Tigerair Australia will implement a range of network, operational and financial synergies, building on the cost savings from synergies already delivered, including the launch of the Brisbane base, coordinated pricing and joint procurement of fuel purchases with Virgin Australia.

Develop an efficient operating platform and network footprint – Operational efficiency will be a continued focus. Tigerair has made a number of enhancements this year which will drive benefits, including launching a Brisbane base, securing a new more efficient maintenance provider in BAE systems and reaching agreement with Sydney Airport Corporation Limited about infrastructure constraints at Sydney Airport.

“We are committed to working with Tiger Airways Holdings Limited and Tigerair Australia to ensure the airline has the right network footprint, service standards and cost leadership, to deliver improved financial performance.

Drive yield enhancement

“In addition to capitalising on growth businesses, we will be focusing on other opportunities to drive yield enhancement. This includes increasing our target of Corporate and Government domestic revenue mix to around 30 per cent by 30 June 2017; increasing interline and codeshare revenue through strengthening and expansion of alliance partnerships and optimising our new PROS revenue management system to drive incremental revenue opportunities.

$1 billion cost program

“Importantly, cost will be a major focus over the next three years, building on the work of the Business Efficiency Project. Over the five years to 30 June 2017, the program will generate $1 billion in cumulative productivity gains and will centre on the following:

Enhancing procurement – individually and with alliance partners.

Improving productivity – including increased fuel efficiency, increased utilisation of the Boeing 737 fleet and the retirement of two 12 year old Airbus A330 aircraft; as well as bringing forward our Boeing 737 Max aircraft deliveries from 2019 to 2018.

Streamlining our operations – including the integration of Virgin Australia’s New Zealand operations into the rest of our international business and the consolidation of our long-haul international bases from three into two.
Optimise the balance sheet

“Going forward, optimizing the balance sheet will be central to maintaining a strong platform. The proposed transaction with Affinity Equity Partners and Velocity Frequent Flyer will improve the liquidity and gearing position of the Virgin Australia Group even further, providing additional flexibility and resilience as we execute on “Virgin Vision 2017”.

“As a result of this transaction, lease-adjusted balance sheet gearing will reduce by 8 per cent. The Group profit and loss impact from this transaction is expected to be neutral in the 2015 Financial Year. Over the next three years, we will continue to execute initiatives designed to improve liquidity, reduce debt and maintain a strong cash balance.

Set a new standard in customer experience

“The Virgin Australia Group will also maintain its strong focus on product and service and over the next three years, we will set a new standard in customer experience.

“While we cannot disclose all the initiatives for competitive reasons, they include: the introduction of Business Class on our Trans-Tasman and Fiji services from February 2015; the launch of our first Premium Exit at our Melbourne Airport lounge next month; the unveiling of a new state-of-the-art airport ground experience with the opening of our new terminal and lounge in Perth next year; and the upgrade of our Brisbane terminal and launch of our Darwin lounge in March next year.

“Furthermore, in the next few weeks, we will make a major announcement on our premium product offering.

Develop our people to their full potential

“Our people, and their willingness to go above and beyond for our customers and our shareholders, remains the Virgin Australia Group’s core differentiator in the market.

“We are committed to remaining the most attractive employer in the industry and, for that matter, one of the most desirable employers in Australia. It is our ability to attract, develop and retain the best talent, not just in the industry, but across Australia and beyond, that will see us succeed. Over the next three years, we will be rolling out a range of initiatives to continue to develop our people to their full potential.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our team members for their passion and dedication to delivering the Game Change Program strategy. We are privileged to have such a talented, devoted team and we are committed to supporting their development”, Mr Borghetti said.

Conclusion and Outlook

“The 2014 Financial Year was an extremely challenging year for the Virgin Australia Group and the Australian aviation industry as a whole.

“Given the uncertain economic environment we are unable to provide guidance for the 2015 Financial Year at this time and we will not be providing guidance on capacity growth going forward.

“However, the Virgin Vision to 2017 sets out a comprehensive plan of initiatives that will see us deliver a sustainable, profitable business over the long-term.

“While the current environment remains challenging, the Virgin Australia Group has significantly enhanced its strategic position over the last four years and is well placed to capitalise on market recovery”, Mr Borghetti said.

Copyright Photo: John Adlard/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 VH-XFE (msn 1319) taxies at Sydney.

Virgin Australia: AG Slide Show

Azul to introduce the new Airbus A330 on domestic routes

Azul A330-200 PR-AIV (14-Brazilian flag)(Nose)(Azul)(LR)

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

In the meantime, the carrier will start operating the new type on domestic routes from Campinas to Brasilia, Manaus, Recife and Rio de Janeiro (Galeao), also subject to approval by ANAC. The new type will be operated on domestic routes from September 1 through November 30.

Copyright Photo: Azul. Airbus A330-243 PR-AIV (msn 532) is painted in the special Brazilian flag motif and was delivered on August 20, 2014 from AerCap. The wide body airliner has previously been operated by MEA (F-OMEC), Gulf Air (A9C-KI) and Turkish Airlines (TC-JNY).

Azul: AG Slide Show

The Sunday Times: Monarch Airlines to cut more than 1,000 jobs, shrink the fleet to reduce its losses and find a new investor

Monarch Airlines (London-Luton and London-Gatwick) is at a critical stage in its nearly 47 years of existence. According to this article by The Sunday Times, Monarch will cut over 1,000 jobs, reduce the fleet from 42 aircraft to 30 in order to reduce losses. Long-haul flights will be dropped. The airline had previously announced it would drop charter flights and concentrate on scheduled flights. Seabury Capital is also leading the search for new investors.

