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Tag Archives: Airbus

IAG reveals failed Aer Lingus bid

International Airlines Group (IAG) (London), the parent company of British Airways (Heathrow), Iberia (Madrid) and low cost carrier Vueling Airlines (Barcelona), has revealed that the board of Aer Lingus (Dublin) has rejected a potential takeover attempt.

IAG confirmed in a stock exchange disclosure it had “submitted a proposal” to make an offer for Aer Lingus, but it added that this was “rejected by the board of Aer Lingus.”

IAG added: “There can be no certainty that any further proposal or offer will be forthcoming. A further statement will be made if and when appropriate,”.

“The board has reviewed the Proposal and believes that it fundamentally undervalues Aer Lingus and its attractive prospects. Accordingly, the Proposal was rejected on 16 December 2014,” Aer Lingus said in a stock market disclosure. “Shareholders are strongly advised to take no action.”

This is not the first time Aer Lingus has been the target of a takeover bid. Irish competitor Ryanair (Dublin) has made several attempts to acquire its fellow Irish carrier, but each of these efforts has been blocked on competition grounds.

Last September, a UK Competition Commission (UKCC) investigation into these unsuccessful Ryanair bids revealed that Aer Lingus was looking to combine with another carrier in 2012 and has more recently explored a variety of merger and acquisition scenarios. They also revealed that several sets of talks relating to Aer Lingus acquiring, merging and forming strategic initiatives with other airlines.

Ryanair was ordered to sell its 29.8% stake in Aer Lingus down to 5% by the UKCC, partly based on concerns the shareholding could jeopardize Aer Lingus’ consolidation with other carriers. Ryanair responded by putting its entire stake up for sale, with certain conditions. More recently Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has bemoaned a total lack of interest in the Aer Lingus stake.

O’Leary, speaking at the release of Ryanair’s first-quarter results this summer, said: “We’ve had depressingly received no interest in Aer Lingus stake, which has been up for sale for about 18 months.”

The takeover bid from IAG could have could have valued the Republic’s flag carrier at at least €1 billion, industry sources estimate. Earlier, Aer Lingus shares had jumped 14% after the Financial Times reported that IAG was considering a bid.

Reported by Assistant Editor Oliver Wilcock from Manchester.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Aer Lingus A320-214 EI-DEN (msn 2432) approaches the runway in London (Heathrow).

Aer Lingus aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Vistara to launch operations on January 9, 2015

Vistara (Delhi) has announced it will launch its joint venture operations on January 9, 2015. The full service airline will start operations from Delhi to both Mumbai and Ahmedabad with 148-seat Airbus A320s.

The airline issued this statement:

With its distribution channel and booking website going live, Vistara, the much-awaited JV between Tata and SIA is ready to take to the skies. The full service carrier announced that its first flight would take-off on January 9, 2015. With Delhi as its hub, Vistara will initially offer flights to Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

Delivering on its brand promise of “a world class flying experience” Vistara is the first full service carrier in India to introduce the ‘Premium Economy’ class. Vistara’s 148-seater A320-200 will offer three separate cabins, with 16 seats in Business, 36 in Premium Economy and 96 in Economy Class. Seats for all three classes are on sales and there will not be a separate fuel surcharge. Vistara is also the first airline in India to offer a value based frequent flyer program called Club Vistara, wherein loyalty points are accrued based on actual spend on the ticket fare rather than miles travelled. Keeping up with the times, airline has done away with the physical loyalty card.

Vistara’s technology partners – Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Wipro and Amadeus – will be responsible for its customer support system and IT services. The technology partners are poised to help Vistara fulfill its brand promise of personalization of service and providing a seamless experience to customers. Wipro will manage the Vistara Customer Service Centre, which will handle all customers’ enquiries on reservations, ticketing and Club Vistara FFP. As Vistara’s strategic partner, TCS will be engaged in its various IT initiatives ranging from application service transformation to consulting and business-impacting technology initiatives. Amadeus Altéa Suite will power Vistara’s travel reservations, inventory management, airport departure control systems, as well as revenue accounting and revenue management.

Vistara logo (large)

The brand name of the airline, Vistara is derived from the Sanskrit word, ‘Vistaar’, which means ‘limitless expanse’, and draws inspiration from the brand’s domain – the ‘limitless’ sky. The logo is derived from a ‘yantra’, a perfect mathematical form that reflects the unbounded universe. Its fluid interconnecting lines reflect the seamless experience the airline wants to offer its customers. The eight-pointed star at the centre of the logo reflects the high standards Vistara is committed to and the excellence that will be a hallmark of the airline.

Copyright Photo: Eurospot/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 F-WWDF (msn 6388) will be delivered as VT-TTF.

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V Air commences operations

V Air (subsidiary of TransAsia Airways) (Taipei) on December 17 launched schedule low-fare operations. The first route was from Taipei (Taoyuan) (TPE) to Bangkok (Don Mueang) (DMK) using this 194-seat A321. The new airline will compete with Tigerair Taiwan. The second route to Chiang Mai, Thailand is scheduled to start in early January.

Top Copyright Photo: Manuel Negrerie/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A321-231 B-22608 (msn 6009) holds short of the runway at Taipei (Sung Shan).

Below Photo: V Air. The V Air crew waves goodbye to the inaugural flight.

V Air inaugural flight (V Air)(LR)

Video:

Hawaiian Airlines finalizes the purchase of six Airbus A330-800neo aircraft

Hawaiian A330-800neo (01)(Flt)(Hawaiian)(LRW)

Hawaiian Airlines (Honolulu) has announced a definitive purchase agreement with Airbus, finalizing the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) announced earlier this year to acquire six new A330-800neo aircraft starting in 2019. The agreement replaces Hawaiian’s previous order for six A350-800s. The transaction includes rights to purchase an additional six aircraft as part of the carrier’s path to growth and increased efficiency.

The A330-800neo wide-body, powered by the recently launched Rolls Royce Trent 7000 engine, is similar in size to Hawaiian’s A330-200 which seats 294 passengers in a two class configuration (First and Coach), and will incorporate aerodynamic enhancements that will increase range by up to 400-nautical miles and reduce fuel consumption by 14 percent per seat. According to the carrier, “the aircraft is the right-sized solution for the carrier’s future growth strategy.”

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but the aircraft have a total list-price value of approximately $2.9 billion if all of the purchase rights are exercised. Hawaiian Airlines’ existing orders include an additional three new A330-200s for delivery in 2015 and 16 narrow-body A321neo aircraft starting in 2017.

Hawaiian Airlines currently operates a fleet of 50 aircraft, comprised of 29 wide-body, long-haul aircraft (294-seat A330-200 aircraft and 252 to 264-seat Boeing 767-300 aircraft), 18 narrow-body 118- to 123-seat Boeing 717-200 aircraft and three 48-seat ATR42-500 for Neighbor Island flights.

Image: Airbus.

Hawaiian Airlines aircraft slide show:

American Airlines preserves the US Airways livery on Airbus A321-231 N578UW

American-US Airways A321-200 N578UW (US Airways 05)(Grd)(American 05)(Grd)(American)(LR)

US Airways (Phoenix) will not be repainting the pictured Airbus A321-231 N578UW (msn 6035) in full American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) colors as the two carriers march towards a single operating certificate. Instead the new American, under the leadership of former America West/US Airways CEO Doug Parker, is preserving the memory of US Airways with this preserved legacy livery. N578UW will continue to wear US’ 2005 livery albeit now with small American titles like the previous America West Airbus A320s. As previously reported, TWA will also be preserved in an upcoming legacy scheme with an undetermined historic livery.

Photo: American Airlines.

American Airlines-US Airways aircraft slide show (American livery only):

Virgin America starts seasonal New York-JFK-Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood service

Virgin America (San Francisco) today (December 18) begins new daily nonstop seasonal service between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL).

The new daily route will operate until April 27, 2015.

In addition to the new seasonal daily service to Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, the airline is adding a second weekly flight to its seasonal service between New York (JFK) and Palm Springs. This second frequency will operate until April 25, 2015.

Top Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com (all others by Virgin America). Airbus A320-214 N630VA (msn 3101) departs from Los Angeles.

Virgin America aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Virin America seat (Virgin America)(LRW)

American Airlines and Interjet announce a codeshare agreement

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) has signed a codeshare agreement with Interjet (Mexico City), adding new service to key destinations in Mexico.

The new codeshare arrangement with Interjet will give American Airlines customers seamless connecting service within Mexico. American will codeshare on Interjet flights from Mexico City to five key destinations – Huatulco, Villahermosa, Merida, Tuxtla Gutierrez, and Oaxaca. American and Interjet will submit an application to the U.S. Department of Transportation for regulatory approval of the proposed codeshare cooperation.

Over the past few years Interjet has grown substantially and operates more than 1,800 weekly flights to 38 cities throughout Mexico as well as destinations in the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean.

The new agreement allows AAdvantage® members to earn miles on codeshared flights operated by Interjet.

American has proudly served Mexico for more than 72 years and currently operates up to 115 daily flights to 20 destinations in the country from Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia and Phoenix.

Top Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Now repainted, American’s Boeing 737-823 N825NN (msn 31087) arrives at Las Vegas.

American Airlines aircraft slide show (current livery): AG Slide Show

Interjet aircraft slide show:

Bottom Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Interjet’s Airbus A320-214 XA-JAV (msn 5221) alos arrives in Las Vegas, a shared connection point.

Etihad Airways unveils its new Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 and new uniforms in Abu Dhabi

Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi), the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has capped an incredible 12 months by unveiling its first Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 aircraft (see videos above) to more than 200 of the world’s media in Abu Dhabi.

