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Tag Archives: A330

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

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It’s official: Delta orders Airbus A350-900s and A330-900neos

Delta A350-900 (07)(Flt)(Airbus)(LRW)

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) has issued this statement concerning its wide body fleet renewal decision:

Delta has chosen the Airbus A350-900 and A330-900neo to replace older generation Boeing 747 and 767 aircraft starting in 2017 and 2019, respectively.

The order for 25 state-of-the-art Airbus A350-900 aircraft and 25 advanced Airbus A330-900neo aircraft fits within Delta’s existing capacity and capital expenditure plan and continues the airline’s focus on making prudent, cost-effective investments in its fleet.

“Delta always approaches fleet decisions with a balance of economic efficiency, customer experience enhancements, network integration and total cost of ownership,” said Nat Pieper, Delta’s Vice President – Fleet Strategy and Transactions. “The A350 and A330neo support our long-haul, transoceanic strategy and join a mix of Boeing and Airbus aircraft that provide exceptional flexibility for Delta’s global network as well as strong cash-on-cash returns for our shareholders.”

Airbus A350-900

The long-range Airbus A350-900 will continue Delta’s optimization of its Pacific network, operating primarily on long-range routes between the U.S. and Asia. The jets are expected to generate a 20 percent improvement in operating cost per seat compared to the Boeing 747-400 aircraft they will replace. Delta will take delivery of the A350 beginning in the second quarter of 2017.

The A350-900 will be powered by two fuel-efficient Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines.

Airbus A330neo (A330-900)

The widebody A330-900neo, an enhancement of Airbus’ successful A330 family featuring greater aerodynamic and economic efficiency, will be deployed on medium-haul trans-Atlantic markets as well as select routes connecting the U.S. West Coast and Asia. The aircraft are scheduled to enter the Delta fleet in 2019 and will deliver a 20 percent operating cost savings per seat over the Boeing 767-300ER aircraft it will replace.

The A330neo features the Rolls Royce Trent 7000 engine which is built with similar technology to the Trent XWB on the Airbus A350.

Delta began a structured fleet renewal in 2011 with the selection of new Boeing 737-900ER aircraft along with Boeing 717s and two-class Bombardier CRJ900 regional jets, and continued it with transactions for Airbus A321 and A330 aircraft. Those aircraft are replacing inefficient older technology airplanes, generating substantial cost improvement and increased customer satisfaction. The airline continues to invest in the onboard product and amenities available to customers on its entire domestic and international fleet including installation of transoceanic satellite in-flight Wi-Fi, Delta Studio featuring a library of free streaming programming as well as more than 1,000 on-demand movies, television shows and music on large, high-definition seatback monitors, and other service improvements.

Images: Airbus.

Delta Air Lines (current livery) aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Delta A330-900neo (07)(Flt)(Delta)(LRW)

This won’t go over well in Seattle, Delta turns to rival Airbus for new widebody aircraft

Delta Air Lines (Seattle/Tacoma) as previously reported, is building up its new and growing Seattle/Tacoma hub, the home of Boeing. The build-up at SEA is at the apparent expense of its “partner” Alaska Airlines (Seattle/Tacoma) which prides itself on being “all Boeing”. Delta believes the local Seattle market is much larger than one airline and continues its build-up.

According to the local newspaper, The Seattle Times, Delta is apparently now turning to Airbus for a new round of widebody aircraft over Seattle-favorite and the hometown manufacturer Boeing. According to the report, Delta has rejected Boeing’s offer of a mix of 777-300 ERs and 787-9 Dreamliners. Instead Delta will turn to rival Toulouse-based Airbus for a new order of 25 Airbus A350-900s and 25 A330-900neos. The prospective order has not yet been officially announced or confirmed by Airbus.

According to Delta, the earlier delivery slots offered by Airbus were critical in the decision. How will this play in the growing Seattle market where everyone knows someone who works for Boeing. Will this affect their booking decisions?

Delta has also delayed Northwest’s previous order for 18 Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners. Clearly Airbus is the winner for its widebody needs.

Delta, to their defense, is a large Boeing 737 and 777 customer and continues to take delivery of new 737s which helps the Seattle economy.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

As the competition heats up more in the “battle for Seattle”, will Alaska play up that it is very loyal to Boeing?

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. The large Airbus fleet came mainly from the merger with Northwest Airlines along with a lot of its management who now manage the current Delta.  Former Northwest Airbus A330-323 N801NW (msn 524) taxies to the international gate at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Delta Air Lines aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Delta Seattle's Global Airline SEA (BD)(LRW)

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.

 

Finnair is coming to Chicago O’Hare for next summer

Finnair (Helsinki) will start flying to Chicago (O’Hare) next summer, from June 13 to October 17, 2015. Flights will be operated three times a week with Airbus A330 aircraft. Departures from Helsinki and Chicago are on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 17:25 and arrive in Chicago (ORD) at 18:40 local time. Return flights to Helsinki depart at 22:00 and arrive the following day at 14:50.

