EasyJet (easyJet.com) (UK) (London-Luton) has issued this statement about its flights to Israel:
The safety and security of easyJet’s passengers and crew is the airline’s highest priority.
Due to the FAA lifting its instruction to all United States’ airlines to suspend their flights to Israel, and the European safety regulator EASA following suit, easyJet will operate its services to and from Tel Aviv as scheduled from Friday July 25.
easyJet will also operate one return flight this afternoon between London Gatwick and Tel Aviv.
easyJet will continue to monitor the safety advice on travel to and from Tel Aviv from all relevant authorities.
easyJet flies to and from Tel Aviv from the UK, Switzerland, Germany and Italy.
Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 G-EZTL (msn 4012) lands at Tenerife Sur.
JetBlue Airways Corporation (JetBlue Airways) (New York) today reported its results for the second quarter 2014:
Pre-tax income excluding special items1 of $103 million in the second quarter. This compares to pre-tax income of $60 million in the second quarter of 2013.
Gain of $242 million from the sale of its wholly-owned subsidiary LiveTV.
On a GAAP basis, pre-tax income of $345 million in the second quarter.
Net income excluding special items for the second quarter was $61 million, or $0.19 per diluted share.
This compares to JetBlue’s second quarter 2013 net income of $36 million, or $0.11 per diluted share.
On a GAAP basis, net income for the second quarter was $230 million, or $0.68 per diluted share.
“Today, we are pleased to report record second quarter earnings and our seventeenth consecutive quarter of profitability,” said Dave Barger, JetBlue’s Chief Executive Officer. “We saw improved profitability across our network, reflecting the success of ongoing efforts to adapt our products and services to meet our customers’ ever-changing needs. I would like to thank our 15,500 crewmembers for their dedication to running a safe airline and delivering outstanding service to our customers.”
JetBlue reported record second quarter operating revenues of $1.5 billion. Revenue passenger miles for the second quarter increased 5.7% to 9.6 billion on a capacity increase of 6.0%, resulting in a second quarter load factor of 84.6%, a decrease of 0.3 points year over year.
Yield per passenger mile in the second quarter was 14.25 cents, up 6.3% compared to the second quarter of 2013. Passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) for the second quarter 2014 increased 6.0% year over year to 12.05 cents and operating revenue per available seat mile (RASM) increased 5.6% year over year to 13.12 cents. The shift of the Easter and Passover holidays from March last year to April this year positively impacted second quarter year over year PRASM by approximately two points.
Operating expenses for the quarter increased 9.8%, or $119 million, over the prior year period. Interest expense for the quarter declined 7.5%, or $3 million, due to JetBlue’s focus on debt reduction. JetBlue’s operating expense per available seat mile (CASM) for the second quarter increased 3.5% year over year to 11.88 cents. Excluding fuel and profit sharing, CASM2 increased 5.1% to 7.51 cents.
“We improved margin performance while expanding our network, demonstrating the core strength of our business,” said Robin Hayes, JetBlue’s President. “We remain focused on providing a differentiated product and culture in high-value geography while maintaining competitive costs. We believe this focus will drive improved returns for our shareholders.”
Fuel Expense and Hedging
JetBlue continued to hedge fuel to manage price volatility. Specifically, in the second quarter JetBlue had in place hedges for approximately 15% of its fuel consumption and managed approximately 7% of its fuel consumption using fixed forward price agreements (FFPs). This resulted in a realized fuel price of $3.09 per gallon, a 0.9% increase over second quarter 2013 realized fuel price of $3.06. JetBlue recorded $2 million in losses on fuel hedges that settled during the second quarter.
JetBlue has managed approximately 30% of its third quarter projected fuel requirements using a combination of FFPs, jet fuel swaps and caps. Based on the fuel curve as of July 17th, JetBlue expects an average price per gallon of fuel, including the impact of hedges, FFPs and fuel taxes, of $3.08 in the third quarter.
Liquidity and Cash Flow
JetBlue ended the quarter with approximately $797 million in unrestricted cash and short term investments. In addition, JetBlue maintains $550 million in lines of credit.
During the second quarter, JetBlue repaid approximately $44 million in regularly scheduled debt and capital lease obligations. In addition, JetBlue pre-paid approximately $300 million in debt with the proceeds from the sale of LiveTV. JetBlue plans to repay approximately $185 million in regularly scheduled debt and capital lease obligations in the remainder of 2014, including approximately $58 million in the third quarter.
“We continued to strengthen the balance sheet by paying down debt while enhancing access to liquidity by increasing the number of unencumbered aircraft,” said Mark Powers, JetBlue’s Chief Financial Officer. “We believe these actions will help us maintain a relatively flat invested capital base this year while growing assets, which we expect will help us meet our return on invested capital goal.”
Third Quarter and Full Year Outlook
For the third quarter of 2014, CASM is expected to increase between 0.5% and 2.5% versus the year-ago period. Excluding fuel and profit sharing, CASM in the third quarter is expected to increase between 1.0% and 3.0% year over year.
CASM for the full year is expected to increase between 1.0% and 3.0% over full year 2013. Excluding fuel and profit sharing, CASM in 2014 is expected to increase between 2.5% and 4.5% year over year. Relative to JetBlue’s previous cost outlook, this full year guidance reflects approximately a one point reduction in unit costs excluding fuel and profit sharing primarily due to a reduction of operating expenses in the second half of the year as a result of the sale of LiveTV.
Capacity is expected to increase between 3.0% and 5.0% in the third quarter. For the full year, capacity is expected to increase between 4.0% and 6.0%.
Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 N709JB (msn 3488) in the special one-off “Binary Code” livery arrives in New York (JFK).
Second quarter 2014 non-GAAP net profit excluding net special charges was $1.5 billion, a record for any quarter in the history of American Airlines
Second quarter 2014 GAAP net profit was a record $864 million
The Company also announced a capital deployment program, including over $2.8 billion in debt and aircraft lease prepayments, a $1 billion share repurchase program, the initiation of a quarterly cash dividend, and $600 million of additional pension contributions
As part of the program, American’s Board of Directors declared a dividend of $0.10 per share for shareholders of record as of August 4, 2014. The cash dividend is the first declared by American since 1980
For the second quarter 2014, American Airlines Group reported a record GAAP net profit of $864 million. This compares to a GAAP net profit of $220 million in the second quarter 2013, for AMR Corporation prior to the merger. The Company believes it is more meaningful to compare year-over-year results for American Airlines and US Airways excluding special charges and on a combined basis, which is a non-GAAP formulation that combines the results for AMR Corporation and US Airways Group.
On this basis, second quarter 2014 net profit excluding net special charges was $1.5 billion, a record for any quarter in the history of the Company. This represents a 114 percent improvement over the combined non-GAAP net profit of $681 million excluding net special charges for the same period in 2013. See the accompanying notes in the Financial Tables section of this press release for further explanation of this presentation, including a reconciliation of GAAP to non-GAAP financial information.
“We are very pleased to report the highest quarterly profit in the history of American Airlines,” said Chairman and CEO Doug Parker. “Our merger is off to a great start and our 100,000 team members are doing a wonderful job working together to take care of our customers.
“We are also pleased to announce a capital deployment program that reduces our debt, provides additional pension contributions and returns capital to shareholders. The fact that we are able to implement this program while still funding our significant product improvements, fleet renewal program and integration costs is further evidence of the success of our merger. We have much hard work ahead, but we are extremely encouraged by the great work being done by our team members.”
Revenue and Cost Comparisons
Total revenues in the second quarter were a record $11.4 billion, up 10.2 percent versus the second quarter 2013 on a combined basis, on a 3.1 percent increase in total available seat miles (ASMs). Driven by a record yield of 17.34 cents, up 6.5 percent year-over-year, consolidated passenger revenue per ASM (PRASM) was also a record at 14.57 cents, up 5.9 percent versus the second quarter 2013 on a combined basis.
Total operating expenses in the second quarter were $10.0 billion, up 7.0 percent over combined second quarter 2013. Second quarter mainline cost per available seat mile (CASM) was 13.61 cents, up 3.9 percent on a 3.5 percent increase in mainline ASMs versus combined second quarter 2013. Excluding special charges and fuel, mainline CASM was up 2.2 percent compared to the combined second quarter 2013, at 8.55 cents. Regional CASM excluding special charges and fuel was 15.80 cents, up 5.2 percent on a 0.4 percent decrease in regional ASMs versus combined second quarter 2013.
As of June 30, 2014, American had approximately $10.3 billion in total cash and short-term investments, of which $882 million was restricted. The Company also has an undrawn revolving credit facility of $1.0 billion.
During the quarter, the Company repaid $502 million of debt obligations, which includes approximately $175 million for the settlement of its 7.25% convertible notes with cash. The Company also prepaid $113 million of obligations associated with aircraft debt, $51 million associated with special facility revenue bonds and also used $630 million of cash to purchase aircraft that were previously being leased to the Company.