A lingering question shadowing the company is its pension obligation.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Monarch service banner

Monarch Airlines talks about its history on its website:

The Group, as its exists today, came together in 1968 when Monarch Airlines was formed under the same ownership as Cosmos Holidays and Monarch Aircraft Engineering, following their establishment in 1961 and 1967 respectively.

Monarch Airlines was created to respond to the expanding charter holiday industry and demand for faster travel. In its early days Monarch operated with just two aircraft, but in the early 1970s the airline began to meet the requirements of an evolving travel market by committing to an all-jet fleet and by 1972 was carrying 500,000 passengers per annum.

The advent of mass market independent travel saw Monarch launch its scheduled division with increased routes in 1985. The Airbus A330 was added to the fleet in 1999 featuring new Premium cabin and a range of upgraded passenger benefits, followed in 2001 by the launch of Monarch’s first online booking tool. By 2007 online reservations had grown to over 90% of total bookings.

Monarch Airlines is now one of the leading scheduled carriers at its key bases at London Gatwick, across the Midlands and the north of England. Its current 30 aircraft fleet provides an annual capacity of seven million seats from six UK bases to destinations around the Mediterranean, the Canaries and to ski destinations in winter. The Airline also offers capacity to tour operators both through its scheduled and operations and traditional charter activities, where it continues with selected long-haul flying.

Monarch.co.uk logo

Monarch Airlines has always adapted to changing conditions in the marketplace:

Monarch Timeline

On the Monarch blog, in this article written by Hannah Sardar, the author interviews Commercial Revenue and Network Manager – Marjan Schöke, on how the company puts together its schedule (Monarch just announced it was dropping East Midlands as we previously reported). Here is the article which is very insightful:

My name is Hannah and I work in the social media team for Monarch. We have had a few questions about how Monarch put together a flight schedule and why we have delayed the schedule for our Summer 15 flights. So, I’ve gone straight to the man who knows, our Commercial Revenue & Network Manager – Marjan Schöke to get his insight and find out how we create a network schedule. Who better to answer your questions?

Marjan Schoke

Marjan Schoke

So Marjan, I am going to start with a broad question! In a nutshell what is the process for setting up a flights schedule?

Well, in a nutshell proves a bit tricky. Creating a flight schedule is not single process but the result of a lengthy and continuous analysis. Let me try to give you some insight into the complexity of the creation of a schedule. Marjan

The basis is the overall strategy of the company. It defines what market segments we serve, what aircraft type we are using and so on. So for a specific period we have a picture of where we want to head with our network and how many aircraft we have available for implementing this defined strategy.

As a first step in creating a schedule we evaluate many different variables including; customer demand, market trends, the economy and passenger flows in order to evaluate the future profitability of a route. In addition many inputs from operations and maintenance have to be taken into account.

We evaluate market trends in detail. One question that needs to be answered is how the economic development for next year will influence the booking and travel patterns of our customers. For instance are they taking longer or shorter breaks? How taking short breaks? And of course we need to gain an understanding what the hotel availability is for certain destinations. All of this combined enables us to forecast market growth for the coming season. Keeping in mind the competition we then define how often we want to fly each route; we then decide on the aircraft to be used for a specific flight. This gives us the information we need to create our flights schedule.

A question I’ve always wanted to know is; do all airlines work the same way when releasing a schedule? Some airlines are before and some are after Monarch, can you please tell us why?

I would not be able to confirm how all airlines plan their schedules but I can say that in my opinion, the overall process is the same for each airline. However, the way the market analysis is done will differ for each airline, also pending what customer group they are serving. Doing research for business travellers is different from research on holiday-makers.

Why is the flights schedule for summer 2015 being released in stages this year?

There are a lot of changes going on within the company. We have new management and there are many people like me who have recently joined the company. A lot of new know-how and innovative processes are brought into the company. For example in my team we have adjusted our internal processes and we are putting much more time towards listening to feedback from customers or researching travel behaviour.

Our aim is to release a stable schedule that avoids as far as possible changes a few months or even weeks before the flights. We want to avoid rescheduling flights as customer feedback states this is really frustrating for them.

So, it’s taking longer because we are doing it once and doing it right. We have had a much closer look at each individual route, spent a lot of time on making the departure times more sociable with the ultimate objective being to give flexibility and value to all our customers.

We have already released four bases – Luton, Gatwick, Birmingham and Manchester and may still add flights to these bases over the coming months however the review is on-going for Leeds Bradford. The schedule for summer 2015 will offer our customers a better service with more frequent flights to some of our most popular destinations, better weekend flight times & flexibility to book a short break or a mid or longer length holiday.

When is the best time to buy cheap flights – now, when flights have just been released… or later, when there’s a deal or promotion?

It’s always best to book as soon as you can. It is an obvious statement but, we have a fixed amount of seats available on each aircraft on each flight. The fuller the aircraft gets for a specific flight the higher the price will be. So, when no seats have been booked soon after the flight goes on sale; customers will generally get the best price. It is the objective of my team and I to fill those seats, whereas closer to the time of departure we have fewer seats available and this may increase the price.

