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Lufthansa Group approves 10 Airbus A320s for Eurowings, will replace its Bombardier CRJ900s, SunExpress Airlines may operate low-cost long-haul flights with Airbus A330-300s

Lufthansa Group (Lufthansa) (Frankfurt) today (September 19) outlined its plans for Eurowings (Lufthansa Regional) and its new long-haul division, possibly flown by SunExpress Airlines (Antalya), a joint venture between Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines (Istanbul).

The Lufthansa Group’s quality and growth initiative presented on July 9, 2014 is gathering pace.

At the Supervisory Board meeting on September 17, the Supervisory Board Members were informed by the Executive Board of the implementation progress made so far. The Lufthansa Group’s Supervisory Board has paved the way for the planned transition to a more economical type of aircraft at Eurowings by approving an order for ten Airbus A320ceo planes for the company. With its fleet of 23 aircraft, Eurowings services domestic German and European routes from airports other than the Frankfurt and Munich hubs on behalf of Germanwings. A further 13 A320s will be transferred from the Group’s total aircraft order volume to Eurowings starting in 2015, in order to make its entire fleet consist of Airbus aircraft. Replacing the current Eurowings fleet of Bombardier CRJ900 regional jets with modern A320ceo aircraft will further increase the Düsseldorf-based airline’s unit cost advantage and will thereby improve its ability to compete with low-cost airlines in Europe. The Lufthansa Group intends to use its Wings concept to cement its good market position in passenger traffic in its home markets of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Belgium in the long term, including with point-to-point connections. Business on these routes away from the major hubs is characterised by above-average growth in the leisure travel segment and by stiff competition from the rapidly expanding low-cost airlines.

The Executive Board also presented its plans for the new cost-efficient offer for long-haul connections as part of the Wings concept to the Supervisory Board. One option for realizing this concept could be a new platform based on the airline SunExpress Airlines (Antalya), which is a fifty-fifty joint venture between Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines. In this respect, talks with the Star Alliance partner are to continue. The idea is for the new platform to complement the Lufthansa Group’s product range with up to seven Airbus A330-300s and to commence operations in autumn 2015 with three aircraft in Munich, Düsseldorf or Cologne. The focus here will be on destinations that promise above-average growth in the leisure travel segment and that round out the Lufthansa Group airlines’ current route networks. In addition to the founding of this new long-haul airline, other intercontinental traffic approaches will be developed in order to once again profitably fly leisure travel-dominated routes using the Lufthansa brand in the future.

To offer this, up to 14 Airbus A340-300s from the long-haul fleet will be fitted with a cabin that is optimized for leisure travel. Commencing with the start of the 2015/2016 winter flight timetable, this A340-300 sub-fleet will fly at a much lower cost while nevertheless offering the high-quality travel experience of a Lufthansa flight, with high service standards and comfort levels. The as many as 14 aircraft will operate without a First Class and with 18 Business Class seats, 19 Premium Economy seats and 261 Economy seats, and will in particular serve new leisure travel destinations or markets from which Lufthansa would otherwise have to withdraw without the introduction of this less expensive offer.

“The combination of our core brands’ focus on quality and the premium sector, and the development of new platforms for the leisure travel sector, which is experiencing dynamic growth but is also price-sensitive, is our way of working towards a successful future for the Lufthansa Group airlines,” said Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Deutsche Lufthansa AG. This would strengthen the successful multi-hub system comprising the key hubs of Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich, Vienna and Brussels, he added. This strategy additionally gave the Company the scope to also grow in sectors of this kind, where the Lufthansa Group’s traditional quality brands were not able to participate in market developments, he said.

In addition to the growth concept for the Lufthansa Group airlines, the Supervisory Board is approving capital expenditure of €60 million by Lufthansa Technik AG in Frankfurt. The Group’s technical division intends to build a new wheel and brake workshop in Frankfurt’s eastern dock area (Osthafen). The building is expected to commence operations as early as at the start of 2017. These new operations will allow Lufthansa Technik, which is the world’s leading provider of aircraft-related technical services, to also achieve further growth in the important segment of wheel and brake maintenance. In so doing, Lufthansa Technik will safeguard the existing 130 jobs for qualified employees based in Frankfurt and will create the parameters for further growth. The building is to be fitted with cutting-edge building services so as to exceed the requirements of Germany’s Energy Conservation Regulations (EnEV) by 30 per cent.

In related news,  Lufthansa Group also approved the purchase of 15 Airbus A320neo (New Engine Option) family and ten Airbus A320ceo (Current Engine Option) aircraft at its meeting today. The new A320neo orders will be delivered to Lufthansa Group airline Swiss International Air Lines (Zurich) from 2019 onwards, where they are intended to replace older aircraft from the same family. The ten new A320ceo aircraft will be delivered to Eurowings in 2016 and 2017 and will replace older Bombardier CRJ900s.

Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. The aging and expensive 14 Lufthansa Airbus A340-300s will be assigned to the new leisure group starting with the 2015-2016 winter schedule. The 14 aircraft will operate without a First Class and with 18 Business Class seats, 19 Premium Economy seats and 261 Economy seats. Lufthansa’s Airbus A340-313 D-AIGT (msn 304) arrives at the Frankfurt hub.

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Delta Air Lines to introduce Airbus’ new pivoting overhead carry-on stowage bins for its new Airbus A321s

Delta A321-200 (07) overhead bag storage (Airbus)(LRW)

Airbus (Toulouse) has announced the following cabin enhancement option for the Airbus A320 Family aircraft. Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) will be the first customer.

Airbus will introduce its new pivoting overhead stowage option for the A320 Family aircraft beginning in the first quarter of 2016 with the delivery of the first of 45 brand new A321 aircraft for Delta Air Lines. In 2013, Delta placed an order for 30 new A321s and added a further 15 in 2014.

The new pivoting bins from Airbus, which are also available for retrofit, take full advantage of the A320’s wide fuselage cross section to offer the most overhead stowage volume of any single-aisle airliner per passenger. Aesthetically, they embody a modern curved appearance which incorporates Airbus’ most up-to-date design branding – as exemplified in the cabin of the new A350 XWB airliner.

Addressing today’s passenger expectations for more carry-on baggage, not only do these new overhead bins offer 10 percent increased volume over current A320 bins, but the efficient A320 cross-section also allows increased capacity for up to 60 percent more luggage in practice. For example, each section now efficiently accommodates eight TP22-enhanced* roller bags. Alternatively, the same section can also hold four TP24s** (the largest type of carry-on roller bag).

* TP22 ‘enhanced’ roller bags measure 22x 14.5 x 9 inches – i.e. half an inch higher than ‘FAA’ standard bags.
** TP24 roller bags, measuring 24 x 14.5 x 11 inches

Copyright Photo: Airbus.

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Qatar Airways receives its first Airbus A380

Qatar A380-800 A7-APA (06) Delivery Ceremony (Airbus)(LRW)

Qatar Airways (Doha) has taken delivery of the pictured Airbus A380-861 A7-APA (msn 137) today (September 17), its first Airbus A380. Airbus issued this statement:

At a ceremony in Hamburg hosted by Airbus, Qatar Airways, one of the world’s fastest growing airlines welcomed a new star to its fleet – the Airbus A380. In the presence of His Excellency Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, and Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and CEO, the airline took delivery of the first of its 10 Airbus A380 aircraft on order.

The delivery marks the beginning of a new chapter for Qatar Airways, as it pushes boundaries and expands its operations. The A380, with its unique combination of increased capacity, long-haul range and unbeatable fuel efficiency, will enable the airline to carry its passengers even further and at deluxe comfort standards.

As a five-star performer, the A380 has become a firm favourite with passengers and airlines, due to the smoothness of the flight, quietness of the cabin and the spaciousness of the overall aircraft layout. These unique characteristics allow Qatar Airways to achieve their ambition of providing excellent services to their passengers. The A380’s built-in cabin flexibility has also given Qatar Airways the opportunity to make innovative use of the aircraft’s space, offering the airline’s passengers an exceptional in-flight experience.

All seats are equipped with the latest entertainment systems, and the stylish and comfortable interior for Qatar Airways’ A380 will accommodate a total of 517 people – 461 in Economy, 48 in Business and eight in First Class, featuring the widest first-class seats in the industry. The aircraft has two full-length passenger decks – First and Business Class cabins will both be located on the aircraft’s upper deck, along with a special lounge area for premium passengers.

Qatar Airways is the 12th world class carrier to fly the A380. The airline’s first A380 will make its debut on the popular London Heathrow route, from Hamad International in Doha, followed by Paris Charles de Gaulle.

With 318 orders so far by 19 customers the A380 captures 90 percent of the Very Large Aircraft market. With the delivery today, the global A380 fleet mounts up to 142 aircraft, having accumulated over 1.5 million flight hours on some 180,000 commercial flights. To date over 65 million passengers have already enjoyed the unique experience of flying on board an A380. Every four minutes, an A380 either takes off or lands at one of the 41 airports where it operates today and the network is constantly growing.

Copyright Photo: Airbus. Handing over Qatar Airways’ new A380 flagship: Airbus President and CEO Fabrice Brégier (right) and His Excellency, Mr. Akbar Al Baker, Group Chief Executive Qatar Airways.

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American Airlines and US Airways Passenger Service Agents vote to join the Teamsters-CWA Association

American Airlines‘ (Dallas/Fort Worth) and US Airways‘ (Phoenix and Dallas/Fort Worth) passenger service agents have voted to join the CWA-IBT Customer Service Employee Association. This is another step towards the final merger. The union issued this statement:

In a vote announced today by the National Mediation Board (NMB), more than 15,000 passenger service professionals at the newly-merged American-US Airways have voted to join the CWA-IBT Customer Service Employee Association. The joint effort to organize passenger service agents was led by Communication Workers of American (CWA) which will represent about 7,500 new members; 1,300 new members will be represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

Agents at both airlines voted over the phone and online in a month-long election administered by the NMB. The results were tallied and it was announced today that the workers had voted for the CWA-IBT Association by a 6-to-1 margin.

“We are honored to represent a total of more than 3,000 passenger service agents at the New American Airlines,” said Teamsters Airline Division Director David Bourne. “The Teamsters are committed to providing American Airlines employees and our existing members at US Airways with strong representation as both airlines continue to integrate in this merger.”

Prior to its merger with American Airlines, US Airways’ passenger service agents were represented by CWA in the east with approximately 4,700 members and by the Teamsters in the west with about 1,800 members. The shared representation was the result of US Airways’ merger in 2005 with America West Airlines whose customer service agents were Teamsters. US Airways’ latest merger with American Airlines, whose agents were nonunion, led to an election to determine representation for all agents at the newly-merged carrier.