Finnair’s Chicago service is included in the joint business on trans-Atlantic traffic with fellow oneworld alliance partners British Airways, Iberia, American Airlines and American’s merger partner US Airways. Chicago is a hub for American, which allows Finnair’s customers quick codeshare connections to destinations throughout the United States, including San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The joint business between the cooperating airlines also gives customers the possibility to mix and match flights on different carriers for the best pricing and scheduling. For example, an itinerary could include a nonstop flight to Chicago in one direction, but a return flight connecting through another transatlantic hub if the timing is more convenient.

Due to opening the Chicago route, Finnair’s seasonal summer service to Hanoi will be discontinued. Finnair’s previously announced new summer destinations in 2015 include Athens, Dublin, Malta and Split.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-302 OH-LTM (msn 994) taxies at the Helsinki hub.

Finnair aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Delta to increase the New York-Athens frequencies for the next summer season

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) is increasing its flights from New York John F. Kennedy International Airport to Athens International Airport for the 2015 summer season.

Delta will resume operations with a five-times weekly service from March 30, 2015, growing to daily on May 2, 2015. From June 2, 2015, additional flights will be added bringing the weekly total to 11. During the peak summer months, Delta will offer up to 5,900 weekly seats between Greece and the United States. All services from Athens are operated in conjunction with Delta’s joint venture partners Air France-KLM and Alitalia.

Delta’s Athens services are operated using Airbus A330-300 and Boeing 767-300 aircraft.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-323 N815NW (msn 817) arrives back at the John F. Kennedy International Airport hub in New York.

Delta Air Lines: AG Slide Show

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

Thai Airbus A330-321 HS-TEG operating as flight TG 47 overruns the runway at Khon Kaen, Thailand

Thai Airways International (Bangkok) flight TG 47 scheduled to operate from Khon Kaen to Bangkok with Airbus A330-321 HS-TEG (msn 112) aborted the takeoff and skidded off the runway as it attempted to takeoff last night (November 3) There were no injuries according to the National. The incident closed the airport and a Nok Air flight was forced to divert to another airport.

Read the full report with photos: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-321 HS-TEG departs from Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) before the incident.

Thai Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

SriLankan Airlines takes delivery of its first Airbus A330-300

SriLankan Airlines (Colombo), the national carrier of Sri Lanka, yesterday (October 30) took delivery of its first (of six) Airbus A330-300 becoming a new operator for the type. The wide-body aircraft arrived at Colombo International Airport, having flown from Toulouse, France, and joins the airlines’ existing fleet of A320, A321, A330-200 and A340-300 aircraft. SriLankan will take delivery of a further five A330-300s.

SriLankan Airlines and Airbus embarked upon a long-term, strategic partnership in 1993 when the airline began operating the A320 and A340. It has since grown to be an all Airbus operator, and is now an award winning carrier, expanding and diversifying its wide range of products and services to drive the country’s ongoing boom in tourism and economic development.

The carrier will introduce the new type on November 9 on a one-time Colombo-London (Heathrow) roundtrip followed by the Colombo-Bangkok-Guangzhou route on November 11 and finally the Colombo and Tokyo (Narita) route on November 15. The airline will also use the new type to Beijing and Shanghai (Pudong).

Top Copyright Photo: Oliver Gregoire/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-343 F-WWYX (msn 1564) became 4R-ALL on the handover.

SriLankan Airlines: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Airbus. The airline celebrates the signifiant milestone at the delivery ceremony.

SriLankan A330-300 4R-ALL (99)(Grd)(Ceremony) TLS (Airbus)(LRW)

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:

Delta and Virgin Atlantic this weekend add to their trans-Atlantic joint venture with two swapped flights

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) and Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) this weekend are marking the launch of their new services between London (Heathrow) and Los Angeles and London-Heathrow and Atlanta respectively.

The new routes are the first transfer of operations between the two airlines since the launch of their joint venture earlier this year and will offer more choice and flexibility for both airlines’ customers on these key routes across the Atlantic.

From Sunday, Delta will be flying nonstop from London to California for the first time with one of two daily Heathrow-Los Angeles flights previously operated by Virgin Atlantic. The route is Delta’s seventh nonstop destination between London and the United States. Virgin Atlantic, meanwhile, is operating its first ever flights into the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, having taken over one of Delta’s three daily services, and is now able to offer more than 100 additional international and domestic connections to its customers at Delta’s hub airport.

Delta and Virgin Atlantic will operate their Los Angeles and Atlanta services at Heathrow Terminal 3. This co-location adds to the New York-JFK, Boston and Seattle/Tacoma joint venture flights, which already operate from Terminal 3. This provides convenient connections and a seamless customer experience for passengers of both airlines, including access to Virgin Atlantic’s award winning Clubhouse for all business class passengers. Both carriers also offer full flat-bed seats with direct aisle access on all business class flights between the U.K and U.S..

