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Tag Archives: Airbus

EasyJet to offer Southend-Newquay domestic flights

EasyJet (easyJet.com) (UK) (London-Luton) has announced today that it will be further expanding its routes from London Southend Airport with a new domestic service to Newquay (Cornwall) starting on June 20, 2013.

The new three times weekly service which depart on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Copyright Photo: Terry Wade. Airbus A319-111 G-EZIO (msn 2512) in the special “Supporting UNICEF” color scheme arrives at London (Gatwick).

EasyJet (UK): AG Slide Show

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Spirit Airlines announces new routes

Spirit Airlines (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood) has announced that it is adding daily nonstop service between Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and Orlando International Airport (MCO) starting February 14, 2012.

The flight will also operate as new one-stop continuation service via Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) as DFW-IAH-MCO and MCO-IAH-DFW, complementing Spirit’s existing nonstop 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/Washington, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, Myrtle Beach, Oakland, Mesa, Portland (Oregon), Tampa, and Toluca.

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

In other news, Spirit Airlines also announced it is adding nonstop service between Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) and Denver International Airport (DEN) starting on February 14, 2012.

Initial service will operate daily except Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and increase to daily service on March 1, 2013.

Spirit started service at Denver International Airport in May 2012 and currently offers nonstop daily service to Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, Las Vegas and Mesa.

Spirit currently offers nonstop daily service from Detroit to Cancun, Dallas/Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, New York LaGuardia, Orlando and Tampa.

Additionally, Spirit Airlines has moved up the start date for its new service between Dallas/Fort Worth and Philadelphia and between Dallas/Fort Worth and Minneapolis/St. Paul. The new daily nonstop service for both flights begins on April 4, 2013.

Schedule:

Copyright Photo: Tony Storck. Airbus A320-232 N611NK (msn 4996) lands at Baltimore/Washington.

Spirit Airlines: AG Slide Show

Iraqi Airways takes delivery of its first Airbus A330-200

Iraqi logo

Iraqi Airways (Baghdad), the national carrier of Iraq, has taken delivery of its first A330-200 becoming a new operator for the type. This will be the first Airbus widebody aircraft to be operated by Iraqi Airways. The carrier already operates two A321 aircraft. A330-202 YI-AQY (msn 1339) was formally handed over on November 30. This aircraft was originally destined for AirAsia X. The airline has been in desperate need of modern aircraft.

Accommodating a two-class configuration of 24 business and 264 economy seats, the aircraft is  powered by GE CF6-80 engines and will be deployed on European routes including Germany, Austria and the UK.

Iraqi Airways: AG Slide Show

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Hawaiian Airlines to fly to Taipei, Taiwan starting in July 2013

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Hawaiian Airlines (Honolulu) today announced plans to launch nonstop service between Taipei, Taiwan and Honolulu in July 2013, further extending the airline’s strategic expansion into Asia.

The new service, which would operate three times a week, capitalizes on the extension of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program to cover citizens of Taiwan.

Hawaiian will operate the Taipei-Honolulu route using its new 294-seat, wide-body Airbus A330-200 aircraft, adding nearly 46,000 new air seats to the market annually to the benefit of Hawai’i’s visitor industry. According to the Hawai’i Tourism Authority, the economic impact of restoring nonstop service from Taipei will be significant for Hawai’i.

Taipei is the capital city of Taiwan and its economic center, with the surrounding metropolitan area of Taipei, New Taipei, and Keelung being home to nearly seven million people. As a whole, Taiwan has more than 23 million people and is considered one of the “Four Asian Tiger Economies” with one of the highest Per Capita GDP in Asia.

Taipei will be the ninth new gateway that Hawaiian has introduced or announced new service to since November 2010, following Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, and Sapporo, Japan; Seoul, South Korea; New York City; Brisbane, Australia; and Auckland, New Zealand (March 13, 2013).

Copyright Photo: Roy Lock. Airbus A330-243 N381HA (msn 1114) powerfully climbs away from the runway at Los Angeles International Airport.

Hawaiian Airlines: AG Slide Show

Hawaiian Airlines’ Route Map:

Hawaiian 12:2012 Route Map

Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines expanded relationship could impact the fast growing Gulf carriers

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Lufthansa (Frankfurt) and Turkish Airlines (Istanbul), two Star Alliance airlines, are in discussions about increasing their relationship and cooperation according to this report by the Financial Times. Turkish Airlines is a fast growing carrier and serves many destinations not served by the German carrier. Lufthansa appears to favor this approach rather than striking up a new relationship with any of the fast growing Gulf carriers. Lufthansa has been critical of the Gulf carriers which pose a threat to many European long-haul carriers. Competitor Airberlin (Berlin) now has a strong and growing relationship with Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) and fast growing Qatar Airways (Doha) will join the Oneworld alliance in August 2013 as previously reported.

Read the full report from the Financial Times: CLICK HERE

Read another report by Arabian Business: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati. Airbus A380-841 D-AIMJ (msn 073) approach Singapore for landing.

Lufthansa: AG Slide Show

Turkish Airlines: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing. Boeing 777-3F2 ER TC-JJP (msn 40797) completes its final approach into Los Angeles International Airport dressed in the updated 2010 color scheme.

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Iberia is facing new holiday strikes by its ground and cabin crews

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Iberia (Madrid) is facing a new round of strikes by its ground and cabin crews. The unions have called for a full-day strike on December 14 and the five days of walkouts from December 17 to December 21 during the Christmas rush. Spain is becoming a country of strikes. The unions are protesting the jobs cuts. The losses at Iberia are bleeding IAG.

Read the full story from Reuters: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton. Iberia is not soaring these days but continuously navigating through its devastating labor relations. Airbus A320-214 EC-HDK (msn 1067) climbs away from Geneva.

Iberia: AG Slide Show

XL Airways France takes delivery of its first Airbus A330-300

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XL Airways France (Paris) expands its Airbus fleet following the delivery of its first brand new A330-300 from the manufacturer’s headquarters in Toulouse, France. The pictured A330-303 F-WWKA (msn 1360) was handed over on November 30 as F-HXLF.

Operated under a leasing agreement with GECAS, the aircraft is powered by GE CF6-80E engines. XL Airways France will fly its new A330-300, configured in a single-class layout with 408 seats, to destinations in the French Caribbean starting in December 2012. Specifically the airline will introduce its first Airbus A330-300 aircraft on the Paris (CDG)-Punta Cana route on December 8, followed by Pointe-a-Pitre on December 15, Fort-de-France on December 17 and Puerto Plata on December 23 per Airline Route.

This brand new aircraft will join the Airbus fleet already operated by XL Airways France, comprising two A330-200s and one A320.

Copyright Photo: Eurospot.

XL Airways France: AG Slide Show

JetBlue Airways arrives in Providence, Rhode Island

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JetBlue Airways (New York) yesterday (November 29) launched nonstop service between the Sunshine State of Florida and the carrier’s 75th destination: Providence, Rhode Island. The carrier now operates two daily flights from T.F. Green International Airport (PVD) to Orlando International Airport (MCO) and one daily flight to Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport (FLL).

Service between Providence and Florida will be operated on the value airline’s fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft, featuring many premium offerings, including a first checked bag free (b), assigned leather seating with legroom to spare, and more than 140 channels of complimentary live television and radio on personal seatback screens (c). The airline, well-known for its superior and personable customer service, also offers a free and unlimited assortment of name brand snacks and drinks for the ride.

JetBlue’s schedule between Providence and Orlando:

PVD to MCO: MCO to PVD:
Depart – Arrive Depart – Arrive
8:00 a.m. – 11:03 a.m.

3:15 p.m. – 6:17 p.m.

11:55 a.m. – 2:33 p.m.

5:40 p.m. – 8:18 p.m.

- Flights operate year round –

Customers traveling between Providence and Orlando can conveniently connect onwards to three other cities in JetBlue’s route network: Aguadilla, Puerto Rico; Montego Bay, Jamaica; or Nassau, The Bahamas.

JetBlue’s schedule between Providence and Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood:

PVD to FLL: FLL to PVD:
Depart – Arrive Depart – Arrive
4:30 p.m. – 7:44 p.m. 12:55 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.
- Flights operate year round –

 

Copyright Photo: Arnd Wolf. Airbus A320-232 N534JB (msn 1705) climbs away from the runway at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

JetBlue Airways: AG Slide Show

QANTAS to deploy wide-body Airbus A330 on all weekday Sydney-Perth and Melbourne-Perth services

QANTAS Airways (Sydney) has announced it will deploy wide-body Airbus A330s on all weekday Sydney-Perth and Melbourne-Perth services as it continues to meet demand for business and premium travel on the routes.

QANTAS has added a ninth A330 flying on the domestic network. Airbus A330-202 VH-EBV (msn 1365) was accepted on November 23.

The airline has 30 wide-body aircraft operating on domestic routes in Australia, made up of Airbus A330s and Boeing 767-300s.

The new QANTAS A330-202 is configured with 36 seats in Business and 268 seats in Economy. Airbus has installed the latest Panasonic on-demand in-flight entertainment and laptop power in every seat.

By March, QANTAS will have refurbished 16 Boeing 767-300 aircraft with new interiors and individual inflight entertainment streamed direct to iPads in every seat.

In the past 12 months QANTAS has resumed services from Sydney to the Gold Coast, built new lounges at Gold Coast, Gladstone, Mackay, Emerald, Davenport and Rockhampton airport, commenced services to a number of new regional and Fly-In-Fly-Out destinations and introduced a number of new initiatives to improve customer experiences including free Wi-Fi at airports and dedicated premium boarding.

Copyright Photo: Olivier Gregoire. Airbus A330-202 F-WWKN (msn 1365) in the Oneworld motif at Toulouse became VH-EBV on the handover.

QANTAS Airways: 

Corsair International accepts its first Airbus A330-300

Corsair International (Paris-Orly) yesterday (November 27) took delivery of the first of two A330-300s ordered from Airbus. The aircraft was delivered at a special ceremony in Toulouse attended by Corsair Chairman, Pascal de Izaguirre.

This new A330-300 is part of TUI’s commitment to invest in today’s greenest aircraft and to strengthen services from  Paris across the Atlantic Ocean, to the French West Indies, Canada and West Africa  and to the Indian Ocean destinations The aircraft is the first to be delivered from the two  A330-300s ordered in December 2010. It will enter in commercial service by end of this month .

Copyright Photo: Eurospot. Airbus A330-343E F-WWCZ became F-HSKY (msn 1359) on the handover at Toulouse.

Corsair International: 

Can Air Namibia survive the current pilots strike?