“With our partners in CWA, the Teamsters are leading the way in protecting airline professionals involved in the biggest airline merger in history,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. “Our union is dedicated to fighting on behalf of workers in this volatile industry. Our new members at the combined American-US Airways now have two of the strongest airline unions in their corner.”

American Airlines agents who have won representation for the first time are concerned about outsourcing, job security, fair work rules and having a strong contract. The agents know from experience how vulnerable they are without representation. American’s 2011 bankruptcy led to layoffs, outsourced job titles, and sharp cuts in pay and benefits for those who kept their jobs.

“I can’t tell you how great this victory is for us,” said Debra Ewing, a 15-year US Airways agent in Phoenix, Arizona. “American Airlines customer service agents have tried for over 20 years to gain representation and the merger with US Airways allowed the Teamsters to step in and bring home a win. This means an end to so much outsourcing for American agents who will regain profit-sharing, shift differentials, a three-tiered medical plan, paid vacation and more. That’s what union representation is – and now we all have it.”

Agents at US Airways have enjoyed strong representation for years and are looking forward to having an even stronger voice in the merger process with 9,000 new agents at American strengthening their association.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. US Airways Airbus A319-112 N701UW (msn 890) departs from Washington Reagan National Airport (DCA) painted in American Airlines 2013 colors.

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Spirit Airlines brings back the Yellowbird with its new bright yellow “Bare Fare” livery

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Spirit Airlines (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood) following Southwest Airlines (Dallas) and Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) has introduced a new full-fuselage bright yellow color scheme based on its recently introduced “Bare Fare” advertising campaign. Previously Northeast Airlines (Boston) and Hughes Airwest (Phoenix) used the color yellow to grab attention. The first flight will be tomorrow as flight NK 259 from Atlantic City to the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood base. The first aircraft to be painted is Airbus A319-132 N534NK (msn 3395) (see below).

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Video: The painting of the first Airbus A319:

Finnair to add new seasonal service to Athens, Dublin and Malta next summer

Finnair (Helsinki) will add seasonal services from Helsinki to Athens, Dublin and Malta next summer season, with schedules designed for optimal connections with Finnair’s network of Asian destinations. Service to Dublin begins on March 30, Malta on April 2 and Athens on April 5. Service to all three destinations lasts until late October.

Dublin (DUB) will be served six times a week, except Tuesdays, with 100-seat Embraer 190 aircraft operated on behalf of Finnair by Flybe Finland.

Flights to Malta International Airport (MLA) near the Maltese capital Valletta are operated two times a week — Mondays and Thursdays — with Airbus A321 Sharklet aircraft. Athens (ATH) is also served twice a week, on Wednesdays and Sundays, with Airbus A319s or A320s.

In other news, Finnair is extending its network throughout the United Kingdom with new codeshare services from Manchester operated by partner airline Flybe. Effective September 15, the Finnair code will be added to Flybe services from Manchester (MAN) to 10 regional airports: Aberdeen (ABZ), Belfast City (BHD), Edinburgh (EDI), Exeter (EXT), Glasgow (GLA), Inverness (INV), Isle of Man (IOM), Jersey (JER), Newquay (NQY) and Southampton (SOU).

Separately, Finnair also cooperates with Flybe affiliate Flybe Finland, a joint venture between Finnair and Flybe established in 2011. Flybe Finland operates a mixture of contract-flights on behalf of Finnair as well as its own flights around Finland and the Nordic region from its base at Helsinki Airport.

Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A321-211 OH-LZE (msn 1978) arrives in Rome (Fiumicino).

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Lufthansa resumes normal operations after the pilot’s union Vereinigung Cockpit calls off its strike

Lufthansa (Frankfurt) issued this statement:

The pilots union Vereinigung Cockpit has cancelled the strike announcement for today (September 16).

Lufthansa pilots logo

Lufthansa has already returned to the regular flight schedule.

Previously the company published a special flight plan for all 40 long-haul flights from Frankfurt.

The union called off the strike after they received a new offer from company management.

Copyright Photo: Ole Simon/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-841 D-AIME (msn 061) departs from the Frankfurt hub.

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Frontier Airlines launches its first flights from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport

Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) yesterday (September 15) launched its first ever domestic flights from Chicago O’Hare (ORD) with the departure of flight 1343 to Washington’s Dulles International Airport (IAD).

Fares from ORD are available to the following destinations starting at $29 (introductory fares):

Atlanta, Georgia.
Cleveland, Ohio
Denver, Colorado
Washington, D.C. (Dulles)
Orlando, Florida
Phoenix, Arizona
Salt Lake City, Utah

Top Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 N223FR (msn 2695) with Franceska, the Flamingo, on the tail departs from Washington’s Reagan National Airport:

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United Airlines to upgrade its Newark hub with new amenities for its passengers

United Airlines (Chicago) has announced new plans to upgrade its Newark hub with new dining and retail experiences, including 6,000 Apple iPad tablets free of charge to use to “track their flight, order from chef-created menus, and purchase travel amenities for delivery directly to their seat in the terminal while browsing the internet”. Here is the full statement:

United Airlines and OTG Management LLC today announced plans to transform the dining and retail experience at the airline’s hub at Newark Liberty International Airport and create unparalleled services and amenities for United’s customers. The program will combine leading-edge technology, award-winning dining and renowned design.

The $120 million capital investment for the project will be provided by OTG, selected by United to oversee the transformation in Terminal C at Newark Liberty, including new chef-driven restaurants, expansive food halls, gourmet markets and world-class retail and duty-free shops.

Leading Edge Technology: Upon completion of the planned project, air travelers waiting for a flight will be able to use almost 6,000 iPad tablets free of charge to track their flight, order from chef-created menus, and purchase travel amenities for delivery directly to their seat in the terminal while browsing the internet. And customers will not have to search for an outlet, with over 10,000 outlets and USB interfaces accompanying the redesigned terminal seating.

Chef-Driven Dining with Unique Local Flavor: More than 55 new dining venues are anticipated to provide travelers with an array of culinary choices – including restaurant concepts created by more than 20 celebrated chefs – as well as markets, cafes and exceptional food and beverage service in nearly 60 gate areas. Menus at all price points will emphasize fresh, locally sourced ingredients, and will highlight regional and local dining experiences.

Trendsetting Design: Renowned architects and designers will transform the physical interior of the terminal into a world-class setting that combines comfort with beautiful, free flowing spaces.

Customers will begin seeing immediate improvements in November, when temporary restaurant locations pop up to offer a taste of what’s to come. The full experience is expected to be phased in over the next 18 months.

Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 N475UA (msn 1495) displays the historic 1972 “A320 Friend Ship” retrojet livery.

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Map of Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) terminal:

United EWR Hub Map

The Beluga fleet celebrates 20 years of flying

Airbus (Toulouse) is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its transport aircraft named the Beluga. The company issued this recognition:

With its maiden flight on September 13, 1994, the popular Beluga cargo aircraft, affectionately named after the white whale because of its remarkable shape, is celebrating this week twenty years of transporting Airbus component parts between Airbus’ European manufacturing sites.

Since 1995, the fleet of five Beluga aircraft (below) replaced the ageing Super Guppy transporters in order to supply the Airbus final assembly lines in Toulouse and Hamburg. Today, more than sixty flights are performed each week between eleven sites, carrying crucial parts for all of the Airbus programs, including the A380*.

The Beluga fleet is operated by Airbus Transport International (ATI), an Airbus subsidiary airline, and each Beluga crew is composed of a pilot, a co-pilot and a flight engineer.

With the production start of the A350 XWB in 2012 and the production ramp-up on other Airbus programmes, the Beluga activities again will substantially increase over the next five years.

In order to accompany this challenge, Airbus launched in 2011 the Fly 10 000 project. Flight crew numbers and flight hours have grown and loading procedures have been further optimized, with the opening of new integrated loading facilities in Hamburg and Bremen in Germany and Saint-Nazaire in France. Broughton, UK and Getafe, Spain will follow soon. Fly 10,000 should allow the Beluga fleet to double its activities by 2017 (from 5,000 to 10,000 flight hours).

“The Beluga is an essential element of Airbus’ integrated logistics and production ‎system. It is thanks to its reliability and engagement of the Beluga teams that we can fulfil our constant pursuit of efficiency”, said Günter Butschek, Airbus Chief Operating Officer.

The Beluga is based on the twin-engine A300-600R, appreciated for its reliability and its cost-effectiveness. It is powered by General Electric CF6-80C2 engines. With its impressive dimensions (56 m long, 17 m high, a fuselage diameter of 7.71 m and a main-deck cargo volume of 1,400m3), the Beluga is the champion of its category (compared with the Antonov AN-124 or even the C-17). The Beluga can carry a maximum payload of 47 metric tonnes non-stop over a range of 1,660 km/900 nm.

*only the Vertical Tailplane and tailcone, all other A380 components being transported through the “multimodal transport system (sea, river, road).

Top Copyright Photo: Guillaume Besnard/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus Transport International A300B4-608ST Beluga F-GSTB (msn 751) gracefully (for a whale) departs from the Toulouse base.

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Bottom Copyright Photo: Airbus. The Beluga fleet joins a rare group photo at Toulouse.

Airbus Beluga fleet (Grd) TLS (P. Pigeyre-Airbus)(LRW)

 

Air Seychelles to add two new destinations

Air Seychelles 2011 logo

Air Seychelles (Mahe) has announced the launch of nonstop flights to Antananarivo, Madagascar, commencing on December 3, 2014.

The twice-weekly flights to the capital’s Ivato International Airport (TNR) will be operated using a two-class Airbus A320 aircraft with 16 Business Class and 120 Economy Class seats.

In other news, Air Seychelles has also announced the launch of twice-weekly flights to Dar es Salaam to commence on December 2, 2014, marking the next stage of growth in the airline’s regional strategy.

The Tanzanian capital becomes the third destination in Air Seychelles’ Indian Ocean and African network, after Mauritius and Johannesburg. The route will be operated using a two-class Airbus A320 aircraft.

Air Seychelles recently added a leased Airbus A320 from partner Etihad Airways.

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Route Map: The route maps now shows the connecting routes of Etihad Airways growing list of “family airlines”.

Air Seychelles 9.2014 Route Map

Qatar Airways and Airbus resolve their dispute concerning the delivery of the first A380

Qatar Airways (Doha) and Airbus (Toulouse) have resolved a three-month dispute that was blocking the delivery of the first Airbus A380 according to this report by Reuters. As we had reported, Qatar had previously declined to take delivery of the pictured Airbus A380-861 A7-APA due to concerns about the quality of the cabin interior. Qatar has 10 A380s on order.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Qatar Airways logo

Qatar Airways has been delaying the inaugural flight from Doha to London (Heathrow). According to Airline Route the latest inaugural date is October 10 for this route. Doha-Paris (CDG) remains on target for October 16 so the airline is bound to take two aircraft at first on delivery.