We’ve been asked about why our flight departure and arrival timings are different this year to previous years, how would you reply to this?

We look closely at internal data, data from external sources and we gain an understanding from our own customers about which departure times suit them best and which routes they prefer. An example of this: we know that on certain routes most passengers prefer to fly back in the evening so they’ve had a full day on the beach and then they fly home. Of course this varies by route.

This is a good opportunity to explain about “airport slots” to answer this properly. A slot is the right to depart or land at a specific time at an airport. Some airports like London Gatwick are very busy as most airlines want to depart or land at similar times (the customer preferences are quite often very similar).

There is a worldwide rule that manages the arrival and departure slots.

Other alterations to our schedule are required due to slight changes in the legislation concerning cabin crew duty working times. A Monarch crew that start later in the day can for example fly longer than a crew that gets up very early in the morning and of course we need abide by the working rules set for our crew.

So, based on that answer, how do airports decide which airline gets which slot? That sounds really difficult!

Well yes it can be quite challenging at some airports. This is a lengthy process that is followed worldwide by all airlines and all slot coordinated airports. The rules are created and implemented by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and each country has a slot coordinator who is in charge of administering all the slots for the specific countries airports.

All airlines apply for the slots they require and then the initial slots are given to the airline. Whereas if an airline has flown consistently in the last season it is given the same timings (they call this a grandfather right) as before to try and give continuity.

This is why I explained sometimes we fly the exact same flight time.

However, it is possible for airlines to swap flight slots or request different times. Airlines then start to adjust their schedule once they feel confident about their slots. About two months before the summer season starts the airlines hand back all slots they don’t require and of course then a final swapping and adjustment to the schedule is completed.

Did you know? An airline is only given slot confirmation 2- 3 months before the winter or summer schedule begins. This is why sometimes we have to alter some schedule times – but this is typically within 30 minutes of the original timing. We also estimate the likely outcome of this slot allocation process so that our customers can book their holiday with more than 3 months’ notice.

Why do you decide to operate flights very early in the morning or very late at night?

An aircraft is very expensive and of course we need to utilize it as much as we can. Just to fly one flight per day within Europe “does not pay” for the aircraft.

This means we have to find the right balance between a lot of flying per day and the preferences of our customers. To find the right balance we speak to customers and research travel preferences. For example we have found that many people prefer to set off early to get the whole day at their holiday destination and this goes for coming back too.

If we depart too late in the morning we can only fly one flight per day which restricts customer choice and require us to increase the price for that flight much higher.

Why do we fly different types of planes to different locations, why aren’t they all the same?

We currently use a mix of aircraft ranging from the Airbus A320 with 174 seats to the Airbus A330 with 358 seats. Some aircraft have a longer range than others. Our A330 is being used for long-haul flying, whereas the A320 is better used within Europe. On airports where we have slot restriction – meaning we have only limited rights to take off or land at the ideal time – and very high demand for a route we might decide to use the larger aircraft. In addition; we create the schedule in a way that we can swap aircraft sizes between routes. This enables us to fly more of our customers to very popular destinations when demand is high.

If Monarch wanted to launch a new route, how does that work?

Well as I am sure you can image, a new route has to be researched well. Starting a daily flight within Europe can be very expensive. We need to be convinced that enough passengers will fly on the new route and will find it enjoyable for a holiday. We factor in “running costs” from an airline point of view including; fuel costs, the crew , the aircraft, government and airport taxes and also hotel prices when the customers arrive.

Monarch 8.2014 Map

Where do Monarch fly to? Which destinations?

Where can I fly to with Monarch?

Of course we have a look at how many passengers travel to this destination already and what the destination can offer to our customers. One example is our decision to fly to Salzburg in the winter months as a Ski destination. It offers a wide variety of ski and winter experiences has a very good infrastructure and at the same time is an interesting city destinations.

Can you please tell us why are some routes released before others?

After the schedule is approved it is exported to the Monarch sales-system and put on sale for our customers to purchase. Sometimes we decide not to put every flight on sale as we are still waiting on confirmation of airport-slots. In some instances we also wait and see whether certain destinations are booked much better than anticipated. We can then have more flights to popular destinations.

Why do some UK airports have more flights than others?

This is due to different customer demand being different from the regions. Our customer profile and preferences are very different across the UK bases we travel from.

What’s the most interesting part of the process for you Marjan? Is it quite challenging?

I’d say the most interesting part is that each individual route does has its own “personality” and typical customer which I find fascinating. My team and I like exploring this”personality” through analysing data.

And while doing so you look outside the window and see a Monarch aircraft taking off… it is a fantastic feeling to know that onboard that aircraft are customers jetting off to start their short-break weekend or holiday. This is quite rewarding.

When I first started at Monarch in March this year, I thought that the travel behaviour of customers would be the same from all the UK bases we fly from but actually in reality it’s different. Birmingham has different types of customers than those who travel in London – even if the flights from the two airports go to the same destination.

What is the most common customer misconception in your mind, about how flight schedules are put together?

Understandably our customers have their specific flight on their mind when thinking of schedules and ask why I cannot put flights at certain times in the day. Unfortunately it is not always that easy. Our customers rarely know how much complexity there is in the airline industry – though I am a big fan to make it less complex!

Hopefully I have given you some general insights just how complex it is when putting together a flight schedule.

It’s easier to think about a single aircraft taking one flight out and one flight back but we need to be strategic about how we move those aircraft around and make sure we are flying to and from the places our customers want to go and we need to do this for all 42 aircraft in the fleet!