The doors to the airline’s two new flagship aircraft – in the distinctive new ‘Facets ofAbu Dhabi’ livery – were opened for the first time to reveal the new cabin interiors, which include the ultra-luxurious Residence by Etihad™, the only three-room suite in the sky.

Video: Evolution of the new livery.

Etihad Airways also unveiled a new cabin crew uniform at a spectacular catwalk fashion show. It’s the first major uniform re-launch since the airline’s formation in 2003 and incorporates the same colors used for the cabin interior and new aircraft livery.

Video: The new uniform.

Etihad 2014 New Uniforms (Etihad)(LRW)

Photo: Etihad Airways. The new uniforms.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “As we have done so many times in our short history, we are reshaping the landscape of modern air travel in our own way.

In addition to the media event at Abu Dhabi airport, Etihad Airways is also hosting an event for travel industry partners and one for the airline’s staff today, ensuring that by the end of the day more than 1,500 people will have toured the two new aircraft.

The fashion show saw 22 Etihad Airways cabin crew showcasing the new uniform which has been designed by Italian Ettore Bilotta, derived from the new brand identity, and combines elegance, comfort and practicality.

Bilotta, in collaboration with the airline’s Guest Services and Guest Experience divisions, chose a warm chocolate brown as the base colour for the different uniform variations.

A deep purple color is added for cabin crew and lounge staff, and a burnt orange accent color for ground crews and Special Services personnel.

Copyright Photo Above: Gerd Beilfuss/AirlinersGallery.com. The pictured Airbus A380-861 F-WWSS (msn 166) was delivered as A6-APA on December 16. It will be introduced to revenue service on December 27 on the Abu Dhabi-London (Heathrow) route.

Following today’s events in Abu Dhabi, the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 aircraft will continue test operations before starting commercial flights. The A380 will operate daily to London Heathrow from December 27 and the 787 to Dusseldorf from February 1, 2015.

Etihad #Reimangined (LR)

The entry into commercial service of the A380 will see the introduction of The Residence by Etihad™, a new cabin that has captured the imagination of the air travel industry since it was unveiled in May 2014.

Etihad - The Residence (LRW)

Photo: Etihad Airways.

The Residence by Etihad™ (above) features a living room, separate ensuite shower room, and as another first in the airline industry, a dedicated Butler.

Measuring 125 square feet in total, The Residence by Etihad™ is located on the forward upper deck of the A380 and is for single or double occupancy.

The Airbus A380 is also the only Etihad Airways aircraft to offer the First Apartment which is a complete living space with a reclining lounge chair and an ottoman, which opens up to become a separate 80.5 inch long fully-flat bed.

Etihad - The Residence Bed (LRW)

Photo: Etihad Airways.

The First Suite on the Etihad Airways Boeing 787 offers guests an enhanced suite with chilled mini-bar, complete privacy and centre seats which can be joined to create a double bed.

A total of 70 Business Studios are located on the upper deck of the Airbus A380, and the Boeing 787 has 28 Business Studios, all offering aisle access and a fully flat bed of up to 80.5 inches long.

The Economy Smart Seat also debuts on the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 and has enhanced comfort with the unique ‘fixed wing’ headrest on each seat.

Etihad - A380 and 787 Smart Seat (LRW)

Etihad Airways will take delivery of four A380s and three Boeing 787-9s in 2015.

Etihad Airways aircraft slide show:

EasyJet announces two more new routes including Paris CDG-Tel Aviv

EasyJet (UK) (easyJet.com) (London-Luton) is expanding it’s route map with the airline confirming via their Twitter account that they are launching a new route connecting Tel Aviv (Ben Gurion) to Paris (Charles de Gaulle Airport), starting on March 30, 2015.

The low-cost airline also confirmed at the same time that it is expanding its London (Gatwick) operations, with the addition of flights to Figari, in Corsica, launching on June 14, 2015.

Report by Assistant Editor Oliver Wilcock from Manchester.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-111 G-EZDV (msn 3742) arrives at London’s Gatwick Airport (LGW).

EasyJet aircraft slide show:

JetBlue Airways adds three new routes from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport today

JetBlue Airways (New York) today (December 18) adds three more nonstop routes from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), all to Florida: Fort Myers (RSW), Jacksonville (JAX) and West Palm Beach (PBI). Service to Jacksonville is twice daily, while Fort Myers and West Palm Beach will enjoy daily service. During the holiday season from December 19 to January 4, 2015, JetBlue will offer a second daily service to both Fort Myers and West Palm Beach.

This year, JetBlue has significantly increased its presence at Reagan National, adding a total of six routes and also increasing frequencies in existing markets. Earlier this year, flights to Charleston, SC (CHS), Hartford, Conn. (BDL) and Nassau, Bahamas (NAS) were launched, and service to Tampa, Fla. (TPA), was boosted with a second daily flight.

JetBlue now offers nonstop flights to 11 cities: Boston, Charleston, Hartford, Fort Lauderdale/ Hollywood, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Nassau, Orlando, Tampa and West Palm Beach, as well as the only nonstop service to San Juan, Puerto Rico. To support its expanded flight schedule in Washington, JetBlue recently relocated its operations into Reagan National’s Terminal B.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 N805JB (msn 5148) displays the Barcode tail design and also has the Sharklets.

JetBlue Airways aircraft slide show:

Routes from Washington (Reagan National):

JetBlue DCA 12.2014 Route Map

Virgin America completes the fleetwide installation of Gogo ATG-4 WiFi service

Virgin America (San Francisco) today announced the fleetwide rollout of Gogo’s faster ATG-4 WiFi service – with the completion this week of ATG-4 WiFi installation on its Airbus A319 plane “Jane” (N526VA, above).

In 2009, Virgin America became the first airline to offer Gogo Inflight WiFi service on every flight – a distinction the airline still maintains today.

With a base of tech-forward flyers, the airline has similarly invested in the next generation of WiFi technology – with the rollout of Gogo’s enhanced WiFi product to all 53 of Virgin America’s Airbus A320 Family aircraft. ATG-4 offers a faster average guest experience with peak speeds of 9.8 Mbps to each aircraft – more than triple the peak speed of the 3.1 Mbps available with the first generation of inflight WiFi. To help celebrate this milestone, Virgin America and Gogo are asking guests to share their best “office in the sky” moment on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #OfficeInTheSky for a chance to win a round trip Main Cabin flight for two on Virgin America, a brand new iPad or complimentary Gogo Inflight WiFi service for one year (full terms and conditions available here).

Gogo’s ATG-4 technology includes three industry-leading innovations: the addition of directional antennas and dual modems on each aircraft and the deployment of EV-DO Rev B technology on Gogo’s airborne and ground networks. Utilizing directional antennas and dual modem technology, ATG-4 increases overall peak connection speeds and ensures a more reliable connection to each and every passenger on board who chooses to connect.

Virgin America WiFi (Virgin America)(LR)

The airline’s in-flight connectivity milestones have included:

November 2008: Virgin America streams the first ever “air-to-ground” video stream to YouTube Live – YouTube’s first official real-world user event from the airline’s first WiFi-enabled aircraft

February 2009: The CBS Early Show airs the first-ever live broadcast transmission from a commercial plane – a Virgin America Airbus A320 – via the airline’s in-flight WiFi

May 2009: Virgin America becomes the first U.S. domestic airline to achieve fleetwide WiFi

December 2014: Virgin America is the first U.S. airline to offer next-gen, Gogo ATG-4 Inflight WiFi on every plane

The airline continues to expand its network across the country with flights to Austin, Boston, Cancun, Chicago, Dallas Love Field, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Los Cabos, Newark, New York (JFK and LGA), Orlando, Palm Springs (seasonal), Portland, Puerto Vallarta, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle/Tacoma and Washington D.C. (IAD and DCA).

Top Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com (others by Virgin America). Airbus A319-112 N526VA (msn 3347) departs from Los Angeles.

Virgin America aircraft slide service: AG Slide Show

Video: In December 2014, Virgin America became the first airline to install Gogo’s faster ATG-4 WiFi service fleetwide with the installation of the service its Airbus A319 plane “Jane” (N526VA). With the rollout of Gogo’s enhanced WiFi product to all 53 of Virgin America’s Airbus A320 Family aircraft the airline now offers guests peak speeds of 9.8 Mbps – more than triple the peak speed available with the first generation of inflight WiFi.

Watch how each aircraft is converted:

Emirates to bring the Airbus A380 to Perth, Western Australia

Emirates (Dubai) is bringing the Airbus A380 to Perth, Australia for the first time, commencing on May 1, 2015. The airline has announced that it will up-gauge one of its three daily services between Dubai and Perth to its flagship aircraft, demonstrating the growth of Perth as a global destination.

The change from a Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft will see an increase in capacity of 136 seats per flight and 1,904 seats per week, reinforcing Emirates’ commitment to business and leisure passengers visiting the capital city of Western Australia.

Emirates’ A380 program has seen 12 new double-decker aircraft join the fleet and launch to ten new A380 destinations in the past 12 months; Barcelona, London (Gatwick), Zurich, Mumbai, Frankfurt, Dallas/Fort Worth, Kuwait City, San Francisco, Milan and Houston (Bush Intercontinental). Glasgow, Manila, Tehran and Vienna have also experienced the flagship Emirates aircraft when it touched down on their tarmac for a one off showcase in 2014.

The Emirates A380 is set in a three-class configuration, with 401 seats in Economy Class on the main deck, 76 fully flat-bed, mini-pods in Business Class and 14 First Class Private Suites on the upper deck.

