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Tag Archives: Airbus

Frontier Airlines commences nonstop Denver-South Bend flights

Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) yesterday (October 11) expanded its service from Denver, Colorado (DEN) with the launch of nonstop service to South Bend, Indiana (SBN).

Following is the schedule for Frontier’s South Bend service:

Denver-South Bend (beginning Oct. 11, 2012)

Route Departs Arrives Frequency Aircraft
DEN-SBN 7:02 p.m. 11:33 p.m. Tue/Thur/Sat/Sun A319
SBN-DEN 10:07 a.m. 10:50 a.m. Mon/Wed/Fri/Sun A319

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

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Airbus A319-111 N902FR (msn 1515) taxies to the runway at Seattle/Tacoma International Airport.

Frontier Airlines: 

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All AviancaTaca Holding S.A. carriers to operate under a new Avianca brand

AviancaTaca Holding S.A. (subsidiary of Synergy Group) (Bogota), formed in February 2010 with the merger of Avianca (Bogota) and the TACA Group (San Salvador) has decided to consolidate all operations under the Avianca brand. All carriers in the new group will retain their legal names in their respective countries. A new livery is expected for the “new Avianca”. The group issued the following statement:

After rigorous market research and business analysis carried out with Lippincott – a world recognized marketing firm - Avianca was selected to be the single commercial brand for the airlines that today comprise AviancaTaca Holding S.A.

According to the results of the studies, positioning brand equity, and history of Avianca make it the best choice to expand and commercialize the products and services of all the airlines integrated in AviancaTaca Holding S.A.

From its official launch in 2013, the Avianca brand will be adopted as the commercial name for: Aerovías del Continente Americano S.A. Avianca and Tampa Cargo S.A., incorporated in Colombia, Aerolíneas Galápagos Aerogal S.A., incorporated in Ecuador and the airlines of the TACA Group: TACA Internacional Airlines S.A. incorporated in El Salvador, Líneas Aéreas Costarricences S.A. LACSA, incorporated in Costa Rica, Transamerican Airlines S.A. (TACA Peru) incorporated in Peru and Aviateca S.A., incorporated in Guatemala.

The companies will retain their legal name and add the trading name Avianca in their respective territory of incorporation. The airlines will maintain their respective legal and labor structures. The brand Avianca will be used in communication with clients and marketing in all the territories where the airlines operate.

After an intense reorganization of operations, with the goal of providing a superior travel experience to customers in Latin America and travelers from across the world, the airlines that conform AviancaTaca Holding S.A. prepare their migration to a single commercial brand. With this decision, the companies are seeking to consolidate their presence in markets and be more competitive in an increasingly complex and demanding environment.

Since the integration announcement in October 2009, the member airlines have moved forward with its modernization and growth program along with its plan to capture synergies. 45 routes to new destinations have been launched, capacity has been expanded by more than 37% and the fleet has been simplified from 11 to 4 types of aircraft families. These efforts, coupled with the adoption of a single technological platform for customer service, unification of the frequent flyer programs under the LifeMiles brand and integration to Star Alliance, sets the foundations to commercialize our products and services under a single brand.

The official launch of the new image and the start of commercialization under the brand will be carried out during the first half of 2013, after complying with the legal requirements in each country. Implementation will be rolled out throughout the year, beginning in the first half with the airlines of the TACA Group, Avianca and Tampa Cargo and Aerogal in the second half (once the Ecuadorean airline completes its technological standardization process and operational integration with the other airlines).

The CEO of AviancaTaca Holding S.A., Fabio Villegas Ramirez, said that: “As part of the integration process, the organization has been very visible driving activities that are highly relevant to the travelers and regions served by the group’s airlines. In parallel with the modernization of infrastructure, both on ground and on board, the network expansion and incorporation of new technologyl to improve the travel experience, the companies have simultaneously yielded sought after results in domestic and international markets, as well as impressive customer satisfaction figures, which drive growth and positive financial results.”

In announcing the decision to adopt a single commercial brand for the integrated airlines, the Chairman of the Board, Roberto Kriete, noted: “The goal is to position the airlines under the Avianca brand as the Leading Airline in Latin America and the traveler’s favorite. It is a company with Latin American roots with the best human talent of the industry in the region, looking to anticipate customer needs and renowned for the superior quality of service. This is how we can make sure that the new Avianca reflects the best operational practices of the airlines of the group enabling a strong presence. Under the brand Avianca we continue to fulfill our mission of integrating El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, and the nations of the Americas with the world at large through commercial aviation, which has been the inspiration since the companies were founded. We offer travelers a service that is both competitive, efficient and sustainable and we’ll continue creating jobs and aiding the development in the countries where we operate.”

In line with the decision to adopt a single commercial brand, expert staff and external consultants are working on the integration project of the Avianca brand image. The new image will be extended to all the products and services of the company, as well as the aircraft, uniforms and spaces used as customer touch points.

Both shareholders and executives of AviancaTaca Holding S.A. are confident that the consolidation of business activities under the Avianca brand constitute a new opportunity to reach the integration objectives. These goals are focused on providing a safe, friendly and efficient service for travelers in the region and across the world, who day after day choose to fly on the route network of the AviancaTaca Holding S.A. airlines.

Company management extend their gratitude and appreciation to the authorities of El Salvador and other countries where the companies of the TACA Group are incorporated, for their continuous support in the business development initiatives over nearly 85 years of uninterrupted operations in the region, enabling progress and improvements in the quality of life for Central American countries and the Americas as a whole.

Top Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. The Avianca familiar red brand will once again be updated for the larger group. Airbus A320-214 N446AV (msn 4046) taxies to the gate at Miami International Airport.



Bottom Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing. The TACA brand will now be retired. Airbus A320-233 N680TA (msn 3538) prepares to land at Los Angeles International Airport.

Korean Air plans to operate the last Airbus A300 flight on January 31, 2013

Korean Air (Seoul) is planning to retire its last Airbus A300 on January 31, 2013 according to Airline Route. The last flight is currently scheduled to be a roundtrip between Seoul (Gimpo) and Osaka (Kansai).

Copyright Photo: Kazuteru Sugawara. Airbus A300B4-622R HL7242 (msn 685) wearing a promotional livery for Jeju Island has already been parked.

Korean Air: 

Kingfisher Airlines pleads to its unpaid workers to return to work in order to restart operations

Kingfisher Airlines (Mumbai and Bangalore) is asking its unpaid workers to return to work so it can restart operations on October 13. The airline shut down operations through October 12 and faces a possible revocation of its AOC if it is unable to resume operations. The airline did not indicate when the workers would be paid.

Read the full account from Business Today: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best. Airbus A320-232 VT-KFL (msn 2817) is seen at Farnborough in better times.

Kingfisher Airlines: 

Air Pacific introduces the new Fiji Airways brand for the upcoming Airbus A330-200s

Air Pacific (Nadi, Fiji) introduced its Fiji Airways livery today. The airline stated:

Air Pacific, Fiji’s national airline, hosted a world premiere event in Suva to introduce the new livery and features of its brand-new Airbus A330s scheduled to take to the skies in 2013.

The new fleet represents many firsts for the airline. The aircraft are the first brand-new, wide-bodied aircraft the company has ever purchased. The state-of-the-art Airbus A330s are the first flown with the first-ever highly fuel-efficient, low-CO2 emission Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines. And flying under a new name and with a new brandmark, the new A330s represent the first aircraft designed exclusively for Fiji and Fiji’s national airline.