Having the overview over the flow of an aircraft (and even the whole fleet) is one of the most interesting things in aviation as every aspect of an airline comes together. My colleagues and I absolutely love our jobs, as you can probably guess! I hope that helps explain everything for you and our customers.

I think it’s safe to say I’ve learnt just how complex putting together an airline schedule is, thanks so much for you time.

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton/AirlinersGallery.com. With the long-range routes being cut, Monarch’s two 374-seat Airbus A330-200s will be dropped from the fleet. The last three Boeing 757-200s are also being retired from the fleet at the end of the summer season 2014. Airbus A330-243 G-SMAN (man 261) taxies at Geneva.

Monarch Airlines: AG Slide Show

Monarch Video:

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

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

Schedule:

Azul FLL MCO 8.2014 Schedule

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

Azul: AG Slide Show

Hawaiian to fly between San Francisco and Kahului, Maui

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

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

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

Hawaiian Airlines: AG Slide Show

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Video: Watch the press conference:

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

Alitalia (2nd): AG Slide Show

Etihad Airways: AG Slide Show

Iberia to add Airbus A330-200s and A350-900s to replace the A340s

Iberia A350-900 (13)(Flt)(IAG)(LRW)

Iberia (Iberia) will be getting new additional long-range aircraft to replace its older Airbus A340s. Parent IAG has made this announcement:

International Airlines Group (IAG) is converting eight Airbus A350-900 aircraft options into firm orders and securing eight A330-200 aircraft for Iberia.

These aircraft will replace 16 Airbus A340 family aircraft in Iberia’s long-haul fleet and will be delivered between 2015 and 2020.

Willie Walsh, IAG chief executive, said: “Iberia has taken significant steps to restructure its business and the progress made so far means that we can bring new longhaul aircraft into the airline’s fleet. These orders demonstrate our commitment to make Iberia competitive.

“Both aircraft will provide cost efficiencies and environmental benefits, enabling Iberia to replace its long haul fleet with modern and fuel efficient aircraft. The new technology and improved aerodynamics will lower fuel burn and CO2 emissions per seat by 18 per cent, as well as providing both noise and NOx performance advantages.

“Retaining an all Airbus long-haul fleet will also generate cost savings in maintenance and crewing”.

IAG secured commercial terms for the A350 aircraft as part of the Group long-haul order announced in April 2013.

The eight A330 aircraft will be obtained either by converting existing options from the 2011 Airbus order or from the operating lease market, depending on financial and delivery terms.

Image: Airbus/IAG.

Iberia:

Gulf Air adds its first retrofitted Airbus A330-200

Gulf Air (Bahrain) received its first retrofitted Airbus A330-200 aircraft at Bahrain International Airport today (July 23), arriving from Canada. The plane is newly configured for a total of 214 seats in a two-class configuration of 30 Falcon Gold Class and 184 Economy seats with significant enhancements across both cabins.

Gulf Air A330-200 Cabin (Gulf Air)(LRW)

Copyright Photo: Gulf Air.

The revamped A330 product introduces fully-flat bed seats in the airline’s Falcon Gold Class, upgraded seats in Economy Class and a state-of-the-art in-flight-entertainment system throughout, and was designed specifically for Gulf Air, integrating features based on passenger feedback.

Realized by three key partners: Avianor, Zodiac Aerospace and BE, the aircraft’s new Falcon Gold seats convert into fully-flat beds measuring 1.90 meters in length guaranteeing a comfortable night’s sleep. The Falcon Gold seats offer more personal space between seats than the airline’s previous A330 business class product, allowing passengers to sit back and relax in a 22-inch wide armchair that converts easily into the passenger’s desired position. The new Economy Class seats offer passengers the very latest in comfort: a greater recline to compliment an 18-inch seat-width and an adjustable head and foot rest that allows greater passenger relaxation.

All seats in Gulf Air’s upgraded A330 aircraft include an integrated Audio-Video on Demand (AVOD) feature, an individual touch screen (15-inch in Falcon Gold class and 9-inch in Economy) in every seat and high quality headphones. A suite of movies, video and audio titles in several languages are on offer, in addition to games. A USB port is available in every seat to allow passengers to easily charge electronic devices.

Gulf Air’s second retrofitted A330 is scheduled to arrive in early August while the carrier’s A330 fleet retrofit is scheduled to be completed by the last quarter of 2014.

Gulf Air’s A330 aircraft are used primarily on London and Bangkok routes.

Top Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 A9C-KJ (msn 992) taxies at Zurich.

Gulf Air: AG Slide Show

Hawaiian signs a MOU for six new Airbus A330-800neo aircraft, reports 2Q GAAP net income of $27.3 million

Hawaiian Airlines (Honolulu) today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Airbus to acquire six new Airbus A330-800neo aircraft starting in 2019, with rights to purchase an additional six aircraft as part of the carrier’s vision to serve farther nonstop destinations from Hawai’i.

Hawaiian A330-800neo (01)(Flt)(Hawaiian)(LRW)

Image: Airbus.

The order replaces Hawaiian Airline’s existing order for six Airbus A350XWB-800 aircraft, which were due for delivery from 2017. Hawaiian Airline’s overall capital commitments will decrease in absolute terms and will be pushed further into the future. For the period through the end of 2018, this amounts to $500 million. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but the aircraft have a total list-price value of approximately $2.9 billion if all of the purchase rights are exercised.