Top Copyright Photo: Gerd Beilfuss/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-861 A7-APA (msn 137) awaits the official handover date.

Qatar A380-800 First Class Cabin (Qatar)(LR)

Above Copyright Photo: Qatar Airways. The First Class section of the Airbus A380.

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Video: Qatar Airways unveiled its Airbus A380 product in March 2014:

Air France warns of a pilots strike from September 15-22

Air France (Paris) has issued this warning of a possible strike by its pilots:

Even before the outcome of negotiations, Air France is now enabling all customers due to travel on an Air France flight scheduled between September 15-22, regardless of the type of ticket:

- To change their ticket and travel before September 15, 2014 or to postpone their trip until between September 23-30, 2014, at no extra charge, subject to availability.

- To receive a voucher valid for one year on Air France or KLM for travel after September 30, 2014 if you no longer wish to travel, or change your destination or departure airport.

The flight schedule will be adapted and customers will be informed the day before their trip.

Air France regrets this situation and will do everything possible to assist customers and minimize the possible impact of this strike action.

Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 F-HEPG (msn 5802) taxies at the Paris (CDG) hub with the special 80 Ans/years emblem.

Air France:

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American Airlines and US Airways to combine cargo operations on October 20

American Airlines Group (American Airlines and US Airways) (Dallas/Fort Worth) are merging its cargo operations on October 20. The Group has issued this letter to its cargo customers:

Dear Cargo Customer

Nine months ago, the merger between American Airlines and US Airways became official. Since then, we have dedicated ourselves to restoring American as the greatest airline in the world. The cargo team has been working hard to plan for a seamless transition and I thank you for your patience and loyalty during this time.

The objective of our integration has been to bring together the expertise, solutions, and teams you’ve relied on from both cargo organizations into the industry’s most customer-focused airfreight partner. I am proud to share with you that on Monday, October 20, 2014, we will take the largest step toward this goal by becoming one cargo organization and transitioning to a single air waybill using the American Airlines prefix 001.

While you will be seeing more information over the next few weeks, I’d like to share the following important details now:

We will transition to accepting a single air waybill (001) for all new shipments originating on or after October 20.

All American Airlines and US Airways booking channels will still be available to you, including our customer contact centers and aacargo.com, and will allow you to book 001 air waybills across both networks for flights on October 20th and beyond.

For shipments originating between now and October 19, please continue to use US Airways (037) and American Airlines (001) air waybills when booking, tendering, and recovering shipments with each respective airline.

The combination of our networks is only the beginning of many exciting changes built around your needs. With initiatives like e-freight, a new state-of-the-art pharmaceutical facility in Philadelphia, and 70 new widebody and hundreds of narrowbody aircraft on the way, we are modernizing the cargo business with you in mind.

Our most important goal is to ensure a smooth experience for you and your extended team. In the coming weeks, you will receive more details about what this transition means and how you can best take advantage of the benefits. You can also find the latest updates any time on aacargo.com.

Thank you again for your business and we look forward to partnering with you as one cargo team very soon.

Sincerely

Jim W. Butler
President, American Airlines Cargo

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-112 N700UW (msn 885) of US Airways operating in American colors arrives in Washington at Reagan National Airport (DCA).

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TAME is coming to Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood starting on October 17

TAME (Transportes Aereos Militares Ecuatorianos) (Linea Aerea del Ecuador) (Quito) which used to operate cargo flights to Miami in the past, is returning to South Florida. TAME will launch daily Quito-Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood passenger flights with Airbus A319s/A320s starting on October 17 per Airline Route. The daily flight will arrive at FLL at 0730 and depart at 0900 (local times).

In other news, TAME is also shifting its route to New York (JFK) from Guayaquil-New York to Quito-New York on October 20 per Airline Route. Quito will now become the jumping off point to both South Florida and New York.

Copyright Photo: Rob Finlayson/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-132 HC-CGT (msn 2659) arrives at Sao Paulo (Guarulhos).

Read the history of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport: CLICK HERE

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

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

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

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

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Hong Kong crew members

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

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Current Route Map:

Hong Kong Airlines 9.2014 Route Map

The NTSB blames the crew for the crash of UPS flight 1354 at Birmingham, Alabama

UPS A300-600F N155UP Crash Birmingham (NTSB)(LRW)

The National Transportation Safety Board determined that UPS flight 1354 crashed because the crew continued an unstabilized approach into Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Birmingham, Alabama. In addition, the crew failed to monitor the altitude and inadvertently descended below the minimum descent altitude when the runway was not yet in sight.

The board also found that the flight crew’s failure to properly configure the on-board flight management computer, the first officer’s failure to make required call-outs, the captain’s decision to change the approach strategy without communicating his change to the first officer, and flight crew fatigue all contributed to the accident.

The airplane, an Airbus A300-600, crashed in a field short of runway 18 in Birmingham on August 14, 2013, at 4:47 a.m. The captain and first officer, the only people aboard, both lost their lives, and the airplane was destroyed by the impact and a post-crash fire. The flight originated from UPS’s hub in Louisville, Kentucky.

“An unstabilized approach is a less safe approach,” said NTSB Acting Chairman Christopher A. Hart. “When an approach is unstable, there is no shame in playing it safe by going around and trying again.”

The NTSB determined that because the first officer did not properly program the flight management computer, the autopilot was not able to capture and fly the desired flight path onto runway 18. When the flight path was not captured, the captain, without informing the first officer, changed the autopilot mode and descended at a rate that violated UPS’s stabilized approach criteria once the airplane descended below 1,000 feet above the airport elevation.

As a result of this accident investigation, the NTSB made recommendations to the FAA, UPS, the Independent Pilots Association and Airbus. The recommendations address safety issues identified in the investigation, including ensuring that operations and training materials include clear language requiring abandoning an unstable approach; the need for recurrent dispatcher training that includes both dispatchers and flight crews; the need for all relevant weather information to be provided to pilots in dispatch and enroute reports; opportunities for improvement in fatigue awareness and management among pilots and operators; the need for increased awareness among pilots and operators of the limitations of terrain awareness and warning systems — and for procedures to assure safety given these limitations.

A synopsis of the NTSB report is available at: http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/2013/birmingham_al/birmingham_al.html

Top Copyright Photo: NTSB.

UPS Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. N155UP is pictured on the cargo ramp at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport before the tragic accident. Airbus A300F4-622R N155UP (msn 841) crashed on August 14, 2013 while on approach from the north to Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, Birmingham, Alabama. The crew was operating cargo flight 5X 1354 from the Louisville hub to Birmingham. The two crew members were tragically killed in the crash.

Lufthansa is hit by another pilot’s strike today, this time in Munich

Lufthansa (Frankfurt) is again dealing with another strike day today (September 10) by its pilots, represented by the Vereinigung Cockpit union. This time the target is the Munich hub. The airline issued this statement:

Strike by pilots union Vereinigung Cockpit on September 10 at Munich Airport

The pilots union Vereinigung Cockpit has announced a strike for flights to and from Lufthansa’s Munich hub scheduled for today, September 10, in the time from 10.00 to 18.00 CEST.

Lufthansa flight operations will be heavily affected by the strike, especially flights departing from and arriving in Munich. All Lufthansa flights to and from the Frankfurt hub will presumably operate as scheduled.

Please note also that all flights of our Lufthansa Group airlines; Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Germanwings and Swiss (operated by OS, SN, 4U, LX) as well as flights of Air Dolomiti will operate as scheduled.

Affected flights

Passengers are kindly requested to check the status of their flight prior to departure. Passengers whose flights are operating are kindly requested to come to the airport in good time.

Check cancelled flights under Cancelled flights

Train voucher

Passengers travelling within Germany whose flights have been cancelled due to the strike may alternatively travel by train with Deutsche Bahn.

To do this, please exchange your etix for a train ticket online or mobile under My bookings or at a Lufthansa check in machine.

If you do not have the time to exchange your ticket online or at the machine, we recommend you purchase a regular train ticket. Please contact your ticket issuing office after your travel for a refund of your unused ticket. You can receive current travel information under Deutsche Bahn or on your mobile phone via m.bahn.de.

Rebooking

In case your flight is not affected and you’re holding a Lufthansa/SWISS/Austrian Airlines/Brussels Airlines ticket for flights on September 10th, 2014 from/to/via Munich you can rebook your ticket once free of charge at My Bookings. The following conditions must be met:

Rebooking within the original fare.

- Tickets must be issued on/before Semptember 9th, 2014
– The new date of travel must be on/before December 10th, 2014
– Origin / Destination and compartment must remain the same
– All other fare conditions must be observed

Passengers, who are unable to use the self-service facilities, can contact our Service Center on 0800 850 60 70* or via one of our local phone numbers.

Lost baggage

In order to deliver your baggage please fill in our Online Baggage Form or please contact the Lufthansa baggage tracing counter as soon as you arrive at your destination. For status updates on your missing baggage please go to Lufthansa baggage tracing online.
Check here for further information on baggage liability.

Lufthansa regrets any inconvenience to Lufthansa passengers caused by the threatened strike measures by the pilots union VC and will do its utmost to minimize impacts on passengers. Passenger support and service has paramount priority.

In other news, Lufthansa is changing its takeoff procedures across Germany:

In the twelve months since August 2013, Lufthansa has been carrying out trials on the noise emissions produced by the 1,000 foot acceleration procedure. In the new procedure, the aircraft leaving the west runway at Frankfurt Airport reduced the altitude for acceleration and additional thrust from 1,500 feet (approx. 457 meters) to 1,000 feet (approx. 305 meters) where allowed by local restrictions on the departure flight path. During the world’s biggest examination of take-off noise, the measuring stations recorded over 70,000 Lufthansa take-offs. This represents more than half of all the airline’s departures in Frankfurt. The data were analyzed by Forum Flughafen and the local region, which could not identify any significant changes in noise emissions as a result of the modified take-off procedure. The measurements support the existing detailed calculations carried out as part of a scientific study by Lufthansa, TU Berlin and the German Aerospace Center. On this basis Lufthansa has now decided to introduce the modified take-off procedure nationwide as of today and so to implement this established global standard worldwide. Many other airlines have been using this take-off procedure for years, making it common practice already at most German and international airports, because the related fuel consumption and carbon emissions are much lower. The change in the acceleration altitude to 1,000 feet took place in accordance with the standards laid down by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). Lufthansa obtained permission to modify its procedure from the German Federal Aviation Authority and the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) some time ago.

What does 1000-foot acceleration mean?