“Air Pacific is on a transformational journey to become a best-in-class airline, and we are pleased to have best-in-class partners—Airbus, Rolls-Royce, Singapore Airlines, Panasonic and Zodiac Aerospace/Weber—to join us. We have made significant progress with our turnaround plan during the last 30 months, and have taken great strides to ensure everyone who steps aboard Fiji Airways in 2013 will be able to start their holiday when they step aboard. Service and comfort are top priorities, and these state-of-the-art aircraft promise the best of both worlds,” stated Mr. Pflieger.

The island nation’s new aircraft are equipped with cloud-comfortable economy and business class seats designed by Zodiac Aerospace/Weber. Each seat will have 110v in-seat power for a full range of electronic devices, including laptops, games, iPhones and iPads. In addition, the new aircraft will be equipped with one of the most advanced in-flight entertainment systems flying today, designed and installed by Panasonic.

“We knew the exterior design needed to be just as distinctive, unique, and true to Fiji. Our mission was to create a proud symbol that would stand out at some of the world’s busiest international airports, a symbol that would allow us to become the very best ‘Flying Ambassador’ that Fiji could ever have,” said the airline’s CEO.

On the aircrafts’ exterior, three Masi symbols will represent ‘Fiji Airways’. The distinctive Teteva motif, designed by renowned Fijian Masi artist Makereta Matemosi, is at the heart of the new brandmark revealed last month. Featured prominently at the center of the airline’s new brandmark and on the tail of the new aircraft, it represents the friendliness of Fijians’ and their deep caring nature. The Rova symbol, on the aircraft engine, symbolises the warm greeting Fijians extend to visitors, while the Makare symbol, which appears in the prominent position and scale on the front and underside of the plane, communicates the new ‘Fiji Airways’ name by evoking the allure of clear water flowing on a white sandy beach.

The unveiling of ‘Fiji Airways’ new livery and plane interiors is the latest milestone in a series of initiatives that are part of Air Pacific’s revitalisation and modernisation. The final phase of this process will begin in early 2013 when the airline welcomes the first of the three brand-new A330s and returns to its 1951 name of ‘Fiji Airways.’ The second A330 is scheduled to arrive in May 2013 and the third in November 2013.

The full re-branding for the airline is due to be complete by the end of 2013, by which time the new ‘Fiji Airways’ brand will roll out across the international marketplace, ticket offices, check-in counters, airport lounge facilities, uniforms and the airline’s official website.

The airline’s World Premier event in Suva, Fiji, was dedicated to raising funds for Fiji’s neediest children and children from flood-stricken families. “Because we are a part of Fiji’s national community, we wanted to give back to Fiji’s local community,” said Mr. Pflieger. “Wings of Hope, our airline’s charity, is committed to supporting Fiji’s most precious resource – its children.”

The airline donated two round-trip business class tickets on the first A330 inaugural flight – or a flight of the winner’s choice – in a raffle and pledged to match its donations dollar-for-dollar. The proceeds will benefit the FRIEND (Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises and Development), which is based in Lautoka, through the Wings of Hope. The airline earlier this year donated FJ$100,000 to FRIEND. Wings of Hope has in the past also contributed to Nadi Hospital to assist school-children whose families were affected by March floods, Treasure Home (home for orphaned children) and various school projects.

We are pleased to unveil the design of our new Airbus 330-200 fleet taking to the skies in 2013. They are the first planes designed for Fiji’s international airline. They are the first wide bodied aircraft we have ever purchased, state of the art and highly fuel efficient with low carbon Rolls Royce engines. Our main cabin with in-seat power and video on demand featuring Panasonic’s cutting edge technology, in an environment that reflects the natural tones of Fiji. Relax in our business class seats designed for your comfort, where you will experience our exceptional Fiji Airways service. We look forward to proudly welcoming the world back on board as Fiji Airways and together we will soar to new horizons.

Image: Air Pacific. Air Pacific’s new Fiji Airways’ Airbus A330s will be “Flying Ambassadors” for Fiji in 2013.


Air Pacific: 

Turkish Airlines orders 15 additional Airbus A330-300s

Turkish Airlines (Istanbul) has placed an order for 15 additional Airbus A330-300s, their seventh order for the A330 family of aircraft and their twentieth Airbus order overall. The aircraft will be operated on medium and long haul routes from the Turkish Airlines hub in Istanbul.

Turkish Airlines placed their first order with Airbus in 1984, and now operate 101 Airbus aircraft including 17 A330 Family aircraft.

Copyright Photo: Gunter Mayer. Airbus A330-343X TC-JNR (msn 1311) taxies across the ramp at Nuremberg.

Turkish Airlines: 

Wow Air announces its plans for this winter

Wow Air (Keflavik) according to the new airline, “has announced increased competition in the marketplace, one of the main goals is to make flights to and from Iceland cheaper than ever.”

The airline flew to 13 destinations in Europe this summer; Copenhagen, London, Paris, Lyon, Alicante, Zurich, Basel, Stuttgart, Cologne, Berlin, Kaunas, Warsaw and Krakow.

This winter Wow Air will fly to Iceland from Berlin, London, and Alicante. Around Christmas the airline will offer flights to Copenhagen, Warsaw and Kaunas and over the ski season from December until March Wow Air offer ski flights to Salzburg.

Wow Air fleet consists of two Airbus A320s named WOW Force One and WOW Force Two. The aircraft are comfortably set up with 30-32 inch leg space and are wet leased from Avion Express.

Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner. Airbus A320-231 LY-COS (msn 415) taxies at Zurich.

The mess in South Africa

South African Airways (Johannesburg) is again having financial problems and has requested and reportedly received a loan from the government to bail out the company according to local media reports. Additional loans are expected to keep the airline flying as it continues in its “turnaround plan”.

The other independent carriers in South Africa, in competition domestically with the government flag carrier, are rightfully angry about the on-going state aid.

SAA will report a loss for the past year according to Business Day. The airline gave no comment to the local media.

Read the full report from BDlive: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Wingnut. SAA operates a predominate Airbus fleet. Airbus A340-642 ZS-SNI (msn 630) taxies across the ramp at London (Heathrow).

South African Airways: 

Cosmo Airlines buys seven Pluna Bombardier CRJ900s for European expansion

Cosmo Airlines (Madrid) is growing fast. The charter and ACMI airline is the winning auction bidder for seven Pluna (Montevideo) CRJ900s. The new fleet additions will be brought to Europe for expansion of operations in central and eastern Europe. Cosmo currently operates two 180-seat Airbus A320s.

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

“Cosmo Airlines bid $137 million, and was proclaimed the winner, being the highest bidder.

The Cosmo Group has a fleet of two Airbus 320s, and is in the process of expanding the fleet with more Airbus A320 family aircraft. With the acquisition of seven Bombardier aircraft the goal is to give a quantitative and qualitative leap in its European charter flights operations.”

The objective of the Cosmo Group with the acquisition of this fleet of seven CRJ900s, is to expand its charter business in Central and Eastern Europe, since aircraft acquired are appropriate to cover all flight ranges that exist within of these regions.”

Read the full report from Merco Press: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Marco Finelli. Cosmo Airlines’ Airbus A320-212 LY-COM (msn 528) taxies at Bologna.

