The two airlines are buying 40 of the current version of the A320 and 60 of the new A320neo.
Air China’s order includes 27 current A320s (above) and 33 A320neos. Shenzhen will receive 13 current A320s (below) and 27 A320neos.
Deliveries will start in 2014.
Top Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Air China’s A320-214 B-6607 (msn 3461) prepares to land at the Beijing hub (please click on the photo for the full size view).
Bottom Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Shenzhen’s Airbus A320-214 B-6377 (msn 3599) arrives at Tokyo (Narita).
Aerocondor Colombia Airbus A300B4-2C HK-2057-X (msn 029) MIA (Bruce Drum). Image: 102885.
Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum.
Croatia Airlines (Zagreb) is getting back to normal operations after its pilots and later the flights attendants on May 21 ended their strikes. This settlement ended eight days of strikes against the airline which is attempting to reorganize and lower costs.
Copyright Photo: Dave Glendinning/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-112 9A-CTI (msn 1029) in the Star Alliance livery taxies to the gate at London (Heathrow).
Germania Fluggesellschaft (Germania Group) (Berlin) is expanding in the United Kingdom for this summer season as part of its international strategy.
The airline issued this statement:
Germania to expand UK operations:
Berlin-based Germania Group is continuing the successful internationalization of its operations and is stationing two aircraft in the United Kingdom for summer of 2013. Aside from charter flights from London-Gatwick and Manchester to the Greek islands and Cyprus, Germania will operate a scheduled service from London to Pristina.
Gambia Bird, a sister airline of Germania, already operates twice weekly flights from London Gatwick to Freetown in Sierra Leone and Banjul in Gambia.
Germania will operate a regular service on Tuesdays and Fridays from London Gatwick (LGW) to Pristina. Flight ST 6478 will take off at 19:25 from LGW and reach the capital of Kosovo at 23:40. The return flight ST 6479 will depart at 00:25, arriving at LGW at 02:05 (local times).
For the winter season, Germania also operates full charter flights to Greece and the Greek islands, including Corfu, Crete, Mykonos and Samos, for tour operators such as Sunvil Holidays and Pure Crete.
For this purpose, the airline is stationing an Airbus A319 at London Gatwick. On behalf of Olympic Holidays, Germania also flies to the Greek mainland, Greek islands including Crete, Rhodes and Mykonos, and Cyprus from Manchester, the UK’s largest airport outside of London. Germania has stationed an Airbus A319 in Manchester in the colors of its West African sister airline Gambia Bird. The aircraft is available for use in Manchester, as the summer flight schedule in West Africa is adjusted to traditionally lower demand.
The airline is also expanding its operations at Erfurt-Weimar in Germany. Germania started a new weekly route to Palma de Mallorca on May 17. Flights to Ibiza, Corfu and Crete will be added in June.
Top Copyright Photo: Javier Rodriguez/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-112 D-ASTA (msn 4663) approaches Palma de Mallorca for landing.
Middle Copyright Photo: Terry Wade. The Gambia Bird A319 is now operating Germania flights from the UK. Airbus A319-112 D-ASTB (msn 4691) arrives at London Gatwick.
Route Map from Erfurt-Weimar:
Wow Air (stylized as WOW Air) (Keflavik) on May 23 added two new routes from Keflavik (near Reykjavik) to both Dusseldorf and Stuttgart. The airline also intends to double its Airbus A320 fleet to four aircraft this summer.
Top Copyright Photo: Wow Air. Airbus A320-232 LZ-MDD (msn 4305) of Air VIA is now being operated for Wow Air. Wow Air is welcomed to Dusseldorf. All other photos and video by Wow Air.
The move comes as Airberlin, Germany’s second largest carrier, continues to work through its Turbine business turnaround program, and as Etihad Airways prepares for significant international expansion.
The recruitment transfers began in April when the first batch of six Boeing 737-rated First Officers arrived in Abu Dhabi to start type conversion training on to the Boeing 777 at Etihad Airways’ Flight Training Centre.
Upon successful completion, the six pilots will undertake line training on the airline’s global network, before being fully licensed as type-rated Boeing 777 First Officers.
Further pilot transfers will take place in the coming months, comprising Airbus A320 Captains, Airbus A320 First Officers, Airbus A330 First Officers and Boeing 777 non-rated First Officers.
Etihad Airways’ current fleet of 77 Boeing and Airbus aircraft will grow significantly this decade with more than 90 firm order aircraft scheduled for delivery.
Over the next 12 months the carrier will take delivery of four Boeing 777-300 ERs, five Airbus A320s, one Airbus A321, one Airbus A330-200 and one Airbus A330-200 freighter aircraft. Late next year, Etihad Airways will also introduce its first Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
Etihad Airways currently employs over 1,400 pilots, and plans to recruit 1,000 more by 2020.
In other news, Etihad has announced it has entered the second phase of its strategic partnership with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (Amsterdam) following the launch of new Amsterdam service. The airline issued this statement:
The daily service, operated by a two cabin Airbus A330-200 and configured to carry 262 passengers with 22 in Pearl Business Class and 240 in Coral Economy Class, was launched on May 15 and carries KLM’s KL code.
The launch of the new flights coincides with the addition of 12 new KLM destinations out of Schiphol Airport which now carry Etihad Airways EY code. KLM has also added its KL code to a further six Etihad Airways destinations from its Abu Dhabi hub.
The 12 additional destinations that Etihad Airways customers can now access through codeshare operations with KLM are Stockholm, Aberdeen, Barcelona, Bergen, Birmingham, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Gothenburg, Helsinki, Leeds/Bradford and Madrid.
These cities join the first phase of cities served by KLM, which carry the EY code, Billund, Cardiff, Newcastle, Oslo, and Stavanger.
KLM now has its KL code on six Etihad Airways’ flights to Abu Dhabi, Brisbane, Khartoum, Male, Muscat and Seychelles.
These join the initial group of cities served by Etihad Airways – Colombo, Islamabad, Lahore, Melbourne, and Sydney – which also carry the KL code.
In addition to flight operations Etihad Airways has this year wet-leased a Boeing 747-400 freighter from KLM. This aircraft, with a payload capacity of 124 tons, links the two cargo hubs of Abu Dhabi and Amsterdam, and increases our capacity to Frankfurt, Hong Kong and Dhaka.
From KLM’s partner, Air France, Etihad Airways has also wet-leased an Airbus A340-300 for use on the Paris-Abu Dhabi route from now until the end of the year.
Amsterdam joins a group of 17 leading European cities that Etihad Airways flies to including Brussels, Dublin, Frankfurt, Geneva, London and Paris.
Copyright Photo: Arnd Wolf. Etihad Airways’ Airbus A330-243 A6-EYE (msn 688) (Manchester City Football Club) arrives at Munich.
Video: Etihad Airways.
First Quarter 2013 Highlights
- Avianca Holdings earns net income of $75.3 million (USD) for 1Q 2013, an increase of more than $75 million over the profit recorded for the same period in 2012.
- First quarter operating revenues increased to USD$ 1.11 billion, up 5.9% from 1Q 2012 due mainly to a 6.5% increase in passenger revenues driven by an 8.6% growth in passenger traffic over 1Q 2012 figures. Cargo and other revenue increased by 2.5%, primarily as a result of an increase in our Freight and Loyalty revenues.
- Operating Cost per available seat kilometer (CASK) decreased by 1.5% from 10.98 cents in 1Q-12 to 10.81 cents in 1Q-13 and CASK excluding Fuel decreased by 1.8% from 7.31 cents in 1Q-12 to 7.17 cents in 1Q-13.
- Operating Income (EBIT) increased to USD$ 108.1 million, a 31.1% increase from USD$ 82.4 million in 1Q-12. Excluding special items in 1Q-12 operating income increased by 48.5%. Operating Margin for 1Q-13 rose to 9.7% compared to 7.8% in 1Q-12, primarily as a result of lower unit costs.
- Capacity, measured in ASK’s (available seat kilometers), increased by 5.4% during 1Q 2013, mostly due to expansion in our domestic operations in Colombia and Peru. In addition, passenger traffic, measured in RPK’s (revenue passenger kilometers) grew 7.8%, reaching a consolidated Load Factor of 80.8%, surpassing 1Q-12 Load Factor by 2.3 percentage points.
- In Line with the fleet renewal program, the company continues to incorporate new aircraft. During the first quarter, one (1) Airbus A330 Freighter, one (1) Airbus A330 and two (2) Airbus A320 passenger aircraft (one of which is equipped with sharklets) were incorporated.
- During the first quarter the Company inaugurated its new VIP lounge in Terminal Eldorado International Airport in Bogotá. Lifemiles members can now enjoy over 2,000 square meters of services and innovations in different environments. The lounge has capacity to simultaneously serve nearly 670 travelers, 505 Gold Elite and 165 Diamond Elite members.
Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Avianca’s (Colombia) Airbus A320-214 N664AV (msn 3664) arrives at Miami International Airport.
Tiger Airways (Singapore) will start nonstop flights between Hong Kong and Jakarta on July 25. Tiger Airways will fly to the capital of Indonesia four times weekly on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, with an increase to daily flights from September onwards.
Tiger Airways has been rapidly expanding its network in Indonesia this year. Domestically within Indonesia, the airline flies between Jakarta and key cities including Bali (Denpasar), Medan, Surabaya, Padang, Pekanbaru and Yogyakarta.
Top Copyright Photo: Jens Polster/AirlinersGallery.com All others from Tiger Airways). Airbus A319-132 9V-TRB (msn 3801) prepares to land at Bangkok.
Air Canada (Montreal) has painted and handed over its first Airbus A319 for its new low-fare division called Air Canada rouge. The company issued these photos and short statement:
Countdown to takeoff! Air Canada rouge has just taken delivery of its first Airbus 319 aircraft in its new livery at Mirabel Airport today (May 22) where it will now undergo a new interior design. Air Canada rouge will soon be leading the way in affordable, leisure travel when service starts July 1. Further details will be released on flight team training and the unveiling of new uniforms starts on May 27.