At June 30, 2014, approximately $791 million of the Company’s unrestricted cash balance was held in Venezuelan bolivars, valued at the weighted average applicable exchange rate of 6.53 bolivars to the dollar. This includes approximately $94 million valued at 4.3 bolivars, approximately $611 million valued at 6.3 bolivars and approximately $86 million valued at 10.6 bolivars, with the rate depending on the date the Company submitted its repatriation request to the Venezuelan government. In the first quarter of 2014, the Venezuelan government announced that a newly implemented system (SICAD I) will determine the exchange rate (which fluctuates as determined by weekly auctions and at June 30, 2014 was 10.6 bolivars to the dollar) for repatriation of cash proceeds from ticket sales after January 1, 2014, and introduced new procedures for approval of repatriation of local currency.
The Company is continuing to work with Venezuelan authorities regarding the timing and exchange rate applicable to the repatriation of funds held in local currency. However, pending further repatriation of funds, and due to the significant decrease in demand for air travel resulting from the effective devaluation of the bolivar, the Company recently significantly reduced capacity in this market. The Company is monitoring this situation closely and continues to evaluate its holdings of Venezuelan bolivars for potential impairment.
Capital Deployment Program
The Company also announced a capital deployment program intended to efficiently allocate cash balances over and above those required to fund its business. The program has three key components:
Debt/Lease Prepayments: Since the merger closed in December 2013, the Company has prepaid $420 million of aircraft debt and bond obligations. In addition, the Company plans to prepay $480 million of special facility revenue bond obligations by the end of 2014. It is anticipated that these prepayments will represent a reduction in the Company’s debt going forward. The Company has also used $630 million of cash to purchase aircraft that were previously leased to the Company and anticipates utilizing an additional $370 million of cash in this manner through the remainder of 2014. In addition, the Company has called for redemption of the remaining $900 million principal amount of the 7.5% senior notes due March 15, 2016. In total, these steps represent approximately $2.8 billion of prepayments that will be completed by the end of 2014.
Pension Funding: The Company plans to make supplemental contributions of $600 million to its defined benefit plans in 2014. These contributions would be above and beyond the $120 million minimum required contributions for 2014.
Return to Shareholders: The program includes a share repurchase program and the initiation of a quarterly dividend. The Company’s Board of Directors authorized a $1.0 billion share repurchase program to be completed no later than December 31, 2015. The Board also declared a dividend of $0.10 per share for shareholders of record as of August 4, 2014. The dividend will be paid on August 18, 2014. This is the first cash dividend declared at American Airlines since 1980.
Shares repurchased under the program announced above may be made through a variety of methods, which may include open market purchases, privately negotiated transactions, block trades or accelerated share repurchase transactions. Any such repurchases will be made from time to time subject to market and economic conditions, applicable legal requirements and other relevant factors. The program does not obligate the Company to repurchase any specific number of shares or continue a dividend for any fixed period, and may be suspended at any time at management’s discretion.
Merger Integration Developments
US Airways joined American in the trans-Atlantic joint business agreement with British Airways, Iberia and Finnair and codeshare agreements with British Airways, Iberia and oneworld alliance partner airberlin
Combined operations at 72 airports since the merger
Began harmonizing its network by aligning flying between its hubs. The changes allow the Company to replace smaller regional aircraft with larger mainline aircraft and to redeploy regional jets to other markets to better match aircraft size with customer demand in small and medium sized communities
Announced new mileage redemption options for American Airlines AAdvantage® and US Airways Dividend Miles® members, along with new checked bag policies, and began to align the First and
Fleet and Network Developments
As part of its plan to modernize its fleet, the Company inducted 21 new aircraft during the second quarter
Expanded its European presence with new, seasonal summer service between its hub at Charlotte Douglas International Airport and Barcelona, Brussels, Lisbon and Manchester, U.K.
Strengthened its presence in the Asia-Pacific region with new nonstop service between Dallas/Fort Worth and Hong Kong and Shanghai
Announced twelve new routes in the United States and Canada from Dallas/Fort Worth, Chicago O’Hare, Los Angeles, Charlotte, N.C., Philadelphia and Phoenix, including service between DFW and new destination, Bismarck, N.D.
The Company also began service between DFW and Edmonton, Alberta
Distributed $5.5 million in operational incentive payouts to employees for on-time departures in the month of April; this distribution of $50 per employee is part of the Company’s Triple Play program which measures operational performance as reported in the DOT’s Air Travel Consumer Report (ATCR). To date, the Company’s employees have earned $16.5 million in operational incentive payouts
Honored with two awards from Airfinance Journal, including the 2013 Overall “Deal of the Year” for its merger with US Airways, and the 2013 Airline “Treasury Team of the Year” for its work on American’s debt and lease restructuring, a major aircraft order and other financing
Employees donated more than 13,000 hours to numerous projects in the second quarter. In addition, the Company donated more than $3 million of travel to organizations including American Fallen Soldiers, the Gary Sinise Foundation, the San Diego Air and Space Museum, and Carry the Load
Recognized four employees with the 2014 Earl G. Graves Award for Leadership in Diversity for influencing positive change, setting an example and leaving a lasting impact on those around them
In the second quarter, the Company recognized a total of $592 million in net special charges, including:
$253 million net special operating charges, which principally included $163 million of merger integration expenses, a net $38 million charge for bankruptcy related settlement obligations, $37 million in charges relating to the buyout of leases associated with certain aircraft, and $15 million of other special charges
Net $337 million non-cash tax charge, consisting primarily of a $330 million non-cash tax charge related to the Company’s sale of its portfolio of fuel hedging contracts that were scheduled to settle on or after June 30, 2014. This charge reverses a non-cash tax provision which was recorded in Other Comprehensive Income (OCI), a subset of stockholder’s equity, principally in 2009. The provision represents the tax effect associated with gains recorded in OCI principally in 2009 due to a net increase in the fair value of the Company’s fuel hedging contracts
Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. American Airlines Airbus A321-231 N114NN (msn 6046) completes its trans-con flight at New York (JFK).
Airbus A350-941 F-WWYB (msn 005) took off this morning from Toulouse for the final stage of certification.
According to Airbus, “these Route Proving tests are designed to demonstrate readiness for airline operations and will include high airfield performance, auto-landing trials, and airport turnaround and handling services. Some flights will have passengers on board. The A350 world tour itinerary includes 14 major airports worldwide and one route via the North Pole.”
The world tour using A350 msn 005 test aircraft forms part of the route proving for certification campaign. The aircraft is one of the fleet of five test aircraft and one of two with a fully functional cabin (42 business class and 223 economy class seats). The A350 flights will be operated by Airbus flight crews with the participation of Airworthiness Authority pilots from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
The tests form part of the last trials required for aircraft Type Certification scheduled for Q3 this year.
The first airline delivery, to Qatar Airways, will follow towards the end of the year.
The three week trial (four trips) starts in Toulouse, France.
Trip one, includes destinations such as Canada via the north-pole and Frankfurt.
Trip two to Asia, the world’s fastest growing aviation market, includes visits to Hong Kong and Singapore.
The third trip brings the aircraft to Johannesburg and to Sydney. From Sydney it will fly to Auckland, followed by Santiago de Chile and Sao Paulo before returning to Toulouse.
On the fourth and final trip, the A350 will depart from Toulouse to Doha, then onto Perth and back to Doha. From Doha it will fly to Moscow, then to Helsinki from where it will fly back to Toulouse.
Today five development A350s are flying and are actively involved in the intensive flight test program, which has already reached over 540 flights and 2,250 flight hours.
At the end of June 2014, the A350 XWB had won 742 orders from 38 customers worldwide.
Trip one: Toulouse-Iqaluit-Frankfurt-Toulouse
Trip two: Toulouse-Hong-Kong-Singapore-Hong-Kong-Toulouse (Hong Kong to Singapore several times)
Trip three: Toulouse-Johannesburg-Sydney-Auckland-Santiago de Chile-Sao Paulo-Toulouse
Trip four: Toulouse-Doha-Perth-Doha-Moscow-Helsinki-Toulouse
Copyright Photo: Airbus. F-WWYB carries special “Around the World” sub-titles.
Air Canada (Montreal) announced today that it will introduce a new seasonal nonstop service operated by Air Canada rouge (Toronto-Pearson) between Vancouver and Palm Springs, California this winter. Flights to the ‘Golf Capital of the World’ will be operated with Air Canada rouge Airbus A319 aircraft featuring three customer comfort options: rouge, rouge Plus with preferred seating offering additional legroom, and Premium rouge with additional personal space and enhanced service.
Air Canada rouge flights between Vancouver and Palm Springs, CA will begin on December 18, 2014 and will operate three times weekly until April 12, 2015.
Air Canada will continue to evaluate future market opportunities as new aircraft are introduced into its mainline fleet and existing aircraft are released for operation by Air Canada rouge as market demand warrants. Since the launch in July 2013 of Air Canada rouge, Air Canada has deployed its leisure carrier to a growing number of Caribbean, Mexico, Europe and select sun destinations in the United States.
Air Canada rouge operates a fleet consisting of Boeing 767-300ER and Airbus A319 aircraft transferred from Air Canada.
Air Canada’s mainline fleet renewal is ongoing with the introduction of new aircraft. In May, the airline took delivery of its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner and is scheduled to receive a total of six 787 aircraft in 2014 with the remaining 31 scheduled between 2015 and 2019. In February 2014, Air Canada took delivery of the last of five new Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft to enter its mainline fleet.
Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-114 C-GBHR (msn 785) taxies at the Toronto (Pearson) hub.
Gulf Air (Bahrain) received its first retrofitted Airbus A330-200 aircraft at Bahrain International Airport today (July 23), arriving from Canada. The plane is newly configured for a total of 214 seats in a two-class configuration of 30 Falcon Gold Class and 184 Economy seats with significant enhancements across both cabins.
Copyright Photo: Gulf Air.
The revamped A330 product introduces fully-flat bed seats in the airline’s Falcon Gold Class, upgraded seats in Economy Class and a state-of-the-art in-flight-entertainment system throughout, and was designed specifically for Gulf Air, integrating features based on passenger feedback.
Realized by three key partners: Avianor, Zodiac Aerospace and BE, the aircraft’s new Falcon Gold seats convert into fully-flat beds measuring 1.90 meters in length guaranteeing a comfortable night’s sleep. The Falcon Gold seats offer more personal space between seats than the airline’s previous A330 business class product, allowing passengers to sit back and relax in a 22-inch wide armchair that converts easily into the passenger’s desired position. The new Economy Class seats offer passengers the very latest in comfort: a greater recline to compliment an 18-inch seat-width and an adjustable head and foot rest that allows greater passenger relaxation.
All seats in Gulf Air’s upgraded A330 aircraft include an integrated Audio-Video on Demand (AVOD) feature, an individual touch screen (15-inch in Falcon Gold class and 9-inch in Economy) in every seat and high quality headphones. A suite of movies, video and audio titles in several languages are on offer, in addition to games. A USB port is available in every seat to allow passengers to easily charge electronic devices.
Gulf Air’s second retrofitted A330 is scheduled to arrive in early August while the carrier’s A330 fleet retrofit is scheduled to be completed by the last quarter of 2014.
Gulf Air’s A330 aircraft are used primarily on London and Bangkok routes.
Top Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 A9C-KJ (msn 992) taxies at Zurich.
Hawaiian signs a MOU for six new Airbus A330-800neo aircraft, reports 2Q GAAP net income of $27.3 million
Hawaiian Airlines (Honolulu) today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Airbus to acquire six new Airbus A330-800neo aircraft starting in 2019, with rights to purchase an additional six aircraft as part of the carrier’s vision to serve farther nonstop destinations from Hawai’i.
The order replaces Hawaiian Airline’s existing order for six Airbus A350XWB-800 aircraft, which were due for delivery from 2017. Hawaiian Airline’s overall capital commitments will decrease in absolute terms and will be pushed further into the future. For the period through the end of 2018, this amounts to $500 million. 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.
“The A330-800neo’s fuel efficiency, additional range and commonality with our existing A330 fleet makes the A330-800neo an elegant solution to our need for growth aircraft toward the end of this decade,” said Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian Airlines president and chief executive officer.
The A330-800neo wide-body is similar in size to Hawaiian Airline’s A330-200 which seats 294 passengers in a two class configuration (First and Coach), and will incorporate aerodynamic enhancements and new cabin features. The new aircraft will have up to a 400-nautical mile increase in range and reduced fuel consumption by 14 percent per seat with the latest generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines.
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 ATR 42-500 for Neighbor Island flights.
Hawaiian Airline’s existing orders include an additional four new A330-200s for delivery by 2015 and 16 narrow-body A321neo aircraft starting in 2017.
On the financial side, the company issued this statement for the second quarter:
Hawaiian Holdings, Inc., parent company of Hawaiian Airlines, Inc., today reported its financial results for the second quarter of 2014.
GAAP net income in the second quarter of $27.3 million or $0.43 per diluted share.
Adjusted net income, reflecting economic fuel expense, in the second quarter of $22.4 million or $0.35 per diluted share, an increase of $9.7 million or $0.11 cents per diluted share year-over-year.
Passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) increase of 4.1% and operating revenue per available seat mile (RASM) increase of 6.7%.
Unrestricted cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments of $564 million.
“The same trajectory of substantially improving financial performance was evident in the second quarter as it has been over the last few quarters,” said Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian Airlines president and chief executive officer. “Strong demand across our geographies, good macro-economic conditions, stable fuel prices and good cost control inside the business all played their part. Absent changes to the environment or competitor behavior, our prospects in the back half of the year look similar. As ever, we continue to build the business with new routes, this summer featuring our first flights from North America to Kaua’i and the island of Hawai’i, and a host of customer improvements including the roll out of our extra comfort economy section of the aircraft. Our wonderful employees continue to deliver the level of service on the ground and in the air that set the standard for others to aspire to. Without their dedication, none of this would be possible.”
Liquidity and Capital Resources
As of June 30, 2014 the Company had:
Unrestricted cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments of $564 million.
Available borrowing capacity of $69.4 million under Hawaiian’s Revolving Credit Facility.
Outstanding debt and capital lease obligations of approximately $1,071 million consisting of the following:
$708 million outstanding under secured loan agreements to finance a portion of the purchase price for eleven Airbus A330-200 aircraft.
$146 million outstanding under secured loan agreements to finance a portion of the purchase price for 15 Boeing 717-200 aircraft.
$106 million in capital lease obligations to finance the acquisition of an Airbus A330-200, two Boeing 717-200 aircraft and aircraft-related equipment.
$32 million outstanding under floating rate notes for two Boeing 767-300 ER aircraft.
$79 million of outstanding Convertible Senior Notes.
Top Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. The new Airbus A330-800neo aircraft will supplement the current Airbus A330-200s and allow the airline to finally retire the older Boeing 767-300 ERs. Airbus A330-243 N383HA (msn 1217) prepares to land in New York (JFK).
Emirates (Dubai) on July 16 launched a new Airbus A380 service to Kuwait City, the world’s shortest scheduled A380 flight.
The arrival of the upgraded EK 857 service, which touched down at Kuwait International Airport, marks 25 years of Emirates’ flights to the country.
The Emirates’ A380 flight to Kuwait is just one hour and 45 minutes, the shortest A380 service in operation today. Since 2008, the airline has carried 27.5 million travelers on its now 50 A380s.
Kuwait is only the second market in the Middle East to be served by the airline’s flagship aircraft after the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Flight EK 857 leaves Dubai at 1600 and arrives in Kuwait at 1645 local time. Flight EK 858 departs Kuwait at 1825 and lands in Dubai at 2110.
Copyright Photo: Andi Hiltl/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-861 A6-EDO (msn 057) departs from Zurich.
Hong Kong Airlines (Hong Kong) is preparing to cancel its order for 10 Airbus A380s according to Reuters.
Airbus stated the order remains on their order book.
Read the full report: CLICK HERE
Virgin America (San Francisco) has partnered with the hot stock and camera company, GoPro, for a new airborne channel. The airline issued this statement through its blog:
Day dreaming from a mood-lit chair in the sky is tough to beat. If you’re looking to infuse those dreams with a little action and adventure, you may want to check out the GoPro® Channel on our Red™ seatback entertainment system.
Channel 8 has tons of thrilling content from rooftop fire breathing to hugging lions in Africa – all of which were all captured using GoPro’s HERO3+ Black Edition camera. “Be a Hero” at your destination by making a few adventure videos of your own.
Here is a typical video using the GoPro:
Do you have an airline-theme video using the GoPro camera? Let us know and we will promote your video.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 N851VA (msn 4999) completes its final approach to the runway at Los Angeles.
Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A330-200 is hit by a rocket and burns at Tripoli, other airliners damaged, others flee Libya
Afriqiyah Airways (Tripoli) has lost a relatively new Airbus A330-200 (5A-ONF) at its Tripoli base after a rocket reportedly hit the parked A330 at the gate and the empty airliner quickly burned. There are now photos showing the destruction.
According to Malta Today, “Several Grad rocket struck the airport late on Monday, July 14 destroying 90% of the planes parked there, including a $250 million Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A330.”
The fighting by the two militia groups to control the the airport after a cease fire failed to hold continues today. The undamaged airliners and crews are being flown out of the country.