Cosmo Airlines: 

easyJet adds new routes to Iceland

easyJet (UK) (London-Luton) has announced the addition of two new routes from Manchester and Edinburgh to Keflavik (near Reykjavik), which will begin in March 2013.

Twice weekly flights will leave Edinburgh and Manchester from March 14 and 21, 2013 respectively. The flights will leave Edinburgh on Mondays and Thursdays and Manchester on Thursdays and Sundays.

Earlier this year, easyJet operated its inaugural flight to Keflavik from London (Luton) – a route which has proved popular with passengers both in the UK and Iceland. The Luton – Keflavik service is now being increased from three to four flights per week throughout the year, bringing the total number of easyJet flights to the destination to eight per week from next March. The additional flight will operate on Fridays.

Copyright Photo: Stefan Sjogren.

easyJet (UK): 

Maldivian takes delivery of its first Airbus A320, will open new routes to India and Bangladesh


Maldivian (Island Aviation Services Ltd. dba) (Male) has announced it will launch new direct routes to Mumbai, Chennai and Dhaka in November as part of its regional expansion. The first Airbus A320, with 14 seats in the business class and 138 in the economy class will be flying these new routes.

The airline will operate three flights per week to Mumbai, Chennai and Dhaka. Flights to Mumbai will be on Wednesdays/Fridays/Sundays, while flights to Chennai will operate alternatively on Tuesdays/Thursdays/Saturdays.

The Maldives, a geological marvel nestled in the middle of the Indian Ocean, are made up of 1,190 coral islands that form an archipelago of 26 major atolls. Each of these atolls is fringed with abundance of exotic live corals and a rainbow of marine life.

Copyright Photo: Eurospot. On October 3, 2012 Maldivian added its first Airbus A320, the pictured former Iberia A320-214 EC-KHJ (msn 2347) now operating as 8Q-IAN.

Hot New Photos: 

Air Malta introduces its first aircraft in its striking new colors

Air Malta (Luqa) on September 29 introduced its new aircraft livery at the Malta International Airshow.

Air Malta’s Airbus A320-214 9H-AEN (msn 2665) in the new colors, opened this year’s flying display with a flypass over runway 23/05.

The aircraft, operating flight KM 070, flew to Malta just after being repainted in the new livery. The flight number was chosen to celebrate the 70th anniversary since the award of the “George Cross” to Malta that is being commemorated this year.

According to the airline, “the new livery design is fresh, bold, colorful and displays a new sense of pride in being the airline of the Maltese Islands. The design reflects the uniqueness of the Maltese islands with their proud heritage, colors, culture, symbols, hospitality and language. This is the first step in a series of projects aimed to re-brand the airline. Other projects in this area will be finilized and communicated in the coming months. The new livery also marks another milestone in airline’s cultural revolution, both internally and externally, and will support the airline’s new vision of ‘Flying The Pride of Malta’.”

Copyright Photo: Air Malta.

Air Malta: 

Kingfisher Airlines fights off labor unrest with a “partial lockout” and a temporary suspension of flights

Kingfisher Airlines (Bangalore and Mumbai) is now battling upset employees as the carrier struggles to survive and maintain a viable schedule. Management declared a “partial lock-out” and temporary suspension of flights.

The airline has issued the following statement:

Kingfisher Airlines Limited has announced that following a series of protracted and unabated incidents of violence, criminal intimidation, assault, wrongful restraint and other illegal acts including refraining from attending work, by a small section of recalcitrant employees which were all unnecessary and unprovoked, the management has been forced to declare a partial lock-out at the airline, effective immediately.

Kingfisher Airlines has more than sufficient number of staff to safely operate its current schedule of flights as per the holding plan. It is internally ascertained that despite the fact that a vast majority of the staff are willing to cooperate and support the company in these turbulent times, they are not able to/not being allowed to report to work on account of acts of criminal intimidation by the said same class of recalcitrant employees who have regrettably chosen to take law into their own hands, forcing a complete paralysis of operations.

In these circumstances, with the safety of passengers in mind, the Company is left with no other option but to take firm and decisive steps as advised in law, including disciplinary action against these recalcitrant employees, to bring the situation under control particularly with a view to getting flight operations back to normal at the earliest. All employees are hereby called upon to immediately and forthwith restore normalcy and resume normal duties.

Before commencing legal action, the Company will make efforts to continue to engage with these recalcitrant employees to persuade them to cease and desist from intimidating and threatening the vast majority of the work force that is willing to report for work with a view to commence normal flight operations as per the holding plan as soon as possible.

In the meanwhile, it has been decided that flight operations will be suspended for the next 3 days, i.e. until October 4, 2012.

We sincerely regret any inconvenience caused to our valued guests on account of this.

Copyright Photo: Paul Doyle. The struggling airline has been shedding its leased aircraft. Former Kingfisher Airlines Airbus A320-232 EI-EWS (VT-KFK) (msn 2670) is pictured arriving at Dublin on September 19, 2012 after a ferry flight from Istanbul. The aircraft will be repainted at the Eirtech Aviation facility for a new customer of BBAM.

Kingfisher Airlines: 

Spirit Airlines to charge passengers $100 fee to check their bags at the gate

Spirit Airlines (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood) has announced it will charge $100 to check a bag at the gate. The airline is taking the radical step because last minute bag checks at the gate are often delaying the departures according to the airline.

The airline issued the following statement:

Spirit Airlines’ (SAVE) carry-on bag program — which includes priority boarding — has proven successful for customers and the airline. It has helped speed the boarding process, ensured sufficient overhead space is available for all carry-on bags, and it has helped reduce the airline’s fuel consumption rate by the equivalent of nearly six million gallons in the past year alone. The success of the program has allowed customers to pay for only the services that they use and it has permitted Spirit to continue lowering fares for its customers.

Unfortunately, some customers are still waiting until they reach the boarding gate to purchase their carry-on. This slows the boarding process for all customers, delays flights, increases costs for the company, and ultimately results in higher fares for everyone.

Starting November 6, 2012, customers who wait until the last minute to purchase their carry-on at the boarding gate will be charged $100. The $100 carry-on bag fee is intentionally set high to deter costly delay-causing gate activity.

Much lower priced options are available for those who plan ahead and reserve their bags in advance with prices from as little as $20.

“Our goal is for no customer ever to pay the $100 fee,” says Spirit’s Chief Operating Officer Tony Lefebvre. “Spirit offers our customers multiple opportunities to avoid this unnecessary fee and save money. By planning ahead and paying for bags before getting to the boarding gate, our customers are saving time at the airport and speeding up the boarding process. When our customers choose these time-saving, self-service options, our costs go down, and we can pass those savings along to our customers.”

Spirit says advance planning can bring significant savings to customers if they purchase their bags in advance online when making their reservation, when checking in online, at an airport kiosk, or at an airport ticket counter. Checked bags are available for as low as $20 and carry-ons for as little as $25 (including priority boarding).

Spirit’s “Bring Less, Pay Less” bag program passes the cost of handling bags solely to those bringing bags rather than have everyone subsidize these costs. Customers who bring less, pay less. That’s exactly what has happened at Spirit. Spirit’s customers have reduced the amount of baggage, saved money and helped the company conserve the equivalent of nearly six million gallons of fuel in the last year alone compared to the rate of consumption before the introduction of the program.