Top Copyright Photo: Air Canada. Airbus A319-112 C-GSJB (msn 1673) is the first aircraft to be painted.
Bottom Copyright Photo: Air Canada. Air Canada rouge VP Operations Al Read was on hand to take delivery of the leisure airline’s first Airbus 319 in its new livery today at Mirabel Airport, where the aircraft will be fitted with its new interior.
Monarch Airlines (London-Luton) is launching two new routes from East Midlands. On May 7 the airline launched its first ever scheduled flight to Malta from East Midlands Airport. The flights will operate twice a week on a Tuesday and Saturday.
Malta is the first of two new routes to launch this summer from East Midlands Airport with Ibiza also launching on May 23.
Video: Monarch makes flying fun for 600 kids:
Copyright Photo: Paul Denton. Airbus A321-231 G-OZBL (msn 864) lands at Geneva in the updated look.
What does it take to repaint an airliner? Monarch Airlines explains the process that takes nine days on their excellent Monarch blog:
First step, checks and scaffolding
The first task was to fly Airbus A321 G-OZBZ down to a specialist aircraft painting company in Bournemouth called Airbourne Colours. The A321 would spend about 9 days being stripped down and repainted by a team of 10 to 12 highly experienced specialist painters each with 10 to 20 years experience. The team in Bournemouth would be in constant communication with Monarch operations teams and engineers during this time.
When G-OZBZ first arrived at the painter’s hangar, a Monarch engineer carried out an acceptance check on the aircraft. This check included removal of window wipers and a series of other tasks such as disconnecting batteries.
Next, the painting specialist’s hangar supervisor and a Monarch engineer worked together to check on the condition of the current paintwork and assessed any damage. While this check was carried out, a team put scaffolding into place around the aircraft. There had to be enough scaffolding to give access to every point of the aircraft during the painting process.
Second step, masking and stripping
There are two kinds of paint job that you can give an aircraft – a strip or an abrade (otherwise known as a ‘rub’). A strip involves the use of chemical washes to remove the paint back to bare metal. During a ‘rub’ the aircraft fuselage (the body of the plane) is sanded back to a smooth finish ready to accept paint.
Generally the fuselage and fin are stripped as these are made of metal but the engines and wings and rubbed as they are made of composite materials.
G-OZBZ needed a fuselage strip and repaint, so the next step was to cover or ‘mask’ all the areas which needed to be protected from sanding dust and paint overspray, for example the cockpit and cabin windows. As the wings weren’t being painted (just the ends were to be painted yellow), these were also masked. Masking was also applied to sensitive items such as ports, antennae, aerials and engine intakes.
The metallic areas were then chemically stripped back to bare metal, a process which includes a power wash and alkaline shampoo. The tail fin and engine cowlings (covers) are made of composite materials, so these were abraded, followed by a solvent wash. Once all the paint was removed and sealants checked and repaired or replaced, Monarch engineers carried out a bare metal inspection to check the state of the aircraft before painting commenced.
Then, it’s time to paint
After masking, a team of 10 to 12 people hand-sprayed primer to the fuselage.
Once the primer was dry, a layer of white paint was applied to the fuselage.
Next, yellow paint was sprayed on to the tail and once dry, the indigo was applied to the underneath of the fuselage and Monarch’s famous spotty M logo was added to the tail.
There are a number of mandatory markings and Monarch titles that need to be put on the aircraft. These are a combination of decals (industrial stickers) and paint. The Monarch title for instance was applied by placing a massive spray mask (or stencil) over the fuselage and spraying the mask with paint.
Aircraft paints are designed to be tough in order to withstand extreme environmental conditions as well as corrosion, chemicals, and rain erosion. However, unlike paint you might use to protect your home, aircraft paints also need to be incredibly lightweight and the completed paint job was allowed to be no more than 250 microns thick (0.25mm or about 0.01 inches).
Taking all the primer, white, yellow, purple basecoat and the clear coat together, the total amount of paint used was about 360 litres.
Finally, it’s very important to the safe and efficient operation of commercial aircraft that we know how much everything weighs. When the painting was complete, G-OZBZ was given a ‘calculated reweigh’, which compared the thickness of the new paint to the original paint. These figures were sent to a loadmaster company to produce accurate trim data for the aircraft, which will be used eventually by the pilots and other people in operations.
Thank you Monarch for explaining the process.
Oman Air (Muscat), the national carrier of the Sultanate of Oman, has placed an order for three A330-300s, growing its A330 Family fleet to a total of ten Airbus aircraft. The aircraft will be operated on long haul routes and can comfortably seat close to 300 passengers.
Copyright Photo: Dave Glendinning. Airbus A330-343X A40-DB (msn 1044) taxies at London (Heathrow).
Virgin America (San Francisco) today celebrated the launch of its new daily roundtrip service to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) from San Francisco with an onboard concert.
In keeping with Austin and the Virgin brand’s musical roots, guests onboard the inaugural flight were also treated to a live, in-flight acoustic performance onboard the Airbus A320 aircraft by the award-winning Austin-based psychedelic rock band, The Bright Light Social Hour. En route from SFO to the “live music capital of the world,” the band surprised guests and performed in the aisles on the commercial flight (see video below).
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing. Airbus A320-214 N848VA (msn 4959) approaches Los Angeles International Airport.
Adria Airways (Ljubljana) reported a reduced loss of $7.3 million in the first quarter. The struggling carrier intends to lease out its two Airbus A319s to Jat Airways (Belgrade) next month according to Balkans.com. However the airline will lease in two older (and cheaper) A319s in order to maintain its summer schedule and main routes according to the same source.
The government of Slovenia is planning to privatize around 15 state owned companies including Adria Airways according to Telecompaper.
Copyright Photo: Andi Hiltl/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-132 S5-AAR (msn 4301) prepares to land at Zurich.
Video: Adria Airways’ Cabin Crews:
EasyJet (easyJet.com) (London-Luton) yesterday (May 20) launched its first ever services from London Gatwick to Bergen, Norway.
Norway is the 33rd country EasyJet flies to with the airline expecting to carry more than 100,000 passengers between Norway and the UK annually.
Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-111 G-EJAR (msn 2412) in the Supporting UNICEF motif taxies at Amsterdam.
Video: The expanding easyJet:
China Eastern Airlines (Shanghai) has taken delivery of its first Airbus A320 aircraft equipped with Sharklet fuel saving wing-tip devices, becoming China’s first carrier to do so. The aircraft is also the first Sharklets equipped A320 assembled and delivered in Tianjin, China.
The A320, powered by IAE V2500 engines, features a comfortable two class cabin, seating 158 passengers with eight in business class and 150 in economy. The A320 will make its first commercial flight from Shanghai to Dalian on May 18.
Sharklets are made from light-weight composites and are 2.4 meters tall. They are an option on new-build A320 Family aircraft and standard on all members of the new A320neo family. They offer operators up to four per cent fuel burn reduction on longer range sectors and provide the flexibility of either adding an additional 100 nautical miles range or increased payload capability of up to 450 kilograms.
China Eastern is one of the largest airlines in China and is the first Chinese airline operating Airbus aircraft in 1985. Now it operates an Airbus fleet of over 230 aircraft including A300s, A319s, A320s, A321s, A330s and A340s.
Airbus Tianjin Delivery Centre has delivered 126 aircraft since June 2009 and it plans to deliver 46 aircraft in total in 2013.
Copyright Photo: Airbus. Wearing temporary marks of B-513L, this Airbus A320-232 was handed over as B-9921 (msn 5516).
AviancaTaca Holding reports net income rose by 73.9% to $191 million in 2012, TACA cuts routes from San Jose
AviancaTaca Holding and its subsidiaries reported an increase of 12.9% in passenger numbers compared to 2011.
During 2012, AviancaTaca Holding S.A. recorded net profit of COP$351,684 million ($190.9 million), up 73.9% compared to 2011.
In 2012 AviancaTaca Holding S.A. continued work on expanding its network of routes and creating new air services for travelers flying to and from the Americas and Europe.
According to AviancaTaca’s CEO, Fabio Villegas: “Following the integration of Avianca and TACA operations the Company has launched 46 new routes, and over the last year has emphasized connectivity between high demand points in the local markets of Colombia, Peru and Central America, and throughout the Americas and the Caribbean. This expansion process is taking place in parallel with the renewal of the aircraft fleet and the development of an intensive campaign to further improve the internal service culture.”.
As a result of the increase in seat capacity, flight services to key destinations and also an improvement in service standards, AviancaTaca Holding and its subsidiaries transported 23.1million passengers in 2012, an increase of 12.9% compared to 2011.
Between January and December 2012 the number of travelers transported in markets within Colombia, Peru and Ecuador was 13,255,502, up 18.5% compared to 2011. The number of passengers transported by the Company on international routes was 9,837,031, an increase of 6.1% compared to 2011.
Between January and December 2012, Avianca, TACA and subsidiaries recorded an operating income of $4,254 million (USD), up 11.2% from 2011. Operating profit for the year was $282 million (USD).
The EBITDAR (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and aircraft leasing payments) for 2012 was USD$737.5 million and net profit totaled $195.6 million (USD).
Consistent with an increase of 10.3% in ASK capacity (seats available per kilometer flown), passenger traffic in RPK (passenger revenue per kilometer flown) increased by 10.3%. The average Load Factor was 79.6%.
In the first quarter of 2013, the Company reported net income of $75.3 million (USD).