Air Namibia (Windhoek) is currently limping through a strike by its pilots, represented by the Namibian Airline Pilots Association (NAPA). Some flights are being cancelled as the carrier continues to lose money. The airline issued the following short statement:

The NAPA industrial action is still on going. Negotiations continue, to reach an agreeable solution.

According to this report by AllAfrica the African carrier is hiring foreign pilots to maintain most of its flights. According to the union the airline is paying more for these foreign pilots than what the national pilots are asking for in the negotiations.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Bernhard Ross. Airbus A340-311 V5-NME (msn 051) awaits for its passengers at Frankfurt, bound for Windhoek.

Air Namibia: 

Qatar Airways arrives in Belgrade, will bring the 787 Dreamliner to London on December 13

Qatar Airways (Doha) on November 21 launched scheduled flights to Serbia, its latest entry into Eastern Europe and the airline’s 11th new route of the year.  The carrier inaugurated the first of three weekly services to the country’s capital city of Belgrade, gateway to Serbia’s historic and cultural attractions. The airline’s newest route also marks an expansion of its global network, now reaching 121 destinations as part of Qatar Airways’ ongoing commitment to serving emerging and popular markets, both in Europe and further afield according to the airline.

The airline has now spread its international wings to 31 gateways across Europe and 11 new destinations so far this year.

Qatar Airways is flying its Airbus A320 on the Belgrade route, featuring 144 seats in a two-class configuration of 12 Business Class seats and 132 in Economy.

Since the beginning of 2012, Qatar Airways has launched flights to 11 new destinations – Baku (Azerbaijan); Tbilisi (Georgia); Kigali (Rwanda); Zagreb (Croatia), Erbil (Iraq), Baghdad (Iraq), Perth (Australia), Kilimanjaro (Tanzania); Yangon (Myanmar), Maputo (Mozambique) and now Belgrade (Serbia).

Over the next few weeks, Qatar Airways will launch services to a diverse portfolio of new routes, including Warsaw, Poland (December 5), Gassim, Saudi Arabia (7 January 2013); Najaf, Iraq (January 23); Phnom Penh, Cambodia (February 20); Chicago, USA (April 10); and Salalah, Oman (May 22).

In other news, the fast-growing carrier will deploy its new Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner on the prestigious Doha-London Heathrow route starting on December 13 per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton. Airbus A320-232 A7-AHU (msn 5127) arrives in Dubai.

Qatar Airways: 

China Eastern Airlines to order 60 Airbus A320s

China Eastern Airlines (Shanghai) intends to order 60 additional Airbus A320s for deliveries in the 2014-2017 period according to this report by news.com.au.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing. Airbus A320-232 B-6376 (msn 3692) in the colorful International Horticulture Expo 2011 (Xian) completes its final approach into Beijing.

China Eastern Airlines: 

EasyJet to go to allocated seating tomorrow

EasyJet (UK) (London-Luton) is shifting away from its open seating policy copied from pioner LCC Southwest Airlines (Dallas). Instead the low-fare airline will change to allocated seating starting tomorrow. The company has issued the following statement:

EasyJet will introduce allocated seating on all of its flights – typically over 1000 a day – from November 27, 2012.  The airline trialled allocated seating in April 2012 with nearly 2 million passengers flying on 12,500 allocated seating flights.  In response to the trial’s success, the airline took the decision to roll out allocated seating across the whole network.

EasyJet trialled allocated seating because passenger research showed that the boarding process could be a source of stress for some customers and in some case,  a barrier to them flying with EasyJet.  The key tests of the trial were to improve passenger satisfaction without impacting EasyJet’s ability to deliver industry leading punctuality  –  all of which were achieved on trial flights.

Research among passengers who have travelled on an EasyJet allocated seating flight has shown that 71% think allocated seating is better due to the improved boarding experience, while over 60% said that they are more likely to fly with EasyJet in the future as a result.

Some interesting facts also emerged from the trial flights:

  • On shorter journeys seat 6A was the best seller while on longer flights it was 1A
  • On shorter journeys seat 16B was the least popular while it was 19B on longer flights
  • Passengers preferred seats on the left hand side of the plane with seats A, B and C out selling D, E and F

All passengers will be allocated a seat for free on EasyJet’s flights but will have the choice of selecting a specific seat for a fee when they book flights, or adding them later to guarantee where they’ll be sitting. There are three bands of pricing, dependent on the seat selected:

  • £12 for extra leg room
  • £8 for up front seats (emergency exits, row 2-5 on A319 or 2-6 on A320)
  • £3 for any other seat

EasyJet trialled allocated seating during the summer season, the  busiest time of year, to stress test the new systems and procedures. The airline decided to roll out the system in the winter season when fewer people travel to ensure a smooth transition. The trial flights showed that allocated seating can be delivered at the same time as maintaining strong levels of on time performance and without adding cost.

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton. Airbus A319-111 G-EZDL (msn 3569) taxies to the runway at a snowy Geneva.

EasyJet (UK): 

TransAsia Airways takes delivery of its first Airbus A330 today

TransAsia Airways (Taipei) of Taiwan has taken delivery of the first of two A330-300s ordered from Airbus. The aircraft was delivered at a ceremony in Toulouse today (November 26) attended by TransAsia Airways Chairman Vincent Lin.

The pictured A330-343X will be the first widebody aircraft to be operated by TransAsia. Featuring a high comfort two class layout seating 300 passengers, the aircraft will initially fly on services from Taipei to Japan and Singapore. These will be followed by new longer range operations to destinations currently under consideration, including Australia and New Zealand, as well as the Middle East. TransAsia has selected Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines to power its A330s.

TransAsia Airways currently operates scheduled services to 46 destinations across Asia with a modern fleet that already includes nine A320 Family aircraft. In addition to its new A330s, the carrier has orders for 18 A321s for future delivery, comprising six A321ceo and 12 A321neo.

Copyright Photo: Eurospot. The pictured A330-343E F-WWCX (msn 1357) became B-22101 on delivery today. The jetliner is also wearing the new 2012 livery for the carrier.

Hot New Photos: 

TransAsia Airways: 

Emirates to add Phuket on December 10

Emirates Airline (Dubai) is adding new passenger and belly cargo service to Phuket, Thailand. Phuket will become the second Thai gateway that connects it to international trade opportunities across its network of 126 destinations.

The launch of a daily nonstop flight to Phuket on December 10, 2012, operated by an Airbus A340-300 with a belly hold capacity of 13 tons, will take the weekly cargo capacity into and out of the country to more than 640 tons.  This capacity is spread across four flights to Bangkok and one to Phuket.

Phuket, the largest island in Thailand, located in the Andaman Sea, will become the 15th route launch for Emirates this year and the second in South East Asia following the launch of Ho Chi Minh City in June.

Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati. Airbus A340-313X A6-ERN (msn 166) arrives at the Dubai hub.

Emirates: 

Frameable Color Prints and Posters: 

JetBlue to drop Las Vegas-Burbank service on January 7

JetBlue Airways (New York) is planning to drop the Las Vegas-Burbank route on January 7, 2013 per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Stephen Tornbloom. Airbus A320-232 N564JB (msn 2020), named “Absolute Blue” and decorated in the Blueberries tailfin design, arrives at the New York (JFK) hub.

JetBlue Airways: 

The fly is dead, Niki starts repainting its fleet in Airberlin’s colors

Niki (flyniki.com) (Vienna), as planned, has started repainting its fleet in the 2008 livery of parent Airberlin (Berlin). The distinctive large fly logo (as in flyniki) is being retired. The first to be repainted is the pictured Airbus A320-214 OE-LEU (msn 2902) which still retains the Niki oval logo with an added “The Spirit of Niki” inscription.

Copyright Photo: Javier Rodriguez. OE-LEU is pictured today at the Airberlin hub of Palma de Mallorca with the new look.

Hot New Photos: 

Niki (compare with the old livery): 

US Airways awarded the Charlotte-London Heathrow route, flight attendants vote to strike

US Airways (Phoenix) has announced it has been awarded operating slots to inaugurate daily, nonstop service between its Charlotte hub and London’s preferred business airport, Heathrow, beginning in March 2013. US Airways will operate the service between Charlotte and London Heathrow with Airbus A330 aircraft that features Envoy, the airline’s international business class.  Specific schedule and fare details will be released at a later date.

The new service from Charlotte, N.C. will supplement the airline’s existing daily service between its international gateway in Philadelphia and London Heathrow.

The flight will originate in Miami, offering customers in South Florida convenient one-stop service to London via the airline’s Charlotte hub.

On the flip side, US Airways’ flight attendants have voted by a 94 percent margin to authorize a strike should the continued negotiations fail according to this report by Reuters.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Airbus A330-243 N279AY (msn 1011) climbs away from the runway at the Charlotte hub.

US Airways: 

Frontier Airlines adds the first jet service at Shenandoah Valley, Virginia today

Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) today (November 20) expands its service from Orlando International Airport, Fla. (MCO) with the launch of nonstop service to Shenandoah Valley, Va. (SHD). Frontier Airlines is the only low-fare carrier at the airport, the first jet service at the airport, and the only airline offering nonstop service from the Shenandoah Valley to Orlando.

Following is the schedule for Frontier’s Shenandoah service:

Orlando-Shenandoah (beginning Nov. 20, 2012)

Route Departs Arrives Frequency Aircraft
MCO-SHD 7:30 a.m. 9:25 a.m. Tues/Thurs A319
SHD-MCO 10:05 a.m. 12:10 p.m. Tues/Thurs A319
MCO-SHD 7:00 a.m. 8:55 a.m. Sun A319
SHD-MCO 9:35 a.m. 11:40 a.m. Sun A319

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

Frontier Airlines on the same day also expanded its service from Orlando, Florida (MCO) with the launch of nonstop service to Columbia, Missouri (COU). This is the only nonstop service from Columbia to Florida, and the only low-fare carrier service to Mid-Missouri.

Following is the schedule for Frontier’s Columbia service:

Orlando-Columbia (beginning Nov. 20, 2012)

Route Departs Arrives Frequency Aircraft
MCO-COU 1:50 p.m. 3:35 p.m. Tues A319
COU-MCO 4:15 p.m. 7:35 p.m. Tues A319
MCO-COU 8:00 a.m. 9:45 a.m. Sat A319
COU-MCO 10:25 a.m. 1:45 p.m. Sat A319

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

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Airbus Airbus A319-111 N929FR (msn 2240) with Larry, the Lynx, on the tail, departs from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Frontier Airlines: 

Route Map: Frontier is adopting the Allegiant Air model for serving underserved smaller markets to vacation centers. Frontier is adding more leisure and vacation routes and also from these smaller underserved markets.

Please click on the map to expand.