Spirit Bag Fees (effective November 6, 2012):

$9 Fare Club
Member Online
Airport Ticket
Counter or Kiosk
Checked Bag $20 $30 $35 $45 $100
Carry-on $25 $35 $40 $50 $100

Spirit continues to offer customers one free personal item that fits under the seat free of charge. Also, a list of other items that are exempt from the carry-on bag fee can be found at spirit.com.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing. Airbus A319-132 N505NK (msn 2485) taxies off the runway at Las Vegas.

Spirit Airlines: 

Air Arabia Maroc arrives in London Gatwick

Air Arabia Maroc (airarabia.com) (Casablanca) on October 28 launched new service connecting Casablanca and Tangier with London (Gatwick). A total of five weekly flights will be operated between Morocco and the United Kingdom.

The new weekly flights between Casablanca and London-Gatwick Airport will operate on Mondays, Fridays and Sundays departing Casablanca Mohammed V International Airport at 09:45 and arriving in London-Gatwick Airport at 13:10. The return flight departs London-Gatwick Airport at 14:10 and arrives in Casablanca Mohammed V International Airport at 17:40.

Flights between Tangier and London-Gatwick Airport will operate on Thursdays and Sundays departing Tangier International Airport at 16:15 and arriving in London-Gatwick Airport at 19:25. The return flight departs London-Gatwick Airport at 12:15 and arrives in Tangier Airport at 15:30. All times are local.

Copyright Photo: Tony Storck. Airbus A320-214 CN-NMA (msn 3809) approaches Amsterdam for landing.

Air Arabia Maroc: 

Cyprus Airways expands with new domestic routes in Greece

Cyprus Airways (Larnaca) is adjusting its route map. On October 28 the flag carrier of Cyprus dropped all service to Milan (Malpensa) and Vienna and instead expanded domestic operations in neighboring Greece. Following the successful launch of the Athens-Thessaloniki route, the airline decided to expand operations in Greece on the following new routes:

• Athens-Heraklion, two daily flights.

• Athens-Rhodes one daily flight.

• Rhodes-Heraklion four flights a week.

• Athens – Thessaloniki now three flights daily (instead of two).

• Heraklion-Rhodes, four weekly flights (instead of three).

Cyprus Airways believes it has now built a long-term relationship in Greece. The airline has served the Greek market since its inception in 1947 from Cyprus.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing. The airline added its first Airbus A321 (the pictured 5B-DCO) on June 14, 2012. A321-231 5B-DCO (msn 2730) prepares to land at London (Heathrow).

Cyprus Airways: 

Frameable Color Prints and Posters: 

Wizz Air to start Budapest-Geneva service on December 14

Wizz Air (Hungary) (Budapest) will launch a new route from Budapest to Geneva starting on December 14. The new route will operate on three days a week. In addition, the company will launch a new route from from Belgrade to Beauvais.

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best. Airbus A320-233 HA-LPA (msn 839) is seen in action at London (Luton).


US Airways’ flight attendants reject the new contract

US Airways‘ (Phoenix) flight attendants, represented by the the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), voted 51 percent against ratifying the proposed five-year agreement that would have amended existing contracts for the 6,800 flight attendants.

US Airways issued the following statement:

Flight attendants at US Airways, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) have voted 51 percent to 49 percent to not ratify a proposed five-year collective bargaining agreement between the carrier and AFA. US Airways and AFA reached a tentative agreement on August 7, 2012 that would have amended existing contracts for the airline’s 6,800 flight attendants who are based in its three hub cities of Charlotte, N.C., Philadelphia and Phoenix and its Washington, D.C. focus city.

“We are disappointed that our flight attendants chose to vote against ratification of a new contract,” said Doug Parker, US Airways’ Chairman and CEO. “The tentative agreement was unanimously endorsed by AFA leaders in each domicile and by the members of the AFA negotiating committee, and we thank them for their leadership. We would also like to express our appreciation to National Mediation Board Member Linda Puchala and Mediator Jim Mackenzie and Veda Shook, AFA’s International President, for their assistance in reaching the tentative agreement. Going forward, our current collective bargaining agreements remain in place, and we will consult with the National Mediation Board (NMB) to determine the next steps.”

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Airbus A319-112 N745VJ (msn 1289) painted in the 1966 Allegheny Airlines legacy livery taxies to the runway at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport hub.

US Airways: 

Thai takes delivery of its first Airbus A380 today in Toulouse

Thai Airways International (Bangkok) has taken delivery of its first A380, becoming the ninth airline to operate the world’s largest airliner. The aircraft was handed over to Captain Montree Jumrieng, Executive Vice President Technical, by Kiran Rao,  Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing, Airbus, at a special ceremony in Toulouse today.

Thai has ordered six A380s, powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines. The airline has specified a premium three class layout for its fleet, seating a total of 507 passengers. All classes feature new cabin designs, with 12 private suites in First Class, 60 fully flat sleeper seats in Royal Silk Class and 435 seats in Economy. All seats are equipped with the latest on-demand in-flight entertainment systems, communication outlets and individual power supply.

Thai will inaugurate commercial service with the A380 in early October on the Bangkok – Hong Kong and Bangkok – Singapore routes. As more aircraft are delivered, the airline will begin service to Frankfurt at the end of the year, followed by Tokyo and Paris early in 2013.

Copyright Photo: Eurospot. Airbus A380-841 F-WWAO (msn 087) became HS-TUA on delivery.

Thai Airways International: 

FlyGeorgia to launch Amsterdam service on October 6

FlyGeorgia (flygeorgia.com) (Tbilisi) is planning to launch a new long-range route from Tbilisi to Amsterdam on October 6 with its Airbus A319. The carrier currently serves Antalya and Batumi from Tbilisi.

Copyright Photo: Paul Doyle. Airbus A319-111 EI-EWF (msn 3834) is pictured at Dublin before it became 4L-FGA for the new Georgian flag carrier.

Finnair selects IAE V2533-A5 engines for its five new Airbus A321s to replace the four Boeing 757-200s

Finnair (Helsinki) has selected IAE International Aero Engines AG to supply engines for its five new Airbus A321 extended range aircraft, entering the Finnair fleet from September 2013. The IAE V2533-A5 engines offer Finnair a significant advantage in fuel efficiency over the competition, saving about 300 tons of fuel per year per aircraft, according to aircraft supplier Airbus test data. The engines also operate well within noise limitations set by ICAO and the EU.

Finnair announced in June 2010 an order for five Airbus aircraft to replace the four Boeing 757s currently in the fleet. The new A321s will be quieter and more comfortable for passengers, as well as about 5 per cent more fuel efficient. The move also enables more flexibility and interoperability between European scheduled and leisure flights, driving up aircraft utilization and further reducing per-passenger emissions.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. The new A321s will end Finnair’s connection with Boeing. The four Boeing 757-200s are mainly operated on charter flights. Boeing 757-2Q8 OH-LBV (msn 30046) arrives at Miami International Airport.


Frontier Airlines to drop four destinations from Denver in January

Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) is dropping four spoke routes from its Denver hub in the first week of January 2013, namely service to Akron/Canton, Louisville, Provo and Philadelphia.

Read the full report from USA Today: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Airbus A320-214 N206FR (msn 4272) with Alberta and Clipper on the tail, completes its approach into Washington’s Ronald Reagan National Airport.

Frontier Airlines: 

Swiss to serve Singapore again

Swiss International Air Lines (Zurich) is adding Singapore again to its route network on May 12, 2013 with daily nonstop service from the Zurich hub. The route will be served with 219-seat Airbus A340-300s.