“The A330-800neo’s fuel efficiency, additional range and commonality with our existing A330 fleet makes the A330-800neo an elegant solution to our need for growth aircraft toward the end of this decade,” said Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian Airlines president and chief executive officer.

The A330-800neo wide-body is similar in size to Hawaiian Airline’s A330-200 which seats 294 passengers in a two class configuration (First and Coach), and will incorporate aerodynamic enhancements and new cabin features. The new aircraft will have up to a 400-nautical mile increase in range and reduced fuel consumption by 14 percent per seat with the latest generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines.

Hawaiian Airlines currently operates a fleet of 50 aircraft, comprised of 29 wide-body, long-haul aircraft (294-seat A330-200 aircraft and 252 to 264-seat Boeing 767-300 aircraft), 18 narrow-body 118 to 123-seat Boeing 717-200 aircraft and three 48-seat ATR 42-500 for Neighbor Island flights.

Hawaiian Airline’s existing orders include an additional four new A330-200s for delivery by 2015 and 16 narrow-body A321neo aircraft starting in 2017.

On the financial side, the company issued this statement for the second quarter:

Hawaiian Holdings, Inc., parent company of Hawaiian Airlines, Inc., today reported its financial results for the second quarter of 2014.

GAAP net income in the second quarter of $27.3 million or $0.43 per diluted share.

Adjusted net income, reflecting economic fuel expense, in the second quarter of $22.4 million or $0.35 per diluted share, an increase of $9.7 million or $0.11 cents per diluted share year-over-year.
Passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) increase of 4.1% and operating revenue per available seat mile (RASM) increase of 6.7%.

Unrestricted cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments of $564 million.

“The same trajectory of substantially improving financial performance was evident in the second quarter as it has been over the last few quarters,” said Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian Airlines president and chief executive officer. “Strong demand across our geographies, good macro-economic conditions, stable fuel prices and good cost control inside the business all played their part. Absent changes to the environment or competitor behavior, our prospects in the back half of the year look similar. As ever, we continue to build the business with new routes, this summer featuring our first flights from North America to Kaua’i and the island of Hawai’i, and a host of customer improvements including the roll out of our extra comfort economy section of the aircraft. Our wonderful employees continue to deliver the level of service on the ground and in the air that set the standard for others to aspire to. Without their dedication, none of this would be possible.”

Liquidity and Capital Resources

As of June 30, 2014 the Company had:

Unrestricted cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments of $564 million.

Available borrowing capacity of $69.4 million under Hawaiian’s Revolving Credit Facility.

Outstanding debt and capital lease obligations of approximately $1,071 million consisting of the following:

$708 million outstanding under secured loan agreements to finance a portion of the purchase price for eleven Airbus A330-200 aircraft.

$146 million outstanding under secured loan agreements to finance a portion of the purchase price for 15 Boeing 717-200 aircraft.

$106 million in capital lease obligations to finance the acquisition of an Airbus A330-200, two Boeing 717-200 aircraft and aircraft-related equipment.

$32 million outstanding under floating rate notes for two Boeing 767-300 ER aircraft.
$79 million of outstanding Convertible Senior Notes.

Top Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. The new Airbus A330-800neo aircraft will supplement the current Airbus A330-200s and allow the airline to finally retire the older Boeing 767-300 ERs. Airbus A330-243 N383HA (msn 1217) prepares to land in New York (JFK).

Hawaiian: AG Slide Show

 

Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A330-200 is hit by a rocket and burns at Tripoli, other airliners damaged, others flee Libya

Afriqiyah A330-200 Fire Tripoli (Grd)(Mohanid Elghadi)(LR)

Afriqiyah Airways (Tripoli) has lost a relatively new Airbus A330-200 (5A-ONF) at its Tripoli base after a rocket reportedly hit the parked A330 at the gate and the empty airliner quickly burned. There are now photos showing the destruction.

According to Malta Today, “Several Grad rocket struck the airport late on Monday, July 14 destroying 90% of the planes parked there, including a $250 million Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A330.”

The fighting by the two militia groups to control the the airport after a cease fire failed to hold continues today. The undamaged airliners and crews are being flown out of the country.

According to the Ottawa Citizen, “The weeklong fight over the airport is being waged by a powerful militia from the western city of Zintan, which controls the facility, and Islamist-led militias, including fighters from Misrata, east of Tripoli. The clashes resumed early Sunday (July 20) after cease-fire efforts failed.”

Read the full story from Malta Today: CLICK HERE

Read the full story from the Ottawa Citizen: CLICK HERE

Twitter photos by Mohanid Elghadi. Read his full report: CLICK HERE

Afriqiyah logo

Afriqiyah Airways: AG Slide Show

Afriqiyah A330-200 Fire Tripoli (Grd-1)(Mohanid Elghadi)(LR)

Fiji Airways Group’s operating profit jumps to $9.3 million for the first half

Fiji Airways Group (Fiji Airways and Fiji Link) (Suva, Fiji) reported its unaudited interim results for the first half of 2014, announcing a massive increase in operating profits compared with the corresponding period last year. The Group, legally known as Air Pacific Limited, comprises of Fiji Airways (Fiji’s National Airline), its subsidiary Fiji Link and a 38.75% stake in the Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa on Denarau Island. The Group recorded an underlying operating profit of $17.2 million FJD ($9.3 million US) from January 1 to June 30, 2014.