During 2012 the Company incorporated 14 new jet aircraft: two Airbus A330s, four Airbus A319, seven Airbus A320 and one Airbus A330F exclusively for cargo. It also announced the firm order for 15 ATR 72-600 aircraft and rights to purchase 15 more, which will be assigned to cover regional routes within Colombia and short and medium-haul markets in Central America.
In other news, TACA is eliminating routes from San Jose, Costa Rica and laying off 261 employees. The airline issued this statement:
Starting May 17, the Airline adjusts operations to and from San Jose, Costa Rica, in order to meet market needs
The airline will keep direct flights between San Jose and Caracas, Mexico, Miami, Guatemala, Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, Managua, and Panama, as well as the connecting flights to hubs in El Salvador, Bogota, and Lima
All travelers with a reservation in flights from San Jose to Caracas, Mexico, Miami, Guatemala, Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, Managua and Panama, as well as to our hubs in El Salvador, Bogota and Lima, will keep their itinerary as scheduled.
Flights canceled as of May 17, 2013:
|LR661||San Jose CR – Quito|
|LR660||Quito – Guayaquil – San Jose CR|
|LR660||San Jose CR – Nueva York|
|LR661||New York – San Jose CR|
|AV693||San Jose CR – Panama – Medellin|
|AV692||Medellin – Panama – San Jose CR|
|LR652||San Jose CR – Havana|
|LR653||Havana – San Jose CR|
|LR672||Panama – San Jose CR|
|LR673||San Jose CR – Panama|
|LR604||San Jose CR – Los Angeles|
|LR605||Los Angeles – San Jose CR|
|LR684||San Jose CR – Monterrey|
|LR685||Monterrey – San Jose CR|
|LR678||San Jose CR – Managua|
|LR679||Managua – San Jose CR|
Flights canceled as of June 16, 2013:
|TA953||San Jose CR – Lima|
|TA952||Lima – San Jose CR|
|TA454||Tegucigalpa – Miami|
|TA455||Miami – Tegucigalpa|
TACA was founded in 1931 and boasts more than 80 years of history. It links the Americas together through its four Hubs (Colombia, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Peru), and its extensive route network from Canada to Brazil, flying to 50 destinations in 22 countries. Its fleet consists of Airbus A319, A320 and A321 aircraft and new Embraer 190 aircraft. In addition, its regional operations service 39 destinations in Central American countries with a fleet of ATR 42, Short SD3-60, Twin Otter and Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft.
Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. The TACA name and brand will be retired at the end of May ending a long history. TACA’s Airbus A320-233 N682TA (msn 3581) arrives at Miami painted in the last (2008) livery for the company. All TACA aircraft will be repainted into the red and white Avianca brand and operate under the Avianca name. Goodbye TACA.
Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) is gradually replacing its large FRONTIER billboard titles on its aircraft with equally large FLYFRONTIER.COM billboard titles. The move will be gradual as new aircraft are added or when the older aircraft need to be repainted. The move is to drive more traffic to its website.
In other news, Frontier Airlines launched new routes this week from its Denver, Colorado (DEN) hub to three new cities: Cincinnati, OH (CVG); Eugene, OR (EUG); and Fresno/Yosemite, CA. (FAT).
Following is the schedule for Frontier’s Cincinnati service:
Denver-Cincinnati (beginning May 16, 2013)
|DEN-CVG||6:59 p.m.||11:35 p.m.||Daily||A320|
|CVG-DEN||6:15 a.m.||7:15 a.m.||Daily||A320|
Following is the schedule for Frontier’s Eugene service:
Denver-Eugene (beginning May 16, 2013)
|DEN-EUG||12:15 p.m.||1:55 p.m.||Tues, Thurs, Sun||A319|
|EUG-DEN||2:35 p.m.||6:05 p.m.||Tues, Thurs, Sun||A319|
Following is the schedule for Frontier’s Fresno service:
Denver-Fresno (beginning May 17, 2013)
|DEN-FAT||12:45 p.m.||2:05 p.m.||Mon, Wed, Fri||A319|
|FAT-DEN||2:50 p.m.||6:00 p.m.||Mon, Wed, Fri||A319|
Top Copyright Photo: Frontier Airlines. Mickey, the Moose is back on newly-acquired Airbus A319-112 N954FR (msn 1786).
Bottom Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough. Airbus A320-214 N213FR (msn 4704) displays the old silver FRONTIER titles as it lands at Washington (Reagan National).
Emirates (Dubai) has announced it will add Airbus A380 service to Brisbane and Auckland.
Brisbane is set to become Emirates’ third Australian destination to welcome the airline’s flagship Airbus A380, with the announcement that Emirates will operate the A380 on the Dubai to Brisbane and Auckland route from October 1, 2013.
Adding the A380 to one of Emirates’ two daily Brisbane services will see an increase in capacity of 135 seats for sale per flight and 1,890 week, reinforcing Emirates’ commitment to its Queensland and Auckland passengers. The double-daily service is currently operated by Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft.
Together with QANTAS Airways (Sydney), from October 1 a total of six daily A380 services will operate to Dubai, offering a seamless A380 experience through Dubai International Airport’s Concourse A, the world’s first purpose built A380 concourse, to 21 A380 serviced destinations on the network including London Heathrow, Manchester, Paris and Rome.
Today’s announcement caps off a range of recent upgrades to Emirates’ Australian services, including the introduction of a daily Melbourne A380, a daily Adelaide service and a three times daily Perth service. A second A380 for Sydney from June has been announced.
Emirates sets the pace for A380 deployment, with the aircraft having carried 14 million passengers on 35,000 trips spanning 200 million kilometres since A380 operations commenced five years ago. In 2012 alone, Emirates added 11 A380s to its fleet and is the largest operator of the aircraft, with 33 in the fleet and 57 on order.
The Emirates A380 is set in a three-class configuration, with 399 seats in Economy Class on the lower level and 76 fully flat-bed, mini-pods in Business Class and 14 First Class Private Suites on the upper level. Passengers in the First Class cabin can freshen up in one of two on-board Shower Spas before joining fellow premium class travellers in the On-Board Lounge where they can enjoy complimentary beverages and canapés.
Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best.
Airbus (Toulouse) has completed the painting of the first A350 XWB (msn 001). On May 13 the new type was fully completed as it emerged in its Airbus livery out from the paintshop in Toulouse. This latest milestone shows that msn 001 is progressing well on its route to first flight.
The aircraft painting was achieved in less than seven days and follows the recent completion of msn 001’s flight-test-instrumentation (FTI) verification. Last month the aircraft underwent its engines installation, and passed a subsequent intensive phase of ground vibration tests. Msn 001 will soon start the final tests before its maiden flight this summer.
Copyright Photos: Airbus. The new airliner is officially an A350-941 with the registration of F-WXWB (msn 001).
Airberlin (airberlin.com) (Berlin) has announced its financial results for 2012. The company has returned to profitability and issued this statement:
- Net result of EUR 6.8 million ($8.7 million), 33.3 million guests
- Group revenue of EUR 4.31 billion, capacity utilization and yield increased
- Strategic partnership with Etihad Airways provides joint revenue of EUR 100 million, new code share routes expected to provide further growth
- First “Turbine” measures started – EUR 400 million until the end of 2014
- 180 positions already cut between January and the end of March 2013
- As of summer 2013, the Berlin and Dusseldorf hubs will be strengthened with increased flight frequencies and new destinations
- Revenue growth with fewer routes and increased frequencies: routes will be reduced from 523 in summer 2012 to 438 in summer 2013.
- Fleet reduction by twelve aircraft to 143 aircraft by the end of 2013
- The goal for 2013 is operational profitability, break-even at the EBIT level
Over the first months of the year, Airberlin, Germany’s second-largest airline, implemented numerous measures of the “Turbine” turnaround program. At the press conference on the 2012 results, airberlin’s CEO Wolfgang Prock-Schauer stated: “With Turbine, we are setting up airberlin in line with the market. We are becoming leaner, faster and are, at the same time, continuously improving our service and flight offers. In the first months of 2013, we have initiated a number of measures. It goes without saying that such programs have a start-up phase and start-up costs. We will reach ‘cruising altitude’ by the end of 2014.”
This two-year program will enable Germany’s second-largest airline to further expand its presence in core markets and to make structural changes aimed at making the company sustainably fit for the future. For that purpose, airberlin will further promote its integrated business model through which the company caters to tourist travelers and business clients. Up to the end of 2014, the Turbine program includes initiatives of approximately EUR 400 million, so as to achieve a sustainably competitive profit situation.
Turbine program with multiple measures started
The turnaround program comprises in particular the areas network and fleet, sales & distribution, products and services as well as operations. The first Turbine measures have already been implemented in this year’s summer flight schedule. The optimized offer strengthens airberlin’s presence in Europe and further expands the long-haul connections to North America. Airberlin is carrying out the network optimization by using the principle of increasing frequencies on economically profitable routes. The target is a robust network that is less susceptible to seasonal fluctuations and provides for more productive aircraft and personnel. As a result the airline is strengthening its long-haul hubs Berlin and Dusseldorf with additional long-haul frequencies and improved flight connections. These will increase in Berlin from ca. 7,600 to ca. 11,000, and in Dusseldorf from ca. 3,000 to ca. 4,050. At both airports, the number of weekly flight frequencies will grow by a total of 61 additional connections as compared to the previous year. At the same time airberlin has reduced economically unprofitable routes, with the number of routes decreasing from 523 to 438 on an annual comparison. With the optimized flight schedule, the fleet will be reduced from 155 aircraft at the end of 2012, to 143 aircraft at the end of 2013.
Network and station optimization will result in increased crew productivity. In the future, comprehensive aircraft maintenance (Base Maintenance) will only be carried out in Munich.
In connection with the restructuring cost reductions in personnel are necessary. Between January and the end of March 2013, 180 jobs will have been eliminated.