After an aircraft takes off from the runway, it usually ascends at a constant speed with the flaps extended until it reaches a certain altitude. Modern aircraft generally do not use the maximum thrust available at this point, but rather a reduced level of take-off thrust. When the aircraft reaches an initial target altitude, the engines’ thrust switches to climb thrust. As the aircraft continues to take off, it has to accelerate so that the flaps can be retracted and it can climb to its cruising altitude at a higher speed. The altitude at which the speed increase begins is called the acceleration altitude. By changing these two altitudes, the wind resistance decreases when the flaps are retracted, thus lowering fuel consumption. Lufthansa believes that changing the procedure in Germany alone would save around 3,000 tonnes of fuel per year. This would mean around 10,000 tonnes fewer CO2 emissions. The benefit for the environment is much greater worldwide: approx. 6,000 tons less kerosene, or around 19,000 tons less CO2.

Copyright Photo: Arnd Wolf/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-114 D-AILU (msn) with the special Lulu Stork marking taxies at the Munich hub.

Lufthansa: AG Slide Show

British Airways to bring the Airbus A380 to San Francisco

British Airways (London) is bringing its new Airbus A380 to San Francisco starting in April 2015. This is the first time that an Airbus A380 will be available for customers traveling between San Francisco International Airport and London’s Heathrow Airport.

The Bay area will become the third destination in North America to receive the largest aircraft in British Airways’ fleet. The new aircraft spans two full decks and can accommodate up to 469 customers across four cabins. With 14 First class suites and 97 Club World business seats, the British Airways A380 will have more full flatbeds than any other flight departing from San Francisco.

Club World (business class) customers can choose from one of 44 seats on the main deck, or 53 seats on the upper deck where there will be a new 2:3:2 configuration across the cabin. The popular World Traveller Plus (premium economy) cabin will expand to 55 seats, to give more people the chance to experience a little taste of luxury.

The aircraft’s innovative design makes it much quieter during take-off and landing and more fuel efficient than its predecessors. Customers will benefit from an advanced cabin system that allows 15 different temperature control zones and air that is refreshed every three minutes.

At launch, the A380 will operate as flight BA 286 from San Francisco to London on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The same flight on Tuesdays and Wednesdays will continue to be operated by a Boeing 747-400, as will the second daily service, the BA 284.

British Airways has ordered 12 A380 aircraft for delivery by 2016, as part of a $5 billion investment in new aircraft, smarter cabins, elegant lounges, and new technologies to make life more comfortable in the air and on the ground.

British Airways currently flies its A380 aircraft to Los Angeles, Hong Kong, with Washington DC service beginning October 2 and Singapore on October 28.

Copyright Photo: Airbus A380-841 G-XLEE (msn 148) taxies to the gate at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

British Airways:

Airbus announces an experimental inkjet printing method for airline liveries

Airbus A320 Inkjet (Airbus)(LRW)

Airbus (Toulouse) has today issued this announcement and photo:

However, the difficulties may become a thing of the past thanks to a new method currently being developed by Airbus – which employs direct inkjet printing to deliver a broad range of production and operational improvements.

The method was developed by engineers from Airbus’ A320 Family paint shop in Hamburg, Germany, and is able to reproduce any livery design – be it a photographic motif, modern art or other complex patterns – faster and more efficiently than traditional painting processes, and with finer detail as well.

The direct printer functions much like a traditional model, using an inkjet head with nozzles that spray three basic colours (cyan, magenta and yellow) and black. Utilising a seven-square-metre bench, the inkjet head prints a design line by line, from top to bottom. After the process is completed, the aircraft component is sealed with a clear coat.

According to technology manager Matthias Otto, the advantages of direct inkjet-printed liveries are numerous. “I can create colour gradients or photo-realistic motifs that could never be achieved with paint,” he explained, and added that this new method also is capable of printing components of any size or shape. In the past, heavier printed film was used to produce complex designs, however such film is susceptible to the effects of heat, cold and high pressure, and ultimately could tear or peel.

The business case for direct printing is convincing. Compared with painting, where the design has to be built up by layer-by-layer, there are far fewer working and drying steps – greatly reducing the lead time. There also is no overspray or solvent vapour when ink is used, providing better working conditions for Airbus employees, as well as a healthier environment.

At present, the inkjet method still is at the experimental stage. Technical Readiness Level 6 (TRL 6) was reached at the end of June, and the ink and associated processes will be qualified early in 2015. Nonetheless, the project already has become part of the A320 Final Assembly Line (FAL) benchmark initiative, with the intention to further stabilise scheduled lead times for the best-selling Airbus single-aisle jetliner family.

Copyright Photo: Airbus.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cebu Pacific Air logo-1

Route Map:

Cebu Pacific Air 9.2014 Route Map

Cebu Pacific: AG Slide Show

Finnair reaches an agreement with its pilots

Finnair  (Helsinki) has reached an agreement with its pilots, represented by the Finnish Air Line Pilots’ Association (SLL).

The company issued this statement:

Finnair and the Finnish Air Line Pilots’ Association (SLL) have reached a result in the negotiations related to Finnair’s savings program.

The agreement brings Finnair 17 million euros in permanent annual savings. Approximately 11 million euros will materialize gradually over the 2-year CLA period. Approximately 3 million euros will materialize in the coming few years through growth and the remaining 3 million euros in the future through changes to pensions and the employment terms of new pilots. In return, Finnair gives pilots protection for redundancies for the next two years. It has been additionally agreed that Finnair will study an incentive plan for pilots. The savings agreement is contingent on the realization of this incentive plan that will be formulated during autumn.

The savings agreed with SLL are mainly reached through changes to salary and working time. Finnair and SLL agreed in June on transferring to a new wage model. However, the savings solution was finally developed based on the current wage model.

In October 2012 Finnair began a 60 million euro cost savings program – additional to the 140 million euro cost savings program begun in August 2011 – mainly in personnel-related costs. The negotiations on cabin personnel’s 18 million euro savings proved unsuccessful and the company is now forced to proceed with increasing the use of outsourced cabin service. Finnair would have rather continued flying with its own crew.

Finnair has reached savings agreements with personnel groups belonging to IAU and with Finnair’s salaried and senior salaried employees and engineers (FYT and FIRY). In addition, Finnair has made cuts in its administration and support functions, and Finnair’s Board of Directors has also reduced the variable part of the top management’s total remuneration as well as other benefits.

Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 OH-LXD (msn 1588) arrives in Zurich.

Finnair:

 

Virgin Atlantic to operate the new Boeing 787-9 between London Heathrow and Newark, will it drop Little Red?

Virgin Atlantic 787-9 (10)(Flt)(Virgin Atlantic)(LR)

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) is getting its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (G-VAHH, msn 37967) later this month. The airline will also 264-seat introduce its new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the London (Heathrow)-Newark route starting on January 19, 2015 per Airline Route. This will be the third route for the new type. The 787-9 will enter revenue service on October 28 on the London (Heathrow)-Boston route as previously reported.

Virgin Atlantic logo (large)

In other news, the airline is not commenting on media speculation that it may be considering dropping its Little Red (operated by Aer Lingus) operation due to poor loads. Little Red operates feeder flights from London (Heathrow) to Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Manchester.

Read the full story from The Telegraph: CLICK HERE

Image above: Virgin Atlantic.

Virgin Atlantic: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. Operated by Aer Lingus, Airbus A320-214 EI-EZV (msn 2001) of Little Red arrives at the London (Heathrow) hub.

Spirit Airlines files to serve Mexico from Houston Bush Intercontinental

Spirit Airlines (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood) has filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for route authority to start scheduled passenger service between Houston (Bush Intercontinental) and Cancun, Toluca and San Jose del Cabo. If approved, which is expected, Spirit will compete against United Airlines and AeroMexico.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 N611NK (msn 4996) arrives at Washington’s Reagan National Airport (DCA).

Spirit Airlines:

JetBlue and Cape Air partner with Bridgewater State University to establish a pilot pipeline

JetBlue Airways (New York) and Cape Air (Hyannis) recently announced a new partnership with Bridgewater State University (BSU). BSU is the newest addition to JetBlue’s University Gateway Program, a pilot talent pipeline which partners with top university aviation programs and regional airlines such as Cape Air. BSU is the airline’s first school alliance in its Boston focus city.

JetBlue’s University Gateway Program is a career-planning and mentoring initiative designed to identify and recruit talented professionals into the pilot ranks. The program includes rigorous academic training and valuable regional airline experience. The University Gateway program creates a clearly defined career path for aspiring pilots, beginning early in an aviator’s college career and culminating with the possibility of a final interview at JetBlue.

In late August, Captain Rich Carter, JetBlue’s director system chief pilot, Dr. Dana Mohler-Faria, president of Bridgewater State University and Linda Markham, president of Cape Air officially signed a memorandum of understanding. JetBlue crewmembers as well as school administrators were on hand at Boston’s Logan International Airport to celebrate the announcement. BSU is the seventh university partner for JetBlue’s University Gateway Program. Other academic alliances include the University of North Dakota, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Daytona and Prescott), Auburn University, Jacksonville University and Inter-American University of Puerto Rico.

The University Gateway Program is open to students at participating schools with high academic standing (GPA of 3.0 or above) and recommendations from their professors. It requires a successful series of interviews with JetBlue and a regional airline partner, as well as continued enrollment in an Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI) program. During the Gateway Program, participants intern at Cape Air or other regional airline partners, and then serve as an instructor at their respective flight school. Following that process, candidates fly with Cape Air for at least two years and then receive an interview at JetBlue.

BSU is an AABI accredited university which offers a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Science with concentrations in aviation management or flight training. The university combines a liberal arts education with flight experience and prepares students to fly in varying weather conditions and over mountainous terrain and open waters as well as how to handle operations in both controlled and uncontrolled environments.

Education is a core pillar of JetBlue’s overall strategy and responsibility platform. The airline and its newly launched JetBlue Foundation encourage students to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), including aviation careers from piloting an aircraft to maintaining its engines. JetBlue has a unique education pathway including relationships with elementary school students and mentoring high school and college students to the University Gateway Program, which may lead to positions as Pilot Trainees with the carrier.

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. A dramatic “up close” runway action view of JetBlue’s special 10th Anniversary color scheme on Airbus A320-232 N569JB (msn 2075) at New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

JetBlue Airways: AG Slide Show

Cape Air: AG Slide Show

 

Azerbaijan Airlines to start Baku-New York flights on September 24

Azerbaijan Airlines-AZAL (Baku) has announced the start of scheduled flights from Baku to New York commencing on September 24, 2014. Flights to John Kennedy Airport (JFK) in New York City will be flown weekly on Wednesdays and Saturdays with departure from Baku at 0600 and arriving to the biggest city of North America at 0930 local time. The return flights will be operated on the same days of the week leaving New York at 1130 and coming to the capital of Azerbaijan at 0800 the next day.

The flights will be operated with Airbus A340-500s.

Copyright Photo: Rainer Bexten/AirlinerGallery.com. Airbus A340-542 4K-AZ85 9msn 886) arrives in Istanbul.