Virgin Atlantic expects to fly around 160,000 passengers annually to Atlanta and beyond on its new service providing convenient connections to Delta flights across the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean. Virgin Atlantic has recently announced plans to add a second daily seasonal flight to Atlanta in summer 2015 as part of a package of investment into North American routes that will see the total number of peak day flights operated by the joint venture at 37 from March.

Since the start of the Delta and Virgin Atlantic trans-Atlantic joint venture, 3.5 million passengers have experienced the benefits of the partnership. The two airlines also have a codeshare agreement in place, maximizing the customer appeal of the joint schedule. The partnership enables the airlines to offer more flight choices for travellers on both sides of the Atlantic by improving their travel options.

Top Copyright Photo: Delta will operate the Boeing 767-300 ER on the LHR-LAX route. Delta’s Boeing 767-332 ER N16065 (msn 30199) now carries special “Andrew Young – Atlanta ‘s Ambassador to the World” markings by the nose saluting the diplomatic career of Atlanta native Andrew Young.

Delta Air Lines Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Virgin Atlantic Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Virgin Atlantic will operate the Airbus A330-300 on the LHR-ATL route. Airbus A330-343 G-VUFO (msn 1352) climbs away from the runway at London’s Heathrow Airport.

Virgin America and China Airlines start their codeshare relationship

Virgin America (San Francisco) today announced the implementation of a codeshare arrangement with China Airlines (Taipei) that will offer customers seamless bookings and travel between Taipei, Taiwan, elsewhere in Asia and multiple destinations across the United States. The new codeshare agreement, the fourth for the California-based airline, involves China Airlines placing its two-letter airline code (CI) on a range of Virgin America markets including flights between Los Angeles and/or San Francisco to Boston, Chicago, Dallas Love Field, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, Las Vegas, Newark, New York (JFK), Seattle/Tacoma and Washington Dulles (IAD). Starting today, China Airlines guests can book their journey across the United States with Virgin America via China Airlines’ website and look forward to a convenient airport experience with one-stop check-in for boarding passes and checked bags.

China Airlines offers daily direct flights from Taipei to San Francisco and Los Angeles, and three flights per week to New York.

The codeshare partnership expands on the two airline’s existing interline agreement, which commenced in May 2012. China Airlines is Virgin America’s fourth codeshare agreement and enhances the airline’s growing partner portfolio.

Top Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 N855VA (msn 5179) prepares to land at Los Angeles International Airport, a common connection point.

Virgin America: AG Slide Show

China Airlines: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil/AirlinersGallery.com. China Airlines’ Airbus A330-302 B-18367 (msn 1278) arrives in Rome (Fiumicino).

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:

Lufthansa to drop service to Abu Dhabi next summer

Lufthansa (Frankfurt) has announced it will drop its daily route from Frankfurt to Abu Dhabi, the home of Etihad Airways. The route will be dropped on March 29, 2015. The German airline has been getting increased price competition from Etihad and its partner Airberlin (Berlin) on the route.

The route is operated with Airbus A330-300s.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-343 D-AIKJ (msn 701) arrives at Washington’s Dulles International Airport.

Lufthansa Aircraft Slide Show: AG 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

Edelweiss Air increases the frequencies on its routes to Havana, Las Vegas, Tampa and Vancouver for next summer

Edelweiss Air (Zurich) is expanding operations for the summer of 2015. The airline is increasing the number of long-range flights to Havana, Las Vegas, Tampa and Vancouver. The airline is also expanding its schedule to other European destinations next summer.

The airline issued this statement:

Edelweiss logo-1

Edelweiss is continuing to grow and invest in its core markets. With its 2015 Summer Timetable, the airline is introducing new destinations in Europe and expanding its flight offering in North America and the Caribbean.

More flights to North America and the Caribbean

With its 2015 Summer Timetable, Edelweiss is increasing the number of flights to Las Vegas, Tampa and Vancouver. These holiday destinations will be served with three weekly flights.

As well as the additional flights to North America, Edelweiss will be operating more flights to the Caribbean. Starting in summer 2015, there will be two weekly flights to Havana.

New destinations and more flights to existing holiday destinations in Europe

With the 2015 Summer Timetable, Edelweiss is also expanding its offer to include the up-and-coming cities in Southeast Europe. To that end, new destinations such as Banja Luka and Podgorica are being included in the route network and the number of flights to Pristina, Skopje and Split is being increased.

The choice of flights to the region of Greece/Turkey is also being expanded. Edelweiss will be serving the new destination Corfu and upping the number of flights to Heraklion und Dalaman. Furthermore, the airline will be strengthening its existing offer in Spain and Italy with additional flights to Alicante, Palma de Mallorca and Catania.

The 2015 Summer Timetable is valid from March 29 until October 24, 2015.

Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Edelweiss Air’s Airbus A330-343 HB-JHQ (msn 1193) arrives back at the Zurich base.