Airberlin is expanding its service in line with passenger requirements. From mid-year onwards, a modular catering concept will be introduced on the short and medium-haul flights. This will provide passengers with services commensurate with the duration of the flight. An example is the new Business Class seats introduced on long-haul flights.
Net profit for 2012
Airberlin concluded the 2012 business year with a return to profitability. The operating profit before interest and taxes (EBIT) of EUR 70.2 million was a significant improvement over the previous year results. The company’s net income of EUR 6.8 million marks a return to profitability and follows a loss of reported EUR 271.8 (restated: -420.4 million) in the 2011 business year.
In the past year, airberlin increased its group revenue to EUR 4.31 billion (2011: EUR 4.23 billion). While the number of passengers decreased by 5.5 per cent to 33.3 million (previous year: 35.3 million), capacity utilisation increased by 1.6 percentage points to 79.80 per cent (previous year: 78.21 per cent). This was achieved by a further fleet reduction of 15 aircraft to 155 aircraft and improvements of the flight schedule. Yield (revenue per passenger) improved by 7.7 percent to EUR 120.05 (previous year: EUR 111.43).
The spin-off of the frequent-flyer program “topbonus”, the implementation of the efficiency program “Shape & Size” and the increasing synergy effects resulting from the strategic partnership with Etihad Airways have contributed to the positive development of the operating result. In this context, Shape & Size has contributed EUR 250 million.
“The profit of the past financial year and the successful placement of the convertible bond enabled us to further stabilize the financial basis of the company. The favorable conditions, the swift placement and over-subscription of the bond demonstrate the market’s confidence in our company,” stated Airberlin’s Chief Financial Officer, Ulf Hüttmeyer. The goal for 2013 is a break-even at the EBIT level and therefore operational profitability.
The strategic partnership with Etihad Airways, which started at the beginning of 2012, has already shown positive effects within less than 12 months. By the end of 2012, codeshare routes enabled the two airlines to generate together a revenue increase of EUR 100 million. airberlin and Etihad Airways have already concluded almost 100 agreements with companies and sales partners and through synergies have further increased revenue and reduced operating costs. By further expanding codeshare routes with other Etihad Airways partners, airberlin will be able in the future to offer more destinations and increase revenue generated by codesharing. Furthermore, the strategic partnership is increasingly reducing costs for both airlines. For example, in the areas of procurement, maintenance, training and product harmonization, the two airlines are increasingly making use of their synergy potentials and expect these to reach their full potential in the coming years.
Global network established
Wolfgang Prock-Schauer assesses the advantages of the strategic partnership with Etihad Airways: “Our cooperation with Etihad Airways exceeds all our expectations.” This cooperation enabled airberlin to set up a global route network in the course of the past year. Within one year, Etihad Airways and airberlin have increased the number of codeshare routes to 90 connections and are flying to a combined 239 destinations in 77 countries. In 2012 alone, more than 320,000 passengers used the common flight network.
Airberlin’s membership in the global airline alliance, oneworld®, which started in March 2012, is also positive. The number of passengers traveling on these codeshare routes increased to 310,000 passengers.
Airberlin CEO Wolfgang Prock-Schauer added: “Our optimized route network together with the global network of our partners will enable us to be sustainably successful in the future. For that purpose, we need a functional hub in Berlin and the new airport BER that adheres to the operating times as foreseen in the official planning.”
Copyright Photo: Ole Simon. Airbus A320-214 D-ABFK (msn 4433) climbs away from Stuttgart.
Surinam Airways (Paramaribo) is celebrating 50 years as an airline. Organized in 1953, the airline commenced scheduled commercial operations on January 6, 1955 as SLM (Surinaamse Luchtvaart Maatschappij) flying from Paramaribo to Moengo with a Cessna 170B aircraft. The Surinam Airways name was adopted in 1966 and gradually replaced all references to SLM.
Read the full story from the Curacao Chronicle: CLICK HERE
Peter Sanches has written a beautiful book (we helped Peter with many of the photos) on the first 50 years of Surinam Airways: Flying on Trusted Wings: 50 Years of Surinam Airways (hardcover).
Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems. Ex-Air France Airbus A340-311 F-GLZG became PZ-TCP (msn 049) with Surinam Airways and is the European lifeline aircraft for the company flying between Paramaribo and Amsterdam.
- LATAM Airlines Group reported operating income of $114.2 million (US) for first quarter 2013, a 149.8% increase compared to the $45.7 million pro forma operating income in first quarter 2012. Operating margin reached 3.4%, an increase of 2.0 points compared to 1.4% in 2012. This result reflects a steady recovery in business operations as we advance in the process of achieving the expected synergies from the merger between LAN and TAM.
- Net income reached $42.7 million for first quarter 2013, compared to a pro forma consolidated net income of $83.7 million for the same period in 2012, which represents a decrease of 48.9% mainly due to a foreign exchange gain of $133.4 million recognized at TAM during the first quarter 2012.
- TAM continues to make significant progress in the turnaround of the domestic Brazil passenger operations, maintaining capacity discipline with a 9.2% reduction in ASKs during the first quarter 2013 as compared to the first quarter 2012. Healthy traffic growth of 3.4%,as well as improved market segmentation and revenue management practices have resulted in strong load factor improvements of 9.5 percentage points as compared to the first quarter 2012,reaching 77.7%. This led to a significant increase in revenue per ASK,as measured in Brazilian reais. Results in U.S. dollars were affected by a 13% depreciation of the Brazilian currency during the quarter as compared to the first quarter 2012. We remain convinced that capacity discipline and an adequate segmentation of the market will provide the basis for continued healthy load factors and a significant improvement in operating results in 2013.
- We remain confident in our synergy target of between $600 and $700 million, to be fully achieved by the fourth year after the merger (June 2016). Important progress was made in recent months with the code share agreement signed between TAM and American Airlines as well as with LATAM’s election of oneworld as its global alliance. We have begun to harmonize the airlines’ frequent flyer programs,as well as advanced on cost initiatives related to contract renegotiations and process standardization. Furthermore, important synergies have been achieved through the coordination of the LAN and TAM cargo operations. We expect merger synergies to be between $250 and $300 million during 2013. However,we expect to continue to incur certain costs related to the integration process.
- Total revenues in the first quarter 2013 reached $3,409.0 million compared to pro forma revenues of $3,360.2 million in first quarter 2012. The increase of 1.5% is a result of a 1.5% increase in passenger revenues and a 38.6% increase in other revenues, partially offset by a 3.2% decrease in cargo revenues. The slight increase in revenues reflects capacity reductions in the domestic Brazil passenger operations and a more challenging environment for international passenger operations, as well as weak market demand in the cargo business. Passenger and cargo revenues accounted for 84.2% and 13.5% of total revenues, respectively, in first quarter 2013.
- During the first quarter 2013, LATAM received a total of 5 Airbus A320 family aircraft and 1 Boeing 767-300 passenger aircraft. Furthermore, the Company returned 1 Airbus A320-200 and sold 2 Airbus A318 aircraft.
Top Copyright Photo: Alvaro Romero/ModoCharlie.com. LAN Airlines’ Airbus A318-121 CC-CVR (msn 3390) carries special Telethon 2011 logo at Santiago. The snow-capped Andes Mountains are in the background.
Bottom Copyright Photo: Bernardo Andrade. TAM’s Airbus A319-132 PT-TMD (msn 4192) in the retrojet color scheme climbs away from Santos Dumont Airport in downtown Rio de Janeiro. Please click on the photo for the full-size view.
Croatia Airlines (Zagreb) today (May 15) was hit again by a strike of its employees protesting wage and job cuts as part of the state airlines’ restructuring. The airline cancelled 22 flights today per Global Post. The company issued this statement:
Current Travel Information: Strike actions announced for Wednesday, May 15, 2013
All information about flight status for Wednesday, May 15, 2013 you may find under the link below:
We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your understanding and patience.
The three unions representing the pilots and flight attendants started their strike against the company yesterday after negotiations failed to reach a new contract.
Read the full report from the Global Post: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: Bernhard Ross/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-212 9A-CTM (msn 671) in the Star Alliance motif rests between flights at Frankfurt.
Helvetic Airways (Zurich) has acquired this Airbus A319 to supplement its fleet of six Fokker 100s.
For the current summer season, Helvetic will be operating the newly-acquired Airbus A319 for Kuoni on the following routes:
|From Bern:||Heraklion||From Geneva:||Heraklion|
|Fuerteventura / Arecife|
|Las Palmas / Tenerife|
|Hurghada / Sharm El Sheikh|
Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner/AirlinersGallery.com. Captured this morning in the early morning light at Zurich, Airbus A319-112 HB-JVK (msn 1886) was leased from AWAS on May 3, 2013.
EasyJet (UK) (easyJet.com) (London-Luton) has reported its first half financial results:
|Total revenue (£ million)||1,601||1,465||9.3%|
|Loss before tax (£ million)||(61)||(112)||45.5%|
|Pre-tax margin (%)||(3.8)||(7.6)||+3.8ppt|
|Loss per share – basic (pence)||(12.0)||(21.2)||43.4%|
|Return on capital employed (%)1||(0.9)||(2.8)||+1.9ppt|
Revenue initiatives and the focus on maintaining EasyJet’s cost advantage, combined with competitor capacity reductions and the timing of Easter have enabled easyJet to reduce its first half pre-tax loss year on year by £51 million to £61 million.
EasyJet ended the first half of the financial year with £1,194 million of cash, a decrease of £17 million against last year. Net cash as at 31 March 2013 was £433 million compared to £42 million at 31 March 2012.
On 1 May 2013, John Barton succeeded Sir Mike Rake as easyJet Chairman. The whole team at easyJet wishes to note its thanks for Sir Mike Rake’s strong leadership of the Board for three years during which easyJet’s total shareholder return was 233%.