Azerbaijan Airlines: AG Slide Show

American-US Airways pilots agree on a protocol for pilot seniority integration, will it lead to a final list?

U.S. Airline Pilots Association (USAPA), representing the pilots of US Airways (Phoenix and Dallas/Fort Worth) (and the pilots of the former America West Airlines) (Phoenix), stated it has reached a tentative agreement on a protocol with the Allied Pilots Association (APA), the union representing the pilots of American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth). The tentative agreement lays out a process for the seniority integration of the two pilot groups according to The Street.

However according to article by Forbes, the previous bitter split between US Airways (East) pilots and America West (West) pilots at US Airways, could reemerge as work continues on a final seniority list. Will the new American Airlines inherit the seven-year old US Airways-America West pilot dispute? Forbes explores this question.

Read the full interesting article: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Freshly repainted with new American titles, US Airways’ Airbus A319-132 N838AW (msn 2615) painted in America West’s 2005 heritage livery, taxies to the gate at the Charlotte hub. N838AW symbolizes this hot button issue better than any other AA-US aircraft.

American Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

American Airlines-US Airways: AG Slide Show

US Airways: AG Slide Show

America West Airlines: AG Slide Show

Lufthansa’s flight operations return to normal

Lufthansa (Frankfurt) today (September 6) issued this statement:

Lufthansa’s flight operations have returned to normal today (Saturday, September 6) following the six-hour pilots’ strike on Friday evening, which mainly affected the airline’s short- and medium-haul flights to and from Frankfurt. Despite receiving short notice of the proposed strike action by the Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) pilots’ union, all the flights envisaged in contingency plans went ahead as scheduled.

On Saturday morning, flights were back on schedule except on routes into and out of Italy: Owing to a strike called by Italian flight controllers between 10.30 and 14.30 hours today (Saturday), twelve flights to and from Italy have had to be cancelled.

As a result of the stoppage staged by the VC union, Lufthansa was forced to cancel 218 short- and medium-haul flights on Friday, which impacted the travel plans of some 26,000 passengers. However, Lufthansa was able to inform most of its passengers about the effects of the strike on the Thursday evening with more than 24,000 SMS alerts and 4,500 emails. Thanks to prompt re-booking, around 5,000 passengers were flown off from other Lufthansa Group hubs in Munich, Zurich, Vienna and Brussels.

During the walkout, 750 passengers accepted the offer to exchange their flight ticket for a train ticket within Germany. As a precautionary measure, Lufthansa had hired 2,200 hotel rooms in the Rhine-Main area, but scarcely half were actually used. For passengers in transit without a visa to enter Germany, Lufthansa and the airport operator Fraport set up about 450 camp beds at the airport but only a dozen or so passengers made use of them. All the passengers held up in Frankfurt because of the strike were flown to their destination in the course of Saturday morning.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A340-642 D-AIHY (msn 987) of Lufthansa arrives at Los Angeles.

Lufthansa: AG Slide Show

Hainan Airlines arrives in Paris

Hainan Airlines (Haikou and Beijing) on September 3, took off for the first time to Paris. Hainan’s flight HU 7907 took off from Hangzhou International Airport at 9:15 pm (2115), making a stop at Xi’an Xianyang International Airport, before heading on to Paris (CDG). This is the airline’s fifth European route following its routes to Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Brussels and Berlin. The launch of the service will provide new opportunities for further political, economic and cultural exchanges and cooperation between China and France, as 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the countries.

Hainan Airlines held inaugural flight ceremonies at Hangzhou Xiaoshan International and Xi’an Xianyang International airports on September 3, with representatives from local government agencies and airline partners as well as Hainan Airlines chairman and vice president in attendance. Passengers onboard the inaugural Airbus A330 flight received gifts from the Hainan Airlines staff before the plane took off for its maiden flight to Paris, the city of romance.

According to Hainan Airlines’ head of marketing, the flight will be offered twice-weekly, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. HU 7907 departs Hangzhou at 8:50 pm (2050) and arrives in Xi’an at 11:10 pm (2310), then departs Xi’an the next day at 1:00 am (0100) and arrives at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport at 6:55 am (0655). The return flight, HU 7908, departs Paris at 2:25 pm (1425) and arrives the next day in Xi’an at 6:45 am (0645), then departs Xi’an at 8:45 am (0845) and arrives in Hangzhou at 10:50 am (1050) (arrival and departure times are local).

The route will be operated using an Airbus A330-200 wide-body aircraft. The plane’s cheery and spacious cabin seats 36 in Business Class and 186 in Economy Class. The Business cabin is configured with 180-degree flat-bed seats with built-in gentle massage and 74 inches of space separating each seat. In addition, wide HD LCD screens and adjustable reading light serve to make sure passengers feel comfortable in a private environment.

Since 1993, Hainan Airlines has evolved from a regional to an international airline with several long haul intercontinental routes. The airline has launched routes to Chicago, Boston and Paris in recent years. According to the Sino-French Joint Press Communique, which emphasized building a peaceful, democratic, prosperous and progressive world, both China and France seek to strengthen mutual benefits and win-win results in civil aviation and the aviation industry. This provides Hainan Airlines with strong policy support and confidence to speed up the build-out of its international route network.

Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner/AirlinersGallery.com. Hainan Airlines’ Airbus A330-243 B-6118 (msn 881) taxies at Zurich.

Hainan Airlines: AG Slide Show

Lufthansa is facing another strike by its pilots today

Lufthansa Group (Lufthansa) (Frankfurt) is facing another strike by its pilots today at the Frankfurt hub, represented by the Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) union. The union is striking for five hours today starting at 2 pm (1400) local time.

The Lufthansa Group issued this statement today:

Following the announcement by the Vereinigung Cockpit pilots’ union of a strike in Frankfurt today (September 5), Lufthansa was able to inform most of the affected passengers yesterday about the effects. Yesterday evening at 9.00 p.m., the special flight plan for this afternoon was published online at http://www.LH.com and 14,000 booked passengers were informed at the same time by text message. These passengers had previously registered their contact details so that Lufthansa could notify them of flight cancellations, rebookings and alternative travel options.

Today the staff at the station in Frankfurt are focusing on providing the best possible assistance for passengers. As a precaution, 2,200 hotel rooms have been reserved in the Rhine-Main area, and Lufthansa and Fraport have set up some 500 field beds for passengers in transit who are not allowed to enter Germany for visa reasons. From 2.00 p.m. onwards, the staff at the Frankfurt station will be providing passengers affected by the strike with refreshments, snacks and the opportunity to use telecommunications. Mobile information stands will also be set up and capacities increased at the ticket counters.

Kay Kratky, member of the Lufthansa German Airlines Board and responsible for operations and the Frankfurt hub, said: “We apologize for the inconveniences caused for our passengers by the strike of the Vereinigung Cockpit pilots’ union. Because the strike was only announced after 5.00 p.m. yesterday, there was very little lead time. We have been working flat out since yesterday evening to give our customers all the available information and, whenever possible, to rebook them on other airlines or other means of transport. We have also increased capacities at our call centres as quickly as possible. At Frankfurt Airport we are mobilising all our capacities today in order to minimise the effects of the strike on our passengers. This is very difficult on a Friday afternoon at the end of the school holidays in three German states, as this is one of the busiest travel days of the year. But we will nonetheless do all we can to achieve this target for our passengers.”

Prior to the strike, Lufthansa had already presented an offer to the Vereinigung Cockpit pilots’ union at the start of April regarding future early retirement from flight service and had therefore created a basis for further negotiations. This offer would provide all cockpit members with the option of retiring early from flight operations, including in the future.

In concrete terms, Lufthansa’s offer on transitional benefits provides for the following:

• For employees who have been working at Lufthansa since before January 1, 2014, Lufthansa will bear the costs of early retirement, including in the future. This means that employer-financed transitional benefits will be maintained for several decades.

• For employees who start or have started work at Lufthansa after January 1, 2014, it will still be possible to retire early from flight service. However, the costs of this will no longer be borne by Lufthansa, but rather by the employees. In the event of incapacity for flight service, a purely employer-financed insurance policy will still be included for all employees.

• The individual age for retiring from flight service will be raised, depending on the length of service, from 55 for more senior up to 60 for younger employees. The longer employees have already been in the company, the less affected they will be by the increase in the earliest possible individual retirement age. Employees who have been with the company for a very long time are not affected at all by the changes.

• Today, on average, cockpit crew leave Lufthansa German Airlines at the age of 59. In future, the average age for employer-financed retirement from flight service at Lufthansa German Airlines is intended to go up gradually over several years to 61. The average age of 61 reflects an overall trend in society towards a longer working life.

Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 D-AIZH (msn 4363) arrives at the Frankfurt hub.

Lufthansa: AG Slide Show

Plus Ultra Líneas Aéreas takes delivery of its first aircraft, hopes to fly from Madrid to South America

Plus Ultra A340-300 (14)(Flt)(Plus Ultra)(LR)

Plus Ultra Líneas Aéreas (Madrid-Barajas) is a new airline founded by Julio Martinez, a former director Air Madrid (Madrid). The new company intends to operate long-range scheduled services from MAD to Bogota, Buenos Aires and Santiago.

The company, which does not yet have its AOC, took delivery of its first aircraft. Former Gulf Air Airbus A340-313 A9C-LG (msn 212) was delivered on September 1 when it landed at Barajas.

 

Plus Ultra is the national motto of Spain.

Plus Ultra logo

 

Philippines to return to New York on March 15, 2015

Philippines-Philippine Airlines (Manila) is coming back to New York. The carrier will operate an Airbus A340-300 four days a week from Manila to New York via Vancouver starting on March 15, 2015 per Airline Route.

The carrier previously operated the same route (except via Newark) with McDonnell Douglas MD-11s until it was stopped in August of 1997.

Delta operates a one stop flight between the two cities with a stop at Tokyo (Narita).

Read more from Philippine Flight Network: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: James Helbock/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A340-313 RP-C3434 (msn 196) prepares to touch down at Los Angele International Airport.

Philippines Aircraft Slide Show: CLICK HERE

 

Niki to introduce new routes from Vienna

Niki (flyniki.com) (Vienna) will add two new routes from Vienna next year. A weekly Vienna-Paphos will be added from February 24, 2015.

Additionally twice weekly Vienna-Catania, Sicily service will be operated from March 30, 2015 per Airline Route with Airbus A320s.

Finally in the winter 2014-2015 Niki will expand its reach in Egypt with flights to Sharm el Sheikh, Luxor and Hurghada, effective November 3, 2014.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Niki’s Airbus A320-214 OR-LEU (msn 2902) taxies at Palma de Mallorica in the basic Airberlin livery reflecting its part in the Airberlin Group.