Stefan Pichler, Managing Director and CEO attributed the strong performance to higher load factors, more efficient cost management, streamlined management structures and a highly motivated staff.

Fiji Airways’ load factor increased by 10 percent in the first six months.

Copyright Photo: Colin Hunter/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 DQ-FJV (msn 1465) touches down in Auckland.

Fiji Airways Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Emirates is coming to Budapest on October 27

Emirates (Dubai) will commence services to Hungary from October this year with a daily flight to the capital of Budapest.

Starting on October 27, Emirates will offer 278 seats per day on the Dubai-Budapest route, operating a wide-body A330-200 aircraft in a two class configuration.

The Airbus A330-200 will offer 27 seats in Business Class and 251 Economy Class seats.

Flight EK 111 will depart Dubai at 0820 and will arrive at Budapest Airport at 1135. The return flight, EK 112 will depart at 1505 and will arrive at Dubai International Airport at 2330.

Besides Budapest, Emirates is launching two other destinations to Europe: Oslo on September 2 and Brussels on September 5.

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 A6-EAH (msn 409) is pictured on the final approach to the runway at London (Heathrow).

Emirates: AG Slide Show

 

Etihad Airways to launch nonstop Abu Dhabi-Hong Kong flights on June 15, 2015 and five other destinations

Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) has announced the launch of a four times per week service between Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong starting on June 15, 2015.

The new flights will complement the existing services offered by Etihad Airways’ codeshare and network partner, Air Seychelles, ensuring a daily frequency between the two cities, and bringing the combined number of weekly seats offered on the route to 3,620.

Hong Kong will become Etihad Airways’ seventh destination in Northeast Asia and its fourth destination in China joining Beijing, Chengdu and Shanghai.

Etihad Airways will operate a two-class Airbus A330-200 aircraft, configured to carry 262 passengers, with 22 seats in Business Class and 240 seats in Economy Class, offering a total of 2,096 seats per week.

The airline has also announced five other new routes for the first half of 2015, starting with Kolkata on February 15, Madrid on March 29, Entebbe on May 1, Edinburgh on June 8 and Algiers on June 17.

Copyright Photo: Andi Hiltl/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 A6-EYD (msn 658) taxies at Zurich with the special promotional “Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2014 Formula 1″ markings.

Etihad Airways: AG Slide Show

US Airways to add a second daily Charlotte-London Heathrow flight

US Airways (American Airlines Group) (Phoenix and Dallas/Fort Worth) is adding a second daily flight from its Charlotte hub to London (Heathrow) starting on September 13. The second flight will be operated with Airbus A330-200 equipment according to The Charlotte Observer. The second flight was made possible by the acquisition of the arrival and departure slots purchased from Cyprus Airways (Larnaca).

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: David Neal/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 N283AY (msn 1076) departs from the Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) hub.

US Airways: AG Slide Show

Etihad Airways agrees to take a 49% equity share in struggling Alitalia

Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) has agreed to take a 49 percent share of struggling Alitalia (2nd) (Rome).

The two airlines issued this short statement:

Alitalia and Etihad Airways today (June 25) confirmed that they have agreed the principal terms and conditions of a proposed transaction whereby Etihad Airways will acquire a 49 percent equity stake in Alitalia.

The airlines will now move to finalize the transactional documents, that will include the agreed upon conditions, as soon as possible. The conclusion of the investment is subject to final regulatory approvals.

Alitalia will become the latest equity partner airline for Etihad Airways. Are there more partnerships coming, especially in Europe?

 

Etihad Equity Partner Airlines

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Alitalia’s Airbus A330-202 EI-EJG (msn 1123) in the special promotional Calabria livery prepares to touch down in Toronto (Pearson).

Alitalia (2nd): AG Slide Show

Etihad Airways: AG Slide Show

Air Seychelles continues its turnaround with the help of Etihad Airways

Air Seychelles (Mahe) has issued this first quarter financial statement. Previously the airline in April announced its second profitable year in a row. Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) controls 40 percent of its stock and has been very helpful in its turnaround. Its turnaround continues in the first quarter:

Air Seychelles, the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles, has recorded strong 2014 first quarter results with a 38.2 per cent increase in passenger numbers to 95,372, compared to the same period in 2013 (69,009 passengers).

Passenger numbers on Air Seychelles’ international network increased 77.3 per cent to 58,971, a result of more traffic between the Seychelles and Abu Dhabi, Mauritius, Johannesburg and Hong Kong.

A 66 per cent increase in revenue was attributable to improved connectivity with codeshare partner, Etihad Airways’ global network, and enhanced cargo services.

Cargo tonnage for the period rose 126.8 per cent to 1,602 tonnes, driven by strong demand from Paris, Hong Kong, and Johannesburg, enhancements to Air Seychelles’ on-ground cargo handling capability in Mahé, and the launch of Seychelles domestic cargo services.

Manoj Papa, Chief Executive Officer of Air Seychelles, said: “Our first quarter passenger and cargo performance indicates that we are delivering on our mandate to support the Seychelles economy both through tourism and trade.

“We remain committed to meeting these objectives in the months and years ahead, by building depth and scale into our network, organically and through partnerships, taking delivery of new aircraft, hiring more Seychellois, and bringing more guests and trade to the Seychelles.