EasyJet to fly nonstop Manchester-Moscow flights in the Spring

EasyJet (easyJet.com) (UK) (London-Luton) plans to launch the first ever scheduled flights between Manchester and Moscow starting in the Spring of 2013. EasyJet will operate four flights each week.

In other news, the company reported a full-year pretax profit of $504.4 million, an increase of 28 percent.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Nik French. Airbus A320-214 G-EZTB (msn 3843) taxies to the gate at Manchester.

EasyJet (UK): 

Air Côte d’Ivoire finally commences revenue operations

Air Côte d’Ivoire (Abidjan) finally operated its first revenue flight on November 12 with a flight from Abidjan to Dakar according to Reuters. This new national carrier replaces defunct Air Ivoire. The launch was delayed from April 2012. The new airline will operate on regional flights before it launches services to Europe. The company is operating two former Air France Airbus A319s. Air Cote d’Ivoire is a partnership between Air France (Paris) and the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED). Air Côte d’Ivoire is owned by the government of Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Air France and Aérienne de Participation-Côte d’Ivoire, an airline holding company of AKFED.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Olivier Gregoire. Airbus A319-115 (LR) F-GRXG (msn 2213) formerly operated “Dedicate” services for partner Air France. Pictured at Toulouse on June 1, 2012, the airliner was the first delivery for the new airline on October 6, 2012. The airliner is now operating as TU-TSA. The airframe is leased from Macquarie AirFinance.

Virgin Atlantic wins all of the Heathrow slots, will launch new routes to Scotland

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) has been awarded all of the London Heathrow slots vacated by British Airways (London) due to the BMI takeover according to this report by Reuters. Virgin Atlantic intends to introduce new intra-UK routes to Scotland to compete against BA.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough. Smaller Airbus narrow bodies are expected to join the Virgin fleet for these new routes. Airbus A330-343X G-VRAY (msn 1296) prepares to arrive at Washington (Dulles).

Virgin Atlantic Airways: 

EasyJet supports UNICEF with a new Airbus A319 logojet

EasyJet (UK) (London-Luton) is a big supporter of UNICEF – United Nations Children’s Fund.  According to Wikipedia, UNICEF was created by the United Nations General Assembly on December 11, 1946, to provide emergency food and healthcare to children in countries that had been devastated by World War II. In 1954, UNICEF became a permanent part of theUnited Nations System.

The company previously issued this statement of its support of UNICEF and its “Change for Good” program:

In 2012 easyJet formed a partnership with UNICEF the world’s leading organization for children.

The partnership runs across easyJet’s pan-European network during the peak summer and winter seasons, reaching out to the airline’s 55 million passengers who travel on the airlines’ 200 aircraft on over 600 routes across 30 countries.

The program branded Change for Good offers all our customers the chance to support the world’s children simply by dropping their spare change into specially designed pouches, which are handed out by easyJet’s crew during flights.

The money raised through donations from easyJet customers will fund UNICEF’s life-saving work for children across the world, such as vaccinating children at risk from diseases such as measles and polio or providing mosquito nets to prevent malaria.

The new partnership, which will operate for an initial three year period, will form part of UNICEF’s global Change for Good initiative, which has raised millions of pounds for the world’s most vulnerable children through partnerships with leading airlines across the globe.

For more information about UNICEF visit: http://www.unicef.org.uk/

Donate to UNICEF’s work for children: http://www.unicef.org.uk/Donate/Donate-Now/

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton. The pictured Airbus A319-111 registered as G-EZIO (msn 2512) was rolled out of the paint shop this morning (November 18) at Southend Airport near London in this special color scheme.

EasyJet (UK): 

Hot New Photos: 

JetBlue to try to gain a foothold in the Seattle/Tacoma-Anchorage market next summer

JetBlue Airways (New York) has announced plans to expand its schedule in Alaska with new nonstop service between Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The airline plans to launch daily service for the summer season beginning on May 16, 2013.

JetBlue already offers Alaska travellers the only nonstop service between Anchorage and Long Beach with a daily summer service that will resume May 16, 2013.

JetBlue’s schedule between ANC and SEA:

SEA to ANC: ANC to SEA:
Depart – Arrive Depart – Arrive
8:00 p.m. – 10:40 p.m. 1:00 a.m. – 5:25 a.m.
- Flights operate daily effective May 16, 2013-

- All times local -

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Airbus A320-232 N505JB (msn 1173) prepares to land at Las Vegas.

JetBlue Airways: 

Airberlin to drop Las Vegas, San Francisco and Vancouver while increasing service to American Airlines hubs

Airberlin (Berlin) is realigning its route map to increase its growing relationship with American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) while dropping non-AA hub destinations like Las Vegas, San Francisco and Vancouver. The German carrier is also increasing its already large presence at Palma de Mallorca in Spain. The airline issued the following statement:

Airberlin has strategically revised its route network for next summer. The timetable modifications have been designed to increase efficiency and mainly refer to the intercontinental routes to the USA as well as the airline’s hubs in Palma de Mallorca and Vienna. The important consideration was not to reduce but to transfer capacities, thereby enhancing the airline’s profile in strategic core markets. In future Airberlin will also be focusing even more on the synergies emerging from its association with its strategic partner Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) and the oneworld® carriers, to derive even greater benefit from the potential stemming from the existing alliances and partnership.

The United States are a strategic growth market for airberlin. This will continue to be the case in the future. By restructuring its network in North America, Airberlin has set the course for further growth in this market from summer 2013 onwards. The new nonstop service between Berlin and the American Airlines hub of Chicago (O’Hare) from March 2013 underpins the strategy of the second largest German airline as regards developing the existing synergies from that association.

Against this background, Airberlin will also be increasing its nonstop services to New York (JFK), Los Angeles and Miami from May 2013 onwards, while at the same time cancelling its seasonal nonstop flights from Düsseldorf to Las Vegas, San Francisco and Vancouver.

The restructuring of the North American network is therefore aimed at selectively weeding out low-frequency routes while simultaneously strengthening the strategically important, high-turnover routes and making the best use of a strong network of partners. Consequently both San Francisco and Las Vegas will continue to be available for booking as codeshare flights with American Airlines, since this airline operates a far more frequent service to these destinations than Airberlin – and throughout the year.

The expansion and optimization of services from Berlin and Düsseldorf to the American Airlines hubs of New York (JFK), Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago (O’Hare) is an important element in Airberlin’s network strategy for summer 2013. Consequently Airberlin will be increasing the number of nonstop flights between Düsseldorf and New York (JFK) from seven to ten flights per week, thereby ensuring greater timetable consistency with the same arrival and departure times throughout the year.

The number of flights from Düsseldorf to Miami is also being increased: from May 2013 a daily service will replace the previous five flights a week to this major US destination. Another new feature at Airberlin’s Düsseldorf hub is that the number of nonstop flights to Los Angeles will be increased from three to four per week. The flights are scheduled for Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Since the service from Berlin to Los Angeles will still continue in summer 2013 with three flights a week – on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays – Airberlin passengers will be offered a daily flight from Germany to West Coast USA from May 2013 onwards.

The times of the flights between Berlin and Los Angeles, a service that Airberlin has been offering since May 11, 2012, have also been optimized for better connections to and from destinations in Airberlin’s growth markets of Scandinavia and Russia. The service between Berlin and Miami is also being increased from three to five flights a week.

With 7.8 million passengers a year, the Airberlin group has been the carrier with the highest passenger volume at Majorca’s Son Sant Joan airport for nine consecutive years. With the start of its summer timetable, Airberlin will be transferring capacities to achieve a 12 percent increase in its services from Germany, Austria and Switzerland to Majorca, thereby further extending its market leadership on the Balearic Island. This means that in summer 2013 alone, Airberlin will be operating 402 flights a week to this Mediterranean destination. The move represents a 14 per cent increase on the previous summer (summer 2012: 352 nonstop flights a week from Germany). The summer will also see new additional flights to Palma de Mallorca from Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich.

Along with transferring its capacities, airberlin will be reducing the total number of destina-tions on the Spanish mainland available via a connecting flight from Majorca from 16 to 13. From summer 2013 passengers will therefore no longer be able to fly airberlin to Barcelona, Madrid and Santiago de Compostela via Majorca. Instead, airberlin plans to offer the route from Majorca to Madrid in cooperation with its oneworld partners starting in summer 2013. A new interline agreement with Vueling and Air Europa, which is also to come into effect in summer 2013, will allow passengers to carry on booking a connecting flight from Majorca to Barcelona via the airberlin website. Furthermore, airberlin will continue to operate its non-stop services from Berlin, Düsseldorf and Vienna to Barcelona. Both Barcelona and Madrid can also be reached from several German airports via non-stop flights operated by our codeshare partner Iberia.

While remaining at a total of 23 planes, the Niki (Vienna) fleet will be standardized to operate only Airbus aircraft. This total concentration on Airbus will increase the number of seats available on existing routes. The route network from Vienna will be expanded on the one hand by extending the range of services to new tourist destinations in Greece, such as Kalamata, Karpathos, Kavala, Lesbos and Volos, and on the other hand by increasing the frequency of flights to existing destinations in Egypt, Spain or Turkey.

In addition Airberlin is promoting its Eastern European services from its hub in the German capital. As a result, the services from Vienna to Sofia, Bucharest and Belgrade will no longer be offered as nonstop flights from Vienna as of summer 2013, but increasingly transferred to Berlin.

In summer 2013 passengers will have a choice of nine destinations in Eastern Europe (Warsaw, Krakow, Gdansk, Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Budapest, Sofia, Bucharest) from Berlin. The airline will also be offering nonstop flights to Riga, the Latvian capital, in conjunction with its codeshare partner airBaltic (Riga).

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

Airberlin, Germany’s second-largest airline company, significantly improved its net income for the traditionally strong third quarter, in comparison with the previous year. At the same time, it was able to offset strongly increasing external cost through the successful efficiency-improvement program “Shape & Size”, which will lead to an improvement of EUR 230 million in operations this year.

In the third quarter, airberlin was able to increase its net income to EUR 66.6 million (2011: EUR 30.2 million), an increase of more than 120 percent over the corresponding quarter of the previous year. The operating result improved by 4.5 percent to EUR 101.2 million (EUR 96.8 million). Revenue increased by 1.4 percent over the previous year, to EUR 1,395.1 million (EUR 1,375.5 million), despite a targeted capacity reduction of 5.4 percent. Capacity utilization increased slightly by 0.4 percentage points to 84.54 percent (84.14 percent). Yield (revenue per passenger) improved by 3.1 percent to EUR 115.84 (EUR 112.39).  EBITDAR (Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and leasing expenses) increased by 3.8 percent to EUR 279.5 million (EUR 269.3 million). Total equity at the end of the quarter amounted to EUR 186.3 million, which corresponds to an equity ratio of eight percent.