Progress against strategic objectives:
Drive demand, conversion and yields across Europe
- Total revenue per seat increased by 8.6% year on year on a constant currency basis, and by 5.8% per seat on a reported basis, to £53.39 as the half year benefited from an early Easter, competitor capacity retrenchment, returns focused changes to EasyJet’s network and improvements to its revenue management system.
- Average load factors increased by 1.7 percentage points to 88.6% whilst capacity grew by 3.3% to 30 million seats.
Maintain cost advantage
- Cost per seat excluding fuel grew by 3.4% on a constant currency basis and by 3.1% on a reported basis to £38.89. Year on year cost increases were largely driven by increased charges at regulated airports and from higher weather related disruption and de-icing costs.
- EasyJet lean delivered an incremental £25 million of savings in the period.
Build strong number 1 and 2 network positions
- Successful deployment of capacity from Madrid base which was exited in December 2012 to strengthen easyJet’s position in Edinburgh, Manchester, Gatwick, Geneva, Lisbon and Lyon.
Disciplined use of capital
- In the six months to 31 March 2013, EasyJet has returned £85 million or 21.5 pence per share to shareholders through the increased payment of ordinary dividend, at three times earnings cover.
- Further to the January 2013 IMS, easyJet has signed sale and operating leaseback agreements for 12 new A320 and 12 of the oldest A319 aircraft.
- Significant improvements have been made in underperforming routes increasing overall network returns.
- easyJet is in the final stages of the commercial evaluation of the next generation of short-haul engine technology. The process has been subject to high standards of governance. In the event that the Board of easyJet concludes that an order will be in the interest of all shareholders, easyJet will bring a proposal to shareholders that will cover both the next generation of deliveries, which are likely to be after 2017, and a plan for the bridging period from 2015 to 2017.
Commenting on the results, Carolyn McCall, easyJet Chief Executive said:
“EasyJet delivered a strong first half performance, demonstrating the Company’s structural advantage in the European short-haul market against both legacy and low cost competition, and a continuing resilience against a challenging European macro-economic environment.
Our performance reflects measurable progress against EasyJet’s four key strategic objectives that have been amply demonstrated by a significant reduction in the loss for the first half and significant improvement in ROCE over the same period.
Whilst there is always the potential for unexpected events to impact short term financial performance, the outlook for the second half of the financial year combined with the strong reduction in first half losses means that EasyJet expects to deliver improved returns and profitability for the year ending 30 September 2013.”
In other news, the company is nearing a decision to order the re-engined Airbus A320neo or the Boeing 737 MAX.
Read the full story and analysis by Reuters: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-111 G-EZBR (msn 3088) with the special Airbus 100 markings stops at Paris (CDG).
JetBlue Airways (New York) and Emirates (Dubai) today announced their intention to expand their current partnership to include bilateral codesharing, pending FAA and DOT regulatory approval and subject to receipt of foreign government operating authority. Under the expanded agreement, JetBlue will place its “B6″ airline code on all flights currently operated by Emirates between the U.S. and Dubai International Airport, as well as between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Milan, Italy.
The agreement deepens a three-year partnership between JetBlue and Emirates. Emirates started placing its code on select JetBlue-operated flights in April 2012, expanding an interline agreement that dates back to 2010. Current codeshare routes offered by Emirates on JetBlue-operated flights cover 28 destinations including Boston, Chicago, Orlando and Puerto Rico. Since March this year, Emirates also began placing its code on additional JetBlue routes, including Bridgetown, Barbados, Cancun, Mexico, Montego Bay, Jamaica and Santo Domingo, Santiago and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Through the existing agreement, customers enjoy the convenience of a single combined ticket for Emirates and JetBlue-operated flights, plus other benefits including one-stop check-in and baggage transfer.
Members of Skywards, the Emirates reward program, can earn miles on JetBlue-operated flights and also redeem miles for flights to any of JetBlue’s 77 destinations (and counting) throughout the Americas. Similarly, members of JetBlue’s TrueBlue loyalty program can earn points for Emirates-operated flights worldwide.
Emirates’ global network encompasses 133 destinations in 77 countries across six continents and the airline currently operates 56 passenger flights per week between Dubai and the U.S. including flights from Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C. and the twice daily A380 service from JFK to Dubai International Airport. , Emirates’ extensive network gives travellers in the U.S. access not only to the carrier’s home of Dubai, the commercial and tourism hub of the United Arab Emirates and the Gulf region, but also to cities across Africa, India, and throughout Asia Pacific.
From New York JFK, Emirates offers two daily nonstop flights to its global hub at Dubai International Airport – both aboard its flagship A380 – offering travellers fine dining, personalized service and multi award-winning entertainment options. From Washington Dulles, Emirates offers one daily nonstop flight to Dubai.
Top Copyright Photo: Stephen Tornblom. Airbus A320-232 N779JB (msn 3811) (Real Salt Lake-2009 Champions) taxies from the gate at Long Beach.
Bottom Copyright Photo: Stephen Tornblom. Airbus A380-861 A6-EDN (msn 056) carefully taxies at New York (JFK).
Aeroflot Russian Airlines (Moscow) as we first reported on November 19, 2012, is getting ready to introduce this 1956 retrojet.
Aeroflot issued this statement back in November:
On November 12, 2012 the open Internet voting for Aeroflot new aircraft retro livery was finished. Celebrating the company’s 90th Anniversary, an airplane in a heritage livery will join the Aeroflot fleet in 2013.
In the middle of this summer Aeroflot addressed to its passengers through social networks, asking about their vision of expected Aeroflot jubilee events. As a result, more than 45 per cent of our flyers wished to see one of the national carrier’s aircraft in a retro livery.
So, the voting in Aeroflot official Facebook group had begun. There were four candidates representing four different types of painting historically worn by Aeroflot airplanes. More than 2500 passengers participated in the voting process, and the livery of one of the first world’s jet airliners – Tupolev Tu-104 (appeared in 1956) was declared a winner.
During the voting Aeroflot received from its passengers a lot of useful recommendations and remarks, which will allow updating and improving of the color scheme of the livery.
One of the brand new A320 aircraft to make part of Aeroflot fleet in the first middle of 2013 will wear a retro livery. The painting itself will be made at the Airbus manufacturing plant.
Copyright Photo: Eurospot. The pictured brand-new Airbus A320-214 has been painted in a modified 1956 almost-retro livery. Still carrying the test registration of F-WWIF, the airframe will be delivered as VP-BNT (msn 5614). The airliner is pictured at Toulouse today.
Virgin America (San Francisco) has reported its financial results for the fourth quarter of 2012, full-year 2012, and the first quarter of 2013. The airline reported its first-ever fourth quarter operating profit in the quarter ending in December 2012, with a 4.4 point improvement in operating margin over the fourth quarter of 2011. In addition, Virgin America improved financial results in the first quarter of 2013, significantly narrowing its operating loss from the same period the year prior. For the first quarter of 2013, Virgin America reported a 69 percent year-over-year improvement in operating results compared with the first quarter of 2012, driven by an 18 percent growth in RASM.
Highlights of the two quarters are as follows:
Fourth Quarter 2012 Financial Highlights
- Virgin America achieved its first-ever fourth quarter operating profit with $5.1 million of operating income, an improvement of $13.2 million, compared with the fourth quarter of 2011.
- Fourth quarter revenue per available seat mile (RASM) increased by 9 percent, the highest in the domestic industry.
- Available seat miles (ASMs) increased by 16 percent, primarily the result of increases to the fleet size early in 2012.
- The airline recorded operating revenues of $350.4 million in the fourth quarter, a year-over-year increase of 27 percent.
- Its average fare increased 14 percent year-over-year, indicative of growing awareness and guest loyalty that Virgin America has built in its markets through its industry-leading product and service.
- Cost per available seat mile (CASM) excluding fuel increased by 6 percent compared to the year earlier quarter, largely a result of the airline’s change in strategy to reduce aircraft utilization and eliminate seasonally weaker frequencies.
- The average fuel cost per gallon during the quarter was $3.00, a decline of 6 percent year-over-year.
- EBITDAR increased to $65.1 million in the fourth quarter, a year-over-year improvement of 54 percent.
- The airline held $76 million in unrestricted cash as of December 31, 2012.
First Quarter 2013 Financial Highlights
- Virgin America reduced its operating loss by $33.6 million or 69 percent year-over-year, posting a modest operating loss of $15 million.
- The Company significantly outpaced the entire U.S. airline industry with year-over-year RASM growth of 18 percent.
- ASMs decreased by 4 percent year-over-year, as the airline focused on improving its schedule for business travelers and eliminating seasonally weak frequencies during the winter.
- Its average fare increased by 19 percent over the year earlier quarter, continuing the trend demonstrated in the fourth quarter of 2012 of increased demand by guests for Virgin America’s product.
- Operating revenues were $301.3 million, an increase of 13 percent from the first quarter of 2012.
- CASM excluding fuel increased by 8 percent year-over-year, primarily due to reduced utilization of the fleet.
- EBITDAR increased seven fold to $44.7 million from $6.5 million in the same period a year-ago.
- Unrestricted cash was $58 million as of March 31, 2013.
“We’re pleased with our first-ever fourth quarter operating profit and the progress we have seen in the first quarter – traditionally the most challenging period for our industry,” said David Cush, Virgin America’s President and CEO. “Our improved financial performance reflects the changes we made last year to optimize our winter network schedule as we slow our growth. And it also reflects the growing guest awareness and loyalty we’ve seen as our network has grown. We’ve always said that once people fly us, they stick with us – and show a preference for our service. Our industry-leading RASM growth for the past six months is a testament to that and to the work of a team that has truly delivered on the promise of creating the best guest experience in the skies.”