“Air Seychelles will continue to focus on operational efficiencies, while maintaining a commitment to our guests to offer value, convenience and comfort, and being their airline of choice in the Indian Ocean region.”

At the end of the first quarter of 2014, Air Seychelles’ combined passenger and cargo network stood at five destinations in the Seychelles, Africa, Europe and Asia. The airline also has codeshare partnerships with Airberlin, Cathay Pacific Airways, Etihad Airways, and South African Airways, extending its network to 39 cities around the world.

Read the full report from the Seychelles News Agency: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Rainer Bexten/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 A6-EYY (msn 751) on lease from Etihad Airways arrives in Johannesburg.

Air Seychelles: AG Slide Show

Hainan Airlines to fly to Paris from Hangzhou and Xian

Hainan Airlines (Haikou and Beijing) will open a new route to Paris (CDG) from Hangzhou via Xian on September 3. The new route will be operated with Airbus A330-200s according to Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 B-6088 (msn 906) climbs away from the runway at Brussels.

Hainan Airlines: AG Slide Show

 

Alitalia CEO: 2,200 jobs could be cut due to the Etihad Airways alliance

Alitalia’s (2nd) (Rome) CEO stated upwards of 2,200 jobs could be cut as a result of a planned alliance with Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) as reported today by the La Repubblica newspaper and this report by Reuters. The report also states Etihad Airways is not flexible on this amount of job cuts.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. A lingering question is Alitalia’s role in the SkyTeam alliance when Etihad Airways makes its investment in the flag carrier. Will it leave the alliance? Airbus A330-202 EI-DIR (msn 272) in the SkyTeam motif arrives at Toronto (Pearson).

Alitalia: AG Slide Show

Arik Air to fly to Dubai starting on July 28

Arik Wings-arikair.com A330-200 EI-EWH (5N-JIC)(06)(Grd) DUB (MNS)(LRW)

Arik Air (Arik Wings of Nigeria) (Lagos) will spread its wings again on July 28 when it launches a new route from Lagos and Abuja to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The new extension will be operated five days a week with its Airbus A330-200s.

Copyright Photo: Malcolm Nason. Airbus A330-223 EI-EWH became 5N-JIC (msn 891) with Arik Air.

Arik Air: AG Slide Show

Azul to fly to Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, Orlando and New York JFK

Azul A330-200 (Azul)(LR)

Azul Linhas Aereas Brasileiras (Sao Paulo-Campinas) has announced the first three routes it will fly its new Airbus A330-200s to the United States.

Azul plans to start the Campinas (Viracopos) to Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood (FLL) and also to Orlando (MCO) in December 2014 and a route to New York (JFK) in July of next year according to Panrotas.

Azul was founded by David Neeleman, who also founded JetBlue Airways. Today, with almost 18% of the domestic market share, Azul has established itself as the third largest airline in Brazil.  Together, Azul and TRIP have at their disposal 121 aircraft and operate over 840 daily flights to 100 destinations.

Images: As previously reported, Azul will operate at least one Airbus A330-200 in this special Brazilian flag design.

Azul: AG Slide Show

Azul logo

Route Map:

Azul 6.2014 Route Map

 

Azul unveils the special flag livery for its new Airbus A330s

Azul A330-200 (Azul)(LR)

Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras (Sao Paulo-Viracopas) has unveiled the planned special livery for its new Airbus A330s which will start flying to the United States in 2015.

The first two Airbus A330s for Azul will be two former Gulf Air A330-243 aircraft (msn 527 and 532) which will be leased from ILFC.

Image: Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras.

Azul: AG Slide Show

A second US Airways flight diverts to Ireland due to flight attendant illness

US Airways (Phoenix and Dallas/Fort Worth) had a second European flight divert yesterday (May 19) due to flight attendant illness. This incident follows the previous incident on May 10. Both flights originated in Venice, Italy.

Flight US 715 with an Airbus A330-200 with 238 passengers and 12 crew members from Venice to the Philadelphia hub was forced to divert to Ireland again after five flight attendants and this time a passenger felt ill according to this report by CNN.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Nik French/AirlinersGallery.com.  Airbus A330-243 N280AY (msn 1022) departs from Manchester.

US Airways: AG Slide Show

 

Air Seychelles to resume services to Paris on July 2

Air Seychelles (Mahe) has announced it will resume flights to Paris (CDG) on July 2, 2014.

The flag carrier will operate two weekly roundtrips from the Seychelles to Paris via Abu Dhabi, with Air Seychelles deploying its brightly-colored Airbus A330-200 aircraft (above) on the route, offering 18 lie-flat seats in Business Class and 236 seats in Economy Class.

Partner Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) will also place its EY code on the flights.

Copyright Photo: Rainer Bexten/AirlinersGallery.com. Leased from Etihad Airways, Airbus A330-243 A6-EYY (msn 751) completes its final approach into Johannesburg (JNB).

Air Seychelles: AG Slide Show

KLM operates the longest biofuel flight of an Airbus aircraft

KLM A330-200 PH-AOM (02-Leader in biofuel)(Grd)(Airbus)(LRW)

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (Amsterdam) Airbus A330-200 operating flight KL 767 has commenced the longest commercial flight with sustainable jet fuels ever performed by an Airbus aircraft. The aircraft took off with a 20% blend of sustainable fuel made of used cooking oil, for a 10 hour flight from Schiphol airport to the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba.