The new flights mark a return to the city-state for Swiss. Swiss served Singapore from its foundation until spring 2009, though this previous service was routed via Bangkok.

Copyright Photo: Andi Hiltl. When Swiss added the new route to San Francisco it created this special “San Francisco” color scheme on Airbus A340-313X HB-JMJ (msn 150). HB-JMJ is pictured departing from the Zurich hub.

Swiss International Air Lines: 

Orbest Orizonia Airlines’ Airbus fleet to be maintained by Iberia

Orbest Orizonia Airlines (formerly Iberworld Airlines) (Palma de Mallorca) and Iberia (Madrid) have signed a contract for the maintenance of Orbest’s Airbus A320s and A330s. Orbest is a unit of the Orizonia Holiday Group.

Copyright Photo: Pedro Baptista/Flyingphotos. Still wearing the color scheme of Iberworld, Airbus A330-343X EC-JHP (msn 670) prepares to arrive at Lisbon.

Orbest Orizonia Airlines: 

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Virgin America to offer nonstop New York-Palm Springs weekly flights

Virgin America (San Francisco) has announced new flights to Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) from both San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).  The airline is expanding its footprint at PSP, with a new 2012-2013 seasonal flight schedule that will include a new weekly Saturday nonstop flight from JFK to PSP – the only nonstop flight offered from the New York City area to Palm Springs.  The new nonstop flight will add to Virgin America’s seasonal daily connecting flight schedule from JFK to PSP and its seasonal daily nonstop schedule from SFO to PSP.

Virgin America’s 2012-2013 nonstop PSP flight schedule is as follows:

San Francisco (SFO) – Palm Springs (PSP) Palm Springs (PSP) – San Francisco (SFO)
Dep Arr Freq Start date Dep Arr Freq Start date
4:40 PM 6:10 PM Daily 18-Oct-12 6:55 PM 8:30 PM Daily 18-Oct-12
9:30 AM 10:50 AM Sat only 12-Jan-13 6:55 PM 8:30 PM Daily except Sat 12-Jan-13
11:35 AM 1:00 PM Sat only 12-Jan-13
9:35 AM 10:59 AM Sun only 13-Jan-13
New York (JFK) – Palm Springs (PSP) Palm Springs (PSP) – New York (JFK)
Dep Arr Freq Start date Dep Arr Freq Start date
10:55 AM 2:00 PM Sat only 22-Dec-12 2:55 PM 10:45 PM Sat only 22-Dec-12

Connecting flights are also available from PSP to Virgin America’s New York (JFK), Boston (BOS), Philadelphia (PHL), Fort Lauderdale (FLL) and Washington D.C. (IAD) cities.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing. Named “Virgin and Tonic”, Airbus A319-112 N525VA (msn 3324) approaches Los Angeles for landing.

Virgin America: 

Spirit Airlines launches new routes from Houston

Spirit Airlines (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood) on September 20 launched its ultra low fare service between Houston (Bush Intercontinental) and Dallas/Fort Worth. Spirit now offers twice daily nonstop flights between Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, with connections available to 12 destinations throughout the Americas, including Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, Myrtle Beach, Oakland/San Francisco, Phoenix/Mesa, Portland (Oregon), Tampa, and Toluca/Mexico City.

Spirit is also introducing daily nonstop service from Houston to Chicago O’Hare and Las Vegas on October 4, 2012.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing. Airbus A319-132 N534NK (msn 3395) prepares to land at Los Angeles International Airport.

Spirit Airlines: 

Qatar Airways to drop Stuttgart on October 28

Qatar Airways (Doha) is reportedly planning to drop Stuttgart, Germany on October 28. The three roundtrips are operated from Doha to Stuttgart via a stop in Zurich. Zurich will continue to be served.

In other news, the airline will add a new destination in Saudi Arabia. Gassim will become Qatar Airways’ fifth destination in the country, where it already serves Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam and Medina.

The airline will operate four-flights-a-week to the central Saudi city of Gassim, offering travellers a greater choice of travel options to more than 100 destinations around the world served by the airline via its Doha hub. The Gassim route will be operated with an Airbus A320 in a two-class configuration of 12 seats in First Class and 132 in Economy.

Situated 400 kilometers northwest of Riyadh, Gassim is Saudi Arabia’s seventh most populated province with a rich agricultural industry.

Read the full report from Business Traveller: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Andi Hiltl. Airbus A330-202 A7-ACL (msn 820) departs from Zurich.

Qatar Airways: 

Virgin America loses $4 million in the second quarter

Virgin America (San Francisco) reported its financial results for the second quarter of 2012.  Total operating revenue for the second quarter grew by 29 percent to $347 million on a capacity increase of 32 percent.  The Company narrowed its operating loss to $4 million for the second quarter, and improved earnings before interest, depreciation and amortization, and aircraft rental expense (EBITDAR) by 44 percent, to a record high of $54 million.  EBITDAR margin for the second quarter rose to 16 percent, a 1.7 point year-over-year improvement.  Year-to-date Virgin America reported total revenue of $614 million – a 31 percent increase year-over-year.  Operating loss for the six months ended June 30, 2012, was $53 million.  Year-to-date the Company has achieved EBITDAR of $61 million, an improvement of 23 percent over the first six months of 2011.

In the second year of an unprecedented capacity growth cycle, Virgin America’s unit revenue (RASM) declined a modest 2 percent as compared to the second quarter of 2011.  Over the past two years, the airline has increased available seat miles (ASM) by 72 percent with an 11 percent increase in RASM.  The Company took delivery of one aircraft during the second quarter, ending the quarter with a total fleet of 52 Airbus A320 Family aircraft.   The airline has taken delivery of 24 aircraft total since the first quarter of 2010.  This rapid growth established Virgin America’s core network and provided an important base for the carrier’s future success.  This phase of accelerated growth is now largely complete, as Virgin America will take delivery of just one additional aircraft through the second quarter of 2013.

Cost per available seat mile (CASM) excluding fuel decreased by 1.5 percent, despite the cost pressures of growth, reflecting the benefits of economies of scale that Virgin America will see as growth slows.  Fuel costs during the quarter averaged $3.40 per gallon – a decrease of 3.4 percent year-over-year, although the quarter was still one of the highest cost periods in Virgin America’s history.   Virgin America maintains a hedging program to manage the volatility of fuel prices and provide some protection from short-term price increases.  As of June 30, the Company has hedged 58 percent of its expected fuel consumption for the rest of 2012, and 30 percent for the first half of 2013.

This year, Virgin America reached the threshold to be classified a major carrier for reporting purposes by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and as such began reporting its on-time performance, baggage handling and other key operational statistics to the DOT monthly.  For the second quarter of 2012, Virgin America achieved an 85.2 percent cumulative on-time performance, placing the carrier seventh for on-time performance among all reporting major U.S. carriers for the quarter.  The airline’s baggage handling rate for the first six months of 2012 was 0.88 mishandled baggage reports per 1000 guests, which placed it first among all reporting U.S. carriers for baggage reliability for the first half of 2012.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing. Airbus A320-214 N640VA (msn 3349) climbs away from Los Angeles International AIrport (LAX).

Virgin America: 

Routes from San Francisco:

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RAK Airways to operate the first domestic route in the United Arab Emirates

RAK Airways (rakairways.com) (Ras al-Khaimah) will add the first domestic route in the United Arab Emirates. A new route to Abu Dhabi starting on October 3 will bring the capital closer to the residents of Ras Al Khaimah and the Northern Emirates.