Emirates’ Perth Airbus A380 service will operate daily as EK 420 departing Dubai at 0255 and arriving at Perth International Airport at 1735 the same day. The return flight, EK 421, will depart Perth at 2210 and arrives in Dubai the following day at 0525, a flying time of 11 hours 15 minutes.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-861 A6-EDT (msn 090) departs from London (Heathrow).

Emirates aircraft slide show:

Video: Flying First Class on the Emirates Airbus A380:

 

Royal Jordanian retires its last Airbus A340-200

Royal Jordanian Airlines (Amman) retired its last Airbus A340-200 from revenue service on November 27, 2014 after the pictured A340-211 JY-AIA (msn 038) completed its flight from Chicago (O’Hare) to Amman per ch-aviation.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. JY-AIA arrives in New York (JFK) prior to the last revenue flight.

Royal Jordanian aircraft slide show:

Meridiana retires its last two Airbus A320s

Meridiana (Olbia) has retired its last two Airbus A320 aircraft according to ch-aviation. The company has been moving to Boeing for its narrow body needs.

The company was set up under the name of Alisarda on March 29, 1963 by Prince Karīm al-Hussayn Aga Khan with the aim of promoting tourism in Sardinia. Scheduled flights commenced in 1964.

On May 3, 1991 the name was changed to Meridiana.

At the end of February 2010, the name Meridiana fly was launched, the second largest carrier in Italy, with the merger of two air transport players: Eurofly, a company specializing in charter services to long haul holiday destinations and Meridiana, scheduled carrier with an extensive national and European network, with the primary objective of connecting the main Italian airports with the two largest islands Sardinia and Sicily.

In October 2011 Meridiana fly acquired the assets of Air Italy, a chartered Italian carrier which definitively joined the Group and now operates connections on behalf of Meridiana.

After rebranding, starting in March 2013, the company has eliminated the trademark Air Italy and the suffix of Meridiana fly by replacing it with just “Meridiana”.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 EI-EZS (msn 1823) holds short of the runway at Palma de Mallorca.

Meridiana aircraft slide show:

FedEx Corporation reports net income of $616 million, up 23% from last year’s $500 million

FedEx Corporation (FedEx Express) (Memphis) reported earnings of $2.14 per diluted share for its fiscal second quarter ended November 30, up 36% from last year’s $1.57 per share. The corporation reported net income of $616 million, up 23% from last year’s $500 million. However the corporation missed several analyst profit estimates despite declining fuel costs.

The company issued this statement:

“FedEx posted strong results and a higher operating margin in the second quarter, with continued growth in volumes and base yields in each of our transportation segments”

“FedEx posted strong results and a higher operating margin in the second quarter, with continued growth in volumes and base yields in each of our transportation segments,” said Frederick W. Smith, FedEx Corporation chairman, president and chief executive officer. “We are in the final stages of this year’s peak shipping season, and I’d like to thank the more than 300,000 dedicated team members around the world for once again delivering outstanding service to our customers during the holidays.”

Second Quarter Results

FedEx Corp. reported the following consolidated results for the second quarter:

• Revenue of $11.9 billion, up 5% from $11.4 billion the previous year

• Operating income of $1.01 billion, up 22% from $827 million last year

• Operating margin of 8.5%, up from 7.3% a year ago

• Net income of $616 million, up 23% from last year’s $500 million

Operating income and margin increased primarily due to higher volumes and base yields in all three transportation segments. Results in the second quarter also included benefits from the company’s profit improvement programs, lower pension expense and a slightly positive net impact from fuel. These benefits were partially offset by higher aircraft maintenance expense due to the timing of aircraft maintenance events.

Share repurchases benefited second quarter earnings by $0.16 per diluted share.

Outlook

The company reaffirms its fiscal 2015 earnings forecast of $8.50 to $9.00 per diluted share. The outlook assumes continued moderate economic growth and a modest net benefit from fuel. The capital spending forecast for fiscal 2015 remains $4.2 billion.

Fuel Surcharges

FedEx regularly reviews its fuel surcharge tables and will update certain tables at FedEx Express, FedEx Ground and FedEx Freight effective February 2, 2015. Details on these changes will be available on fedex.com by December 23, 2014.

FedEx Express Segment

For the second quarter, the FedEx Express segment reported:

• Revenue of $7.02 billion, up 3% from last year’s $6.84 billion

• Operating income of $484 million, up 36% from $357 million a year ago

• Operating margin of 6.9%, up from 5.2% the previous year

Revenue increased due to higher U.S. domestic package volume and international export package base revenue, partially offset by lower fuel surcharges and exchange rates. U.S. domestic package volume grew by 7%, including a 10% increase in U.S. overnight box. U.S. domestic revenue per package declined 2% due to decreased fuel surcharges and lower weight.

FedEx International Economy® volume grew 5%, while FedEx International Priority® volume increased 1%. International export revenue per package was flat, as higher rates were offset by unfavorable currency exchange and lower fuel surcharges.

Operating results improved due primarily to U.S. domestic and international export package revenue growth, cost management related to profit improvement programs, lower pension expense and a slight net benefit from fuel. These improvements were partially offset by the timing of higher aircraft maintenance expense. The year over year increase in aircraft maintenance expense is expected to subside beginning in the fourth fiscal quarter.

FedEx Ground Segment

For the second quarter, the FedEx Ground segment reported:

• Revenue of $3.06 billion, up 8% from last year’s $2.85 billion

• Operating income of $465 million, up 6% from $439 million a year ago

• Operating margin of 15.2%, down from 15.4% the previous year

FedEx Ground average daily volume grew 5% in the second quarter, driven by growth in both business-to-business and FedEx Home Delivery services. Revenue per package increased 3% due to rate increases and higher residential surcharges. FedEx SmartPost average daily volume decreased 4% due to the reduction in volume of a major customer. FedEx SmartPost revenue per package increased 7% due to rate increases and improved customer mix, partially offset by higher postage rates.

Operating income increased due to higher revenue per package and volume, partially offset by higher network expansion costs, as the company continues to heavily invest in the FedEx Ground and FedEx SmartPost businesses.

FedEx Freight Segment

For the second quarter, the FedEx Freight segment reported:

• Revenue of $1.59 billion, up 11% from last year’s $1.43 billion

• Operating income of $112 million, up 35% from $83 million a year ago

• Operating margin of 7.1%, up from 5.8% the previous year

Less-than-truckload (LTL) average daily shipments increased 8%, including a 10% increase in demand for Priority service. LTL revenue per shipment grew 3% due to higher weight per shipment, higher rates and increased fuel surcharges.

Operating results improved due to increased LTL revenue per shipment and higher average daily LTL shipments.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Monday, December 15, was the busiest day for FedEx in its history according to the company. Cutting through the early morning mist at Charlotte is Airbus A300B4-622R (F) N719FD (msn 388) bound for the Memphis cargo hub.

FedEx Express aircraft slide show:

 

Finnair’s first Airbus A350-900 takes shape

Finnair A350-900 (018)(Nose) TLS (Airbus)(LRW)

Finnair (Helsinki) in the fall of 2015 will take delivery of its first Airbus A350, specially the pictured A350-941 (msn 018).

Airbus has issued this picture and short message:

The first A350-900 for Finnair is taking shape in the Roger Béteille Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Toulouse, France. Finnair will be the first European airline to fly the A350 XWB and the third operator in the world. Scheduled for delivery in autumn 2015 the aircraft is now in the fuselage section joining phase.

Following this, the aircraft will move to wing junction, cabin installation and first power-on, all achieved in one single station. Once these phases are completed, the aircraft will undergo system tests, cabin completion, painting and engine installation before starting the delivery process, including flight testing.

Finnair has a total of 19 A350 XWB on order. The aircraft will be deployed on Finnair’s long-haul routes to Asia and America.

Photo: Airbus.

Finnair aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Virgin America and China Eastern Airlines announce a new codeshare agreement

Virgin America (San Francisco) and China Eastern Airlines (Shanghai) today announce a codeshare agreement to offer seamless booking and travel from Shanghai, China to multiple destinations across the United States. The new agreement will see China Eastern place its two-digit flight code (MU) on a range of Virgin America routes from Los Angeles and San Francisco – including West Coast flights to Boston, Chicago, Dallas Love Field, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, Las Vegas, Newark, New York (JFK), Seattle/Tacoma, San Diego and Washington Dulles (Dulles). This will open a world of choice and convenience for travel between Asia, China, and the United States, offering a one-stop booking process and one-stop check-in, including seamless boarding passes and baggage handling for the entire journey. Codeshare flights can be booked today for travel from December 17, 2014.

The two airlines also announce today that starting next year the two airlines will launch reciprocal frequent flyer benefits. Members of China Eastern’s frequent flyer program will be able to earn Eastern Miles when traveling on all Virgin America flights and redeem their Eastern Miles for reward flights on all Virgin America routes. Members of Virgin America’s Elevate frequent flyer program will also be able to earn Elevate points when flying across China Eastern’s network as well as redeem their Elevate points for international reward flights on any route operated and marketed by China Eastern.

China Eastern offers daily direct flights from Shanghai to San Francisco and from Shanghai to Los Angeles.

The codeshare partnership expands on the two airlines’ existing interline agreement, which commenced in May 2013. China Eastern is Virgin America’s fifth codeshare agreement and joins the airline’s growing partner portfolio.

Top Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Virgin America’s Airbus A320-214 N846VA (msn 4894) rotates on the runway at New York (JFK).

Virgin America aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

China Eastern aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Olivier Gregoire/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 F-WWCG (msn 1588) wears the new look for China Eastern Airlines. It will become B-5962 on delivery.