Airberlin recorded a continuing reduction of direct operating costs – excluding fuel costs – as a result of the “Shape & Size” program, which yielded a contribution of EUR 70 million in the third quarter. Over this period, fuel costs increased by EUR 35 million.

Top Copyright Photo: Javier Rodriguez. Airbus A330-223 D-ABXB (msn 322), deployed on long-range and heavy routes, climbs away from the Palma de Mallorca base.

Airberlin: 

Niki: 

Bottom Copyright Photo: Eurospot. The seven Embraer ERJ 190s will now be phased out at Niki. ERJ 190-100LR OE-IHA (msn 19000285) completes its final approach into Palma de Mallorca.

Ryanair is still optimistic about its proposed takeover of Aer Lingus after the EC ruling

Ryanair (Dublin) is still optimistic about final European Commission approval of its proposed takeover of rival Aer Lingus (Dublin). The European Commission has raised concerns about competition in Ireland despite Ryanair’s offer to surrender European routes from Ireland to allow for other carriers to add Irish service.

Ryanair issued the following statement:

Ryanair, Europe’s only ultra-low cost airline, confirmed on November 14 that its discussions continue with the European Commission about its radical package of remedies designed to address the Commission’s competition concerns in relation to Ryanair’s June 19 offer for Aer Lingus. This comprehensive remedies package includes a number of new airline bases in Dublin, new entrant competitors on over 40 routes to/from Dublin, Cork and Shannon, as well as specific competition solutions that guarantee increased price competition on routes to and from Ireland.

Following receipt of the Commission’s statement of objections last evening (November 13), a standard procedural step in Phase II EU merger reviews, Ryanair expects that the Commission will shortly market test this transformational remedies package, and remains confident that its offer for Aer Lingus will receive competition clearance following any fair assessment by the Commission. A detailed process of engagement with the EU Commission is now underway.

Ryanair’s offer for Aer Lingus is being reviewed while dramatic changes take place across the EU airline industry, including: (1) a large restructuring of Iberia with 4,500 job losses; (2) the takeover of Vueling by IAG, combining the Number 2 and Number 3 airlines in Spain; (3) a major restructuring of SAS including 6,000 job losses and state backed loan guarantees; and (4) the planned merger of Aegean and Olympic, the Number 1 and Number 2 airlines in Greece.

It is against this backdrop that Ryanair is proposing a merger that provides secure jobs, growth opportunities and financial benefits for all shareholders in a larger Ireland based EU carrier.

Read the local media analysis of this proposed merger from The Irish Times: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best. Boeing 737-8AS EI-DCL (msn 33806) in the Dreamliner livery lands at London (Luton).

Ryanair: 

Aer Lingus: 

Bottom Copyright Photo: SM Fitzwilliams Collection. Airbus A320-214 EI-DEJ (msn 2364) taxies at the Dublin base.

Virgin America posts an operating profit in the third quarter, defers deliveries of 30 new A320neo aircraft to 2020-2022

Virgin America (San Francisco) today reported its financial results for the third quarter of 2012.  The airline achieved a $15.8 million operating profit for the quarter, resulting in a four percent operating margin.  Despite the continued dual financial pressure of high fuel prices and Virgin America’s industry-leading capacity growth, the airline reported an operating profit for the quarter, improved unit costs, and an increase in average fares. For the third quarter, the carrier reported a 24 percent improvement year-over-year in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, and aircraft rental expense (EBITDAR).  Year-to-date, the airline reported a record high EBITDAR of $135.7 million, an improvement of 23 percent year-over-year. Cost per available seat mile excluding fuel (ex-fuel CASM) decreased year-over-year by three percent in the three months ended September 30, 2012. A privately-held company, the carrier is additionally forecasting an operating profit for the fourth quarter of 2012.

From the third quarter of 2010 through the third quarter of 2012, the airline increased available seat miles (ASMs) by 73 percent, significantly outpacing the industry ASM growth average of 0.4 percent.   Virgin America’s rate of growth was necessary to establish the airline’s core network and to achieve economies of scale.  However, as the airline absorbed the tail-end of this growth cycle, its entry into new markets created margin pressure which offset gains in more mature markets.  The airline’s core markets (those operated more than 24 months) achieved an operating margin of eight percent in the third quarter and were profitable year-to-date.  This strong performance in mature markets was offset by weaker performance in newer destinations added during the airline’s rapid two-year growth phase.  This phase of accelerated growth is now largely complete, as the airline plans to take delivery of just one additional aircraft in 2013—and today announces a deferred growth plan with respect to aircraft on order.  This reduction in growth will allow the carrier to continue to improve profitability, as new markets develop to match the performance of its core established network.

Virgin America announces today that it has reached an agreement to modify its Airbus aircraft order.  Under the revised agreement, Virgin America’s order for current engine option A320 aircraft will be reduced from 30 positions to ten, with delivery of those aircraft occurring in 2015 and 2016.  In addition, the airline announces it will defer its 30 Airbus A320neo positions to new delivery dates in 2020 through 2022.  Average ASM growth will decelerate from the 28 percent annual growth rate the airline has driven over the past three years, to mid single-digit annual ASM growth over the next several years.  The Company has taken delivery of 24 aircraft since the first quarter of 2010 – growing to a fleet of 52 Airbus A320 Family aircraft.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough. Airbus A320-214 N840VA (msn 4616) climbs to cruising altitude after departing from Dulles International Airport near Washington.

Virgin America: 

 

JetBlue to start New York JFK-Albuquerque, New Mexico service

JetBlue Airways (New York) has announced it will offer New York’s only nonstop service to the southwestern city of Albuquerque, New Mexico starting on April 22, 2013.

Albuquerque is JetBlue’s first destination in New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment, and will be the 77th destination served in the airline’s growing route network.

JetBlue’s schedule between New York and Albuquerque:

JFK to ABQ: ABQ to JFK:
Depart – Arrive Depart – Arrive
8:25 p.m. – 11:04 p.m. 11:55 p.m. – 5:57 a.m.
– Flights operate year round beginning Monday, April 22, 2013 –

Copyright Photo: Stephen Tornblom. Airbus A320-232 N579JB (msn 2132) prepares to taxi to the runway at Long Beach.

JetBlue Airways: 

Frontier to drop Allentown, arrives in Mesa, Arizona

Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) has announced it will suspend its nonstop service between Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE), in Allentown, Pennsylvania and Orlando International Airport (MCO) effective on April 7, 2013. Flights after April 7, 2013, will be removed from the carrier’s schedule on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012.

“Frontier is committed to providing its customers with convenient, low-fare service and relies heavily on airports keeping their costs competitive,” said Greg Aretakis, Frontier’s vice president, network and revenue. “Unfortunately, increasing fuel and other operating costs at Lehigh Valley International Airport have made it impossible to provide the low fares customers demand and, ultimately, we made the business decision to suspend our service.”

ABE serves the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton (hence the ABE code) in eastern Pennsylvania.

In other news, Frontier Airlines yesterday (November 15) launched nonstop service from its hometown hub in Denver, Colorado (DEN) to Phoenix-Mesa, Ariz. (AZA) with daily nonstop service. This addition to Frontier’s long-standing service to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport provides East Valley customers convenient access to Denver with easy connections to 43 destinations through Denver.

Following is the schedule for Frontier’s Phoenix-Mesa service:

Denver-Phoenix-Mesa (beginning Nov. 15, 2012)
Route Departs Arrives Frequency Aircraft
DEN-AZA 1:10 p.m. 3:03 p.m. Daily A319
AZA-DEN 3:45 p.m. 5:29 p.m. Daily A319

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

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing. Airbus A319-111 N912FR (msn 1803) arrives at Los Angeles International Airport.

Frontier Airlines: 

Delta wins tentative DOT approval for Seattle/Tacoma-Tokyo Haneda service

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) has thanked the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for its preliminary approval of new service between Seattle/Tacoma and Haneda Airport in Tokyo.

Seattle is the largest West Coast city without nonstop service to Tokyo Haneda, which is the preferred Tokyo airport for many business travelers due to its proximity to the city’s central business district. The flight would complement Delta’s nonstop flight between Seattle/Tacoma and Tokyo (Narita), which will be expanded and upgraded next year to Boeing 747-400 service.

The Haneda flight adds to Delta’s growing Asian gateway in Seattle/Tacoma. In addition to Tokyo, Delta recently announced new service to Shanghai, and also operates flights to Beijing and Osaka, Japan.

The Haneda flight, which is scheduled to begin in March 2013, will operate using Boeing 767-300 ER aircraft featuring full flat-bed seats in BusinessElite, Delta’s popular Economy Comfort seating and in-flight entertainment in every seat throughout the aircraft.

In addition to its Asian gateway, Delta operates nonstop service to Paris and Amsterdam from Seattle/Tacoma. By next summer the airline will operate more than 40 daily flights to 15 destinations worldwide from Seattle/Tacoma.

Delta’s international growth in Seattle/Tacoma is possible because of its partnership with Alaska Airlines (Seattle/Tacoma), which operates a domestic hub at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Customers of both carriers enjoy access to an expanded network under a major codesharing agreement, as well as reciprocal frequent flier benefits and airport lounge access. The new Tokyo-Haneda flight will benefit from easy connections to 55 U.S. cities on Delta and Alaska’s domestic networks.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Airbus A330-323X N801NW (msn 524) arrives at SeaTac from Tokyo (Narita).

Delta Air Lines: 

JetBlue Airways arrives in Grand Cayman today

JetBlue Airways (New York) today takes flight to its newest Caribbean destination, Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands, from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) with three times weekly service on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays JFK to Owen Roberts International Airport (GCM).  Saturday-only service to the Cayman Islands from Boston’s Logan International Airport (BOS) will begin this Saturday, November 17.

Grand Cayman is the airline’s 74th destination.

JetBlue’s schedule between New York and Grand Cayman:

JFK to GCM: GCM to JFK:
Depart – Arrive Depart – Arrive
7:05 a.m. – 11:02 a.m. 12:00 p.m. –  3:49 p.m.
- Flights operate three times weekly on Mon., Thurs., Sat. -
– All times local -

JetBlue’s schedule between Boston and Grand Cayman:

BOS to GCM: GCM to BOS:
Depart – Arrive Depart – Arrive
10:10 a.m. – 2:34 p.m. 3:30 p.m. – 7:40 p.m.
- Flights operate on Saturdays beginning Sat. Nov. 17, 2012 -
– All times local -

JetBlue’s flights to Grand Cayman from Boston and New York will be operated with its Airbus A320 fleet.