The airline’s full-year 2012 operating loss was $31.7 million. The Company’s operating margin for 2012 improved by 0.2 points, to (2.4) percent, compared with 2011. Year-over-year, revenue grew by 29 percent in 2012, to $1.3 billion, on a 27 percent increase in capacity. Virgin America added six Airbus A320 family aircraft to its fleet during 2012, ending the year with an operating fleet of 52 aircraft. The airline ended 2012 with $76 million in unrestricted cash.
Virgin America completed a major two-year growth phase during 2012, having taken delivery of 25 aircraft between the second quarter of 2010 and the second quarter of 2012, almost doubling the size of the fleet. With this major growth phase largely behind the Company, Virgin America is now experiencing improved revenue performance across its network. Virgin America took delivery of one aircraft in the first quarter of 2013, increasing its total operating fleet to 53 aircraft. The Company does not expect to increase its fleet size again until 2015, when aircraft on order from Airbus are scheduled for delivery. The Company expects continued improved year-over-year financial performance throughout the remainder of 2013 as a result of the slower growth strategy.
In addition to slowing growth by deferring new aircraft deliveries, Virgin America made targeted changes to its network schedule in the first quarter to optimize seasonal flying and better match supply with winter demand. These changes resulted in a 17 percent reduction in the average daily utilization of the fleet to 10.3 hours per aircraft per day. While the reduced schedule was a major driver behind the 18 percent improvement in RASM, it also contributed to an 8 percent increase in CASM excluding fuel costs. The airline ended the quarter with $58 million in unrestricted cash.
Balance Sheet Improvements
The airline also announces today that it has recently reached agreements with investors to modify the interest rate on a large portion of existing debt and to eliminate certain indebtedness to restructure its balance sheet. The restructuring eliminated $290 million of debt as of December 31, 2012, and approximately $20 million of accrued interest recorded in the first quarter of 2013. If this restructuring had been in place on January 1, 2013, Virgin America’s first quarter net loss would have been reduced by approximately $20 million. These changes with investors are a first step toward preparing the Company for access to the public markets at a future date.
In addition, the Company closed an additional $75 million debt financing that was fully funded at the closing. This additional liquidity will further strengthen Virgin America’s improving financial position.
As a result of these balance sheet and liquidity initiatives, the Company expects its interest expense for the second half of 2013 to be approximately $20 million, or roughly one third of the interest expense recorded in the second half of 2012.
“With the strong improvement in first quarter 2013 financial performance, we are on track for a significant operating profit for the full year,” said David Cush. “The agreements reached with our investors enhance the improvements we are seeing in our business, and are a first step in modifying the Company’s capital structure to one more in line with public companies. With this solid improvement to our capital structure, we now expect to achieve a net profit in the second half of 2013, and are well positioned for sustained healthy financial performance in 2014 and beyond.”
Virgin America continued to drive significant growth in 2012: expanding its fleet from 46 aircraft in January 2012 to 52 aircraft in December 2012 (in March 2013, the carrier took delivery of its 53rdaircraft, which came into service in April); achieving major carrier status as defined by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT); launching service to Philadelphia, Portland, Ore., and Washington D.C.’s Reagan National Airport; and in December announcing plans to inaugurate Newark service from both San Francisco and Los Angeles in 2013.
- In 2012 the Virgin America achieved an 83.5 percent cumulative A-14 on-time ranking, compared to the industry average of 81.9 percent.
- The airline’s baggage handling rate for 2012 was 0.87 mishandled baggage reports per 1,000 guests, placing it first among all U.S. carriers reporting to the DOT for baggage reliability.
- Virgin America took the top honors for the fifth consecutive year as “Best Domestic Airline” in the prestigious Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards readers’ survey as well as the Condé Nast Traveler’s 2012 Readers’ Choice Awards.
- Virgin America was named the best airline in 2012 in the Airline Quality Rating, a joint research project conducted annually by faculty at Wichita State University and Purdue University that looks at airlines’ on-time performance and baggage handling, involuntary denied boarding and the customer complaint rates as reported by the DOT.
Key milestones achieved in the fourth quarter of 2012 include:
- The airline added three new interline partners.
- The airline introduced codeshare and agreed upon frequent flyer partnerships with Singapore Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines.
- In December, the airline announced plans to begin flying to Newark Liberty International Airport from both SFO and LAX.
- In December, the airline opened its first ever domestic lounge, the Virgin America Loft at LAX.
- In December,the airline entered into a codeshare agreement with Singapore Airlines.
- In December, the airline inaugurated the only nonstop flight offered from the New York City area (JFK) to Palm Springs with new winter seasonal service between the two cities.
Key milestones achieved in the first quarter of 2013 include:
- In January, the airline announced plans for new daily service between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
- In February, the airline announced plans for new daily service between San Jose and Los Angeles. Also in February, the airline announced plans for new daily service between San Francisco and Austin, Texas and new summer seasonal service between San Francisco and Anchorage, Alaska.
- In March, the airline announced the appointment of industry veteran Steve Forte as its chief operating officer.
Copyright Photo: Mark Durbin. Airbus A320-214 N361VA (msn 5515), the first with Sharklets, pushes back from the gate at the SFO base.
Kuwait Airways (Kuwait City) is planning to order 10 Airbus A350-900s and 15 A320neo aircraft according to this report by Reuters.
Read the full report: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: Paul Denton. The new Airbus aircraft will replace the older Airbus aircraft. Aging Airbus A300B4-605R 9K-AME (msn 721) taxies at Geneva.
The Emirates Group (Emirates Airline) (Dubai) has announced it 25th consecutive year of profit and company-wide growth ending the year in a strong position despite continuing high fuel prices and a weak global economic environment. The financial year also ended with some very positive newly reached capacity milestones throughout the business.
The company posted an AED 3.1 billion ($845 million) net profit, up 34 per cent from last year. Even with external challenges, the Group’s revenue reached AED 77.5 billion ($21.1 billion) an increase of 17 per cent over last year’s results. The Group’s cash balance grew by 53 per cent reaching a solid AED 27.0 billion ($7.3 billion).
“Achieving our 25th consecutive year of profit in a financial year with our largest ever increase in capacity across the network is an achievement that speaks to the strength of our brands and our leadership,” said His Highness (H.H) Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group.
“Throughout the 2012-13 financial year the Group has collectively invested over AED 13.8 billion (US$ 3.8 billion) in new aircraft, products, services and handling facilities as well as the newly opened JW Marriott Marquis Hotel in Dubai. This investment has resulted in an increased customer base and a rise in global brand awareness. Every dirham that we earn is strategically placed back into our business and it is this tenacious approach that has allowed the Group to maintain such strong and consistent profitability under challenging circumstances.”
Despite a difficult operating environment, the Group continued to invest in and expand on its employee base, increasing its overall staff count by 12 per cent to 68,000.
Emirates continued with its growth plan and during the financial year saw the largest increase in capacity in the airline’s history receiving a staggering 34 new aircraft, the highest in any single year and an unprecedented achievement. These aircraft were funded by raising more than $7.8 billion, also a first, through a variety of financing structures. Overall capacity measured in Available Tonne Kilometres (ATKMs) increased by 5.5 billion ton-kilometers. Other significant capacity increases include launching 10 new destinations across six continents, shipping more than 2 million tonnes of cargo for the first time and carrying an additional 5.4 million passengers over last year, the highest increase in a financial year.
In the 2012-13 financial year Emirates’ fuel bill increased by 15 per cent over last year to reach AED 27.9 billion ($7.6 billion). With total operating costs increasing by 16 per cent compared to a revenue increase of 17 per cent over last year.
“Managing volatile exchange rates, coupled with a persistently high fuel bill accounting for 40 per cent of our total expenditures, has required continued strong resolve,” added Sheikh Ahmed. “Even with these lingering challenges we continue to grow and remain profitable despite the industry norms because we continue to rely on our proven business model and understanding of the marketplace.”
“Staying the course, our strategy for growth has reaped high benefits this past financial year, which has been our strongest ever in relationship to capacity growth,” said Sheikh Ahmed. “Emirates seat load factor over the last three years has been 80 per cent despite our increase in capacity by 44 per cent during the same period, showing the continued global demand for our product. In addition our capacity measured in terms of Available Tonne Kilometres (ATKMs), which includes passenger and cargo capacity, crossed the 40 billion tonne-kilometres mark, another first for Emirates.”
Highlighting its sound financials and investor confidence, Emirates raised more than AED 28.6 billion (US$ 7.8 billion) in new funding mainly to secure its on-going fleet expansion, a record amount for the airline. This impressive total included US$ 587.5 million financing for additional A380’s with a bond that used the debt capital market in the U.S., a first for a non-U.S. airline in years. Emirates also issued a 10-year amortised Sukuk for US$ 1 billion and raised US$ 750 million with a 12-year amortised bond matched to the payment cycle for the aircraft. It further includes more than AED 20 billion (US$5.4 billion) raised through finance and operating leases.
“We move into the new financial year with confidence and a clear vision of where we are headed. We understand that succeeding in this industry requires determination and we are unapologetic about our drive to be the best,” added Sheikh Ahmed. “We strive to provide superior customer experiences and as our customers’ expectations increase so do the expectations we set for ourselves. With the help of our 68,000 strong multicultural work force we have no doubt that the year ahead will again be more profitable than the last.”
Emirates revenue reached a record high of AED 73.1 billion ($19.9 billion) growing by 17 per cent when compared to the 2011-12 financial year. Although the average price of jet fuel did not increase over last year, it remains high and has impacted Emirates’ bottom line with the airline’s profit at AED 2.3 billion (US$ 622 million) representing an increase of 52 per cent over last year’s results.
Carrying a record 39.4 million passengers, an increase of 16 per cent, Emirates logged a robust Passenger Seat Factor, at 80 per cent, remaining consistent with last year’s results. With an increase in seat capacity-Available Seat Kilometres (ASKMs) of 18 per cent the result highlights a strong consumer desire to fly on Emirates’ state-of-the-art aircraft.