Iberia Express is coming to London Gatwick

Iberia Express (Madrid) will start the twice-daily Madrid-London (Gatwick) route on March 29, 2015.

Copyright Photo: Ariel Shocron/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 EC-JSK (msn 2807) taxies at the Madrid (Barajas) base.

Iberia Express aircraft slide show:

Aer Lingus shareholders approve €191 million ($237 million) payment to the new pension fund

Aer Lingus‘ (Dublin) shareholders have voted in favor of a deal to address the airline’s pension deficit, which was previously described as “a real and significant risk to the success of the company.”

A proposal to plough €190.7 million ($237.6 million) into the pensions scheme, which has taken four years to finalize, was put to shareholders during an extraordinary general meeting December 10.

In a stock exchange disclosure, Aer Lingus said the motion had been passed, with 421,859,027 votes in favor and 1,942,425 against.

The numbers indicate that the holders of close to 80% of the company’s shares voted, while the margin of the vote itself was 99.55% in favor and 0.45 against.

This rubber stamp means the Irish carrier can now proceed with the implementation of the IASS proposal, which will avoid labor conflict, give financial and legal clarity, and stabilize staff costs.

Aer Lingus and Dublin Airport Authority jointly operate IASS, which has an estimated €750 million deficit. Part of the proposals for tackling the problem involve transferring staff to a defined benefit scheme, to which both companies will contribute lump sums totaling €263 million.

The vote followed a stormy meeting at the Dublin Airport Radisson, which was nearly disrupted by protesting retired workers, who at one point surrounded part of the conference room in which it was held and banged on the windows.

A number of former staff attending the meeting itself also expressed their anger to Aer Lingus chairman, Colm Barrington, and claimed the scheme’s trustees had refused to deal with them while the company’s management were ignoring their plight.

They say that they are facing the loss of up to six weeks income a-year under the plan to restructure the insolvent scheme.

The pensioners have hired a legal team and are considering going to court. Leaving the meeting, retired Aer Lingus worker, Vincent McCabe, said “we will go to court if we have to go to court”.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Barrington said that Aer Lingus had honored all its obligations:

“We have got to get the situation resolved and get industrial peace,” he added, referring to the strikes and other unrest that have been a feature of the pension dispute.

Read the full story for the Irish Times: CLICK HERE

Reported by Assistant Editor Oliver Wilcock from Manchester.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 EI-DVM (msn 4634) in the 1963 retro livery arrives in London (Heathrow).

Aer Lingus aircraft slide show:

Azul arrives in Orlando

Azul arrives in Orlando (Azul)(LRW)

Azul Linhas Aereas Brasileiras (Campinas), Brazil’s largest airline by number of cities served, yesterday (December 15) inaugurated daily nonstop service to and from Orlando, its second international destination. The airline’s first arrival landed at Orlando International Airport at 5:10 pm (1710) and the first outbound flight departed or Sao Paulo (Campinas) at 7:45 pm.

From its new $1.5 billion terminal at Sao Paulo-Campinas International Airport, located 60 minutes from the city, Azul conveniently connects to popular destinations including Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Salvador and Iguacu Falls.

Photos: Orlando International Airport. The inaugural flight was operated with the pictured Airbus A330-243 PR-AIZ (msn 527).

Azul aircraft slide show:

Azul A330-200 PR-AIZ (08)(Nose)(Azul)(LRW)

American Airlines resumes New York-Cleveland flights, outlines new Airbus A321 routes

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) is resuming New York-Cleveland service. On March 29, 2015 the carrier will resume New York (LaGuardia)-Cleveland flights with American Eagle Embraer ERJ 140s.

American Airlines has also filed advanced schedules for additional Airbus A321 two-class services per Airline Route:

Dallas/Fort Worth-Phoenix (starting on January 6, 2015)

Dallas/Fort Worth-Denver (February 12, 2015)

Miami-Cancun (March 4, 2015)

Dallas/Fort Worth-Atlanta (March 5, 2015)

Dallas/Fort Worth-San Diego (March 29, 2015)

Dallas/Fort Worth-Chicago (O’Hare) (March 29, 2015)

Dallas/Fort Worth-Seattle/Tacoma (March 29, 2015)

Los Angeles-Chicago (O’Hare) (March 29, 2015)

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Newly delivered Airbus A321-231 N125AA (msn 6272) departs from Los Angeles.

American Airlines aircraft slide show (current livery): AG Slide Show

Mahan Air today launches a new route to London Gatwick

Mahan Air Tehran) today (December 15) today launches a new route to London (Gatwick) operating three days a week reportedly with Airbus A310-300s per Airline Route.

Virtual tour on Airbus A300: CLICK HERE

Previously on November 4, Mahan Air celebrated the launch of scheduled flights from Tehran to Beijing nonstop service linking the capitals of Iran and People’s Republic of China and marking the carrier’s 14th international destination. It is also the airline’s first regular flight to China.

The thrice weekly flights are operating via 299-seat Airbus A340-300 in two class configuration. Beijing is Mahan Air’s third new international route after Yerevan and Shiraz to Dubai which were inaugurated in summer 2014.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Mahan Air’s Airbus A310-304 EP-MNF (msn 547) arrives in Bangkok.

Mahan Air aircraft slide show:

Mahan Air route map:

Mahan Air 12.2014 Route Map

AirAsia X firms up its order for 55 Airbus A330-900neo aircraft

AirAsia X A330-900neo (14)(Flt)(Airbus)(LRW)

AirAsia X (AirAsia.com) (Kuala Lumpur), the long haul affiliate of AirAsia (AirAsia.com) (Malaysia) (Kuala Lumpur), has placed a firm order with Airbus for 55 A330neo aircraft. This is the largest single order to date for the A330 Family and reaffirms AirAsia X’s position as the biggest A330 airline customer worldwide, having now ordered a total of 91 aircraft. The announcement covers the firming up of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for 50 A330neo signed during the Farnborough Air Show in July 2014, plus an additional five aircraft. Deliveries of the newly-ordered aircraft will begin in 2018.

The A330neo will incorporate latest generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, aerodynamic enhancements and new cabin features.

Image: Airbus. A conception image of the A330-900neo.

AirAsia X aircraft slide show:

South African Airways to add a new route to Etihad Airway’s Abu Dhabi home

South African Airways (Johannesburg) is moving closer to potential equity partner Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) with an expanded codeshare relationship as previously reported. SAA will launch a new daily route to Abu Dhabi from Johannesburg on March 29, 2015 with Airbus A330-200s.

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 ZS-SXV (msn 1249) arrives at the Johannesburg base.

South African aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Turkish Airlines is coming to Manila

Turkish Airlines (Istanbul) will start a new route from Istanbul (IST) to Manila next year. The new route will be operated three days week with Airbus A340-300 aircraft starting on March 30, 2015 according to Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A340-311 TC-JDJ (msn 023) taxies at New York (JFK).

Turkish Airlines aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Aeroflot to start Moscow-Samarkand flights

Aeroflot Russian Airlines (Moscow) in January is starting daily regular flights on the route Moscow — Samarkand.

Aeroflot will operate the new route with Airbus A320s from Sheremetyevo Airport Terminal D.

Samarkand is the second largest city in Uzbekistan and the capital of the Samarkand Province.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 VQ-BKU (msn 4835) arrives in London (Heathrow).

Aeroflot aircraft slide show:

Iberia to add six new routes from Madrid next summer

Iberia (Madrid) is planning to add six new destinations for the next summer season. The flag carrier will add service from Madrid to Budapest (starting on June 2, 2015, three weekly flights), Catania (June 20, one weekly), Florence (March 29, six weekly), Funchal (July 4, twice weekly), Hamburg (March 30, four weekly) and Palermo (June 23, weekly) per Airline Route.

Additionally Iberia Express will add Edinburgh (March 29, four weekly), Naples (June 1, three weekly) and Verona (June 2, three weekly).

Copyright Photo: Iberia’s Airbus A320-214 EC-MCS (msn 6244) taxies at London’ Heathrow Airport.

Iberia aircraft slide show:

Iberia (2013) logo

Map of Iberia’s expansion:

Iberia new routes 2015 map and graph

 

TAP Portugal to increase the frequency on the Miami route

TAP Portugal (Miami) from June 28 through September 22, 2015 will go to daily service on the Lisbon-Miami route. Ironically this is the summer rainy season for Miami, the off season for North American visitors. The route is operated with Airbus A330s and A340s.

Copyright Photo: Pedro Baptista/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330223 CS-TOH (msn 181) in the Star Alliance livery arrives at the Lisbon hub.

TAP Portugal aircraft slide show:

 

VivaAerobus is coming to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport

VivaAerobus (Monterrey) will launch new international service to DFW International Airport from two of Mexico’s largest cities, Guadalajara and from Monterrey, starting on March 28, 2015. The low cost carrier will use Airbus A320 aircraft and will operate out of DFW’s International Terminal D three times per week. VivaAerobus also plans to launch service from DFW to Cancun in July of 2015.

VivaAerobus currently serves 21 destinations in Mexico with hubs in Monterrey and Cancun, and also serves three U.S. destinations in addition to DFW Airport. Headquartered in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, Viva Aerobus is co-owned by IAMSA, Mexico’s largest bus company conglomerate, and the founders of Ryanair, Europe’s biggest low-cost carrier.

When service begins in March, VivaAerobus will become the eighth international carrier to start service at DFW since 2011, extending the Airport’s recent run of international expansion. Since 2011, DFW has added 25 new international routes, 18 of those to new international destinations.

Copyright Photo; Greenwing/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 EI-ERH (msn 2157) was formerly operated by Livingston.