Copyright Photo: Stephen Tornblom. Airbus A320-232 N605JB (msn 2368) decorated in the markings of the Boston Red Sox, taxies across the tarmac at JFK International Airport in New York.

JetBlue Airways: 

Frontier Airlines to expand operations at Trenton, New Jersey

Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) today announced it will expand its low-fare service at Trenton-Mercer Airport (TTN), in Trenton, N.J., with the addition of four nonstop destinations launching in late January and early February 2013. The Denver-based airline also announced that it would be basing an Airbus A319 aircraft at Trenton-Mercer Airport to operate this new service. Frontier is the only airline providing scheduled service out of Trenton-Mercer Airport, the gateway to New Jersey’s state capital, all of central New Jersey, and southeast Pennsylvania.

In addition to its previously announced nonstop service to Orlando, Florida (MCO), Frontier will now provide customers throughout New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania convenient, low-fare service to Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood Florida (FLL); Fort Myers, Florida (RSW); New Orleans, Louisiana (MSY); and Tampa, Florida (TPA). This new service brings the number of nonstop destinations served by Frontier out of Trenton-Mercer to five.

Following is the schedule for Frontier’s new Trenton service:

Route Effective Frequency Aircraft
Fort Lauderdale Feb. 2, 2013 Mon/Wed/Sat A319
Route Effective Frequency Aircraft
Fort Myers Jan. 31, 2013 Thur/Sun A319
Route Effective Frequency Aircraft
New Orleans Feb. 1, 2013 Mon/Fri A319
Route Effective Frequency Aircraft
Tampa Jan. 31, 2013 Tues/Thur/Sat A319

Frontier will also increase its frequencies to Orlando from two weekly flights to four:

Route Effective Frequency Aircraft
Orlando Feb. 1, 2013 Tues/Wed/Fri/Sun A319

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

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Airbus A319-112 N943FR (msn 2518) taxies to the runway at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Frontier Airlines: 

Interjet signs a firm order for 40 Airbus A320neo aircraft

Interjet (Mexico City) has signed a purchase agreement for 40 A320neo aircraft. Interjet will announce the aircraft’s engine selection at a later date. The A320neo has over 95 percent airframe commonality making it an easy fit for Interjet’s current fleet of 36 A320s. Later this month, Interjet will receive an additional A320 aircraft.

In only seven years of operations, Interjet has become a leading domestic airline in Mexico, having quickly expanded their network throughout the country and into the United States, Central America and the Caribbean. The new A320neo will support their continued network expansion and fleet renewal plans. Interjet has a backlog of 45 A320 Family aircraft, including this order.

Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner. Airbus A320-214 F-WQUV (msn 1162) became XA-INJ.

Interjet: 

Gulf Air restructures its future fleet with both Airbus and Boeing, orders more A320neo aircraft, reduces 787s on order to 12

Gulf Air (Bahrain) has made the following announcement today concerning its future fleet plans:

Bahrain’s National Carrier, Gulf Air is pleased to announce that after extensive negotiations with Airbus and Boeing – its two key suppliers of wide-body and narrow-body aircraft – it has signed amendment agreements with both aircraft manufacturers to realign its original orders to meet its long-term strategic needs.

During 2011 Gulf Air has engaged in extensive discussions with both airframe manufactures to renegotiate its order book. This has become necessary in light of the tough economic conditions faced by the global aviation industry recently including high-fuel prices and a slump in air traffic as well as the regional developments over the last fifteen months resulting in the forced suspension of a number of destinations impacting revenue.

The revised agreement with Airbus ultimately permits the conversion of the existing wide-body obligation into eight A320ceo Family aircraft, all of which will have be delivered by year-end, plus up to sixteen A320neo Family aircraft slated to join the airline’s fleet as replacement and/or growth for the current single-aisle fleet in the latter part of the decade.

The revised Boeing agreement, allows the airline to reduce its wide-body 787s Dreamliner requirement to 12 – 16 aircraft depending on Gulf Air’s strategic requirements. These aircraft are scheduled for delivery towards the end of the decade and will replace Gulf Air’s current wide-body fleet.

Gulf Air CEO, Mr. Samer Majali, said, “As long-standing trade partners, Airbus and Boeing have understood our challenges and I am delighted that we have arrived at mutually agreeable solutions in-line with the Government directive to put the airline firmly on a path towards sustainability. The revised orders reduce our long-term financial liability of approximately USD $5 billion by over 50% and the remaining liability more effectively meets Gulf Air’s future fleet replacement and/or growth requirement.”

Marty Bentrott, Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ vice president of sales for the Middle East, Russia and Central Asia said: “We appreciate the fact that as a commercial airline Gulf Air has to respond to the changing global aviation environment. The revised fleet requirement from Gulf Air reflects this and we are glad to have cooperated with Gulf Air to arrive at an amicable solution. Gulf Air remains a valued customer of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and we look forward to continuing our strong partnership.”

Copyright Photo: Olivier Gregoire. Gulf Air is already a major Airbus operator. Airbus A321-231 A9C-CB (msn 5074) approaches Toulouse for landing.

Gulf Air: 

TransAsia Airways orders six additional Airbus A321neo aircraft

TransAsia Airways (Taipei) of Taiwan has placed a firm order with Airbus for another six A321neo aircraft. The new aircraft will be part of the airline’s fleet expansion and will allow it to develop new routes to regional destinations. The aircraft will be powered by Pratt and Whitney PW1100G engines.

The latest contract takes TransAsia Airways’ total orders for Airbus single aisle aircraft to 29, of which 11 have already been delivered. The carrier’s single aisle backlog now comprises 12 A321neo and six Sharklet-equipped A321ceo. In addition, the airline also has two widebody A330-300s on order, with first delivery scheduled later this year.
Top Image: Airbus. TransAsia has introduced a new livery with the first Airbus A330-300 (below).
TransAsia Airways: 
Hot New Photos: 
Bottom Copyright Photo: Eurospot. Airbus A330-343E F-WWCX (msn 1357) arrives back at Toulouse after a test flight. The new type will become B-22101 on delivery.

IAG to drastically downsize Iberia in order to return it to profitability

International Airlines Group-IAG (London), the holding company for both British Airways (London) and Iberia (Madrid) has announced drastic plans to downsize Iberia in order to return the airline to profitability. IAG has also announced it will proceed to acquire a controlling interest in lower-cost Vueling Airlines (Barcelona).

The following statement was issued today:

A comprehensive plan to save Iberia after record losses and return it to profitability was announced today by International Airlines Group (IAG). Iberia’s transformation plan will introduce permanent structural change across all areas of the business with the aim of stemming losses and returning the Spanish airline to profitability.

Transformation Plan Highlights:
  • Stem Iberia’s cash losses by mid-2013.
  • Turnaround in profitability of at least €600 million from 2012 levels to align Iberia with IAG’s target return on capital of 12 per cent by 2015.
  • Network capacity cut by 15 per cent in 2013 to focus on profitable routes.
  • Downsizing its fleet by 25 aircraft – five long haul and 20 short haul.
  • Reduction of 4,500 jobs to safeguard around 15,500 posts across the airline. This is in line with capacity cuts and improved productivity across the airline.
  • New commercial initiatives to boost unit revenues including increased ancillary sales and website redesign.
  • Discontinue non-profitable third party maintenance and retain profitable ground handling services outside Madrid.
  • The transformation will be funded from Iberia’s internal resources
In the short term the transformation will focus on stemming the losses and creating a profitable route network. This will include suspending loss making routes and frequencies and ensuring there is effective feed for profitable long haul flights.
As well as halting Iberia’s financial decline we will establish a viable business that can grow profitably in the long term. Short and medium haul operations will be transformed to compete effectively with low cost carriers who have successfully established themselves in Iberia’s home market. The plan will see comprehensive productivity improvements and the introduction of permanent salary adjustments to achieve a competitive and flexible cost base.
Iberia has many advantages. It has an excellent geographical position to serve Latin America, along with historical ties; a strong brand and the ability to grow long term at it hub.
A deadline of January 31, 2013 has been set to reach agreement with the unions. If agreement is not reached, deeper cuts and a more radical reduction in the size and scale of Iberia’s operations will take place to secure the natural long haul traffic flows at Madrid and safeguard the company’s future.
Rafael Sánchez-Lozano, Iberia’s chief executive, said: “Iberia is in fight for survival. It is unprofitable in all its markets. We have to take tough decisions now to save the company and return it to profitability. Unless we take radical action to introduce permanent structural change the future for the airline is bleak. However this plan gives us a platform to turn the business around and grow.
“The Spanish and European economic crisis has impacted on Iberia, but its problems are systemic and pre-date the country’s current difficulties. The company is burning €1.7 million every day. Iberia has to modernise and adapt to the new competitive environment as its cost base is significantly higher than its main competitors in Spain and Latin America.”
“Time is not on our side. We have set a deadline of January 31, 2013 to reach agreement with our trade unions. We enter those negotiations in good faith. If we do not reach consensus we will have to take more radical action which will lead to greater reductions in capacity and jobs”.
Willie Walsh, IAG’s chief executive said: “We want Iberia to be strong and successful. For too long the narrow self interest of the few has damaged the long term future for the many. We will not hesitate to take the necessary steps to protect the interests of our shareholders, our customers and our employees.
“This turnaround plan is critical for Iberia and for the future of Spain.  A strong and profitable Iberia can create jobs and boost tourism, a key driver in Spain’s economic recovery”.
Copyright Photo: Paul Denton. Iberia will look drastically different in 2013 with many European routes like Madrid-Geneva being dropped or replaced by lower cost carriers. Iberia’s Airbus A319-111 EC-HGS (msn 1180) taxies at GVA.
Iberia: 

Spirit Airlines adds new seasonal services

Spirit Airlines (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood) today starts new seasonal service to a variety of warm and sunny destinations and resumes seasonal service to favorite winter travel hot spots, including:

  • New nonstop service to Tampa from Chicago — as well as resuming increased seasonal service to Tampa from Detroit and Fort Lauderdale, plus low fare connections to a variety of destinations throughout the Caribbean and Latin America.
  • New nonstop service to Fort Myers from Boston, Dallas/Fort Worth and Minneapolis/St. Paul — as well as resuming seasonal service from Chicago, and increased frequencies from Detroit and Atlantic City.
  • New nonstop service from Minneapolis/St. Paul to Fort Lauderdale and Fort Myers — as well as low fare connections to a variety of destinations throughout the Caribbean and Latin America.
  • New nonstop service from Chicago to Phoenix/Mesa and Tampa — as well as resuming seasonal service to Fort Myers.
  • Resuming seasonal service between Atlantic City and West Palm Beach.
  • Resuming seasonal nonstop service between Detroit and Cancun, Mexico.