With the launch of this first flight to Abu Dhabi, RAK Airways will be the first UAE flag carrier to operate domestic flights and the airline’s route network moves up to 10 destinations.

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton. Airbus A320-214 A6-RKB (msn 3907) is pictured at the Ras al-Khaimah base.

RAK Airways: 

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The RAK Airways system now stretches from Egypt east to Bangladesh.

Czech Airlines secures European Union approval for a $130 million state loan

Czech Airlines-CSA (Prague) has secured European Union approval for a $130 million state loan after it agreed to a five-year restructuring plan according to this report by Bloomberg.

Read the  full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Tony Storck. Airbus A319-112 OK-REQ (msn 4713) prepares to land at Amsterdam.

Czech Airlines-CSA: 

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Lufthansa to merge some European operations under the Germanwings low-cost AOC on January 1

Lufthansa (Frankfurt) will merge all European Lufthansa operations (outside of the Frankfurt and Munich hubs) under the Germanwings (2nd) (Cologne/Bonn) AOC certificate on January 1, 2013. All Eurowings operations will also support this operation. This move is designed to reduce costs for the struggling European operations. A new name for this expanded operation will be announced at a later date.

The company issued this statement:

Lufthansa direct European services, which include all German domestic and European services outside of the Lufthansa Frankfurt and Munich hubs, will be merged commercially and organizationally with Germanwings to form one company on the basis of Germanwings GmbH from January 1, 2013. The company’s headquarters will be Cologne.

The new company is to operate the Germanwings aircraft and the Direct Services fleet from 2013. In addition, the aircraft of Eurowings GmbH are set to fly on behalf of the new company, meaning that around 90 aircraft will cover direct services in Germany and Europe. In the first year, over 18 million passengers are to be transported.

Christoph Franz, CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, said: “As part of the Lufthansa Airline Group the new company will get underway with the accordingly high quality standards.” The decision about the future brand name will only be made in the upcoming months.

“Combining our domestic German and European point-to-point services has enormous potential to improve efficiency. Our aim is to once again fly these services profitably under the umbrella of a single company. This means we are continuing to offer our guests the prospect of a dense, high-quality network even outside of our Frankfurt and Munich hubs. And our employees in these areas have the prospect of secure jobs within a company of the Lufthansa Group”, Christoph Franz emphasized.

Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner. The Germanwings name is now likely to be retired again as its role is expanded by its parent. Airbus A319-132 D-AGWP (msn 4227) taxies at Zurich.

Germanwings (2nd): 

Germanwings routes from Cologne/Bonn:

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Thomas Cook Group to use easyJet next summer for their package deals

Thomas Cook Group (London) will reportedly book its package tour customers on low-cost easyJet (easyJet.com) (London-Luton) next summer raising concerns about the long-term prospects on its own in-house Thomas Cook Airlines (Manchester).

Read the full report from Sunday Times and the Stropshire Star: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton. Airbus A319-111 G-EZFC (msn 3808) climbs away from scenic Geneva.

easyJet (UK): 

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Monarch Airlines drops the use of Aurela Airlines after an incident today at Birmingham

Monarch Airlines (London-Luton) has issued the following statement today after an incident involving an Aurela Aircompany (Vilnius) Boeing 737-300 (LY-SKA) at Birmingham:

“Monarch confirms that the flight operating from Nice on flight ZB 467 operated by Aurela Airlines on September 21, 2012, has been involved in an incident upon landing at Birmingham Airport.

It is understood that the flight operating on an Aurela Boeing 737-300 aircraft registration LY-SKA with 135 passengers onboard left the runway whilst taxiing to the terminal, bringing the aircraft to a stop. Passengers have now safely disembarked from the aircraft and have been coached to the terminal where they are being cared for by Monarch Airline staff. At this time we understand that no passengers or crew have sustained any injuries.

Monarch apologises to all passengers on-board and is offering them all possible assistance. Monarch is working with Birmingham Airport to move the aircraft and is fully assisting with the authorities. As a standard precaution emergency services have attended the aircraft.

We have suspended the use of Aurela Airlines.”

Top Copyright Photo: Javier Rodriguez. Boeing 737-35B LY-SKA (msn 23972) was being operated for Monarch in the basic Aurela livery without titles. The airliner is pictured departing from Palma de Mallorca before today’s incident.



Bottom Copyright Photo: Nik French. Monarch’s Airbus A321-231 G-OZBS (msn 1428) has received decals (both sides) of a drawing by an employee’s daughter. This drawing was selected in a competition for the employees’ children to draw a picture depicting new destination Munich. Service to MUC starts today.


TAME expands into Venezuela

TAME (Linea Aerea del Ecuador) (Quito) on September 10, 2012, began operating a new daily flight to Caracas, Venezuela from Quito. The ceremony was attended by government authorities, media and special guests. This new route complements the company’s daily flight  between Quito and Bogota which was launched on July 9, 2012.

Will the flag carrier expand next to the United States?

Copyright Photo: Stefano Rota. Airbus A320-232 HC-CID (msn 934) climbs away from Guayaquil.


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Route Map:

Please click on the map for the full size.

Air Canada to fill 900 new positions

Air Canada (Montreal) announced it will hire more than 900 employees over the next 12 months to meet its planned workforce requirements.  In addition, 200 new jobs will be created for flight attendants and pilots at the airline’s low cost carrier that will be launched in 2013.

Highlights of Air Canada’s 2012-13 recruitment program are as follows:

  • In addition to 160 new customer service call center agents hired to date in 2012, Air Canada is hiring an additional 60 agents in the coming months for its call centers in Montreal and Toronto.
  • Air Canada is hiring approximately 400 flight attendants to compensate for attrition and meet planned schedule requirements for its main network airline operation with the first training classes scheduled in October.
  • Air Canada will be seeking candidates for approximately 500 permanent, part-time and full-time airport customer service agent and baggage handler positions at its major airport bases located across Canada mainly to compensate for attrition as the airline prepares to meet planned operational requirements for its winter schedule.
  • Air Canada’s unnamed low cost carrier will be hiring approximately 150 flight attendants and 50 pilots for its launch in 2013.

In other news, Air Canada and Aer Lingus announced they have signed an interline agreement to make flying between Canada and Ireland more convenient. The agreement is effective immediately and is a preliminary step toward a full code sharing relationship expected to be finalized next year between the Canadian and Irish flag carriers.

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography. Airbus A320-211 C-FTJQ (msn 242) taxies at the Toronto (Pearson) hub.

Air Canada: 

Frontier starts nonstop Colorado Springs-San Diego service

Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) yesterday (September 18) expanded its service from Colorado Springs Airport with the launch of nonstop service to San Diego. This new service joins existing Frontier nonstops from Colorado Springs to Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Seattle.

Following is the schedule for Frontier’s San Diego service:

Colorado Springs-San Diego (Sept. 18 to Nov. 15, 2012)

Route Departs Arrives Frequency Aircraft
COS-SAN 2:32 p.m. 3:40 p.m. Tue, Thurs, Sun A319
SAN-COS 4:20 p.m. 7:22 p.m. Tue, Thurs, Sun A319

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing. Airbus A319-111 N902FR (msn 1515) with the Wood Duck on tail departs from LAX.

Frontier Airlines: 

Eritrean Airlines to end Frankfurt service on October 1

Eritrean Airlines (Asmara) is ending Asmara-Rome-Frankfurt service on October 1. However the Asmara-Rome (Fiumicino) portion will retained per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Pedro Baptista/Flyingphotos. Airbus A319-112 LZ-AOA (msn 3139) prepares to touch down at Frankfurt.

Eritrean Airlines: 

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Interjet is coming to Orange County on October 11

Interjet (ABC Aerolíneas, S.A. de C.V. dba) (Mexico City) will add Orange County (Santa Ana), California on October 11 with daily service to both Guadalajara and Mexico City.

Copyright Photo: Luimer Cordero. Airbus A320-214 XA-YES (msn 4933) in the special EcoJet markings arrives at Miami.


California Destinations: Sometimes airlines can be space challenged to produce a geographically correct route map. No, Los Angeles has not shifted to northern California.

Germania establishes Gambia Bird in Africa

Gambia Bird (Banjul) is a new airline in Gambia in western Africa. According to Airliners.de, in cooperation with AJW Aviation, the new airline will lease two Airbus A319s from Germania. Gambia Bird is planning to serve Dakar, Conakry, Freetown and Lagos. Later the company, hopes to expand to Europe. Germania will retain a 90% ownership in Gambia Bird. The first Airbus A319 has been painted at Norwich.

According to a report by ATW, Gambia Bird is now planning to launch operations on October 15, 2012 from Banjul with weekly flights to London (Gatwick) and Barcelona and also from Freetown to London (Gatwick). The new airline is also planning four-times-weekly service from Banjul to Dakar, twice-weekly to Freetown, Monrovia and Lagos as well as once a week service to Conakry and Accra.

The airline has the following statement on their website:

“Flights will commence later in summer and the airline will connect Banjul to other West African Airports but also link Banjul to Europe. The schedule will be published soon.”

Copyright Photo: Matt Varley. The pictured Airbus A319-112 D-ASTA (msn 4663), formerly painted in Germania livery, has emerged from the paint shop at Norwich, pending delivery.

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AirAsia to become the first operator of the Airbus A320 with “Sharlets” wingtips

AirAsia (AirAsia.com) (Malaysia) (Kuala Lumpur) and Airbus have announced that the airline will become the first operator of the A320 with “Sharklets” when they take delivery of the first A320 equipped with these fuel-saving wing-tip devices at the end of this year. The aircraft exhibited on static and flying display at the ILA Berlin Air Show is the flight test aircraft for CFM engines and will also be delivered to AirAsia in 2013.

AirAsia is also expected to place a new, additional order for more A320s.

Copyright Photo: Airbus.


Allegiant finalizes its agreement with GECAS to lease 9 Airbus A319s from GECAS, the first is due in November

GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS), the commercial aircraft leasing and financing arm of GE, announced today it has signed agreements to lease nine Airbus A319 aircraft to Allegiant Air (Las Vegas) to expand the carrier’s current fleet. All nine aircraft are powered with CFM56-5B engines.

The first aircraft is scheduled for delivery to Allegiant in November 2012, with the remaining scheduled for delivery through 2015.

Previously on July 30, 2012 Allegiant announced its intention to lease nine Airbus A319 aircraft from GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) and to lease and eventually purchase ten Airbus A319 aircraft from Cebu Pacific Air (Manila). This new signed contract moves up the delivery date of the first A319.

Image: Allegiant Air/Globe Newswire.

Allegiant Air: 

Volaris is coming to Sacramento

Volaris (Mexico City) is adding Sacramento, California to its route map with new twice-weekly service from Guadalajara starting on November 15.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing. Airbus A319-132 N503VL (msn 3491) arrives at Los Angeles in the special Cuernavaca livery.


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Routes from Gaudalajara:

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Spirit Airlines starts service from Baltimore/Washington

Spirit Airlines (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood) on September 6 started service from Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) with twice daily nonstop service to Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood and daily nonstop service to Dallas/Fort Worth.

Spirit has been providing ultra low fares to Fort Lauderdale with connections to the Caribbean and Latin America from the Washington, DC/Baltimore area for nine years. The carrier has relocated its operations from Washington, DC’s Reagan National Airport (DCA) to BWI and adding service to Dallas/Fort Worth.

Copyright Photo: Airbus A319-132 N534NK (msn 3395) taxies to the runway at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood.

Spirit Airlines: 



Fly RAK is a new charter airline in Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates

Fly RAK (Ras Al Khaimah), not to be confused with RAK Airways, is a new charter and ACMI carrier in the United Arab Emirates. The new airline has leased its first Airbus A320.

Former Spanair Airbus A320-232 EI-EUL (msn 2027, ex EC-IPI) after undergoing maintenance at Dublin has been repainted in the colors of the new company. The aircraft had been ferried from Barcelona to Dublin on February 17, 2012 following the collapse of Spanair, and subsequently placed into storage at Dublin prior to its repaint and overhaul pending its next assignment with Fly RAK. The aircraft is being leased from ILFC.

Top Copyright Photo: Paul Morris. Pictured at Dublin, EI-EUL will become A6-TIA on delivery.

Bottom Copyright Photo: Paul Doyle. EI-EUL is tugged across the ramp at Dublin.

Air Nigeria suspends all operations for at least a year

Air Nigeria‘s (formerly Virgin Nigeria Airways and Nigerian Eagle Airlines) (Lagos) owner, Jimoh Ibrahim, on September 5 announced he was suspending operations for a year due to the “disloyalty” of some staff members and a weak economic environment according to this report by Bloomberg. He is demanding a plan from the remaining staff to develop a plan to make the airline profitable again. The suspension will be effective on September 10.

The airline had previously dropped all domestic and regional flights in June and was only operating international flights.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Meanwhile Air Nigeria’s workers who were fired are taking to the streets today in Lagos to peacefully protest the closure according to a report by Business Day in Nigeria. The employees are claiming they have been unpaid for four months.

Copyright Photo: Terry Wade. Airbus A330-243 SU-SCI (msn 696) was being leased from EgyptAir on May 13, 2012 and now will be returned. The airliner is pictured preparing for departure from London (Gatwick).

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QANTAS and Emirates announce a new global partnership

QANTAS Airways (Sydney)  and Emirates Airline (Dubai) today announced a new global aviation partnership that will give customers a seamless international and Australian network, exclusive frequent flyer benefits and world‐class travel experiences.

Under the agreement signed this morning by Emirates President Tim Clark and QANTAS CEO Alan Joyce, QANTAS will move its hub for European flights from Singapore to Dubai and enter an extensive commercial relationship with Emirates.

The 10 year code sharing partnership is enhanced by integrated network collaboration with coordinated pricing, sales and scheduling as well as a benefits sharing model.  Neither airline will take equity in the other.

The partnership will see QANTAS, along with anchor tenant Emirates, as the only other airline operating at Dubai International’s Terminal 3. The two airlines will jointly offer 98 weekly services between Australia and the global gateway city of Dubai including four daily Airbus A380 flights. With Emirates flying the largest fleet of A380s in the world with 23, combined with QANTAS’ 12 A380s for a total of 35, many onward flights to Europe including London Paris, Moscow, Amsterdam, Munich and Rome will also be on this popular aircraft. In addition, QANTAS will launch daily A380 services from both Sydney and Melbourne to London via Dubai for a combined unprecedented seven daily A380 flights to London Heathrow.  Thirty additional European gateways can be seamlessly reached from Australia via Dubai.