Niki Aircraft Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Lufthansa to bring the Airbus A380 to India

Lufthansa (Frankfurt) will introduce its Airbus A380s on October 26 when it adds the Super Jumbo on its Frankfurt-Delhi and Frankfurt-Mumbai routes according to Airline Route. One daily to each destination will be operated.

Update: Mumbai now cancelled per Airline Route. Delhi remains.

Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-841 D-AIMF 9msn 066) arrives back at the Frankfurt hub.

Lufthansa Aircraft Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Condor to operate to Providence and Portland, Oregon next summer

Condor Flugdienst (Frankfurt) will add new twice-weekly summer seasonal flights to Providence, Rhode Island (June 18-September 3, 2015) and Portland, Oregon (June 19-September 4, 2015) from Frankfurt with Boeing 767-300 ERs.

Condor will also offer seasonal service to Windhoek (WDH) in 2015, with flights operating from Frankfurt (FRA) on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Additionally the company is offering weekly Airbus A320 (above) flights from Munich to Larnaca from September 3 through November 26, 2014 per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 D-AICN (msn 1968) approaches the runway at Brussels in the old 2004 livery with the new “Sunny Heart” tail logo.

Condor Aircraft Slide Show: CLICK HERE

 

United to drop three Canadian routes for the winter months

United Airlines (Chicago) is ending summer service to three Canadian routes this fall: Chicago (O’Hare)-Saskatoon (September 30), Chicago (O’Hare)-Regina (October 25) and Newark-Edmonton (October 26) per Airline Route. Saskatoon and Regina will continue to see United service from the Denver hub.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. United utilizes the Airbus A319 on the Newark-Edmonton route. Airbus A319-131 N805UA (msn 783) departs from Los Angeles.

United Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

Tigerair Taiwan to start operations on September 26

Tigerair (Taiwan) A320-200 WL B-50001 (13)(Grd)(Tigerair)(LRW)

Tigerair Taiwan (Taipei-Taoyuan) will launch scheduled passengers operations from Taipei (Taoyuan) to Singapore on September 26 with Airbus A320s according to Sydney Morning Herald. The new low-fare airline is a joint venture between China Airlines (Taipei) (90%) and Tigerair (Singapore) (10%). The new airline hopes to grow the fleet to 12 aircraft in the next three years.

Read the full story: CLICK HERE

Tigerair (Taiwan) logo (large)

Copyright Photos: Tigerair Taiwan. The first Airbus A320 is the pictured A320-232 B-50001 (msn 6187) delivered on August 28.

Tigerair (Taiwan) A320-200 WL B-50001 (13)(Tail)(Tigerair)(LRW)

Tigerair (Taiwan) A320 crew (Tigerair)(LRW)

Air Serbia remains confident it can be profitable by the end of 2014

Air Serbia (formerly Jat Airways) (Belgrade) reported its first half financial results showing growth in revenue, passengers and cargo following the investment by Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi), new Airbus aircraft and a brand overhaul. The airline is now confident it will be profitable by the end of 2014. Air Serbia has issued this first half financial statement:

Air Serbia, the national airline of the Republic of Serbia, has reported strong improvement in total revenue for the first half of 2014, with revenues increasing by 82 per cent to EUR102 million, compared to EUR 56 million for the same period in 2013.

A total of 944,000 passengers travelled with the airline between January and June this year, almost 70 per cent more than the same period last year.

Air Serbia Cargo also performed significantly better in H1 2014, carrying 907 tonnes of freight, a 65 per cent increase on H1 2013. Cargo revenue grew by 32 per cent, an important and burgeoning service for Air Serbia.

Air Serbia’s passenger carrying capacity, measured in Available Seat Kilometers (ASKs), was 1,588 million by the end of first half of 2014, an increase of 85 per cent compared to the same period last year.
Since Air Serbia’s launch on 26 October 2013, the airline has inducted 9 Airbus aircraft, with two Airbus A320 aircraft delivered in the second quarter of 2014. This has resulted in the average age of the jet fleet being reduced from 25 years to 10 years.

Dane Kondić, Chief Executive Officer of Air Serbia, said: “The results are very pleasing and demonstrate how effectively the Air Serbia team is working to deliver on the strategy of sustainable growth. We are on track to deliver a profitable, strong airline by the end of the current financial year, in line with the commitment of our shareholders, the Government of Serbia and Etihad Airways.We expect to maintain the momentum for the second half of 2014, as we continue to reconnect the Balkan region and new markets, through a combination of direct flights, as well as expanding our codeshare partnerships. There is no doubt that we are bringing choice, convenience and comfort to travellers”, Mr Kondić said.

The fast-paced growth of Air Serbia’s regional route network to 38 destinations by the end of June 2014, one new and four expanded codeshare partnerships and a more modern and reliable fleet, are the key factors driving growth in passenger numbers and cargo volumes.

In the first half of the year, Air Serbia launched 11 new routes. In addition, codeshare agreements with Etihad Airways and airberlin have been expanded to include the holiday destinations of Colombo in Sri Lanka and Palma de Mallorca in Spain. The codeshare agreement with Romanian national airline Tarom was also expanded to include Chisinau, Moldova.

Furthermore, the Air Serbia’s codeshare agreement with Etihad Regional, signed on July 1, 2014, has now introduced the attractive Swiss destinations of Geneva and Lugano to travellers.

The growth of Air Serbia is also creating a significant number of new jobs for Serbian nationals. In the first half of 2014, the airline grew its workforce by 300 new professionals. Investing in the future, Air Serbia is planning to relaunch its cadet pilot scheme.

Elsewhere, 10 young graduates are currently attending a graduate management program in Abu Dhabi with Etihad Airways and will, upon successful completion, join operating divisions across Air Serbia.
The technical department of Air Serbia has employed 44 engineers and technicians to establish the line maintenance facility at Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla International Airport.

Mr Kondić said Air Serbia needed more good people to join the team. “We have a number of vacancies and I encourage Serbian nationals to visit our website. We are a Serbian company that can offer rewarding career opportunities for the right people.”

Mr Kondić said that while the operational and network improvements of Air Serbia over the past six months were very important, he was proud that Air Serbia was able to make a significant contribution to Serbia’s humanitarian effort during the recent floods which devastated the country.

During the floods in May, Air Serbia transported a total of 154 tons of humanitarian aid (with a service value of approximately EUR 170,000), in the belly-hold capacity of its aircraft to Belgrade and also to Banja Luka in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 YU-APH (msn 2645) arrives in Zurich.

Air Serbia: AG Slide Show

Alitalia to phase out the Air One brand on October 1

Air One (Milan-Malpensa) will disappear as an airline and a brand on October 1. Parent Alitalia (2nd) (Rome) has decided to streamline its operations under one name and will retire the Air One brand on this date.

Air One commenced operations on November 23, 1995. On January 13, 2009, Air One officially became part of Alitalia Group with the intent to merge the two airlines. Air One in the meantime was rebranded as Air One “Smart Carrier”, Alitalia’s lower-cost subsidiary, operating a fleet of nine Airbus A320-200s to 35 destinations in 12 countries.

All Air One routes from Catania, Palermo and Venice will cease to operate on September 30, 2014 while all remaining services from Milan (Malpensa), Verona and Pisa will be dropped on October 30, 2014.

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-216 EI-DSW (msn 3609) taxies at Amsterdam.

Air One: AG Slide Show

Alitalia (2nd): AG Slide Show

Air One logo

Current routes from Venice:

Air One 8.2014 Venice Route Map

 

 

Virgin Australia CEO: “The 2014 Financial Year has seen one of the most difficult operating environments in the history of Australian aviation”, loses $332.2 million in its fiscal year

Virgin Australia Holdings Limited (Virgin Australia Airlines) (Brisbane) reported a Statutory Loss after Tax of A$355.6 million ($332.2 million) including the impact of equity accounted investments. Financial performance for the 2014 Financial Year was impacted by the confluence of excess market capacity, weak consumer sentiment, continued economic uncertainty and the $51.6 million cost of the carbon tax.

Virgin Australia Chief Executive Officer John Borghetti said: “The 2014 Financial Year has seen one of the most difficult operating environments in the history of Australian aviation.

“While the Virgin Australia Group performed well in attracting high yielding passengers and containing cost growth over the full year, underlying revenue performance was impacted by the challenging operating conditions.

“Notwithstanding these conditions, it was important for the Virgin Australia Group to complete the Game Change Program strategy and strengthen our balance sheet in order to deliver sustainable returns for shareholders over the long-term.

“Over the 2014 Financial Year, the Group further increased revenue from the Corporate and Government market segment, which now represents over 25 per cent of our domestic revenue, far exceeding our original goal of 20 per cent.

“Furthermore, our success in integrating the Skywest8 business has enabled us to significantly grow revenue from the Charter segment, increasing comparative revenue by around 30 per cent on the 2013 Financial Year. We have also positioned our loyalty program Velocity Frequent Flyer as a significant value driver for the Group, with the highest annual membership acquisition in the program’s history and a significant increase in member engagement.

“The Group’s cost program delivered a significant reduction in cost growth over the second half of the 2014 Financial Year, with growth in Cost per Available Seat Kilometre (Underlying CASK)9 including fuel and foreign exchange halving to approximately 2 per cent – a strong performance given we had lower capacity growth and we continue to invest in product and service initiatives for our customers.

“As a result of several major balance sheet initiatives executed during the year, the Virgin Australia Group finished the year with a total cash position of $783.8 million and an unrestricted cash position of $541.0 million.

“Virgin Australia also re-entered the Australian domestic budget market through the acquisition of a 60 per cent interest in Tigerair Australia at the beginning of the 2014 Financial Year. Over the last 12 months Virgin Australia has worked with Tiger Airways Holdings Limited and Tigerair Australia to overhaul revenue and accounting systems, develop the management team, improve asset utilisation and enhance the operational platform. Tigerair Australia’s performance needs to be viewed in the context of overall industry performance and weak consumer sentiment, particularly in the last quarter of the year, which has a more pronounced impact on low cost carriers. As a result of progress made during the 2014 Financial Year, and in particular marked increases in customer satisfaction, Tigerair Australia is now well positioned to benefit from a recovery in the domestic market when conditions improve.

“While the 2014 Financial Year has been an extremely tough year for the industry, I am confident that the Virgin Australia Group is in a strong strategic position going forward.

“This next period for us is about maximising the Group’s potential, by extracting value from the business and generating sustainable profitability”, Mr Borghetti said.

Financial and Operating Performance

“Total Group Revenue increased 7.1 per cent to $4,306.6 million on the 2013 Financial Year, including the additional revenue associated with the acquisition of Skywest. While revenue growth in the leisure and regional segments was subdued, this was partially offset by revenue growth in the Corporate and Government, Charter and Interline and Codeshare segments.

“Group Yield increased by 1.2 per cent, driven by a change in customer mix and improved access to global distribution channels following the introduction of the SabreSonic system in January 2013.