In addition, the ultra low-fare airline today also starts daily nonstop service from San Diego to two new markets: Portland, Oregon and Los Cabos, Mexico.

Spirit’s Portland, Oregon (PDX) — San Diego (SAN) schedule effective November 8, 2012:

Depart Arrive Flight # Stops Frequency
Portland, Oregon — San Diego 6:15 am 8:45 am 470 0 Daily
San Diego — Portland, Oregon 8:51 pm 11:21 pm 245 0 Daily

Spirit’s San Diego (SAN) — Los Cabos, Mexico (SJD) schedule effective November 8, 2012:

Depart Arrive Flight # Stops Frequency
San Diego — Los Cabos, Mexico 10:40 am 1:45 pm 107 0 Daily
Los Cabos, Mexico — San Diego 2:40 pm 3:55 pm 108 0 Daily

In addition to San Diego, Spirit’s service from Portland includes daily nonstop service to Dallas/Fort Worth and Las Vegas, as well as connecting service to Los Cabos, Mexico.

Spirit’s network from San Diego includes daily nonstop service to Dallas/Fort Worth, Las Vegas, Los Cabos, and now Portland, Oregon.

Copyright Photo: Tony Storck. Airbus A320-232 N602NK (msn 4264) lines up to land at Baltimore/Washington.

Spirit Airlines: 

Frontier Airlines to expand service at Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) has announced it will expand on its existing annual summer seasonal nonstop service between Denver, Colorado (DEN) and Jackson Hole, Wyoming (JAC) with the addition of winter season flying beginning February 13, 2013. The Denver-based carrier will operate two weekly flights through April 7, 2013. Frontier’s summer season service in Jackson Hole will resume May 2013.

Following is the schedule for Frontier’s Jackson Hole service:

Denver-Jackson Hole (beginning Feb. 13, 2013)

Route Departs Arrives Frequency Aircraft
DEN-JAC 12:25 p.m. 1:55 p.m. Wed/Sun A319
JAC-DEN 2:35 p.m. 4:05 p.m. Wed/Sun A319

Frontier’s Jackson Hole service operates on 138-seat Airbus A319 aircraft.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Airbus A319-111 N919FR (msn 1980) departs from Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport (FLL).

Frontier Airlines: 

Like most carriers, JetBlue Airways restores full operations in the storm-ravaged New York area

JetBlue Airways Corporation (New York) reports the following impact of Hurricane Sandy, and its plans to help the community recover.

Operations are fully restored to the JetBlue airports impacted by Hurricane Sandy, including all New York metropolitan airports, and the airline expects to resume its full schedule today, November 3, 2012.

JetBlue customers booked for travel through Sunday, November 4, 2012 may rebook without fee through November 14. Customers who purchased tickets on or before October 28, 2012 and booked for travel through the end of the year who find themselves unable to travel may convert the full value of their ticket into a credit valid for one year.  Full details are available here: http://bit.ly/ME6Gx4

JetBlue is matching the first $100,000 in donations made to the American Red Cross via its website (http://jetbluegives.org/).  In addition, the company is donating $250,000 to the JetBlue Crewmember Crisis Fund, a 503(c) independent non-profit designed to support JetBlue crewmembers, and will match, dollar for dollar, all crewmember donations to the fund through November 30, 2012.

“New York is our hometown, and accordingly, we had a large number of crewmembers, customers and neighbors in harm’s way this week. Our thoughts are with those who lost loved ones and suffered catastrophic property loss throughout the Northeast,” said JetBlue President and CEO Dave Barger.

Although JetBlue cancelled 1,484 flights in October due to Hurricane Sandy, the overall financial impact to JetBlue’s October profitability is not expected to be material. JetBlue cancelled 230 additional flights in November due to Hurricane Sandy, and the company expects short term demand to soften as customers focus their attention to recovering from the storm. As a result, fourth quarter impact is expected to be material.

“The storm is not yet behind us,” Mr. Barger said. “Our families and communities are focused on rebuilding.  The JetBlue family is here to help. I would like to thank JetBlue’s 14,500 crewmembers for their commitment to running a reliable operation for our customers at this difficult time, as well the City and State of New York, the City of Newark, the State of New Jersey, all of the first responders including police, fire and emergency medical technicians, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for their leadership and partnership. We are ready, willing and able to do our part and more to get our hometown back to business as usual.”

Copyright Photo: Stephen Tornblom. JetBlue is proud to be considered New York’s airline. Airbus A320-232 N586JB (msn 2160) displays the “I Love NY” special livery on the ramp at New York (JFK). During the storm, nearby LaGuardia Airport was under water due to the storm surge which pushed water in from Long Island Sound on to the runways and the eastern ramps.

JetBlue Airways: 

Many of our friends and readers are suffering in the affected areas, especially in the New Jersey shore, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens and Hoboken. Please give what you can to the American Red Cross: 

easyJet to launch 10 new routes from London’s airports in 2013

easyJet (UK) (London-Luton) has announced today that it will be introducing ten new routes from the summer of 2013 across the four London airports it operates from – London Gatwick, London Luton, London Stansted and London Southend.

The Russian capital Moscow, Greek city Kalamata, along with the Greek island of Mykonos and Spanish city of Santiago join other European city break favorites Sofia, Berlin and Krakow as well as the Sardinian resort of Olbia. The further afield destinations Sharm El Sheikh and Marrakech will also feature from additional easyJet London bases.

The route expansion means that more than 316,000 affordable seats have been added to easyJet’s 2013 Summer schedule which now extends to a total of 340 routes from the UK.

Year-round flights from London Stansted to Sharm el Sheik, Marrakech and Sofia are available from just £86.99 and £30.99 respectively and will significantly strengthen and expand the range of destinations on offer from London Stansted Airport.

New summer routes for London Luton Airport include Greek island Mykonos and Sardinian treasure Olbia, while the German city of Berlin and Polish city of Krakow will now fly year-round from London Southend Airport with fares starting from £22.99*. The new routes at Southend will be served by an additional aircraft at the airport.

The airline has today announced expansion plans which will see the airline begin flying to the popular Greek resort of Mykonos and the historic Sardinian resort of Olbia, from the summer of 2013 from Luton Airport.

EasyJet will fly to the Greek resort of Mykonos twice a week from London Luton Airport with fares starting from as little as £32.99* and the inaugural flight taking off on April 26, 2013.

Mykonos is a Greek island which forms part of the Cyclades and lies between Tinos, Syros, Paros and Naxos. A sun worshipper’s paradise, the island is also awash with cultural heritage with Petros the Pelican and the Mykonos Windmills being two of the most recognized landmarks of Mykonos.

The new route to Olbia will operate twice a week with fares starting from £30.99* and inaugural flights taking off from May 15, 2013. Olbia is the gateway to the beautiful white beaches of the northeast Sardinian coast and the glittering Costa Smeralda. Once a little fishing village, it has grown to become Sardinia’s busiest ferry port and a haven for food lovers.

In other news, easyJet, announced today that it will reach the landmark of flying more than 100 routes from London Gatwick Airport.

The airline also revealed last week that it has been successfully awarded the rights to fly between London Gatwick – easyJet’s largest base, and Moscow – a key business and leisure destination with fares starting from as little as £67.00*. EasyJet will operate an Airbus A320 on two services a day between London Gatwick and Moscow Domodedovo airport and expects to fly over 230,000 passengers in its first year of operations alone with tickets on sale in the coming months. Flights will start from next Spring.

EasyJet’s Gatwick route expansion continues with the launch of flights between London Gatwick and Kalamata in Greece, as well as the Spanish city of Santiago from the summer of 2013. The airline will fly to Kalamata twice a week, with fares starting from £34.99*. This is easyJet’s first time flying to the Greek city and the inaugural flight will take off from London Gatwick on July 6, 2012. EasyJet’s new route to the historic Spanish city of Santiago will see the airline flying to the beautiful city three times a week, with fares starting from £32.99* and the inaugural flight departs on June 18, 2013.

* one way, including taxes based on two people travelling on the same booking.

Copyright Photo: Arnd Wolf. Airbus A319-111 G-EZBR (msn 3088) taxies past the camera at Salzburg, Austria. The airliner wears the special “Airbus 100″ logo to commemorate the delivery of the 100th Airbus aircraft.

easyJet (UK): 

EVA Air becomes a new Airbus A321 operator

EVA Air (Taipei) of Taiwan has become a new operator of Airbus single aisle aircraft following the delivery today (October 31) of its first A321. The aircraft is being leased from Aviation Capital Group (ACG) and is the first of 12 A321s ordered by the US lessor. The aircraft was handed over at a ceremony in Hamburg attended by Chang Kuo Wei, President of EVA Air.

EVA currently plans to introduce 12 leased A321s into its fleet between now and end-2014 for operation on regional routes. The airline has specified a high comfort two class layout for the aircraft seating 184 passengers. EVA’s A321 fleet will be powered by CFM International CFM56 engines.

EVA Air plans to introduce the new A321 on November 10 on the Taipei (Taoyuan)-Macau route according to Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Gerd Beilfuss. The first, the pictured Airbus A321-211 D-AVZD (msn 5354) at Hamburg (Finkenwerder), became B-16201 at today’s handover.

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EVA Air: 

Spirit Airlines reports third quarter adjusted net income of $25.2 million

Spirit Airlines, Inc. (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood) today (OCtober 31) reported third quarter 2012 financial results.

  • Net income, excluding special items, for the third quarter 2012 was $25.2 million, or $0.35 per diluted share1. GAAP net income for the third quarter 2012 was $30.9 million, or $0.43 per diluted share.
  • Operating margin, excluding special items, for the third quarter of 2012 was 11.8 percent1. Operating margin on a GAAP basis was 14.5 percent for the third quarter of 2012.
  • Adjusted EBITDAR for the third quarter 2012 was $81.8 million, resulting in an Adjusted EBITDAR margin of 23.9 percent.
  • Spirit ended the third quarter 2012 with $399.1 million in unrestricted cash.

Revenue Performance

For the third quarter 2012, Spirit’s total operating revenue was $342.3 million, an increase of $53.6 million, or 18.6 percent, compared to third quarter 2011 on a capacity increase of 22.7 percent.

Total revenue per available seat mile (“RASM”) for the third quarter 2012 was 11.52 cents, a decrease of 3.4 percent compared to the third quarter 2011, driven by lower load factor and operating yields against very strong results last year.

Passenger flight segment (“PFS”) volume grew 23.2 percent year-over-year in the third quarter 2012 with total revenue per PFS of $121.65. Average non-ticket revenue per PFS for the third quarter 2012 increased 11.5 percent year-over-year to $49.80 while average ticket revenue per PFS for the quarter decreased 12.1 percent year-over-year to $71.85 as Spirit continued its strategy to offer low base fares while increasing revenue from non-ticket sources. In addition, ticket revenue per passenger segment in the third quarter 2011 included the benefit from the Federal Excise Tax holiday.

Cost Performance

Total operating expenses in the third quarter 2012 were $292.6 million, an increase of $48.5 million, or 19.9 percent, compared to the same period in 2011, primarily driven by fuel and other expenses associated with increased flight volume, partially offset by a gain associated with the sale of four air carrier slots at Ronald Reagan National Airport. Other expense drivers included passenger re-accommodation costs related to flight cancellations and crew-related costs as a result of network scope changes.

Cost per available seat mile excluding special items and fuel (“Adjusted CASM ex-fuel”) for the third quarter 2012 was 6.02 cents, an increase of 4.9 percent year-over-year, largely driven by higher passenger re-accommodation costs related to flight cancellations. Other primary drivers included additional rent for an aircraft temporarily leased from a third-party provider to maintain desired capacity levels during the summer, start-up costs associated with the Company’s seat maintenance program and implementation costs of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.

During the third quarter 2012, the Company incurred start-up costs related to its seat maintenance program of $2.3 million, bringing its total costs incurred related to this program to $5.4 million. Spirit estimates that total start-up costs related to this program will be approximately $7 million with the remaining balance incurred in the fourth quarter 2012.

Selected Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Items

At the end of the third quarter 2012, Spirit had $399.1 million in unrestricted cash and cash equivalents and no restricted cash balance. As of September 30, 2012, the Company had no debt on its balance sheet and total shareholders’ equity of $559.5 million.

During the third quarter 2012, the Company had capital expenditures of $2.5 million, paid $11.5 million in pre-delivery deposits (“PDPs”) for future deliveries of aircraft and spare engines and paid $13.0 million in maintenance reserves, net of reimbursements.

Fleet

Spirit ended the third quarter 2012 with 42 aircraft in its fleet. The Company has two new A320 aircraft scheduled for delivery in the fourth quarter 2012, which deliveries would bring the year-end 2012 fleet to 44 aircraft. In addition, in October 2012, Spirit signed a Letter of Intent with ILFC to lease three used A319 and five A320neo aircraft, subject to final documentation. These aircraft are undergoing customary maintenance checks, and the Company currently expects one A319 aircraft to be delivered in December 2012 with two expected to be delivered in January 2013. Delivery dates for the A320neo aircraft will be confirmed after Spirit has made a decision on its engine type selection for the A320neo.

Third Quarter 2012 and Other Current Highlights

  • Recently added/announced new service between (service start date):
- Dallas/Fort Worth and Baltimore/Washington (9/6/12) - San Diego and Portland, Oregon (11/8/12)
- Fort Lauderdale and Baltimore/Washington (9/6/12) - San Diego and Los Cabos, Mexico (11/8/12)**
- Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston (9/20/12) - Dallas/Fort Worth and New Orleans (1/24/13)
- Houston and Chicago (10/4/12) - Dallas/Fort Worth and Oakland/
- Houston and Las Vegas (10/4/12) San Francisco (4/25/13)
- Denver and Phoenix/Mesa (10/4/12) - Dallas/Fort Worth and Los Angeles (4/25/13)
- Chicago and Tampa (11/8/12)* - Dallas/Fort Worth and Cancun, Mexico (4/25/13)
- Chicago and Phoenix/Mesa (11/8/12)* - Dallas/Fort Worth and Minneapolis/St. Paul (4/25/13)
- Minneapolis/St. Paul and Fort Lauderdale (11/8/12)* - Dallas/Fort Worth and Philadelphia (4/25/13)
- Minneapolis/St. Paul and Fort Myers (11/8/12)* - Dallas/Fort Worth and Los Cabos, Mexico (6/13/12)**
- Dallas/Fort Worth and Fort Myers (11/8/12)* - Dallas/Fort Worth and Latrobe/Pittsburgh (6/14/13)
- Boston and Fort Myers (11/8/12)*
  • Announced opening a Crew Base at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on December 1, 2012.

*Seasonal service only

**Spirit has filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation (“DOT”) to begin nonstop service between Dallas/Fort Worth and Los Cabos, Mexico and between San Diego and Los Cabos, Mexico, subject to necessary governmental approval.

Copyright Photo: Tony Storck. Spirit Airlines is now serving Baltimore/Washington. Airbus A320-232 N608NK (msn 4902) prepares to land at BWI.

Spirit Airlines: 

ILFC delivers an Airbus A320 to Myanmar Airways International

International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC), a wholly owned subsidiary of American International Group, Inc. (AIG), announced it has delivered an Airbus A320-200 aircraft to MAI-Myanmar Airways International (Yangon). This A320 is the first commercial jet aircraft of its type to be provided on an operating lease to an airline in Myanmar by a global aircraft leasing company.

“ILFC is very pleased to be the first international leasing company to lease an A320 in Myanmar. We look forward to supporting MAI’s growth and that of the aviation industry in Myanmar,” said ILFC’s Head of Asia Pacific, David Nixon. “ILFC believes MAI will succeed on their plan to offer the region a preferred premium carrier. The A320 delivered to MAI will modernize and expand MAI’s current A320 fleet and offer increased takeoff weight, greater range and improved fuel economy.”

Si Thu, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Myanmar Airways International, commented, “ILFC is one of the best brands in aviation, providing advanced total aircraft fleet solutions to its global partners. ILFC is the right partner for MAI, and the timing of this first ILFC A320 aircraft delivery to our airline will help us expand our fleet and extend our routes in this new era in Myanmar.”

Copyright Photo: Greenwing. This former OLT Express (Poland) Airbus A320-214 EI-EYH (msn 973, ex SP-IAC) became XY-AGO on its lease from ILFC on October 27.

MAI-Myanmar Airways International: 

Virgin Australia makes three bold moves

Virgin Australia Holdings Limited (Virgin Australia Airlines) (Brisbane) is making three bold moves. The company issued the following statement:

Virgin Australia Holdings Limited today announced three transactions designed to accelerate the growth of the business, diversify its earnings and increase competition in Australia.

The transactions include:

  • making a placement of shares to Singapore Airlines (Singapore), which will see Singapore Airlines owning a 10% interest in Virgin Australia Holdings;
  • entering a Share Purchase Agreement to acquire 60% of the existing shares in Tiger Airways Australia (Melbourne) from Tiger Airways; and
  • entering an in-principle agreement with Skywest Airlines (Perth) to acquire 100% of its business.

Virgin Australia Chief Executive Officer John Borghetti said: “The transactions announced today are in line with Virgin Australia’s strategy to become the airline of choice in all markets, in order to diversify our earnings and drive growth opportunities for the business.

“The acquisition of Tiger Australia and Skywest provides Virgin Australia with a strong presence in the budget, Fly-in Fly-Out (FIFO) and regional markets, enabling us to fast-track our expansion in these areas and become a stronger competitor”, Mr Borghetti said.

“These transactions will bring important benefits to Australia, driving growth in jobs, tourism and competition”, Mr Borghetti said.

If approved, following the completion of the transactions, the Virgin Australia Group will expand to 139 aircraft and over 9,000 employees .

Virgin Australia will keep the market updated regarding progress on these transactions.

Meanwhile partner Singapore Airlines (Singapore) has ordered 20 Airbus A350-900s and five A380s and will assign its 20 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners to subsidiary Scoot (Singapore).

Top Copyright Photo: Lloyd Fox. If approved, Skywest Airlines (Perth) will become a 100% subsidiary of Virgin Australia. The regional carrier is already operating ATR 72-500s for Virgin Australia in their livery. The Skywest brand used for other Western Australia routes is now likely to disappear.

Virgin Australia: 

Skywest Airlines: 

Tiger Airways (Australia): 

Bottom Copyright Photo: Micheil Keegan. Since Singapore Airlines and its Tiger Airways (Australia) subsidiary are now partners with Virgin Australia, it is unclear if Tiger Airways (Australia), a competitor of Virgin Australia, will continue to use the the Tiger Airways brand in Australia or operate now under the Virgin Australia name. Airbus A320-232 VH-VNO (msn 4053) climbs away from Sydney.

Finnair and Marimekko launch a design collaboration, the first “Marimekko A340″ is launched

Finnair (Helsinki) and Finnish design house Marimekko are teaming up to enhance the air travel experience with a new design partnership. From spring 2013 all Finnair aircraft will feature a Marimekko for Finnair collection of textiles and tableware, featuring Marimekko’s classic patterns. The Marimekko for Finnair collection is specially designed to add a light and fresh visual and tactile dimension to the onboard experience, while lightening the airline’s carbon footprint as well.

Two of Finnair’s long-haul aircraft will also wear livery based on Marimekko designs.  An Airbus A340-300 (A340-313X OH-LQD) featuring  Maija Isola’s iconic Unikko floral print from 1964 is already operating between Helsinki and Finnair’s Asian destinations, and it will be followed by another aircraft in Marimekko livery in spring 2013. OH-LQD was unveiled on October 21 at Helsinki.

Marimekko is a Finnish textile and clothing design company renowned first and foremost for its original prints and colors. The company designs and manufactures high-quality household goods ranging from interior decoration textiles to tableware as well as clothing, bags, and other accessories. When Marimekko was founded in 1951, its unprecedented printed fabrics gave it a strong and unique identity. Marimekko products are sold in about 40 countries. In 2011, sales of the company’s brands were some EUR 170 million with net sales of EUR 77 million. At the end of the year, there were 90 Marimekko stores. The key markets are North America, Northern Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. The Group has about 500 employees. Marimekko’s shares are quoted on NASDAQ OMX Helsinki Ltd.

Video and Image: Finnair.

Finnair: 

JetBlue reports net income of $45 million in the third quarter

JetBlue Airways Corporation (JetBlue Airways) (New York) reported its results for the third quarter 2012:

  • Operating income for the quarter was $113 million, resulting in an 8.6% operating margin, compared to operating income of $108 million and a 9.0% operating margin in the third quarter of 2011.
  • Pre-tax income of $73 million in the third quarter.  This compares to pre-tax income of $56 million in the third quarter of 2011.
  • Net income for the third quarter was $45 million, or $0.14 per diluted share.  This compares to JetBlue’s third quarter 2011 net income of $35 million, or $0.11 per diluted share.

Operational Performance

JetBlue reported record operating revenues in the third quarter of $1.3 billion, an increase of 9.4% versus the same period last year. Revenue passenger miles for the third quarter increased 8.9% to 9.07 billion on a capacity increase of 8.6%, resulting in a third quarter load factor of 84.8%, an increase of 0.3 points year over year.

Yield per passenger mile in the third quarter was 13.15 cents, up 0.8% compared to the third quarter of 2011.  Passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) for the third quarter 2012 increased 1.1% year over year to 11.15 cents and operating revenue per available seat mile (RASM) increased 0.7% year over year to 12.21 cents.

Operating expenses for the quarter increased 9.8%, or $108 million, over the prior year period.  JetBlue’s operating expense per available seat mile (CASM) for the third quarter increased 1.1% year-over-year to 11.16 cents.

Excluding fuel, CASM increased 3.7% to 6.67 cents, driven primarily by higher maintenance expense due to the aging of JetBlue’s fleet.

Fuel Expense and Hedging

JetBlue continued to hedge fuel to manage price volatility. Specifically, during the third quarter JetBlue hedged approximately 27% of its fuel consumption and additionally managed approximately 18% of its fuel consumption using fixed forward price agreements (FFPs), resulting in a realized fuel price of $3.17 per gallon, a 2% decrease over third quarter 2011 realized fuel price of $3.25.  JetBlue’s fuel expense reflects approximately $2 million in gains on fuel hedges settling during the third quarter.

JetBlue has hedged approximately 27% of its fourth quarter projected fuel requirements using a combination of collars, crude call options, and jet fuel swaps.  In addition, JetBlue has managed approximately 19% of its fourth quarter projected fuel consumption using FFPs. Based on the fuel curve as of October 19th, JetBlue expects an average price per gallon of fuel, including the impact of hedges, FFPs and fuel taxes, of $3.25 in the fourth quarter and $3.22 for the full year 2012.

Balance Sheet Update

JetBlue ended the third quarter with approximately $1.1 billion in unrestricted cash and short term investments.  Since December 31, 2011, JetBlue has increased the number of unencumbered A320 aircraft to seven and decreased the total debt balance by approximately $213 million.

Fourth Quarter and Full Year Outlook

For the fourth quarter of 2012, CASM is expected to increase between 2.0% and 4.0% over the year-ago period.  JetBlue expects roughly half of this year over year increase to be driven by maintenance expense.  Excluding fuel, CASM in the fourth quarter is expected to increase between 2.0% and 4.0% year over year.

CASM for the full year is expected to increase between 1.5% and 3.5% over full year 2011.  Excluding fuel, CASM in 2012 is expected to increase between 2.0% and 4.0% year over year.

Capacity is expected to increase between 5.0% and 7.0% in the fourth quarter and to increase between 7.0% and 9.0% for the full year.

On the aircraft side, Jetblue is scheduled to take delivery of four Airbus A320s and  one Embraer ERJ 190 before the end of the year. All four A320s will be paid in cash as it is believed this is best for the ROIC (Return On Investment Commitment).

Copyright Photo: Stephen Tornblom. Airbus A320-232 N598JB (msn 2314) at the New York (JFK) hub presents a nice ramp portrait in the Barcode tail design.

JetBlue Airways: 

The first Airbus A319 for Allegiant Air is painted, net income of $16.9 million in the 3Q

 

Allegiant Air‘s (Las Vegas) first Airbus A319 has been painted at Southend awaiting delivery.

In other news, the low-fare airline has cancelled all plans to operate Monterey-Honolulu service according to Airline Route.

On the financial side, the parent company issued the following statement for the third quarter:

Allegiant Travel Company has reported the following financial results for the third quarter 2012 as well as comparisons to prior year equivalents:

Unaudited 3Q12 3Q11 Change
Total operating revenue (millions) $216.9 $191.5 13.2%
Operating income (millions) $28.7 $16.7 71.8%
Operating margin 13.3% 8.7% 4.5pp
EBITDA (millions) $44.6 $27.5 62.3%
EBITDA margin 20.6% 14.4% 6.2pp
Net income (millions) $16.9 $9.5 78.6%
Diluted earnings per share $0.87 $0.49 77.6%

“We are very proud to report our 39th consecutive profitable quarter,” stated Maurice J. Gallagher, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Allegiant Travel Company.  “I`d like to thank our Team Members for their great efforts and contributions to another successful quarter.  The third quarter is typically our weakest quarter of the year, and yet we were able to produce the highest third quarter earnings per share in the company`s history.  This is particularly noteworthy to have done this in a quarter with the average oil price at $92 per barrel and in a demand environment that has been slightly weaker than historical norms.”

Notable company highlights

  • Entered into a lease agreement with GECAS for nine Airbus A319 aircraft on August 27
  • Announced intention to acquire ten Airbus A319 aircraft from Cebu Pacific Air on July 30
  • Announced service to Honolulu from Boise, Idaho, Phoenix and Spokane, Wash. to begin in early February 2013
  • Announced the formation of Allegiant Systems, a joint venture with AvIntel and Lixar IT to develop and market a wide variety of mobile technology services to the commercial aviation industry
  • As of October 23, we have converted 40 MD-80s to 166 seat aircraft
  • Announced fifteen routes, in addition to Hawaii, expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2012

Revenue performance

  • Average fare – ancillary air-related revenue per passenger has grown to $37.05 in the third quarter 2012, a $4.66 increase since the first quarter 2012
  • September average fare – ancillary air-related revenue per passenger has grown to $38.08, a $5.48 increase since March 2012
  • 11th consecutive quarter of year over year increases in total average fare
3Q12 3Q11 Change
Scheduled Service:
Average fare – scheduled service $82.30 $84.94 (3.1)%
Average fare – ancillary air-related charges $37.05 $30.38 22.0%
Average fare – ancillary third party products $5.59 $5.31 5.3%
Average fare – total $124.94 $120.63 3.6%
Scheduled service passenger revenue per ASM (PRASM) (cents) 7.89 8.58 (8.0)%
Total scheduled service revenue* per ASM (TRASM) (cents) 11.98 12.19 (1.7)%
Load factor 90.1% 92.2% (2.1)pp
Passengers (millions) 1.6 1.5 9.4%
Average passengers per departure 143 136 5.1%

* Total scheduled service revenue includes scheduled service, ancillary air-related, and ancillary third party revenue.

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton. Formerly operated by easyJet (Switzerland), Airbus A319-111 HB-JZK (msn 2319) is the first A319 for Allegiant Air. It is pictured after painting at a Southend, near London. The airframe will become N301NV on delivery.

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Allegiant Air: 

Wow Air acquires rival Iceland Express

Wow Air (stylized as WOW air) (Keflavik) yesterday (October 24) took control of all Iceland Express (Keflavik) flight operations and schedules. No disruption is expected for passengers booked on Iceland Express flights and Wow Air will ensure that all obligations to them are fulfilled.

The move is not a merger, it is a takeover, with Wow Air acquiring the Iceland Express route network, branding and customer base; as well as gaining access to all knowledge and expertise acquired by the company in its years of operation. The united company will fly under the “WOW air” brand, which will continue to emphasise entertaining service, extra legroom, and always providing the lowest available prices to and from Iceland. This acquisition creates a very powerful Icelandic low-fares airline with new destinations and greater frequency.

Wow Air will immediately begin offering more flights to Iceland from London and Copenhagen, as well as flights this winter from Berlin. Routes will also operate between Iceland and Salzburg over the skiing season and Warsaw and Kaunas over Christmas.

From next spring Wow Air will operate four Airbus A320s and will offer up to 400,000 tickets to and from Iceland. The company”s summer timetable will include 15 European destinations: London, Copenhagen, Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Milan, Zurich, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Berlin, Lyon, Alicante, Frankfurt, Vilnius and Warsaw. In addition to the higher number of destinations, the frequency of flights to many of them will also increase significantly.

Wow Air was established in November 2011 by Icelandic serial entrepreneur Skuli Mogensen. Skuli has had a successful career building companies primarily in the telecom and technology sector in Iceland, Europe and North America. He was voted businessman of the year 2011 in Iceland.

Top Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner. Avion Express is operating two Airbus A320s for Wow Air in their colors. A320-231 LY-COS (msn 415) “WOW Force Two” taxies at Zurich.

Bottom Copyright Photo: Marco Finelli. Holidays/Czech Airlines is the latest and final operator for Iceland Express. Holidays’ Airbus A320-214 OK-LEE (msn 2719) taxies at Bologna in Holidays colors with Iceland Express titles. Previously Astraeus Airlines and Hello operated aircraft for Iceland Express. Neither Icelandic “airlines” had an AOC.

US Airways Group reports a third quarter net profit of $192 million, excluding special items

US Airways Group, Inc. (US Airways) (Phoenix) today reported its third quarter 2012 financial results. For the third quarter 2012, the Company reported a net profit excluding special items of $192 million, or $0.98 per diluted share, the second highest third quarter profit excluding special items in Company history. This compares to $95 million, or $0.51 per diluted share in the Company’s third quarter 2011. On a GAAP basis, the Company reported a record net profit of $245 million for its third quarter 2012, or $1.24 per diluted share, compared to a net profit of $76 million, or $0.41 per diluted share, for the same period in 2011.

Revenue and Cost Comparisons

Strong passenger demand and record consolidated third quarter yields led to improved revenue performance. Total revenues in the third quarter were a record $3.5 billion, up 2.8 percent versus the third quarter 2011 on a 2.7 percent increase in total available seat miles (ASMs). Total revenue per ASM was a record 15.22 cents, up 0.1 percent versus the same period last year, driven by a 0.6 percent increase in passenger yields.

Total operating expenses in the third quarter were $3.3 billion, up 0.3 percent over the same period last year. Mainline cost per available seat mile (CASM) was 12.70 cents, down 1.8 percent on a 2.8 percent increase in mainline ASMs. Total average fuel price per gallon fell 2.4 percent versus last year to $3.07 per gallon. Excluding special charges, fuel, and profit sharing mainline CASM was 7.95 cents, down 1.4 percent versus the same period last year. Express CASM excluding special charges and fuel was 13.97 cents, down 4.5 percent on a 2.4 percent increase in Express ASMs.

Liquidity

As of September 30, 2012, the Company had $2.8 billion in total cash and investments, of which $347 million was restricted. That is up from $2.4 billion, of which $384 million was restricted, on September 30, 2011.

Special Items

The Company recognized $14 million of net operating special charges in the third quarter of 2012, primarily consisting of charges related to corporate transaction and auction rate securities arbitration costs. In addition, the Company recorded $67 million of net nonoperating special credits which included a $69 million gain related to the slot transaction with Delta Air Lines, Inc.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Former America West Airlines’ Airbus A320-231 N631AW (msn 077) is now operating as US Airways taxies to the gate at Seattle/Tacoma International Airport. US Airways is still two airlines – East and West, with separate aircraft and crews for both divisions.

US Airways: 

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