VivaAerobus aircraft slide show:

VivaAerobus logo

Current route map:

VivaAerobus 12.2014 Route Map

Interjet expands its Miami operations

Interjet (Mexico City) is expanding its operations in Miami. The airline is launching a new route connecting Cancun with Miami International Airport (MIA) on December 18. The new route will operate six days a week.

The carrier’s regular Mexico City-Miami will be increased to 18 flights a week on January 7, 2015.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 XA-BAV (msn 5372) arrives in Miami.

Interjet aircraft slide show:

Interjet wavy logo

Current routes from Mexico City:

Interjet 12.2014 MEX Route Map

 

EasyJet announces 19 new routes for summer season 2015

EasyJet (UK) (easyJet.com) (London-Luton) is continuing it’s ever-expanding route map by announcing 19 new routes for the summer season of 2015.

The new routes were released on the carrier’s website. They are as follows:

Amsterdam – Corfu (June 30) twice weekly
Amsterdam – Ibiza (June 30) three times weekly
Amsterdam – Palermo (June 29) twice weekly
Bristol – Bilbao (April 19) twice weekly
Bristol – Isle of Man (April 19) four times weekly
Bristol – Zakinthos (May 13) once weekly
Hamburg – Alicante (March 30) twice weekly
Hamburg – Bologna (March 29) three times weekly
Hamburg – Irakleion (June 27) twice weekly
Hamburg – Paris Orly (March 29) once daily
Hamburg – Pisa (March 30) twice weekly
Hamburg – Thessaloniki (June 29) twice weekly
Lisbon – Ponta Delgada (March 29) three times weekly
London Luton – Split (June 16) three times weekly
Manchester – Kefalonia (June 16) twice weekly
Manchester – Split (June 17) twice weekly
Newcastle – Corfu (June 7) once weekly
Newcastle – Rhodes (June 4) once weekly
Newcastle – Split (June 2) twice weekly

Sophie Dekkers, easyJet’s UK Director, said:

“We’re pleased to be continuing our growth with additional new routes for next summer placed on sale today.”

“This underlines our commitment to both leisure and business passengers across the UK, making it easy and affordable for them to connect to a choice of summer destinations and we expect our new routes to be especially popular.”

 

Reported by Assistant Editor Oliver Wilcock from Manchester.

Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-111 G-EZGA (msn 4427) lands at EuroAirport serving Basel/Mulhouse/Freiburg..

EasyJet (UK) aircraft slide show:

Reuters: Airbus is confident it can deliver the first A350 to Qatar Airways within 10 days

Airbus (Toulouse) is confident it can prepare the first Airbus A350-900 for delivery to launch customer Qatar Airways (Doha) within 10 days according to this report by Reuters.

The original delivery ceremony was scheduled for December 13.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Eurospot/AirlinersGallery.com. The first delivery A350, the pictured A350-941 F-WZFA (msn 006) will become A7-ALA on the handover, whenever that occurs.

Qatar Airways aircraft slide show:

Randy Tinseth of Boeing counters Airbus’ claim the A321neo is a Boeing 757 replacement

3D imagery, 737 MAX, MAX, 737 MAX 7, 737 MAX8, 737 MAX 9

Randy Tinseth, the vice president of marketing for the Boeing Commercial Airplanes in Seattle responded to claims airline customers are still waiting for a true Boeing 757 replacement. Randy also countered Airbus’ claims the proposed A321neo is a 757 replacement.

Randy wrote the following on his Randy’s Journal:

There’s been a lot of talk lately about a replacement for the 757. The fact is, today’s 737 and other airplanes its size already fly 90 percent of flights that used to be operated with a 757. And in the future, that number will jump to 95 percent thanks to airplanes like the 737 MAX.

For example, take Norwegian. They recently announced plans to use the 737 MAX 8 on transatlantic routes beginning in 2017. Other large 757 operators have publicly noted their continued discussions with Boeing around airplanes for trans-Atlantic missions.

Meanwhile, Airbus claims its proposed long ranger version of the A321neo is a true 757 replacement. In reality, it falls short in two big ways. It can’t match the 757’s range, and it can’t carry as many passengers.

The 737 MAX 9 and the A321neoLR are both capable of North Atlantic range by adding auxiliary tanks, with the 737 MAX 9 flying the mission more efficiently. The A321neoLR needs three auxiliary tanks and increased takeoff weight— while the 737 MAX 9 could do the mission with just one auxiliary tank, allowing for more cargo space.

The 737 MAX is a great airplane that’s sized right for the heart of the single-aisle market— along with the right range capabilities. It’s a key part of our overall product development strategy, that along with the 777X and 787-10, is set for the next decade.

As for that space in between the upper end of the 737 and the 787-8, we continue to talk with our customers to better understand their needs in the future.

Image: Boeing. The Boeing 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9.

Finnair firms up its options for eight Airbus A350s, will trade in four A340-300s

Finnair A350-900 (10)(Flt-1)(Airbus)(LRW)

Finnair (Helsinki) has firmed up the eight Airbus A350 XWB aircraft options in its 2006 A350 order placed with Airbus. The eight A350s will be delivered to Finnair starting in 2018. The firm up of the options increases the total number of Finnair’s A350 orders to 19.

Finnair’s current long-haul fleet consists of seven Airbus A340 aircraft and eight A330 aircraft. The long-haul fleet is planned to grow, on average, by one new-generation energy-efficient aircraft per year between 2016 and 2020. Based on the current delivery schedule of A350s, Finnair will receive the first four aircraft in the second half of 2015, seven A350s between 2016 and 2017, and eight A350s between 2018 and 2023. Finnair plans to phase out its A340 aircraft by the end of 2017, following the successful delivery and entry into service of A350 XWB. As a part of the deal Airbus has also agreed to acquire four Airbus A340-300 aircraft currently owned by Finnair in 2016 and 2017.

Top Image: Airbus.

Finnair aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Video:

Bloomberg: Airbus may discontinue the Airbus A380 in 2018

According to a report by Bloomberg:

“Airbus Group NV raised the prospect of discontinuing its A380 superjumbo as soon as 2018, the first admission that it may have misjudged the market for the double-decker after failing to find a single airline buyer this year.

While Airbus will break even on the plane in 2015, 2016 and 2017, that outlook doesn’t hold for 2018, forcing the company to either offer new engines to make the A380 more attractive or discontinue the program, Chief Financial Officer Harald Wilhelm told investors at a meeting in London on December 10.”

Read the full story: CLICK HERE

Meanwhile Emirates President Tim Clark criticized other airlines for not ordering the Super Jumbo:

According to AirlineRatings.com:

“The chief of the world’s largest airline has criticized airlines for not buying more A380 super jumbo’s as Airbus hints at closing the production line down in 2018.

Responding to a Bloomberg report about Airbus CFO, Harald Wilhelm, telling investors in London on Wednesday that Airbus is considering closing the A380 line because of a lack of orders, Emirates President Sir Tim Clark warned that with air travel due to double in the next ten years to 7 billion passengers, airlines and airports will need giant jets like the 517 seat A380.

“The A380 is a passenger magnet. We operate five a day from Dubai to London’s Heathrow and they are 95 per cent full,” Mr Clark told Airlineratings.com in an exclusive interview.

“Airlines are too conservative and have not put the right interiors into their A380s.”

“Some of the interiors are a disgrace and used 1970s thinking,” Mr Clark told Airlineratings.com.

“We put all our premium seats on the upper deck and economy on the main deck, but others have mixed them which is inefficient.”

“Our competitors laughed at us when we put showers and a lounge in the A380.”

“But passengers love the showers and the lounge.”

“The A380 is a great aircraft. If airlines don’t believe they can fill an A380 then their business model is wrong,” said Mr Clark.

“Their marketing is all wrong.”

Emirates has 55 A380s in service with orders for a further 85. However sales to other airlines have almost dried up.

Airbus is considering an upgrade of the A380 -called the A380neo- with new engines and aerodynamic improvements.

Mr Clark said the new model, if built, will have excellent economics, as good as the Boeing 777X that Boeing will introduce in 2018.

“And we will buy 140 of the A380neos” Mr Clark told Airlineratings.com.

“As long as I am around I am going to continue to fight the battle for the A380.”

“This is a great aircraft and the world needs it.”

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Emirates’s Airbus A380-861 A6-EDG (msn 023) arrives in London (Heathrow).

Emirates aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Qatar Airways delays the delivery of the first Airbus A350

Qatar Airways (Doha) has delayed “indefinitely” the delivery of the first Airbus A350-900. According to AFP an Airbus spokesperson stated “We are working very closely with Qatar Airways to meet our common goal to deliver the first A350 XWB very soon”. No reason for the delay was given. The delivery of the first Airbus A380 was also delayed previously.

Qatar Airways and Airbus (Toulouse) had previously announced the delivery of the first of its 80 Airbus A350 XWB aircraft was set to take place in Toulouse, France, on Saturday, December 13. The pictured A350-941 F-WZFA (msn 006) was due to be handed over as A7-ALA.

The first commercial service was due to be on the Doha-Frankfurt route starting on January 15, 2015 but this is now delayed.

Copyright Photo: Oliver Gregoire/AirlinersGallery.com.

Qatar Airways aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

 

 

Acting CEO of South African Airways demands the company implement a 90-day turnaround plan

South African Airways (Johannesburg) continues to lose money and up until now has relied on state funding. However the SAA board recently appointed Mr. Nico Bezuidenhout as the new acting Chief Executive Officer of the struggling airline. Mr. Bezuidenhout has given the company a 90-day turnaround plan to turnaround the loss-making company by March according to EWN. The new CEO is warning the company is facing insolvency unless the plan is fully implemented. The airline has also reportedly reached out to Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) for a possible minority investment and guidance by the fast-growing Gulf carrier. Etihad has been investing in struggling carriers and helping to turn them around and also feed traffic to its Abu Dhabi hub.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

In other news, South African Airways announced on December 2 that it has commenced adding additional frequencies to its network which will substantially increase air services to some of its key African routes.

According to the airline, “The additional capacity injection answers the commercial mandate of the Long-Term Turnaround Strategy (LTTS), and is in response to positive market growth. As of yesterday, Harare (Zimbabwe) and Maputo (Mozambique), have included additional frequencies, with Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo), and Mauritius to follow.”

“The strengthening of these routes comes in the wake of positive load factors and increased traffic between the countries,” says SAA Acting Chief Executive Officer Nico Bezuidenhout. Presently, GDP growth in Mozambique (7% – African Development Bank) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (8.1%- African Development Bank) exceed World Bank growth statistics for the continent (4.7%-2013) while South Africa’s trade and demand for leisure and business travel to Mauritius is growing at a steady pace. “Air lift services traditionally lead GDP in all markets and also track the rate of increased leisure travel, investment and business engagement between South Africa and its continental peers.”

Effective December 1, SAA increased frequencies between Johannesburg and Maputo by 24% from 17 to 21 weekly frequencies, effective 1 December Johannesburg and Harare from 18 to 19 every week (6%), effective 4 December Johannesburg and Kinshasa from 6 to 7 a week (17%) and effective 4 December Johannesburg and Mauritius from 9 to 10 weekly frequencies (11% increase).

Finally, Air China and South African Airways (SAA) have announced the further strengthening of their bilateral cooperation within the Star Alliance as part of the strengthened cooperation between the two countries.

The key element in this strengthened relationship will be some network reconfiguration for both airlines to provide better passenger and cargo services between South Africa and China and countries adjacent to both.

Copyright Photo: Fred Freketic/AirlinersGallery.com. The company has already retired the Airbus A340-200s. The fuel-inefficient Airbus A340-300s are likely to be the next type to retired and replaced in any reorganization. Airbus A340-313 ZS-SXC (msn 590) taxies at New York’s JFK International Airport.

South African aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Air Canada outlines its new North American growth routes

Air Canada (Montreal) today announced additional details of its previously stated plans for profitable growth. Strategic enhancements include expanding its North American route network with the addition of new nonstop services from Calgary-Terrace; Calgary-Nanaimo; Vancouver-Comox; Toronto-Austin and Montreal-Mexico City. Air Canada is also increasing capacity on key domestic markets that have high volumes of leisure traffic with the expansion of Air Canada rouge to operate the airline’s new seasonal Calgary-Halifax route and current Toronto-Kelowna and Toronto-Sydney, NS services. New services are now available for purchase at http://www.aircanada.com.

“Air Canada continues to strategically add new routes in response to the strong demand in Western Canada, notably the growing business market between Calgary and Terrace/Kitimat in Northern BC, the increasing demand to and from Vancouver Island, and the continued travel demand between Western Canada and Atlantic Canada,” said Benjamin Smith, President, Passenger Airlines.

Air Canada is returning to Austin, Texas from Toronto and to Mexico City from Montreal.

Highlights of Air Canada’s 2015 North American summer schedule enhancements include:

Calgary-Terrace

New daily, year-round Air Canada Express service starts June 1, 2015 operated by Jazz Aviation LP with 50-seat Bombardier CRJ jets.

Calgary-Nanaimo

New daily, year-round Air Canada Express service starts May 1, 2015 operated by Jazz Aviation LP with 74-seat Bombardier Q400 aircraft.

Calgary-Halifax

New summer seasonal six times weekly service starts May 1, 2015 operated by Air Canada rouge with 136-seat Airbus A319 aircraft offering both premium and economy cabins of service, increasing up to ten weekly flights during peak summer period.

Vancouver-Comox

New twice daily, year-round Air Canada Express service starts May 1, 2015 operated by Jazz Aviation LP with 50-seat Bombardier Dash 8-300 aircraft.

Kelowna-Toronto

More than 40 per cent increased capacity year-over-year starting June 1, 2015 with up to daily service during peak summer, deployment of 136-seat Air Canada rouge Airbus A319 aircraft offering both premium and economy cabins of service, following the transfer of this route from Air Canada.

Toronto-Austin

New daily, year-round Air Canada Express service starts May 18, 2015 operated by Jazz Aviation LP with 75-seat CRJ705 aircraft offering both premium and economy cabins of service.

Toronto-Sarasota/Bradenton

Winter seasonal service extended effective May 2 offering the only non-stop, year-round flights between Toronto and Sarasota/Bradenton, operated twice weekly by Air Canada with 97-seat Embraer 190 jets offering both premium and economy cabins of service.

Toronto-Sydney, NS

More than 40 per cent increased capacity year-over-year starting May 1 with daily deployment of 136-seat Air Canada rouge Airbus A319 aircraft offering both premium and economy cabins of service, following the seasonal transfer of this route from Air Canada.

Montreal-Mexico City

New, up to five times weekly, summer seasonal service starts May 2 operated by Air Canada rouge, with 136-seat Airbus A319 aircraft offering both premium and economy cabins of service.

Ottawa-Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood

Seasonal service now extended to year-round, operated twice weekly by Air Canada with 97-seat Embraer 190 jets offering both premium and economy cabins of service.

In addition, starting in May 2015, Air Canada will transfer to Air Canada rouge its Calgary-Varadero and Montreal-Varadero routes which will be operated with 142-seat Airbus A319 aircraft, as well as its Montreal-Martinique route operated with 136-seat Airbus A319 offering both premium and economy cabins of service.

Copyright Photo: SM Fitzwilliams Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-112 C-GITP (msn 1562) arrives in Shannon, Ireland.

Air Canada aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Frontier Airlines to drop the Cleveland-Chicago O’Hare route on January 3

Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) is dropping the Cleveland-Chicago (O’Hare) route on January 3, 2015 per Airline Route. The carrier currently operates four weekly flights. The route was part of Frontier’s build-up at CLE in the wake of United Airlines de-hubbing the airport.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Formerly operated by USA 3000 Airlines, Airbus A320-214 N261AV (msn 1615) with an Atlantic Puffin on the tail departs from Los Angeles International Airport. The jetliner is now registered as N218FR.

Frontier Airlines aircraft slide show:

 

 

American celebrates its first anniversary with US Airways, outlines an upgraded travel experience going forward

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) and US Airways (Phoenix) are celebrating one year under the same American Airlines Group ownership group as they continue the merger process towards a single operating certificate. Meanwhile US Airways continues to paint its fleet in the new American brand. American Airlines has outlined its plans to upgrade the travel experience for its passengers in 2015 with this report:

One year after closing its merger, American Airlines is looking ahead to 2015 and beyond with more than $2 billion in investments to give its customers a world-class travel experience.

“Now that we have the network to compete globally, we’re going to deliver a product that’s better than our competitors,” said Doug Parker, American Airlines chairman and CEO. “Refreshed cabins and clubs, modernized ticket counters, improved technology and new aircraft are further examples of how American is ‘going for great’ – providing our outstanding team members the tools they need to deliver a great experience for our customers.”

These capital investments include fully lie-flat seats; international Wi-Fi; more in-flight entertainment options; a new, modern design for Admirals Club lounges worldwide; and an upgraded assortment of complimentary healthy food, cocktails and more.

American closed the merger with US Airways on December 9, 2013, and has made significant progress in combining the two airlines.

Customers now have full access to the combined network thanks to the world’s largest codeshare. They can also earn and redeem miles on flights operated by American and US Airways and receive reciprocal access to clubs and upgrades. American’s cargo operation now functions as a single airline and planning is well underway for the major projects that will make American one airline during 2015. Meanwhile, American has posted consistent profits and has begun returning cash to shareholders through a stock buyback and dividend program implemented earlier this year.

Fleet

American Airlines is taking delivery of nearly 100 aircraft in 2014, giving it the youngest fleet of any U.S.-based network carrier, with an average aircraft age of 12.3 years. In addition, American will take delivery of 112 aircraft next year and 84 in 2016. Orders include the Airbus A320 family, A350-900s, Boeing 737 MAX, 777-300ERs and 787s, which will make American’s fleet even younger, more modern and fuel efficient. The airline continues to see success with its unmatched transcontinental service on the award-winning “A321T” (officially A321-231), which has the only true First Class service between the West Coast and New York.

Seats

American is upgrading the customer experience on several aircraft types that customers already fly today. Whether flying domestic or international, customers want recharging capabilities, comfort, and more modern features. American is delivering this to them with a new cabin environment onboard certain Boeing 757s and 767-300s, and a complete nose-to-tail overhaul on more than 90 Airbus A319s and all Boeing 777-200s. The investments mean that every First Class and Business Class seat on nearly every American Airlines widebody jet will feature fully lie-flat and direct aisle access seats.

Boeing 777-200 – The first refurbished 777-200 is already in service, featuring a Business Class seat designed especially for American Airlines customers, with direct aisle access and a private flying experience. The plane will have a modern interior – including a walk-up bar – with unique lighting, a dramatic archway and a spacious look. Main Cabin Extra will be added and all Main Cabin seats will have in-seat entertainment systems. All 47 aircraft are scheduled to be retrofitted by the end of 2016.

Boeing 757 – Aircraft used on trans-Atlantic and Latin America flights will get fully lie-flat seats in Business Class. Customers flying in the Main Cabin will also benefit from a refreshed cabin, power ports and in-flight connectivity.

Airbus A319 – One of the workhorses of the legacy US Airways fleet is scheduled for all new seats. Planned improvements include new seats throughout First Class and Main Cabin, and adding 24 Main Cabin Extra seats and power outlets throughout the cabin to charge personal electronic devices. All 93 A319s will be retrofitted and in service by the end of 2016.

Boeing 767-300 – Eleven refurbished aircraft are already in service and 14 more will be complete in 2015. The cabin will feature fully lie-flat seats with direct aisle access in Business Class and a refreshed Main Cabin. In addition, these aircraft will receive satellite in-flight connectivity.

Entertainment, W-Fi and Power

These investments also will include expanding in-flight entertainment and connectivity.

New Boeing 737-800s, nearly all new Airbus A321s, as well as retrofitted Airbus A319s will have power ports in every row. All new widebody deliveries, including Boeing 777-300 ERs and 787s, come with power at every seat, allowing customers to charge their laptops and their personal electronic devices from gate to gate.

In premium cabins, American is upgrading to the latest Bose® headset, the QC®25, on all flights to South America, Europe and Asia, as well as transcontinental flights.

Customers’ access to the Internet will soon extend around the globe. American is adding satellite-based Internet access on all 777s and A330s, as well as all of the retrofitted 767-300s and 757s, and all 787s, providing connectivity for international flights.

Admirals Club lounges

This year American Airlines celebrated the 75th anniversary of the industry’s first VIP lounge, the Admirals Club lounge in New York, which forever changed the air travel experience. In 2015, American will begin rolling out a modern design across its global network of lounges.

Admirals Club customers will see new and expanded complimentary food options, refurbished restroom and shower facilities, toiletry amenities, and improved technology for customers to use before flights. Additional healthy food items include Greek yogurt and oatmeal for breakfast, hearty soup offerings in every club, crudites and desserts. Additional improvements will continue to roll out in the coming months.

“We invented the airport lounge and in 2015 customers can expect us to reinvent the lounge experience,” said Fernand Fernandez, vice president of Global Marketing. “The same way we transformed transcontinental travel with the award-winning A321T, we will transform every aspect of our clubs with a remodeled design and furnishings, new food choices, and a first class assortment of wines and cocktails.”

Airport experience

American is also improving the customer’s passage through the airport by removing barriers between customers and agents, reducing queues and congestion, and keeping tech-savvy customers connected with charging stations for their devices. With the help of updated lobby designs, newer, faster and more reliable kiosks at check-in counters, and 400 additional kiosks in gate areas, customers will enjoy a faster, more streamlined experience.

Customers will also see 500 worktables with 12 power outlets each and seating for eight people near gates at all hub and gateway airports so they can charge their devices before their flight.

Premium services

American’s partnership with Cadillac improves the travel experience for the most loyal customers with tight transfer times as they are escorted to their next gate in luxury vehicles. The exclusive service is available now at Los Angeles International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and New York’s LaGuardia and Kennedy airports.

For customers who desire a private check-in experience, American will continue to offer exclusive service with Flagship Check-In at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Miami International Airport, and New York Kennedy.

Copyright Photo: Fred Freketic/AirlinersGallery.com. American Airlines’ Airbus A321-231 N112AN (msn 5991) taxies at the New York (JFK) hub.

American Airlines aircraft slide show (current livery): AG Slide Show

American Airlines-US Airways aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

QANTAS Airways Airbus A380 VH-OQG diverts to Perth due to an “air conditioning” problem, another A380 returns to Sydney

QANTAS Airways (Sydney) flight QF 2 from London (departing on December 6) to Sydney with a stop in Dubai with Airbus A380-842 VH-OQG (msn 047) was forced to make an emergency “controlled descent” this morning (December 8) over the Indian Ocean. The flight descended from 39,000 feet to 10,000 fleet. The A380 landed safely in Perth in Western Australia. QANTAS blamed the problem on a faulty air conditioning system.

QANTAS Airways issued this statement:

QANTAS Flight QF 2 travelling from Dubai to Sydney diverted to Perth due to a fault with the air conditioning. The fault occurred about 1 hour from Perth.

As a precaution the Captain descended the aircraft to 10,000 feet and requested a priority landing.

The aircraft landed safely and was inspected by engineers.

As the crew reached their maximum duty limits before the issue could be fixed on the ground, customers have been provided with overnight accommodation and will be booked on the next available services today to their destination.

Read the full story from The Sydney Morning Herald: CLICK HERE

In another inflight event, also involving an Airbus A380 (VH-OQD), flight QF 7 from Sydney to Dallas/Fort Worth was forced to turn around four hours into the flight. The airline issued this statement:

Our Sydney to Dallas flight (QF 7) returned to Sydney after about four hours in the air due to a technical issue that impacted seat power, the in-flight entertainment system and some of the toilets.

While the aircraft could have continued flying safely to Dallas/Fort Worth, the decision was made to return to Sydney in the interests of passenger comfort on what is a long flight.

We’ve sincerely apologized to our customers for their patience and understanding for what was a frustrating experience.

Customers who don’t live in Sydney have been put up in hotels for the night and all others given transport home. We’ve rebooked customers on another flight to Dallas/Fort Worth leaving tomorrow morning.

The aircraft was an Airbus A380 and it landed back in Sydney at 1030 pm (2230).

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. VH-OQG departs from London (Heathrow).

QANTAS Airways aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Aeroflot suspends the Moscow-Kharkiv and Moscow-Dnepropetrovsk routes

Aeroflot Russian Airlines (Moscow-Sheremetyevo) has suspended the Moscow-Kharkiv and Moscow-Dnepropetrovsk routes following actions by the Ukraine government. Both cities are located in the Ukraine. The Russian airline issued this statement:

Ukraine’s State Aviation Administration without giving a reason has banned Russian airlines flights on the route Moscow – Kharkiv and Moscow – Dnepropetrovsk. The affected airlines are Aeroflot, Transaero, UTair, UTair-Ukraine and Dniproavia. Thus the permission to perform operations on these routes issued by Ukraine’s State Aviation Administration on October 24, 2014 and November 17, 2014 has been withdrawn.

Due to this fact Aeroflot was forced to cancel a previously scheduled winter season 2014/15 flights:

SU1810/1811 and SU1838/1839 Sheremetyevo – Kharkiv – Sheremetyevo;
SU1816/1817 Sheremetyevo – Dnepropetrovsk – Sheremetyevo.

Passengers of canceled flights are able to return their tickets without penalties as well as to reroute for Aeroflot flights to/from Kiev.

Copyright Photo: OSDU/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-111 VP-BWL (msn 2243) arrives back at the Sheremetyevo hub in Moscow.

Aeroflot aircraft slide show:

Virgin Atlantic to add a second daily seasonal flight to Miami

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) is adding a second daily flight to Miami for the winter season 2015/2016. The second flight, operated with Airbus A330-300 aircraft, will start on October 25, 2015 from London (Heathrow) per Airline Route. The second flight will compliment the daily Boeing 747-400 flight.

Copyright Photo: Airbus A330-343 G-VNYC (msn 1315) taxies at the London Heathrow base.

Virgin Atlantic aircraft slide show:

LAN Airlines takes delivery of its first Airbus A321, arrives in Santiago

LAN Airlines (Chile) (Santiago), part of LATAM Airlines Group, celebrated the arrival of its first Airbus A321 today (December 5) at Santiago’s Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport.

According to the airline, “This marks a significant milestone as LATAM Airlines affirms its regional and global presence as the largest A320 operator in Latin America. The aircraft, the first of 48 of its kind ordered by the airline, will be operated on domestic routes within Chile and joins LATAM Group’s existing fleet of nearly 230 A320 Family aircraft in operation.”

The A321 aircraft ordered by LAN have a one-class configuration with 220 seats and feature a new LATAM Airlines Group’s cabin, which is a blend of LAN and TAM cabin designs.

The A321 allows for an extended operating range of up to 3,200 nautical miles while carrying a maximum passenger payload; all of which will enhance the efficiency of LAN’s operations within Chile.

Copyright Photo: Gerd Beilfuss/AirlinersGallery.com. The pictured Airbus A321-211 D-AVXO (msn 6364) was officially handed over at Hamburg (Finkenwerder) on November 22 as CC-BEA before its long journey to Chile.

LAN Airlines aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Qatar Airways to take delivery of the first Airbus A350-900 on December 13

Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways (Doha) and Airbus (Toulouse) have announced the highly anticipated date of the official delivery of the first of its 80 Airbus A350 XWB aircraft on order, set to take place in Toulouse, France, on Saturday, December 13. The pictured A350-941 F-WZFA (msn 006) will be handed over as A7-ALA.

The first commercial service will be deployed on the Doha-Frankfurt route starting on January 15, 2015.

Over 70 percent of the A350 XWB’s weight-efficient airframe is made from advanced materials combining composites (53 percent), titanium and advanced aluminium alloys. The aircraft’s innovative all-new Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) fuselage results in lower fuel burn as well as easier maintenance.

Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 17 years of operation, to the point where today it is flying a modern fleet of 142 aircraft to 145 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America.

Top Photo: Airbus.

Qatar Airways aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Video: A sneak preview of the Qatar Airbus A350:

Bottom Copyright Photo: Eurospot/AirlinersGallery.com.

Video: Five A350 XWBs together in flight

From Airbus: The five test and development A350-900s took to the skies for a formation flight in September 2014, bringing together all of the aircraft used for Airbus’ successful campaign leading to certification of this latest Airbus widebody jetliner

The CIT Group firms up its Airbus order

 

CIT logo

CIT Group Inc. (CIT Aerospace) (New York) has firmed up its order for 15 Airbus A330-900neo aircraft and five A321ceo aircraft. CIT became one of the launch customers of the A330neo after signing its initial agreement in July 2014, at the Farnborough International Airshow.

CIT Aerospace A330-900 (Flt)(Airbus)(LRW)

Spirit Airlines to start Denver-Los Angeles flights on April 16, 2015

Spirit Airlines (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood) today announced new daily nonstop service between Denver and Los Angeles beginning on April 16, 2015.

Spirit will operate one flight daily between Denver and Los Angeles.

In addition to this new service, Spirit recently announced that nonstop service between Denver and San Diego will begin on January 6, 2015, as will a second daily flight between Denver and Chicago’s O’Hare
International Airport. Spirit also will begin nonstop service between Los Angeles and Cleveland on April 16, 2015.

From Denver (DEN), Spirit will offer nonstop flights to ten cities, including Chicago (O’Hare), Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, Houston (Bush Intercontinental), Las Vegas, Los Angeles (starting April 16), Minneapolis/St. Paul, Phoenix, and San Diego (starting January 16).

From Los Angeles (LAX), Spirit will offer nonstop flights to nine cities, including Chicago (O’Hare), Cleveland (starting April 16), Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver (starting April 16), Detroit, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, Houston (Bush Intercontinental), Las Vegas, and Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-132 N503NK (msn 2470) in the new livery lands in Las Vegas. Spirit Airlines, like others in the past, now has three active brands.

Spirit Airlines: AG Slide Show

Lufthansa Group outlines its plans for 2015, unveils the new Eurowings brand

Eurowings A320-200 and A330-200 (14)(Flt)(LRW)

Lufthansa Group (Frankfurt) has issued this report as a result of the meeting of the Deutsche Lufthansa AG Executive Board. The board gave approvals for the new Wings low-cost subsidiary and the launch of the new Eurowings.

Highlights include:

• Focus on 2015 as the year of ‘New Lufthansa Premium Quality’

• New European and intercontinental flight products under the “Eurowings” brand, and lease-in of up to seven Airbus A330-200s

• Letter of Intent with SunExpress for Eurowings long-haul routes

• Further structural development of Group airlines’ worldwide distribution

• Key financial indicator of “earnings after cost of capital” to replace “cash value added”

Here is the full report:

2015 should bring increasingly good news for customers and passengers of the Lufthansa Group, according to the plans of the Deutsche Lufthansa AG Executive Board. For the Group’s member airlines, fleet renewals and the completion of a number of major refurbishment projects should provide state-of-the-art aircraft cabins and five-star inflight travel comfort. The first quarter of 2015 will see Lufthansa German Airlines conclude the installation of its new First Class throughout its long-haul fleet; the second quarter will witness the completion of the new Business Class installation program; and the third quarter will see the new Premium Economy available on all of Lufthansa’s intercontinental aircraft. All the new long-haul aircraft of which Lufthansa will take delivery next year will have all the new cabins already installed. And the modernization of the long-haul fleet will be further pursued in 2015 with the arrival of two more Airbus A380s and four new Boeing 747-8s. Also slated for delivery next year are a further Boeing 777F for Lufthansa Cargo and ten short- and medium-haul aircraft of the Airbus A320 family.

“2015 will be the year of ‘Lufthansa Premium Quality’,” said Carsten Spohr, Chairman & CEO of the Deutsche Lufthansa AG Executive Board, on the occasion of the meeting of the company’s Supervisory Board today. “Whichever cabin they travel in, our inflight guests will be able to see and feel that Lufthansa is a premium-service airline which is one of the leaders in its field by any global benchmark. We will also be moving the entire Lufthansa Group further forward with our ‘7 to 1’ program,” Carsten Spohr continued. “And we presented the progress we have made in our various action areas here to our Supervisory Board today. As well as promoting innovation, it’s enhancing our quality and our efficiency that are particular focuses for us in all our concepts for new and further growth. And these enhancements will open up new opportunities for us in growth markets.”

‘New Growth Concepts’ action area

The Supervisory Board gave the formal go-ahead to the ‘Wings’ concept presented by the Executive Board at its meeting today, and approved the lease of up to seven Airbus A330-200 aircraft for the new low-cost operation’s intercontinental routes.

The Supervisory Board further approved the development of the ‘Eurowings’ concept, under which – within an umbrella framework – the Lufthansa Group’s Eurowings and Germanwings airlines, along with further flight operations in Europe, should acquire new customers by offering quality products at attractive prices in the form of low-cost short- and long-haul air travel services from the end of 2015 onwards.

The new products, which will be primarily aimed at the private travel sector, will help the airlines of the Lufthansa Group secure their strong positions in their home markets of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Belgium in the point-to-point travel segment, too, in the longer term.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/113519746″>The New Eurowings</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user19954503″>Bruce Drum</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Video Above: The Lufthansa Group. The “New Eurowings”

“The ‘New Eurowings’ is our response to one of the major challenges confronting Europe’s airline industry,” Carsten Spohr explains. “For several years now we’ve been facing fierce competition from the rapidly-growing low-cost carriers in the point-to-point travel segment, not only in Germany but throughout Europe, too. And we are sure to see this competition extend more and more to the long-haul travel segment in the years ahead. Our ‘New Eurowings’ is our innovative response, which will enable us to fashion our own markets here.”

“Innovative concepts with substantially lower costs combined with the strengths, skills and expertise of the Lufthansa Group: that’s our recipe for success,” Spohr continues. “And our new ‘New Eurowings’ product will offer both outstanding value for money and the strongest quality, reliability and safety credentials.”

The ‘New Eurowings’ concept follows the successful transfer of Lufthansa’s non-hub routes to Lufthansa Group subsidiary Germanwings. The program of transferring all Lufthansa routes not serving its Frankfurt and Munich hubs should be completed in early January 2015.

Eurowings (2014) logo (large)

In an initial step, the two already-existing airlines Germanwings and Eurowings will continue to perform their flight operations with their current networks and crews, under the umbrella of the new concept. For the new European operations the present Eurowings fleet, which consists of 23 Bombardier CRJ900 jets, will be replaced with up to 23 Airbus A320s between February 2015 and March 2017. Ten new A320s have been ordered to this end, while up to 13 further A320s will be reassigned to Eurowings from existing orders held by the Lufthansa Group. This will give the ‘New Eurowings’ a standardized fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft by the end of 2017, along with the further cost benefits that will derive from these advanced aircraft’s fuel-efficient credentials. Further routes will also be added to the Eurowings network, operated from a new Eurowings base outside Germany, in the course of 2015.

In addition to its European network, the ‘New Eurowings’ will also begin to add long-haul services to its low-fare product range from the end of 2015 onwards, in collaboration with German-Turkish airline SunExpress. To this end, a Letter of Intent has been signed with SunExpress, a joint-venture company of Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines, under which the intercontinental services to be offered under the Eurowings brand will be flown under the air operator certificate (AOC) of SunExpress Deutschland and with SunExpress Deutschland cockpit and cabin crews. The first intercontinental destinations to be served will include points in Florida, Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean. The new flights will initially be operated by a fleet of three Airbus A330-200 aircraft each offering 310 seats. The Eurowings long-haul fleet should then be gradually expanded to up to seven A330-200s over the next few years.

As with the already-successful Germanwings concept, the new Eurowings long-haul products will offer customers a choice of ‘Best’, ‘Basic’ and ‘Smart’ fares. Home base for the new long-haul fleet will initially be Cologne/Bonn Airport; and Cologne will also be the home of the Wings carriers’ commercial management operations.

‘Efficient and Effective Organization’ action area: Lufthansa Group to reshape member airlines’ field sales structures

The Lufthansa Group will be realigning the field sales structures of its member airlines with effect from 1 March 2015, in response to the new demands of the world’s sales markets. In future, all the Group’s global field sales will be the responsibility of a single Group wide entity. The new arrangement should provide greater field sales harmony within the Lufthansa Group, in both product and distribution-technology terms.

‘Value-Based Management’ action area: “earnings after cost of capital” to replace “cash value added” as key financial indicator for corporate decisions

The Deutsche Lufthansa AG Executive Board also presented the Supervisory Board with a new value-based management concept at the latter’s meeting today which should be adopted at Deutsche Lufthansa AG in the course of the coming year. The new concept will see two new key financial indicators – earnings after cost of capital (EACC) and return on capital employed (ROCE) – replace the key financial indicator of cash value added (CVA) which is currently used in all decision-making processes and for the remuneration of executive staff from 2015 onwards.

The new key financial indicators are easier to calculate, which should help anchor value-based management even more firmly within the Lufthansa Group. The new figures show whether the capital employed is achieving sufficiently high results to increase the company’s value, and should thus ensure that all corporate decisions are as sustainably-minded as possible.

All images by the Lufthansa Group.

Finnair firms up an order for eight additional Airbus A350-900s

Finnair A350-900 (10)(Flt-1)(Airbus)(LRW)

Finnair (Helsinki), a launch customer for the A350 XWB, has signed an agreement, firming up the order for eight additional Airbus A350-900s. Finnair was the first airline to select the A350 XWB and will be the first European airline in the autumn of 2015 to receive the all new Airbus widebody. Finnair’s A350 XWBs will seat 297 passengers in a two class configuration. The aircraft will be deployed on Finnair’s long-haul routes to Asia and America.

Finnair currently operates an all Airbus fleet of 45 aircraft (30 A320 Family aircraft and 15 A330s/A340s).

As mentioned, Finnair was launch customer of the A350, and in 2007 placed an order for 11 A350-900s, including an option for further eight. This agreement brings the total committed order to 19 A350-900s.

Image: Airbus.

Finnair aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

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