Edelweiss Air: AG Slide Show

Cebu Pacific today launches Manila-Riyadh flights with a 436-seat Airbus A330-300

Cebu Pacific Air (Manila) now flies three nonstop weekly flights between Manila and Riyadh. The inaugural flight for Cebu Pacific’s Manila-Riyadh service departed at 5:05 pm (1705) on October 3. Cebu Pacific is the only low-cost carrier flying between the Philippines and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

​Cebu Pacific’s flights from Manila to Riyadh departs at 5:05 pm (Manila time) and arrives in Riyadh at 11:35 pm (Riyadh time) every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. Flights from Riyadh to Manila departs at 12:45 am (Riyadh time) and arrive in Manila at 3:40 pm (Manila time) every Monday, Thursday and Saturday.

The new route utilizes the pictured brand-new Airbus A330-300 aircraft with a configuration of 436 all-economy class seats.

Meanwhile, Cebu Pacific will fly nonstop to and from Dammam three days a week, starting on October 4. Aside from Dubai, Riyadh, and Kuwait, Cebu Pacific’s long-haul division also operates nonstop flights between Manila and Sydney.

Cebu Pacific’s 51-strong fleet is comprised of 10 Airbus A319s, 28 Airbus A320s, 5 Airbus A330s and 8 ATR 72 500 aircraft. It is one of the most modern aircraft fleets in the world. Between 2014 and 2021, Cebu Pacific will take delivery of 11 more brand-new Airbus A320, 30 Airbus A321neo, and one Airbus A330 aircraft.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-343 RP-C3342 (msn 1445) arrives in Singapore.

Cebu Pacific Air:AG Slide Show

Finnair operates an Airbus A330 biofuel flight from Helsinki to New York

Finnair (Helsinki) operated a flight from Helsinki to New York on September 23 with an Airbus A330 using environmentally sustainable biofuel, coinciding with the UN Climate Summit taking place in New York on the same day.

 

The airline issued this statement:

As a leader in the sustainable development of commercial aviation, the airline believes strongly in proactive measures to manage environmental performance.

Most of an airline’s environmental impact arises from aircraft emissions during flight, and switching to a more sustainable fuel source can reduce net CO2 emissions by between 50 and 80 per cent. The biofuel mixture powering the flight to New York, provided by SkyNRG Nordic – a joint venture between SkyNRG and Statoil Aviation – is partly manufactured from cooking oil recycled from restaurants, an example of a biofuel alternative to ordinary jet fuel that significantly reduces net greenhouse gas emissions while also being sustainable in its own right. Finnair and its partners insist on the cultivation of biofuel sources that neither compete with food production nor damage biodiversity.

Aviation biofuel is a proven and exhaustively tested technology – Finnair first flew with biofuel in 2011 – but at more than twice the price of conventionally produced jet fuel, it is not yet economically viable for any airline to operate with exclusively. This demonstration flight is made possible thanks in part to cooperation with Airbus and SkyNRG Nordic.

“The UN Climate Summit is an important gathering to fight climate change, and we wanted to take this opportunity to highlight the climate benefits of more widespread adoption of environmentally sustainable biofuels in aviation,” says Finnair’s Vice President of Sustainable Development Kati Ihamäki. “Finnair is committed to working further with industry partners and government bodies alike to help develop the biofuel supply chain and bring down the cost of sustainable biofuel for everyday use.”

“As air traffic contributes 2 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions, it is very important to have this trial with the use of biofuels,” says Finland’s Minister for International Development Pekka Haavisto. “If the price of oil rises and biofuels become cheaper, there will hopefully be a day when we’ll be able to replace at least some of the fossil fuels with fuels made of renewable and waste material. I’m happy that Finnair is showing leadership in this development.”

“Finnair is a long-standing Airbus customer of almost 30 years and I am particularly proud to be collaborating with the airline for this commercial flight,” says Andrea Debbané, Airbus Vice President of Environmental Affairs. “Airbus and Finnair share the aviation industry’s ambitions to reach carbon neutral growth by combining the most modern and fuel-efficient aircraft with optimised Air Traffic Management and operational procedures, while also pushing for the commercial use of affordable sustainable jet fuels.”

“This flight is a warm up for a large offensive from our side with our partners Statoil Aviation, Neste Oil and many others to accelerate the local supply and production of sustainable and affordable jet fuel for the Nordic countries,” says SkyNRG CEO Dirk Kronemeijer. “With common effort – including crucial support from governments – and united purpose, we can realize a sustainable and long term future for aviation.”

Along with its partners Finnair is also currently investigating the possibility of establishing a biofuel hub at Helsinki Airport. Finnair is active as well in the Nordic Initiative for Sustainable Aviation, a group of airlines, airport operators, manufacturers and government ministries working to accelerate the development of sustainable biofuel for aviation in the Nordic countries.

Copyright Photo: Stephen Tornblom/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-302 OH-LTT (msn 1088) climbs away from the runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).

Finnair: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

US Airways puts its first American branded Airbus A330 into revenue service

US Airways (American Airlines Group) (Phoenix and Dallas/Fort Worth) has painted its first Airbus A330 in the American Airlines‘ 2013 livery. Airbus A330-323 N270AY (msn 315) was painted at Amarillo, Texas and was delivered to the Philadelphia hub on September 18, 2014. The first revenue service was from Philadelphia (PHL) to London (Heathrow) on September 19 followed by Venice on September 20.

The aircraft operated to Dublin, Ireland on September 21 arriving the next day. Today N270AY is pictured departing from Dublin for the return journey back to Philadelphia.

US Airways next will repaint the PSA heritage Airbus A319 with American titles.

Copyright Photo: Michael Kelly/AirlinersGallery.com.

American Airlines-US Airways: AG Slide Show

American Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

US Airways: AG Slide Show

Hong Kong Airlines to launch a new route to Sapporo, Japan

Hong Kong Airlines (Hong Kong) has announced that commencing on December 19, 2014, the company will launch a five-time weekly service between Hong Kong and Sapporo, Japan. Airbus A330 aircraft will be deployed on the route, operating on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

The new service to Sapporo is complimented by Hong Kong Airlines’ daily flight to Okinawa and a twice-weekly flight to Kagoshima, bringing it to a total of 21 weekly flights between Hong Kong and Japan.

Top Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com (all others by Hong Kong Airlines). Airbus A330-343 B-LNP (msn 1398) departs from Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi).

Hong Kong Airlines: AG Slide Show

Hong Kong crew members

Hong Kong Airlines offers advertisers to add advertising in the cabin in order to keep ticket prices competitive.

Hong Kong Cabin Advertising

 

Hong Kong logo-1

Current Route Map:

Hong Kong Airlines 9.2014 Route Map

Cebu Pacific to launch service to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on October 1 with 436-seat Airbus A330-300s

Cebu Pacific Air (Manila) will launch thrice weekly nonstop flights to Riyadh in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, starting October 1, 2014. It will be the only low-cost carrier flying between the Philippines and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Riyadh service is scheduled to depart Manila at 5:05 pm (1705) every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, arriving in Riyadh at 10:35 pm (2235). The return flight will depart Riyadh at 12:45 am (0045) every Monday, Thursday and Saturday, arriving in Manila at 3:40 pm (1540).

Cebu Pacific’s flights to Riyadh will utilize the airline’s brand-new Airbus A330-300 fleet with a configuration of 436 all-economy class seats. Its 5th A330 aircraft was just delivered brand-new from the Airbus factory in Toulouse, France on September 2, 2014.

Cebu Pacific also launched its long-haul flights to Sydney, Australia today (September 9, 2014).

Cebu Pacific Air.com A330-300 RP-C3344 (05)(Ldg) SYD (Cebu Pacific)(LRW)

Copyright Photo: Cebu Pacific. Cebu Pacific today arrived in Sydney.

Cebu Pacific’s 51-strong fleet is comprised of 10 Airbus A319, 28 Airbus A320, 5 Airbus A330 and 8 ATR 72-500 aircraft. It is one of the most modern aircraft fleets in the world. Between 2014 and 2021, Cebu Pacific will take delivery of 11 more brand-new Airbus A320, 30 Airbus A321neo, and 1 Airbus A330 aircraft.

Top Copyright Photo: Kok Chwee K. C. Sim/AirlinersGallery.com. Cebu Pacific Air (Cebu Pacific Air.com) Airbus A330-343 RP-C3341 (msn 1420) arrives in Singapore (SIN).

Cebu Pacific Air logo-1

Route Map:

Cebu Pacific Air 9.2014 Route Map

Cebu Pacific: 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

AirAsia X’s second quarter net loss widens to $40.6 million

AirAsia X (AirAsia.com) (Kuala Lumpur) reported a second quarter net loss of MYR 128.9 million ($40.6 million), an increase from the MYR 32.3 million net loss ($10.1 million) for the same period a year ago.

The long-haul low-cost carrier issued this full report through its parent:

AirAsia X Berhad, the long-haul low-cost airline affiliate of the AirAsia Group reported its financial results for the Second Quarter (“2Q14”) and the First Half-Year ended June 30, 2014.

On the back of its strategy of capacity and network expansion to strengthen its market leadership, the Company recorded revenue of RM 671.6 million for 2Q14, a year-on-year growth of 36.7%, and cumulative revenue of RM 1.42 billion in 1H14, a 38.5% y-o-y growth compared to the previous corresponding period.

This increase was underpinned by the significant growth in Available-Seat-Kilometre (“ASK”) capacity that was introduced in the second-half of 2013, recording a y-o-y growth of 47% to 6.26 billion in 2Q14 and a y-o-y growth of 53% to 12.48 billion in 1H14. Passenger traffic volume in Revenue-Passenger-Kilometer (“RPK”) grew by 44% in 2Q14 to 5.04 billion and by 53.3% to 10.38 billion in 1H14, resulting in a passenger load factor of 80.4% in 2Q14 and 83.1% in 1H14. Consistently delivering load factor performance above 80% demonstrates the ability to keep stimulating new travel and tourism demand to fill up the new capacity added. This solidifies AAX’s position as the market leader in passengers carried to its core markets in Australia and North Asia, as well as its position as the global market leader in the long-haul LCC space.

The capacity expansion into new cities in its core markets, such as Nagoya, Xian, and Chongqing, as well as additional frequencies to cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, Taipei, Seoul, and Tokyo have increased its Fly-Thru connectivity and attracted new passenger traffic flow that now uses KLIA2 as a regional aviation hub. Notably, the Company has approximately tripled its market share of passengers travelling between North Asia and Australia on a one-stop service, generating a significant new customer base this year compared to the previous year.
The Company continues to operate a higher number of flights for charters and wet-leases, with total revenues from this segment growing from RM33.0 million in 1H13 to RM148.6 million in 1H14. These flights are not captured in the ASK and RPK tabulations as they are unscheduled flights. Ancillary revenue grew by 48.2% y-o-y to RM290.8 million in 1H14, compared to RM196.3 million in the previous period, resulting in an ancillary revenue per passenger of RM138.50 from the 2.1 million passengers carried. Cargo segment contributed RM59.3 million for 1H14, and increase of 43.8% y-o-y from the previous corresponding period. Two A330-300 aircraft were leased to Thai AirAsia X (“TAAX”), its affiliate, generating RM25.3 million in lease income revenue in 1H14. TAAX commenced daily flights to Seoul since June 17, 2014 and will operate flights to Tokyo-Narita and Osaka from its hub in Bangkok from September 2014.

The resultant unit-revenue yield, as measured by Revenue-per-Available-Seat-Kilometre (“RASK”) was 10.79 sen in 2Q14, a -7% y-o-y decline, and 11.44 sen in 1H14, a -10% y-o-y decline. The rate of decline in RASK has been steadily improving from -15.1% in 4Q13 and -12.4% in 1Q14. Based on forward sales to-date and barring any unforeseen macro-factors, the Company expects RASK to resume positive growth in the second-half of this year, as the capacity expansion last year matures and the rate of capacity growth progressively slows down. Although the RASK yields have declined this year from 2013, they remain higher than the RASK yields recorded in 2010, 2011, and 2012, signalling overall route network portfolio maturity. The Company continues to target a positive growth in RASK for the full year of 2014 from 2013.

Operating expenses increased 61.5% y-o-y from RM986.3 million to RM1,593.1 million in 1H14. Although unit-cost as measured in Cost-per-Available-Seat-Kilometre (“CASK”) increased 4.6% y-o-y to 12.69 sen, CASK-excluding fuel declined -2.6% y-o-y to 6.35 sen. CASK in US cents declined -1.4% to 3.89 cents, due to the effect of the US dollar-Malaysian Ringgit currency movement, as a majority of costs, especially fuel, aircraft and engineering expenses, are denominated in US dollars. CASK excluding fuel in US cents dropped -8.5% to 1.94 cents. Average fuel price increased from US$127/barrel in 2Q13 to US$130/barrel in 2Q14. Controllable items such as staff costs, sales and marketing expenses, fell -13% y-o-y from cost controls and productivity improvements achieved from having larger operating scale.
Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation, Amortisation and Rental (“EBITDAR”) dropped from RM183.5 million to RM53.5 million, while Earnings Before Interest and Tax (“EBIT”) dropped from RM46.0 million to –RM168.5 million. AAX recorded a Loss After Tax (“LAT”) of –RM140.1 million for 1H14 compared to a Profit After Tax of RM17.9 million in the first-half of 2013.

The Company continues to maintain positive operating cash flow in 2Q14 of +RM81.2 million, and +RM212.8 million for 1H14. Net Cash Flow was also positive at +RM12.8 million in 2Q14, as there were no capital expenditure incurred from financing aircraft on-balance sheet (the additional aircraft was on operating lease), no material new pre-delivery-payment financing for future aircraft, and no further capital investments in Associates. The Company expects to maintain positive operating cashflow and positive net cash flow for the full year, on the back on an expected stronger performance in the second-half of 2014.

Azran Osman-Rani, CEO of AirAsia X said, “Although our capacity expansion has put short-term pressure on earnings performance, the long-term strategic advantages are very compelling. We now have our strongest route network, with multiple cities in each of our markets, and strong frequencies that lead to convenient transfer connections. As we now have achieved overall market leadership, we have stablised our network, with quarter-on-quarter ASK growth slowing down to single-digit rates. Coupled with our position as the lowest unit-cost airline operator and leveraging on the strength of the AirAsia global brand and customer base, we have an unrivalled strong position for the future.”

“As we approach the end of the year after twelve months since we added a lot of new capacity in 4Q13, we expect RASK yields to return to positive growth and reach the levels recorded before the expansion. This in turn will return us back to profitability, particularly as global fuel prices are expected to soften, while Asian currencies are expected to stabilise. We are already seeing yields catch up in Taipei, the first route to have a doubling of capacity to twice-weekly services that commenced in July 2013.”

“Thai AirAsia X has been off on a great start, achieving a record 88% average passenger load factor in its first 3 months of operations on its inaugural Bangkok-Seoul route. The investments in international associates gives us more room for further growth and strengthens our market position in each of our destinations as customers have multiple direct flight options to choose from.”

“The 50 next-generation A330-900neo aircraft ordered will give us a huge lead over other players in this space, and ensure that we can fully realize our growth potential from the two new hubs that we have invested in, as well as other future hubs once the opportunity materialises”, concluded Azran.

Copyright Photo: Guillaume Besnard/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-343 F-WWYY (msn 1131) became 9M-XXG on delivery.

AirAsia X: AG Slide Show

AirAsia and AirAsia X routes from Kuala Lumpur:

AirAsia-AirAsia X Kuala Lumpur 8.2014 Route Map

 

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

 

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

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

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

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

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

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

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

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

Lufthansa: AG Slide Show

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

Will Russia restrict European airlines from overflying Siberia?

According to Reuters, “Russia may restrict or ban European airlines from flying over Siberia on busy Asian routes, a newspaper reported on Tuesday, following Western sanctions which have grounded one Russian carrier (Dobrolet) and a billionaire’s private jet.

The Russian business daily Vedomosti quoted unnamed sources as saying the foreign and transport ministries were discussing possible action which might force EU airlines into long and costly detours and put them at a disadvantage to Asian rivals.”

Aeroflot Russian Airlines (Moscow) receives around $300 million in revenue every year due to overflight fees by European Union carriers.

If this happens, will there be further retaliation against Aeroflot and other Russian carriers? Can Russia afford the loss of revenue?

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Read the analysis from Bloomberg Businessweek: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Can Aeroflot afford this loss of revenue and possible further restrictions in Europe? Boeing 777-3M0 ER VP-BGF (msn 41686) arrives in New York (JFK).

Aeroflot: AG Slide Show

Finnair: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. If Siberian overflights are banned by Russia, one of the potentially most impacted European carriers could be Finnair which has expanded its route network to Asia through its modern and efficient Helsinki hub. For Finnair, avoiding Russian airspace could be a major and expensive challenge.

 

Some airlines including the Lufthansa Group, QANTAS and Royal Jordanian are temporarily avoiding Iraqi airspace

Lufthansa Group (Lufthansa) (Frankfurt) is not flying over Iraq through today. The Group issued this statement:

After renewed consultation, the Lufthansa Group has decided effective immediately not to fly over Iraq until and including Sunday. This includes flights to Erbil in northern Iraq for this time period. Normally, Lufthansa flies twice weekly to Erbil and Austrian Airlines operates a daily flight. The company is also in regular and close contact with the responsible security authorities in Iraq regarding flight safety. Based on our own evaluations there is currently no danger in flying over Iraq or for Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines flights to the north Iraq city of Erbil. Nevertheless and as a precautionary measure the Lufthansa Group has decided to avoid Iraqi air space effective immediately and including Sunday. The reason for this is that the background of the decision made by some aviation authorities is not clear yet and needs a comprehensive evaluation. With this step the company carries the growing uncertainty of customers and crew members that results from the different evaluations of aviation officials. Lufthansa regrets the resulting inconvenience for its customers. However, the safety and security of its passengers is the highest priority of the company. The changed flight routes apply to all group airlines. In addition to Lufthansa, this includes Lufthansa Cargo, Austrian Airlines and Swiss. By avoiding Iraqi air space flight times will not significantly increase.

Meanwhile QANTAS Airways issued this statement about Iraqi airspace:

Qantas has closely monitored the issue of flight paths over conflict zones, particularly in light of the MH 17 tragedy, with safety our first priority.

We have no new information that alters our safety assessment of flying over Iraq, especially given the altitudes we maintain over this region.

However, given the various restrictions imposed by different governments in the past 24 hours, including by the United States’ FAA, QANTAS temporarily rerouted its flights within the Middle East to avoid Iraqi airspace. This change will apply until further information becomes available.

The flight path adjustment applies to services between Dubai and London, and is not expected to significantly increase flight times on this route.

We will continue to assess this situation and make any further amends we think are prudent.

In addition, Royal Jordanian suspended all flights to Baghdad for at least 24 hours on security grounds yesterday according to Reuters.

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-343 D-AIKE (msn 636) departs from Toronto (Pearson).

Lufthansa: 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

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

US Airways and Finnair launch their codeshare agreement

US Airways (Phoenix and Dallas/Fort Worth) yesterday (July 16) launched its codeshare agreement with trans-Atlantic joint business partner Finnair (Helsinki), further enhancing its relationship with the fellow oneworld alliance member and providing customers increased access to Helsinki and beyond. Customers can now book tickets for codeshare flights for travel beginning July 24.

Through the codeshare, customers can now book Finnair flights from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) to Helsinki Airport (HEL) and beyond. The codeshare will extend to additional Finnair flights from Helsinki, providing customers more access to 11 destinations including Brussels, Oslo, Stockholm and Zurich.

Finnair customers will now have more options when traveling from Europe to the United States on US Airways-operated flights to Charlotte and Philadelphia. Customers can also book travel on US Airways-operated flights beyond JFK to Phoenix.

As part of this relationship, Dividend Miles and Finnair Plus 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 now be able to earn miles when traveling on codeshare flights operated by the other airline.

US Airways joined the Atlantic joint business with British Airways, Iberia and Finnair as an affiliate member earlier this year, and will remain as such until it fully integrates with American Airlines.

Top Copyright Photo: Eddie Maloney/AirlinersGallery.com. US Airways’ Airbus A319-132 N822AW (msn 1410) in the special Nevada “Battle Born” state livery lands in Las Vegas.

US Airways: AG Slide Show

Finnair: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Finnair’s Airbus A330-302 OH-LTT (msn 1088) completes its final approach to the runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).

Transaero Airlines signs Letter of Intent for 8 Airbus A330ceo and 12 A330neo aircraft

Transaero A330-900neo (03)(Flt)(Airbus)(LRW)

Transaero Airlines (Moscow) has turned again to Airbus to expand and modernize its fleet. The second largest Russian carrier has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Airbus for 20 A330 aircraft (8 A330ceo and 12 A330neo). This agreement makes Transaero an important launch customer and the first European airline to commit to the A330neo. The A330s will allow Transaero to continue the massive fleet modernization program and to boost its medium and long-haul domestic and international network.

Transaero Airlines launched services in November 1991, and currently serves more than 200 routes all over the world. Transaero will begin operating its first Airbus aircraft (A321) in 2015. In 2011 Transaero Airlines signed a contact with Airbus for eight A320neo and in 2012 became the first Russian customer for the A380, ordering four aircraft, the first of which will enter into service at the end of 2015.

Image: Airbus.

Transaero Airlines: AG Slide Show

AirAsia X signs a MOU for 50 Airbus A330-900neo aircraft

AirAsia X A330-900 (09)(Flt)(Airbus)(LRW)

AirAsia X (AirAsia.com) (Kuala Lumpur) has signed a Memorandum of Understand (MOU) with Airbus for 50 A330-900neo aircraft. The agreement sees the airline become a launch customer for the latest version of the best-selling widebody. AirAsia X will also be one of the first operators of the aircraft, with deliveries to the carrier scheduled to begin in 2018.

Image: Airbus.

AirAsia X: AG Slide Show

Avolon signs a MOU for 15 Airbus A330neo aircraft

Avolon A330-900neo (Flt)(Airbus)(LRW)_edited-1

Avolon (Dublin), the global aircraft leasing firm, has announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for 15 of Airbus’ newly launched A330neo aircraft. Avolon becomes a launch customer for the A330neo. The commitment was signed today at the Farnborough International Airshow 2014 by Dómhnal Slattery, Avolon CEO, John Higgins, Avolon President and Chief Commercial Officer and Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and CEO.

The A330-800neo and the A330-900neo are two new members of the Airbus Widebody Family launched in July 2014 with first deliveries scheduled to start in Q4 2017. The A330neo incorporates latest generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, aerodynamic enhancements and new cabin features. Benefitting from the excellent economics, versatility and high reliability of the A330, the A330neo reduces fuel consumption by 14% per seat, making it the most cost efficient, medium range Widebody aircraft on the market. In addition to greater fuel savings, A330neo operators will also benefit from a range increase of up to 400 nautical miles and all the operational commonality advantages of the Airbus Family.

Image: Airbus.

CIT commits to order 15 A330neo and 5 A321ceo aircraft

CIT Aerospace A330-900 (Flt)(Airbus)(LRW)

CIT Group Inc. (CIT Aerospace) has announced a commitment to order 15 Airbus A330-900neo aircraft and five A321ceo aircraft, becoming a launch customer for the new A330neo. The Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) were signed at the 2014 Farnborough International Airshow by Jeff Knittel, President of CIT Transportation & International Finance and Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President & CEO. CIT will announce its engines selection for the A321 aircraft at a later date.

The A330-800neo and the A330-900neo are two new members of the Airbus Widebody Family launched in July 2014 with first deliveries scheduled to start in Q4 2017. The A330neo incorporates latest generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, aerodynamic enhancements and new cabin features. Benefitting from the unbeatable economics, versatility and high reliability of the A330, the A330neo reduces fuel consumption by 14% per seat, making it the most cost efficient, medium range Widebody aircraft on the market. In addition to greater fuel savings, A330neo operators will also benefit from a range increase of up to 400 nautical miles and of course all the operational commonality advantages of the Airbus Family.

Image: Airbus.

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