According to the Ottawa Citizen, “The weeklong fight over the airport is being waged by a powerful militia from the western city of Zintan, which controls the facility, and Islamist-led militias, including fighters from Misrata, east of Tripoli. The clashes resumed early Sunday (July 20) after cease-fire efforts failed.”
Read the full story from Malta Today: CLICK HERE
Read the full story from the Ottawa Citizen: CLICK HERE
Twitter photos by Mohanid Elghadi. Read his full report: CLICK HERE
US Airways (part of the American Airlines Group) (Phoenix and Dallas/Fort Worth) has issued this statement:
Mechanics and Related, Fleet Service, and Maintenance Training Specialists workgroups at US Airways, represented by the International Association of Machinists (IAM), ratified three collective bargaining agreements overing more than 11,000 employees. The agreements will remain in effect for the US Airways employees until a joint collective bargaining agreement covering the 30,000 employees of the new American Airlines has been reached.
“We are pleased we have reached these agreements,” said Doug Parker, chairman and CEO of American Airlines. “We want to thank the International Association of Machinists leadership and negotiators for their professionalism and hard work on behalf of their members. We would also like to express our appreciation to the National Mediation Board, Board Member Linda Puchala and Mediator Walter Darr for their assistance in reaching these agreements. These agreements will allow us to focus on the next steps for integrating our airlines, and we can now start the process of bringing these employee groups together with their co-workers from American through joint collective bargaining agreements.”
The ratification continues progress on labor agreements at American Airlines since the merger with US Airways closed on December 9, 2013. Negotiations for joint flight attendant and pilot agreements are underway, and processes are in place to ensure that joint collective bargaining agreements for those groups will be reached soon.
Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-132 N837AW (msn 2595) in the special NFL “Arizona Cardinals” livery arrives at Baltimore/Washington.
EasyJet (UK) (easyJet.com) (London-Luton) has announced it will open a base at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport from Spring 2015. Amsterdam now becomes easyJet’s 26th network base.
EasyJet has offered service to and from Schiphol since 1996. This announcement marks easyJet’s first ever base in the Netherlands and further strengthens the airline’s long term strategic position at Amsterdam Schiphol, where it holds a 9% market share. Amsterdam is already one of the airline’s most successful network points with more than 3.5 million passengers flying annually to and from 21 destinations.
Three A320 aircraft will be based at Amsterdam Schiphol. This will enable EasyJet to offer more early morning departures which are popular with business passengers, expand the number of cities easyJet connects to Amsterdam while also building a stronger outbound schedule for Dutch leisure travellers. With this extra capacity EasyJet expects to fly an additional 600,000 passengers next year, an incremental 16% year-on-year increase, giving a whole new generation of easyJet customers access to Europe’s best point to point network.
EasyJet will add Hamburg as its newest destination from Amsterdam starting in November 2014, with additional routes launched later this autumn.
Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-111 G-EZIW (msn 2578) rests at the gate at Amsterdam in the special “Inate-Fiumicino Per Tutti (For All)” livery.
US Airways (Phoenix and Dallas/Fort Worth) yesterday (July 16) launched its codeshare agreement with trans-Atlantic joint business partner Finnair (Helsinki), further enhancing its relationship with the fellow oneworld alliance member and providing customers increased access to Helsinki and beyond. Customers can now book tickets for codeshare flights for travel beginning July 24.
Through the codeshare, customers can now book Finnair flights from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) to Helsinki Airport (HEL) and beyond. The codeshare will extend to additional Finnair flights from Helsinki, providing customers more access to 11 destinations including Brussels, Oslo, Stockholm and Zurich.
Finnair customers will now have more options when traveling from Europe to the United States on US Airways-operated flights to Charlotte and Philadelphia. Customers can also book travel on US Airways-operated flights beyond JFK to Phoenix.
As part of this relationship, Dividend Miles and Finnair Plus frequent flyer programs are able to earn and redeem miles on flights operated by the other carrier, providing another valuable benefit to customers. In addition, customers will now be able to earn miles when traveling on codeshare flights operated by the other airline.
US Airways joined the Atlantic joint business with British Airways, Iberia and Finnair as an affiliate member earlier this year, and will remain as such until it fully integrates with American Airlines.
Top Copyright Photo: Eddie Maloney/AirlinersGallery.com. US Airways’ Airbus A319-132 N822AW (msn 1410) in the special Nevada “Battle Born” state livery lands in Las Vegas.
Bottom Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Finnair’s Airbus A330-302 OH-LTT (msn 1088) completes its final approach to the runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).
Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) is planning to introduce a new route connecting St. Louis with Fort Myers, Florida starting on October 3, initially with two flights a week per Airline Route. This will be bumped up to three flights a week from November 17. The new route will be operated with Airbus A319s.
Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-111 N918FR (msn 1943) taxies at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) with Jake, the whitetail deer, on the tail.
Transaero Airlines (Moscow) has turned again to Airbus to expand and modernize its fleet. The second largest Russian carrier has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Airbus for 20 A330 aircraft (8 A330ceo and 12 A330neo). This agreement makes Transaero an important launch customer and the first European airline to commit to the A330neo. The A330s will allow Transaero to continue the massive fleet modernization program and to boost its medium and long-haul domestic and international network.
Transaero Airlines launched services in November 1991, and currently serves more than 200 routes all over the world. Transaero will begin operating its first Airbus aircraft (A321) in 2015. In 2011 Transaero Airlines signed a contact with Airbus for eight A320neo and in 2012 became the first Russian customer for the A380, ordering four aircraft, the first of which will enter into service at the end of 2015.
Hong Kong Aviation Capital (HKAC) (Hong Kong) has signed a firm order with Airbus for a total of 70 A320neo Family aircraft (40 A320neo and 30 A321neo)
The contract was finalized at the 2014 Farnborough Airshow by Donal Boylan, CEO of HKAC and John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers. The agreement follows the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed at the 2013 Paris Air Show.
HKAC currently has a portfolio of over 50 single and twin aisle Airbus aircraft. It provides financing leasing services to several airlines in Asia and worldwide. This is HKAC’s first direct order with any aircraft manufacturer.
Air Mauritius (Port Louis, Mauritius), the flag carrier of Mauritius has decided to expand and modernize its long-haul fleet with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for four Airbus A350-900 aircraft. The agreement was announced during the Farnborough International Airshow 2014. The airline has also announced that it is leasing two more A350-900s. The 6 A350 XWB will be operated on European, Asian and Australian routes.
Air Mauritius currently operates ten Airbus aircraft including two A330-200s and two A319s.
The A350 XWB is Airbus’ all-new mid-size long-range product line comprising three versions offering from 276 to 369 seats.
AirAsia X (AirAsia.com) (Kuala Lumpur) has signed a Memorandum of Understand (MOU) with Airbus for 50 A330-900neo aircraft. The agreement sees the airline become a launch customer for the latest version of the best-selling widebody. AirAsia X will also be one of the first operators of the aircraft, with deliveries to the carrier scheduled to begin in 2018.
Avolon (Dublin), the global aircraft leasing firm, has announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for 15 of Airbus’ newly launched A330neo aircraft. Avolon becomes a launch customer for the A330neo. The commitment was signed today at the Farnborough International Airshow 2014 by Dómhnal Slattery, Avolon CEO, John Higgins, Avolon President and Chief Commercial Officer and Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and CEO.
The A330-800neo and the A330-900neo are two new members of the Airbus Widebody Family launched in July 2014 with first deliveries scheduled to start in Q4 2017. The A330neo incorporates latest generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, aerodynamic enhancements and new cabin features. Benefitting from the excellent economics, versatility and high reliability of the A330, the A330neo reduces fuel consumption by 14% per seat, making it the most cost efficient, medium range Widebody aircraft on the market. In addition to greater fuel savings, A330neo operators will also benefit from a range increase of up to 400 nautical miles and all the operational commonality advantages of the Airbus Family.
CIT Group Inc. (CIT Aerospace) has announced a commitment to order 15 Airbus A330-900neo aircraft and five A321ceo aircraft, becoming a launch customer for the new A330neo. The Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) were signed at the 2014 Farnborough International Airshow by Jeff Knittel, President of CIT Transportation & International Finance and Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President & CEO. CIT will announce its engines selection for the A321 aircraft at a later date.
The A330-800neo and the A330-900neo are two new members of the Airbus Widebody Family launched in July 2014 with first deliveries scheduled to start in Q4 2017. The A330neo incorporates latest generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, aerodynamic enhancements and new cabin features. Benefitting from the unbeatable economics, versatility and high reliability of the A330, the A330neo reduces fuel consumption by 14% per seat, making it the most cost efficient, medium range Widebody aircraft on the market. In addition to greater fuel savings, A330neo operators will also benefit from a range increase of up to 400 nautical miles and of course all the operational commonality advantages of the Airbus Family.
BOC Aviation (Singapore), the aircraft leasing subsidiary of Bank of China, has announced an order for an additional 43 Airbus A320 Family aircraft, comprising seven A320neo Family aircraft and 36 A320ceo aircraft across A320 and A321 variants, at the Farnborough International Airshow 2014.
Including this latest purchase agreement, BOC Aviation’s cumulative orders for new Airbus aircraft have reached 255, as of June 30th 2014, 142 of these have already been delivered, and another 55 committed to lease.
As of June 30, 2014, BOC Aviation’s fleet of 251 aircraft includes 109 Airbus aircraft operated by 27 airlines. There are 98 A320 Family aircraft in the fleet.
SMBC Aviation Capital has signed a major firm order for 115 A320 Family aircraft (110 A320neo, five A320ceo). The contract was announced today at the Farnborough International Airshow 2014, by Peter Barrett, SMBC Aviation Capital, CEO, Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President & CEO and John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers.
This new order is the industry’s largest ever single firm order by a worldwide leasing company for single-aisle aircraft. With these new planes, SMBC Aviation Capital’s total orders for Airbus aircraft rise to 206 A320 Family aircraft. SMBC Aviation Capital will announce its engines selection at a later date.
At the end of June 2014, firm orders for the NEO reached over 2,800 aircraft from 55 customers, representing a 60 per cent market share in its category.
Emirates (Dubai) will commence services to Hungary from October this year with a daily flight to the capital of Budapest.
Starting on October 27, Emirates will offer 278 seats per day on the Dubai-Budapest route, operating a wide-body A330-200 aircraft in a two class configuration.
The Airbus A330-200 will offer 27 seats in Business Class and 251 Economy Class seats.
Flight EK 111 will depart Dubai at 0820 and will arrive at Budapest Airport at 1135. The return flight, EK 112 will depart at 1505 and will arrive at Dubai International Airport at 2330.
Besides Budapest, Emirates is launching two other destinations to Europe: Oslo on September 2 and Brussels on September 5.
Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 A6-EAH (msn 409) is pictured on the final approach to the runway at London (Heathrow).
AerCap (Amsterdam) has firmed up an order for 50 additional Airbus A320neo Family aircraft at the Farnborough International Airshow 2014. The contract, AerCap’s first major aircraft order following the acquisition of ILFC earlier this year, was signed by Philip Scruggs, AerCap’s President & Chief Commercial Officer and Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and CEO. AerCap will announce its engine selection in due course.
Including today’s order for 50 A320neo aircraft, AerCap’s total order of A320neo aircraft rises to 200 and its total orders of Airbus aircraft rises to 945. Following the lessor’s acquisition of ILFC, AerCap becomes Airbus’ largest customer overall, both in number and value of aircraft purchased.
Air Lease Corporation (ALC) (Los Angeles) has announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 25 A330-900neo aircraft, becoming the first launch customer for the new Airbus Widebody. ALC simultaneously announced a firm order for 60 A321neo aircraft. The contact was signed today at the Farnborough International Airshow by Steven F. Udvar-Házy, Air Lease Corporation’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and CEO.
Including today’s order, ALC’s total orders and commitments for Airbus aircraft reaches 225, of which 200 are firm orders (50 A320ceo Family, 110 A320neo Family, 15 A330 Family, 25 A350 XWB Family) plus the MoU for 25 A330neo’s. ALC will announce engine selections for the 60 A321neo aircraft at a later date.
International Airlines Group (IAG) (London) has converted 20 A320neo options into a firm order. These aircraft are currently intended to replace 21 shorthaul British Airways (London) aircraft.
British Airways already operates 120 Airbus single aisle aircraft covering the full Family range from the smallest A318 to the largest A321.
Previously in August 2013, IAG announced that, as part of a Vueling order for up to 120 Airbus A320 family aircraft, it had also secured 100 A320neo options.
To date, firm orders for the NEO have reached over 2,800 aircraft representing a 60 per cent share market share in its category.
Airbus (Toulouse) issued this statement today at Farnborough:
Following a decision by the Board of Directors of the Group, Airbus has launched the A330-800neo and A330-900neo, two new members of its Widebody Family, which will incorporate latest generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, aerodynamic enhancements and new cabin features. Benefitting from the unbeatable economics, versatility and high reliability of the A330, the A330neo reduces fuel consumption by 14% per seat, making it the most cost efficient, medium range Widebody aircraft on the market. In addition to greater fuel savings, A330neo operators will benefit from a range increase of up to 400 nautical miles and all the operational commonality advantages of the Airbus Family. Deliveries of the A330neo will start in Q4 2017.
“The A330 is a very important margin contributor for our Group. It’s also one of the most reliable and efficient commercial aircraft ever. Customers love it. With our decision to re-engine the plane, we will keep the A330 flying high for many more years to come. The development costs for the A330neo will be incurred from 2015 to 2017 with an impact of around -70 basis points on Airbus Group’s 2015 Return on Sales target. However, we have a very good business case and the A330neo, once in service, will continue to significantly contribute to our group’s earnings,” said Tom Enders, CEO of Airbus Group.
“The A330neo is the logical evolution of our reliable and versatile A330 Family. It provides an optimal solution for airlines around the world looking to minimise their fuel and operating costs while offering best-in-class comfort to their passengers,” said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and CEO. “We see strong market potential for the A330neo, and like its market-leading smaller sister, the A320neo, we are confident this new aircraft will be a success in the medium-haul segment. We are again leveraging a proven aircraft with a wide operator base and making it even more efficient with the latest innovations and technology developments.”
In addition to the new Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, the A330neo will feature incremental innovations, including aerodynamic enhancements such as new A350 XWB inspired winglets, an increased wing span and new engine pylons. Pilots will benefit from latest generation cockpit systems, and the already very comfortable A330 cabin will be further optimised to offer up to ten additional 18 inch wide seats. Passengers are winners too, as they will be able to enjoy a 21st century on-board experience with for example, fourth generation In Flight Entertainment (3D films), mood-lighting and full connectivity.
Will this announcement lead to the killing of the underperforming and smaller A350-800? Bloomberg Businessweek explores this question: CLICK HERE
Wizz Air (Budapest) has announced further enhancements to its low fare route network from Poland, with six new routes from five different airports. Flights to Glasgow from Katowice and Poznan will start on October 26 and October 28 respectively, from October 27 Warsaw will have a service to Bergen and Szczecin will be linked to London Luton, while two new destinations in the Netherlands will be added: flights to Groningen from Gdansk and flights to Maastricht from Katowice will start on October 28.
Groningen will become the 97th Wizz Air destination. Maastricht will become Wizz Air’s 98th destination.
With these six new services Wizz Air is now offering a total of 90 routes to 17 countries from Poland.
Wizz Air also announced further expansion at its Romanian bases Cluj-Napoca and Timisoara. The airline will deploy a fourth aircraft and launch three new services in Cluj-Napoca from December 20 and double its fleet at Timisoara bringing a second Airbus A320 and four new services to the base from November 1.
Only recently the airline had announced a new service from Cluj-Napoca to Nuremberg in Germany and with this announcement of seven international routes to Belgium, Italy, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland, Wizz Air is offering a total of 87 routes from seven Romanian airports.
Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-233 HA-LPF (msn 1834) lands at EuroAirport serving Basel/Mulhouse/Freiburg.
Airbus (Toulouse) has issued this short statement and photo:
Building on the A320 Family’s established reputation for quiet operations, Airbus is reducing noise levels even further for its popular single-aisle product line with the introduction of small underwing air flow deflectors. Positioned just ahead of underwing cavities for the fuel over-pressure protection system, these devices prevent the cavities from generating a “whistling” sound which can sometimes be heard on the ground when the engines are at idle during final approach. Air flow deflectors were implemented in production A320 jetliners this spring and are also available as a retrofit modification.
Copyright Photo: Airbus.
Etihad Airways to launch nonstop Abu Dhabi-Hong Kong flights on June 15, 2015 and five other destinations
Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) has announced the launch of a four times per week service between Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong starting on June 15, 2015.
The new flights will complement the existing services offered by Etihad Airways’ codeshare and network partner, Air Seychelles, ensuring a daily frequency between the two cities, and bringing the combined number of weekly seats offered on the route to 3,620.
Hong Kong will become Etihad Airways’ seventh destination in Northeast Asia and its fourth destination in China joining Beijing, Chengdu and Shanghai.
Etihad Airways will operate a two-class Airbus A330-200 aircraft, configured to carry 262 passengers, with 22 seats in Business Class and 240 seats in Economy Class, offering a total of 2,096 seats per week.
The airline has also announced five other new routes for the first half of 2015, starting with Kolkata on February 15, Madrid on March 29, Entebbe on May 1, Edinburgh on June 8 and Algiers on June 17.
Copyright Photo: Andi Hiltl/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 A6-EYD (msn 658) taxies at Zurich with the special promotional “Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2014 Formula 1″ markings.
Emirates (Dubai) and Airbus (Toulouse and Hamburg) are celebrating the delivery of the 50th A380 for the airline. Airbus A380-861 A6-EEX (msn 154) was handed over on July 9. The airline issued this statement:
A major milestone for the A380 program, Emirates and Airbus celebrated in Hamburg, Germany the delivery of the 50th A380 for the Dubai-based airline. It is the 136th A380 which has been delivered in total.
Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline said: “Emirates has seen tremendous organic growth in the past 4 years, probably the fastest of any airline in history. We’ve literally added capacity equivalent to what some mid-sized airlines operate, but more significantly, we have maintained high seat loads and profitability. This speaks to the strength of our world-class product, and also our business model which is based on an efficient global hub that connects Dubai to the world, and almost any two cities in the world via Dubai.”
He added: “The A380 has been very successful for us, and this is reflected in the strong customer interest and high seat factors wherever we’ve deployed the aircraft. The A380 has helped us serve customer demand on trunk routes, operate more efficiently at slot-constrained airports, and also introduce new concepts on-board that have redefined the flying experience. Moving forward, we will see quite a ramp up in the delivery program and by late 2017 we will have around 90 A380s in our fleet to support existing and new A380 routes.”
Following delivery of their first A380 in July 2008, Emirates took delivery of their 25th A380 in October 2012. All Emirates’ A380s are powered by Engine Alliance GP7200 engines. The airline has 140 A380 on order.
For the ferry flight from Hamburg to Dubai, the aircraft was loaded with 41 tons of relief goods. This is the biggest amount which has ever been transported on a single flight organized by the Airbus Corporate Foundation. The goods will be deployed in cooperation with ACF (Action Contre la Faim) to a UN Humanitarian Response Depot in Dubai.
The total A380 fleet has accumulated over 1.4 million flight hours in more than 172,000 commercial flights. To date over 60 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 37 airports where it operates today and the network is constantly growing.
Top Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Part of the fleet, Airbus A380-861 A6-EDH (msn 025) arrives in Beijing. Bottom: Emirates.
Alitalia (2nd) (Rome) starting on October 26 is resuming Rome-Marseille service, after 16 years with Airbus A319 aircraft. The route is being restored after a 16-year absence per Airline Route. Alitalia last operated this route in October 1998 with ATR 72s.
Here is summary of new routes this summer:
In the summer season Alitalia’s network grew with four new direct connections:
From Venice to Tokyo
From Rome Fiumicino to Comiso and Skopje, Capital of Macedonia.
From Milan Linate to Warsaw and Prague
From Alghero to Turin
Seasonal flights will operate from Rome to Thessaloniki. Seasonal flights from Rome Fiumicino Airport to Los Angeles and Chicago will began in May.
June to September:
from Rome and Milan Linate to Lampedusa and Pantelleria;
from Rome to Ibiza, Palma de Mallorca and Rhodes.
July to September service will resume from Naples to Olbia.
New summer routes will operate in August:
from Milan Malpensa to Ibiza and Rhodes;
from Milan Linate to Athens, Thessaloniki, Heraklion and Copenhagen (the last starting from June);
from Rome to Menorca, to Mykonos and Heraklion.
Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-112 EI-IMI (msn 1745) in the special Discover Friuli Venezia Guilia livery arrives at the Rome (Fiumicino) hub.
Lufthansa (Lufthansa Group) (Frankfurt) has announced its on-going strategy for dealing with changing dynamic challenges in the marketplace. Key points include; Making Lufthansa a competitive five star airline (i.e. to compete against the Gulf carriers), Eurowings will operate up to 23 Airbus A320s with a new base at Basel, Germanwings‘ fleet will grow to 60 aircraft, a new lower cost long-haul option and how to reduce the cost of flying the Airbus A340s (above). Here is the full report:
Deutsche Lufthansa AG has set itself the objective of regaining its role as the benchmark of the aviation sector and, with it, the first choice for customers, employees, investors and partners.
The company has now unveiled an extensive range of actions to this end which will enable it to derive greater benefit from the continued growth of the global air transport market.
These include new platforms and products for both intercontinental and European air services, an intensified partnership with Air China, an even stronger focus on quality and innovation and a groupwide drive to create more efficient structures and processes.
“The global market for air transport continues to grow,” says Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Executive Board & CEO of Deutsche Lufthansa AG. “But in the dynamic and highly price-sensitive market segments, our current platforms only enable us to exploit the growth potential to a limited extent, in view of their sometimes over-rigid cost structures. That’s why we are now seeking to tap new growth areas, by creatively and innovatively refining our products and services in both the airline sector and – especially – related markets. By 2020 we aim to have raised our revenues from our new businesses, our new platforms and our service companies from the present 30% to 40% of our total revenue flow.”
“We don’t want to be driven by change in the aviation sector: we want to be among the drivers of it,” Spohr continues. “But doing so demands bold steps forward: our market is no place for half-measures. The Lufthansa Group has often set our industry’s standards in the past. And I see no reason why we shouldn’t do so in the future. After all, we have the best of foundations for achieving this: we are a widely diversified aviation group with strong brands; we have a very loyal customer base; and we can count on highly qualified employees who are the envy of our competitors.”
“Our current SCORE program has also equipped us with an ability to change,” Spohr points out. “And we now aim to use this to forge our corporate future.” The work here has involved defining seven ‘action areas’ – not only in the marketplace but also in terms of its internal structures and processes – which should enable the Group to make fuller and more fruitful use of its combined strengths and resources. Priority is also being given within these action areas to the Group’s new growth concepts and to the key issues of innovation and quality, though improving its competitive credentials also remains high on the agenda.
“The fundamental SCORE notion of continuously reducing our unit costs must remain equally valid when the program ends as scheduled in 2015,” Carsten Spohr emphasizes. “And to that end, we will be making this a permanent groupwide concern. We must constantly generate new ideas to improve our profitability, sharpen our competitive edge and keep us the first choice for our customers.”
New growth concepts
The Lufthansa Group will be establishing new platforms with competitive cost structures to ensure that it derives maximum benefit from the further growth of the aviation sector. Thus, the Group’s present multi-brand system with its multiple hubs of Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich, Vienna and Brussels will now be consistently complemented by the new “WINGS” multi-platform concept in all the Group’s European home markets. The new WINGS family, which will build on the success of the Germanwings concept, will be specifically aligned to the high-growth market for private air travel. The Group will use the new WINGS master brand to bundle the various platforms for its point-to-point air travel business; and it is considering extending the concept to intercontinental services, too.
Amalgamating the European members of the WINGS family – a move which will also include Germanwings – will permit an aligned management of all these operations. With Germanwings, Lufthansa will also complete the planned transfer of all of its routes not serving its Frankfurt or Munich hubs by next spring. The Germanwings fleet will also be further enlarged to up to 60 aircraft.
With Eurowings as its starting platform, the Lufthansa Group will develop a competitive European air travel product for continental travel. Since the competitive cost structures required cannot be achieved with the present fleet of Bombardier CRJ aircraft, these will be replaced with Airbus A320 equipment. Eurowings will operate up to 23 A320s, and its services are set to be launched in spring 2015. The first Eurowings base outside Germany will be in Basel, Switzerland, and will have a fleet of an additional two to four A320s. It should commence operations early next year.
The Lufthansa Group also plans to create a competitive new long-haul platform under the WINGS banner for the price-sensitive segment of private travel. Studies are currently being conducted into whether this should be done alone or with a further partner: for the latter option, talks are already at an advanced stage with Turkish Airlines. In an initial phase, the new intercontinental platform is expected to operate with a fleet that will gradually be built up to seven Boeing 767 or Airbus A330 aircraft, with operations likely to commence in winter 2015.
In a further move, Lufthansa is considering to what extent up to nine of its Airbus A340s could be operated at substantially lower unit costs, either on new routes or on routes currently threatened with closure. Negotiations are under way with all the internal and external stakeholders involved to achieve the cost reductions required.
Ultimately, the extent to which these new platforms and formats can be developed in the longer term will depend on their profitability and their market success.
Elsewhere, Lufthansa is working intensively to further develop its bilateral partnerships with other air carriers. In this connection it has just concluded a new agreement with Star Alliance partner Air China for closer collaboration on the MRO and passenger services fronts and, ultimately, a joint-venture arrangement. It is Lufthansa’s declared objective to offer its customers in the four biggest markets and economies outside its home markets the best product available, in collaboration with its local partners.
As a unique aviation group, the Lufthansa Group will also be devoting sizeable resources to further developing its various service companies. World market leaders Lufthansa Technik and LSG Sky Chefs are also benefiting from the expansions of numerous Lufthansa competitors, especially the Gulf-based carriers, and thus serve as a natural “hedge” in the global competitive landscape.