“The recently acquired Skywest business has now been fully integrated into the Virgin Australia platform and we are seeing positive performance from the Charter business which has increased its comparative revenue contribution by 30 per cent this financial year.

“International revenue increased 2.6 per cent compared to the 2013 Financial Year against the backdrop of strong competition and a particular weakness in the South East Asian market.

“As we outlined in February, Virgin Australia increased its focus on driving down costs during the second half of the 2014 Financial Year. Over the half, we implemented a number of major cost reduction initiatives including programs to reduce overall employment and procurement costs, as well as introducing a new Fuel Management System, targeting 2 per cent fuel efficiency savings by the end of Financial Year 2015.

“While there was a material increase in overall costs this year due to the full year impact of the Skywest acquisition in April 2013, Underlying CASK growth was well contained over the year, with a particularly strong performance in the second half.

“Virgin Australia incurred $117.3 million of restructuring costs11 during the 2014 Financial Year as a result of the balance sheet initiatives undertaken, the completion of strategic investments and the optimisation of the business platform. The business has also taken a restructuring provision for the exit of the two original Airbus A330 aircraft, as part of our program to reduce our future cost base through further fleet optimisation, and has booked an asset impairment charge of $56.9 million, driven predominantly by excess capacity and competitive pressure in the South East Asian market.

“We continued to exceed business efficiency project targets, delivering cumulative efficiency gains of more than $191 million and remain on track to deliver cumulative productivity gains of more than $400 million over the three years to 30 June 2015.

“With Virgin Australia’s major shareholders equity accounting their investments in Virgin Australia from 1 July 2014, it was appropriate for Virgin Australia to align its accounting policies with those of its shareholders and other industry participants. Consequently, a revised maintenance policy in relation to leased aircraft has been adopted which required a restatement of prior financial year results in the Appendix 4E. As a result of the adoption of this maintenance policy, there is an increase in the opening retained earnings and the equity of the business of $67.2 million.

“Virgin Australia operates a very successful Australian dollar designated hedging program, providing a large degree of short term certainty and longer term participation and protection. The program achieved effective fuel and foreign exchange rates during the 2014 Financial Year, delivering a result that was significantly favourable compared to spot prices.

“In order to reduce the volatility of reported financial performance attributed to the hedging program, Virgin Australia will adopt AASB 9 – Financial Instruments early, from 1 July 2014. As a result of the early adoption of this accounting standard, future statutory financial results going forward are expected to reflect reduced accounting ineffectiveness and deferral of time value of options until maturity for qualifying hedges. In the 2014 Financial Year, time value of options has been separately identified from the underlying results in anticipation of adopting this standard. The 2013 comparatives have been restated in the Financial Year 2014 ASX presentation to reflect this treatment.

“Virgin Australia acquired a 60 per cent interest in Tigerair Australia on July 8, 2013, with our share of equity-accounted losses for the 2014 Financial Year amounting to $46.1 million. Despite the challenging operating conditions, Tigerair Australia carried 500,000 more passengers than the previous year, with passenger numbers increasing to 3.3 million for the 2014 Financial Year.

“In terms of capacity growth, Virgin Australia recorded normalised growth of 0.112 per cent across the domestic network (excluding Tigerair Australia) for the 2014 Financial Year.

“Importantly, during the 2014 Financial Year, domestic Revenue Load Factors expanded 1.8 percentage points to 76.9 per cent, supported by a record 17.3 million customers choosing to fly with us.

“Virgin Australia is focused on delivering on time services for all of our customers and we have achieved an On Time Performance (OTP) of 84.0 per cent for the 2014 Financial Year, an increase of 2.9 percentage points compared to the prior corresponding period”, Mr Borghetti said.

Cash Position

“Virgin Australia paid down approximately $200 million in Gross Debt during the second half of the 2014 Financial Year and finished the year with a total cash balance of $783.8 million and an unrestricted cash balance of $541.0 million, up $203.3 million and $214.5 million respectively on 30 June 2013.

“We have significantly enhanced our balance sheet and liquidity through initiatives such as the issue of Enhanced Equipment Notes in October 2013, the Entitlement Offer in November 2013 and the sale and lease back of our Brisbane based office in May 2014. The proposed transaction with Velocity Frequent Flyer announced today will see a further boost to the liquidity position of the Group.

“Virgin Australia remains focused on maintaining a strong unrestricted cash balance and continues to review ways to utilise resources more efficiently”, Mr Borghetti said.

Game Change Program Strategy Update

“When we introduced the Game Change Program, it was a long-term strategy to reshape the airline and establish the Virgin Australia Group as a long-term player in all key segments of the Australian aviation market.

“Over the 2014 Financial Year, the Group focused on fast-tracking the completion of the Game Change Program and finished the strategy ahead of schedule.

“I am pleased to report that we have now increased our percentage of domestic revenue from the Corporate and Government market segment to more than 25 per cent, far exceeding our original strategic goal of 20 per cent. This is an enormous credit to all of our team members, who have worked tirelessly to ensure we could attract this important market segment.

“As a result of the important alliances we have forged and the implementation of SabreSonic, we have developed a comprehensive global virtual network and accessed growth markets around the world. In just a few years, the business has grown from offering around 150 destinations to more than 460 destinations and increased interline and codeshare traffic by more than 300 per cent.

“At the same time we have completed the important process of integrating and aligning the airline operations and brands, delivering and investing in one strong Virgin Australia brand that is recognised around the world.
“Under the Game Change Program, Velocity Frequent Flyer has gone from strength to strength, expanding its global network to over 460 destinations and offering competitive earn and redemption rates and unique member rewards. Over the last four years, the program has doubled membership numbers to 4.5 million and has built the widest retail offering of any program in Australia. Velocity has achieved a range of industry accolades, including recognition in five categories at the 2014 Freddie Awards, the highest achievement of any airline program at these global awards.

“Completing the transformation of the in-flight and on-the-ground experience under the Game Change Program has been a key focus for the business during the 2014 Financial Year, with significant enhancements to our lounge network, in-flight entertainment and catering”, Mr Borghetti said.

“It is thanks to the tireless efforts of every one of our team members that we have successfully implemented this strategy ahead of schedule in a challenging environment. We have transformed the business and our research indicates that we have now established Virgin Australia as the airline of choice14. Therefore we can confidently say that “The Game” has changed.

“I would like to thank all of our team members for their passion and dedication in delivering the strategy”, Mr Borghetti said.

Virgin Vision 2017

“Now that we have completed the Game Change Program, this next period for us is about maximising the Group’s potential, by extracting value from the business and generating sustainable profitability. To do this, we need to increase the growing customer loyalty to the Virgin Australia Group. That is what will assure our business of a stable future revenue stream and enable us to deliver sustainable profitability as the market recovers.

“A few years ago, many travellers were wedded to our competitor because they had no other viable alternative. The Game Change Program essentially created an indifference15 and helped to dislodge those travellers loyal to the incumbent airline group, so that they were happy to travel with either of us, whilst building a Virgin Australia loyalty base.

“Going forward, we no longer want to create an indifference for this group, we want to convert more of them to our loyalty base. Therefore, our Virgin Vision to 2017 is to become Australia’s favourite airline group.

“Over the next three years, the Virgin Australia Group will focus on six key areas: capitalising on growth business opportunities, driving yield enhancement, implementing a new cost program, optimising the balance sheet, setting a new standard in customer experience and developing our people to their full potential”, Mr Borghetti said.

Capitalizing on growth business opportunities

Velocity Frequent Flyer

“Velocity Frequent Flyer will be one of our key growth businesses, as we aim to build one of the world’s leading loyalty programs. Today’s announcement regarding a strategic transaction for Velocity Frequent Flyer is just the beginning. This transaction represents an opportunity to accelerate growth and value for Velocity and the Virgin Australia Group. Over the next three years we plan to grow membership to more than 7 million, further diversify Velocity’s partner mix, increase partner numbers and strengthen member engagement in both points earned and points redeemed.

Charter

“Charter also represents a significant opportunity for the Group to grow and diversify revenue. Our Charter business has had a very successful first year, delivering comparative revenue growth of around 30 per cent for the 2014 Financial Year, from a combination of new contracts, growth from existing clients and the launch of our first charter operations on the East Coast. This business continues to represent strong growth opportunities for the Group, and we expect it to deliver more than $200 million in revenue by 30 June 2017.

Freight

“In the 2015 Financial Year, we will launch a Freight division, which will leverage off our current Regular Passenger Transport and Charter capability. We expect the freight business to grow on a similar trajectory to our new charter business with revenue expected to treble to between $150 and $200 million over the next three years to 30 June 2017.

Tigerair Australia

“Our investment in Tigerair Austraia presents an important opportunity for the Group to participate in the growth of the budget market segment.

“The Tigerair business has undergone the first year of its transformation program, which sets out a clear path to profitability. The focus over the next three years will be on successfully executing this program, to achieve profitability in Financial Year 2017.

“This includes:

Further improving customer satisfaction – Customer experience is a major driver of revenue growth and will be a strong focus for Tigerair Australia, with significant progress already made during the 2014 Financial Year.
Driving incremental revenue growth – Tigerair Australia has implemented a number of revenue enhancing initiatives this year, including a new revenue management system. Further initiatives to help drive incremental revenue growth will be rolled out.

Delivering cost synergies – Tigerair Australia will implement a range of network, operational and financial synergies, building on the cost savings from synergies already delivered, including the launch of the Brisbane base, coordinated pricing and joint procurement of fuel purchases with Virgin Australia.

Develop an efficient operating platform and network footprint – Operational efficiency will be a continued focus. Tigerair has made a number of enhancements this year which will drive benefits, including launching a Brisbane base, securing a new more efficient maintenance provider in BAE systems and reaching agreement with Sydney Airport Corporation Limited about infrastructure constraints at Sydney Airport.

“We are committed to working with Tiger Airways Holdings Limited and Tigerair Australia to ensure the airline has the right network footprint, service standards and cost leadership, to deliver improved financial performance.

Drive yield enhancement

“In addition to capitalising on growth businesses, we will be focusing on other opportunities to drive yield enhancement. This includes increasing our target of Corporate and Government domestic revenue mix to around 30 per cent by 30 June 2017; increasing interline and codeshare revenue through strengthening and expansion of alliance partnerships and optimising our new PROS revenue management system to drive incremental revenue opportunities.

$1 billion cost program

“Importantly, cost will be a major focus over the next three years, building on the work of the Business Efficiency Project. Over the five years to 30 June 2017, the program will generate $1 billion in cumulative productivity gains and will centre on the following:

Enhancing procurement – individually and with alliance partners.

Improving productivity – including increased fuel efficiency, increased utilisation of the Boeing 737 fleet and the retirement of two 12 year old Airbus A330 aircraft; as well as bringing forward our Boeing 737 Max aircraft deliveries from 2019 to 2018.

Streamlining our operations – including the integration of Virgin Australia’s New Zealand operations into the rest of our international business and the consolidation of our long-haul international bases from three into two.
Optimise the balance sheet

“Going forward, optimizing the balance sheet will be central to maintaining a strong platform. The proposed transaction with Affinity Equity Partners and Velocity Frequent Flyer will improve the liquidity and gearing position of the Virgin Australia Group even further, providing additional flexibility and resilience as we execute on “Virgin Vision 2017”.

“As a result of this transaction, lease-adjusted balance sheet gearing will reduce by 8 per cent. The Group profit and loss impact from this transaction is expected to be neutral in the 2015 Financial Year. Over the next three years, we will continue to execute initiatives designed to improve liquidity, reduce debt and maintain a strong cash balance.

Set a new standard in customer experience

“The Virgin Australia Group will also maintain its strong focus on product and service and over the next three years, we will set a new standard in customer experience.

“While we cannot disclose all the initiatives for competitive reasons, they include: the introduction of Business Class on our Trans-Tasman and Fiji services from February 2015; the launch of our first Premium Exit at our Melbourne Airport lounge next month; the unveiling of a new state-of-the-art airport ground experience with the opening of our new terminal and lounge in Perth next year; and the upgrade of our Brisbane terminal and launch of our Darwin lounge in March next year.

“Furthermore, in the next few weeks, we will make a major announcement on our premium product offering.

Develop our people to their full potential

“Our people, and their willingness to go above and beyond for our customers and our shareholders, remains the Virgin Australia Group’s core differentiator in the market.

“We are committed to remaining the most attractive employer in the industry and, for that matter, one of the most desirable employers in Australia. It is our ability to attract, develop and retain the best talent, not just in the industry, but across Australia and beyond, that will see us succeed. Over the next three years, we will be rolling out a range of initiatives to continue to develop our people to their full potential.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our team members for their passion and dedication to delivering the Game Change Program strategy. We are privileged to have such a talented, devoted team and we are committed to supporting their development”, Mr Borghetti said.

Conclusion and Outlook

“The 2014 Financial Year was an extremely challenging year for the Virgin Australia Group and the Australian aviation industry as a whole.

“Given the uncertain economic environment we are unable to provide guidance for the 2015 Financial Year at this time and we will not be providing guidance on capacity growth going forward.

“However, the Virgin Vision to 2017 sets out a comprehensive plan of initiatives that will see us deliver a sustainable, profitable business over the long-term.

“While the current environment remains challenging, the Virgin Australia Group has significantly enhanced its strategic position over the last four years and is well placed to capitalise on market recovery”, Mr Borghetti said.

Copyright Photo: John Adlard/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 VH-XFE (msn 1319) taxies at Sydney.

Virgin Australia: AG Slide Show

Lufthansa Group reinstates flights to Erbil, Iraq

Lufthansa Group (Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines) (Frankfurt) has resumed flight operations to Erbil in northern Iraq. Austrian Airlines put its daily flight from Vienna back on the schedule yesterday (August 28). Flight OS 829 departed at 10:15 a.m. Lufthansa flies from Frankfurt to Erbil twice a week. The first scheduled flight is LH 696 on Saturday, August 30 (departure time 10:10 a.m.). Both airlines had most recently suspended their flights to Erbil on August 8.

According to the group, “The northern Iraqi city lies outside of the conflict zone controlled by IS. According to the most recent assessments, the security situation allows for safe flight operations to Erbil. The Lufthansa Group will continue to avoid Iraqi airspace in transit traffic, for instance to Asia and the Middle East. Furthermore, Lufthansa continues to carefully monitor the development of the security situation in Iraq and is in close regular contact with the respective international and national security authorities. The safety of passengers and crews is the highest priority for the airlines of the Lufthansa Group.”

Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Lufthansa operates an Airbus A319 on the route. Airbus A319-114 D-AILR (msn 723) arrives in Zurich.

Lufthansa: AG Slide Show

Austrian Airlines: AG Slide Show

Frontier Airlines to expand in Cincinnati with five new destinations

Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) has announced it will expand its low fare service in the Cincinnati market to nine nonstop routes with the addition of five new destinations— Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas; Orlando, Florida; and Las Vegas, Nevada beginning on October 26 and Phoenix, Arizona and Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, Florida beginning on October 28.

Frontier Airlines will offer nine nonstop destinations from Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

Frontier also offers nonstop, low fare service to Cancun, Mexico; Denver, Colorado; Trenton, New Jersey; and Washington, D.C. Frontier began its unique brand of low-fare service from the Cincinnati market in May 2013.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-112 N949FR (msn 2857) with Emma, the Ermine, on the tail, touches down in Las Vegas.

Frontier Airlines:

The first delivery Airbus A350 is painted for Qatar Airways

Qatar A350-900 A7-ALA (06)(Grd)(Airbus)(LRW)

Qatar Airways (Doha), which will receive its first A350 XWB before the end of 2014, has ordered 80 of the wide body jetliner. The first delivery aircraft has now been painted at Toulouse.

Copyright Photos: Airbus. The first Qatar A350 is the pictured A350-941 registered as A7-ALA (msn 006).

Qatar Airways: AG Slide Show

Qatar A350-900 A7-ALA (06)(Nose)(Airbus)(LRW)

Aegean Airlines orders two more Airbus A320s

Aegean Airlines (Athens) has signed a firm contract with Airbus for two additional A320 (A320ceo) aircraft, adding to a previous order for five A320s aircraft placed in September 2007.

All aircraft will be equipped with Airbus “Sharklet” fuel saving wing tip devices and will be powered by IAE V2500 engines. The aircraft will also be the first A320s in Aegean’s fleet to feature the enhanced take-off weight capability of up to 78 tons, thus enabling the carrier to expand its route network with even longer range operations.

Aegean Airlines operates an all-Airbus single-aisle fleet of 36 Airbus A320 family aircraft including 17 directly purchased aircraft.

Copyright Photo: Arnd Wolf/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 SX-DGI (msn 3162) arrives in Munich with the special “Visit Greece” web address.

Aegean Airlines: AG Slide Show

JetBlue’s CEO Dave Barger fires back at Wall Street analysts

JetBlue Airways‘ (New York) current CEO, Dave Barger, who succeeded founder David Neeleman, is facing a possible firing by the company’s board of directors. According to this article by Bloomberg Businessweek, Dave came out firing against the Wall Street analysts who have been calling for his ouster with this statement in an interview;

“You want to compare my track record to bankruptcies and layoffs?” asked Barger, referring to the Chapter 11 restructurings of Delta (DAL), United (UAL), and American (AAL) and the subsequent mergers that radically reshaped all three. “Go ahead. I’ll take that comparison.”

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Profile on David Barger (from JetBlue Airways):

David Barger is our Chief Executive Officer and a member of the board of directors. He joined our board in September 2001 and served as our President from August 1998-September 2007. Between 1998 and 2007, Mr. Barger also served as the company’s Chief Operating Officer. From 1992 to 1998, Mr. Barger served in various management positions with Continental Airlines, including Vice President, Newark hub. He held various director level positions at Continental Airlines from 1988 to 1995. From 1982 to 1988, Mr. Barger served in various positions with New York Air, including Director of Stations. Mr. Barger attended the University of Michigan.

Top Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 N571JB (msn 2125) in the Blueberries motif lands at the focus city of Long Beach.

JetBlue Airways: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Dave Barger.

JetBlue CEO Dave Barger

Video: Dave Barger and Airlines of America calling for a national policy for airlines.

Frontier Airlines adds more routes from Chicago O’Hare and more service from Cleveland

Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) has announced it will again expand its flights from Chicago O’Hare to Phoenix, Arizona and Salt Lake City, Utah as well as between Memphis, Tennessee and Dallas/Ft.Worth, Texas effective October 26.

Frontier Airlines will now 12 cities from Chicago O’Hare and three destinations from Memphis International Airport.

Following is the schedule for Frontier’s new nonstop service (all effective October 26):

Chicago-O’Hare to Phoenix is daily with Airbus A320s

Chicago-O’Hare to Salt Lake is daily with A320s

Dallas/Ft. Worth to Memphis is operated except Saturdays with Airbus A319s

Additionally Frontier Airlines is again expanding its service to and from Cleveland with more flights to recently launched including Las Vegas, Nevada, Phoenix, Arizona, Orlando, Florida and Fort Myers, Florida beginning on October 26.

Beginning October 26, service from Cleveland will increase as follows:

Las Vegas – increase from flights twice weekly to daily service

Phoenix – increase from twice weekly to four flights a week

Orlando – increase from daily flights to twelve times per a week

Fort Myers – increase from four flights per week to six times per week, and in December increase to daily service

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 N204FR (msn 2325) with Freedom, the Bald Eagle, on the tail taxies at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA).

Frontier Airlines: AG Slide Show

Aeroflot to return to Tbilisi, Georgia

Aeroflot Russian Airlines (Moscow) on October 26 will resume service to Tbilisi, Georgia from Moscow (Sheremetyevo). The resumed route will be operated on a daily basis with Airbus A320 aircraft per Airline Route.

On the financial side, Aeroflot has reported on its first half results: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 VP-BWH (msn 2151) approaches the runway at London (Heathrow).

Aeroflot: AG Slide Show

 

Swiss to drop the Zurich-Kiev route on October 1

Swiss International Air Lines (Zurich) will drop the Zurich-Kiev route on October 1. It currently operates five flights a week with Airbus A320 family aircraft.

The airline issued this short statement:

Swiss will be withdrawing its present Zurich-Kiev service with effect from October 1. The service is being terminated for economic reasons, as business on the route has failed to develop in line with expectations. The service was introduced in the 2013/14 winter schedules.

Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner/AirlinersGallery.com. Up-close action. Airbus A320-214 HB-JLT (msn 5518) with Sharklets touches down on the runway at the Zurich hub.

Swiss: AG Slide Show

VivaAerobus to add two new routes to Houston

VivaAerobus (Monterrey) has announced it will add two new routes to Houston (Bush Intercontinental) from Cancun (starting on December 3) and Guadalajara (starting on November 20) per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Paul Doyle/AirlinersGallery.com. Ex-Livingston Airbus A320-232 EI-ERH (msn 2157) arrives in Dublin before the delivery to the Mexican carrier.

VivaAerobus: AG Slide Show

Route Map:

VivaAerobus 8.2014 Route Map

United Airlines to drop the Newark-Edmonton route on October 25

United Airlines (Chicago) will end the Newark-Edmonton route on October 25. The Airbus A320 nonstop route was inaugurated on May 13, 2013.

The route was not meeting the airline’s expectations.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 N423UA (msn 504) arrives in Las Vegas.

United Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

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