Airbus’ major role in this test is to collect data before, during and after the flight (engine fuel system, engine performance analysis etc.) to provide insights into the use of non-petroleum based fuels compared to traditional fuels.

This flight is the first of a series of around 20 long-haul commercial flights using an Airbus aircraft in the context of the European initiative called ITAKA (Initiative Towards sustAinable Kerosene for Aviation) which aims to speed up the commercialisation of aviation biofuels in Europe.

Funded by the European Union, ITAKA is a collaborative project aiming to produce sustainable aviation fuel and to test its use in existing systems and normal flight operations in Europe with KLM. The project will also link supply and demand by establishing relationships among feedstock growers and producers, biofuel producers, distributors and airlines.

“As the leading aircraft manufacturer, our participation in the ITAKA initiative with KLM using an A330-200 – the most fuel efficient aircraft in its category – is key to our role as a catalyst in the commercialisation of sustainable jet fuels. We are very happy to have the full support of the European Union in the ITAKA project, supporting the aviation industry’s initiative to develop sustainable biofuels for aviation,” said Andrea Debbané, Airbus Vice President of Environment Affairs.

Airbus is involved in major European funded projects contributing significantly to reducing the environmental footprint of aviation, including the Single European Sky (SES) and SESAR for the modernisation of the European Air Traffic Management System and CleanSky, a programme which aims to accelerate technological breakthrough developments and shorten the time to market for new and more environmentally efficient solutions tested on full-scale demonstrators.

Copyright Photo: Airbus. KLM’s A330-203 PH-AOM 9msn 1161) wears special “Leader in biofuel” markings for the historic trip to Aruba.

KLM: AG Slide Show

Nine US Airways flight attendants become ill, flight diverts to Dublin

US Airways (Phoenix) flight 715 en route from Venice to Philadelphia was forced to divert to Dublin yesterday (May 10) after nine flight attendants on board became ill, according to CNN.

The flight attendants complained of “nausea, running eyes and dizziness” according to US Airways spokeswoman Michelle Mohr.

185 passengers were on board the Airbus A330-200. The pilots and passengers did not report any ill feelings.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 N281AY (msn 1041) rotates from the runway at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) hub.

US Airways: AG Slide Show

Edelweiss to upgrade its long-haul Airbus A330 fleet, arrives in Las Vegas

Edelweiss Air (Zurich) starting in June 2014, and according to the airline “the Edelweiss long-haul aircraft will undergo refurbishing to significantly improve the cabin. Edelweiss Business class will be equipped with lie-flat seats and a new in-flight entertainment system including sixteen inch screens. Furthermore, Edelweiss will be introducing Economy Max that will offer passengers fifteen centimeters more legroom and many other amenities to ensure a comfortable flight. Edelweiss Economy class will also receive a makeover with new seats and a new in-flight entertainment system that includes touch screens.”

Edelweiss A330 Business Class (Edelweiss)(LRW)

The new business class on Edelweiss Air (Edelweiss Air).

 

The Swiss carrier started weekly flights (on Mondays) from Zurich to Las Vegas on May 5 and also new flights to Havana, Cuba on May 8.

Edelweiss LAS Inaugural from ZRH (Edelweiss)(LRW)

Showgirls send the Edelweiss Air passengers on their way from Zurich to Las Vegas (Edelweiss Air).

Top Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner/AirlinersGallery.com (all others by Edelweiss Air). Airbus A330-223 HB-IQI (msn 291) taxies at the Zurich base.

Edelweiss logo

Edelweiss Air: AG Slide Show

US Airways and British Airways start their codeshare partnership today

US Airways (Phoenix and Dallas/Fort Worth), part of American Airlines Group, today announced the launch of its codeshare agreement with trans-Atlantic joint business partner and fellow oneworld® member British Airways (London), further enhancing its relationship with the British carrier. Beginning today, customers can book tickets on codeshare flights for travel beginning on May 14.

Launched in a phased approach, the codeshare will initially cover nearly all of the two carriers’ trans-Atlantic flights. Customers will now have access to British Airways flights to London from 21 destinations in the United States, and British Airways will place its code on US Airways flights to Charlotte and Philadelphia from 17 destinations throughout Europe.

The remaining flights in the codeshare will be implemented in phases and will include British Airways routes from London to more than 70 destinations throughout Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and US Airways flights to nearly 40 destinations in North America and the Caribbean. Customers can expect to have access to all codeshare flights by the end of this summer.

US Airways expects in the coming weeks to begin implementing codeshare agreements with the other member airlines in the trans-Atlantic joint business, Iberia and Finnair, providing customers easy access to the joint venture’s combined global network.

As part of the joint business relationship, members of the US Airways Dividend Miles and British Airways Executive Club frequent flyer programs are able to earn and redeem miles on flights operated by the other carrier, providing another valuable benefit to customers. In addition, customers will be able to earn miles when traveling on codeshare flights operated by the other airline.

US Airways joined the joint venture as an affiliate member earlier this year, and will remain as such until it fully integrates with American Airlines as part of their merger to create the largest airline in the world.

Top Copyright Photo: Rodrigo Cozzato/AirlinersGallery.com. US Airways’ Airbus A330-243 N288AY (msn 1441) arrives in Sao Paulo (Guarulhos).

US Airways: AG Slide Show

British Airways: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-336 ER G-STBA (msn 40542) beautifully climbs away from the runway at London’s Heathrow Airport hub.

 

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