For Emirates customers it will open up QANTAS’ Australian domestic network of more than 50 destinations and nearly 5,000 flights per week.  The carriers will also coordinate their respective trans-Tasman services between Australia and New Zealand with Emirates offering improved schedules for flights to Christchurch and Auckland – including the introduction of Emirates’ daily A380 services on the Melbourne-Auckland route in October.

Emirates and QANTAS frequent flyer agreements will be aligned, giving customers expanded opportunities to earn and redeem points, with reciprocal access to tier status benefits including end-to-end recognition of customers, lounge access, priority check-in and boarding as well as other exclusive services.

Emirates and QANTAS will work together to ensure a seamless customer experience, including mutual lounge access, shared use of Emirates’ unique dedicated A380 facility slated to open in early 2013 in Dubai, coordinated baggage allowances and a chauffeur service for premium customers.

The airlines will submit applications for authorization to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and other relevant regulatory authorities, in order to begin commercial planning.  Subject to regulatory approvals, it is anticipated that the partnership arrangements will take effect in April 2013.

QANTAS has admitted its cannot continue to sustain its financial losses for its international services and it cannot go it alone, hence this new relationship. British Airways will have to forge a new relationship with another Australia carrier. Is the Oneworld Alliance in trouble?

Top Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing. Airbus A380-842 VH-OQH (msn 050) arrives at Los Angeles.

QANTAS Airways: 

Emirates Airline: 

Bottom Copyright Photo: Dave Glendinning. Airbus A380-861 A6-EDF (msn 007) taxies across the tarmac at London (Heathrow).

EasyJet to roll out allocated seating in November

EasyJet (UK) (easyJet.com) (London-Luton) is preparing to introduce assigned seating starting in November. The company issued the following statement:

“As part of its aim of making travel easy and affordable, easyJet is to roll out allocated seating across its network from November 2012. The airline has been trialling allocated seating since April and over this period more than 800,000 passengers have flown on 6,000 trial flights.

Research among these passengers shows that more than 70% think allocated seating is better than easyJet’s current system, due to the improved boarding experience, while over 60% said that they are more likely to use easyJet in the future as a result.

easyJet trialled allocated seating because passenger research showed that the current boarding process can be a source of stress for some passengers and in some cases puts people off flying with easyJet altogether. The key tests of the trial were to improve passenger satisfaction without impacting easyJet’s ability to deliver industry leading punctuality or adding cost – all of which were achieved on trial flights.

On allocated seating flights passengers who do not wish to pay to select their seat will be allocated a seat free of charge. Passengers travelling on the same booking will be seated together wherever possible by easyJet’s reservation system which uses the most advanced seating algorithm in world aviation.

Some interesting facts 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

Allocated seating will continue on trial flights and the key dates in the roll out across easyJet’s network are:

Services to/from Date
Gatwick South, Luton, Stansted, Southend, Bristol and Glasgow 13 November
Gatwick North, Milan Malpensa, Rome Fiumicino and Paris Charles de Gaulle 20 November
Belfast, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Basel, Geneva, Lyon, Nice, Toulouse, Paris Orly, Madrid, Lisbon and Berlin Schönefeld 27 November

All passengers will be allocated a seat for free on easyJet’s flights but will be have the choice of selecting their seat for a fee when they book flights or add 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 (front row and exit rows)
      • £8 for up front seats (row 2-5 on A319 or 2-6 on A320)
      • £3 for any other seat

easyJet trialled allocated seating during the summer season, the airline’s busiest time, to stress test the new systems and procedures. The airline will roll it out during the winter season when fewer people travel to ensure a smooth transition from one system to another. 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.

easyJet plus! annual cardholders and Flexi Fare customers will be able to select a seat free of charge as well as continuing to enjoy the benefits of Speedy Boarding’s dedicated check-in desk and Speedy Boarding – allowing them to board the aircraft first.

Passengers purchasing Upfront or Extra Legroom seats will be given access to the Speedy Boarding dedicated check-in desk and will be first to board.”

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton. Airbus A320-214 G-EZTN (msn 4006) climbs away from Geneva.

easyJet (UK): 

Thai Airways International to introduce its first Airbus A380 in October

Thai Airways International’s (Bangkok) first Airbus A380-800 aircraft bearing the airline’s distinctive livery has been rolled out from the Airbus paint shop in Hamburg. Now the pictured A380-841 with the temporary marks of F-WWAO (msn 087) is seen for the first time on the runway at Hamburg (Finkenwerder)

According to the carrier, “this important milestone marks the unveiling of the fully-painted, first Airbus A380 for Thailand’s national flag carrier. Thai’s symbol is an abstract image suggesting movement, inspired by the crown flower used in Thai handicraft work and Thai garlands used in traditional ceremonies such as weddings and auspicious events. Colors used are purple, magenta and gold representing, respectively, a Thai orchid, shimmering Thai silk and the brilliance of a Thai temple.”

Thai will become the ninth operator of the A380 when it takes delivery of first the aircraft later this month on September 27. The airline has firm orders for six A380s and will operate the aircraft on its premier routes from Bangkok to Europe.

Thai is now planning to introduce the new wide body type on October 6 between Bangkok and Hong Kong (instead of the original planned October 28 launch date).

Copyright Photo: Gerd Beilfuss. Airbus A380-841 F-WWAO will become HS-TUA on hand over.

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MNG Airlines takes delivery of its first Airbus A330-200F freighter

MNG Airlines (Istanbul) yesterday (August 30) took delivery of its first (of four) Airbus A330-200F freighter. The airline already operates a fleet of seven Airbus A300 cargo aircraft, and will expand its services by moving up to the A330 freighter.

Copyright Photo: Eurospot. Airbus A330-243F F-WWTS (msn 1332) at Toulouse was handed over as TC-MCZ.

MNG Airlines: 

Lufthansa is facing a strike by its flight attendants tomorrow

Lufthansa (Frankfurt) is facing a strike by its cabin staff (flight attendants), represented by the Independent Flight Attendants Organization (UFO).

The company issued the following statement:

Strike actions by the Independent Flight Attendants Organization (UFO) announced for Friday, August 31, 2012

No strike actions are planned for today, Thursday, August 30, 2012. Thus, Lufthansa is confident to provide stable flight operations.

According to the latest UFO announcement, strike measures will start tomorrow, Friday, August 31, 2012. Details on the scope of the strikes (affected airports and expected duration) will be published by the union at very short notice only.

Lufthansa will do its utmost best to communicate the details on this page as soon as possible and to minimize the impacts on its customers.

In case of strike and resulting flight irregularities, passenger support and service have paramount priority.

Passengers whose flights have been cancelled due to strike action are entitled to rebook or cancel free of charge, regardless of the fare conditions.

Passengers travelling within Germany whose flights have been cancelled due to strike action may alternatively travel by train with Deutsche Bahn. To do so, customers can exchange their e-ticket for a travel voucher under “My bookings” or at any Lufthansa check-in kiosk.

Beyond that Lufthansa cannot offer further compensation or reimbursement. Flight cancellations due to strike action are considered force majeure by EU regulation. Thus, Lufthansa is exempted from the obligation of providing compensation payments.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems. Airbus A380-841 D-AIMB (msn 041) arrives at the Frankfurt hub.



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