Lufthansa Technik and LSG Sky Chefs will be investing in expanding their business, with a focus on Asia and the Americas. LSG Sky Chefs also aims to increase its involvement in related markets beyond the aviation sector, such as the rail catering segment. Miles & More, too, offers significant further growth potential; and the Lufthansa Group’s customer loyalty program will now be refined to enhance its appeal to “less frequent flyers”, and also to offer more mileage earning and redemption options.
Quality and innovation
Quality and innovation are priority concerns on the overall agenda of the Lufthansa Group. And Executive Board Chairman & CEO Carsten Spohr will bear direct responsibility for the Group’s planned innovation and quality drive. Lufthansa intends to invest a total of EUR 500 million in innovations groupwide between now and 2020. The plans here should see a new “innovation hub” established this year in Berlin, closer to the start-up and digital technology scene; and an “innovation fund” will also be set up to expedite the development of promising new ideas from both within and outside the Group.
Lufthansa not only wants to become the first “five-star carrier” in the Western Hemisphere; it also aims to achieve quality leadership in all its various markets. The quality drive here will include bringing greater personalization to its products and services, with the aim of tripling the present revenues from its additional services between now and 2020.
Despite the investments that the raft of actions announced will entail, the Lufthansa Group remains confident of its revised business projections for 2014 and 2015. The Executive Board expects to report an operating profit of around EUR 1 billion for the current year, or EUR 1.3 billion after adjustments for one-off effects.
A series of structural actions will need to be taken soon, however, if the financial goals for 2014 and 2015 are to be achieved. Thus, Lufthansa will reduce its 2014 available-seat-kilometer capacity growth by over 50% compared to original plans, and will be withdrawing five aircraft from its European network and three from its intercontinental routes in the 2014/15 winter timetable period.
Lufthansa Cargo’s capacity will also be reduced this winter through the withdrawal of two Boeing MD-11 freighters.
The Lufthansa Executive Board is confident that the raft of actions planned will go a long way towards securing the Lufthansa Group’s continued viability and further success.
Copyright Photo: Bernhard Ross/AirlinersGallery.com. What to do with the Airbus A340s? Lufthansa is considering its options with the now aging fleet of Airbus A340s. Airbus A340-311 D-AIGC (msn 027) taxies at the Frankfurt base in the Star Alliance motif.
EasyJet (UK) (easyJet.com) (London-Luton) is adding 19 new routes, due to start flying this autumn, across the EasyJet network including nine new UK services. These new routes will provide over 390,000 additional seats across the EasyJet network, with over 144,000 of these being to and from the UK.
With the overwhelming popularity of easyJet’s current flights to Reykjavik, Iceland, the airline has launched two further routes to the capital. Over 30,000 passengers are expected to use Ireland’s only direct scheduled flights from Belfast International airport alone which join easyJet’s current UK connections from Bristol, London Luton, Edinburgh and Manchester airports. Reykjavik also becomes destination number 107 from London Gatwick – easyJet’s largest base.
The brand new connection will launch from Belfast International on December 12, 2014 and will operate twice per week, throughout the year to the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik (via Keflavik).
The route will be operated using a 156 seater Airbus A319 and easyJet expects to carry around 30,000 passengers to Reykjavik during the first 12 months.
There are three brand new EasyJet destinations from London Luton to Naples in Italy, Basel – Switzerland’s third largest city – and Munich, the capital of Germany’s Bavaria region.
EasyJet will also offer the only direct connections from Aberdeen to Geneva, as well as flights from Glasgow to Marrakech and Edinburgh to Funchal.
Edinburgh to Funchal, Portugal is a year round service which will fly twice per week from 3 February 3, 2015.
Aberdeen to Geneva, Switzerland is a winter service operating weekly from December 13.
Glasgow to Marrakech, Morocco is a year round service operating twice per week from October 29.
In total EasyJet is now offering 33 destinations with over 2.3 million seats to and from Inverness, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh Airports this winter – this is more than any other airline operating in Scotland.
EasyJet has already introduced four new routes to Scotland in 2014 including double daily connections between Inverness and London Gatwick and new links to Croatia and Greece from Glasgow.
Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-111 G-EZBG (msn 2946) in the special Hamburg livery arrives in Rome (Fiumicino).
Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) has announced it will again expand its low-cost service with discount flights between Atlanta and Chicago (O’Hare), Denver and Chicago (O’Hare) and St. Louis and Ft. Myers.
This announcement means Frontier Airlines will now serve 72 destinations nonstop from Denver International Airport, eight cities from Chicago O’Hare, ten destinations from Lambert-St. Louis International Airport and five cities from Southwest Florida International Airport (Ft. Myers).
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 N216FR (msn 4745) arrives in Los Angeles.
New expanded route map: CLICK HERE
Airbus’ (Toulouse) flight test department is moving at full-speed with all five A350-900 developmental aircraft now flying – a fleet that has accumulated more than 2,100 total hours in over 500 flights. Among the key recent achievements of the program are crosswind tests with msn 001 in Keflavik, Iceland (above); msn 003’s hot-weather test campaign in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates; the first flight of msn 005 and two Early Long Flights (ELFs) performed by msn 002. Remaining certification tests include route-proving and “maximum energy” rejected takeoff evaluations, which will help pave the way for the A350 XWB’s planned certification in the third quarter of 2014 and the subsequent delivery of the first customer aircraft to Qatar Airways before year-end.
Copyright Photo: B. Sveinson/Airbus.
Air Canada (Montreal) today announced that it will start new, nonstop flights between Toronto (Pearson) and Panama City beginning on December 17, 2014. With the launch of the three-times weekly, year-round service, Air Canada will be the only Canadian network carrier operating between Canada and Panama.
The new service will be provided with an Airbus A319 aircraft with 120 seats.
Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-114 C-GBIP (msn 546) in the special “Horizons Enfance” color scheme arrives at the Toronto (Pearson) hub.
Lufthansa (Frankfurt) is expanding its route network from its Frankfurt hub. On July 3 a Lufthansa aircraft took off from Frankfurt for its inaugural flight to Lublin in Poland. The trade and university city in eastern Poland is already the airline’s eighth destination in Poland. The Airbus A319 reached Lublin airport, which only opened in 2012, in just under two hours. This flight will operate twice a week on Thursdays and Sundays.
From this autumn, the culturally significant city of Marrakesh will be included by Lufthansa in Morocco on its flight plan. Starting on October 2, 2014, the airline will fly twice a week from Frankfurt to Marrakesh for the first time.
The cultural city lies inland, at the edge of the Atlas Mountains, and can now be reached conveniently and directly in just under four hours from Frankfurt on Thursdays and Sundays. Passengers will be able to travel to Marrakesh on the Airbus A320 in both Business Class and Economy Class.
Copyright photo: Arnd Wolf/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-114 D-AILU (msn 744) taxies at the Munich hub in the special Lulu Stork markings.
Airbus (Toulouse), in appealing to ultra low-fare carriers where the number of seats that can be sold is important, is now offering a high-density configuration version for the A320neo/A320ceo of 189 seats and 240 seats for the A321neo. Airbus issued this statement:
In offering even more efficiency for airline operators, Airbus is increasing seating capacity for A320neo (new engine option) and A320ceo (current engine option) jetliners to 189 seats, while also adding 20 more seats for A321neo aircraft to accommodate 240 passengers in an efficient high-density, all-economy layout.
“We are supporting the higher seat count with intelligent means to give living space to passengers,” said Klaus Roewe, Airbus’ Senior Vice President – A320neo Programme. “These new A320 Family configurations do not compromise on comfort, as they retain the Airbus standard of 18-inch wide seats in economy.”
To raise the A320’s capacity to 189 seats, Airbus has worked with airworthiness authorities to certify increased exit limits for the forward and aft doors on this version of the aircraft, taking advantage of exits that are significantly larger than the Type C requirements they were originally certified to. Also incorporated are wider evacuation slides or slide/rafts.
For the A321neo, the use of state-of-the-art slim-line seats and a new exit door arrangement – along with the optimized “Space-Flex” rear cabin galley configuration and Smart-Lavatory design – will increase this stretched fuselage jetliner version’s passenger capacity to 240 passengers, all while retaining Airbus’ 18-inch wide seat standard for economy travellers.
Roewe explained that six or more seats are added by using the new exit door arrangement, which eliminates Door 2 and the first cross-aisle in the fuselage’s forward section, while also incorporating a new double over-wing exit and shifting Door 3 aft-ward by four frames – thereby reducing the area necessary to accommodate emergency exit rows in the aircraft.
“If you add this up, it results in an approximately six per cent fuel burn per seat reduction – only by incorporating more seats in the A321neo aircraft,” Roewe added.
Emirates (Dubai) will serve Mauritius with double daily Airbus A380 service from December 1.
This second A380, which will operate as flight EK 703/704, replaces the existing Boeing 777 operation and increases Emirates’ capacity on the route by 19%, further meeting the demand on the route and demonstrating the growth of Mauritius as a global destination.
Services between Dubai and Mauritius and vice versa is operated in codeshare with Emirates’ long-time partner Air Mauritius.
The upgraded A380 service leaves Dubai as EK 703 at 1000, arriving at Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport at 1645. It returns as EK 704 leaving Mauritius at 2300, landing at Dubai International Airport at 0540 the following day.
Emirates is the first airline in the world to operate an Airbus A380 service to a destination in the Indian Ocean. The airline currently has 49 A380s serving 26 destinations around the world, more than any other airline globally.
Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-861 A6-EDH (msn 025) approaches the runway at London (Heathrow) with special “6000th Airbus aircraft” markings.
QANTAS Airways (Sydney) flight QF 94 returned to Los Angeles early this morning at 2:39 am after a water pipe burst on the Melbourne, Australia-bound Airbus A380 flooding parts of the cabin. One Twitter report from a passenger described the leak as a “river of water running down the aisles”.
Read the report from NBC Los Angeles: CLICK HERE
QANTAS issued this statement:
A flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne has returned to LA about an hour after take off as there was a water leak on board the aircraft. Crew on board did everything they could to help customers, including moving them to unaffected areas and providing spare blankets so they could stay dry.
We’re also providing customers with hotel accommodation while the issue is being fixed by our engineers in Los Angeles. We apologise to customers for the inconvenience. There were no safety of flight concerns with the water leak, however the Captain decided to return to LA in the interests of passenger comfort. We are liaising with Airbus to understand what caused this fault.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-842 VH-OQD (msn 026) lands at Los Angeles International Airport.
For exactly one year now, the “new Germanwings” has enhanced the range of flights on offer for customers throughout Europe. On July 1, 2013, it launched an entirely new product and brand concept, and over the space of twelve months it has developed to become the third largest airline in Germany. Since July 2013, Germanwings has carried more than 16 million passengers. The number of routes on offer has also risen from 182 to 296 today. Germanwings now serves 130 destinations, most of which are in Europe.
Lufthansa amalgamated its domestic German and European flights that were not operated through its Frankfurt and Munich hubs in the “new Germanwings”. The handover of flight routes is now well advanced. In Cologne, Stuttgart and Hanover it has been completed, while in Hamburg and Berlin a few routes are still being transferred. Lufthansa began transferring routes to Germanwings in Düsseldorf in March 2014. Once the hand-over has been completed, Düsseldorf will be the largest Germanwings base.
Germanwings passengers rate the airline highly positively. In all the passenger surveys, they attest to the airline’s high-quality service, and the vast majority is extremely satisfied with the new offer. Customers thus reinforce Germanwings’ claim to be a low-cost-carrier offering flights at low prices and a high-quality service.
The expansion of Germanwings has also been successful from a commercial point of view: in comparison to last year, when the airline contributed €93 million to the Lufthansa Group’s earnings improvement year-on-year, the contribution is expected to increase again this year. For 2015, for the first time in many years, the Group expects to achieve a balanced result on its non-hub routes in Europe.
The airline, which is based at Cologne-Bonn Airport, has also significantly expanded its fleet. While just one year ago 38 jets bore the Germanwings livery, 71 aircraft can now be seen sporting the logo of the youngest airline in the Lufthansa Group. A further ten aircraft will join the fleet by the end of the year. The workforce has also increased from 1,600 to just over 2,000, the bulk of new staff recruitment being in flight operations. The number of flight personnel has thus risen from 1,174 to 1,614. Germanwings crews currently complete a total of 3,312 flights each week, compared with 1,891 a mere twelve months ago. Since its launch a year ago, Germanwings with its highly motivated team has already completed around 171,000 safe take-offs and landings. Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Executive Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG: “We have been on the offensive with the ‘new Germanwings’ in terms of point-to-point flights on European and German domestic routes that are not operated through our major hubs. We have combined our many years of experience in the low-cost segment and our high quality standards to develop a convincing concept that has been extremely well received by customers. With the ‘new Germanwings’, we have taken an important step and are now closer to achieving our goal of flying profitably beyond the major hubs within the short-haul traffic segment.”
Thomas Winkelmann, spokesman for the Germanwings Executive Board: “Germanwings is without a doubt one of the most creative airlines in Europe. Twelve months ago we entered new territory with Germanwings’ new product and brand promise. Since then, we have been combining the various requirements of different customer groups in one airline. Today we know that this bold decision was the right one: everyone feels at home on board of Germanwings. This is undoubtedly because we refuse to compromise on two points: safety and the friendly and expert way in which we deal with our customers.”
A unique feature of Germanwings is ‘à la carte flying’. When booking their tickets, passengers have a choice of three products in different price segments with different comfort add-ons: ‘BEST’ represents the high-end offer that primarily covers the needs of business passengers but that also appeals to certain leisure travelers. The ‘SMART’ fare product includes certain extra services, and ‘BASIC’ is a no-frills, low-cost fare.
Copyright Photo: Javier Rodriguez/AirlinersGallery.com. The Germanwings fleet has expanded from 38 to 71 Airbus aircraft in the past year. Formerly with Lufthansa, Airbus A320-211 D-AIQS (msn 401) now flies for lower-cost Germanwings.
Airbus (Toulouse) yesterday (July 1) rolled out the first assembled A320neo (new engine option). The pictured Airbus A320-271N WL F-WNEO (msn 6101) will soon enter its flight test program. The manufacturer issued this statement:
The assembly of Airbus’ first A320neo has been completed following painting of the aircraft and the mounting of Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-JM engines. Msn 6101, which will be the first A320neo to fly, will soon start its ground tests to prepare for first flight.
The flight test campaign for the A320neo will kick-off in September 2014, paving the way for Entry Into Service in Q4 2015.
The A320neo “new engine option” incorporates many innovations, including latest generation engines and large Sharklet wing-tip devices, which together deliver 15 percent in fuel savings and a reduction of 3,600 tonnes of C02 per aircraft per year. With a total of nearly 2,700 orders received from more than 50 customers since its launch in 2010, the A320neo Family has captured some 60 percent of the market, clearly demonstrating its leadership.
Airbus also issued this statement about the upcoming test program:
The highly-efficient NEO (new engine option) single-aisle jetliner project is another step closer to taking flight with the rollout of the initial A320neo – a key milestone as Airbus continues on-schedule for the aircraft’s maiden flight.
Prominently featuring the NEO branding on its livery, this aircraft – designated MSN6101 in the company’s numbering system – is powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-JM engines and is the first in Airbus’ A320neo Family developmental fleet. It is equipped with extensive flight test instrumentation for handling qualities, performance and engine tests, along with the high-altitude, and hot- and cold-weather campaigns.
In total, Airbus’ NEO flight-test fleet will comprise eight aircraft. This includes two A320neos, one A319neo and one A321neo for each of the new engine choices: Pratt & Whitney’s PW1100G-JM and the CFM International LEAP-1A.
The company’s rigorous A320neo Family flight-test and certification programme is facilitated by the jetliner’s fly-by-wire commonality, as well as previous flight dynamics testing during the Sharklet-certification campaign, explained Sandra Bour-Schaeffer, Project Flight Test Engineer for the NEO programme at Airbus.
Once msn 6101 takes flight, Airbus will begin with initial development and aircraft flight manual tests, before proceeding into its A320neo development and certification phase and maturity campaign – to ensure the A320neo fully meets customer requirements at service entry, which is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2015.
In addition, a second Pratt & Whitney-powered A320neo aircraft is planned to join the developmental fleet this year – fitted with lighter flight test instrumentation for noise, functionality, reliability testing and ETOPS approval.
Airbus already is well advanced with “up-front” A320neo testing, including approximately 250 flight hours performed on the company’s A320ceo (current engine option) in-house developmental aircraft to evaluate hardware and software for NEO flight control laws, and test bench validation of thrust reversers.
To further prepare for first flight, Airbus will begin a “virtual flight-test campaign” this summer, which includes simulator-based evaluations of flying scenarios and aircraft systems.
Incorporating its new engine choices, along with the application of Airbus’ fuel-saving Sharklets wingtip devices, the NEO shares over 95 per cent commonality with CEO aircraft – while delivering at least 15 per cent reduction in fuel consumption for operators.
Copyright Photo: Airbus.
JetBlue is now placing its “B6″ code on SAA-operated flights between Washington, DC-Dulles Airport and Dakar, Senegal in West Africa. Customers purchasing a code share itinerary will benefit from having a single ticket combining JetBlue and SAA-operated flights, as well as the conveniences on their day of travel of one-stop check-in and baggage transfer. SAA offers the only daily nonstop service between the U.S. and Dakar with departures from Washington, DC-Dulles Airport aboard Airbus A340s.
Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A340-313 ZS-SXH (msn 197) climbs away from the runway at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD).