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Tag Archives: Airbus

Norwegian to wet lease two Airbus A340-300s from Hifly due to the 787 delays

Norwegian Air Shuttle (Norwegian.com) (Oslo) has announced it will wet lease two Airbus A340-300s from Hifly (Lisbon) due to the delays in the delivery of its new Boeing 787-8s for the new New York and Bangkok routes.

The company issued the following statement (translated from Norwegian):

Norwegian has entered into an agreement to lease two long-range Airbus A340-300. The aircraft will be used on Norwegian routes to New York and Bangkok on the company’s Dreamliner aircraft will be delayed.

To ensure that Norwegian passengers can fly to and from New York and Bangkok on Dreamliner planes that are delayed, the Company has entered into an agreement to lease two Airbus A340-300 aircraft. The two aircraft Norwegian will use are the pending Dreamliner delivery. The agreement is called a MOU – Memorandum of Understanding – which is binding on both parties. Outsourcing is a so-called “wet lease” – leasing of aircraft and crew.

The two Airbus aircraft to Norwegian to lease owned by the Portuguese HiFly leasing company that took them over the winter 2012/2013. The aircraft were previously flown by Singapore Airlines and Emirates. Aircraft are subject to EU safety legislation and enforcement is carried out by European aviation authorities. HiFly is one of several European airlines which conduct leasing of aircraft to companies who need spare capacity. The company has had a number of major European airlines on its customer list.

Copyright Photo: Pedro Baptista/Flyingphotos. Hifly’s Airbus A340-313X OY-KBM (msn 450) taxies into position at the Lisbon base.

Hifly: AG Slide Show

Norwegian: AG Slide Show

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Spirit Airlines adds new service from Houston to both Denver and Detroit

Spirit Airlines (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood) is continuing to add service at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH). Starting June 13, 2013, Spirit will operate daily nonstop service between Houston and Denver and between Houston and Detroit.

The new nonstop flight between Denver and Houston continues on to Orlando with same plane service. In addition, the new daily nonstop flight between Houston and Denver complements Spirit’s existing one-stop service.

The new daily nonstop service between Detroit and Houston continues on to Dallas/Fort Worth with same plane service.

Spirit currently offers daily nonstop service from Houston to Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Las Vegas and Orlando, as well as a variety of connections throughout the Americas. In addition, daily nonstop service between Houston and Los Angeles begins on April 25, 2013.


Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough. Airbus A320-232 N601NK (msn 4206) completes its approach into Washington (Reagan National).

Spirit Airlines: AG Slide Show

British Airways announces Los Angeles as the first Airbus A380 destination

British Airways‘ (London) first Airbus A380 will fly from Los Angeles to London Heathrow, with tickets going on sale today.

Los Angeles will be the inaugural destination for the first A380 to be operated by a UK airline. The double-decker superjumbo is due to be delivered to British Airways in July and seats are now on sale for flights from October 15, 2013.

British Airways A380-800 (97-Union flag)(Side Drawing)(British)(LR)

The second A380 route will be to Hong Kong and customers can book flights now for travel from November 15, 2013.

The A380 will be the largest aircraft in the British Airways fleet, accommodating 469 customers across four cabins. Customers in First will be seated at the front of the main deck. The cabin will offer 14 seats and is evolved from the current First class. Club World (business class) customers can choose from 44 seats on the main deck, or 53 seats on the upper deck. These upper deck seats will feature a new 2:3:2 configuration across the cabin. The 55 World Traveller Plus (premier economy) seats will be located on the upper deck while World Traveller (economy) customers can choose seats on both the main and upper deck. Both cabins will feature the airline’s current design, which is now flying on the new Boeing 777-300 ER fleet.

The aircraft’s innovative design makes it much quieter during take-off and landing and more fuel efficient than its predecessors. British Airways has ordered 12 for delivery by 2016 as part of a [Pounds]5bn investment over five years in new aircraft, smarter cabins, elegant lounges, and new technologies to make life more comfortable in the air and on the ground.

The arrival of the A380 has entailed a multi-million pound redevelopment of British Airways’ Heathrow engineering base to support maintenance of the world’s largest commercial aircraft type. This included two 24-ton roof ‘eyebrows’ being lifted into place in one of the hangars to raise the height of the entrance to accommodate the A380’s 24-meter tailfin.

British has 12 A380s on order.

British Airways A380-800 (97-Union flag)(Flt)(British)(LR)

All images: British Airways.

British Airways: AG Slide Show

SAS and Thai expand their code-share relationship

Scandinavian Airlines-SAS (Stockholm) and its Star Alliance partner Thai Airways International (Bangkok) on April 8 will expand  their present code-share agreement to also cover Stockholm – Bangkok, Oslo – Bangkok and Copenhagen – Bangkok. This will be in addition to the present code-share destinations on Thai’s regional destinations in Asia and SAS’ Scandinavian and European destinations.
Top Copyright Photo: Stefan Sjogren. SAS’ Airbus A330-343X LN-RKH (msn 497) departs from the Stockholm (Arlanda) hub.

Scandinavian Airlines: AG Slide Show

Thai: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing. Thai’s Boeing 777-3D7 ER HS-TKA (msn 29150) climbs away from the Bangkok hub.

JetBlue to fly San Juan-Chicago O’Hare flights

JetBlue Airways (New York) today announced its intent to launch new daily nonstop service from San Juan to Chicago (O’Hare) – JetBlue’s 17thnonstop destination from the Puerto Rican capital. Flights are scheduled to begin on November 20, 2013.

JetBlue is the largest carrier in Puerto Rico.

JetBlue’s schedule between San Juan, Puerto Rico and Chicago:

San Juan (SJU) to Chicago (ORD): Chicago (ORD) to San Juan (SJU):
Depart – Arrive Depart – Arrive
3:45 p.m. – 6:55 p.m. 9:30 a.m. – 4:10 p.m.
- Flights operate daily effective November 20, 2013 –

- All times local -

From its San Juan focus city, JetBlue currently flies to 14 nonstop destinations, ten within the continental US: Boston, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Hartford, Jacksonville, New York (JFK), Newark, Orlando, Tampa, Washington D.C. (Reagan National) and West Palm Beach, and four within the Caribbean: Santo Domingo, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and St. Croix.

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen. Airbus A320-232 N658JB (msn 3150) with the Dots tail and the Official Airline of Springfield logo by the nose prepares to depart from the runway at New York JFK International Airport.

JetBlue: AG Slide Show

Nonstop (white) routes from San Juan:

Please click on the map for the full-size view.

Please click on the map for the full-size view.

Virgin Australia to operate the Airbus A330 between Brisbane and Perth

Virgin Australia Airlines (Brisbane) has announced it will commence flying its two-class wide-body Airbus A330 aircraft from Brisbane to Perth for the first time starting on May 15.

The daily Airbus A330 flights to Perth on weekdays will depart Brisbane at 8:45 am (0845) and 8:15 pm (2015), arriving at Perth at 12:25 pm (1225) and 11:55 pm (2355) respectively. The return A330 services from Perth will depart at 12:30 pm (1230) and 10:45 pm (2245), arriving in Brisbane at 6:50 pm (1850) and 5:05 am (0505) (+1 day) local time.

A third weekday return service, operated by a Boeing 737 aircraft, will depart Brisbane at 5:30 pm (1730) and Perth at 7:35 am (0735) arriving at 9:25 pm (2125) and 1:55 pm (1355) respectively.

The weekend A330 departure is on Sunday departing Brisbane at 8.15 pm (2015) and Perth 10:45 pm (2245) arriving at 11:55 pm (2355) and 5:05 am (0505) (+1 day) respectively. These are complemented on Saturdays and Sundays by the existing Boeing 737 schedule unless stated otherwise.

On the financial side, Virgin Australia Holdings reported a A$61 million half-year profit before taxes for the six months ending on December 31, 2012.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Olivier Gregoire. Airbus A330-243 F-WWYU (VH-XFC) (msn 1293) completes a test flight at Toulouse.

Virgin Australia: AG Slide Show

Emirates launches a new route to Algiers

Emirates Airline (Dubai) on March 1 launched daily nonstop service from Dubai to Houari Boumediene Airport in Algriers. It is the 22nd gateway for Emirates in Africa and the airline’s 130th international destination. The new route will be operated with Airbus A330-200 aircraft.

Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati. Airbus A330-243 A6-EKQ (msn 518) arrives at the Dubai hub.

Emirates: AG Slide Show

Lufthansa becomes the first European carrier to take delivery of an Airbus A320 with Sharklets

Lufthansa A320-200 WL D-AXAE (D-AIZQ)(88)(Tko) XFW (Airbus)(LR)

Lufthansa (Frankfurt) has taken delivery of its first Airbus A320 equipped with Sharklets at the Airbus site in Hamburg (Finkenwerder), Germany. Lufthansa is becoming the first carrier in Europe to take benefit of the new fuel-saving wing-tip devices. The airline will receive 21 more A320 Family aircraft equipped with Sharklets until 2015.

A320-214 D-AIZP (msn 5487) was handed over to the carrier yesterday (March 1).

Sharklets are made from light-weight composites and are 2.4 meters tall. They are an option on new-build A320 Family aircraft and standard on all members of the new A320neo family. They offer operators up to four percent fuelburn reduction on longer range sectors and provide the flexibility of either adding an additional 100 nautical miles range or increased payload capability of up to 450 kilograms.

Top and Bottom Copyright Photos: Airbus. Sister aircraft A320-214 D-AXAE (msn 5497) will become D-AIZQ on delivery and will become the second with Sharklets for LH.

Lufthansa: AG Slide Show

Lufthansa A320-200 WL D-AXAE (D-AIZQ)(88)(Tail) XFW (Airbus)(LR)

A new crisis at Alitalia as its loss for 2012 widens to almost $364 million and its new CEO departs

Alitalia (2nd) (Compagnie Aerea Italiana) (Rome) is again in financial turmoil. The flag carrier reported its loss for 2012 grew to $363.8 million from $89.6 million in 2011.

In addition, its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Andrea Ragnetti resigned after only one year on the job.

Read the full financial report from Alitalia: CLICK HERE

Read the analysis from Bloomberg: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough. Airbus A330-202 EI-EJP (msn 1354) lands at Miami.

Alitalia (2nd): AG Slide Show

TAP Portugal posts a $20.6 million profit in 2012

TAP Portugal (Lisbon) posted a $20.6 million profit in 2012.

The airline issued the following financial statement:

With a profit of 15.9 million euros in 2012, this was well above the 3.1 million in 2011, TAP SA achieved positive results for the fourth consecutive year.  

In 2012, total debt was reduced from 1042 TAP million to 862 million, which represents an improvement of 21%. Note also that the total debt, which in 2011 represented 46% of total income and gains, fell to 35% in 2012.

Obtaining a positive net income for the fourth year was made possible by the company’s growth, which reached 4.4% with over 10,186 million passengers, surpassing for the first time in its history the barrier of 10 million.

Total revenues in financial year 2012 amounted to 2,429 million euros, showing an increase of 6.9% compared to 2273 million in the previous year, highlighting the Maintenance Assistance (Third Party) with an improvement of 23% and ticket revenues with a growth of 6.7%.

Operating costs, excluding fuel, stood at 1,422 million euros, 4.8% more than the 1,357 recorded in 2011. The fuel bill, whose cost has not stopped growing since 2008, had in 2012 an additional 93 million euros, up 13% compared to 2011.

The positive results of TAP reflect the continuing effort to improve efficiency, achieved through productivity gains and decreased consumption.

Operating results were also positive at 43.4 million euros, 5.6% better than the 41.1 recorded in 2011.

While increasing the supply (PKO) 4.1%, the national airline increased demand (PKU) of 4.8%, which allowed also improve the load factor of 76.3% in 2011 to the 76.8 percent in 2012.

Copyright Photo: Dave Glendinning. Airbus A320-214 CS-TNP (msn 2178) in the Star Alliance livery taxies to the runway at London (Heathrow).

TAP Portugal: AG Slide Show

IAG sinks to a pretax loss of $1.29 billion due to Iberia

International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) (British Airways and Iberia) (London) presented the Group’s consolidated results for the year to December 31, 2012. In addition, IAG presented combined results for the comparative year to December 31, 2011, including Iberia’s first 21 days of January in 2011.

IAG period highlights on combined results:

·      Operating loss for the year to December 31, 2012 of €23 million before exceptional items ($29.8 million) (2011: operating profit €485 million). After exceptional items operating loss for the year not including Iberia restructuring and impairment was €68 million, compared to our guidance in November of €120 million

·      Before exceptional items, British Airways made an operating profit of €347 million in the year to December 31, 2012 and Iberia made an operating loss of €351 million

·      Non-operating charges for the year were €384 million, including €266 million related to non-cash pensions accounting requirements

·      Loss before tax for the year of €997 million ($1.29 billion) (2011: profit before tax of €503 million), including restructuring charge of €202 million for the Iberia transformation plan and €343 million impairment of Iberia intangible assets

·      Revenue for the year up 10.9 per cent to €18,117 million (2011: €16,339 million), including €872 million or 5.4 per cent currency impact. Passenger unit revenue for the year up 9.4 per cent, on top of volume increases of 2.8 per cent

·      Fuel costs up 20.4 per cent to €6,101 million (2011: €5,068 million before exceptional items). Fuel unit costs up 16.8 per cent, or 8.4 per cent at constant currency

·      Non-fuel costs before exceptional items, up 11.6 per cent at €12,039 million, including €543 million of adverse currency translation. Non-fuel unit costs up 8.5 per cent, or 3.8 per cent at constant currency

·      Capital investment of €1,239 million (2011: €1,071 million) including over €400 million on pre-delivery payments for future aircraft

·      Cash of €2,909 million at December 31, 2012 was down €826 million on 2011 year end (December 2011: €3,735 million). Group net debt up €741 million to €1,889 million (December 2011: €1,148 million)

Many will now question what was British Airways thinking when it merged with Iberia to form the IAG? Mergers are not always the answer.

Copyright Photo: With its continued employee strikes, lack of labor peace and a soft economy in Spain, Iberia is a bleeding airline bringing down British Airways and the IAG. Iberia’s Airbus A340-313X EC-KSE (msn 170) climbs away from the MAD hub.

British Airways: AG Slide Show

Iberia: AG Slide Show

 

US Airways’ flight attendants ratify the new contract

US Airways‘ (Phoenix) flight attendants, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants – CWA (AFA), ratified a new contract today that provides immediate pay increases and includes support for the merger of US  Airways and American Airlines. The new contract opens four-party negotiations with American’s flight attendant union and airline representatives, an initial step in reaching a combined collective bargaining agreement. Eighty percent of flight attendants voting approved the agreement, which covers the airline’s 6,800 flight attendants who are based in US Airways’ four hub cities of Phoenix, Philadelphia, Charlotte, N.C., and Washington, D.C.

Following ratification today, the new contract specifies negotiations to begin within thirty days between airline officials at US Airways and American Airlines, AFA and the union representing American Airlines flight attendants, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA). The talks would establish protocols for reaching a combined collective bargaining agreement once the merger of US Airways and American Airlines, announced on February 14, is closed. The merger is expected to close by the third quarter of this year following regulatory agency and bankruptcy court approvals.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman. Will the US Airways logojets survive the merger with American? Probably yes since US Airways’ CEO Doug Parker will be running the new American. Doug has always honored and celebrated the legacies of the previous airlines and wisely promoted local sports teams at his hubs. There may be more logojets coming at the new AA especially those celebrating the local AA hub cities and their sports teams. Airbus A319-112 N717UW (msn 1069) in the Carolina Panthers special sports livery taxies to the runway at the Charlotte hub.

US Airways: AG Slide Show

Republic Airways Holdings improves to a $51.3 million net profit in 2012

Republic Airways Holdings Inc. (Republic Airways) (Indianapolis) reported its full year 2012 net income of $51.3 million, or $1.02 per diluted share, a $203.1 million improvement from our full year 2011 results of a net loss of $151.8 million, or $3.14 per diluted share. The Company also reported fourth quarter 2012 net income of $12.6 million, or $0.25 per diluted share, a $136.1 million improvement over the fourth quarter 2011 net loss of $123.5 million, or $2.55 per diluted share.

“We’re pleased with the solid financial improvement we experienced in 2012,” said Republic Airways Holdings Chairman, President and CEO Bryan Bedford. “Our restructuring efforts in 2011 laid the foundation for Frontier to return to profitability in 2012, despite higher fuel costs. Our 50-seat RJ restructuring effort completed last October enabled us to return all of our idled aircraft to fixed-fee service with our partners and significantly reduced the financial burden associated with our Chautauqua operation.”

The Company incurred the following items in 2012:
Segment
Pre-tax amount
Period
Loss on sale of E190s
Republic $11.2 million 3Q-12
Gain on sale of slots
Republic ($8.3) million 3Q-12
Professional and legal fees related to restructuring
Republic $4.3 million 4Q-12
Restructuring and fleet transition expenses
Frontier $15.5 million 4Q-12
Frequent flyer adjustment to passenger revenue
Frontier ($9.8) million 4Q-12
The Company incurred the following items in 2011:
Segment
Pre-tax amount
Period
Fleet transition expenses
Republic $9.1 million 4Q-11
Impairment of fleet asset values
Republic $191.1 million 4Q-11
Fleet transition expenses
Frontier $32.3 million 4Q-11

Note: The amounts reported below for pre-tax income (loss) and net income (loss) exclude the impact of the items listed above. Please refer to the schedules at the end of this release for a tabular reconciliation of the Company’s GAAP pre-tax and after tax income (loss) to the ex-tem pre-tax and after-tax income (loss) and diluted earnings per share.

Consolidated Results (ex-items)

Excluding the items listed above, the Company reported 2012 full year net income of $59.0 million, or $1.15 per diluted share, as compared to a 2011 full year net loss of $6.2 million, or $0.13 per diluted share. For the fourth quarter of 2012 the Company reported net income of $18.5 million, or $0.35 per diluted share, as compared to the fourth quarter 2011 net income of $20.7 million, or $0.41 per diluted share.

Business Segment Presentation

The Company has adjusted its presentation of business segments in 2012 and has revised the prior year’s information to conform to the current period segment presentation. Reportable segments now consist of Republic and Frontier. The Republic segment includes all regional flying performed by sub-100-seat aircraft operating under either fixed-fee or pro-rate agreements, subleasing activities, regional charter operations as well as the cost of any unassigned regional aircraft. The Frontier segment includes passenger service revenues and expenses for operating Frontier’s Airbus fleet, as well as its charter and cargo operations.

Republic Segment Summary (ex-items)

Revenues for the year decreased 10.2% to $1,377.4 million. This was a result of a change in the mix of flying between pro-rate and fixed-fee operations and a $48.2 million reduction in fuel-related revenue under Republic’s fixed-fee agreements. Pre-tax income improved nearly 31% to $69.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2012, compared to $53.1 million for the prior year.

For the quarter, revenues decreased 8.9%, or $31.9 million to $327.4 million, compared to the prior year’s fourth quarter, due primarily to a decrease of $23.3 million in fuel reimbursement under Republic’s fixed-fee agreements. Effective July 1, 2012, Republic no longer records fuel expense and does not recognize fuel-related pass-through revenue under any of its fixed-fee agreements. The remainder of the decrease in revenue is due to the increase of Republic’s fixed-fee operations and reduction in pro-rate flying with Frontier.

Income before taxes was $24.1 million for the quarter, compared to pre-tax income of $23.3 million for the prior year’s fourth quarter. Fuel costs for Republic were $21.8 million for the quarter, a decrease of $38.5 million from the prior year’s fourth quarter, due to both the removal of fuel expense under Republic’s fixed-fee agreement with United and a reduction in pro-rate operations with Frontier. The price per gallon increased 9.1% from $3.19 in the fourth quarter of 2011 to $3.48 in the fourth quarter of 2012.

As of December 31, 2012, Republic operated 70 aircraft with 44-50 seats and 143 aircraft with 69-80 seats to support its fixed-fee commercial agreements. Additionally, Republic operated one aircraft with 50 seats and 12 aircraft with 99 seats under pro-rate agreements with Frontier.

Frontier Airlines Segment Summary (ex-items)

Frontier Airlines’ (2nd) (Denver) revenues for the year increased 7.0% to $1,423.7 million. On a 1.1% increase in capacity, unit revenues increased 5.8% to 11.96¢ from 11.30¢. Frontier’s pre-tax income improved $92.6 million to $29.6 million of income for 2012 compared to a pre-tax loss of $63.0 million for 2011.

For the quarter, decreased 1.1% to $334.9 million, compared to $338.5 million for the same period in 2011. Total revenue per ASM (“TRASM”) was 11.88¢, an increase of 2.9% from the same quarter in 2011, while capacity on Frontier decreased 4.0% from the prior year’s fourth quarter. Load factor for the fourth quarter was 88.9%, an increase of 0.7% from the fourth quarter of 2011.

For the quarter, Frontier posted pre-tax income of $7.3 million compared to pre-tax income of $10.1 million for the prior year’s fourth quarter. Fuel costs for Frontier were $128.2 million for the quarter, a decrease of $0.8 million from the prior year’s fourth quarter. The fuel cost per gallon, including into-plane taxes and fees, increased 6.5% to $3.42 for the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to $3.21 for last year’s fourth quarter. The fourth quarter results include an expense on fuel hedges of $0.5 million, or $0.01 per gallon, while the 2011 results include a benefit of $3.5 million, or $0.09 per gallon. Frontier has approximately 15% of its anticipated fuel consumption hedged through the second quarter of 2013.

Frontier’s operating unit cost was 7.03¢ for the quarter, a 3.4% increase compared to 6.80¢ for the same quarter in 2011.

As of December 31, 2012, Frontier operated a total of 55 Airbus aircraft versus 60 Airbus aircraft as of December 31, 2011.

Recent Business Developments

During the fourth quarter of 2012, the Company completed the restructuring of its 50-seat platform, Chautauqua Airlines, Inc. (Indianapolis). As a result of the restructuring, the Company expects to realize, on average, $45.0 million of cash flow improvement per year for the next five years and has reduced its aircraft rent and depreciation expense on its 50-seat aircraft. In addition, in order to finalize the restructuring, the Company issued a $25.0 million convertible note to one of the third parties involved in the restructuring. The note bears interest at a rate of 6.0% per annum and is convertible into 2.5 million shares of Republic Airways Holdings Inc. common stock.

On January 24, 2013, the Company entered into a capacity purchase agreement (“CPA”) with American Airlines which is subject to bankruptcy court approval. American filed a motion for approval of the CPA to be heard before the court on February 14, 2013. The hearing on that motion was subsequently adjourned until February 26, 2013. On February 14, 2013, US Airways and American Airlines announced a merger agreement. On February 21, 2013, the hearing on American’s motion to approve the CPA between the Company and American was adjourned to March 12, 2013.

On February 8, 2013, the Company announced the transition of nine ERJ 145 aircraft flying on Chautauqua Airlines, Inc. from US Airways to Delta Air Lines under separate amendments. The US Airways amendment provides for termination of the current aircraft operating under the Jet Service Agreement by July 2013. The Delta amendment extends the current term for certain aircraft, as well as adds ten aircraft into service during 2013.

Balance Sheet and Liquidity

The Company’s total cash balance increased $23.6 million to $394.3 million as of December 31, 2012, compared to December 31, 2011. Restricted cash decreased $4.3 million, to $147.1 million, from December 31, 2011. The Company’s unrestricted cash balance increased $27.9 million, to $247.2 million, from December 31, 2011. A condensed cash flow statement has been provided in the tables section of this release.

The Company’s debt decreased to $2.12 billion as of December 31, 2012, compared to $2.36 billion at December 31, 2011. As of December 31, 2012, almost 90% of the total debt is at a fixed interest rate. The Company has significant long-term lease obligations for aircraft that are classified as operating leases and are not reflected as liabilities on the Company’s consolidated balance sheet. At a 6.0% discount factor, the present value of these lease obligations was approximately $1.0 billion and $1.2 billion as of December 31, 2012 and 2011, respectively.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Despite an expanding route map, Frontier’s Airbus fleet actually shrank from 60 aircraft on December 31, 2011 to 55 aircraft on December 31, 2012 as the airline began the phase out of the shorter Airbus A318s (now down to two aircraft). The higher-tail A318 cannot taxi under the Concourse A-Terminal connector at Denver International Airport. Now departed, A318-111 N801FR (msn 1939) arrives at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport from the Denver hub.

Republic Airways: AG Slide Show

Frontier Airlines-Chautauqua Airlines: AG Slide Show

Frontier Airlines (2nd): AG Slide Show

JetBlue Airways and Airbus reach agreement to retrofit the Airbus A320 fleet with Sharklets

JetBlue logo

JetBlue Airways (New York) announced today that it has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with Airbus to acquire 110 ship-sets of retrofit Sharklets for the airline’s in-service A320 aircraft. Deliveries are scheduled to start in 2014. Just last week, JetBlue Airways unveiled the first of its A320 aircraft to be outfitted with Sharklets. Sharklets are newly designed wing tip devices that are expected to improve the aerodynamics of Airbus aircraft and significantly cut fuel burn and emissions by up to four percent.

Sharklets are an option for the A320 Family aircraft and offer JetBlue the option of an additional 100 nautical miles range or increased payload capability of up to 1,000 pounds. Sharklets are standard on all members of the A320neo Family. JetBlue is not only the first carrier to fly with Sharklets in North America but, with the conclusion of this agreement and the retrofitting, will have the largest A320 fleet in the world with Sharklets. JetBlue’s future Airbus deliveries also will come outfitted with Sharklets.

JetBlue Airways: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: JetBlue was an early volunteer with Airbus for testing two early winglet concepts.

 

Airbus moves the first A350 XWB to outside testing

Airbus A350 (Grd) TLS (Airbus)(LR)

Airbus (Toulouse) has moved the first A350 XWB – msn 001 – now showing its completed wings, to its next phase of ground testing, from Roger Béteille A350 XWB FAL “Station 30” to the Clément Ader area “Station 18” in Toulouse. The aircraft is structurally complete and shows the installed winglets, belly fairing panels, main landing gear doors.

The aircraft has recently completed successfully a series of indoor ground tests including stability tests on ‘movable’ elements such as rudder, elevators, ailerons and wing spoilers and landing gears extraction/retraction. The next steps which will take place outdoors at Station 18 will include three planned families of tests: Fuel tanks testing – including levels, flows, sealing and internal fuel transfer functions; pressure testing of the fuselage; and radio equipment testing.

Copyright Photo: Airbus.

Emirates to add a second daily Airbus A380 to Sydney on June 1

Emirates Airline (Dubai) has announced it will add a second Airbus A380 service on the Dubai – Sydney route from June 1, 2013. The second A380 will operate on the early morning service and demonstrates the airline’s commitment to New South Wales and demand for the flagship aircraft.

Currently served by a Boeing 777-300ER, deploying the Airbus A380 on Emirates’ flights EK 414 and EK 415 will see an increase in capacity of 1,890 seats per week.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems. Airbus A380-861 A6-EDI (msn 028) taxies at Amsterdam.

Emirates: AG Slide Show

Frameable Color Prints and Posters: AG All Photos Available

First Nation Airways to add two Airbus A319s in order to resume operations in Nigeria

First Nation Airways (Lagos) suspended scheduled passenger operations in October 2012. It was previously operating three Airbus A320s which were returned to the lessors.

Now the carrier is planning to add two Airbus A319s (5N-FND and 5N-FNE) in order to resume operations.

Copyright Photo: Greenwing. Formerly operated by Air Inter Europe, Air France and Wind Jet, the pictured A319-113 EI-DVD (msn 647) has been painted at Dublin and is pending delivery as 5N-FND. Ironically the jetliner is inscribed with “Success is overcoming many failures” sub-titles on the rear fuselage!

First Nation logo-1

First Nation Airways: AG Slide Show

Indonesia Air puts its first Airbus A320 into revenue service from Bandung

Indonesia Air A320 Image

Indonesia Air (formerly Indonesia Air Transport) (Jakarta) took delivery of its first Airbus A320 (A320-212 PK-TAA, msn 421, ex EI-DNP) on January 15. The new type is now based at Bandung and operates to the following cities (all images from the airline):

Indonesia Air logo

 

Map:

Indonesia Air A320 Routes

Schedule:

Indonesia Air A320 Schedule

India to review the AirAsia-Tata joint venture proposal on March 6

AirAsia (AirAsia.com) (Malaysia) (Kuala Lumpur) and the Tata Group (Mumbai) have announced a new joint venture proposal. If approved by the Indian government the new JV would bring a new low-fare airline to India under the AirAsia brand based in Chennai.

According to this report by One India News the Indian Finance Ministry is due to take up the proposal before the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) on March 6.

AirAsia has applied to control 49 percent in this new joint venture with Tata Sons Ltd and Arun Bhatia’s Telestra Tradeplace Pvt Ltd. If approved, this will be the return of Tata to the aviation business. State-owned Air India grew out of Tata Airlines, which began operations in 1932. Ironically Air India (Mumbai) and other Indian carriers are likely to oppose the entry of AirAsia.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Guillaume Besnard. AirAsia’s Airbus A320-216 9M-AFQ (msn 3018) in the special ZOOM! color scheme arrives at Bangkok.

AirAsia (Malaysia): AG Slide Show

Myanmar Airways International to start daily service between Mandalay and Bangkok on March 31

MAI-Myanmar Airways International (Yangon) will start a new route between Mandalay and Bangkok starting on March 31. The new daily service will be operated with Airbus A320s.

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen. Airbus A320-231 XY-AGM (msn 295) prepares to land at Bangkok from Yangon.

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MAI-Myanmar Airways International logo

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Peach Aviation announces four new routes

Peach Aviation (Osaka-Kansai) has announced the following new routes:

Osaka (Kansai) – Sendai (starting on April 12, 2013)

Osaka (Kansai) – Ishigaki (New Ishigaki) (June 14, 2013)

Okinawa (Naha) – Ishigaki (New Ishigaki) (September 13, 2013)

Osaka (Kansai) – Busan (September 2013 – tentative)

Top Copyright Photo: Olivier Gregoire. Airbus A320-214 F-WWDJ (JA804P) (msn 5166) completes its final approach back at Toulouse after a test flight.

Bottom Copyright Photo: Peach.

Peach A320-200 (11)(Tails)(Peach)(LR)

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Air Malta to operate charter flights to seven UK airports this summer

Air Malta (airmalta.com) (Luqa) is again planning to operate charter flights to seven United Kingdom regional airports this summer. The airline issued this statement:

This summer, between May and October, Air Malta will again operate weekly charter flights to/from seven regional airports in the UK. In line with demand and operations in previous years, Air Malta will operate charter flights to/from Birmingham and Cardiff with two flights every week on Tuesdays and Fridays, and weekly flights on Tuesdays to/from Bristol, Exeter, Newcastle, Norwich and Glasgow airports.

These charter flights increase accessibility to the islands from regional UK airports and thus offer travellers the opportunity to travel out and back from their nearest home airport. Furthermore, such flights also attract the interest of the Maltese traveller to visit family and friends in various cities in the United Kingdom. The operation of such regional services was made possible thanks to the support received from tour operators and travel trade partners in the areas.

Air Malta operates such charter services as a supplement to the regular scheduled services to/from Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester.

Copyright Photo: Andi Hiltl. Airbus A319-112 9H-AEM (msn 2382) arrives at Zurich.

Air Malta logo-1

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Airberlin returns to profitability with a net profit of $8.97 million in 2012

Airberlin (Berlin) has returned to the black with a reported $8.97 million net profit in 2012.

Read the full report from the airline: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Mark Durbin. Airbus A330-223 D-ALPI (msn 828) in the delayed Berlin Brandenburg Airport scheme taxies at San Francisco.

Airberlin: AG Slide Show

JetBlue and Aer Lingus expand their code share relationship

JetBlue Airways (New York) and Aer Lingus (Dublin) have announced a codeshare agreement that expands upon the partnership that has linked the two carriers’ networks at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Boston’s Logan International Airport since 2008.

Flights operated by JetBlue and featuring the Aer Lingus “EI” flight number will soon be available for sale on the Aer Lingus website, travel agents and online travel agencies, connecting the Irish carrier’s transatlantic flights with 29 JetBlue destinations in North America including Baltimore/Washington, Buffalo, Dallas/Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, Orlando, Philadelphia, Rochester, Syracuse, Tampa, and West Palm Beach, subject to receipt of government approval.

Through the JetBlue-Aer Lingus partnership, customers can enjoy the convenience of booking a single ticket that includes flights operated by both carriers, with benefits including one-stop check-in and baggage transfer to dozens of destinations throughout the United States.

The start of the new codeshare arrangement coincides with the move of Aer Lingus’ New York flight operations from Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport into JetBlue’s acclaimed Terminal 5. Aer Lingus customers connecting to one of JetBlue’s many destinations across the U.S. will benefit from same terminal connections, one-stop ticketing and baggage check-in for travel on both airlines, from the U.S. to Europe.

With the move to Terminal 5, scheduled for April 3, 2013, the minimum connection time from European arrivals to US departures will be reduced to just about 60 minutes. Customers travelling to Ireland will enjoy connections as fast as 40 minutes.

Copyright Photo: Dave Campbell. Airbus A320-232 N569JB (msn 2075) in the 10th Anniversary scheme taxies to the runway at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood.

JetBlue Airways: AG Slide Show

Aer Lingus: AG Slide Show

Frontier Airlines announces summer seasonal service for 2013

Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) will be resuming seasonal service from its Denver hub to:

  • Anchorage, AK (ANC) – daily service
  • Bellingham / Vancouver area, WA (BLI) – four flights weekly
  • Fairbanks, AK (FAI) – four flights weekly
  • Great Falls, MT (GTF) – four flights weekly
  • Jackson Hole, WY (JAC) – daily service with a second flight on Wednesdays and Saturdays
  • Knoxville, TN (TYS) – three flights weekly

All seasonal service begins in April or May and runs until the fall.

Additionally, for the peak summer travel season, Frontier is adding frequency in popular leisure and business travel markets from Denver, including:

  • Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX (DFW) – additional roundtrip for up to five daily flights
  • Orange County/Santa Ana, CA (SNA) – additional roundtrip for up to four daily flights
  • Portland, OR (SNA) – additional roundtrip for up to five daily flights
  • San Francisco, CA (SFO) – additional roundtrip for up to five daily flights
  • Seattle/Tacoma, WA (SEA) – additional roundtrip for up to five daily flights

All seasonal service and increased frequencies will operate on 138-seat Airbus A319 aircraft or 168-seat Airbus A320 aircraft.

Copyright Photo: James Helbock. Formerly operated by USA 3000 Airlines, Airbus A320-214 N261AV (msn 1615) completes its final approach into Los Angeles International Airport.

Frontier Airlines: AG Slide Show

Fiji Airways to introduce its first Airbus A330-200 on April 21

Fiji Airways (2nd) (formerly Air Pacific) (Nadi) is planning to introduce its first Airbus A330-200 in its new name and brand on April 21 to both Auckland and Brisbane per Airline Route. The flag carrier is reverting back to its original name. The pictured A330-243 F-WWKD (msn 1394) on a test flight today at Toulouse will become DQ-FJT when it is handed over to the carrier next month. This delivery will also mark the change of the name for the company.

Air Pacific logo-1

Fiji Airways logo-1

In other news, the revitalized airline is losing its CEO who led the turnaround. The company issued this statement:

Air Pacific Chairman Nalin Patel has announced that the airline’s Managing Director and CEO, David H. Pflieger, Jr., has notified the Board of Directors of his decision to leave the airline and return to the United States following the completion of his three year contract on May 1, 2013. Mr. Patel also announced that the Board would immediately begin the recruitment process for the airline’s next Managing Director and CEO.

“Given the exceptional results Dave has delivered, it is with immense gratitude for his extraordinary service that we have reluctantly accepted his decision to relinquish the helm of Air Pacific and return home. At a time when many of the world’s other airlines were struggling, Dave skillfully guided Air Pacific through one of the most remarkable turnarounds in the airline industry. Thanks to his incredible vision, drive, and leadership, Air Pacific is now again profitable and extremely well-positioned for future growth and success,” said Mr. Patel.

“I would like to say ’Vinaka Vakalevu’ or ‘thank you very much’ to our Board, to everyone at Air Pacific, and to the people of Fiji for an incredible three years. Fiji is an amazing country, and I am humbled by and grateful for the once-in-a lifetime experience that my family and I enjoyed and will never forget,” said Mr. Pflieger. “The tremendous accomplishments Air Pacific has realized over the past three years would not have been possible without the foresight of our Chairman, Mr. Patel, the outstanding support of our Board, and the efforts of some of the most talented and dedicated professionals working and flying in the airline industry today – the men and women of Air Pacific,” said Mr. Pflieger. “It has been an honour and a privilege to work with each and every one of them.”

During his three-year tenure at Air Pacific, Mr. Pflieger led the dramatic and highly successful restructuring, re-branding, and revitalization of Fiji’s national airline, highlighted by achievements that include:

• Restoring airline to profitability in just two years–reversing record operating losses of FJ$12 million and FJ$91 million in the two financial years before he arrived, to produce a FJ$16 million profit
• Winning first-ever recognition from Conde Nast Traveler magazine as one of the World’s “Top 5” Small Airlines for two years in a row (2011 and 2012)
• Modernizing the fleet by leading the landmark acquisition and financing of the airline’s first brand-new wide-body aircraft, three A330s, scheduled for delivery in March, May, and November of 2013
• Initiating and leading the complete re-branding, renaming, and restoration of the airline to its 1960s name of ‘Fiji Airways’
• Entering into an extensive code-share agreement with American Airlines
• Implementing the Company’s first-ever profit sharing and quarterly performance incentive plans for front-line employees; and
• Instituting a new and highly robust Corporate Social Responsibility initiative that now includes partnerships with the Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises and Development (Friend) for education of underprivileged children, the Mamanuca Environmental Society to preserve Fiji’s amazing coral reefs, and a soon to be announced health and wellness programme.

“As we prepare to fly as ‘Fiji Airways’ with brand new Airbus A330 aircraft, strong P&L, cash, and balance sheet positions, and international awards for being one of the best airlines in the world, it is clear that the company now has a proven track record of success and an exciting future ahead. With our modernization and rebranding almost complete and a completely new and highly capable management team in place, the time is right for me to pass the reigns and pursue other opportunities,” said Mr. Pflieger.

At the Board’s request, Mr. Pflieger, a business executive, attorney, and pilot with almost three decades of aviation experience, will assist with the selection and transition of a new chief executive and help ensure a smooth and successful introduction of the airline’s new aircraft and ‘Fiji Airways’ rebranding.

“The capstone of Air Pacific’s incredible turnaround will be the introduction of our new Airbus A330s. When we welcome the first of these three new wide-body aircraft in mid-March, it will be a proud day for the airline, Fiji, and all Fijians. Thus, I am especially pleased that Dave – as the architect of the airline’s turnaround, rebranding, and growth– will remain with us to see that through,” said Mr. Patel. “It is with great appreciation for a job extraordinarily well done that the Board thanks Dave for his leadership and wishes him and his family our very best regards for the future.”

Copyright Photo: Eurospot.

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Jetstar Japan takes delivery of its first Airbus A320 with Sharklets

Jetstar (Japan) A320-200 WL F-WWDH (JA08JJ)(03)(Tko) TLS (Airbus)(LR)

Jetstar Japan (Tokyo-Narita) has taken delivery of its first Airbus A320 aircraft equipped with Sharklet fuel saving wing tip devices, becoming the first Japanese carrier for the type.

Sharklets are an option on new-build A320 Family aircraft, and standard on all members of the A320neo Family. The new wingtip devices measure 2.4 metres tall, replacing A320’s current wingtip fence. They offer the flexibility to A320 Family operators of either adding around 100 nautical miles more range or increased payload capability of up to 450 kilogrammes.

Jetstar Japan started operations on July 3, 2012. The company is a joint venture between the QANTAS Group, Japan Airlines (JAL), Mitsubishi Corporation and Century Tokyo Leasing Corporation. Jetstar Japan operates an all-Airbus fleet of seven leased A320s, and this will grow to 24 aircraft by the end of 2014.

Copyright Photo: Airbus. A320-232 JA08JJ (msn 5492) is the first with the new enhancement.

Jetstar (Japan) logo

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Spirit Airlines reports 4th consecutive profitable year and record full-year 2012 net income

Spirit Airlines, Inc. (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood)  reported fourth quarter 2012 and full year 2012 financial results.

  • Net income for the fourth quarter 2012 was $19.5 million, or $0.27 per diluted share. Results for the fourth quarter and full year 2012 include an estimated $25 million negative revenue impact ($24 million pre-tax income, $15 million after tax) from Hurricane Sandy.
  • Adjusted CASM ex-fuel for the fourth quarter 2012 decreased 2.5 percent year-over-year. See “Reconciliation of Adjusted CASM ex-fuel to CASM” table below for more details.
  • Net income, excluding special items, for the full year 2012 was a record $103.8 million, or $1.43 per diluted share1. GAAP net income for the full year 2012 was a record $108.5 million, or $1.49 per diluted share.
  • For the fourth quarter 2012, Spirit achieved an operating margin, excluding special items, of 9.7 percent (15.8 percent adjusted for Hurricane Sandy)1. For the full year 2012, Spirit’s operating margin, excluding special items, was 12.6 percent (14.2 percent adjusted for Hurricane Sandy). Operating margin on a GAAP basis was 9.7 percent and 13.2 percent for the fourth quarter and full year 2012, respectively.
  • Spirit ended 2012 with $416.8 million in unrestricted cash.
  • Spirit’s return on invested capital (before taxes and excluding special items) was 26.5 percent (28.8 percent adjusted for Hurricane Sandy) for the year ended December 31, 2012. See “Calculation for Return on Invested Capital” table below for more details.

“2012 was a very exciting year for Spirit. We successfully grew our business, delivered strong financial results and remained committed to our low-cost, low-fare strategy. This low-cost, low-fare strategy helped us to achieve among the highest margins in the industry,” said Ben Baldanza, Spirit’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “I want to thank and congratulate our team members that contributed to our success.”

Revenue Performance

For the fourth quarter 2012, Spirit’s total operating revenue was $328.3 million, an increase of 19.8 percent, compared to fourth quarter 2011.

Total revenue per available seat mile (“RASM”) for the fourth quarter 2012 was 11.10 cents, a decrease of 6.6 percent compared to the fourth quarter 2011 due to the negative revenue impact from Hurricane Sandy and a 5.3 percent increase in average stage length.

Passenger flight segment (“PFS”) volume grew 22.0 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter 2012 with average non-ticket revenue per PFS for the fourth quarter 2012 increasing 9.4 percent year-over-year to $52.73 and average ticket revenue per PFS for the quarter decreasing 8.6 percent year-over-year to $71.30. The growth in non-ticket revenue per PFS was primarily driven by a passenger usage fee increase implemented late in the fourth quarter of 2011.

For the full year 2012, total operating revenue increased 23.1 percent to $1.3 billion compared to the same period last year on a 21.3 percent increase in available seat miles.

Cost Performance

Total operating expenses in the fourth quarter 2012 were $296.3 million, an increase of 25.6 percent compared to the same period in 2011. The increase in operating expenses was primarily driven by fuel and other expenses associated with additional available seat miles (“capacity”) which grew by 28.3 percent year-over-year.

Cost per available seat mile excluding special items and fuel (“Adjusted CASM ex-fuel”) for the fourth quarter 2012 decreased 2.5 percent year-over-year to 5.93 cents. Primary drivers of the decrease included lower labor expense per ASM year-over-year due to lower unit overhead costs, lower distribution expense per ASM as a result of a decrease in credit card fees, and an increase in average stage length. These benefits were partially offset by start-up costs related to Spirit’s seat maintenance program of $1.4 million during the fourth quarter 2012, bringing the total start-up costs related to this program to $6.8 million, and higher depreciation and amortization expense related to amortization of heavy maintenance events.

Total operating expense for the full year 2012 was $1.1 billion, up 23.5 percent as compared to the full year 2011, largely driven by fuel and other expenses associated with capacity increasing by 21.3 percent year-over-year.

Selected Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Items

As of December 31, 2012, Spirit had $416.8 million in unrestricted cash and cash equivalents, no restricted cash, no debt on its balance sheet, and total shareholders’ equity of $582.5 million.

During the fourth quarter 2012, Spirit incurred capital expenditures of $2.1 million, paid $5.8 million in pre-delivery deposits (“PDPs”) for future deliveries of aircraft, net of reimbursements, and paid $2.1 million in maintenance reserves, net of reimbursements.

Fleet

Spirit ended 2012 with 45 aircraft in its fleet. The Company has nine aircraft scheduled for delivery in 2013, including seven new Airbus A320 aircraft and two used A319s.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Spirit Airlines is expected to retire its last two Airbus A321s (N587NK and N588NK) in 2017. Both are not expected to be repainted in the new colors. A321-231 N587NK (msn 2476) climbs away from the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood hub.

Spirit Airlines: AG Slide Show

Frontier announces new seasonal service from Denver to both Fresno and Eugene

Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) announced today that it is launching new seasonal service from its Denver, Colorado (DEN) hub to Eugene, Oregon (EUG) starting on May 16, 2013, and resuming year-round service from Denver (DEN) to Fresno, California (FAT) starting on May 17, 2013.

Following is the schedule for Frontier’s Eugene service:

Denver-Eugene (beginning May 16, 2013)

Route Departs Arrives Frequency Aircraft
DEN-EUG 12:15 p.m. 1:55 p.m. Tues, Thurs, Sun A319
EUG-DEN 2:35 p.m. 6:05 p.m. Tues, Thurs, Sun A319

Following is the schedule for Frontier’s Fresno service:

Denver-Fresno (beginning May 17, 2013)

Route Departs Arrives Frequency Aircraft
DEN-FAT 12:45 p.m. 2:10 p.m. Mon, Wed, Fri A319
FAT-DEN 2:50 p.m. 6:00 p.m. Mon, Wed, Fri A319

The new service will operate on 138-seat Airbus A319 aircraft.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Airbus A319-111 N904FR (msn 1579) (Swan) approaches Las Vegas.

Frontier Airlines: AG Slide Show

Spirit Airlines starts Detroit-Denver and Houston-Orlando flights

Spirit Airlines (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood) started new nonstop service between Detroit and Denver on February 14. The initial service is operating daily except Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and increases to daily service starting on March 1, 2013.

Spirit currently offers daily nonstop service from Denver to Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, and Phoenix/Mesa (seasonal), as well as a variety of connections throughout the Americas.

Spirit currently offers nonstop daily service from Detroit to Cancun, Dallas/Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, Myrtle Beach, New York LaGuardia, Orlando and Tampa, as well as convenient connections throughout the U.S., Caribbean and Latin America.

In addition, Spirit Airlines also started daily nonstop service between Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport and Orlando International Airport on February 14.

The flight will also operate as new one-stop continuation service via Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) as DFW-Houston-Orlando and Orlando-Houston-DFW, complementing Spirit’s existing non-stop service between DFW and Orlando.

Spirit introduced its ultra low fare service to Houstonians in September with twice daily nonstop service to Dallas/Fort Worth, and started daily nonstop service from Houston to both Chicago O’Hare and Las Vegas in October. Spirit offers connections from Houston to 12 destinations throughout the Americas, including Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, Myrtle Beach, Oakland/San Francisco, Phoenix/Mesa, Portland (Oregon), Tampa, and Toluca/Mexico City.

Spirit offers Orlando customers nonstop service to Atlantic City, Chicago O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Latrobe/Pittsburgh, and now Houston.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Airbus A319-132 N504NK (msn 2473) climbs away from Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood.

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The first Airbus A320 for Allegiant is painted

Allegiant A320-200 N216NV (10-Travel is our deal)(Grd) MAD (ASC)(LR) copy

Allegiant Air (Las Vegas) is getting ready to add nine former Iberia 177-seat Airbus A320s to supplement the A319s it is also adding. The first A320 has been painted at Madrid.

Copyright Photo: #SaveIberia.

Allegiant: AG Slide Show

Airbus reverts back to nickel cadmium batteries for the A350 XWB program

Airbus A350 XWB (Flt)(Airbus)(LR)

Airbus (Toulouse), not wanting the same battery problems as Boeing with the 787, has invoked its “Plan B” to use the older technology of nickel cadmium batteries instead of the newer lithium ion batteries on its new A350 XWB program. Airbus issued this statement:

“Airbus is confident that the lithium ion (Li-ion) main battery architecture it has been developing with Saft and qualifying for the A350 XWB aircraft is robust and safe. The A350 XWB flight test program will continue as planned with the qualified Li-ion main batteries.

However, to date, the root causes of the two recent industry Li-ion main batteries incidents remain unexplained to the best of our knowledge. In this context, and with a view to ensuring the highest level of program certainty, Airbus has decided to activate its “Plan B” and therefore to revert back to the proven and mastered nickel cadmium main batteries for its A350 XWB program at Entry into Service (EIS). Airbus considers this to be the most appropriate way forward in the interest of program execution and A350 XWB reliability.

In parallel, Airbus has also launched additional maturity studies on Li-ion main batteries behavior in aerospace operations and will naturally take on board the findings of the ongoing official investigation.

As a result of making this decision now, Airbus does not expect it to impact the A350 XWB Entry Into Service schedule.”

Image: Airbus.

Iberia takes delivery of its first Airbus A330-300

Iberia A330-300 EC-LUB (77)(Apr) MAD (ASC)(LRW)

Iberia (Madrid) has taken delivery of the first of the five Airbus A330-302s that will enter service for the Spanish airline this year. The new type landed at 11:46 a.m. (1146) today at Iberia’s T4 hub at Madrid-Barajas airport.

The aircraft, A330-302 EC-LUB (msn 1377), is named “Tikal” and is equipped with IB’s new business and economy class interiors for long-haul flights.

In other news, the flag carrier is facing a new round of strikes by its employees on February 18 and February 22, grounding 415 of the 1,060 flights according to Reuters. The strike is also expected to affect Vueling Airlines and Iberia Express.

Copyright Photo: #SaveIberia. EC-LUB arrives at the MAD base. The new type is due to go into revenue service on the Madrid-Luanda route. Iberia had wanted to introduce a new livery with this new type but has decided to delay any new brand.

Iberia: AG Slide Show

EasyJet adds three new routes from London Stansted

EasyJet (easyJet.com) (UK) (London-Luton), the UK’s largest airline, will mark the inaugural flights of its three latest routes from London Stansted Airport to Marrakech, Sofia and Sharm El Sheikh this weekend. The three new routes which take off for the first time on February 15, 16 and 17 respectively will see almost 3,000 passengers travelling to these new easyJet destinations during this half-term period alone and an additional 100,000 affordable seats available from London Stansted per year.

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton. Airbus A319-111 G-EZDU 9msn 3735) taxies to the runway at Geneva.

EasyJet (UK): AG Slide Show

 

Iberia to eliminate now 3,807 jobs

Iberia (Madrid) now says it will cut 3,807 jobs. The airline failed to impress its unions with this lower number of job cuts and faces new rounds of strikes later this month according to this report by Reuters.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Ariel Shocron. Airbus A340-642 EC-IZX (msn 601) climbs away from the Madrid hub.

Iberia: AG Slide Show

Bahrain Air declares bankruptcy and shuts down

Bahrain Air (Bahrain) has suddenly ceased all operations. The airline declared voluntary bankruptcy and filed for liquidation on February 12, 2013. The airline operated a few days over five years and operated two Airbus A319s and two A320s. Bahrain Air was hurt badly by the previous Arab Spring demonstrations in Bahrain. The airline issued the following statement:

Statement from the Board of Directors of Bahrain Air

“Bahrain Air held an Extraordinary General Meeting today (February 12) at which the shareholders made the decision to announce the company’s immediate suspension of operations and to file for voluntary liquidation in accordance with the Kingdom of Bahrain’s Commercial Companies Law.

The company sustained considerable financial losses as a result of the unstable political and security situation in Bahrain. In 2011, during Bahrain’s State of National Emergency, the airline was instructed to suspend flights to several destinations, and also suffered from the lack of traffic to and from Bahrain, and from the restrictions on the Saudi Causeway. Despite the Royal Decree number 18 for 2011 Article 5/10 regulating land, sea and air transportation during Bahrain’s State of National safety which states that all affected parties will be fairly compensated, the airline, despite making official claims, has received no compensation.

The airline is now being required to make immediate payments on past government debts or face closure at the same time as having its scheduled operations, both destinations and frequencies, being reduced considerably by the Civil Aviation Affairs in the Ministry of Transportation. This effectively strangles the airline by simultaneously requesting payments and reducing its ability to generate the necessary revenues both to make these payments and to sustain long term profitability. The shareholders of the company have spared no effort to support the airline financially since its inception and to support the airline and Bahrain through the unrest in 2011. The airline has also spared no effort to negotiate a solution with the Minister of Transportation (who is also an active board member of Gulf Air). However, he has shown no inclination to provide a meaningful solution. His decisions to restrict route approvals have cost the airline BD 4.5 million in lost revenues over the last 3 months.  The position of the Minister was made clear when, during a time of negotiation, he only extended the company’s AOC, after operational audits had been passed, for two months instead of one year. After meetings, the latest company proposal was forwarded last Thursday 7th February. During the EGM, a very negative response was received providing only minor route concessions in return for payments of over BD 4 million. In the circumstances, given the position of the Minister, the shareholders decided that had no option but to discontinue financial support and put the company into voluntary liquidation.

Today (February 12) is a sad day for all Bahrain Air shareholders and employees, and for our loyal and valued guests, and all those who valued the  freedom of choice when making their travel plans. We also helped promote Bahrain as a business and leisure destination and Bahrain International Airport as a passenger hub in line with the Kingdom’s Economic Vision 2030.  In doing so, we have demonstrated that it is possible to provide high quality and reliable scheduled airline services a fraction of the costs achieved by state airlines if fair practices and equal opportunities are rendered. We have created a proud legacy, with one of the best records for on time performance and value for money in the region. Finally, we would like to thank our staff for their hard working and lasting devotion to the cause of Bahrain Air.”

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton. Airbus A320-214 A9C-BAO (msn 4600) taxies to the gate at Dubai.

Bahrain Air logo-1

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Avianca has taken delivery of its first Airbus A320 with Sharklets

Avianca (Colombia) A320-200 WL (05)(Flt)(Airbus)(LR)

Avianca (Colombia) (Bogota) has taken delivery of its first Sharklet equipped A320 becoming the first Latin American carrier to take benefit of the new fuel-saving wing-tip devices. A320-214 N477AV (msn 5477), powered by CFM engines, was delivered in Toulouse, France on February 12.

Sharklets are made from light-weight composites and are 2.4 meters tall. They are an option on new-build A320 Family aircraft and allow Airbus’ airline customers to reduce fuel burn by up to four per cent and CO2 emissions by approximately 1,000 tons per aircraft and year. Sharklets offer operators the flexibility of either adding an additional 100 nautical miles range or increased payload capability of up to 450 kilograms.

Avianca currently operates 98 A320 Family aircraft, and has 70 on order with the option to be Sharklet equipped. Sharklets are standard on all members of the A320neo Family. In 2012, Avianca placed an order for 33 A320neo aircraft along with 18 incremental A320ceos. With nearly an all-Airbus fleet, AviancaTaca has purchased 190 aircraft and has a backlog of 74 Airbus aircraft.

Image: Airbus.

Avianca: AG Slide Show

Virgin America is coming to Austin and Anchorage

Virgin America (San Francisco) announced it will add daily flights from San Francisco (SF) to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) beginning on May 21, 2013.

In addition, the airline announced today it will offer seasonal service from SFO to Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) with six nonstop roundtrip flights a week from June 6, 2013, through September 9, 2013.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing. Airbus A319-131 N523VA (msn 3181) approaches Los Angeles for landing.

Virgin America: AG Slide Show

European Commission intends to deny the Ryanair takeover of Aer Lingus

Ryanair (Dublin) is planning to appeal if it is denied its goal of acquiring rival Aer Lingus (Dublin). The airline issued the following statement today:

Ryanair was notified this morning (February 12) at a State of Play meeting with the EU Commission, that the EU Commission intends to prohibit Ryanair’s offer for Aer Lingus, despite the fact that Ryanair has met every competition concern raised in the EU’s Statement of Objections and during the review process, including providing the EU – at its request – with irrevocable commitments from not one, but two, upfront buyers to eliminate all competitive overlaps between Ryanair and Aer Lingus.  IAG has committed that they would take over divestments of Ryanair’s and Aer Lingus’ entire London-Gatwick operations, and Flybe has committed to take over 43 Aer Lingus UK and European routes.

Given that the EU Commission recently approved IAG’s acquisition of BMI at London-Heathrow on the basis of three year commitments, the EU’s claim that it could not be satisfied of IAG’s and Flybe’s commitments to these Irish routes after three years is another example of the EU  holding Ryanair to a much higher standard than any other EU airline. Ryanair’s remedies package is unprecedented.  For the first time in EU airline history, Ryanair delivered not one, but two, substantial upfront EU airline buyers who have agreed to come to Ireland to compete against a combined Ryanair/Aer Lingus.
Ryanair has today instructed its lawyers to appeal any prohibition decision to the European Courts.
Top Copyright Photo: SM Fitzwilliams Collection. Ryanair accurately predicted the demis of bmibaby but it is not getting its way with Ryanair. Boeing 737-8AS EI-DLN (msn 33595) with the “Bye Bye Baby” banner on the fuselage arrives at the Dublin base.
Ryanair: AG Slide Show
Aer Lingus: AG Slide Show
Bottom Copyright Photo: SM Fitzwilliams Collection. Aer Lingus’ Airbus A330-301 EI-JFK (msn 086) prepares to depart from the DUB hub bound for its registration namesake, New York (JFK).

Frontier to connect Denver with Greensboro, North Carolina

Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) today announced new nonstop seasonal service between its Denver, Colorado hub (DEN) and Greensboro, North Carolina (GSO), with three weekly nonstop flights beginning on May 1, 2013. This will be the only nonstop service between these cities.

Following is the schedule for Frontier’s Greensboro service:

Denver-Greensboro(beginning May 1, 2013)

Route Departs Arrives Frequency Aircraft
DEN-GSO 11:25 a.m. 4:46 p.m. Tues, Thurs, Sun A319
GSO-DEN 5:25 p.m. 7:05 p.m. Tues, Thurs, Sun A319

The new service will operate on 138-seat Airbus A319 aircraft.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing. Airbus A319-111 N921FR (msn 2010) approaches Los Angeles for landing.

Frontier Airlines: AG Slide Show

Updated Route Map:

Please click on the map for the full-size view.

Please click on the map for the full-size view.

Finnair produces its first yearly profit since 2007

Finnair (Helsinki) reported a net profit of €1.2 million ($1.6 million) in the fourth quarter of 2012. The carrier produced its first yearly profit since 2007. The flag carrier reported a net profit for 2012 of €11.8 million ($15.9 million) for 2012. CEO Mika Vehvilainen, who is leaving the company, should be credited with the turnaround. The Asian strategy has worked well for the carrier.

The next CEO will need to find new airline partners to sustain profitability.

Read the full report by Reuters: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems. Arriving from Asia, Airbus A340-313X OH-LQF (msn 168) taxies to the gate at its HEL hub and European gateway.

Finnair: AG Slide Show

 

AirEuropa to add Montevideo on June 3

AirEuropa (Palma de Mallorca and Madrid) will add Montevideo, Uruguay and the Madrid-Montevideo nonstop route on June 3. The new route will be served three days a week with Airbus A330-200 aircraft.

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton. Airbus A330-243 EC-LQP (msn 526) taxies at Geneva.

AirEuropa: AG Slide Show

AirEuropa logo

International Routes:

Please click on the map for the full-size view.

Please click on the map for the full-size view.

Will this be the week of an American-US Airways merger announcement?

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) and US Airways (Phoenix) are working towards a February 15 deadline to finalize their merger details. According to this report by Reuters, under the draft proposal, Chief Executive Doug Parker of US Airways would become CEO of the new American Airlines, while AMR Corporation’s Tom Horton would serve as a non-executive chairman of the AA board until the spring of 2014, when the combined new company holds its first annual meeting and votes on its management.

The boards of both airlines are expected to vote this week on the merger proposal. AMR’s creditors are due to vote today on the proposal. Depending on these votes a merger could be announced on Thursday or Friday.

US Airways would leave the Star Alliance with any merger. This merger would create the world’s largest airline and would be subject to regulatory government approvals. American Airlines would exit Chapter 11 with any merger.

Even though the merger will be stock merger, in reality, it will be US Airways management taking over American Airlines and retaining the name like America West did with the original US Airways. Since US Airways is still being operated as two airlines (East and West) the new American Airlines will have to get all of its labor agreements together finally with single contracts. A lot of work remains.

Read the full story: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. With a merger, the Star Alliance logojets would probably be one of the first US Airways aircraft to be repainted. Airbus A319-112 N703UW (msn 904) arrives at the Charlotte hub of US Airways.

American Airlines: AG Slide Show

US Airways: AG Slide Show

Bankruptcy trustees: Batavia Air owes over $123 million

Batavia Air (Jakarta) ceased operations on January 31 and went into bankruptcy protection. The trustees appointed to oversee the bankruptcy estimate the bankrupt carrier owes over $123 million to its creditors including its lessors, employees, passengers and other businesses according to this report by the Jakarta Post.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Kenneth Wong. Airbus A319-132 PK-YVC (msn 2660) prepares to land at Singapore.

Batavia Air logo

The cabin of the Airbus A330-202 (Batavia Air):

Batavia Air A330-200 cabin (Batavia Air)(LR)

 

Copyright Photos: Batavia Air. Batavia Air also operated two Airbus A330-202s (PK-YVI and PK-YVJ), Airbus A319s, A320s and an A321 and a large Boeing 737-300/400 Classic fleet.

Batavia Air A330-200 (Batavia Air)(LR)

Batavia Air A320 PK-YUG (11)(Tko)(Batavia Air)(LR)

Batavia Air: AG Slide Show

Volaris starts Mexico City-Merida flights

Volaris (Mexico City) on February 1 added a new route between Mexico City and Merida in the Yucatan.

Copyright Photo: James Helbock. Airbus A319-133 N501VL (msn 2979) is pictured arriving at Los Angeles. The A319 now promotes the 10 Mexican destinations and five U.S. destinations from Mexico City (Federal District) (now more) where it connects with Southwest Airlines.

Volaris: AG Slide Show

Volaris logo

The routes from Mexico City:

Please click on the map for the full-size view.

Please click on the map for the full-size view.

 

Thomas Cook to merge Condor, Thomas Cook Belgium and Thomas Cook UK into one airline on March 1

Thomas Cook Group (London) has announced it will merge Condor Flugdienst (Frankfurt), Thomas Cook Airlines (UK) (Manchester) and Thomas Cook Airlines (Belgium) (Brussels) into one airline  within the group on March 1.

The merger is part of Thomas Cook’s turnaround plan. It is unclear if the historic Condor name will be retired.

Read the full report from Reuters: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Arnd Wolf. Condor already wear sthe Thomas Cook brand but still clings to its historic Condor name. Boeing 767-330 ER D-ABUH (msn 26986) taxies to the runway at Munich with the additional Peanuts characters.

Condor Flugdienst: AG Slide Show

Thomas Cook Airlines (Belgium): AG Slide Show

Thomas Cook Airlines (UK): AG Slide Show

Middle Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil. Thomas Cook Airlines’ (Belgium) Airbus A320-232 OO-TCN (msn 425) with the image of Kim Clijsters arrives at the Belgium base.

Bottom Copyright Photo: Keith Burton. Boeing 757-28A G-FCLH (msn 26274) of Thomas Cook Airlines (UK) completes its final approach into London (Gatwick).

EasyJet to launch nonstop Edinburgh-Southend service on May 2

EasyJet (UK) (easyJet.com) (London-Luton) will introduce the first direct flight between Edinburgh and Southend (near London) starting on May 2.

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton. Airbus A319-111 G-EZDO (msn 3634) taxies at Geneva.

EasyJet (UK): AG Slide Show

Aer Lingus Group announces its preliminary financial results for 2012

Aer Lingus Group plc (Aer Lingus) (Dublin) has announced its unaudited preliminary results for the full year ending on December 31, 2012. The company reported:

  • Operating profit, before exceptional items, of $92.9 million (€69.1 million) (up from $65.9 million – €49.1 million in 2011), up  40.7% with strong operating margin of 5.0% (2011: 3.8%).
  • - Total revenue up 8.2% with capacity growth of 0.5%.
  • - Strong balance sheet; total cash up 1.5% to $1.2 billion – €908.5 million as at December 31, 2012. Debt down 7.9% to $714.6 million – €531.6 million.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: SM Fitzwilliams Collection. Set against stormy skies, Airbus A330-202 EI-DAA (msn 397) arrives back at the Dublin base and hub.

Aer Lingus: AG Slide Show

WSJ: American-US Airways merger is in the final stages, could come before February 15

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) and US Airways (Phoenix) continue to negotiate a very delicate merger proposal that could fall apart at any time. Negotiators are rushing to meet a February 15 deadline according to this report by the Wall Street Journal. The proposal, according to their sources, would be a stock deal with AMR’s creditors holding 72 percent of the new company and US Airways stockholders holding the other 28 percent. US Airways’ Doug Parker would take control of the “new American”. Still to be resolved, what role will American’s CEO Tom Horton play?

This merger, if approved, will create the world’s largest airline.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Read the analysis of a prospective AA-US merger by the WSJ: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: James Helbock. With US Airways’ CEO Doug Parker taking control, was the American new livery approved by Doug? Will this new brand survive the takeover? The first Boeing 737-800, 737-823 N908NN (msn 39238), taxies to the runway at San Diego.

American Airlines: AG Slide Show

US Airways: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Jay Selman. The US Airways’ 2005 livery and brand will be phased out in any merger. Airbus A321-231 N535UW (msn 3993) climbs away from the runway at the Charlotte hub.

Etihad Airways’ 2012 net profit increases to $42 million, will wet lease an Airbus A340-300 from Air France

Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) reported a net profit of $42 million (USD) in 2012, up 200 percent from the $14 million net profit in 2011. The company saw strong improvements in revenues, passengers numbers and cost control.

Revenue increased 17 percent to $4.8 billion (from $4.1 billion), on passenger numbers that were up 23 percent to 10.3 million (from 8.4 million). These numbers were boosted significantly by Etihad Airways’ equity partnerships and codeshares, which delivered more than $600 million in total revenue.

In other news, Etihad Airways has strengthened its relationship with Air France-KLM, with the announcement that the UAE flag carrier will wet-lease an Air France Airbus A340-300 for use on the Paris-Abu Dhabi route from May 15 to November 30. 

Air France will operate the 272 seat aircraft as one of Etihad Airways’ two daily Paris-Abu Dhabi return services – EY 37 and EY 38 respectively.

Last October, Etihad Airways and Air France-KLM forged a strategic partnership which saw the two airline groups work together to create value for each airline.

The agreement expanded the UAE flag carrier’s European network with codeshare services beyond Paris to Bordeaux, Copenhagen, Madrid, Nice and Toulouse, and saw Air France place its AF flight code on Etihad Airways operated flights between Paris Charles de Gaulle and Abu Dhabi, and to cities beyond.

In other news, the airline will introduce daily Abu Dhabi-Amsterdam service with Airbus A330-200s starting on May 15 per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best. Airbus A340-313X A6-EYC (msn 117) of Etihad climbs away from London (Gatwick).

Etihad Airways: AG Slide Show

 

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