Passenger yield remained steady with 30.5 fils (8.3 US cents) per Revenue Passenger Kilometre (RPKM)
Revenue generated from across Emirates’ six regions continues to be well balanced, with no region contributing more than 30 per cent of overall revenues. East Asia and Australasia remained the highest revenue contributing region with AED 20.9 billion (US$ 5.7 billion) up 15 per cent from 2011-12. Europe, up 18 per cent to AED 20.1billion (US$ 5.5 billion) and the Americas up 24 per cent to AED 8.3 billion (US$ 2.3 billion) saw the most significant growth, reflecting new destinations as well as increased frequency and capacity to these regions.
Across the rest of the globe Emirates saw strong revenue increases from West Asia and the Indian Ocean up 13 per cent to AED 8.0 billion (US$ 2.2 billion), Gulf/Middle East up 13 per cent to AED 7.1 billion (US$ 1.9 billion) and Africa with AED 6.7 billion (US$1.8 billion) in revenue, up 10 per cent.
Emirates premium seat factor remained strong despite the global financial uncertainty. Premium and overall seat factor for the airline’s flagship Airbus A380 aircraft outperformed the network, highlighting the continued demand for the product from passengers.
With a further 198 aircraft on order worth over $71 billion, combined with the airline’s increasing worldwide passenger traffic, Emirates’ is set to continue to drive considerable economic growth in the countries that it serves.
Forging ahead with its intricately planned expansion, Emirates received 34 new wide-body aircraft during the year including 20 Boeing 777-300 ERs, 10 Airbus A380s and 4 Boeing 777 LRFs compared with last year’s 22 aircraft. With an increased fleet, Emirates launched 10 new destinations in 2012-13 including Ho Chi Minh City, Barcelona, Lisbon, Erbil, Washington, DC, Adelaide, Lyon, Phuket, Warsaw and Algiers.
Looking forward to 2013-14, Emirates has to date announced four new routes; Haneda, Clark in the Philippines, Stockholm and Milan to New York.
New A380 destinations for the airline in 2012-13 included; Amsterdam, Melbourne, Singapore and Moscow. Bringing the total number of A380 destinations to 21. In addition, a second A380 was deployed on the existing Paris and New York routes, making both now a double daily A380 service. Two of our aircraft to London Heathrow were also upgraded to A380s, making all five daily flights now A380s.
Focusing on our customer touch points, Emirates opened three new dedicated airport lounges during the year including Milan and the new First Class and Business Class Concourse A facilities at Dubai Airport, which are among the largest in the world, bringing the total number of Emirates lounges to 35. The existing Business Class lounge in Dubai Airport’s Concourse C was also refurbished to provide passengers with an enhanced experience.
Defying the industry trend, the 2012-13 financial year has been a strong one for Emirates SkyCargo who for the first time reported a revenue over AED 10 billion reaching AED 10.3 billion ($2.8 billion) mark, an 8 per cent increase over last year.
Emirates SkyCargo’s tonnage increased 16 per cent reaching a remarkable 2.1 million tonnes in a shrinking airfreight market, highlighting its ability to grow revenues against the industry norm. This year, freight yield per Freight Tonne Kilometer (FTKM) decreased by 6 per cent.
Contributing 15 per cent of Emirates’ total transport revenue Emirate SkyCargo continues to play an integral role in the company’s expanding operations.
At the end of the financial year, Emirates SkyCargo freighter fleet totalled 10 aircraft – eight on operating lease and two on wet lease.
Copyright Photo: Paul Denton. Airbus A380-861 A6-EDZ (msn 107) with the special Expo 2020 Dubai UAE markings arrives at the Dubai hub.
EasyJet (UK) (stylized as easyJet) (London-Luton) and its partners Airbus and Nicarnica are planning the final stage of testing for the AVOID technology. Last week EasyJet flew back a ton of volcanic ash from Iceland collected by the Institute of Earth Sciences in Reykjavik. The ash, dried to create the consistency of fine talc, will be used in a unique experiment which is planned for this summer.
The next phase of testing will involve two Airbus test planes, one of which has the ability to disperse the ash into the atmosphere, thereby creating an artificial ash cloud for a second Airbus test aircraft with the AVOID technology fitted to detect and avoid at over 30,000 feet.
The experiment, which is expected to be conducted in August, will take place when the Seviri and Calypso satellites are aligned to be able to image the ash cloud from space thereby helping to prove the accuracy and effectiveness of the AVOID technology.
Ian Davies, easyJet’s Engineering Director, commented: “The threat from Icelandic volcanoes continues and so finalizing the approval of the AVOID technology is as crucial now as ever to ensure we never again see the scenes of spring 2010 when all flying ceased for several days.
“Transporting a ton of volcanic ash from Iceland is an important step in the final journey of testing the technology and moving towards commercial certification.”
Dr Fred Prata, inventor of the AVOID technology, said: “This is the perfect science experiment. We will know exactly how much ash we have placed in the atmosphere, and also its concentration and composition. AVOID will then measure it and demonstrate the technology.”
Manfred Birnfeld, Senior flight Test Engineer for Airbus, said: “We are all working towards reducing the impact of volcanic ash clouds, and the technology being developed in AVOID could prove valuable in identifying airspace free of ash contamination and provide data for pilots and airlines on the precise localisation of ash clouds.
“This is why Airbus is supporting the development of AVOID and we hope this system will contribute towards three dimensional, dynamic mapping tools to allow the airlines to take necessary decisions for a safe flight under the full knowledge of current location of ash clouds.”
The AVOID system can be likened to a weather radar for ash. Created by Dr Fred Prata, Chief Technology Officer at Nicarnica Aviation, the system comprises of infrared technology (developed by the U.S. military) fitted to aircraft to supply images to pilots and an airline’s operations control center. The images will enable pilots to see an ash cloud, up to 100 kilometers ahead of the aircraft and at altitudes between 5,000 feet and 50,000 feet, thus allowing them to make small adjustments to the plane’s flight path to avoid any ash cloud. The concept is very similar to weather radars which are standard on commercial airliners today.
On the ground, information from aircraft with AVOID technology would be used to build an accurate image of the volcanic ash cloud using real time data. This could open up large areas of airspace that would otherwise be closed during a volcanic eruption, which would benefit passengers by minimising disruption.
Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth. Airbus A319-111 G-EZIK (msn 2482) touches down at EuroAirport serving Basel/Mulhouse/Freiburg.
Finnair introduces a second Marimekko print Airbus A330-300 logojet, this one for Metsänväki “forest dwellers”
Finnair (Helsinki) has introduced a second Marimekko Airbus logojet.
The airline issued this statement today:
The design collaboration between Finnair and Marimekko enters a new phase as Finnair brings textiles and tableware designed by the iconic Finnish design and fashion house to its aircraft starting on May 15. As an emblem of the cooperation, a Finnair Airbus 330 was unveiled today with a blue-forest livery based on the Marimekko print Metsänväki (“forest dwellers”). The plane will fly from Finnair’s Helsinki hub to the airline’s 13 Asian destinations plus New York, joining a sister aircraft painted in Marimekko’s Unikko (“poppy”) print last October.
As part of the collaboration, a selection of Marimekko for Finnair items is also available for purchase, both through in-flight sales and the Finnair PlusShop.
”With our Marimekko cooperation, we want to bring timeless yet modern Finnish design to the travel experience of Finnair customers,” says Anssi Komulainen, Senior Vice President, Customer Service. ”From mid-May onwards, our Business Class customers will enjoy their in-flight meals from tableware tailor-made for Finnair by Marimekko, and Marimekko napkins, blankets, pillows and head rest covers will be introduced during summer. The same classic prints are featured in Economy Class paper cups, headrest covers, fleece blankets and pillows.”
The Marimekko for Finnair collection was designed according to the airline’s needs by Marimekko designer Sami Ruotsalainen in collaboration with Kristina and Emma Isola, in original Marimekko patterns by Maija Isola. The blue, green and grey colors and the classic prints used in the collection tell the story of Finnish nature and the views seen when looking down from an aircraft window.
”The Metsänväki print by Kristina Isola is a strong statement about the Finnish spirit and the forest-inspired energy that makes Finns tick. The print combines the majesty and fairytale-like magic of the Finnish forest. This makes it an ideal greeting from Finland, carried on the blue and white wings of Finnair around the world,” says Minna Kemell-Kutvonen, Creative Director at Marimekko.
Marimekko for Finnair tableware and textiles have been designed to accommodate the special requirements of commercial aviation. The Business Class tableware is made of special light-weight porcelain which helps Finnair reduce aircraft weight, thus contributing to fuel efficiency and a lighter carbon footprint.
The fairytale like Metsänväki (“forest dwellers”) print was created by Maija Isola’s daughter Kristina Isola in 2007. The print is dedicated to dear and faithful friends: to the trees and bushes of the forest, which stay put year after year. Peace and trust are also reflected in the colorings of the design, in shades of green, brown and blue, of which the blue print was a natural choice to celebrate the Marimekko for Finnair partnership.
Air Astana (Almaty), Kazakhstan’s flag carrier, has taken delivery of its first A320 aircraft equipped with Airbus’ Sharklet fuel saving wing tip devices. The airline becomes the first in the region to benefit from the new wing-tip devices. Air Astana’s A320-232 P4-KBB (msn 5613), powered by IAE V2500 engines, features a comfortable two class cabin, seating 148 passengers with 16 in business class and 132 in economy.
Sharklets are newly designed wing-tip devices that improve the aircraft’s aerodynamics and significantly cut the airline’s fuel burn and emissions by four per cent on longer sectors. They are made from light-weight composites and are 2.4 meters tall. Sharklets are an option on A320 Family aircraft. They offer the flexibility to A320 Family operators of either adding around 100 nautical miles more range or allowing an increased payload capability of up to 450 kilograms.
Air Astana started commercial service with its first Airbus aircraft, an A320, in 2006, and is currently operating one A319, seven A320s and four A321s.
Copyright Photo: Eurospot. The pictured A320-232 F-WWIC became P4-KBB when it was handed over on May 4, 2013 at Toulouse.
Qatar Airways (Doha) is negotiating with Airbus to acquire 10 to 15 Airbus A330s due to the Boeing 787 delays. Unfortunately for Boeing, the compensation paid by Boeing is going directly to Airbus according to this report by Reuters.
Read the full report: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: Eurospot. Airbus A330-302 F-WWKF (msn 826) became A7-AEJ on delivery.
Air France-KLM (Air France) (KLM Royal Dutch Airlines) (Paris) lost €630 million ($826.3 million) in the first quarter, compared to a smaller loss of €379 million ($497.1 million) in the same quarter a year ago.
Read the full report: CLICK HERE
Top Copyright Photo: Ole Simon. Air France Airbus A380-861 F-HPJE (msn 052) taxies at the Paris (CDG) hub.
Bottom Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems. Airbus A330-203 PH-AOM (msn 1161) taxies at the Amsterdam base.
Spirit Airlines (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood) issued the following financial report:
Spirit Airlines, Inc. reported first quarter 2013 financial results.
- Adjusted net income for the first quarter 2013 was $32.8 million, or $0.45 per diluted share1. GAAP net income was $30.6 million, or $0.42 per diluted share.
- For the first quarter 2013, Spirit achieved an operating margin, excluding special items, of 14.4 percent1. Operating margin on a GAAP basis was 13.4 percent for the first quarter 2013.
- Spirit ended the first quarter 2013 with $483.5 million in unrestricted cash.
- Spirit grew total available seat miles (“ASMs”) 20.8 percent as compared to the first quarter 2012.
- Spirit’s return on invested capital (before taxes and excluding special items) for the last twelve months ended March 31, 2013 was 28.0 percent. See “Calculation for Return on Invested Capital” table below for more details.
For the first quarter 2013, Spirit’s total operating revenue was $370.4 million, an increase of 22.9 percent, compared to first quarter 2012.
Total revenue per available seat mile (“RASM”) for the first quarter 2013 was 11.85 cents, an increase of 1.7 percent compared to the first quarter 2012 driven by strength in operating yields. The calendar shift of Easter occurring in March this year compared to April in 2012 contributed to the strong first quarter 2013 results.
Passenger flight segment (“PFS”) volume grew 17.8 percent year-over-year in the first quarter 2013. Average non-ticket revenue per PFS for the first quarter 2013 increased 5.9 percent year-over-year to $54.75 and average ticket revenue per PFS for the quarter increased 3.2 percent year-over-year to $79.09. The growth in non-ticket revenue per PFS during the first quarter 2013 was primarily driven by the introduction of advance purchase restrictions on bags as well as other various changes in our pricing structure for optional services.
Total operating expenses in the first quarter 2013 increased 21.4 percent year-over-year to $320.8 million on a capacity increase of 20.8 percent.
Cost per available seat mile excluding special items and fuel (“Adjusted CASM ex-fuel”) for the first quarter 2013 was 6.04 cents, up 0.8 percent year-over-year. The increase in Adjusted CASM ex-fuel was primarily driven by depreciation and amortization expense related to amortization of heavy maintenance events. Due to an increased number of severe winter storms during the quarter, the Company experienced a higher number of weather-related flight cancellations compared to the same period last year. The CASM pressure associated with the resulting decrease in ASMs as well as other weather-related expenses such as higher deicing expense, also contributed to the increase in Adjusted CASM ex-fuel. The impact of these items was partially offset by efficiency benefits resulting in lower labor expense per ASM, lower distribution expense per ASM, and an increase in average stage length.
Selected Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Items
As of March 31, 2013, Spirit had $483.5 million in unrestricted cash and cash equivalents, no restricted cash, no debt on its balance sheet, and total shareholders’ equity of $614.8 million.
During the first quarter 2013, Spirit incurred capital expenditures of $10.6 million, which includes the purchase of a spare engine that was financed under a sale leaseback transaction after it was delivered. The Company paid $15.1 million in pre-delivery deposits (“PDPs”) for future deliveries of aircraft, and paid $6.8 million in maintenance reserves, net of reimbursements.
In the first quarter 2013, Spirit took delivery of two used A319 aircraft and two new A320 aircraft, ending the quarter with 49 aircraft in its fleet. Spirit’s March A320 aircraft delivery was the carrier’s first aircraft to be delivered with sharklets. The Company has five additional new A320 aircraft with sharklets scheduled for delivery in 2013.
The carrier is expanding quickly. On April 25 started service on nine new nonstop routes and also resumed summer seasonal service on a variety of our customers’ favorite routes.
Nine New Spirit Airlines Nonstop Routes Starting April 25, 2013:
- Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) – Cancun, Mexico (CUN)
- Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) – Los Angeles (LAX)
- Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) – Oakland/San Francisco (OAK)
- Philadelphia (PHL) – Las Vegas (LAS)
- Philadelphia (PHL) – Myrtle Beach (MYR)
- Baltimore/Washington (BWI) – Myrtle Beach (MYR)
- Baltimore/Washington (BWI) – Las Vegas (LAS)
- Houston (IAH) – Los Angeles (LAX)
- Denver (DEN) – Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP)
In addition, Spirit resumes the following summer seasonal routes:
- Atlantic City (ACY) – Detroit (DTW)
- Atlantic City (ACY) – Chicago O’Hare (ORD)
- Atlantic City (ACY) – Atlanta (ATL)
- Atlantic City (ACY) – Boston (BOS)
- Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) – Myrtle Beach (MYR)
- Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) – Portland, Oregon (PDX)
- Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) – Boston (BOS)
- Boston (BOS) – Chicago O’Hare (ORD)
- Detroit (DTW) – Los Angeles (LAX)
- Orlando (MCO) – San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU)
- Fort Lauderdale (FLL) – Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (PUJ)
- Fort Lauderdale (FLL) – Kingston, Jamaica (KIN) – starts May 9, 2013
The following new nonstop routes start in June:
- Houston (IAH) – Denver (DEN) – starts June 13
- Houston (IAH) – Detroit (DTW) – starts June 13
- Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) – Los Cabos, Mexico (SJD) – starts June 13
- Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) – Latrobe/Pittsburgh (LBE) – starts June 14
Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Airbus A319-132 N506NK (msn 2490) taxies to runway 9L at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
EasyJet (UK) (London-Luton) on May 2 launched its first flight to London Southend from Edinburgh. The new route means EasyJet now operates to four London airports with up to 28 flights connecting the capital cities per day.
EasyJet flights to London Southend will operate six days a week and offer the quickest route into Stratford and East London. Around 85,000 passengers are anticipated to use the service over the next 12 months and fares start from £29.99 each way.
In March EasyJet added a seventh aircraft to the airport and launched six new routes in a move which is expected to deliver 140,000 extra visitors to Scotland.
Copyright Photo: Robbie Shaw. Airbus A319-111 G-EJAR (msn 2412) in the Supporting UNICEF scheme taxies at London (Gatwick).
EasyJet’s expanding route map at Southend (SEN):
Tiger Airways (Australia) (Melbourne) intends to expand its fleet from 11 aircraft to 23 in five years. The expanding airline will be battling Jetstar Airways for market share in the budget travel segment. Rob Sharp is the new CEO, the fifth CEO in five years.
Read the full interview: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: John Adlard. Airbus A320-232 VH-VND (msn 3206) taxies past the camera at Sydney.
Virgin America (San Francisco) yesterday (May 1) launched new service to Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport in San Jose, California (SJC) – the latest destination city in the carrier’s network. The addition of SJC expands the airline’s presence in the greater San Francisco Bay Area (SJC is in the South Bay). Virgin America will serve SJC with four daily nonstop flights from and to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
Guests on the very first LAX-SJC inaugural flight traveled on board Virgin America’s new Airbus A320 (N841VA), appropriately named “#nerdbird,” and were greeted by Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson at a red carpet welcome at SJC’s new Terminal A.
Upon arrival at SJC’s brand new Terminal A, travelers were given a red carpet welcome with a touch of Silicon Valley-inspired irreverence: flight guests were given nerd glasses and pocket protectors onboard. The inaugural #nerdbird flight received a traditional water cannon salute as Flight 534 touched down in San Jose. Once deplaned, the inaugural flight guests were greeted by Mayor Reed, U.S. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, business and civic leaders and Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson, for a champagne brunch gate-side to toast the new route.
Virgin America on May 1 also kicked off a #nerdbird Goes South online promotion sweepstakes inviting Elevate® frequent flyer program members to enter their membership number by May 16 for a chance to win a prize that includes Elevate Gold Status and 15 single-use WiFi passes good for any Virgin America flight through the end of 2013, courtesy of Gogo®. All entries will get a code good for 25% off flights between San Jose and Los Angeles (restrictions applying).*** For contest rules please visit: https://www.virginamerica.com//html/pdf/130501_nerdbird_contest.pdf
The new SJC-LAX route will also carry the codes of Virgin America codeshare partners Hawaiian Airlines and Singapore Airlines, offering seamless connectivity for guests traveling to and from San Jose via LAX. The addition of Virgin America San Jose-Los Angeles service creates convenient new online connections for San Jose guests traveling to and from Virgin America’s Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, New York (JFK and EWR), Orlando, Philadelphia, and Washington DC (IAD) destinations.
Copyright Photo: Mark Durbin. All others by Virgin America. Airbus A320-214 N361VA (msn 5515) at the San Francisco hub is the first with Sharklets.
Video of the recent LAX-LAS launch: